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Old 05-02-2014, 04:43   #226
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Wow, 225 posts (i've read them all), and I'm perhaps not very much smarter.

I'm not an radio or radio engineering knowledgeable person. So My interpretation of all the above knowledge is that KISS is NOT the ideal system. There are others that are better - 100 sq. ft of copper foil seems to be recommended, especially if coupled with a through-hull and a bronze plate.

INstalling 100 sq ft of copper foil under the floorboards of my is an unbelievable project.

It seems to me that the discussion here is more along the lines of: Ford are crappy cars - Mercedes are the only correct answer.

But the Ford gets me there and back again…………….

Others feel that $150 bucks is a lot of money - fellas, I' dropping something like $60 grand into my boat to make it RTW capable - $150 doesn't even show up in the spreadsheet.

Quite a number of posters here have stated that they have installed the KISS and it works very well for them.

Seems like it should work for me also
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:10   #227
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

I bought and installed a KISS counterpoise, and am well satisfied with it. Simply, easy, works great...my $.02
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:09   #228
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
INstalling 100 sq ft of copper foil under the floorboards of my is an unbelievable project.
100 sq ft (10 m2) sounds a lot to me... What kind of boat do you have? I will lay down approx. 1,5 to 2 m2 (15-20 sq ft) copper foil in combination with a Dynaplate (already installed when I purchased the Katamaran) and hope a lot that that will do the job....

Br
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:13   #229
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Interesting read.

I tried something in my land based radio shack akin to the KISS system. I simply took a set of 5-6 wires (14 ga), cut to varying lengths and ran them along the floor.

It worked OK. Not great, but my signal got out. I could make contacts hundreds of miles away, but my signal was low.

Not satisfied, however, I tried something else. Reading about how the thicker the conductor the more efficient the signal...or something like that, I got a single, 26 ft length of 6 AWG copper wire and ran that in place of my home brew system [SGC 239 tuner].

WOW! What a HUGE difference. I really could not believe it, but propagation of my signal was significantly better. [note, I work mostly 20,40 and 80m]

Not to knock the KISS system. It works great for quite a few. Just to add another data point to this thread.

Hope this helps

Best

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Old 05-02-2014, 07:15   #230
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by klaus53123 View Post
100 sq ft (10 m2) sounds a lot to me... What kind of boat do you have? I will lay down approx. 1,5 to 2 m2 (15-20 sq ft) copper foil in combination with a Dynaplate (already installed when I purchased the Katamaran) and hope a lot that that will do the job....

Br
Klaus
I have a Jeanneau Sun Fast. There is actually not much room under the floorboards and the bilge partitions are where the floor boards rest, which means they would constantly be subject to wear. Alternatively, I could pull either fuel tank or one of the water tanks (you can guess what this would entail)
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:26   #231
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

You can try the well proven solution of a wide copper strap from the tuner to a submerged bronze thru-hull. Read the West Marine advisor about how to put DC isolation in this strap to avoid galvanic problems. It works well and is the simplest solution.
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Old 05-02-2014, 17:59   #232
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Wow, 225 posts (i've read them all), and I'm perhaps not very much smarter.

I'm not an radio or radio engineering knowledgeable person. So My interpretation of all the above knowledge is that KISS is NOT the ideal system. There are others that are better - 100 sq. ft of copper foil seems to be recommended, especially if coupled with a through-hull and a bronze plate.

INstalling 100 sq ft of copper foil under the floorboards of my is an unbelievable project.

It seems to me that the discussion here is more along the lines of: Ford are crappy cars - Mercedes are the only correct answer.

But the Ford gets me there and back again…………….

Others feel that $150 bucks is a lot of money - fellas, I' dropping something like $60 grand into my boat to make it RTW capable - $150 doesn't even show up in the spreadsheet.

Quite a number of posters here have stated that they have installed the KISS and it works very well for them.

Seems like it should work for me also
I don't care if you spend the money, but you should care about SSB performance, as you may have seen in my report on the Kiss, it is no better that a piece is wire about 15' long. If you believe that would make a good counterpoise for all the bands you might operate on then you are simply wrong. Will you get out with the Kiss, yes, will there be times when you will not be heard by distant stations, yes and as my testing indicates it will be more often than with conventional counterpoise.

You don't 100sq', metal rudder post, t-hauls, lead keel (encapsulated or not) work good.
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Old 05-02-2014, 20:19   #233
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

The KISS counter poise is actually a bundle of many wires, each cut to a specific length to enable a counter poise for a specific marine frequency. So it is more than just a simple length of wire. The bundle is around 1" diameter, so has quite a few lengths of wire enclosed.

