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Old 21-06-2020, 09:03   #1
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Eliminating static on SSB

Recently replaced most electronics on our boat as it was struck by lightning in late 2019. One of the new additions was a Regony Rover MPPT 40 Amp Solar Charger Controller. Did not need to change the Link Pro battery monitor that was on board as it still works. Just recently splashed the boat and started testing my Icom 802, with an AT-140 Tuner, copper strapping ground to the rudder post and GTO wire (10 feet) to a halyard antenna of 34 feet. Signed in to the Waterway Net and then Cruzheimers two weeks ago and could hear on both channels, but could not be heard well. (I cannot be sure at that time that I had the unit set to high power or what settings it was on, ie. RF Gain, etc.). There was a fair amount of static on the radio while doing this. Anyway, those on the net could barely pick up my voice, though it got better when on Cruizheimers.

I have since moved the boat to our permanent marina and now I can neither hear anything other than steady static noise (shows 3-4 bars on the signal display), though I do hear faint time beats on 3.3000 MgHz), but that's it. Have not had a chance, however, to tune into the Waterway Net or Cruizheimers since that last occasion.

I replaced the GTO wire because it looked like it had some corrosion and then connected an SWR meter between the 802 and the tuner. At high power, and with my wife depressing the talk button and the 802 set to FSK mode, the SWR meter showed 140 watts, on medium power 70 Watts and on Low 20 watts. Switched to SWR function and meter showed 1.1 - 1.2. When changing channels the tuner clicks and appears to tune the antenna. I figure the unit is operating properly (maybe a bad assumption, but one can only hope), just getting a lot of constant RFI when listening.

So, I used an AM radio and after switching everything AC and DC off, went around the boat looking for likely RFI sources. I was unable to figure out how to turn off the Link monitor or Rover charge controller, so they were still active. The tone and volume of static increased dramatically when placing the AM radio next to the Xantrex Link Pro monitor I have mounted at the nav station (and 2 - 3 feet from 802 display head and unit), as well asincrease dramatically when I placed it next to the new Solar Panel MPPT Charger Controller (in the aft cockpit lazarette and across from the tuner). That controller was installed to replace two SunSaver PWM charger controllers that I had previously. The tone and sound of the static on the AM radio is very similar to what you hear on the 802, only louder when placing the AM radio next to the charge controller and Link Pro.

So my question(s) are: Am I correct to assume that the unit is working ok based on what I have indicated, or with the boat having been struck by lightning is it still necessary to have the 802 unit, control head and AT-140 tuner checked out by Icom? 2) Assuming that it is working ok, how do I get rid of the static which appears to be generated by the Link monitor and the Renogy Charge controller? 3) I have an email out to Renogy asking if I can turn the unit off manually (which if I could do I would do so during any radio calls), but can't find anywhere if one can disable the Xantrex Link Pro, though I will be contacting Xantrex technical support this week. 4) Would installation of ferrites do any good to resolve either issue, if so, where to put them? Sorry for the length of this post, but I hope I have given you enough info to respond.

Any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Any thoughts, suggestions etc., would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. George
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Old 21-06-2020, 09:17   #2
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Go anchor somewhere away from terrestrial noise and try again. Marinas are noisy places!!
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Old 21-06-2020, 09:34   #3
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Yeah, marinas are terrible noisy!
Also, you have the engine and refrig off when you are listening and tx'ing right?
I assume you were good before hauling? If not , then what about ground plane?
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Old 21-06-2020, 09:45   #4
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Basically, there are two types of RF noise - radiated and conducted. You likely suffer from the former and eliminating the charger/controller will easily confirm that.

At that point, you isolated the noise to radiated sources. Marinas are infamous for radiated sources and the noise blanker circuit in your radio is notoriously not very effective. There are transceivers with excellent noise reduction filter circuits but that’s a last resort solution.
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Old 21-06-2020, 09:52   #5
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

MPPT controllers are basically a switch mode power supply (SMPS) and those can be quite noisy. And they can put that noise into the 12V wires all over the boat. A couple of quick tests; 1) does the noise decrease significantly at night? 2) cover the solar panels with blankets or something else opaque. This should shut down the controller as well. Does the noise go away?

