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Old 20-05-2009, 18:13   #1
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SSB Not Transmitting

I posted here before about this problem, and you helped. But the problem has returned! The first time the plug at the tuner was reversed! Ooops! Got that straightened out and even had a transmission confirmed with WLO Radio. So we were pretty happy. Even though the reception wasn't the greatest, I could hear her well enough to have a short conversation.

When I went back to use the radio, the problem returned. It will not tune. We press 'tune' on the radio and the screen blinks 'tune' ever so briefly before returning to 'thru usb'. When I use the mic, we see our ammeter jump up. (Our ammeter gauge is virtually useless, but it looks like it might be hitting 5A.)

I read in another post that we should not ground the transceiver with foil. Is that true? We did the mother of all ground-foil installs. 100' of ground foil including: 3 thru-hulls, keel bolt, engine, water tank, "foil field" above the fuel tank (but not touching it!). Did we overdo this? I read somewhere that by connecting all of these together we can run into electrolysis issues. If that is true, what should we do -- cut the foil? Where?

I am one of the newbies to this device and while I am reading everything I can to come up to speed on it, it is still a steep learning curve. So your patience would be appreciated. I am sure you 'pros' get a lot of these type of posts from us newbies. Hopefully I will learn enough from working with it to help someone else. But for now I am at the spoon-feeding stage! The other problem is the amount of info.

Thanks in advance for helping us out.
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:49   #2
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When you press the tune button, does the "TX" indicator on the 802 display come on? As I said before, the tuner keys the radio after you press the tune button so it still sounds like a wiring problem with the 4-conductor cable if the "TX" doesn't come on.

Eric
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:53   #3
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Yes, the TX indicator comes on to the display for a brief moment after pressing the tune button. It then returns to the RX state.
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Old 21-05-2009, 09:15   #4
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OK, then at that point ("tx" ON) the radio should put out a 10 watt signal. If the tuner does not detect that signal it will not initiate tuning and the radio will give the "thru" indication. Do you see a brief upswing on your current meter when the radio goes to "tx"? If so, we can assume the radio is putting out power. Have you checked the continuity of the coax from radio to tuner? I had this same problem recently where the installer had installed the Shakespeare Center-Pin PL259 connectors improperly and the shield of the coax was not making connection.

Eric
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Old 21-05-2009, 09:26   #5
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Thanks for the input.

I see our lame ammeter needle jump when I hit the tune button. (It's so lame that I can't tell what the actual amp draw is. But I would say 10w looks about right.

I was wondering myself about the coax. I mean, there are really only 2 wires going to the tuner, right? Coax and tuner control. I checked the tuner control cable at the tuner to make sure the pins/connections were good. (I did not check at the transciever.) That left only the coax. When I installed the connectors on the coax, I was cognizant to keep signal separate from ground. But at the same time, it wasn't a "clean" install of the connectors -- I had to slip the connector over the ends a couple/few times. It may be that one of those signal wires got bent back when I slipped on the connector. Should I re-do the coax connections?

But the puzzling part is that the unit transmitted once before. It did it only once, cuz after we got our radio check we turned it off and started dancing! It wasn't until we turned it on again and tried it again that it didn't work.
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Old 21-05-2009, 10:31   #6
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Yes, I would re-do the connections. An intermittent there could cause this problem.

Good Luck
Eric
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Old 21-05-2009, 11:31   #7
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I was wondering, though, if we would be able to receive with a short in the coax at the connector? I was also wondering how it could work one time and not another -- if that would be related to a short in the coax. But then, that latter question can probably be said about any possible fix.

I'm going to re-run new coax and re-do the connections in the process. I put the SSB in a terrible spot (inaccessible) and want to move it a few feet over to where I can work on it and check on things.
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Old 21-05-2009, 16:36   #8
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Eric --

Thank you soooo much for your input. Having someone to bounce ideas off of is such a luxury! I replaced the coax fittings at both ends. I also moved the transceiver cuz our previous location really sucked. It wanted you to avoid working on the thing cuz to get to it was just awful! So now we have it in an accessible place.

