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Old 12-03-2011, 10:48   #16
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

I've spent the morning experimenting with the KISS after putting the wires and "coils" back into the tube. This is on dry land, so the magic of sea water and the bilge is missing of course. Using a Rig Expert AA-230PRO graphing antenna analyzer and a near vertical monopole wire of 8 meters length, I compared the SWR plot of the KISS against that of a single 16 foot long 20 gauge copper wire counterpoise stretched out along the ground.

The resonant frequency with the wire counterpoise was 9.775 mHz with a minimum SWR of 1.8:1. With the KISS stretched out the resonant frequency was a bit lower at 8.850 mHz, but still no better than a 1.7:1 SWR. With both there was a second resonant point at three times their respective frequencies above, though SWR dipped to 4:1 at best. There were no other points of resonance in the HF range with either one, and the shape of the plots from 2 mHz to 30 mHz were almost identical to each other, overlooking the difference in resonant frequencies.

With either counterpoise, the ohmic resistance of the system was 90 to 95 ohms with no reactance at the primary resonance.

The width of the 4:1 SWR or better region at primary resonance for the wire and the KISS counterpoise was the same, at approximately 1.6 mHz so there was no real bandwidth advantage to the KISS either. The bandwidth at 15:1 SWR - approaching the analyzer's practical limit - was also not different.

If instead of stretching the KISS out as best it will do, I instead make a U turn at half its length, like the maker says is fine, the resonant frequency of the system moves up from 8.85 mHz to 9.050 mHz and the minimum SWR interestingly drops to 1.7:1

What this is telling me is that the KISS is not fundamentally electrically different from a simple wire counterpoise in the HF region. It will still help you get a signal out like any reasonable counterpoise. Interpret as you will.

BTW, I had a 25 minute long QSO from here in Oklahoma to Port Townshend, Washington two days ago with the above antenna and wire counterpoise from out at the son's soccer field. The KX1 was putting out 3 watts (CW) on 7.112 mHz. I'm sure the KISS would have worked just as well.

Chip

Chip
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:57   #17
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Chip,

Thanks for your post, and the data points.

I'm hoping to do something of the same when the weather gets better and I get the time. Will try to do it over the water, and with a backstay antenna about 40' long, which is about the norm.

Great fun with the KX-1! I'm a QRP fancier, too. Had a K2 which I loved and currently have 2 QRP+ rigs. an Icom 703, a Yaesu FT-817, and a home-built 40m crystal-controlled rig.

73,

Bill
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Old 12-03-2011, 14:58   #18
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Bill-

I get a real kick out of results from minimalist hardware. It is amazing how much you can sometimes do with so little.

Chip
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Old 12-03-2011, 15:43   #19
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

Errr....so how much do you want for that their used Kiss SSB unit? Wonder what shipping would be like to New Zealand.
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Old 13-03-2011, 10:52   #20
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

I had just purchased a KISS-SSB counterpoise when Chip revealed what was inside. I made the decision to purchase the KISS-SSB based on other threads discussing the counterpoise. When I saw what was inside the KISS, I thought I had "KISS"ed my $145 away. Well, it arrived and I had already ripped out my old and corroded copper strap. I intalled the KISS, and let me tell you, the damn thing seems to work. It tuned every frequency I could think of, both ham and marine. While not an indicator of an efficient installation, I made 3 contacts from the marina on 20 meters at around 1300 Pacific, all with signal reports of 59+10. Reception noise level seemed to be lower too (though that may be subjective on my part). I made a couple of contacts on 40 meters too and also got good signal reports. Using winlink on 30 meters was solid with quick connects. I had some interaction on 30 meters with my Link 2000 and Freedom 20 inverter prior to the KISS, and now those interactions are gone. Color me happy.

Radio is an Icom M710RT, feeding a AT130 in the lazerette to an insulated backstay. Pretty typical sailboat setup.

Rod
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Old 13-03-2011, 12:13   #21
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

You certainly won't find me saying that the KISS-SSB won't work as an SSB counterpoise in a boat with an antenna tuner.

You will see my say that from all I am able to determine so far, it is marginally or maybe even no better than a similar length of wire attached to the tuner and placed where you would put the KISS-SSB. The fact that the wire inside is well sealed and unlikely to corrode may make the KISS-SSB worthwhile to some.

Perhaps if the maker did not market his device so breathlessly it would be more palatable. His marketing implies that because it has wires of precisely cut lengths that it therefore has properties related to tuned 1/4 wavelength radials on a number of HF bands. No evidence is presented to support that proposition, and my investigation so far has not uncovered anything that would support that idea, or that it has any unique electrical properties that would set it apart from a single piece of wire of similar length. Its greater diameter than a single stretch of wire might be expected to give it a slightly wider bandwidth near the resonant frequency of the antenna system, but my tests have not been able to detect even this effect.

For those with a technical interest, let me offer this. A vertical monopole antenna with an effectively perfect ground system has a radiation resistance of about 32 ohms at resonance. One can very nearly achieve this state with a ground mounted vertical antenna and 60 or more equally spaced radial wires each of 0.2 wavelength in length. In this state, the ground resistance is very low, nearly zero, so very little energy is dissipated in the ground, nearly all of it is radiated from the antenna. In the simple system I described in a previous post, with a single wire counterpoise, and also with the KISS, the antenna resistance was about 90 ohms at resonance. This implies that ground resistance is high and a substantial proportion of power input to the antenna system is being dissipated in ground current, maybe upwards of 2/3 of the power. If I were to start adding more ground radials, the antenna system resistance would start to fall as ground resistance (and losses) diminish. At some point, the system resistance would be 50 ohms and give a 1:1 SWR, but there would still be ground losses. Not until there were enough radials that the resistance was down near 32-35 ohms (and a 1: 1.5 SWR) would the vertical monopole antenna system be as efficient as it practicably could be made. The point of all this is that the single piece of wire, and the KISS-SSB gave essentially the same result.