You can put a filter on the power input to the radio that will help with the conducted part. Samlex recommends (but I have never tried) a 1/4 wave radial connected to the negative of the SMPS.
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Old 21-06-2020, 13:23   #6
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Curious to know how many solar panels do you have? And, if 2+ panels are they wired in series? If so, and as mentioned above, your MC4 cables could be acting like a loop antenna. I too would recommend either covering the panels, or better yet, remove one cable from the controller to the panels. This will completely remove power to the controller. You might also have to remove one of the battery cables to be make sure the controller is completely off.

JMHO
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Old 21-06-2020, 16:09   #7
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Thanks for your responses.

Let me address your questions/suggestions first. I intend on anchoring out in the near future to test how bad the static continues if at all. Yes, refrig engine and AC as well as every other source of electrical activity were turned off (including unplugging AC power at the dock pedestal). I was able to do comms without appreciable static pre-lightning strike and haul out. Nevertheless, I cleaned the ground plane of some mild corrosion and made sure it was in good condition prior to splashing. And as noted, changed the GTO 15 wire as well. Don't know if the static goes away if I cover the solar panel or if noise continues after dark, but will certainly follow that advice/check that issue next time I am down there. Finally, only one panel up now, when we go cruising we have four. I don't think that the MC4 cables are acting like a loop antenna as they never have done so in the past. I cannot think why would that change now. Any ideas?

Significantly, at least as far as I can deduce, the pieces of equipment that did not get fried by the strike were the 802, the tuner and the Link Pro battery monitor. This assumes of course my testing correctly establishes they are all functioning properly and that something is not actually wrong with the comms equipment. Pre-lightning strike, I didn't have any static from the Link. Post strike and after installing the Renogy MPPT controller (as well as other equipment), is when this issue has come up. However, while every other bit of electronic equipment on board has been replaced, they were all off at the time of my testing except for the Link and Renogy controller. So, I think that the MPPT controller might be the cause, or at least a contributing factor of the problem. However, not sure and will follow your respective advice to define the problem better.

If it is the controller, do I get ferrites and attach them to remove the static?
If so, where do I attach them and what kind? Do I get rid of the controller and go back to a PWM controller that did not cause the problem (assuming it is the problem), or can I by pass the controller and avoid the problem when performing comms. Still working on those issues.

Again, thanks for your thoughts and will report back in the next couple of weeks after further testing. Naturally, if the above fosters any new thoughts, don't hesitate to suggest them. George
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Old 22-06-2020, 09:47   #8
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

My M802 is most sensitive to my Vitrifrigo refrigerator/freezer RFI (& marina “static” noise levels).
Like several respondents, I get very poor radio transmit and/or reception service in any of the 5 international marinas I’ve occupied.
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Old 22-06-2020, 09:50   #9
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Have you checked your reflected power between the tuner and the coax to the antenna?
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Old 22-06-2020, 10:00   #10
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

The MPPT controller will probably (not knowing entire setup) give you better total power production, but they are RF noisy. So, I would probably not switch back to PWM. If you don't talk on the radio so much that it is a pain you can install a switch/breaker between the solar panels and the MPPT. Open the switch and there will be no power to the controller on the high side, and thus no DC-DC conversion, which should reduce RFI from the controller immensely. The test above should confirm whether or not it is worth the trouble before you go to the trouble.

I suspect, but can't say without trying, that a DC filter on the power input to the 802 will also provide the best chance at reducing noise, but that would depend on the specific noise and whether it is being conducted over the power leads from the Renogy or being radiated as radio from it. The manual/specification is silent as to the frequency of the SMPS inside the controller, may be worth a call to Renogy to find out.
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Old 22-06-2020, 11:25   #11
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by n5ama View Post
Have you checked your reflected power between the tuner and the coax to the antenna?
You can't do a valid test between the tuner and the antenna using the normal SWR meter designed for 50 ohms characteristic imedance. Anything connected to the antenna port of the tuner is part of the tuned antenna and is not generally a simple 50 ohms impedance anymore.
OP reported good readings where it counts, at the output of the Icom.

Now, I don't understand why OP doesn't just have some very easy way to disconnect his solar charging system from the rest of the boat! Usually there would be circuit breaker or a fuse that can be removed. I wouldn't think the solar would make noise at night, but just to be sure, simply disconnect it.

