Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-05-2012, 14:24   #46
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

I'm still at this and getting no where. I tried running a wire to my rigging, turning the whole boat into an antenna. The hull is steel, remember. But this made no difference. And when I change back and forth between, now 3 antennas, I hear no change in noise or noise level through the radio. As mentioned earlier, the radio is grounded to the hull but disconnecting the ground wire makes no difference.

Also another boat at anchor here had a discussion with Chris this morning and though I couldn't hear Chris, the boater got clear sailing instructions for a run north into the Bahamas.

And comments?

Bryan
__________________

__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-05-2012, 15:08   #47
Registered User
 
Artful Dodger's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Boat: 42 Passage CC
Posts: 177
Images: 7
Send a message via Skype™ to Artful Dodger
Re: SSB Antenna Question

I'm wondering if you are making this complicated, find someone with a SWR meter and do some measuring and then go back to basic with a good ground plain, I think you need to contact someone from a Ham club, after which I'm sure the problem will be solved
__________________

__________________
The Artful Dodger
Passage 42 Centre Cockpit
Toronto, Canada
Artful Dodger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-05-2012, 15:33   #48
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chesapeake Region and Maine
Boat: 42' Bob Perry sloop
Posts: 4,038
Images: 4
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Alas, an SWR meter won't help on receive.

Wish I were there with you; could complete a diagnosis in an hour or less.

Unfortunately, it can't easily be done via email. To really tell what's going on you need:

1. a substitute radio, preferably a portable like the FT-817; and

2. years of experience.

I can't send either thru the Internet.

Logically, your problem is due to one of these basic issues:

1. radio itself;

2. your antenna setup;

3. onboard or locally-generated noise, either common mode or radiated; or

4. operator inexperience.

There are no other possibilities.

Sorry I/we can't be more helpful. Wanna send me a ticket?

:-)

Good luck,

Bill
WA6CCA
__________________
btrayfors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-05-2012, 13:39   #49
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Well thanks for your help, Bill. You've spent some time on this and if I were rich and the boat bigger, you would be at the top of my list for visiting company. (My mother knows nothing about antennas!)


I've been faithfully at the radio controls every morning and have little to show for it but a weak battery. I've had mixed results tuning in NMN on 6502 & 8765, by the way, and Chris Parker remains elusive. It shouldn't be this hard. I might try pulling out my old Panasonic RF-B65 portable, the radio I set out with on my first sail to Guatemala. That was some thirty years ago. Chris Parker was probably still playing with his crystal set. In those days all we had was NMN and “Herb” on Southbound II, out of Bermuda.


I believe I've eliminated any chance of on-board noise. There can't be anything wrong with the antenna; it's a piece of wire! Inexperience? Well probably, but I know how to twiddle a knob. So that leaves the radio:


Either the Palstar receiver isn't as good as everyone seems to think or the one I have is defective. I agree the quality of sound is very impressive from the Palstar and it works quite well on AM but if it can't pull in the USB & LSB signals, then it isn't much good as a boat radio.


Bottom line: if I ever get back to the US, I'll be buying an ICOM.


Again, thanks to you and to everyone else who shared their knowledge, ideas and good wishes.


Regards,
Bryan
__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-05-2012, 23:38   #50
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Bryan,
Sorry I'm coming into this late.....but I believe I've read most of the postings here, the pertainant ones anyway...



Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
In the Bahamas, I could get Chris Parker's weather forecasts reasonably well (he broadcasts from FL), though I could never hear the boats responding to him on their SSB radios. He could. Now, in the Dominican Republic, he sounds like he is broadcasting from his shower. The noise is such that his broadcast is unreadable.

