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Old 27-03-2018, 10:13   #1
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Summer play with HF receiver

Going to write my ham exam in a couple weeks, then leaving for six months in the Broughtons virtually the next day. So little time to get a radio and install and test an antenna.

What I thought I would do is get an SDRplay II receiver and spend the summer playing. On a sailboat, would a temporary roll up antenna like the one below be suitable or should I be looking at something else?

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/HF-End-Fed-A....c100005.m1851

Bloody long URL. Hope it works. Thanks
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Old 29-03-2018, 12:33   #2
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

That's waaay more antenna than you need to play with a receiver! All you really need is a chunk of wire (of suitable length) - and say #22 or bigger so it won't easily break and connect it to the center conductor of your receiver's input connector.
Insulated wire means you don't have to worry about it hitting things. You don't even need an insulator at the end - tie the wire into a loop and tie/clip on a halyard of some sort.

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Old 29-03-2018, 12:49   #3
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

Thanks Hartley. I have a lot to learn.

Would shielded coaxial cable work? I was given about 10 metres of it. Can easily solder a PL-259 to it. Or would it be better to use a bit of the coaxial cable to get out of the boat and attach a wire to it?

Or none of the above?
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Old 29-03-2018, 12:59   #4
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

You could use the coax for sure, though it would be more economical to just use it to get outside, then attach a wire. You will need to strip off the shield (and outer cover) of the part you want to be an antenna.
Be careful to seal up the end of the shielding, as it will wick water and make a corroded mess in short order!
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Old 29-03-2018, 13:43   #5
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

Thanks Hartley. Would lifeline wire work as a wire? I have some and notice that some people use it for making alternate backstay antennas for transceivers. Would the lifeline wire also need to be stripped?

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Old 29-03-2018, 14:16   #6
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

If the lifeline wire isn't grounded by it's connection to the stanchions or other supports, yes, you could use it - I would recommend affixing a clip to your lead-in coax and clipping onto a fitting that is bare metal. (obviously this is NOT for underway!) The lifeline itself need not be stripped of it's jacket.
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Old 29-03-2018, 14:27   #7
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

When I travel with a SDR or other general-coverage receiver I carry a short length of small coax (RG174 or similar) with a SMA connector at the radio-end, and some clipleads at the far end. I clip to a ground of some sort, and a dozen feet of ungrounded wire / metal, or two wires as short untuned dipole. It works fine.
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Old 29-03-2018, 14:31   #8
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

Then that's the way I will go. Cheers, Hartley.
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Old 29-03-2018, 14:36   #9
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
When I travel with a SDR or other general-coverage receiver I carry a short length of small coax (RG174 or similar) with a SMA connector at the radio-end, and some clipleads at the far end. I clip to a ground of some sort, and a dozen feet of ungrounded wire / metal, or two wires as short untuned dipole. It works fine.
That's helpful, Paul. Connectors are a mystery to me. I am uncomfortable asking about them since I am sure it's something I should know about.
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Old 30-03-2018, 16:40   #10
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

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Originally Posted by foojin View Post
That's helpful, Paul. Connectors are a mystery to me. I am uncomfortable asking about them since I am sure it's something I should know about.
Later this evening I will put together an Amazon shopping list for you that shows some good ways to make these connections: connectors, cables, adaptors. It's actually pretty simple and cheap.
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Old 30-03-2018, 20:37   #11
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

Since the SDRplay 2 is a little more physically rugged then (say) the Funcube Dongle, I would use a SMA-to-BNC adaptor on the receiver:

https://www.amazon.com/DHT-Electroni.../dp/B00CVQL14A

Then get a BNC-to-cliplead cable:

https://www.amazon.com/Alligators-Lo.../dp/B00U6I95KM

There are many other ways to connect the receiver to whatever you choose to use as an antenna / ground, but this ought to work pretty well. If there is a trick, it's going to be getting the antenna some distance from the computer and other noise-producing gear. There are things you can do with ferrite chokes to reduce noise coupling, but for starters I would keep it simple. Don't worry about tuning the antenna for any specific frequency -- for your receive-only goals it doesn't matter very much. A random length of wire (or two wires) more than a few feet long will pick up plenty.

The Amazon links above are for reference only. I've purchased similar items, but probably not these exact items from these particular vendors. Check the delivery dates -- some of this stuff gets shipped from China. Sometimes the quality isn't spectacular, but for playing around it ought to do the job.
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Old 30-03-2018, 21:54   #12
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Re: Summer play with HF receiver

That, Paul, is very helpful and much appreciated. Thanks.
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