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Old 21-02-2019, 09:40   #16
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

The vertical dipole:
Bill Trayfors, WA6CCA (RIP Bill), said the best single band antenna was a vertical dipole between the mast top and the aft quarter. It was supported by a spare halyard. He had a website that showed the details of the antenna but for some reason, that website is no longer. With his permission, I reposted the data from his original website to mine. Here is the link.

Alternate Backstay:
I am not in favor of anyone cutting their backstay. Granted it is still done and there are many out there who will swear that it is OK to do so. Why cut when one can add a no-load backstay antenna. Same concept but no cutting. The antenna is wirerope that goes from the aft-quarter deck to about 2' from the top of the mast. Or, 43 feet if one can get that much antenna in. If not 23' works and so does 35.5'. Or, you can calculate your own by making sure that the band you want to work in is NOT a λ/2 or a multiple thereof.

Grounding:
Make sure that whatever you decide to use that your system is well grounded. If you go with a backstay you will need a tuner and appropriate counterpoise. You can buy a KISS, or make a KISS (here is KA4WJA analysis of the KISS and how to make one yourself). Also read Gordon West's primer on saltwater as a counterpoise. You can find that here.

Good luck on the test!
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Old 21-02-2019, 09:42   #17
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Hi John - I've never used an FT-857D, and have never been tempted to buy one or any other Yaesu rig, but I am curious about what you have found objectionable to the radio.

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Old 21-02-2019, 11:01   #18
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

cb-
An antenna "tuner" really doesn't tune anything. It is an impedance matcher, and it matches the impedance of "this side" to "that side". If you don't install it at the actual base of the antenna, it is only able to match "all that cable and the antenna" to your radio (and some cable). So, the match is not going to be as efficient, and there are still opportunities for a reflected wave to be coming back down the antenna and part of the cable, instead of being forced out of the antenna. (Which is where you want to push all the power.)

You may be given a flyer offering a "new ham rate" to join the ARRL. They're the best source of information for hams, I'd strongly suggest it. Odds are there's also a local radio club holding the test sessions. Most welcome and encourage new hams to join them.

In the ARRL antenna books, they reiterate the point that there is no "best" solution, especially on sailboats, but the most widely used and accepted one is a backstay antenna with the tuner located as close as possible to the base of the backstay. Next best is to hoist a long wire to the masthead, as discussed above.

If you're planning to use the radio on VHF/UHF, then things change, and you can do well by installing a VHF/UHF combination antenna up high, with a dedicated cable to go to it. Odds are you won't need the antenna tuner for that.

Antennas can get more complicated than radios. But they are actually just as critical, if not more important, for good radio communications.
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Old 21-02-2019, 11:44   #19
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Good luck on the exam tonight.

I too would be interested in the criticism of the Yaesu radio. I used to have an FT-757 which was quite a nice rig. The only potential problem was the display, which was prone to failure and replacements were not available for long. I currently own an Icom M-802 Marine SSB, which works well on the ham bands but is definitely awkward for just manually sweeping through the band. I strongly recommend a Marine SSB first, then add a ham rig if desired. Please respect that ham rigs are illegal to use in the marine bands. There will be times when you will want to communicate with others on the marine bands so be prepared.

If using proper fittings an insulated backstay is not a safety issue and is a very good solution. By proper I mean the sort that have the metal parts interlocking, usually inside the insulation. I use Sta-Lok terminal fittings on Carina, the backstay insulators are from them as well, and I find them very trustworthy. I have used copper sheeting on the transom-hung rudder as a seawater interface, which has worked well. I am adding a KISS counterpoise, and if it works on its own will remove the copper.

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Old 21-02-2019, 12:18   #20
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Forgot to look where you are... if on East Coast, listen on 7268 from about 7:30 to 8:30a. This is the Waterway Net and good signals from (mostly) sailboats from New England to Bahamas (and beyond. Much busier Net when Spring arrives. As others have said, think
most of us use insulated backstay. Since I have a ketch, I installed steps on up the mizzen for back-up VHF marine/ tri-color, and 2/440 ham V/UHF verticals for easy access. (Also, I chose to put my radar, air horn, and off-air TV ‘frisbee’ antenna on the mizzen.

Last comment, I’d try to avoid hanging ANYTHING full-time or temporary basis up in the active sail area. You just don’t want anything that needs to be taken down or that can come down and foul the sails/ rigging when a storm suddenly blows up. Happy sailing!

Oops, one more thing... read up on the ‘new’ ham digital modes. These new digital modulation modes (Winlink, FT-8,... can sent/ receive text when you can’t actually hardly hear the other station. Plus with Winlink you are actually connecting to ham radio version of ‘Shore Stations’ that have much better than average antennas/ power that can help compensate for some of our power/ antenna limitations.

