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Old 15-01-2012, 09:21   #121
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Re: SSB Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
O crap! Now I am back to square one!

All I want to do is to figure out how to connect about 10 bloody wires, so that I can use my SSB Icom 710 and my icom at130.

...Sod it! !
I feel for ya mate. You have to remember on this forum that the Poster beware - there is a huge amount of knowledge here but sometimes the needs of the OP get lost in the community debate and SSB is one of the dangerous topics like asking about anchoring or anhor types.

To address your needs I am going to give you a very basic solution. The best bet is to start here, get it installed so that you can begin to understand the system and then you can come back and seek more advice...

What I am going to recomend is not "optimal" it is just a standard install that will work for your skill level and get you on the air.

Start at the radio:

Power: Connect the power straight to the battery. Put an inline fuse at the battery on the positive cable

Control cable to tuner: Take the cable that comes with it and remove the terminals or buy new ones. Use shielded cable and reconect terminals. Connect the shield (the silver alluminum foil looking stuff under the insulation and outside the cables) to the ground on the radio ONLY. Do not connect this to anything else - this is your drain.

COAX from the radio to the tuner: Do not put any loops in this connection - even if you are running it sightly longer as insurance should you need to move the tuner.

Now at the Tuner:

Place your tuner as close as possible to your antenna whatever kind it is, whip, backstay, etc. but not exposed to the elements - an aft lazzerette works well.

Connect the ground on the tuner to your "Counterpoise": - grounding your radio to this is not essential, contrary to what the literature says - we will talk about counterpoise in a sec.

Connect the Tuner to your antenna: Use AWG10 or the closest you can find. When connecting there are a couple of important things; standoff from the part of the backstay that is not transmitting and good connection to the part that is. This is straightforward and if you are using a backstay there are numerous threads that include pictures on how to do connect this. The best one I have seen is the one Nick posted.

Now the Counterpoise: THis is what gets everyone hot under the collar with different opinions and viewpoints. I am by far not an expert so I am going to give you some guidelines to get you on the air. Get yourself transmitting and then worry about fine tuning and improving later.

If you dont have a metal hull than running heavy wire and connecting as many metal fittings as possible is the best. 3" wide copper strapping is not necessary (ouch I can feel the flame responses coming) - you can always go back and do this later but lets keep it easy for now...anyway...

Get some thick copper wire and, best if they are above the waterline, connect metal fittings - as many as you can get that are accessible. If your chainplates have accessible bolts for example -connect them. The longer the wire and the more connections the better. What is the minimum required? DOnt ask - I dont know and you will start another war Just get as many as you can, if you cant find alot above the waterline then go below where there are usually many more. he idea though is that your are trying to "reflect" off the seawater - not go "through" it.

SO now you have it up - next thing you can do is begin isolating noise in the boat and choking with ferrites anything you can see that even resembles a wire - or go through the boat and turn things on and off to see noise sources and then choke that. DONT choke the coax!

Make sure all connections are protected from the elements (you can look up how to do this if you dont already know)

dem's the very basics - but it will get you on the air with a decent reception. Once you are ready and able to get the Pactor Modems set up you will know more and understand more of the advice here.

This is not perfect but hey, we are past the peak of the solar cycle and SSB/HAM tx/rx interference is getting less every day

hope that helps

...here come the flames...
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Old 15-01-2012, 21:32   #122
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Re: SSB Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
I feel for ya mate. You have to remember on this forum that the Poster beware - there is a huge amount of knowledge here but sometimes the needs of the OP get lost in the community debate and SSB is one of the dangerous topics like asking about anchoring or anhor types.

To address your needs I am going to give you a very basic solution. The best bet is to start here, get it installed so that you can begin to understand the system and then you can come back and seek more advice...

What I am going to recomend is not "optimal" it is just a standard install that will work for your skill level and get you on the air.

Start at the radio:

Power: Connect the power straight to the battery. Put an inline fuse at the battery on the positive cable

Control cable to tuner: Take the cable that comes with it and remove the terminals or buy new ones. Use shielded cable and reconect terminals. Connect the shield (the silver alluminum foil looking stuff under the insulation and outside the cables) to the ground on the radio ONLY. Do not connect this to anything else - this is your drain.

COAX from the radio to the tuner: Do not put any loops in this connection - even if you are running it sightly longer as insurance should you need to move the tuner.

Now at the Tuner:

Place your tuner as close as possible to your antenna whatever kind it is, whip, backstay, etc. but not exposed to the elements - an aft lazzerette works well.

Connect the ground on the tuner to your "Counterpoise": - grounding your radio to this is not essential, contrary to what the literature says - we will talk about counterpoise in a sec.