What I can't understand is why I'm the only person in the harbor who can't receive Chris Parker's weather forecast each morning. I was lead to believe that the Palstar Radio is a top end receiver. Other boaters are using the ICOM SSB radio and are having no trouble. I am at anchor in Luperon's harbor in the Dominican Republic and it is not overly crowded. But this problem didn't start here. I have never been thrilled with the performance of my system since installing it over two years ago in Florida. Initially, in the Bahamas, I could copy Chris Parker's signal but could never hear the boats responding to him. Not unless they were anchored very close to me... within two or three miles!
Bryan, distance and time of year has a BIG affect on HF Radio communications...
AND, the Palstar is not a communications receiver...but rather it's really a SW receiver....and is not the unit I'd recommend....(but, we need to deal with what you've got...so here goes...)

See details below.....


In addition to Bill's excellent comments on on-board noise and daily/hourly propagation changes.....
Perhaps I could add a few more things that will help...


1)
a) You're in Luperon, DR....surrounded by hills as well as all sorts of RF Noise (from both other boats, as well as a lot from shore)....
Chris Parker is on shore, inland, in Lakeland, FL....
About 750nm / 850sm away....


b) Chris' limited coast station license limits him to 150 watts of transmitter power....
And, I'm not sure what Chris is using for antennas on 4mhz thru 8mhz, but I doubt it is any type of "hi-gain" antenna...


c) The Palstar receiver isn't that great of a receiver...marketing be damned....your typical a 25-yr old mid-priced ham HF rig has a better reciever!!!!
Notwithstanding knowledgeable comments otherwise, it's really not designed to be a hi-quality SSB receiver....more like a general coverage utility / SW receiver....
(I know the marketing team touts the "world famous Collins mechanical filters", but please this is the 20th Century...opps, 21st Century....and there was MUCH more to the early 60's Collins 75S-1 and the older 75A-4, R-390's, etc. then their "mechanical filters"!!)
Quite honestly, you'd be better off with a old, used Icome IC-735 HF transceiver ($250 - $300), than the Palstar.....
{Of course, my favs are my Drake TR-7's....but I digress...}

No RF Gain control, and a pretty poor design to start with, makes this unit a poor choice for low-band weak-signal work and/or for hi-RF environs!!!
(but it IS marketed well!!!)

And, understand that most SW Broadcast stations use > 100,000 watts of transmitter power into directional / gain antennas, and use freqs optimized for the communications path and time of day, etc....
And, most of the stronger SW Stations are ~ 500,000 watts.....

THE USCG Weather brodcast transmitters are 1000 - 4000 watts....

The strongest ham signals on 40m (say 7268khz) are 1000 - 1500 watts, and some may have gain antennas....

Chris Parker has a 150 watt transmitter output....

So, even slight noise that wouldn't effect stronger signals, can mask the weaker signals....



d) Summertime low-band HF (< 10mhz) comms in the Caribbean / SE US, is tough sometimes!!!
Sorry about that, but even with the daytime D-layer absoption....the atmospheric noise can be quite high....and T-Storm static even in the daytime can be a bear....


e) You make no mention of attempting to receive Chris on 12mhz....only 4mhz and 8mhz....
4mhz is going to be a very difficult feat with your path and time-of-day....but 8mhz should be doable (depending on noise and that day's propagation)




2) So, combine the ~ 850 mile path a couple hours after sunrise, in the summertime, on 4mhz, with non gain antennas, and the transmitting station > 100 inland along the path.....and the reciving station in a harbor surrounded by hills w/ lots of RF noise around, etc...
And, the fact is that 4mhz is going to be a tough freq to use for that path, time of day, etc. even with great equipment....
Add in the limited transmitter power, and the lower-quality receiver, and I'd be surprised if you heard Chris on 4.045mhz....
And, I'm not clear whether the other boats that you hear communicating with him on 4mhz are there in Luperon with you???
I suspect those he's communicating with on 4mhz, are 400 - 600 miles CLOSER to Chris than you are, and the ones there in the DR are using 8mhz (or 12mhz)???