The inverter/charger is normally hard wired to a battery switch or big fuse, so you can disconnect the charger only by removing the big red wire since you still need power to the Icom and tuner. But worth it, for just one test.
But your main problem is probably just being in the marina and you may be wasting your time without first getting out a mile or so to test your RF rig. Unless you had lower noise in the same slip in the same marina before the lightning strike.
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Old 22-06-2020, 11:50   #12
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by gchabs View Post
Recently replaced most electronics on our boat as it was struck by lightning in late 2019. One of the new additions was a Regony Rover MPPT 40 Amp Solar Charger Controller. Did not need to change the Link Pro battery monitor that was on board as it still works. Just recently splashed the boat and started testing my Icom 802, with an AT-140 Tuner, copper strapping ground to the rudder post and GTO wire (10 feet) to a halyard antenna of 34 feet. Signed in to the Waterway Net and then Cruzheimers two weeks ago and could hear on both channels, but could not be heard well. (I cannot be sure at that time that I had the unit set to high power or what settings it was on, ie. RF Gain, etc.). There was a fair amount of static on the radio while doing this. Anyway, those on the net could barely pick up my voice, though it got better when on Cruizheimers.

I have since moved the boat to our permanent marina and now I can neither hear anything other than steady static noise (shows 3-4 bars on the signal display), though I do hear faint time beats on 3.3000 MgHz), but that's it. Have not had a chance, however, to tune into the Waterway Net or Cruizheimers since that last occasion.

I replaced the GTO wire because it looked like it had some corrosion and then connected an SWR meter between the 802 and the tuner. At high power, and with my wife depressing the talk button and the 802 set to FSK mode, the SWR meter showed 140 watts, on medium power 70 Watts and on Low 20 watts. Switched to SWR function and meter showed 1.1 - 1.2. When changing channels the tuner clicks and appears to tune the antenna. I figure the unit is operating properly (maybe a bad assumption, but one can only hope), just getting a lot of constant RFI when listening.

So, I used an AM radio and after switching everything AC and DC off, went around the boat looking for likely RFI sources. I was unable to figure out how to turn off the Link monitor or Rover charge controller, so they were still active. The tone and volume of static increased dramatically when placing the AM radio next to the Xantrex Link Pro monitor I have mounted at the nav station (and 2 - 3 feet from 802 display head and unit), as well asincrease dramatically when I placed it next to the new Solar Panel MPPT Charger Controller (in the aft cockpit lazarette and across from the tuner). That controller was installed to replace two SunSaver PWM charger controllers that I had previously. The tone and sound of the static on the AM radio is very similar to what you hear on the 802, only louder when placing the AM radio next to the charge controller and Link Pro.

So my question(s) are: Am I correct to assume that the unit is working ok based on what I have indicated, or with the boat having been struck by lightning is it still necessary to have the 802 unit, control head and AT-140 tuner checked out by Icom? 2) Assuming that it is working ok, how do I get rid of the static which appears to be generated by the Link monitor and the Renogy Charge controller? 3) I have an email out to Renogy asking if I can turn the unit off manually (which if I could do I would do so during any radio calls), but can't find anywhere if one can disable the Xantrex Link Pro, though I will be contacting Xantrex technical support this week. 4) Would installation of ferrites do any good to resolve either issue, if so, where to put them? Sorry for the length of this post, but I hope I have given you enough info to respond.

Any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Any thoughts, suggestions etc., would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. George

Suggest putting a couple of Ferrite beads on the antenna coax near the radio and if possible on the power cord too.
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Old 22-06-2020, 20:56   #13
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Re: Eliminating static on SSB

George,
(wish we knew where you are located [I'm guessing Chesapeake area? or NY, New England?] what boat you have, how it is equipped / wired, etc....as without this info, and without a lot more info I inquire about, all we can do here is offer generalities)



1) First off, slow down a moment....do not buy anything / do not change anything, yet!
Don't put any more ferrites on your M-802 cabling (as this is almost exclusively for transmit RFI)....gosh, all of this is all explained in the stickies....

(be sure to save your receipts for all your new devices...'cuz, I suspect that you'll be returning / exchanging some)



I have a great deal of easy-to-grasp info/help for you....both here in brief...and in the stickies above, in great detail...


In particular, please have a look here....where just this past week I spent quite a bit of time detailing exactly how-to understand RFI (versus natural / atmospheric noise...aka "static")...

