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Old 18-09-2008, 13:02   #1
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SSB Antenna

I have read a few articles about using regular coated wire as an antenna
for a SSB radio with tuner.
What guage of wire and is copper wire OK. I have seen Ancor GTO 15 recommended
People who have used regular have reported very good reception with a single 50 to 60 foot wire.

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Old 21-09-2008, 03:27   #2
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In the HF-SSB frequencies most antenna tuners will feed any wire longer than 23 feet but lengths equaling a half wave length on any marine band should be avoided. Tinned copper wire will work but it is not really strong enough to hold up to the movement of a sailboat if it is very long. I would suggest 12 gauge as a usable compromise.

As important as the antenna however is a very good grounding system which can be harder to do on a sailboat than one might think.

GTO15 is high voltage wire. Originally intended for neon signs but used to get the output from a tuner up to the backstay antenna above where anyone can touch bare wire.

If you are planning a permanent installation I would strongly advise that you find someone with a lot of experience to help you.
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Old 21-09-2008, 04:23   #3
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Old 21-09-2008, 10:05   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Fallis View Post
I have read a few articles about using regular coated wire as an antenna
for a SSB radio with tuner.
What guage of wire and is copper wire OK. I have seen Ancor GTO 15 recommended
You can get away with pretty small wire. The pre-made dipoles that I've seen use something like 16 ga. or smaller. After reading about GTO 15 wire, I was nonplussed when finally seeing it. Just thin wire with thick insulation around it.
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Old 23-09-2008, 15:46   #5
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My boat was already equipped with an ICOM 710 and ICOM AT-130 Auto Tuner when I purchased it, and on this particular installation, the previous owner simply ran the antenna from the Auto Tuner up to the port side back stay, insulating at that intersection, and again about two feet before the backstay reaches the masthead. I am brand new to SSB radio communications, so I don't intend to impart bad knowledge, but this seems fairly common on my dock. My neighbor's K-40 is set up the same way, with his boat having using his single back stay as an SSB antenna.
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Old 23-09-2008, 19:14   #6
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Quote:
so I don't intend to impart bad knowledge, but this seems fairly common on my dock. My neighbor's K-40 is set up the same way, with his boat having using his single back stay as an SSB antenna.
So is mine set up that way exactly the same setup. There still can be alternatives. I wouldn't replace the backstay just yet.
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Old 23-09-2008, 20:51   #7
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I use the backstay, insulated each end, for an HF antenna too.
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Old 25-09-2008, 18:02   #8
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As a ham radio operator that designs antennas, let me chime in a bit.

The THICKER the wire, the wider the bandwidth, mean the more frequencies you can do, however it appears most of you use a single wire antenna tied to a tuner, so we can throw that pretty much out the door.

Main thing with a single wire antenna is make sure it is longer than 1/4 wavelength around the frequencies you want to use (lower the freq, the LONGER the antenna has to be).

Make sure it is THICK enough to withstand getting whacked hard, taking any damage it might take from tripping over or hitting with something (hopefully NOT a boom?)

The coating on the wire is pretty irrelevant to the wire - although some types of materials have a different "dielectric constant" which might affect things at UHF frequencies (no one really uses that on boats it seems) so, pretty much no big deal.

In answer to your original question, Copper is PERFECT wire to use, in fact, other than something like silver it has the BEST conductive parameters of most things (ok, Gold and a couple other very expensive metals are better than copper, but who wants a gazillion dollar antenna when copper works great?)

Obviously, the point of having a covered wire is to prevent corrosion. Corrosion will degrade the antenna's ability to radiate a signal over time and therefore, you want to keep it as clean as possible. Any connections to the antenna from coax or other feed lines should also be protected. Silicone grease is good for that.

Several people have mentioned stays as being used as antennas... I might look over some different types of sailboats and the various rigging and figure out some good antennas that will work well... give me some time to work out this sailing stuff
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