Connect the Tuner to your antenna: Use AWG10 or the closest you can find. When connecting there are a couple of important things; standoff from the part of the backstay that is not transmitting and good connection to the part that is. This is straightforward and if you are using a backstay there are numerous threads that include pictures on how to do connect this. The best one I have seen is the one Nick posted.

Now the Counterpoise: THis is what gets everyone hot under the collar with different opinions and viewpoints. I am by far not an expert so I am going to give you some guidelines to get you on the air. Get yourself transmitting and then worry about fine tuning and improving later.

If you dont have a metal hull than running heavy wire and connecting as many metal fittings as possible is the best. 3" wide copper strapping is not necessary (ouch I can feel the flame responses coming) - you can always go back and do this later but lets keep it easy for now...anyway...

Get some thick copper wire and, best if they are above the waterline, connect metal fittings - as many as you can get that are accessible. If your chainplates have accessible bolts for example -connect them. The longer the wire and the more connections the better. What is the minimum required? DOnt ask - I dont know and you will start another war Just get as many as you can, if you cant find alot above the waterline then go below where there are usually many more. he idea though is that your are trying to "reflect" off the seawater - not go "through" it.

SO now you have it up - next thing you can do is begin isolating noise in the boat and choking with ferrites anything you can see that even resembles a wire - or go through the boat and turn things on and off to see noise sources and then choke that. DONT choke the coax!

Make sure all connections are protected from the elements (you can look up how to do this if you dont already know)

dem's the very basics - but it will get you on the air with a decent reception. Once you are ready and able to get the Pactor Modems set up you will know more and understand more of the advice here.

This is not perfect but hey, we are past the peak of the solar cycle and SSB/HAM tx/rx interference is getting less every day

hope that helps

...here come the flames...
Thank you sir!

I understand that this is a science/black art that I have a long learning curve. I really appreciate the advice. I have a starting point. And perhaps not a fire or melt down. One question. Radio ground. Do you ground it to anything?
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Old 16-01-2012, 01:43   #123
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Re: SSB Advice

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Originally Posted by jurgen99 View Post
Its exactly the same as a backstay fed antenna. The only difference is that your feedpoint is up in the air. Coax feeding such a reactive antenna with coax produces high losses. the only real advantage of your antenna is that it might have slightly less ground loss. This however will be offset by the greater losses because you are operating a coax into a very HIGH VSWR. I am sure it works like everything else in radio. Even a Miracle whip works. Marine antenna tuners cant handle such a low impedance only because of the high circulating RF currents. You antenna tuner probably can handle this antenna however it is very high loss.. If you get a proper low impedance tuner designed for tuning marine short whips like those from Harris they can tune an antenna like yours without any problems. Another such antenna tuner is one designed for aircraft antennas. If we were going to have a antenna shootout, my money would be on the normal backstay antenna with a SGC230 as the winner. If you antenna was fed with open wire feedlinese it will win if you use the mast as a ground for the feed point.
Don't we all just love it when an arm-chair quarterback drags out some text book theory and tries to "do in" something that works superbly in the real world?!?
Look Jurgen99, I'm sorry you can't appreciate the real world advantages the sloper has over the backstay antenna. I can agree with SOME of what you are saying but a lot of it simply indicates your misunderstanding of real world applications. Perhaps I should have written a deeper explanation but my post was getting very wordy as it was. I'll try to keep it short as I can here, but this is a complicated subject, and the OP is really overwhelmed by the tech talk going on when all he wanted to know was how to "hook it up".

The sloper and the backstay are NOT identical at all. There is a huge difference moving your current loop to the masthead with the sloper. The backstay on the other hand has it's current loop in or near the lazarette at deck level. (I'll get to all the rigging that is in the backstay's way next)

I hope you can realize that by feeding the backstay at the top and grounding the braided shield side of the coax cable to the mast and rigging, that this method causes the mast and rigging to work WITH your sloper antenna as the grounded side of this unbalanced antenna, and NOT against it as with the bottom fed backstay...This works out to be a HUGE difference in performance that I have personally tested with hundreds of hours of "on the air" use. Conversely the bottom fed backstay has the mast and rigging in it's WAY, and the mast and rigging is absorbing, or blocking if you will, some of the backstay's signal by being so close physically to a bunch of grounded metal, and the close proximity of grounded metal is the LAST thing you want with a bottom fed backstay. And where is the counterpoise for your bottom fed SGC tuned backstay? Well...the SGC tries like hell to find it in the boat somewhere and seldom does because of the HF wavelengths involved. The sloper on the other hand doesn't really care that much about a counterpoise in the boat. It's got the entire grounded rig working WITH it, not against it. (You admit later in your post that if I used ladder line instead of coax the sloper would indeed be a better antenna....well, since the sloper is NOT a balanced antenna, in essence the coax braid or shield does just that, after all, just how do you think ladder line works feeding an unbalanced antenna? Does it remain "in balance"?