We replaced the end connectors, and voila!, we have transmission! Last time I didn't know where to use the brass and teflon washers that come with the Shakespeare PL-259s. This time I figured it out!

So now I have another question!

We connected up to SailMail just fine and tried to send/receive email. We didn't have any msgs. to send, but hoped there might be something out there we could download. Anyway, our ammeter jumped around at around 15-20A...before throwing the breaker!

We wired the SSB into one of the breakers on our elec. panel. But it is only a 10A breaker! The largest we have is 15A, and that won't do. So I was wondering if you have any nifty suggestions on how to wire the transceiver.

If we go directly to the battery, the literature says the transceiver will still draw power to heat the unit even when the unit is turned off. So we need to go through a switch of some kind. We wired a 30A in-line fuse to the transceiver, so it is protected. Do I need to install its own separate switch near the elec. panel at the nav station, or is there a niftier way around this?

Thanks again for both your ideas and your moral support! I am soooo relieved to get this thing working! There are few resources in Charleston to troubleshoot it, and with little knowledge on SSBs (though I seem to be getting more and more each day!), I was at a serious disadvantage.
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Old 21-05-2009, 17:01   #9
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Get a properly sized breaker and install that in place of the one you are using now. Make sure the wire feeding the panel is sized for the load.

chris
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Old 21-05-2009, 17:58   #10
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Ditto on Chris's post. The 802 has 3 power level settings so in the meantime you could try the mid level which is 60w. You might get away with that til you can get the proper breaker.

Eric
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Old 21-05-2009, 18:23   #11
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The proper way to wire an SSB is to go directly to the house batteries, NOT thru a panel breaker. There are several reasons for this, including reduced RFI both ways (from the transmitter to other devices, and from other devices to the receiver).

Depending on distance from the batteries, use at least AWG6 wire and install a 30A fuse on both the positive and the negative wires, near the batteries. I use Blue Sea Systems Maxi Fuseholders. Run the heavy wire up to a terminal strip located somewhere near the transceiver, then run the (shortened) powercord from the transceiver to the terminal strip. Since the 802 draws power for the high stability crystal oven even when the power is OFF, it's a good idea to insert a switch or breaker near the radio which will allow you to disconnect it completely when not in use for extended periods.

Clean, adequate power is crucial to good SSB performance, especially on a cruising sailboat where the batteries may be signficantly discharged. Don't skimp on the power connection.

Disclaimer: I do this for a living.

Glad you found the main problem with the coax.

Bill
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Old 21-05-2009, 18:27   #12
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Cool. I'll check it out.

Being a french boat, I hope I can find a breaker that fits. I've dealt a lot with land-based elec. breakers, but never marine breakers. Hopefully they standardized sizes to fit our panel.
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Old 21-05-2009, 18:38   #13
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Whoa! Bill! That's a load. Thanks a bunch!

Last month I added a 2nd bank of 2 batteries that are connected into the original bank of 3. (They are connected to be seen as one bank.) That 2nd bank is in the bilge very close to the SSB, so it should help considerably with the installation. (I just hope because the wire run to the bank of 3 is obviously much longer, that the SSB just doesn't draw from the 2 close batteries. Not sure how all that works.)

In any case, I like the idea of doing it that way. Plus it sounds like you maybe know a little bit from whence you speak. :-) And not to underscore the other comments, thanks a bunch. The collective wisdom is awesome and is helping to keep me from butchering this install!!
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Old 21-05-2009, 18:49   #14
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No problem connecting to the two batteries near the radio. I assume that these batteries are connected to the other three with HEAVY cable...at least AWG 1/0.

Use AWG6 to run from the nearby batteries to the radio. Don't forget the fuses near the batteries, both pos and neg side.

Yeah, lots of good help here. Eric in particular is an expert on the 802s and, hey...he likes 'em a lot more than I do :-)

Take care,

Bill
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Old 21-05-2009, 18:56   #15
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"Since the 802 draws power for the high stability crystal oven even when the power is OFF, it's a good idea to insert a switch or breaker near the radio which will allow you to disconnect it completely when not in use for extended periods."

Thanks for the info. I certainly didn't see a reference to that in the ICOM manuals. How much power?
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