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/marine-ssb-stuff-how-to-better-use-properly-install-ssb-and-troubleshoot-rfi-etc-133496-8.html#post3164479

That is a long posting from just last week, that highlights receive RFI issues, how to figure them out, and sometimes how to eliminate them, or work around them....it will help, but.....but, in your case, you've had a lightning strike and are trying to use equipment that is suspect, so read it with basic knowledge as the goal, your specific solutions are going to be here / below...



Also, please have a look at the stickies...(all the info you need is there...including the answers to your questions here about RFI)

Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / properly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...tc-133496.html

HF-SSB Radio, Proper Installation Tips/Techniques, etc.
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...tc-198305.html



FYI, quick-'n-dirty answers / instant, knee-jerk answers (that are educated / experienced guesses)....any one, two, three, four, five or all 6 could apply:


a) you're falsely assuming that just because some piece(s) of equipment works after your lightning strike, that it hasn't been damaged and is working properly (which almost always is not the case)...and as such, some of your equipment (even the M-802 itself) could be causing your HF radio problems, even if it turns on and "seems to work"....
{I wonder who / what surveyor actually determined what equipment was "not damaged" in the lightning strike, 'cuz I wouldn't trust him to park my car, let alone determine what equipment is good after a lightning strike!}




b) you have a lot of receive RFI (some from on-board and some from the marina / other boats in marina)
Quote:
Originally Posted by gchabs View Post
I have since moved the boat to our permanent marina and now I can neither hear anything other than steady static noise (shows 3-4 bars on the signal display), though I do hear faint time beats on 3.3000 MgHz), but that's it.
and, I suspect your Regony Rover MPPT controller (and the wiring to/from it) as a source of some of it, as well as your battery monitor (Link Pro)...



c) you probably don't have a decent direct sea-water antenna ground connection



d) you don't have the M-802's internal DSP-based speech compressor turned-on (the M-802's pre-set "mic gain"/DSP-SSB modulator drive is designed to operate with the speech compressor on....when it is off, the average SSB voice power is low, very low by most standards)



e) your M-802 is an older model (pre-2005/2006) and hasn't had the Icom-factory "clipping-mod" performed



f) your M-802 is damaged by the lightning strike



But, please read below...'cuz knee-jerk answers based on little info/data are usually flawed!!
So, please read on!!






2) Secondly, the answer to your question about whether your M-802 and AT-140 are working properly.....well, the short answer is I have no idea, and honestly neither does anyone else here...sure we can all guess, but nobody really knows....



It turns on, yes...it transmits and receives, yes...it puts out the correct power, and the tuner seems to tune, yep...it all "seems" okay.....but since you weren't clear about your M-802/AT-140 system, there could be problems that are not showing...or some of what is showing are internal problems, inside the M-802....there is no way for anyone here to know, and after doing some RFI testing, I strongly urge you to call Icom as soon as you can, to arrange for the M-802, and RC-25 control head and HM-135 mic (which are usually not sent in with the main unit for servicing), and AT-140, to all be sent in for evaluation and service as needed!



[George, to be 100% clear here....
If your boat was actually hit by lightning, not just "had some electronics failures from EMP / a close-by strike", but actually a direct hit...it is highly likely that you have a damaged M-802 / AT-140....and even if they are presently working, I would not trust / rely on them at all....

They must be returned to Icom to be checked/serviced as needed...

BTW, I own three M-802's....yep three! (two that are perfect.....and one older one, which was serviced by Icom after my lightning strike, and even so, I still don't trust it, so it is now at home on-shore as a perfectly working spare...)

Yes, I know I'm a radio nut, but I also have ~ 50 years experience with lightning and radios, and if you took a direct hit, your M-802 and AT-140 will at least need to be checked out by Icom in Washington...

