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Old 25-10-2012, 19:17   #1
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Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

Hi
I need to re-do my 30 year old 3" wide copper strip in my boat. Looking for afordable copper foil is not easy. But, I found a source for COPPER-CLAD Stailess steel - not SS plated with copper but a different process. I understand I should not use the copper plated foil but, does anyone know if the COPPER-CLAD stainless is ok to use for a counterpoise?
The cost is around $100 and you get about 80 feet of 3" wide, 16 mil foil
Thanks for any help!
73s
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Old 25-10-2012, 21:55   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felipe
Hi
I need to re-do my 30 year old 3" wide copper strip in my boat. Looking for afordable copper foil is not easy. But, I found a source for COPPER-CLAD Stailess steel - not SS plated with copper but a different process. I understand I should not use the copper plated foil but, does anyone know if the COPPER-CLAD stainless is ok to use for a counterpoise?
The cost is around $100 and you get about 80 feet of 3" wide, 16 mil foil
Thanks for any help!
73s
I bought the KISS SSB system. It works great. We can check into the nets and get weather fine. It was cheaper and simpler to install than copper. I know there are guys who say it doesn't work as well, but so far we have had no problems. Highly recommended in my book.
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Old 25-10-2012, 22:46   #3
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Re: redoing a counterpoise using copper-clad stainless

I stopped lining my bilges with copper years ago. Gordon West did a study on counter-poise and found just connecting the strap from the tuner to a through-hull gave an equal or better signal report as copper. http://www.kp44.org/ftp/SeawaterGrou...GordonWest.pdf
I now have a copper plate 3"X10"s on my bottom bonded to a zinc.
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Old 26-10-2012, 02:37   #4
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Re: redoing a counterpoise using copper-clad stainless

Both engele and Celestialcruiser answered another question. Celestialsailor if you read Gordon West's article well you will find that his "Option 3" is copper foil to an single ungrounded bronze through hull. You talk about just "connecting THE STRAP" from the atu to a through-hull.
Now that "strap" should indeed be a copper foil "strap" a few inches wide.
Do not use zinced copper woven strap this will corrode.

The original poster Felipe asks about the possibility of using Copper-Clad stainless steel foil instead of plain copper foil.

I am also interested to learn about that.


Spare us the never ending debate about the Kiss system.

Jan
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Old 26-10-2012, 07:22   #5
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

I don't know anything about the copper-clad part, but the stainless foil should work just fine by itself as long as what you are connecting it to doesn't have corrosion issues. It may not have the frequency and speed characteristics of copper, but I don't think there will be a marked difference in practical use.

Our counterpoise is just our substantial aluminum tube bimini frame (the coupler and antenna are mounted on/above it) and we boom on all common frequencies. The only copper is a 1" strap connecting the tuner lug to the bimini frame.

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Old 26-10-2012, 08:32   #6
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

Stainless steel 316L has an resistance of 76,0x10E-8 Ohm.meter

Copper has a resistance of 1,7x10E-8 Ohm.meter

So copper is about 45 times more conductive than SS. Aluminum is half as conductive as copper.

So SS is not really your best choice....minimal ground losses are very important.

So, given the skin effect for RF currents in a ground conductor, the original posters question is to be repeated for the experts out there:

What about Copper-clad stainless steel foil to substitute copper foil as an RF ground lead?
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Old 26-10-2012, 08:36   #7
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

No problem. It should work just fine.

As to s/s conductivity vs. copper, remember that the antenna on most boats is s/s (backstay), not copper. Stainless works just fine.

Bill
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Old 26-10-2012, 08:54   #8
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

This time you should consider glassing it into the hull from the inside. It was a pain in the ass to do but I got about 50sq-ft done back in the winter of 2005. I used chopped strand mat and cheapest polyester i could find. Big job, but I had to build better battery hold-downs, redo plumbing and water tanks, so it made sense to do it.
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Old 26-10-2012, 09:08   #9
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I agree with Bill. The additional resistance of SS in the antenna system is not of much consequence compared to the radiation resistance.

Chip
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Old 26-10-2012, 09:25   #10
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

MMhhhh..;I don't want to sound cocky but my lecture of the theory is that in an asymmetrical antenna system the ground losses have to be as low as possible especially when the radiation resistance of the actual antenna gets low - what you will get using a 30 or 401 ft wire or backstay on the low HF frequencies...in order not to loose antenna system efficiency.

Using SS in the antenna wire is another subject and not an issue here.

If the electrical resistance of the ground lead wouldn't be that critical I guess we would mind using copper foil but just copper wire, eh?

Jan
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Old 26-10-2012, 09:31   #11
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix View Post
MMhhhh..;I don't want to sound cocky but my lecture of the theory is that in an asymmetrical antenna system the ground losses have to be as low as possible especially when the radiation resistance of the actual antenna gets low - what you will get using a 30 or 401 ft wire or backstay on the low HF frequencies...in order not to loose antenna system efficiency.

Using SS in the antenna wire is another subject and not an issue here.

If the electrical resistance of the ground lead wouldn't be that critical I guess we would mind using copper foil but just copper wire, eh?

Jan
Jan,

In actuality, copper (or aluminum or stainless) wire will work just fine. These are all used in RADIAL systems, which work very, very well.

I much prefer radial systems. And, elevated ones, since these have proven to be much more effective than buried radials or those lying on the ground.

The need for "wide copper strips" in the RF ground system is an urban myth, perpetuated by those who've never experimented or tried anything else.

It belongs in the same category as all those "authoritative" sources which say you need "100sq ft of copper". Repeated over and over and over, this is total bunk which has been disproven 1,000 times over.

After all, the most effective antenna you can put on a boat -- a vertical dipole -- consists entirely of wire. And, mine use s/s wire :-)

Bill
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Old 26-10-2012, 09:44   #12
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

After replacing my thin copper ribbon every 5 years or so due to corrosion, I was considering using some half or 3/4" copper pipe at the plumbing store.

I would be concerned about the copper clad stainless corroding in the bilge.
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Old 26-10-2012, 10:30   #13
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

I said that in practical use it will not make a marked difference.

If he used the entire 80' of stainless strap, the resistance difference of SS from copper would be 0.000018 Ohms.

A quick google search showed that copper-clad steel is used commercially for RF transmission lines.

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Old 26-10-2012, 10:38   #14
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

On one boat I bought scrap copper sheet. It was about 12" wide and maybe 10-15 mils. I contact cemented it to the eintire stern (inside) Used a rubber hammer to "bond" it to the not so smooth hull. So it had a bit of a pebbled surface. Soldered the strips together in a few places. It was the best radio counter poise I had out of 3 different boats. Probably had about 9-10 sq feet of it in there.

Why not Bronze insect screen? 2 ft x 50 ft $144
http://www.kilianhardware.com/broninscreen.html
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Old 26-10-2012, 14:32   #15
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Re: Redoing a Counterpoise Using Copper-clad Stainless

Back to the copper clad issue: in the distant past (when I was a kid amateur op) we made wire antennas out of steel wire with copper cladding. It was sold for that specific purpose and worked well. Much stronger than solid copper, much cheaper (very important to me then).

So, I see no reason to not use the clad material for connecting a ground... but as others have said, the requirements are not nearly as stringent as the legends imply.

Cheers,

Jim
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