A vertical monopole on a boat, like the backstay, might have different behavior. Since sea water is some 300 times more conductive than my back yard, it might take much less in the way of a radial system to get to a state of very low ground resistance and minimal ground losses. Maybe as little as one wire laying in the hold, or one wire going to a through hull, or one length of copper foil, or one KISS-SSB. Hopefully Bill Trayfors will be able to run some numbers like this from his boat soon. Once my boat is back in the water, I'll try to do the same, but I don't expect to find that the KISS has suddenly become superior to just as easy and far cheaper solutions.

Chip
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Old 13-03-2011, 13:36   #22
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

I don't disagree with you at all. I had purchased the KISS prior to your disassembly. I thought I would install it anyway. Seems to be an improvement over the copper foil to the nearest underwater metal though I am sure the improvement could be due to the detiorated condition of the copper foil. Looking forward to seeing Bill Trayfors' numbers and your numbers too. I think it will be interesting to see the differences in the 2 sets of numbers.

Regards,
Rod
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Old 14-03-2011, 09:46   #23
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

There's no question that the KISS works. I don't think anyone has ever even implied that it doesn't. The only question is whether or not it is worth $145 if the results are no different than what you would get by clipping a few wires to appropriate lengths.

Obviously, for some people, it is well worth the money. For those who aren't completely mystified by the concept of an RF ground, though... Well, let me just say that I'm not going to be spending money on a KISS for my boat when I can make essentially the same thing for a cost of less than $10 worth of wire and 20-30 minutes of my time.
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Old 17-03-2011, 14:36   #24
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Well, let me just say that I'm not going to be spending money on a KISS for my boat when I can make essentially the same thing for a cost of less than $10 worth of wire and 20-30 minutes of my time.
I'm surprised y'all didn't reverse-engineer the KISS yet. Just measure wire diameter and lengths. Is it tinned marine wire? how many feet? Is that really just $10 worth of wire?

Anybody reading their Icom tuner manual must have seen a description of the KISS right there as lengths of wire. I really don't understand what people expected to find inside that hose... little green men pushing out your signal? Secret circuit boards with flashing LED's ? Or something exactly like in your Icom manual... a bunch of wires of specific lengths?

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 17-03-2011, 14:54   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonerSailor
Bill-

I get a real kick out of results from minimalist hardware. It is amazing how much you can sometimes do with so little.

Chip
Chip, can you let us know the number and length of the wire in the unit? For us DIY freaks.
Baz
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Old 17-03-2011, 15:01   #26
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Hi Nick -

No, the wire inside is not tinned.

A folded up length of wire is not the same to a radio wave as when it is stretched out.

The Icom manual says nothing about using folded up lengths of wire.
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Old 17-03-2011, 15:56   #27
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

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Originally Posted by SoonerSailor View Post
A folded up length of wire is not the same to a radio wave as when it is stretched out.

The Icom manual says nothing about using folded up lengths of wire.
Ah ! may be the KISS is smarter than some thought. I bet the calculations of required lengths are becoming more complicated already. I also wonder why nobody mentioned the speed of the HF signal through copper (= slower than speed of light) which translates to a shortening factor for these calculations.

Besides ruthless exact copying of the product, you will find that it is very reasonably priced if you take the design factor as well as the materials into consideration. I wouldn't be surprised if these radials are nicely tuned on the bands used (and also work for their "harmonics" bands). A simple grid-dip meter could confirm that.

cheers,
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Old 17-03-2011, 16:38   #28
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

I'm with rodney k on this. Unlike many looking for a quick install, we were already using a dynaplate and were getting all kinds of problems and reliability issues and would have stuck my duck in the water if I thought it'd do any good. Our radio, an ICOM M802 installed "by the book" with tuner and back-stay antenna installed using copper foil and a dynaplate on one side of the hull, the ship's ground on the other. All the "experts" told me this was the ideal setup and there should be no problem.
Then I read about counterpoises in a number of radio books and I figured what the hey, this KISS thing for $145 isn't too bad if it works. I'll tell you that I'd recommend this product to anybody who wants clear, interference free transmissions without RF interference on ship's equipment while not having to drill another hole in your hull.
We've spent a lot of money on this and that over the years, but this is the only product that worked right out of the box. The reason it works so well is that it removes the harmonics away from the ships ground while resolving RF interference. The KISS counterpoise is easy to install too (even though the installation instructions are counter-intuitive to most) and is worth every dime; no matter how it's constructed.
It's easy for some to poo poo a good idea, no matter how simple it is, having nothing to offer but negativity because they didn't think of it first. Carl has created and designed a simple solution for many people using SSBs, sells it at a reasonable price while offering great customer service.
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Old 18-03-2011, 11:36   #29
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

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It's easy for some to poo poo a good idea, no matter how simple it is, having nothing to offer but negativity because they didn't think of it first.
Nobody has poo pooed the idea because they didn't think of it first. The only criticism has been to say that it is not as hard as many seem to think to make your own 1/4 wave counterpoise wires.

You're happy with your purchase. Great! Good for you. No one has told you that you were wrong to buy it. I would just rather make my own.
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Old 18-03-2011, 11:41   #30
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Re: The KISS SSB Counterpoise - Revealed ( with Pics )

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Nobody has poo pooed the idea because they didn't think of it first. The only criticism has been to say that it is not as hard as many seem to think to make your own 1/4 wave counterpoise wires. I would just rather make my own.
Really? Good Luck, I hope it works.
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