I read that The 100 sq feet of copper mesh or foil specification goes back to the earliest days of high seas communication, 80 years or so, and has no apparent scientific basis, other than this was the earliest recommendation for a ground plane when wireless sets were first installed, and has been proven over and over as an optimal method for long distance communication for decades. Connecting a few thru hulls to a ribbon of coil foil doesn't come close to meeting the 100 sq ft requirement, at most one might achieve 5-8 sq feet of surface area.

Having said that, my boat is 30' LOA and almost impossible to mount 100 sq ft of surface area - every available surface in my cockpit lockers would need to be covered with mesh and glassed over to,protect from the jumble of stuff that gets packed into the lockers, wet most times...

I bought a KIss counter poise but haven't used it yet, so don't have any experience with long distance comms. I feel I need 2000 to 8000 mile communication distance to actually make use of my SSB. Coastal communication of a few hundred miles isn't really what I have the SSB for.

So I wonder if anyone out there has actually used the KISS system to achieve these oceanic distances?

Also on another thread, several ham operators claim they see no need for any counter poise, as the radio transmission on a boat us uses the sea surface it self as a ground plane. One fellow claims he doesn't even need an antenna tuner!

if this is the case, What am I missing here?

Thanks very much!

Glenn
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Old 05-02-2014, 20:50   #234
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Glenn,

While it is true the Kiss is composed of a bunch of wires of different lengths, it doesn't translate to properly tuned lengths for different bands.
To do what is inferred, the various lengths would have to be straight and away from each other, not folded back and forth and squeezed together.
The way it's constructed, the wires have so much capacitive coupling to each other (and themselves from being folded) they might as well be one big fat wire.
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Old 05-02-2014, 21:08   #235
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn.Brooks View Post
[...]
Also on another thread, several ham operators claim they see no need for any counter poise, as the radio transmission on a boat us uses the sea surface it self as a ground plane. One fellow claims he doesn't even need an antenna tuner!
These hams are right -- no tuner is required if your antenna is cut to the right length for the frequency being used. Using a quarter-wave vertical and a seawater ground the antenna won't be a perfect match, but it will be good enough to make many contacts. With a properly-cut dipole (no seawater ground) you can get a nearly perfect match at one frequency.

The problem is that we are talking about the marine bands (note I said "bands", not "band"). These are located all over the spectrum and no single antenna will be tuned to operate on all of these frequencies. This is why we use an antenna tuner. If you want to operate on just a few adjacent channels, then you can use a fixed-length antenna without a tuner.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:35   #236
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by svclanguage View Post

You don't 100sq', metal rudder post, t-hauls, lead keel (encapsulated or not) work good.
Care to elaborate on this? If I connect to the Rudder post - then this will work? I have an Iron/lead keel - so If I run a wire to the keel bolts - this will work?

Help - please
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:48   #237
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Care to elaborate on this? If I connect to the Rudder post - then this will work? I have an Iron/lead keel - so If I run a wire to the keel bolts - this will work?

Help - please
The manual from ICom for my M802 recommends grounding the antenna tuner to the keel bolts with copper flashing, as the best counterpoise.

It seems odd to me that ICom itself is recommending this so strongly, yet no one seems to ever discuss it. I have 8 tons of non-encapsulated lead in my keel, so if this works, would seem to be a good case for it.

Someone somewhere wrote that the seawater immersed metal should not be too deep in the water. I have no idea whether this is a factor or not.

I am going to be connecting to a through-hull in my engine room, as recommended by Gordon West. The simple reason is that the through-hull is much closer than my keel bolts, which are probably 30 feet from my antenna tuner.

Even closer would be my external hull zinc, 2.5 kilos of zinc immersed in seawater. But I understand that one must never mix RF grounds with other grounds, so I'm not trying that.
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:14   #238
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Care to elaborate on this? If I connect to the Rudder post - then this will work? I have an Iron/lead keel - so If I run a wire to the keel bolts - this will work?

Help - please
Use copper foil 1' wide or wider for counterpoise connections where possible , for connection where space is too tight or where you need flexibility like rubber post, you can bridge the foil with 10g minimizing the length of the 10g. Reason for the flat (foil) conductor if the RF current is limit to the surface of the conductor and flat has more surface area. In most sail boats with backstay antenna rudder post is good choice as it is close to tuner. Adding other stuff like keel will help. On the run to the keel good Idea to branch off to transceiver so you can connect it to RF ground.

Here is info on counter poise if you are interested.

