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Old 16-12-2015, 17:47   #31
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

AB - how is the radio connected to the battery? Is this directly connected or are you going through the A/B switch and house circuit breakers? Might it be possible that the battery switch or circuit breaker(s) are causing the noise? I believe it is best to wire the radio direct to the house battery with properly sized wire (30 amps over distance) and inline fuses.
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Old 17-12-2015, 09:43   #32
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Attached is a pic of the BMS on the lifepo4 battery. No way I'm messing with it... if it's a problem I'll need to deal with it, I'm not going to be disconnecting it if I need to use the radio.

Same with the Victron... if I disconnect it it loses the state of the battery.

The galvonic isolator, I could put a switch on it. It's irritating that they don't make these only turn on if your plugged in to AC power.

I've got the radio wired to a bus bar that's connected to the + side of the lifepo4 cell, and the main negative bus bar, 12 awg wire with fuses on both.

I've got the starter battery and a 8D that I'm not using, so this morning I'm going to rewire the radio to the 8D. I need to figure out how to charge it then, I've got an echo charger I could use but I'd have to have a kill switch on it, otherwise it would just suck and suck on the lifepo4, and with my luck it would probably generate RFI as well.

It's probably 4' to the 8D and 6' to the lifepo4 to the radio.

I may try another one versus the other test this morning... maybe I can use the waterfall display in RMS Express to measure the RFI.
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Old 17-12-2015, 10:13   #33

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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Measuring the RFI level versus other background noise wouldn't tell you how to mitigate it. Nor would finding the frequency tell you what's producing it. You might ask the BMS maker specifically about RFI, and FCC or other RFI certifications, but if it comes from a small company or from China...Let's just say even a lot of major US vendors have lied about RFI.

If the RFI is from the BMS, a small but real chance, then you might literally have to put a Faraday Cage around the batteries in order to eliminate it. Personally I'd loathe disassembling the battery pack, but 7 bolts later, it would be stone cold dead and you'd at least have a positive answer to whether that's the problem. I don't see any shorter way to be certain on that.
Heck, there are certain Linksys routers sold for home use, that have to simply be turned off to eliminate RFI from them. Somehow they were illegally certified or modified before sales, and the FCC's solution was "throw 'em out".

Similarly, with the Victron (which I suspect less) there's only one way to be certain.

Well, two ways...you could always take the radio, tuner, and mast and rigging ashore and test them out when all the rest was say, a hundred yards away.(G)


Just one man's opinion.
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Old 17-12-2015, 12:53   #34
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

I am starting to feel your pain. When this thread started, it sounded like the problem might be your lack of experience. As things progress, its looking more like you could be the victim of new technology, which doesn't play nice with the old technology (SSB). The new technology includes everything digital as well as the ubiquitous dc-dc converters and high speed switching power supplies. Think about modern computers (including the microcomputers built into modern appliances, cars, and gadgets and energy monitors), controllers (solar, alternator, led, remotes, autopilot, BMS), and inverters, refrigerators, and microwaves, chartplotters, radars, NMEA networks--the list is endless.

You are not alone. Here is a bit about the noise problems hams face in the new cars

RFI Problems

You asked if a MFJ 874 (SWR meter) would help--not really, it would help to diagnose problems you have transmitting, and you have a receiving problem. What could help is an MFJ 805, which is a receiver operated on an internal battery which can measure RF noise in your boat.

Its not likely to be your ICOM 7200 itself--it gets 4.8/5 reviews on eham.net. However, maybe 2 out of 200 reviewers had some problems with receiving noise, probably due to a faulty unit. If you hook the 7200 (and the tuner) up to a spare battery that is isolated from your BMS and things get a lot clearer, you may have found the smoking gun.

Good Luck!

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Old 18-12-2015, 13:22   #35
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

I was able to receive a weatherfax today on 17.150.50 after watching a youtube video of a guy using FLDIGI.

He mentions in the video that you need to go 1.5 or so off freq, so I experimented and found 17.150.50 worked for 17.151.2 listed for Pt Reyes.

I used the align feature of FLDIGI and getting the signal straight was very easy.

I then switched over to JVCOMM32 to see if that was working (that's what I was testing with before) and could not get JVCOMM32 to receive the same signal. Switching back to FLDIGI and I was able to receive it again just fine. Not sure what's going on there.