Also I should mention that in polar curves run both with antenna analyzing software AND real world tests that I have conducted personally, the sloper is somewhat directional off the back of the boat. It also (in theory) exhibits approximately 3 db of gain in this direction. On the down side there are a couple of pretty sharp nulls off the bow at approximately 10 o'clock and two o'clock. These nulls in practice are so narrow that even during testing while sailing I could not keep a signal nulled at those positions because the boat simply moves around too much. So we can consider the nulls to be negligible in real world use.

Your assumption that my sloper has a very high VSWR is simply incorrect because I did not mention (my fault...for space reasons) that I cut my backstay length to a formula, and use the lowest quarter wavelength of the band I want to use. The formula is a simple one for a half wavelength, (then divide that answer by two for your backstay's insulated length). The formula is: ( 468 divided by the frequency in MHz). In my case I always choose the 7 MHz ham radio band (over marine SSB 8 MHz as a personal preference) and this works out to an insulated backstay length of roughly 33 feet) AND....because this is a quarter wavelength I CAN RUN MY TRANSMITTER INTO MY SLOPER ON THE 7 MHz FREQUENCY BAND WITH NO ANTENNA TUNER AT ALL!! So there is no high SWR on this band, period. And for the other bands the tuner comes into play nicely. If I had more time/room I would also explain how to select the coax feedline length so the coax does not become a resonant and radiating part of the antenna---a very undesirable situation on a boat---and something you failed to mention. (BTW, and while I'm thinking about it, the MFJ-269 antenna analyzer unit works like a charm setting up the intricacies of the sloper)

In real world use there is much that text book theory just can't account for when constructing a sloper antenna aboard a sailboat, there are simply too many variables, and before you put any money on your SGC tuner and backstay winning in a shoot out comparison, I'd like to inform you that I've already shot down MANY a backstay tuned by an SGC (and others) And I shot one SGC down so badly that the owner of the SGC came over to my boat from his dock to witness for himself that I was actually talking with his friend that could not hear him with his SGC/backstay setup. Here's exactly how it went down and exactly what happened with this accidental test that wasn't even planned:

Some years ago when I was living aboard in Marina del Rey, CA this friend of mine installed a very nice Kenwood TS440S transceiver and an SGC tuner with an insulated backstay antenna. His boat was three docks away from mine. One morning I heard him calling his friend (on schedule) that was on a boat down in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They simply couldn't make contact, but I did hear his friend in Puerto Vallarta just fine. So, I broke in and called his friend asking if I could relay any messages for him. His buddy in Puerto Vallarta came right back to me, and was shocked when I told him I was only three docks away from his buddy. He couldn't believe it! The next thing I know the guy from three docks over is knocking on my hull so he can come aboard and see if I was telling the truth and was actually in contact with his friend in PV. I wish you could have seen the look on his face when I simply handed him the microphone and he and his buddy had a nice long conversation, much of which, not surprisingly, was about sailboat antennas and what I was using---the sloper.

So...there you have it. I'm sure you'll say it was just conditions....but is that really good science when the competing boats are only three docks away from each other? It is true that our boats were less than 100 yards apart. The funny thing is that my boat at that time was a Rawson 30 sloop, with a very short rig. My mast was only about 35 feet high and I had the shortest rig on my dock. I was surrounded by sailboats with taller masts.

So there you go---a real world shootout: Sloper 1 -- SGC/Backstay 0
(in fact, it was embarrassingly not even close)

Anyone interested in how to set one up feel free to PM me.

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Old 16-01-2012, 03:42   #124
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Re: SSB Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
Thank you sir!

I understand that this is a science/black art that I have a long learning curve. I really appreciate the advice. I have a starting point. And perhaps not a fire or melt down. One question. Radio ground. Do you ground it to anything?
If you are going to ground it you need to ground it to the tuner - not to a piece of metal. Mine is grounded to the tuner however there is good evidence that this is entirely unncessary.

My advice: if you can easily ground the radio to the tuner - do it. If it is a serious pain in the ass try out the system and if you are having issues consider grounding to the tuner as one of your first changes.

Here are two good books that speak easy and clear langauge and will get you on air with great tx/rx. At this point it is not about perfection it is about results.

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Old 16-01-2012, 11:32   #125
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Re: SSB Advice

Nick,

I am not calling you names, I said you where snotty! If we where in a pub having a pint, or having a chat on the dock, are you seriously telling me that you would speak to me in the same condescending way? "As I have said before" Dam it man from me starting this thread I explained I know little about the subject.

Yes I could spend $1500 and fly some "expert in" but then what have I learned?