If, all you had was some electronics damage from a close-by strike or side-flash, it's possible that your M-802 is okay, but I'd still send it to Icom to be checked out...]


a) is this a complete / totally new installation? (new radio, tuner, new wiring, connections, etc.?)
('cuz after a lightning strike, the number one overlooked thing is the wiring / electronics wiring....yes, I know it's a pain to replace, but in most cases it is necessary!! Btw, first hand experience here --- I replaced all of mine years ago, after a lightning strike...even though the old wiring looked good, I replaced it all, just to be sure...fyi, I have ~ 50 years experience here with all of this, on-board and on-shore)


b) is this a new M-802 and AT-140, installed using older/existing wiring? (including old antenna wiring, old ground strapping, etc.)


c) is this your older/existing M-802/AT-140 that you are certain was not damaged by the lightning strike?



d) is this your older/existing M-802/AT-140 that you assume was not damaged by the lightning strike? {reading what you wrote, I'm thinking this is the case here??}



Without knowing these clarifications (the answers to those 4 quick questions, plus as much additional info you can provide), we cannot be 100% certain of whether your M-802/AT140 is working as it should...(but, we might still be able to use it to assess some RFI problems, before you send it to Icom)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm hesitant to delve into the details of RFI here, as I'm concerned that you'll find the sources of your RFI, and eliminate them (replace the defective devices, etc.) and you'll end up assuming that your M-802 / AT-140 are fine, even after they suffered a lightning strike....

So, I will do this...I will provide you with the details, but I highly suggest that after you do all of this / solve your RFI problems, you immediately send off your M-802, RC-25, HM-135, and AT-140 (and all connecting cables), to Icom for evaluation and service as needed...(be sure to tell them it was a lightning strike, and that you request they test/use your RC-25, HM-135, and cabling, in order to evaluate them as well as the M-802 main unit)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3) Yes, as I (and others) have written many times, these days there is a great deal of RFI around us on-shore, and especially in marinas.....and this typically has a serious negative effect on your HF radio reception...

FYI, 3 to 4 bars on the M-802's S-meter is a fairly strong signal...
And, on a known-good M-802, would indicate very strong RFI!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by gchabs View Post
I have since moved the boat to our permanent marina and now I can neither hear anything other than steady static noise (shows 3-4 bars on the signal display), though I do hear faint time beats on 3.3000 MgHz), but that's it.
And, I think you meant 3.330.0, as that is Canadian CHU time signal...


And, I'm going to assume that this is the proximate cause of your problems! (as well as whatever RFI you're generating on-board, probably from your MPPT controller and your Link Pro battery monitor, etc...)


{Unlike the oft-misunderstood lore, marinas typically do NOT adversely effect your transmissions....or at least, not much...

Yes, I know, I know...."everyone" says: "all those masts suck up all your radio waves" [sic]....please accept that this is 99% BS....the problem is, since you can't hear anything, or can't hear much, you have no way of knowing how well your signal is actually getting out....of course, having your transmit antenna (backstay, whip, shroud, halyard, etc.) in close proximity to a lot of other metallic structures / buildings, etc. does effect its radiation pattern and effectiveness....and if you're tied up next to many other sailboats, etc. the masts/rigging of those in/close to your antenna's near field (typically within a few wavelengths), do have an effect on your antenna's pattern as well.....and can make your transmit signal weaker in some locations/some paths (however it would also be stronger in some locations/along some paths)....it's just something that cannot be calculated, nor should you worry much about it...}


It is the systems on all these other boats (battery chargers, inverters, frig/freezers, solar charge controllers, phone chargers, computers, plasma screens, etc. etc. etc.) that are all in close proximity of your boat (your HF antenna), that are a large part of HF reception problems for many on-board in marinas! (of course, there is also all the RFI from the stuff on shore....although distance here is an advantage....the closer you are to RFI source, the worse it is!!)






4) For RFI issues....please have a look at what s/v Illusion wrote....(and what I wrote in the stickies, right at the top of this Marine Electronics page....and/or do a search for RFI..)


To be clear...unless there is a problem with your M-802, it is VERY unlikely that you have conducted RFI...(although, as I wrote above, I'm not clear whether your M-802 is "new" or "repaired", or "not damaged")....so, since it's unlikely you have conducted receive RFI, ferrites on M-802 cables/wiring (which DO help with transmit RFI) will have no effect on your situation here...



So, while I'm assuming you'll need to send your radio, etc. in for evaluation / service, here in regards to discussing RFI, if we assume that a particular radio/tuner/wiring is new / working as prescribed....this means we can assume that this install has significant radiated RFI...