I wonder if the same problem JVCOMM32 is having is the same as RMS Express on the receiving side. Maybe something to do with the mic volume level? It was set at 10 per the instructions for RMS Express, but it didn't seem to matter, if I raised the volume all the way to 100 it still didn't produce an image. Perhaps FLDIGI does not use this manual setting.

I did all this in the marina with the notebook running and charging, the wifi on, well everything on but the fridge/freezer/inverter(on shore power)/battery charger. The solar is on. Although I'm on the stand alone battery.

I also found that if I send a request to winlink "send socforecast" I get exactly what I need for weather, so I just need to figure out how to get RMS Express receiving and I'm golden.

Are there any other secret winlink requests I should know about?

BTW FLDIGI is free and was very easy to setup to receive weatherfaxes, if anybody else is having issues with JVCOMM32.
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Old 18-12-2015, 13:49   #36

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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

FYI, MFJ also does make the MFJ-1025 at $180. which they say will allow you to find and wipe out RFI before it gets into your receiver. Best to look at their web site & manual to let you see if that sounds like it will hide (not fix, but hide) the problem. I think they've got a 30-day return period on direct orders, in case you try it and the magic isn't there.
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Old 23-12-2015, 14:22   #37
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Autumnbreeze,
As we get more info in bits and dribbles, things are starting to make sense...

1) You need to determine what noises you are receiving / hearing....
Use your ears....do NOT try to use a "waterfall display"...

Trying to use a computer / waterfall display to track down RFI is going to be a very frustrating effort...and likely futile!
I did not see anyone recommend that at all..
And, to the contrary, I have been recommending that you listen to your radio, after having seen/heard the various RF noises (natural and man-made) that are common on the videos....and then tell us what you are hearing!


2) If some (or most) of the noise you are hearing is man-made RFI, you need to determine WHERE it comes from...

And, finding out "where" might involve shutting-down and disconnecting the BMS completely....just as a test....
As well as shutting off any other ancillary devices, especially inverter controls, digital metering, battery monitors, etc...(and that is going to includes whatever "Victron" equipment you're referring to!)
Again, this is for testing / evaluating things, not as a SOP for when you wish to use the radio!!!

Understand that while connecting your IC-7200 to an 8D battery (lead-acid, I assume) might be helpful, in this testing/troubleshooting phase, keeping the LiFePo BMS up and running, as well as this "Victron", etc. is just causing you to chase your tail!!! 'cause they're still "on" and can still be causing RFI and radiating it quite a ways....

When you write that everything is disconnected / off, and it isn't...this is keeping you from finding any RFI...

{BTW, I still am unsure if you do have on-board RFI....you've never told us what it sounds like, what bands/freqs it is on, how wide it is, how its strength varies across the bands/freqs, etc. etc. etc....nor, whether this is RFI from your BMS and/or "Victron", etc....
Or, perhaps you are just listening to natural band noise / atmospheric noise???
we still don't know...}



3) Also, PLEASE do not waste your money with noise cancelling filters, tuners, phase cancellers, etc....the MFJ units are practically useless.....(although DX Engineering builds a great unit, the NCC-1, at ~ $600....even it would be hard pressed to be of much help to you)
http://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-ncc-1
MFJ-1025/1026
These will not help you out much....


You must determine what noise you have, and where it is coming from!!
Only then, can we make recommendations on what the solutions are...




4) As for specifics....
Oh goodness, you never told us that you had LiFePo batteries with a Battery Management System (BMS) running all the time....
You mentioned that you had EVERYTHING off / disconnected, and I assumed that meant everything....
But, now it appears not to be the case...
As you have a BMS and a "Victron"(?)...
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
Attached is a pic of the BMS on the lifepo4 battery. No way I'm messing with it... if it's a problem I'll need to deal with it, I'm not going to be disconnecting it if I need to use the radio.

Same with the Victron... if I disconnect it it loses the state of the battery.
If you have on-board RFI, these need to be completely powered down / disconnected, for testing / troubleshooting purposes....
We need to determine what noises you are receiving....and you may need to completely power-down / disconnect these devices, in order to make this determination!!






