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Old 04-06-2012, 16:15   #76
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Perhaps you have a poor antenna to radio connection? Sometmes the center prongs on the radio's ant socket can be sprung or make a poor connection. Also be sure the barrel on the plug is screwed down tight to the socket on the radio. This is a not uncommon problem with the ubiquitous UHF plug. Beyond that you could have an intermittent or marginal connection anywhere along the rf input train from radio circuit board to antenna.

Then there are always the vagaries of ionospheric propagation which can vary from minute to second.
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Old 05-06-2012, 13:07   #77
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Hey MB... thanks so much for this. I have never tried to receive weather faxes but it would seem I have everything available to me to start experimenting... the radio, a tape recorder and a laptop. I guess a printer would be nice too, but what the heck. Sounds like you upgraded from the Sony portable... what transceiver did you end up with? I still have my old Panasonic RF B65 portable, which has been a good radio over the past 30 years but there must have been a lot of improvements since I bought it. Still, it makes a nice travel radio and, when ashore, you could always find it on my bed side table with a few feet of wire run out the window. I think I paid about 400 bucks for it. On my first cruise to Central America it seemed to pull in the US Coastguard weather forecasts as well as the Palstar, which I bought as an upgrade. That's a fact that would make the folks at Palstar roll their eyes. But there you have it. I can't recommend either radio as a good boat radio. I am pretty much convinced that a quality SSB transceiver or a HAM rig is the only way to pull in a voice signal with a 30 foot antenna. Particularly when the transmitter is located a thousand miles away and is limited to 150 watts.


Thank you for sharing your technique with us. I intend to do a little experimenting now, after reading your very interesting post.


All best... stay safe...


Bryan
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Old 05-06-2012, 13:44   #78
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Thanks once again, SoonerSailor... yeah those connections and coax feed line can be a pain. I've been all over it... cleaning, polishing, greasing, tightening... and testing with the multi-meter. It's as good as I can make it. The only thing is the UnUn matching device. I'm not sure how to test that! And the company that made it, Erickson Engineering, doesn't seem to be in business anymore.


Bryan
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Old 05-06-2012, 13:46   #79
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Hi Bill, good to have you back...
Got good copy this morning on the powerhouse US Coast Guard stations: NMN, WLO and NGM. The private broadcasters and the marine nets didn't fair nearly as well. I'm guessing, for my radio and antenna setup, this is as good as it's going to get. I've sent Ralph's excellent translation to Givetto, the SSB repairman in Puerto Plata and will get in to see him again this week, though I think he is getting a little tired of me.


As you will see I have cut back on my antenna. Not sure that it is making a difference but it does clear the fore deck. I'm thinking I'll build a new antenna using lifeline as you suggest and simply run it from the radar arch to the masthead. Should give me 30 to 34 feet. Sufficient? I was disappointed you didn't comment on my patented dinghy antenna... Ha! Ha!


Propagation sounds like fun. I bet it is most prevalent when a hurricane is bearing down on you.


Oh, I'll listen for you on the Waterway Cruising Club but you may be the only one I hear!


Thanks for everything, Bill...
Bryan
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Old 06-06-2012, 13:24   #80
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Nice N Easy... you started this back in August 2009. I hope by now you realize that your Realistic 302 isn't going to cut it if you plan to cruise any further than Bimini. Follow others advice here, even if you don't plan to transmit. Get a quality SSB or HAM rig. When you get out here, receiving the weather becomes one of the most important tasks of the day. Get the proper tools!
Bryan
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Old 07-06-2012, 13:28   #81
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Well guys, I think we've just about flogged this one to death... thank you for your patience. I got good copy this morning from the US Coast Guard powerhouse stations: NMN, WLO, NGM. But the private broadcasters who provide the detailed analysis for my area of the Caribbean and the marine information nets still remain within the exclusive realm of the ICOM SSB transceivers and the powerful HAM radio rigs.


I would still like to hear from anyone who can pick up a good signal from Chis Parker's marine weather service, broadcast from Lakeland, Florida on 8037USB at 11:30GMT on a Palstar R30. Please be located at least eight-hundred miles from Florida and use an antenna like mine... 33 feet, or so, of wire.


Thanks to everyone who participated here. Happy DXing...


Bryan
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Old 07-06-2012, 14:41   #82
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Bryan,
You're welcome....
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
... thank you for your patience. I got good copy this morning from the US Coast Guard powerhouse stations: NMN, WLO, NGM. But the private broadcasters who provide the detailed analysis for my area of the Caribbean and the marine information nets still remain within the exclusive realm of the ICOM SSB transceivers and the powerful HAM radio rigs.
But, I hope you don't mind if I correct something here????