As I have said I am very grateful to everyone who has offered help, explanation and advice to my request for help, including yourself. But rudeness na I did not ask for that..... believe me I do not need to call people name on a forum. :-)

Have a good day pal.
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Old 16-01-2012, 14:08   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPacific
Nick,

I am not calling you names, I said you where snotty! If we where in a pub having a pint, or having a chat on the dock, are you seriously telling me that you would speak to me in the same condescending way? "As I have said before" Dam it man from me starting this thread I explained I know little about the subject.

Yes I could spend $1500 and fly some "expert in" but then what have I learned?

As I have said I am very grateful to everyone who has offered help, explanation and advice to my request for help, including yourself. But rudeness na I did not ask for that..... believe me I do not need to call people name on a forum. :-)

Have a good day pal.
You seemed happy with my advice until you kept repeating the same questions and I told you I had answered those earlier already. You got frustrated because I did that instead of explaining it in a more elaborate way, may be because you don't understand it. The thing is that there is no simpler way that I know to explain it. You thank me in a post and without me adressing you any further you start calling me snotty out of he blue, just because I disagree with another poster over something you are clueless about. You could have kept it to the thank you and use the info and tips you got here.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 16-01-2012, 16:31   #127
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Re: SSB Advice

My first post!

Well I have bought the Icom bits now need an aerial and grounding plate. HAlyard types look interesting? any advice from ssb users or sites that can help would be gratefully appreciated

Yip calling me clueless is a more succinct way of repeating my first post Nick. I have no problem in admitting that when it comes to SSB I am clueless. Not as clue less as I was 3 weeks ago, but definitely low on the curve.

My mistake was to expect a unified answer to my question. Like 4 +4 = 8

So I have 6 wires how should I wire them? The answers are still coming in. The only "other SSB user in the Northern Fleet" got back from cruising around CUba. Last night he said that I had to tie everything together with copper tape! keel, fuel tanks stanchions etc.

Now the upside down aerial, sounds logical to me :-)
Then so does everything else on here;-(
What is clear to you and the other practitioners of the dark art, is unclear to me. No not unclear, double bloody dutch! (no offensive to the dutch) That I asked you for clarification was in essence a compliment in that I was following your advice.

To be told to go back and re read, I took it as snotty. Anyway Foolish give me my starter answer and a book to buy and read then I can argue like an expert:-) Again Thanks for taking the time to educate.
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Old 17-01-2012, 15:49   #128
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Well yes, I understand the shock when reading all this while expecting 4+4=8 kind of answers but that just isn't how it works. Mostly people will start pushing the system that they are using themselves as the best, while denouncing everything else. I am a bit different as I have none of the systems that I adviced except the vertical whip antenna.

I do have a ground that I think is superior to any discussed here, but I don't even bring it up because I know it will not be what you will get anyway. If your boat would have had a grounding plate, I would have gone for that, but as you dont have that, I went for the Kiss as your best fitting option with good results reported by all but one owner (who connected it wrong to test it anyway).

Now I understand you choose to buy a grounding plate instead. It will work. It will be a lot of work. I don't think it will work better than the Kiss. I know it will be more expensive.

As for the wiring, I'm sorry for sounding snottish about that to you, but if you don't understand the posts explaining that, or need more information, then it is better to ask or hire somebody to help you do it. I say that because I think that somebody with the minimum skills to complete that with good results, would have more than enough info from the posts already done. I am trying to get you a good working SSB aboard your boat, not to turn you into a HF geek because that takes 10 years or more even for those with the gene.

ciao!
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Old 17-01-2012, 16:15   #129
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Re: SSB Advice

No Nick I am not buying a grounding plate.

I reckoned the Kiss would be a safe rookie clueless place to start. 1 wire on one terminal on the tuner. The point I am making is that the reasons for the start of WW2 sometimes seems simpler than rigging up my humble second hand Icom 710.

It's OK others have taken up the challenge of pointing me through the process. I am nor easily deterred. :-) I have ordered my book and will start reading my way to switch on. Once I have passed my test!
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Old 17-01-2012, 16:30   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPacific
Well I have bought the Icom bits now need an aerial and grounding plate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPacific
No Nick I am not buying a grounding plate.
You're a bit hard to follow. Regardless, both will work.

ciao!
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Old 17-01-2012, 17:49   #131
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Re: SSB Advice

That was at the start! Now I have been influenced to try kissing before grounding! Hard to follow, that is because I am Lost:-)
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Old 20-01-2012, 23:24   #132
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Re: SSB Advice

Ok, I am spending time reading and allowing the C cards time to cool down. I will be looking at outfitting the boat with several offshore systems in the spring. They all need some cash to buy bits!!!!

So I will fit:

Icom 710 system

2 x 100watt solar panels

Wind generator

Capehorn Self steering gear

Katedyne water maker

1 year 5 months before we go South. So now it is time to pass my Canadian Radio exams :-) More later.

AGain Cheers to all.
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