Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-12-2013, 08:58   #16
Marine Service Provider
 
Tony B's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Presently in Rogersville, Al
Boat: Mainship 36 Dual Cabin
Posts: 695
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Jan

I am not much of a HAM radio guy. it was a hobby I took up when I started working offshore on the rigs and platforms in 1992. I could just commandeer a small work shed and set up wire antennas. Around 2000 the safety rules precluded me having any kind of transmitting capability and so that was the end of HAM radio for me. When I crossed the Gulf of Mex around 2006 in my new to me Allied 39 ketch I had found my old TS-50 and took it for the ride. There already was insulated wire antenna running up the mizzen shrouds but I didn't have an antenna tuner and so I bought the ham sticks.

Anyway, I recently retired and thought I might get back into ham radio again. I only bought 10M, 20M and 40M sticks. Believe it or not, 10M was always my favorite. Everyone back then would tell me 10M was dead. When I was offshore on the rigs, it was alive and well. I also liked 15 meters.

I first started using ham sticks on my old van. My ride from where I lived to where I had to fly out of to get offshore was anywhere from 7 to 12 hours and so the radio kept me company all night long while I was driving.

Regards
Tony B
KC5SDI
__________________

__________________
Mainship 36 DC - 1986
Retired and Full Time Cruising the Eastern U.S. inland Waterways
www.FreeBoatProjects.com
Tony B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-12-2013, 09:20   #17
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Zeebrugge, Belgium
Boat: Jeanneau Voyage 37 ft
Posts: 254
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Tony,


it looks like a really nice boat (even without a mast hahaha)!

Well off course over seawater your hamstocks will give the optimal result certainly lots better than in a car-mobile situation!

If you have a tuner you could use a cheapy 7m fishing rod as base for a multiband wire antenna and run a wire alongside if you want to play around.
Maybe even compare with the hamsticks.

That's what I would do because for me half of the fun is trying out new stuff or trying to optimize the existing.

hey I wish you a very Merry Xmas and a very nice 2014 boating season!

73's

Jan
ON3ZTT
__________________

__________________
Goudurix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-12-2013, 10:09   #18
Marine Service Provider
 
Tony B's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Presently in Rogersville, Al
Boat: Mainship 36 Dual Cabin
Posts: 695
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Thanks for the good wishes and same to you.
We are about to go cruising again - this time by powerboat. We have this deep down desire to support the oil and gas industry - we just cant help ourselves. LOL.
This time we will be coastal cruising for about 500 miles to Biloxi, Ms. Then in the spring we will be cruising northward. may I'll catch you on the air.
Regards

Tony B
__________________
Mainship 36 DC - 1986
Retired and Full Time Cruising the Eastern U.S. inland Waterways
www.FreeBoatProjects.com
Tony B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-12-2013, 05:15   #19
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: French Polynesia
Boat: Allied 39
Posts: 470
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

I faced the same questions in the 90's when headed to the SP. I left with ham sticks (Hustler) with a yaseu 757. What I found was we were always about one S signal below most other boats and it made it very difficult at times trying to check in various nets as others would be so much stronger and come in over the top of use. After a couple years of this we switched to a long wire and a MFJ 945E manual tuner. We would hoist the long wire up on a halyard. voila signal strength went way up!

Now for the pat 10 years have been running a Icom 802 and AT 140 tuner which we are very pleased with.

I am sure you could buy a length of GTO wires for much less than the rope!

Good luck with your choice

Chuck
__________________
www.jacarandajourney.com
chouliha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2014, 04:47   #20
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 51
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

. "rope a dope" ?

Any antenna is better than no antenna, and everything works.

Endless debates about one HF marine antenna versus the other for emergency coastal HF communications serves nobodies interest. Even the worst marine HF antenna that someone could concoct will always be heard by most marine coastal communications stations. Hams love weaving in working DX into everything radio. Coastal communications is not DX'ing. Its short skip on bands that are mostly suited to coastal communications.

Even a miserable Hamstick antenna is only 12 db down from a good backstay. 12 Db amounts to very little on short skip coastal communications. Dont become too anal about choosing a HF antenna. With 100 to 150 watts you will be heard!
__________________
plebian99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2014, 00:52   #21
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest
Boat: 1968 Alberg 30
Posts: 193
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Iam confused by several comments above, written by ham operators, that say they never install a ground plane and don't need it because the ocean itself is the ground. One fellow says he doesn't even need an antennae tuner. So how come every marine SSB site in the world says to install at least 100 sq feet of copper foil, alternately use a KISS ground plane, to ensure signal strength? Also, why does ICOM and SEA sell antennae tuners for all their line of SSB radios, if the tuner is unnecessary?

What I am missing here?

Thanks,
Gpb
__________________
Glenn.Brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2014, 01:23   #22
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by plebian99 View Post
. "rope a dope" ?

Any antenna is better than no antenna, and everything works.

