I wouldn't mess with the keel and likely not necessary for good counterpoise
. We have similar boats and my Cal 46
, as most sailboats, has an internal ground/ bonding system that connects engine
(hence negative battery), all thru-hulls, stays, some stanchions and also the green ground circuit from the AC electrical
panel usually finds a connection to this boat ground as well as, and in some cases, the water
& diesel tanks
. All together that makes an excellent overall RF counterpoise. Without knowing how good all this 'stock' counterpoise would be, I also initially install a 'DynaPlate,' as it was called, on the outside of the bottom hull
, just below where my tuner is installed and fore & aft 3" copper foil connected along the way to opportunistic thru-hulls with short jumper. Like Gordon and most hams, over the years I've experimented with disconnecting/ reconnecting my grounding plate during QSOs and trying other options, like the GAM bundled 'turned' counterpoise that you can snake around under the floor/ or through storage
areas and the zinc fish
dangling in the water clipped to a grounded stanchion. The comprehensive 'stock' ground system + 3" foil on my Cal outperforms all the other options I've tried. But like most hams who practice 'more is better' I've left the outside hull
grounding plate installed/ connected to the ship's ground, despite the risk of the two additional holes/ studs through the hull. But I don't mess with the fish
. But if I knew then what I know now, I would not have installed the outside hull grounding plate. Because I bonded the copier foil to whatever thru/hulls were alone its path, I couldn't compare/ test the stock grounding separate from the 3" copper foul ground, but some rainy day when I'm caught up on the projects list, I'd like disconnect the foil jumpers and do the test to know the result. I'll post my findings on this Fourm.
Theoretically, of course, the wide straight copper foil along the hull would make a better RF ground system then the small gauge boat bonding wire which undoubtably will have a lot of bends (not good for RF).
However, one issue with the thin copper foil is that if you don't seal it by some means AND if it gets/ stays damp (Winter condensation/ leaks) it turns green and in 5-10 years will corrode to the point it literally falls apart in places... usually the places that are hard to get to or see. Also, if left loose where you store things it will soon be snagged and ripped in half.
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