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Old 23-08-2008, 18:28   #1
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Your SSB/HAM Wish List

I am considering installing a system on my Leopard 47 Cat and thought I would ask what set-up would you use if you had your wish list and why.

My cruising would be limited to Caribbean through Mexico (not going through the Panama Canal). Like email option and weather fax.

No real budget constraint but understanding the law of diminishing returns.

Have I opened a can of worms....
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Old 23-08-2008, 21:28   #2
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I would like to add a question on the same topic is a technitian license enough or will the general be much more useful? same general cruising area.
Thanks

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Old 23-08-2008, 22:56   #3
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I would go with a yaesu 857D. It covers pretty much everything in a tiny package. A local friend of mine has one and it's just beautiful on the air. I'd get a low-mid range manual tuner with a built in dual needle swr meter. Small as possible while still retaining functionality. Antenna would be dependant upon boat design, but I guess just go with what most people do and rig something up with the backstay, although I've been fiddling with ideas in my head about a foldable horizontal dipole for HF work. Something designed like the carbon fiber tent poles that you'd hoist up the mast when you'd want to talk long range.

As for different licenses, well, technician will now let you use a small portion of the 10 meter band as well. 10 meters can be GREAT under some conditions, but if you're going to be travelling more than about 20-30 miles from the people you want to talk to, then you'll want the HF bands, and for maximum flexibility, go for the general to give you access to portions of all of the bands. General is really pretty easy now. I passed both my technician and general in the same session without even studying for the general.
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Old 24-08-2008, 08:48   #4
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SSB Backstay question

has anyone used this split sytem? Is there a better way, I do not need portability of the antenna?

www.gamelectronicsinc.com/ssb.htm

The Gam / McKim Split Lead Single Side Band Antenna eliminates the need for backstay insulators forever. No longer must the integrity of backstays be compromised by cutting and installation of costly insulators. The Split Lead antenna simply press fits onto your existing backstay wire...no special tools required...and is secured at both ends by a simple plastic clamp.
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Old 24-08-2008, 09:48   #5
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I had one conversation with a user of a Gam antenna, who was anchored nearby and wondered why I could talk to Herb in Canada when they couldn't.

Technically, any antenna which has conductors running parallel and in close proximity to the backstay is going to be coupled to the backstay, and a good portion of the energy is going to be sent into the backstay. If the ends of the backstay are ungrounded, the backstay will radiate most of this energy out, but if they are grounded, most of the energy is going to be absorbed in the boat. If the bottom of the backstay is ungrounded (as in many fiberglass boats) and the top is grounded through the mast and other rigging, the answer is complex, but the bottom line is the radiated signal will be equal or less than the classic insulated backstay.
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Old 24-08-2008, 15:37   #6
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On my catamaran, I have no backstay so I am looking for suggestions on the antenna set-up.

reading all the old post for the last few days this is what I came up with for equipment, but do not know if the costs are correct.

ICOM 802 $1500

Pactor Modem $800

AT-140 Tuner or SG-230 $500

SWR Meter $100
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Old 24-08-2008, 16:04   #7
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Yes, but add:

$200 to price of M802
$300 to price of SCS Pactor III modem

plus installation costs (materials and labor) -- can vary considerably, depending on boat and who does the work and to what standard

best antenna for a cat is probably a whip, as stated elsewhere (Owen, et al).

Bill
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Old 24-08-2008, 16:15   #8
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Thanks bill.

I was just looking at whips on-line. They come in differnt sizes and I am guessing I would want a 24 foot one?? can I mount it along the mast or something so i do not have a 24 foot antenna sticking up?

I read posts about set-up the system up on land at the house to get familiar with the system before putting it on the boat. I assume I can use this whip to do that as well and run it up next to my house so my home owner association does not see it...
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Old 24-08-2008, 16:22   #9
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The whip really needs to be in the clear. Any significant rigging closeby will degrade the signal and radiation pattern somewhat.

Yes, you can use it at home, too, but remember -- both on the boat and anywhere else -- the really important part of the antenna system is the RF ground. You cannot ignore this.

Remember, too, that you cannot use your marine SSB at home except for listening (unless you're a licensed ham). In this case, the RF ground system isn't so important (for just listening), so the antenna itself will work pretty well. Just don't try to transmit. For listening at home, I'd use just the M802 connected directly to the antenna....leave out the antenna tuner. And, again, don't try to transmit or to "Tune".