[Note however, for daytime comms on 4mhz, your longer "inverted-v"-type antenna (fed directly to the receiver's "long-wire" antenna jack, NOT thru any un-un) is going to be a decent antenna....and should even work well on 8mhz, although I'd shorten it by half and see how that works on 8mhz and 12mhz...
Understand that for daytime skywave comms on these lower freqs, you are dealing with very high radiation angle signals, as the lower angle signals are usually completely absorbed by the "D" Layer of the ionosphere....so using a longer horizontal antenna is a good choice, but 4mhz just isn't a good choice for this path, time of day, etc...
Depending on the day's solar flux and geo mag activity, 7-8mhz is about the upper limit of NVIS comms, and 9-10mhz is usually the lower limit of summertime low-angle comms....BUT, I see 7-8 mhz supporting 800-1000+ mile daytime paths, especially early AM....and I've seen 12mhz with very high D-layer absorption, esp. late afternoon....so things are not always the way the "science" says they should be... ]


You must understand that while daytime skywave comms is possible on 4mhz, your ~ 850 mile path, is way beyond the "normal" distances, and "D" layer absoption is going to be quite high, as well as significant ground losses on Chris' end.....

8mhz would be one of the bands to use for an early to mid-morning ~850 mile path....and depending on that day's propagation, 12mhz may also be a good choice (perhaps even a better choice....)

Have you tried lisetning for Chris on 12.350mhz at 1315z???

And, FYI, Chris' main customer base are the "coastal" and "near offshore" cruisers....mostly within 500 miles from S. Fla (most in the central Bahamas)....and as such he has limited time to spend on 12mhz and 16mhz, where stations from 600 - 2000 miles would typically be contacted....



3) I wrote a quite detailed post regarding freq choice for specific paths, etc....
Have a look here...
SSCA Forum &bull; View topic - HF Radio Freqs, summertime Atlantic crossing, offshore Net..

And, you may also find this one helpful...
SSCA Forum &bull; View topic - Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)







4) Bryan, these bits of info are VERY telling!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
I've been faithfully at the radio controls every morning and have little to show for it but a weak battery. I've had mixed results tuning in NMN on 6502 & 8765, by the way, and Chris Parker remains elusive. It shouldn't be this hard.
a) I hope you are using a good pair of communications-type headphones???
NOT the radio's speaker.....and NOT some fancy "noise-canceling" headphones or DSP speaker, as they'll do nothing, but usually make matters worse!!!
There is very little that gives the bang-for-the-buck that a good pair of headphones (and a little experience) do....
(while I personally like my Kenwood HS-6 phones.....there are others that work well!!!)


b) You should NOT need to be fuddling with the radio controls much at all.....
Once you've set the gains, just sit back, listen, and maybe occasional rf gain adjustments....
But, the Palstar doesn't have an RF Gain control, and after you've set it for USB (and its nominal 2.5khz IF Bandwidth), dail-in the correct frequency, all you can do is adjust the volume....


c) The GOOD news here....
You may in fact have a defective receiver....as NMN tranmits on 6501 and 8764 (as well as 4426, 13089, and 17314), not 6502 and 8765.....
This is a VERY telling piece of info....

And, you should have no problem hearing NMN on 13.089mhz, ~1300 miles north of you....midday and late afternoon....

Have a look at NMN and NMG broadcast schedules....
USCG HF Voice

Also, don't forget to have a listen to WLO's traffic lists (top of each hour) and weather broadcasts....
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels


Bottom line:
From the DR, if you can't hear NMN, NMG, and WLO, on 12/13mhz and 16/17mhz daytime (and probably 8mhz in early morning), using a simple ~ 30' length of wire strung up a halyard, then you either have a defective receiver, or a LOT of local RF Noise masking the wanted signals!!!!

And, as I wrote above.....Summertime low-band HF comms (< 10mhz) in the Caribbean / SE US, is tough sometimes!!!
Sorry about that, but even with the daytime D-layer absoption....the atmospheric noise can be quite high....and T-Storm static even in the daytime can be a pain....
So, please be sure to choose the freq/band that best suits the path, time-of-day, and propagation (and atmospheric) conditions....NOT just what other boaters may tell 'ya....









Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
I might try pulling out my old Panasonic RF-B65 portable, the radio I set out with on my first sail to Guatemala. That was some thirty years ago. Chris Parker was probably still playing with his crystal set. In those days all we had was NMN and “Herb” on Southbound II, out of Bermuda.
5) Bryan, this is a GREAT idea....and is also telling, in that you should know a bit of what I wrote above....
{BTW, I've been doing HF comms (both on-shore and at sea) for almost 40 years now....}








Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
I believe I've eliminated any chance of on-board noise.
6) You probably did eliminate most....but don't be 100% sure....there is a wide range of odd things that can cause RFI.....
See my other posts for dozens of thoughts.....

But, here's a recent experience of mine...true story!!!
I recently discovered a new RFI source!!! The digital clock in the new microwave I installed last fall (replaced an old one)....I don't use the micrwave much (powered either from shore power or genset), and I'm very rarely plugged-in to shore power.....
But, a couple weeks ago I plugged-in for a few days to run the Air Cond and do some clean-up, etc...and wouldn't you know it, I found a couple very low-level, odd RF noises on HF.....even with "everything on-board turned off", including battery charger, and ALL 12vdc systems except for my M-802, I still had the small RF noises.....
Swtiching the AC breaker for the microwave off....No RF Noises....
Swtiching the breaker back on....RF Noises.....
And the "odd" part, throwing a bag of popcorn in the microwave, and popping it.....the same minor RF noise as just having the unit plugged-in (and of course it has a nice digital clock / timer, and a microprocessor, etc.....so there's my noise source!!!)
This presents no real issue for me, as I rarely am plugged-in and rarely use the microwave....and certainly will be able to coordinate any microwave use around my HF operating schedules!!!!

Bryan, I understand that my microwave is NOT casuing your HF receive issues.....my point here is, that after ~40 years of HF radio experience, and 8 years on my current boat, I can still be surprised by what crops up unexpectedly!!!!

So, have a look around for a kitchen/galley timer.....a stopwatch....a digital alarm clock....maybe a "smartphone"....or an i-Pod.....or any number of 100's of odd things that could be a cause of high receive noise levels.....(it could even be something on-shore or on another boat....so MOVING your boat a 1/2 to 1 mile away for a few hours....or even go out for a day-sail....is always a good idea!!!!)







Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
There can't be anything wrong with the antenna; it's a piece of wire!
7) Yep....no antenna issues!!







Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
Inexperience? Well probably, but I know how to twiddle a knob. So that leaves the radio:
Either the Palstar receiver isn't as good as everyone seems to think or the one I have is defective. I agree the quality of sound is very impressive from the Palstar and it works quite well on AM but if it can't pull in the USB & LSB signals, then it isn't much good as a boat radio.
8 ) a) Don't be too hard on yourself, regarding inexperience.....
Experience comes with time...there is no magic bullet here....

But, to be clear, there is a LOT more to optimal use of HF communications than twiddling knobs.....
Starting with choosing the correct freqs/mode, for path, time-of-day, time-of-year, etc.....to choosing the correct antenna....to choosing the correct receiver....to reducing the receiver's gain or increasing the AGC threshold, by turning the "RF Gain control"....making sure you are not ruining your receiver's performace by using a poor noise blanker, etc. etc. etc....
The list goes on and on.....
And, it is this list that makes many of those new to HF comms step back and say "gimmie a sat phone..." as they simply don't wish to invest the time (a few weeks / a month) to learn the nitty-gritty, and would rather invest the $$$$ instead....


b) And, while I suspect that AM Broadcast and SW Broadcast sound good
on the Palstar, I'm wondering why some sell / market it otherwise....
I mean, it is NOT a hi-quality SSB receiver, it isn't even an average quality SSB receiver.....in my opinion, it's a below average SSB receiver.....although this is MY opinion, you can look at its design / specs / features, compare it with other receivers (or transceivers) and see for yourself....







Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
Bottom line: if I ever get back to the US, I'll be buying an ICOM.
Again, thanks to you and to everyone else who shared their knowledge, ideas and good wishes.
9 ) Nothing wrong with an "Icom"....just make sure whatever model you buy, actually works BEFORE you pay for it!!!!



I REALLY do hope this helps....

John
s/v Annie Laurie


P.S. Understand that the Palstar is basically a Shortwave receiver.....Not designed to be a "communications" receiver.....(my opinion it's a decent $150 SW receiver....and that's it....


And, while some reviews of the Palstar are positive and some negative.....
Here's a review (from last Jan) that may highlight an issue or two....

It is a mystery to me how it can be so highly rated. My best guess is that Palstar has quality control issues, which they are in denial about. If you get a plum radio, perhaps it can be quite good. (But why would anyone want to take their chances? There's other options out there.)

Or maybe it's that most people only listen to shortwave in noisy urban environments, which mask most of the birdie problems that plagued my R30A. I was not aware of the problems my set had until I took it into a remote area when camping.

All went fine on my first backwoods listening session, until I chanced to listen to Radio Australia late in the night on the 22m band. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself. “It sounds like I’m picking up my roommate’s computer, yet I’m at least twenty miles from the nearest PC.”

Not having any way to back up my suspicion that there might be something wrong with the R30A (it was the only shortwave receiver I had with me at the time), I made a note to investigate the matter further when I got home.

What I found is that my R30A had horrible birdie issues. Only a few of them were strong, but most of them had a warbling character to them which makes for a most annoying background noise unless one is listening to a strong signal. The signals are audible even with no antenna connected to the R30A. Even more damningly, they are audible on my Lowe HF-150, and when I turn the Palstar off, the birdies vanish from the Lowe as well.

On my second camping trip, I take both the R30A and the HF-150 along. The unpleasant truth soon becomes apparent as I listen to the Voice of Russia on 13775 kHz, which happens to be one of the places where the R30A has a weak but definite birdie. At first, it’s a strong signal and perfectly listenable, but it starts fading out. At that point, a most annoying high-pitched warble starts becoming all-too-apparent.

I switch to the HF-150 and tune to the same frequency. A weak signal with some static hiss in the background, but it’s completely listenable now that the annoying warble is gone.

On the quality control issues, the set I received made no sound when I first turned it on. Opening it up revealed that the speaker had never been connected. It was a simple matter of plugging in the speaker connector to the proper location to fix this problem, but it does point out that Palstar has QC issues -- even the most basic power-on test would have uncovered this problem.



And, another from a month earlier....

After a year or so of exploring this set I was at despair to get rid of its internal signal generation putting sigs all over the bands and over ones I wanted, together with low sensitivity.

Finally decided it must be the first mixer balance so took to this and with aerial shorted tuned it for a signal null (lowest noise) then put on the aerial and on a weak signal very carefully tweaked it for best response within the null area. No instruments, just by ear.

Ok so that fixed it! Now it's the most sensitive set I have below 2 mhz and works a treat on all other bands. the internals are now so low as to be of no consequence.
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-05-2012, 14:47   #51
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Gee, thanks for all this, John. Give me a chance to digest it and I'll get back to you.
Bryan
__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2012, 14:58   #52
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

John... sounds like you have visited Luperon... been here a year and still love it!


Thank you again for the benefit of your experience. You have confirmed what I had begun to fear... I made a big mistake when I bought a Palstar. It isn't a good radio for receiving Utilities. I think my old Panisonic portable did a better job even though I didn't have a proper antenna. I used to pick up NMN well enough every morning. I used a tape recorder so I could re-play the forecast and make notes. I'm hard pressed to get a readable signal on the Palstar.


You are correct in that other boats here are picking up Chris Parker on 8765. I tried him again this morning on 12350 but got nothing. I did however, pick up a readable signal from NMN at 12-noon on 13089.2. Yes!!!!