5) I'm a bit confused by this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
The galvonic isolator, I could put a switch on it. It's irritating that they don't make these only turn on if your plugged in to AC power.
As a galvanic isolator is just some big diodes...and if you're not on shore power it won't have any electricity to it at all, and cannot possibly cause you any receive RFI....
You are testing the radio without being connected to shore power, yes??? (I know you are, when you are out in the boonies, but just unplug when testing at the dock!)




6) Just a few comments here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I've got the radio wired to a bus bar that's connected to the + side of the lifepo4 cell, and the main negative bus bar, 12 awg wire with fuses on both.
You should be connecting directly to the batteries....and I'd rather you connect to a lead-acid battery (such as your other 8D lead-acid or starter battery)...
12 ga is a bit light for the 25 amps that the radio will draw....
I've got the starter battery and a 8D that I'm not using, so this morning I'm going to rewire the radio to the 8D.


I need to figure out how to charge it then, I've got an echo charger I could use but I'd have to have a kill switch on it, otherwise it would just suck and suck on the lifepo4, and with my luck it would probably generate RFI as well.
Autumnbreeze, PLEASE stop...
You are moving too fast and overthinking things...

Hook the radio to another battery (8D, etc.), and power-down/disconnect the BMS and "Victron"....
And, then do some tests....
Do NOT worry about "charging" anything right now....besides it is the "chargers" / "inverters" / etc. that cause much of the on-board RFI!!!


It's probably 4' to the 8D and 6' to the lifepo4 to the radio.

I may try another one versus the other test this morning... maybe I can use the waterfall display in RMS Express to measure the RFI.
Please take this rather blunt advice in a friendly way!!
Forget the "waterfall display".....what noise do you have???
Where are these noises coming from???
Until you answer those questions, there is no need to measure anything, waterfalling or not

7) A few other points....
--- As I wrote earlier, there is nothing wrong with a good RF power / SWR meter on-board (especially one permanently mounted so you can always see what's going on with your radio / antenna system), and the "cross-needle" ones are easy to use at a glance....I prefer Daiwa....(MFJ is a rather inferior product)
BUT....
But, understand that no matter what meter you get, it will be of NO HELP at all here with these issues...


---- I've been a member of eham for > a decade....and while the q&a / forums have many of us with a wealth of knowledge, please don't make purchase decisions / evaluate equipment based on "product reviews" there!!!
Some of the older gear, reviewed many years ago, have some experienced wisdom in some of their reviews....but, unfortunately many of the modern reviews / recent reviews are done by folks with little to compare things with...they are well-intentioned, but not a real good indication of the real product...


--- Alan, K0BG's site on mobile HF operation is great, and even I have used it for a reference before....but, remember there are a lot more things on-board our boats that cars don't have...
Your best source for RFI info / advice is:
The Sailmail Primer...
The SSCA...
The SSCA Disc Boards...
The CCA...
And, of course here on CF...
(oh, and my youtube videos...



8) Finally, I see that you've got some software that is working for you....
That's great!!!
But, I'm still not clear what noises you are receiving???
(and neither the waterfall display, nor your other software, is going to help you with that answer...)
So, when you get a chance, let us know!



Fair winds..

John
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:55   #38
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Well, back in the marina again after spending some time in the sea of cortez.

I'm starting to think that part of my problem is just how busy the winlink stations are. I had no issues connecting in the middle of the night when I happened to wake up.

The wife is flying home today for some parts, so I'll get to add some toys to the setup to see if they help. I was considering getting a pactor, because I guess you get more stations that way, but can't stomach the $1500-$2000, so we'll just have to make due with what we have.

One issue I'm working on, is there a limit to what you can get via saildocs? I tried requesting a ndfd grib and I never get a response, possibly because the data requested is too big? It doesn't even work via telnet when on the marina wifi.

send NDFD:26N,20N,114W,105W|0.25,0.25|12,24..72
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Old 06-01-2016, 17:17   #39
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
One issue I'm working on, is there a limit to what you can get via saildocs? I tried requesting a ndfd grib and I never get a response, possibly because the data requested is too big? It doesn't even work via telnet when on the marina wifi.

send NDFD:26N,20N,114W,105W|0.25,0.25|12,24..72
There's no practical limit that I am aware of. I think the problem with your grib request is the "NDFD". Saildocs doesn't seem to support that. I just tried it and got this reply:
Quote:
Grib extraction failed (zero-length file, data files could not be downloaded)
request code: NDFD:26N,20N,114W,105W|0.25,0.25|12,24..72
I sent this instead: send GFS:26N,20N,114W,105W|0.25,0.25|12,24..72
and got back a 22.5KB grib file.
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Old 06-01-2016, 17:32   #40
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
Well, back in the marina again after spending some time in the sea of cortez.

