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Old 23-11-2010, 13:15   #1
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SSB System Components Help

I am not familiar with the specifics of HF radio systems but have an understanding of the basics. I have decided to equip my boat with an SSB system and want to make sure I understand the components I will need to purchase and install. This is what I am thinking:

Icom 802 Radio, gam antenna, Antenna tuner, antenna booster,pactor modem, grounding plate, copper strapping. Cables and wiring to connect components.

My boat currently has a bronze grounding plate mounted in the hull under the nav table. A PO also added a triatic stay with insulators I believe with the intention of adding HF radio at some point. The stay is not stuctural as it is connected to the spars with shackles and no other Amphitrite Ketches I have seen have a triatic. Would I run the antenna wire up the mizzen and connect to the triatic or be better using a leg of the split backstay? Should the antenna tuner be mounted maybe in the aft cabin close to the base of the mizzen mast or back stay chainplate then with a cable to the radio itself at the nav table.

Can anyone reccomend a good book or books on this subject?
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Old 23-11-2010, 13:20   #2
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I do SSB installations professionally in the Chesapeake region. Give me a shout via Private Message or to my email bill at wdsg dot com

I'm located in Arlington, VA. Maybe I can help.

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Old 23-11-2010, 13:28   #3
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Thanks Bill. Im am not going to be ready for the actual install until late next year as Im in the middle of refitting. Currently in the rewiring phase. What I am trying to do is gain an understanding of the components involved so I can put them into the budget. I intend to do the install myself as I do all my own work but as with other areas I always seek guidance from pros. Not trying to be cheap its just a rule I have that if its on my boat I need to be able to service, repair, and diagnose it myself and at sea if neccesary. Can you point me to some required reading? Maybe I can I buy you a beer sometime in Annapolis and pick your brain?
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Old 23-11-2010, 13:40   #4
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Well, make it a Mt. Gay & Coke, and you're on :-)

I understand completely your desire to do it yourself.

Problem with books and such is that they are full of inaccuracies and, unless you are an experienced radio person, may lead you down some unnecessary (and expensive) pathways.

Of particular relevance here is all the garbage published about RF ground systems. Much of this is just repeated over and over, though it has no basis in reality. And, there are lots of ways to implement a good RF ground system. You might, e.g., look up my post on the SSCA Board entitled, "RF Grounds in the Marine Environment".

In any case, give me a buzz and maybe I can talk you thru some of this.

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Old 23-11-2010, 13:49   #5
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Especially since you are rewiring, you will want to plan now for a dedicated circuit for the SSB. Make sure you have access at the ends to be able to retrofit ferrite beads if needed. If you run through your electrical panel (as I did on my own) be prepared to pull the wires directly back to a terminal strip at the batteries if you end up with interference.

I agree with Bill that the "literature" such as it is will be misleading at best. A good deal of the conventional wisdom is simply wrong. There is a lot of confusion.

After years of experience with installations on commercial and military ships, some aviation, and the odd fixed station I continue to be astounded by the "we're different" attitude of recreational boat installations, with no scientific or engineering basis. Amazing.

Bill and I have worked together before, so I'd be happy to sponsor a meeting aboard Auspicious. Where we agree you can be confident of your approach and where we disagree (not often) we may all learn something.
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Old 23-11-2010, 13:50   #6
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Oh Bill -- I have Mt Gay, but I drink Mt Gay and Tonic so you may have to bring your own Coke. *grin*
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Old 23-11-2010, 14:07   #7
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Sounds like a great idea, Dave. I'm up for it most anytime, but probably best on weekends (not this one) since Sandi can take care of Max.

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Old 23-11-2010, 14:07   #8
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G'day, mate. Search for literature by Gordon West. He put out some very practical guidelines for SSBs on boats. I'm sorry, I don't have the exact articles available at the moment (on another PC). Cheers.
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Old 23-11-2010, 14:10   #9
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Sounds like a great idea fellas. Im partial to the tonic myself but prefer Sailor Jerry these days. Im on the hard at Casa Rio Marina in Edgewater most every weekend and several nights per week after work.

I have noticed Gordon Wests stuff in Sail magazine I think thanks.
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Old 23-11-2010, 14:56   #10
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Look for the more recent Gordon West material. He changed his tune on grounds and counterpoises a few years ago.
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Old 23-11-2010, 17:14   #11
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You might try: The Icom M802 Radio Manual for "Idi-Yachts

www.idiyachts.com/
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