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Old 20-05-2013, 11:25   #1
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SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

I am having reception trouble with my portable SSB Receiver [Kaito KA1103]. I need it for weather reports, otherwise all I can do is look at the sky.

I am not getting reception on the channels and times as I should [3000's-8000's mainly, but also 12000's]. A few times I've gotten faint weather for a few seconds. I HAVE picked up some Russian, French, Chinese, Spanish and a little from Australia. But not the channels I need from North America.

I have a 30 foot wire that plugs into the antenna jack, and Ive run this up the flag halyard. Hasnt helped much. I read one user [with the same radio] said he took 'some random wire and a connector [I assume the type that plugs into the antenna jack?] and grounded the shield on the connector'. And then he had GREAT reception. But I dont know what he's talking about. Can anyone explain that in simple laymen's terms?

I am in the Bahamas, with few available resources, and need a simple remedy to pull in more stations. Can I take an earphone's jack, cut the wires and bolt them to the mast base [which is grounded]? Would that make the mast an antenna? Or could I take the same wire and jack and alligator clip them to a stay or a running backstay? Any other ideas?

Thanks. Any help would be great.
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Old 20-05-2013, 11:47   #2
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnOrion View Post
I am having reception trouble with my portable SSB Receiver [Kaito KA1103]. I need it for weather reports, otherwise all I can do is look at the sky.

I am not getting reception on the channels and times as I should [3000's-8000's mainly, but also 12000's]. A few times I've gotten faint weather for a few seconds. I HAVE picked up some Russian, French, Chinese, Spanish and a little from Australia. But not the channels I need from North America.

I have a 30 foot wire that plugs into the antenna jack, and Ive run this up the flag halyard. Hasnt helped much. I read one user [with the same radio] said he took 'some random wire and a connector [I assume the type that plugs into the antenna jack?] and grounded the shield on the connector'. And then he had GREAT reception. But I dont know what he's talking about. Can anyone explain that in simple laymen's terms?

I am in the Bahamas, with few available resources, and need a simple remedy to pull in more stations. Can I take an earphone's jack, cut the wires and bolt them to the mast base [which is grounded]? Would that make the mast an antenna? Or could I take the same wire and jack and alligator clip them to a stay or a running backstay? Any other ideas?

Thanks. Any help would be great.
Are you in a marina or a busy area?
Is it weatherfax you're trying to receive?

Sounds like it might just be a bad place, I had wfax fine with a 1103 from Antigua all the way to UK, Nw Orleans, Boston then Northwood. That was with a car radio FM antenna at the masthead plugged into the antenna input on the radio. No idea about any voice forecasts I'm afraid, it was wfax all the way.

More recently across biscay just with the radio telescopic antenna resting against the chainplates below deck on a wooden boat. Same radio, it does work.
Good luck.
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Old 20-05-2013, 12:16   #3
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

Conachair

Thanks for that info. How did you get weatherfax with this radio? Please tell. I didnt think it was possible without a more sophisticated setup.

I have tried the radio in both remote anchorages and in harbors. Same poor results.
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Old 20-05-2013, 13:42   #4
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

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Conachair

Thanks for that info. How did you get weatherfax with this radio? Please tell. I didnt think it was possible without a more sophisticated setup.

I have tried the radio in both remote anchorages and in harbors. Same poor results.

Loads info on here about setting up weatherfax, it's pretty easy, assuming you have a laptop. Or tablet, I had readable faxes across just using a nexus 7 sitting next to the radio.

Let me get that ...
schedule - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf

Just after sunset somewhere round the 4k or 8k is worth a go.

I seem to remember a thread recently about poor voice reception of voice forecasts down that way not so long ago, maybe you're just out of luck.

Persevere anyway, it's a good little radio, receive antennas aren't as crucial as transmit, just keep fiddling, 30' up a halyard might be as good as anything.

Good luck!!!
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Old 20-05-2013, 16:24   #5
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

Bump.

I've had much the same problem as the OP, but with a Tecsun PL-660 portable SW/SSB unit. I'm finding it generally very difficult to get good reception, whether with the internal steel whip antenna or the wire cable accessory -- I'm hearing lots of static at most times and reception is extremely finicky. I'm very envious of people who report more success with these portable SSBs and would love to hear more about what use protocol makes for good reception aboard...

I'm aware of RFI issues and have done my best to minimize them during use, move locations, etc.

Reception results so far:
- From San Francisco: able to hear a few stations well -- WWV (CO), WWVH (Hawaii), Cuban radio, occasional Japanese/Chinese/SE Asia/African stations, but no Coastguard HF voice forecasts or weatherfax signals at all (tried multiple stations over various days) even nearby. Most tests were conducted at night, outdoors.
- From Philippines: similar results -- couldn't hear Coastguard Guam. Test conducted in remote areas, on deck.
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Old 20-05-2013, 17:02   #6
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

Galacticair

Good to know someone else is having the same problem. Though not good for you.

