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Old 30-12-2004, 11:04   #1
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ssb install

hi guies --- gord . i just got a ICOM 718 ssb and a AH4 tuner and am looking for advice on setting it up on my boat,ie antana? ground plate? i havent installed one in over 20 years. ammy help or info would be much appriceated . jt
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Old 30-12-2004, 14:53   #2
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Try Icoms web site for lots of good info. There should also be some good discussions on the board from past posts. Good luck.
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Old 30-12-2004, 16:48   #3
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Gordon West

Also recommended is Gordon West. He has produced a lot of material that various people have used as the standard and does a great job of explaining the needs.

I am in the process of installing an Icom M700 and have been researching intallations as well. West's input has been great!
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Old 30-12-2004, 17:15   #4
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thanks bill how do i get info from west? jt
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Old 30-12-2004, 18:22   #5
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This series on the Icom site was written by Gordon West...

Look for "Marine SSB Single Sideband Simplified PDF"

http://icomamerica.com/downloads/default.asp
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Old 31-12-2004, 05:48   #6
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SSB Installation Tips

Most manufacturers provide excellent installation instructions and technical support with their HF equipment. See links at end. Follows some general basic tips that might be useful when planning your SSB installation.

Please donít hesitate in posing specific queries.

HF Installation Basics:

1. Install transceiver as close to your operation site and to the power supply system (batteries) as possible.
2. The antenna must be installed in an open space and as far as possible from your operating point. As an example, on a sailboat, use the backstay as the antenna, since it is the farthest point away from the rest of the vessel.
3. The antenna coupler must be installed at the base of the antenna.
4. Always create your own ground with radial wire or copper straps. They are the only ones that will guarantee a solid and proper ground system.
5. All cables - power supply, control or coaxial - must always be as short as possible and/or necessary. Any excess cable should be shortened to the proper length - never coiled.

RF Grounding Basics:

Overall, there are probably as many different ways to create a good RF ground as there are people giving advice about them. What works in one boat may or may not work well in another. Be prepared to adjust your RF grounding as you test it and remember that it will degrade over time, so you also need to be ready to maintain it.

1. Get as much metal into your RF ground as you can. On some boats the engine, keel, thru-hulls, and even copper plates are connected together into the RF ground.
When anchored (or docked), you can improve your RF Ground by temporarily connecting an overboard ground plate. Connect a wire from your Tuner Ground Lug to a Fround Plate which is led overboard and immersed in the water.

2. Keep ground straps as short as possible. Connecting to your RF ground can be tricky. Often people will use a Volt-Ohmmeter to check their ground straps and declare them good because there is little or no resistance. However, the ground strap is not for DC current. An RF ground is carrying RF energy and a DC resistance to ground will not show if there is an impedance to ground at RF frequencies. Be aware that RF conductivity is not the same as DC conductivity.

3. Donít confuse your safety ground (equipment chassis, reefer, etc) with your RF ground. The RF ground is required for the ANTENNA and is an RF circuit. Your safety ground on the DC circuits is NOT intended to handle RF. While many boats connect these together successfully, it can cause interference. RF energy carried through the DC ground may get into instrumentation or other equipment. It is normally best to have the RF and DC grounds be separate.

4. Dynaplates and other external devices meant to connect your RF ground to seawater can be very effective, but they will only be so if you maintain them properly. If you connect your RF ground to Dynaplates, thru-hulls, and other fittings, then you must inspect them regularly and CLEAN them regularly. Dynaplates should not be left more than 3 months without inspection and cleaning.

5. Inspect your connections regularly. A salt water environment is hard on any sort of electrical connections. Your RF ground and your antenna need to be inspected regularly because the tuner will hide slow changes in your antenna or ground system until it can no longer compensate for them. You may operate for a long time as your fittings corrode and then find that you canít operate at all. It will seem sudden, but the problem grows gradually.

6. A useful test of the quality of your ground is to lay out several long wires on deck connected to the RF ground connection on your tuner. You might also throw a wire over the side to connect to seawater as well. When you remove these temporary wires, reconnect to your boatís grounding system. The signal should get better. If it gets worse, your RF grounding system needs work.