Marine HF SSB Counterpoise
rick medero July 2013

The function of a counterpoise is as the word implies, to provide a reference for the antenna to work against. Imagine that you are in the water and you try to push then pull your boat, it is likely that you will move with the boat moving very little. Now you are on a dock and you find that you can push your boat with you moving very little. Your transmitter does something similar. It pushes and pulls electrons in and out of your antenna. It gets those electrons from the counterpoise then pushes them back into the counterpoise. If your counterpoise has a good connection to Earth as the dock does, the voltage at your counterpoise will change very little while your antenna's voltage will change in response to the current supplied by your transmitter.

A counterpoise does not have to be connected to Earth for it to work. Take the example above, but now you are on a ship instead of a dock. You find that you can push and pull your boat just like when you were connected to the Earth. The reason is the ship's momentum is so much larger than your boat's.

From this discussion you can see that there might be different kinds of counterpoises. Here are some of them:
  • Direct to Earth. Uses a direct electrical connection to Earth connecting to metal that is in contact with sea water. Example: DynaPlate.
  • Capacitive to Earth. Uses large surface area along the inside hull below the water line. If the capacitance is large enough it is virtually the same as Direct to Earth. Note that RF currents are AC currents and capacitors conduct AC current. Example: (a) Connection to fiberglass encapsulated lead keel. (b) Copper screen embedded in fiberglass hull.
  • Bulk. Connection to large metal objects on the boat. As with the example of pushing and pulling your boat while standing on a ship, the “Bulk” of the conductive area provides a source and sink for the electrons that your transmitter is moving in and out of your antenna. It is important to note that only the surface area is used, it is not the mass of the object that is important. Examples: (a) Connection to engine, metal fuel and water tanks. (b) Vast amount of coper foil or screen not in close proximity to sea water.
  • Resonant. This counterpoise uses a specific length of conductor for each frequency band that you intend to operate on. They are all connected at one end to the turner ground terminal and radiate outward along the length of your boat.

For the first three types, the bigger the better. In practice most installations operate in all of these modes to some extent, but there will most likely be a dominate mode.

Here are the disadvantages if each type:
  • Direct to Earth. Requires significant amount of existing under water metal or installation of Dynaplate. May introduce opportunity for electrolysis. May not function well in fresh water. Electrolysis issue can be eliminated by using series DC blocking capacitors.
  • Capacitive to Earth. Requires large amount of conductive surface, difficult to install. May not function as well in fresh water.
  • Bulk. Existing metal often not enough. If not enough existing bulk, will require addition of coper foil or screen.
  • Resonant. Works only on specific frequency bands. Will radiate RF energy into equipment on board.

Here are the advantages if each type:
  • Direct to Earth. Simple, if your vessel has metallic ruder post, through hulls or external keel.
  • Capacitive. Electrolysis not an issue. If enough conductive area, then will operate in Bulk mode as well.
  • Bulk. Uses existing metal on board. No exposed metal to sea water. Works as well in fresh water.
  • Resonant. Limited amount of foil or wire needed for installation – less than Capacitive or Bulk. Works as well in fresh water.

Tips on constructing a counterpoise:
  • Avoid using standard circular wire for the counterpoise and for any interconnection of the counterpoise. Use copper strap or foil that is at least 2” wide. When you must use standard wire keep it as short as possible.
  • Using a mix of Direct and Capacitive if structures are available.
  • If not using a Resonate counterpoise, connect you transceiver chassis to the counterpoise with copper strap.
  • Make sure all connection surfaces are clean and bare metal. Use corrosion block on connections
  • Connect copper strap to your common DC negative grounding point along with your radio's negative supply wire. If you don't have a common DC grounding point I suggest you construct one. Otherwise use the battery negative terminal.
  • Avoid connecting counterpoise to electrical devices that can cause radio frequency interference like refrigeration, generator, inverter, charger and watermaker. May be connected at the boat common DC grounding point.
  • Avoid connecting the counterpoise directly to equipment that may be sensitive to radio frequency energy like navigation or other communications equipment and auto pilot. Ideally the only connection will be connected at the boat common DC grounding point.

For Direct to Earth:
  • Connect copper strap to underwater metal. If you have a metal ruder post, use it by connecting a short piece of flexible #10 wire to it and to the copper strap. Other opportunities are external propeller shaft strut, bronze through-hulls and external metal keel.
  • If electrolysis is a concern you can use capacitors in series. This will block any DC currents but will conduct radio frequency currents. At any point you can cut the copper strap and solder a few 0.1 micro farad ceramic or mica capacitors across the cut. See Note on electrolysis below.
  • If you have an encapsulated metal keel connect to it. You may have to drill through some fiberglass to get to it. Then use a lag bolt or other method to connect it to the copper foil.