I wonder if it could have to do with the recent 2-3 week disturbance [sunspot, if I remember correctly] that has led to poor reception east and west, but not so much a problem for north to south reception.

I moved the wire antenna to a backstay, but no more luck. And then the radio stopped working. I recharged it, but nothing. Maybe it blew out, maybe I got a lemon?

Good luck
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Old 20-05-2013, 17:15   #7
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

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And then the radio stopped working. I recharged it, but nothing. Maybe it blew out, maybe I got a lemon?

Good luck
Good radios but the batteries which come with them aren't

And I haven't had much luck charging other decent rechargeables in the radio either, that side of things isn't great.
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Old 20-05-2013, 18:52   #8
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

The radio didnt work with the rechargeable batteries charged, or with the radio plugged in and charging. Finally, I just put in new batteries, and the radio works again!

How can China make rechargeable batteries that only work for 3 weeks!!!!!! Come on.

Why isn't America back on top by now? We can make better than this. So can a lot of other countries, for that matter. Wow, I am going to catch a lot of grief for this, but . . . . I've had it with stuff that breaks 3 days out of the box from China. They used to be a leader in world technology [gunpowder, giant warships, clocks, building The Great Wall, etc] what the h%$#! happened?

Sorry for the rant, but really? Three weeks?!!

Time for some rum. Oh my.

BTW, still no reception. Solar flares? Cheap electronics? Incompetent user? Bears and wolves and alligators?

I'm sure I will regret this post tomorrow.

Still no response to what it means to 'ground the shield on the connector' - in terms of a wire antenna with a 3.5 mm plug, and modifying it to work better by grounding it, somehow. Anyone?
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Old 21-05-2013, 01:46   #9
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How can China make rechargeable batteries that only work for 3 weeks!!!!!! Come on.


Still no response to what it means to 'ground the shield on the connector' - in terms of a wire antenna with a 3.5 mm plug, and modifying it to work better by grounding it, somehow. Anyone?
For the price you get a huge bang for your buck, just rubbish batteries to get everything you need to pay more...

It should run when plugged in, either charging or not., mine does anyway.

Grounding the shield to something connected to the sea might help a little, but possibly not the magic bullet you're after.
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Old 21-05-2013, 04:04   #10
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Hi, i've had similar reception issues with my Sangean SSB receiver on the Queensland Coast. One day I turned off the GPS receiver and the reception improved markedly. I then turned off depth sounder, VHF, autopilot etc (basically turned off most of my electronics during the forecast) and the reception went from impossible to understand to perfect immediately. All that equipment must have been interfering with my radio.

Obviously need to turn all that equipment back on again after the forecast!

Cheers,

Paul
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Old 21-05-2013, 05:35   #11
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Loads info on here about setting up weatherfax, it's pretty easy, assuming you have a laptop. Or tablet, I had readable faxes across just using a nexus 7 sitting next to the radio.

Let me get that ...
schedule - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf

Just after sunset somewhere round the 4k or 8k is worth a go.

I seem to remember a thread recently about poor voice reception of voice forecasts down that way not so long ago, maybe you're just out of luck.

Persevere anyway, it's a good little radio, receive antennas aren't as crucial as transmit, just keep fiddling, 30' up a halyard might be as good as anything.

Good luck!!!
How? were you pulling data off radio? or in good wifi area?
BTW i would assume by connecting shield their referring to coax like T/V cable.
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Old 21-05-2013, 05:53   #12
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

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How? were you pulling data off radio? or in good wifi area?
BTW i would assume by connecting shield their referring to coax like T/V cable.
Receiving weatherfax, looks like this..


You just need a radio like the 1103 capable of receiving SSB and a laptop or tablet. Works really well, very useful offshore.
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Old 21-05-2013, 07:44   #13
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Receiving weatherfax, looks like this..


You just need a radio like the 1103 capable of receiving SSB and a laptop or tablet. Works really well, very useful offshore.
Does it have data port? My question is , how to get the data from the radio to nexus? also any program or script to display said data??
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Old 21-05-2013, 08:36   #14
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

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Does it have data port? My question is , how to get the data from the radio to nexus? also any program or script to display said data??
Just a lead from the radio line or headphone out into the mic/line in of a laptop. Works with just a laptop/tablet mic sitting next to a radio as well.

Plus some free software like this..

JVComm32 - FAX SSTV RTTY SYNOP NAVTEX program

Or HF weatherfax for nexus.
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Old 21-05-2013, 09:34   #15
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Re: SSB Receiver antenna problems - Looking for answers

Found this while buying radio.
New Kaito Radio Antenna T1 | eBay
could be answer to OP's problem.
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