NMN and NMG are USCG communications stations, but WLO is not....
ShipCom LLC :: Marine HF Radiotelephone and HF Single SideBand Email

WLO in Mobile, AL (and KLB in Seattle) is a privately-owned and operated "public coast station", which provides telephone interconnect (ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship) via marine HF-SSB for 99 cents/minute and data/e-mail services via marine PACTOR, etc....
As well as providing offshore and hi-seas weather broadcasts for the Atlantic, Carib, Gulf or Mexico and Eastern Pacific, etc....
The gentleman, and his whole team, that owns/operates Shipcom / WLO are all really super nice folks, always at the ready to help.....and Rene is a super radio guy as well, always ready to help anyone with radio issues....
(oh, and he's the net manager of the ham radio MMSN, as well...)

I'm sure someone here will comment that I'm being nit-picky here, but I just really would like to see WLO (Shipcom) stay in business (as I'm a longtime customer), and I thought maybe I should make it clear that WLO is NOT a USCG station, and does NOT get funding from tax dollars, but rather like all private companies, they get their money from paying customers!!!

So, if you'd like to see them survive, maybe sign up as a customer....



And, if you wish to check out another weather net, please have a listen on 12.359mhz at around 2045z thru 2200z....for Herb's weather net...and you shoud hear me....
http://www3.sympatico.ca/hehilgen/vax498.htm



Okay enough rambling.....
Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 24-07-2012, 16:32   #83
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

As a conclusion to this thread (again!), and after several months, I finally was able to borrow an ICOM IC-M710 Marine Single Sideband Transceiver and did a temporary hook-up on my boat using my antenna. It blew the Palstar shortwave out of the water. I got good copy from Chris Parker's off shore weather service from Florida (the Palstar couldn't bring it in), and I got even a better signal from a sailboat some 300 miles to the south on 8137 (I've never heard other vessels on the Palstar unless they were anchored in the locality)!!!


So I'm wondering what all the fuss is about the Palstar? It didn't come close performance-wise. The next time I get to Florida, you'll be able to buy mine cheap on e-bay.


Again, thanks to all who participated here.


Bryan
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Old 24-07-2012, 18:52   #84
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Bryan,
I'm glad that you've got it all figured out!!!!
(And, you're welcome!!)

My original recomend of a used Icom IC-735, still stands....as long as you buy it from a reputable person/store, and have it checked out by a trsuted pro, you'll find this to be a wonderful rig, for the $250 or so....




Quote:
Originally Posted by bcripps View Post
So I'm wondering what all the fuss is about the Palstar?

I'm not sure what the fuss was about either,,,,but as I wrote, in my first post in this thread, back in May....
Quote:
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 supposed knowledgeable comments otherwise, it's really not designed to be a hi-quality SSB receiver....more like a general coverage / 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....

`
`
`


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....

`
`
`



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. ďThatís odd,Ē I thought to myself. ďIt sounds like Iím picking up my roommateís computer, yet Iím at least twenty miles from the nearest PC.Ē

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, itís 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 itís 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."


Perhaps you can pass on my thoughts/opinions above to those who were making all the "fuss"....


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 28-07-2012, 10:53   #85
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Ka4wja... consider it done!
Bry
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Old 15-11-2012, 06:42   #86
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

I Hope this post finds its way into an appropriate category and I need some help.

I am attempting to test the functionality of an ICOM 700 ssb and would like to use a SEA antenna tuner that I have. Can someone give me a little advice regarding hook up? see attached photo of the antenna tuner board. Specifically, I want to hook up a simple temporary long line antenna so I purchased a connnector that fits the ssb antenna output. so Question: in this instance, where and how would this connect to the antenna tuner board? ( since the antenna tuner is new to me, someone had snipped the antenna tuner wire connector s that were hooked to the tuner and they were color coded so assuming the last person had theirs connected properly, the ssb connector wires should be right )

see photo here:

Thanks in advance to any willing responders!
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Old 15-11-2012, 06:49   #87
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

in the previous post, the photo may not have been successfully attached so I list the following potential hook up points :

J1, gnd & ant

Obviously, I am no ssb installation expert. thanks.
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Old 15-11-2012, 07:00   #88
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but here's a link to the manual. Page 9 shows the connections to the radio from the tuner.
Icom Ic m700 Instruction Manual'
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Old 15-11-2012, 07:18   #89
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

The icom manual shows a cartoon on page 4 but I am still unsure how and where the RG-8 coaxial from ssb needs to be connected to the the antenna tuner itself. There is a stud that exits my SEA antenna tuner case and when opened, I see that wire jumpers inside to (ant) terminal on the antenna tuner circuit board. J1, and gnd on the antenna tuner circuit board still elude me.
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Old 15-11-2012, 07:34   #90
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Re: SSB Antenna Question

I feel a little uncomfortable answering your question because I am an idiot, but I can't help myself. If you can get your photo link to work I think it would be a great help. My Icom 130 uses a simple PL259 connector for the tuner to SSB connection. If you see a female PL259 connector on your board then your problem is solved. If not there will surely be a large guage wire for the antenna connection with a ground nearby for the shield?
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