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Old 30-04-2005, 03:36   #1
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Question SSB Installation on a Cat

I'm familiar with SSB set-ups on monohulls, but are there some better ways to install them on cats?

We have a Privilege 37 and want to install the transceiver on the bridge deck, but not sure what to do about an antenna and RF ground plane.

On the antenna, I don't want to cut the main shroud to add isolators. I'm thinking about a whip antenna or an antenna imbedded in a dacron line that I saw a couple of years ago. Any ideas on these options?

Regarding the RF ground plane, I have been reading about a different way to do the ground plane using plain wire "radials" of various lengths instead of the traditional copper straps in the bilge. Anyone try this method yet?
Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:38   #2
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Same boat, so the same can apply.

I am mounting my SSB at the nav station. I have the Icom m802, so the head unit mounts neatly in the curvinging panel. The Electronics I am mounting under the nav station. There is an access panel that come off. The only thing there is wiring and water tank. I am putting my antenna tuner in the starboard engine room. Actually there is a shelf just below the rudder rod that stretches across the boat that I will mount the antenna tunner on. I'll then come up through the outside rear transome. The permanet location for my antenna will be on the dinghy davits/solar panel. I am going to use a 23 foot Shakespeare SSB antenna. I didn't want to do the shoud bit either.

I don't know about the ground plane yet. There is so much contention about ground planes for boats. Experts are vehemently divided. My current thought is to do a combination of radials and connection to my Keel Cooler through hulls. They all agree that the more connections the better. I'll use the radials and put them through the mid bilge sections of both hulls. This area is bellow the water line, so there should be no issue. I'll also connect it to that BIG water tank we have under the salon seat. I will use strap to connect from the tuner to the radials. I am probably not going to connect the engines.

What type of radio are you using? I'd love to come up and take a look at your boat! I am hauling my Tuesday then I will be taking it back up to North Carolina.

Keith
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:43   #3
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I have not installed a SSB but I have been following how it is done.
There is much information in this forum and on the internet.
I have gained the strong impression that it is the surface area of the ground plane that is important. This is why copper strap is used instead of wire. (The RF wave travels on the surface of the conductor, not through the conductor).
One description of a successful installation that I read had all of the metal parts on the boat bonded together as an earth.(eg engine, rudder, prop shaft, fuel tanks, railings, electrical earths(with a suitable capacitor), through hulls etc.).
You must, of course, get everything checked by a licensed installer as an incorrect installation can cause serious injury.
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Old 01-05-2005, 02:00   #4
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funny you should mention it! i am installing a ssb to on my cat. i was thinking of either...a whip on the davits or running an antenna just foreward of my port shroud and up the mast. any ideas why this wont work? jt
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:06   #5
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Thanks for all the inputs. The radials vs copper strap issue appears to have the worked the SSB gurus into a frenzy. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but Keith's plan sounds pretty good.

Keith, I'm leaning toward a whip antenna also. I saved an article from a Waterway Radio & Cruising Club regarding a whip antenna made by Barker & Williamson Co, 603 Cidco Road, Cocoa, Fl. Article recommended their AP-10A antenna highly. I'm also thinking about something like CaptJohn mentioned. I saw an antenna imbedded in a dacron halyard that you can secure to the mast at the top. That would be an easy solution and get the antenna up higher. I'll try to find the guy that was selling it, Dr John Gregory, to get some more details. On my last boat, I was having SSB problems and as part of trouble shooting process, I hooked up a dipole antenna (just a long wire attached to a halyard) and ran it up the mast. The propagation was as good or better with the plain wire than it was with my back stay antenna. So based on that, I think a wire in a halyard would work fine. We will probably go with the ICOM M802 also. I had the M710 on my last boat. It worked well, but the tuning was user hostile. The M802 appears to have solved that problem and it should be a neater installation at the nav station.

Keith, we would be happy to show you Cat Tales any time. Give me a call or e-mail whenever its convenient (727) 822-5069 or svsynergy "at" hotmail.com (replace "at" with "@", I'm trying to keep the lid on junk mail).



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Old 01-05-2005, 12:45   #6
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Several years ago, I installed a HAM radio in my boat. I used an insulated back stay for an antenna, copper foil from the radio to the ground plate and from the ground plate to the tuner, then 10 ga. copper wire to the backstay. The performance was excellent. I had no trouble conversing throughout the world. The installation was simple and effective.
Jim
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:49   #7
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Lightbulb

I received some "expert advice" from an excellent SSB repair guy who is also a Ham. He recommends the traditional copper foil and a sea water contact through the hull. Guess I will go that way. Still not sure what I'm going to do about an antenna.
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Old 17-05-2005, 15:37   #8
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Whip and thru hull

We installed an Icom 700 with a shakespear 390 23 foot whip. We installed about 20 feet of copper foil through to a bronze thru hull.

We use the radio daily and reception is excellent. We talk with our friends all over the Caribe and continually get reports of excellent and clear transmissions.

Read the Gordon West SSB guide at the ICOM site. It is what we followed. Ours was a self install and we are extremely pleased!
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Old 18-05-2005, 03:02   #9
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Thanks

Appreciate all the inputs. SV Makai, its hard to argue with success. We will probably do the same type of installation. Don't have a bronze thru hull or dynaplate installed, so we may not have a sea water connection until after our next haul-out.

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Old 01-08-2005, 05:37   #10
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I have a Yaesu 747 that I have used extensively as a remote unit, and on research vessels. On other people's boats antenna options are limited. I have had an Outbacker antenna for the past 13 years, and found it to be very effective. This is a 5' tall multiband whip antenna. it is for the ham bands, but there used to be a version for marine ssb as well. If the marine version is no longer available, the ham version will tune up on the marine bands. This antenna has worked over 200 countries from mobile and marine mobile locations. The most important factor to performance is a good ground. No radials are needed, but the antenna will not work worth beans on a boat if it is not connected to sea water. The up side: no antenna tuner, and low profile. Downside: you have to manually move a jumper wire between bands. I am with you on not loading the stays, but we are amongst the minority.
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