I'm starting to think that part of my problem is just how busy the winlink stations are. I had no issues connecting in the middle of the night when I happened to wake up.

The wife is flying home today for some parts, so I'll get to add some toys to the setup to see if they help. I was considering getting a pactor, because I guess you get more stations that way, but can't stomach the $1500-$2000, so we'll just have to make due with what we have.

One issue I'm working on, is there a limit to what you can get via saildocs? I tried requesting a ndfd grib and I never get a response, possibly because the data requested is too big? It doesn't even work via telnet when on the marina wifi.

send NDFD:26N,20N,114W,105W|0.25,0.25|12,24..72
After upgrading my Pactor modem to Pactor III, I've started using it again. Pactor III made a huge difference in the number of stations available and the transmission speeds. With our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, I realized that the Texas stations are closer and less busy than the west coast stations. After rounding Cabo Falso, I started having trouble connecting to the San Diego stations and had little or no trouble with the Texas stations. Perhaps you are trying to connect to less reliable stations?

I try to connect early morning or late afternoons, though I had really good luck sending and receiving several emails during the day due to a crew issue back home.

To me, adding the Pactor modem makes perfect sense, send and receive email and downloading GRIB files from SailDocs. You can also get weatherfax images, with better quality via email than fax download. There's so much information available that the modem is a must-have addidtion to the SSB.

If you query Saildocs, they have good summary of the files available and the command syntax. You could also just use Airmail and select the various fax, bulletins, and GRIB files from their built-in menus. Take some time and review the Saildocs syntax at Home Page or sending a blank email to info@saildocs.com. GRIB file requests are described by sending a blank email to gribinfo@saildocs.com.

Good luck!

Don
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Old 07-01-2016, 11:06   #41
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Thanks all for the info. I got an email from the guy that turned me on to the NDFD gribs that for reasons unknown they do not work around 330-6pm. I can't view them with zygrib which is disappointing, but the built in viewer works.

I'd already gone through all the saildocs info, I found out about the spot feature, that was cool.
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Old 14-10-2016, 14:20   #42
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

After a year of cruising, I wanted to touch on this again. I had a great time getting on the sonrisa net in BOLA, but that was mostly because everybody was within close range and I could actually participate. We went up to Refugio, and it was hard to copy those in the village 40nm away.

My antenna goes up a stay on the mizzen, then jumps across to the triatic and goes to the main mast. Could it be that this horizontalish section is picking up a lot of spurious undesirable signals? I'm still frustrated that my HF radio setup sucks. I've gotten pretty good at sending and receiving data, but the sonrisa net needs net controllers and I'd like to volunteer, but I'd have to get relays for everything so I am hesitant. Any other advice? I'm leary of going up the mizzen and disconnecting the triatic... because I will probably never be able to re-attach it as good as the pro who did it in the first place.
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Old 14-10-2016, 14:43   #43
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Try hoisting a test antenna to the top of your main mast, using the mainsail halyard, to compare the reception. If that clears up the noise problem then you know the noise is coming from your antenna setup.

Have you followed John's advice and recommendations?
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Old 14-10-2016, 16:47   #44
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Thanks. Trying another antenna wire is probably my only remaining thing.

Disconnecting my battery monitor, or battery management system, is not an option. I have been on too many boats that have way more stuff on than I do and don't have these problems, so I have to hope it's an antenna issue.

I've run the radio off an 8D battery that has nothing else connected to it, and the noise is still there. I thought somebody might be able to say something like "only a moron goes with an inverted L" or something like that.
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Old 14-10-2016, 17:03   #45
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Re: Too much RX noise on HAM setup

Quote:
I thought somebody might be able to say something like "only a moron goes with an inverted L" or something like that.
Nah. One neighborhood I lived in was so noisy it was almost painful to try communicating. Then someone somewhere switched something off and it would be bliss. A nice quiet suburban neighborhood but Ham Hell.
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