For Capacitive to Earth:
  • Check to see if your boat has factory installed copper screen or foil.
  • The goal is to maximize the surface area and minimize the distance to water. Use wide foil or screen on the hull surface below the water line.
  • If you have an encapsulated metal keel connect to it. You may have to drill through some fiberglass to get to it. Then use a lag bolt or other method to connect it to the copper foil.

For Bulk:
Use copper strap to connect engines, tanks and other large metal structures.

For Resonant:
I don't recommend using it. The KISS SSB counterpoise is one device that claims to be a set different length wires. Studies have shown that this device is a poor counterpoise and is resonant in only one band near 10mhz, due to folding and packaging of conductors in close proximity.

Note on electrolysis:
While this is not a problem in the short term for testing, there is a chance that you may introduce an electrolysis issue when connecting RF ground underwater metal such as rudder post. If you are not sure that the metal and radio ground are at the same DC potential or if your metal is somehow isolated from DC ground (battery negative) then you should add capacitors in series with the connection to block any DC current that might flow.

For the capacitors use about 5 .1uf to uf, all in parallel and place them inline with the conductor going to the post -- does not matter where in the conductor path you place them.
Here is a link where you might order the caps: Invalid Request


My vessel is an example where I believe there is not the need for blocking DC to the rudder post. The post is not isolated as it is grounded to the engine block via steering and engine control cables. RF ground and engine are at same potential since the RF ground is connected to engine block at ground bus bar near engine where all DC negative supply wires are connected as well as bonding for lightning and boat side of shore power ground isolator. Some folks believe that RF and DC grounds should not be connected, as indicated above I don't agree, turns out that in ICOM tuners the FR ground is common to DC ground within the tuner. My strategy is to force that which cannot be easily isolated to same potential with good conductors and common grounding point. This also allows use of structures such as engine, keel and metal fuel tanks to be used as part of RF ground.

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Old 06-02-2014, 05:51   #239
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

The best point in my view is any submerged metal closest to the tuner. If a keel bolt is closest then that will work fine. Depth of metal in salt water isn't much concern but no need to go too deep. Just need to be submerged when using the radio. Cannot recommend a wire. The ground should be a copper foil (flashing) as wide as you can reasonably get but at least 1 inch or 25mm. Preferably twice that. Wider is better up until about 4 inches or 100mm. Then not much improvement.

Rudder post may or may not work. It depends on how the post gets to the water. Some posts are insulated from the water with foam and fiberglass. Some posts are non-conductive composite. If post is SS or bronze then most likely it will work and no harm in trying.

Best advice is to not over think this. Just find a thru hull nearby or some other submerged metal like a keel bolt. Even an encapsulated steel keel can work. Concrete keel probably not a good choice. Keep the ground strap as short as possible. Remember the antenna starts at the tuner output bolt. The closer the tuner, output wire and ground strap are to other electrical stuff the more interference is likely.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:21   #240
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn.Brooks View Post
The KISS counter poise is actually a bundle of many wires, each cut to a specific length to enable a counter poise for a specific marine frequency. So it is more than just a simple length of wire. The bundle is around 1" diameter, so has quite a few lengths of wire enclosed.

I read that The 100 sq feet of copper mesh or foil specification goes back to the earliest days of high seas communication, 80 years or so, and has no apparent scientific basis, other than this was the earliest recommendation for a ground plane when wireless sets were first installed, and has been proven over and over as an optimal method for long distance communication for decades. Connecting a few thru hulls to a ribbon of coil foil doesn't come close to meeting the 100 sq ft requirement, at most one might achieve 5-8 sq feet of surface area.

Having said that, my boat is 30' LOA and almost impossible to mount 100 sq ft of surface area - every available surface in my cockpit lockers would need to be covered with mesh and glassed over to,protect from the jumble of stuff that gets packed into the lockers, wet most times...

I bought a KIss counter poise but haven't used it yet, so don't have any experience with long distance comms. I feel I need 2000 to 8000 mile communication distance to actually make use of my SSB. Coastal communication of a few hundred miles isn't really what I have the SSB for.

So I wonder if anyone out there has actually used the KISS system to achieve these oceanic distances?

Also on another thread, several ham operators claim they see no need for any counter poise, as the radio transmission on a boat us uses the sea surface it self as a ground plane. One fellow claims he doesn't even need an antenna tuner!

if this is the case, What am I missing here?

Thanks very much!

Glenn
Glen I installed the Kiss 3 years ago Did an Atlantic crossing in 2012 Was able to get reliable contacts from Burlington Ontario Ottawa Halifax and Kentuky until 1 day out from Ireland. so it worked for me and was the simplest solution
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