Well, we're replacing our standing rigging
on Beausoleil, and I thought now would be the time to make sure our new insulated backstay antennas are of the optimum length for the primary bands we'd be using. We're lucky enough to have two antennas, since our backstay is split clear up to the masthead. Right now the total length of the antennas, from the antenna
tuners' terminals to the masthead, is about 72-75'. I know that with a random wire tuners like my Icom
AH-4 and AT-20, you should avoid half-wave lengths.
Looking at both Sailmail's and Winlink's HF station frequencies, I'm wondering if it's worth it to optimize the length of each backstay so that each is nearer to the length that would work best with most of each service's stations.
Just a cursory look at the frequencies used by Winlink stations tells me that in the ham bands, most stations are in the 40 meter band, followed by 20m, then 30m, 15m and 10m. In the marine SSB
spectrum, SailMail stations seem to be fairly spread out over the available 4/6/8/12/16/18/22MHz bands.
Has anyone optimized their lengths, or just made yours as long as you could? I still may go with Bill Trayfor's suggestion of cut dipoles for 20m and 40m for ham, but I might as well make sure the fixed backstays
are optimally cut.
You'll also note that our existing lower insulators are pretty high off the deck
. I'm assuming that's because of an attempt to keep interaction with the side stays of the mizzen mast
to a minimum, but I think the previous owner perhaps forgot that the antenna
lead-in wire would still cross those mizzen stays, so I'm going to probably lower them to a more serviceable height off deck