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Old 09-12-2013, 12:48   #1
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SSB Antenna

Our mast is down for the winter. Is it possible to rig a decent SSB antenna on the boat? We have a frame and cover so horizontal would be preferable. We are also in a marina for the winter.

We have an Icom 710 with auto tuner.
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Old 09-12-2013, 13:08   #2
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Re: SSB Antenna

Hello

Other's should chime in but, I have tried a number of antenna's with varying success.

A vertical antenna just cannot be beat. So, one thing to try, you can get 30ft, telescoping, fiberglass rods or rod blanks online, very inexpensively. You would then run a wire through it, and raise it.

If you do not wish to do this, it is possible to do an inverted L antenna. I have to do this in my present home. Run it vertically, from the tuner, as high as you can, then horizontally to get the length you need. Depending on your tuner, I would say 23ft overall, would be the min.

You will of course need a good counterpoise. Again, in my home, I just do not have an ideal set up, but have been able to configure one that works very well (I am in FL and can hit NY, TX etc, pretty easily). One thing I did recently that was a huge benefit, was to increase the thickness of my antenna and counterpoise. The antenna was a simple wire, it is now a copper tube (plumbing supply). I had a counterpoise made up sort of like the KISS one, several wires. When I replaced this with one 6AWG wire, 26ft in length......big increase in signal output.

So...the simplest, cheapest way to get on the air [I am going to assume that you are just not going to be high enough for an effective dipole]...would be...copper plumbing tubing inverted L antenna, or run through a fiberglass vertical. And a thick minimum 6AWG wire counterpoise.

Hope others have better suggestions

Best

J
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Old 09-12-2013, 13:23   #3
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Re: SSB Antenna

Most setups I read about just use an insulated backstay antenna. I'm still looking deeper into it, but that seems like the way to go. I'm sure you'll find an abundance of information online googling that term!
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Old 09-12-2013, 13:27   #4
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Re: SSB Antenna

I did an insulated backstay because it was the easiest and added the least amount of stuff to the boat. I was concerned about the safety of the insulators, but have never heard of one breaking.

As a heads up, radio people care a lot about these subjects.
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Old 09-12-2013, 14:07   #5
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Re: SSB Antenna

OK, after a couple minutes thought, I have the quickest, cheapest, easiest solution for you, since this is just for getting on the air in the winter.

You did not state this, but I am assuming that you are living aboard...in the water. And that you already have a decent counterpoise on the boat.

In that case....quick and easy, an inverted L antenna is a good choice. Here is a quick, cheap and easy way to do it...that should withstand some wind and ME winter storms.

Needed:

- 10 ft length of 2in PVC tubing

- 25-30ft of copper wire, 12, 10, 8 gauge (heavier the better).

Connect the wire to the antenna lead on the tuner, run the wire through the PVC tube.
Raise the PVC tube and lash to your pushpit (assuming your tuner is back there).
Take the wire from the top of the PVC tube and run horizontally until you have it stretched out and fit it to something ...perhaps some part of your tent.

Done.

And....you will have a nice PVC tube and length of wire for your stores, after you take this down.

May not be the best antenna, a vertical would be best. But, cheap, easy, quick, one person could do this in minutes.

Should be good enough to get you hundreds of miles, maybe 1500, maybe even some DX depending on where you are and your counterpoise.

Hope this helps

Best

J
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Old 09-12-2013, 14:40   #6
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Re: SSB Antenna

Thanks for the ideas John. Yes, we are living aboard. See the photo below for how the boat is covered. I think the other guys missed that fact that I have the mast down. With the mast up we do have an insulated backstay antenna that works great.

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Old 11-12-2013, 03:23   #7
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Re: SSB Antenna

Tim,

looking at your picture, and without a mast it will be a bit difficult to install typical sloping wire antennas or a horizontal antenna or an efficient inverted-L...

Bear in mind that in a marina you will probably have a lot of HF noise coming from battery chargers, inverters, other man-made noise etc...

If , as it looks like it, you want to have a (temporary) antenna system for "marina-resident" use, here is my reco:



- use the telescopic fiberglass pole suggestion above. You can run the wire inside but as well run it externally and fix with tie-wraps or tape. If tie-wraps, be careful tightening them on the upper elements, they get quite thin-walled and are more vulnerable to get crushed
- a 7.2m or better 9.2m length of wire (measured from top of the wire antenna until the antenna lug on the automatic antenna tuner) should be a good all-band length for HAM bands and tunable for the average ATU. It should give you good DX results from 40m - 15m ham bands and even work on 80m.
- if the structure supporting your transparent plastic cover is metal, use it as RF ground, in combination with the lifelines and any other RF-ground already present in your boat
-if you don't have an atu and are more interested in local (short distance < 1500 km) ragchewing, I would suggest again a 10m telescopic pole and a 40m End Par Z antenna. Have the pole midships, run the EndFedZ as an inverted V, coax from the matching module to your transceiver.

HF END-FEDZ | PAR Electronics | Filters for the commercial 2 way market, MATV, FM broadcast, laboratory, marine industry, amateur radio, scanner and short wave listening enthusiasts


A 20m End ParZ run along a 10m fiberglass pole, vertical, or slight sloper run from the top of midships fiberglass pole to the back and then coax to the transceiver. These should give you good results also, without a tuner but a "light" investment in these 2 end-fed wire antennas. They don't need specific grounding, normally the outer mantle of the coax is enough, but I would recommend to connect the metal structure and other RF-grounds to a one-point connection, at your transceiver.

Jan
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