My current inverted 'L' antenna is end fed at my radar arch. That is where the 'unun' matching device is located. From there a coax (about 30 ft.), runs down through the stainless steel tube of the arch and through the engine compartment, into the cabin to the radio. Are you suggesting that I run the long wire (no coax) along the same path through the engine compartment? There is no other direct path to my radio without drilling holes in a steel deck. Then trying to figure a way to waterproof them.


I have a quality extension speaker but no headphones worth using. But frankly, so far, there really is nothing to hear.


When tuning in I dial up the posted frequency then adjust up and down until I hear something. Does this mean the radio is defective or just needs an adjustment? I'd love to send the radio back to Paul at Palstar and have him do a 'tweak' and make everything all right; but then, I don't believe in Santa Claus either.


Don't have to worry about interference from the microwave... there isn't one. In fact we are a pretty basic boat... no refrigeration, no AC, no battery charger, no radar, no chart plotter, no ipod, no DVD player, no solar panels, no generators, no inverter. And, alas, no weather reception.


I had a quick look at ICOM transceivers and was left wondering where I could find the room to install one. Space is tight and was one of the things that attracted me to the Palstar... it's little. The other radio I looked at was the Drake. I could handle the modular configuration of ICOM's IC-M802 but not the price, what with its accompanying antenna tuner.


Anyway, as you said, for the present I have to work with what I got. The Panasonic and the Palstar! There is a lot of very good and detailed information in your post and I'm going to spend more time digesting the content. For now, thank you for your help...


Bryan
__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-05-2012, 09:05   #53
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
Thank you again for the benefit of your experience. You have confirmed what I had begun to fear... I made a big mistake when I bought a Palstar.
Bryan,
You're very welcome.....(and I'm glad you appreciate the long-winded response, as sometimes I ramble on and nobody responds

And, don't be hard on yourself.....the Pastar is very well marketed!!
And, maybe I was overly emphatic regarding my critique of it.....it's probably about "average".....







Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
I'm hard pressed to get a readable signal on the Palstar.
You are correct in that other boats here are picking up Chris Parker on 8765. I tried him again this morning on 12350 but got nothing. I did however, pick up a readable signal from NMN at 12-noon on 13089.2. Yes!!!!

When tuning in I dial up the posted frequency then adjust up and down until I hear something. Does this mean the radio is defective or just needs an adjustment? I'd love to send the radio back to Paul at Palstar and have him do a 'tweak' and make everything all right; but then, I don't believe in Santa Claus either.
A couple specific points here...
a) It's high probable that your Palstar suffers from one of their now famous maladies....and while I agree returning it from the DR is problematic, you'd also not likely attain acceptable results even if you were able to get it sent in and returned to you.....(just MY opinion of reading about Palstar's cust. serv, troubles, quality control, etc....)

b) Your mentioning of receining NMN and Chris Parker on frequencies that are NOT the correct frequencies, tells me that your receiver is NOT aligned/calibrated correctly (as others have also found with their Palstar receivers), and my guess is that you'd find any other receiver to perform much better!!!!
The fact is the the USCG, WLO, etc. are transmitting exactly on frequency, so if your radio is reading differently, then your radio is not calibrated/aligned correctly!!!
So, when "looking" for Chris Parker on 12.350mhz or some other station on some other frequency, at some specific time, you are NOT likely to find them....and even if you do find them, I suspect that you Palstar would work better as a dinghy anchor than a receiver!!!!

c) I'm not sure how much time (if any) Chris spends on 12mhz.....
I suspect that as long as he has connected with his customers on 4, 6, or 8mhz, then he has no need to use 12mhz, and therefore he may not actually be doing any (or much) transmitting on 12mhz....
So, not hearing him on 12.350mhz is not a precise test....

d) Have you received WLO and NMG???? (especially on 12/13mhz)
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels (try 13.110mhz)
USCG HF Voice (try 12.788mhz)









Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
My current inverted 'L' antenna is end fed at my radar arch. That is where the 'unun' matching device is located. From there a coax (about 30 ft.), runs down through the stainless steel tube of the arch and through the engine compartment, into the cabin to the radio.
Are you suggesting that I run the long wire (no coax) along the same path through the engine compartment? There is no other direct path to my radio without drilling holes in a steel deck. Then trying to figure a way to waterproof them.
NO....
No, I'm not suggesting that you change the way you've rigged the antenna....(although it is an odd way to do it, on your boat w/ your application, it seems to be acceptable...)
BUT....
But, you could simply take the radio into the cockpit, and take the end of your antenna wire (the part that would attach to your un-un) and plug it directly into your receiver....(I believe the Palstar has a "hi-z antenna" input just for this purpose????)
Do this as a test, to see what results you get.....







Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
I have a quality extension speaker but no headphones worth using. But frankly, so far, there really is nothing to hear.
This is exactly what headphones are for!!!
The human ear-brain combination is one of the best "filters" in the world...use it and you'll be amazed!!!

A good pair of headphones WILL allow you to hear readable voice signals that are right in the noise, when all you hear thru a speaker is noise....
Trust me.....that IS what they are for!!!!

Again, while I'll spend $50 - $60 for a good quality set....even the cheap $2 "airline" headphones (the ones you get on longer airline flights) will work better than any speaker!!!!
Find, beg, or borrow a pair and see for yourself....
(But do NOT be "sold" on some fancy "noise-cancelling" headphones.....as they are not designed for this purpose.....they work well for listening to music when in areas of high ambient noise, but they will usually make listening to hf radio worse!!!!)








Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
I had a quick look at ICOM transceivers and was left wondering where I could find the room to install one. Space is tight and was one of the things that attracted me to the Palstar... it's little. The other radio I looked at was the Drake. I could handle the modular configuration of ICOM's IC-M802 but not the price, what with its accompanying antenna tuner.

Anyway, as you said, for the present I have to work with what I got. The Panasonic and the Palstar! There is a lot of very good and detailed information in your post and I'm going to spend more time digesting the content. For now, thank you for your help..
If space is that much of an issue, you could select a very compact ham radio.....they're not the best when it comes to overall performance, but not bad!!!
The Yaesu FT-817 is about the size of your Palstar, maybe even smaller......and even the venerable Icom IC-706 series radios are just slightly larger than a car stereo (and have remotable control heads)......
No, they're not as good as a full-featured, hi-quality marine HF transceiver (such as the M-802), but they're a fraction of the cost, and even cost less than your Palstar!!!!



Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-05-2012, 12:40   #54
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Well this thread doesn't seem to be working anymore. Least not on my computer.

John... I got about half of your post #50. I responded to it and I hope you received my post. Apparently there are another 3 posts on the thread but they must be on Page 5 and I don't see that.

Should I complain to the management?

Bryan
__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-05-2012, 16:42   #55
Certifiable Refitter/Senior Wannbe
 
Wotname's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South of 43 S, Australia
Boat: Van DeStat Super Dogger 31'
Posts: 7,331
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Thread seems to be working OK here, this will be post #55.


Maybe your computer is going out in sympathy will your Palstar
__________________
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
Wotname is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2012, 12:05   #56
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Well I'm back. The 'turd' world internet provider is about as reliable as a weather report. Yeah Wotname... if my CD player goes out I'll declare an all out mutiny.
__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2012, 12:08   #57
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Good stuff once again John. It's not the duration of the wind, but the resulting satisfaction that counts.


No I haven't tried WLO and NMG. Give me a day or two to fiddle with the frequencies you have suggested and I'll get back to you.


Yes, I have disconnected the 65 foot wire from the balum and stuck it directly into the radio. It sounded no different than the 30 foot wire, also fed directly into the radio. Same 'waterfall' noise and no difference in volume. Tried this with and without the ground wire connected to the steel hull.