Endless debates about one HF marine antenna versus the other for emergency coastal HF communications serves nobodies interest. Even the worst marine HF antenna that someone could concoct will always be heard by most marine coastal communications stations. Hams love weaving in working DX into everything radio. Coastal communications is not DX'ing. Its short skip on bands that are mostly suited to coastal communications.

Even a miserable Hamstick antenna is only 12 db down from a good backstay. 12 Db amounts to very little on short skip coastal communications. Dont become too anal about choosing a HF antenna. With 100 to 150 watts you will be heard!
I'm not sure "short-skip coastal communications" is the primary mission of many, much less most, SSB installations on yachts. Sailors start to get interested in marine SSB radio when they start crossing oceans. In the middle of the ocean, we are not talking about "short-skip coastal communications" at all. Around coasts, you hardly need HF radio at all anyway -- VHF and mobile telephony do the trick.

I do agree that mindless perfectionism in ground planes and antennas is pointless for sailors -- we're not doing DX contests, after all. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as they say. But still, I would say there is a corollary to that -- the crappy is the enemy of everything. So surely it's worth thinking at least a little bit about antennas and ground planes.

And what's so hard about it? Just hoist a length of lifeline wire up the mast with a halyard, keeping clear of other rigging, and voila -- you've got a very good antenna. What's so hard about that?

As far as ground planes are concerned -- I am no expert -- but I believe that sailors have gotten very good results from simple solutions like copper foil led to a keel bolt (what the ICom manual recommends), or copper foil led to a through-hull. What's so hard about that? And you're in business able to do a lot more than "short-skip coastal communications".
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2014, 01:29   #23
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn.Brooks View Post
Iam confused by several comments above, written by ham operators, that say they never install a ground plane and don't need it because the ocean itself is the ground. One fellow says he doesn't even need an antennae tuner. So how come every marine SSB site in the world says to install at least 100 sq feet of copper foil, alternately use a KISS ground plane, to ensure signal strength? Also, why does ICOM and SEA sell antennae tuners for all their line of SSB radios, if the tuner is unnecessary?

What I am missing here?

Thanks,
Gpb
A hamstick -- referred to by several posters above -- is a dipole antenna. It has two elements and doesn't need any ground plane at all, ocean or otherwise. Notice that some posters referred to rather poor performance of hamsticks on boats. A hamstick works on a single band, so also doesn't need a tuner. But also can't work on different bands -- you need different hamsticks for that.

The preferred and usual antenna for marine SSB is referred to as a random-wire sloping antenna -- either an insulated backstay or a wire hoisted up the mast. This needs a tuner -- since it's "random length" and so not tuned for any particular band. But the upside is that you can use it for all the marine HF bands. But this is by no means the only way to do it -- there are millions of other antenna types -- the subject is inexhaustible. Ask any ham about it.

A random-wire sloping antenna like an insulated backstay has only one element, so it needs a ground plane. The ocean is the ideal ground plane, but you have to connect to it, at least capacitively (you don't necessarily have to be physically connected to the ocean due to a little electrical phenomenon known as capacitance). That's where the copper foil comes in. A whole lot of copper foil inside your boat's hull will couple in this way to the ocean. But according to my information, you don't actually need to do it this way. Connection via copper foil to a single through-hull, apparently, also gives very good results.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2014, 02:06   #24
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Zeebrugge, Belgium
Boat: Jeanneau Voyage 37 ft
Posts: 254
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

@Glenn Brooks:
Glenn, I can understand your confusion.
Marine SSB sites & suppliers: they all keep copying the same old info about the 100 sq feet of copper.

Another "famous" independent research by Gordon West showed that a short connection to an underwater bronze (only) was very efficient:
http://www.kp44.org/ftp/SeawaterGrou...GordonWest.pdf

HAM radio operators do not stick to the compromise solution of what is called a "random wire antenna and automatic antenna tuner". There are tuned antenna solutions usually dedicated to 1 frequency band that do not need an antenna tuner. There is a huge amount of theoretic and practical data and designs in the HAM radio world, I wull dare to say that the HAM world is a lot more expert than your average "marine SSB site".

Now how to help you with clearer advice?
To be able to work multi-frequency with a sloping wire antenna (isolated part of a backstay or dedicated sloping wire) you will need an automatic antenna tuner. (unless you want to use frequency-dedicated antennas hence 1 per frequency to be able to skip the automatic antenna tuner - this IS possible but more complex on board of a sailing boat )
You will also need a good Radio requency grounding system to make the antenna system efficient AND to help the antenna tuner find a tune.