Bill
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Old 24-09-2008, 14:27   #10
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I think someone answered this.. but you need a General class or Amateur Extra for anything on radiotelephone (voice) other than 10 meters.

(10 Meters is 28.000 to roughly 30.000 Mhz and voice is from 28.300 up. The higher frequencies also use frequency modulation)

Are any of you amateurs also?
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Old 24-09-2008, 15:18   #11
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You need a general class license to operate SSB on anything below 10M. The ARRl.org web site has a nice color freq chart which is printable
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Old 24-09-2008, 15:39   #12
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I said that. But, I think we've said the same thing in different ways. When I said "higher" I was speaking specifically of the 10 meter band and frequencies.

I'm actually very well aware of amateur stuff. I hold an Amateur Extra class license, and long time ago held a First Class Radio Telephone license (they call it something different these days).

I'm a radio guy before I'm anything else - and I'm a land locked, not-yet-a-sailor, but I'm an expert on radio theory and I know the regs from commercial and amateur (I don't know all I need to know about marine yet, but give me a few weeks!)

Rick

PS I have several of those charts laying on my radio desk in the shack here as we speak! lol
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Old 24-09-2008, 17:39   #13
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I misread your post- I'd have comprehended it better in cw..My apologies for stating the obvious.
73, Don/K1VSK
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Old 25-09-2008, 06:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
best antenna for a cat is probably a whip, as stated elsewhere (Owen, et al).

Bill
I always wonder why people settle with a whip antenna instead of just insulating a stay. Just because you don't have a backstay doesn't mean you can't use a shroud.

Maybe somebody can provide an in-depth technical reason why it won't work, but that's what I did on my last boat which was a ketch rig. The slight bend in the wire as it goes over the spreader seemed to have no effect. I did have a wooden spreader, and my rig worked great with the insulated shroud.
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Old 25-09-2008, 07:38   #15
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I always wonder why people settle with a whip antenna instead of just insulating a stay. Just because you don't have a backstay doesn't mean you can't use a shroud.

Maybe somebody can provide an in-depth technical reason why it won't work, but that's what I did on my last boat which was a ketch rig. The slight bend in the wire as it goes over the spreader seemed to have no effect. I did have a wooden spreader, and my rig worked great with the insulated shroud.
Hiya... I think people "Settle" on a whip because it looks cool. lol

The best sort of antenna that one can use on HF is the one that give some sort of overall gain, and has the lowest standing-wave ratio (SWR). Apparently in my reading last night, I discovered that antennas on boats and ships are supposed to be omni-directional - and whips are certainly that. I have a tower in my backyard with a large, rotating multi-element array that works really well for aiming my signals. That doesn't work on a boat.

I also have a large (huge) 'whip' in the backyard. Ok, well, it's not a whip antenna (since a whip, by definition is really a single piece of metal that can whip around in the wind) it's a vertical, multiband antenna that has traps (tuned circuits) that allow the antenna to function on several different bands.

MOST antennas for boats it appears in my reading over the last few days are really single-band antennas and people use antenna tuners to match the antenna with the transceiver. That's all well and good, since it matches the impedance to the transmitter.

What you lose however, is usually power. A 100watt transmitter, being fed into a mismatched antenna through a matching device will deliver it's 100W (or thereabouts) to the matching unit. You will lose some of that energy as it goes to heat and to other losses. Eventually you will send a "matched signal" to the antenna but just at a lower power.

There's nothing to say you can use a stay or set of stays on the boat.

In fact, if you have two stays you can actually build a dipole antenna from the two cables and feed at the top of the mast. This would technically be called an "Inverted Vee" antenna, doesn't need a "ground plane" at all, and is much more efficient than a single whip (which requires you have a good ground plane system using the boat/water, etc).

You would need to have your antenna tuner close to the cable feeding the top of the mast, say, just below deck and the short, balanced cabling feeding up the mast to the top.

All of this information is predicated on the fact that 1) I've only ever been ON two sail boats in my life, 2) I never really LOOKED that closely at stays on the boats, 3) the stays are actually made of some conductive material and 4) If you want to see how this works I can do it for you (but you have to take me sailing!) hahaha

Seriously though, there's no reason you couldn't actually use the stays as antenna elements... as long as you noted, they are INSULATED from the body of the vessel and from the mast.
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