The earlier you get an HF rig or even battery SW receiver the better. As you fit out your sailboat it’s good to tune through the ham and marine HF bands for boat venerated ix (LEDs, autopilot, inverter/ charger (buy sinwave, not square/ modified sine). If internal generated noise is 2-3 S-units... your HF two-way range might be significantly reduced by as much as 1/3- 1/2. Plan on having good earphones which will really help hearing the radio during storms/ engine/ generator running periods. Having a small recorder is also good tool for weather transmissions/ getting vital info... as you might need to hear it several times to finally get it.
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Old 21-02-2019, 13:04   #21
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Thank you all who have so kindly given input. I should of mentioned my vessel has a marine SSB "Sea 222" to a backstay antenna with antenna tuner located directly below. Got lazy and installed KISS for counterpoise.


I have been reading John's, KA4WJA on s/v Annie Laurie postings for some time and have come to realize that there is a lot more that goes into optimizing radio signals than just connecting some coax and flipping a switch.


Studying for my license has been such a learning experience with knowledge that carries over to other areas of boating, especially in the area of electronics.


The idea behind the Yaseu radio is that it works on a wide range of frequencies, HF, VHF, UHF, very compact and portable. I like to hike and am getting interested in low power DX communications and thought this would be a neat rig that could be used in the field, auto or boat.


The idea of a vertical on the masthead would be to have an antenna with a different signal orientation than what is currently on the backstay. Never would consider a 22' Shakesphere thinking there should be something that would work in the 5' range. Maybe someone could make a suggestion.
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Old 21-02-2019, 13:27   #22
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by cburger View Post
Thank you all who have so kindly given input. I should of mentioned my vessel has a marine SSB "Sea 222" to a backstay antenna with antenna tuner located directly below. Got lazy and installed KISS for counterpoise.
That is a pretty old radio but their antenna tuner is excellent.

You already have the ham antenna and tuner that you need. I have the same radio and 1612B tuner. My antenna tuner is connected to a coax switch between the SEA 222 and a Kenwood TS-570. The power and indicator for the antenna tuner is switchable between the SEA and Kenwood also.

IIRC I had to do a little bit of circuitry to bring out a tuned indicator that I could use with the Kenwood. Since that was done about 25 years ago I don't remember the details but it included a zener diode to differentiate the tuned/not tuned condition.

Good luck on the test.
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Old 21-02-2019, 13:40   #23
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

The testing sessions will usually allow you to take additional level tests. You can't do much with a Technician Class license for marine use. Mainly usable for short distance repeater links that don't work beyond VHF range. I'd go for the General while you're there. That would give you a license you could use to actually talk on HF frequencies which work for long distance communication. FWIW, some countries, Great Britain, require the Extra License if you are going international.
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Old 21-02-2019, 14:10   #24
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

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The testing sessions will usually allow you to take additional level tests. You can't do much with a Technician Class license for marine use. Mainly usable for short distance repeater links that don't work beyond VHF range. I'd go for the General while you're there. That would give you a license you could use to actually talk on HF frequencies which work for long distance communication. FWIW, some countries, Great Britain, require the Extra License if you are going international.
Mission objective is to get General Class
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Old 21-02-2019, 14:30   #25
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Don't stop there. Get that Extra Class.
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Old 21-02-2019, 14:47   #26
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

If you are ever going to want the Extra Class then keep up the momentum: it is harder to go back to later, and particularly once out cruising. OTOH it isn't at all necessary, only useful if you get serious about ham radio beyond keeping voice and email contact. I cruised with an Advanced Class license and never felt limited. But after Mexico I never tried for a reciprocal license. Your choice.


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Old 21-02-2019, 14:55   #27
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

[QUOTE=CarinaPDX;2831131]If you are ever going to want the Extra Class then keep up the momentum: it is harder to go back to later, and particularly once out cruising. OTOH it isn't at all necessary, only useful if you get serious about ham radio beyond keeping voice and email contact. I cruised with an Advanced Class license and never felt limited. But after Mexico I never tried for a reciprocal license. Your choice.


Greg, Unsure the abbreviation OTOH?
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Old 21-02-2019, 15:15   #28
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

[QUOTE=cburger;2831136]
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
If you are ever going to want the Extra Class then keep up the momentum: it is harder to go back to later, and particularly once out cruising. OTOH it isn't at all necessary, only useful if you get serious about ham radio beyond keeping voice and email contact. I cruised with an Advanced Class license and never felt limited. But after Mexico I never tried for a reciprocal license. Your choice.


Greg, Unsure the abbreviation OTOH?
On The Other Hand
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Old 21-02-2019, 15:21   #29
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

Google is known for stealing your data, but... On The Other Hand, it is great for looking up things like OTOH.
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Old 21-02-2019, 16:12   #30
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Re: Shortwave Radio On My Sailboat

OTOH,
LOL
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