1. the simplest solution: isolated backstay, GTO-lead from the base of the isolated stay to the automatic antenna tuner (total length isolated stay portion + GTO lead typically 30 - 42 feet) and a KISS grounding device connected to the ground lug of the antenna tuner
2. The cheapest solution: a marine-grade wire sloping down from a spare halyard to the antenna tuner (same length as 1.), a short stretch (< 10 feet if possible) of 3 to 5 inch wide copper tape to an isolated (not bonded to other-) underwater bronze like a seacock, bronze plate,...
3. Probably the best solution is combining the grounding solutions:
- connect tuner ground lug copper tape to an underwater bronze (dedicated bronze plate: expensive) or unbonded existing (eg a seacock, bronze strut supporting propeller shaft,...: cheap)
- connect also to a maximum of existing metalware: SS lifelines, pulpit, pushpit, aluminum toerail if you have one)
- run about 4 long stretches of copper tape under your floorboards from aft to the front, try to seperate them maximally (medium cost) OR
run a number of so-called radial wires (isolated copper wire 16 gauge or marine grade tinned copper wire: CHEAP) under the floorboards or on deck (I run them along the toerail where they are protected and not hindering). Just any length (as long as possible) or pre-cut for your target frequencies following this formula:
300/(frequency in Mhzx4) gives you the length in metres.
I would suggest 2 radial wires (one each side of the boat) per target frequency. Bundle them together. In essence this is what the KISS thing is....

Even applying only one of 3 solutions should give you good enough results.
Because on top of that the seawater provides the best "take-off" platform to enable long-range HF communication.

Hope this made it a bit clearer?

Jan
A HAM operator
__________________
Goudurix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2014, 20:58   #25
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest
Boat: 1968 Alberg 30
Posts: 193
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Hi Jan,

Thanks very much for your explanation of ground plane requirements. I overlooked the idea that single cut to length antenna whips were optimizd to a specific frequency. I have enuf trouble storing a few sail battens let alone messing around changing out a fistful of antenna whips singlehanded on the ocean. So now understand better why the marine SSB vendors have developed tuners.

Actually I have recently installed a KISS system, and have another set of radial wires I could install also. So good to hear it is possible to combine ground planes. I can also bond the tuner to a couple of thru hulls easy enough.

Looking forward to seeing how all this will work out.

Thanks very much for your assistance. Your reply has removed years of confusion!

Glenn B
__________________
Glenn.Brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2014, 21:19   #26
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest
Boat: 1968 Alberg 30
Posts: 193
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Jan, just re-read Gordon West's article on sea water ground. Iam going right out to buy some copper foil and ground both my electronics systems to a through hull!

Thanks again

Glenn
__________________
Glenn.Brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2014, 02:23   #27
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Zeebrugge, Belgium
Boat: Jeanneau Voyage 37 ft
Posts: 254
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Hi Glenn,

If you already have a KISS "system", I would not bother with extra radials but indeed go for 1 (single point) through-hull connection. For the SSB transceiver-automatic tuner the recommendations are to only use 1 connection: the ground lug on the tuner.
This is to avoid "ground loops" these are minute voltage differences that can exist between multi-ground connection points.

So in your case you would have:
- the KISS connected to the tuner ground lug
- a short stretch of copper tape from the through hull to the tuner ground lug
- you might still add existing metal like the SS lifelines and a metal toerail (again: 1 direct connection to the tuner's ground lug) this will be more the "nice to have" than "must have"

The transceiver's ground is connected to this via the coax cable mantle between transceiver and tuner.

The ground connection to the (bronze) through hull might also help reducing receiving noise.

Your boat's 12V DC system will and should have its own ground point, usually it is a ground bolt on the engine. If you want to ground any other equipment do this with a dedicated lead to this common ground point.

Good luck, and never hesitate to ask more questions - there are people far more knowledgeable than me to help you

Jan
__________________
Goudurix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2014, 22:40   #28
Registered User
 
Capt'n Ricko's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: SoCal - Until Oct 2016 - Then Headed South!
Boat: 1984 Cal 35 Mk II - - Hull #85
Posts: 71
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Are there any drawbacks to using the KISS Ground with the GAM Antenna system? I would be interested if anyone has any first-hand experiences - good or bad...
__________________
Capt'n Ricko - S/V Tiki Notion (formerly S/V Second Wind) - Getting Ready to Leave!

http://svtikinotion.jimdo.com/
Capt'n Ricko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2014, 01:20   #29
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Zeebrugge, Belgium
Boat: Jeanneau Voyage 37 ft
Posts: 254
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

No experinece but others on this forum will have.
It is mainly paying a lot of money for things you can build as easily or better, giving you also insight in the how and why of your HF-SSB antenna system.



Jan
__________________
Goudurix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-02-2014, 12:20   #30
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Martinique
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 1,724
Re: Rope Antenna for SSB

Ok.. I'm a complete noob, but have been doing tons of reading..

I'm just wondering why you can't use a sloping wire encased in a sheath of some sort (to prevent corrosion) and held off the backstay with zip-tie and tube insulators. Kind of a cheap DIY GAM. Seems like the best of both worlds (semi permanent and cheap)
__________________

__________________
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
antenna, ssb

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
USB GPS Antenna with OpenCPN? pillum Marine Electronics 7 16-10-2015 15:27
Garmin GA 28 Antenna Repair Help, Please macbeth Marine Electronics 2 12-07-2011 08:06
AIS Reception Issue twistedtree Marine Electronics 72 03-07-2011 04:57
FM Antenna Mounting allanpeda Marine Electronics 1 02-07-2011 07:09



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:02.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.