7. Bonding a lot of metal in your boat together with short, direct copper straps can create a very suitable grounding system. The engine, fuel and water tanks, the keel, and any other piece of metal of significant size can be bonded together effectively. Copper foil or wire is usually best here.

8. Some boat owners install a large area of copper foil on the inside surface or their fiberglass hull and use this as an RF ground. It capacitively couples to the seawater and makes a generally excellent grounding system.

9. A leaded keel also makes an excellent RF ground. Depending on the construction of the hull, you may or may not be able to make a good connection to the keel bolts.

Icom: http://www.icomamerica.com/
Manuals: http://www.icomamerica.com/downloads/manuals.asp

Specifically:
718 BaseTransceiver Manual: http://icomamerica.com/support/manuals/ic-718.pdf
AH-4 Tuner Manual: http://icomamerica.com/support/manuals/ah-4.pdf

And some further reading:

Marine antenna and grounding considerations:
http://icomamerica.com/support/docum..._grounding.pdf

Marine SSB Single Sideband Simplified - by Gordon West:
http://icomamerica.com/downloads/default.asp

HTH,
Gord
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Old 31-12-2004, 09:24   #7
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Most people dont install a large enough groundplate, in fact two are better than one and will enhance lower frequency comms. do your research on aerial length as well - top isolator should be at least 1m from mast, and lower one if possible should be installed so that it is not possible to accidently grab it when someone is transmitting - Rf burns from a 150w HF radio are not to be ignored! You should install the ATU as close to the aerial as practicable. Connection of the ATU to the aerial is an area that frequently lets these installations down. pay attention to it and use a good sized cable for the connection, ensure that the resultant join is well protected from the environment. Have fun.
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Old 01-01-2005, 18:06   #8
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thanks for all the info. i have alot of reading to do. jt
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Old 21-02-2005, 15:48   #9
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SSB up and running

Did my first on air call on 8140 with the assistance of None Such. He made intial contact with one of his friends Walk About at 7:30AST.

I was able to hear both side and we switched to a clear freq. Propagation (noise) was horrible but I was able to do an on air check and quick chat. Range 450 miles away!

Can't wait to chat with other cruisers to get to better understand SSB proceedures and get comfy with how the machine operates in various weather conditions.

Total cost
$800 US Used Icom 700, New AT130 tuner, cable and a Shakespeare 390 whip. Theses thing don't have to break the bank!
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Old 23-02-2005, 07:40   #10
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Call me on the SSB and we can try a radio check between Florida and Venezuela.
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Old 23-02-2005, 10:31   #11
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in the morning

I would love too. So far I have chatted with Walk about in st mateen.

I am on 8104 at 7:30 AST or we can try 12359 @ 7:30 AST.

or 12359 in the evening.


I don't remeber if est is is on DST now or not.
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Old 23-02-2005, 10:52   #12
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Yeah, lets try tomorrow evening on 12.

Mornings are to early for me,

Say the time...
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Old 23-02-2005, 14:23   #13
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6:30 AST

how does 6:30PM AST work for you thrusday night
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Old 23-02-2005, 16:24   #14
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That should be about right.

Will make a note and see ya there at 1830 local Florida time.

(Uh, wait a minute, AST is one zone further East than Florida?
That would make it 1930 local here in FL?)

I something else comes up, I will send an e-mail earlier in the day.

Lets use 12 for primary, and perhaps 8 for secondary.

Have not looked at the propagation tables, but we may also go up to 15 or so in case of no joy on 12 or 8.

Lets give 5 minuttes on each freq, then switch down to 8, then up to 15, then back to 12.

My call sign is WCZ7617, vessel is "Rhapsody".

Have done plenty of radio checks in the past with Lima, Peru and only get through 1/2 of the time.

Have also done Stocholm Radio but they are hard to get.

http://www.stockholmradio.telia.com/aero/

Talk to ya tomorrow.
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Old 23-02-2005, 18:37   #15
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AST is -4 GMT

depends on daylight savings, i believe now it is 1 hour off.

I will start at all simplex

12359 @ 18:30 AST
8104 @ 18:35 AST
22168 @ 18:40

16531 @18:45


We are
WDB6454 Makai
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