I tried a set of cheap headphones this morning while listening to Chris on 8137. The signal was still unreadable but I understand what you mean. There was definitely an improvement and I was able to pick out some of the individual words. I think the 1st mate appreciated it as well.


Someone once said, “If you have a problem, throw money at it!” I guess I would be a bit gun-shy of spending more money on this thing unless I could be guaranteed it would produce the desired results. Folks cruising out here seem to swear by their M-802's so when the time comes, I'll probably bite the bullet and send the wife out to work. It will be a sacrifice, but I can handle it.


Yes space is really a big issue. I've got no where else to mount a radio that has any depth. I could mount it hanging from the overhead but that makes it difficult to see and access the controls comfortably. That's why the modular configuration of the M-802 could work for me, though the IC-706 sounds like it's worth a look. I presume the 706 would perform as an adequate receiver if I didn't buy an antenna tuner and just hooked it up to one of Bill's excellent antenna designs. Say a wire running from my radar arch to the top of the mast? That would give me about 32 to 34 feet of antenna wire clear of the backstay and, when slacked off slightly for traveling, the mainsail as well.


I see, flipping through the Palstar manual, instructions for re-aligning the radio. It talks about fine tuning the 10000 WWV time signal on USB by rotating the ceramic trimmer so that the tone is zero beat on both USB and LSB. I get light copy on that time signal on 10000.3 USB. And what is a “zero beat”?

One other thing I would like to bring up here: I voiced my dissatisfaction about the Palstar's poor performance receiving Utilities on the R30 Forum. Boy, those people turned on me... nasty. They really love their babies. Anyway, some brave soul suggested that the “RF protection diode” which presumably protects the radio from lightening, was blown and needed to be replaced. If I could pry the part number from Paul at Palstar (I don't think he likes anyone else working on his radios), I may be able to have my SSB radio guy here replace it. Unless there is a way he can test it. Any comment on this would be appreciated.


All best,
Bryan
__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2012, 12:39   #58
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Camden, ME
Boat: A Thistle and a Hallberg-Rassy 36
Posts: 661
Diodes usually fail "open", so would not affect reception unless the radio received an impulse that took out that diode AND the receiver's front end. That would explain some things. You can test a diode with an ohmeter. Should have very high resistance with leads across it one way, then low with the leads reversed. At the least you could unsolder one lead of the diode to take it out of the picture to see if it makes a difference.

Chip
__________________
SoonerSailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2012, 12:47   #59
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Camden, ME
Boat: A Thistle and a Hallberg-Rassy 36
Posts: 661
If your only plan is to listen, you would be much better of with the IC-706 than the M802. The former has much more flexible tools for digging a signal out of noise or interference than the M802, still gives you mounting flexibility like the 802 (if you get the remote mount kit with it), and costs less to boot.
__________________
SoonerSailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-05-2012, 14:50   #60
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 134
Re: SSB Antenna Question

Thanks for this Chip. You are getting a little beyond my meager understanding of SW radios. If the front end of the radio is blown would I still be able to receive the likes of the BBC? The radio seems to work well on AM... it's just the Utilities on upper and lower sideband with which I'm having trouble. I think! Maybe the BBC would blow me out of the boat if the radio was 100%.


Yeah, I'm looking at that ICOM 706. I'm beginning to think I could have done so much better than the Palstar. Live and learn...


Best,
Bryan
__________________

__________________
bcripps is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
antenna

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
SSB Antenna Tuner Question sailvayu Marine Electronics 10 02-03-2011 16:33
SSB antenna questions schoonerdog Marine Electronics 8 13-02-2009 08:31
SSB Antenna Terry Fallis Marine Electronics 7 25-09-2008 19:02
Rope Antenna for SSB Keegan Marine Electronics 5 17-06-2007 11:48
SSB Antenna - What we ended up with.... swagman Marine Electronics 4 09-02-2007 05:12



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:55.


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.