And, while you can mess around trying to put ferrites on all the wires on all these RFI producing systems on-board, you're much better served by simply eliminating these systems/devices!! (replace them with products that do not produce significant RFI)

The good news here for you is, if these are new devices/systems that you just added, you can return them as defective....please note that anything with a microprocessor in it, and/or anything using RF freqs for its internal operation (like MPPT controllers, or any switch-mode supplies/chargers/inverters), to be sold in the US they must meet FCC Part 15 emission regulations, and if they're interfering with your HF radio they're violating those regs, so return should be darn easy....(finding replacement devices that don't radiate significant RFI, should be fairly easy....but, it will usually cost you more...)





5) Now, where is all the RFI coming from? And, how to eliminated it?


Although your MPPT controller and battery monitor (Link Pro) are highly likely to be producing objectionable RFI, the RFI is probably coming from a lot of places in your marina and from on-shore, as well...getting away from the marina (1/2 mile to one mile, away from anyone, away from any shore-side electricity, is good.....and at least a couple hundred yards, from any other boat, is good) is going to be an easy-peasy way to see what RFI is coming from shore, and what is coming from you own boat...





6) My first thoughts / advice (as stated many times), to test where the RFI is coming from, and decide how to eliminate it, once you're away from the dock, away from shore-side RFI, you need to disconnect everything on your own boat, except for the M-802...



And this especially means anything "switch-mode", such as your MPPT solar charge controller....fyi, it's usually easy to switch off your MPPT controller (not by covering your solar panels)....assuming it is installed/wired correctly, you will have a fuse/breaker on its output, and probably the same (or at least a switch) on its input, and you just need to flip the breakers/switches, and you should be good-to-go...but, if you need to disconnect the wires, just do that...


Fyi, contrary to what many seem to think, some (many?) MPPT controllers do not emit much RFI!
I have two BlueSky 2512ix's MPPT controllers that do not radiate much RFI (they are just inches away from my M-802, and my panels are just inches away from my backstay antenna, and I have no significant RFI at all from them....actually only a tiny bit on a couple frequencies that are not used for either ham or maritime comms), and have also had good luck with Morningstar MPPT controllers, too.....

But, many sailors with Magnum and Victron MPPT controllers have had significant HF RFI issues....and I assume many of the "off-brand" units do as well, and I'm assuming your "Regony Rover MPPT" controller is one that produces significant RFI too...



Disconnecting everything, means disconnecting everything (not just turning things off)....as your M-802 should be wired directly to the main house battery bank (thru a dedicated fuse/breaker)...it's easy to leave it connected while having everything else disconnected...



Many find it easiest when still at the dock/marina, to turn on the M-802 and look at its display and listen around on many channels (not just one or two), retuning the tuner as you switch thru many channels....take 5 minutes and make some observations and take some notes....then..


Then get off the dock....anchor in a nice quiet area, and once anchor is down and set, shut down everything on-board (or just get out on the water and sail for a few, away from everyone / away from shore)....turn off all your breakers/switches....then switch off the battery switches, and turn off the breaker/switch for the MPPT solar-charge-controller....turn off any wind-gen regulator, etc....and, be sure to disconnect any battery monitor (unplug your Link Pro, completely!)...make sure there is nothing else on-board powered at all, no battery-powered digital devices, etc., and you have no battery charging, etc. going on...



Then turn your attention back to your M-802, which should still be on and working fine....take the notes you made a little bit ago, and go thru all of those channels again, observe the changes, etc...


Then, you start connecting things / switching things on, one-at-at-time....starting with the most obvious RFI producers, such as your MPPT controllers, then frig/freezer, then any wind gen, then your battery monitor, then any battery chargers, phone chargers, laptop chargers, etc., then any computers, etc., then try your cabin lighting / LED lights....all-the-while going thru many different channels on the M-802, and compare you new observations (when each device / system is connected and turned on, independently) with the ones you made note of when back at the dock...


At this point, you've probably found some (many?) RFI sources.....but, don't stop yet.....you're back to everything (except the M-802) being disconnected, so now try your GPS, then instruments (depth, speed, wind, etc,), then your chartplotter, then radar....then your nav lights, then your anchor light, deck lights, etc... the more common / odd things on-board....try fans, LP solenoid, bilge pumps, domestic fresh-water pump, macerator pumps, etc. etc...


Yep, as you've figured out, this might take you 30 minutes...but, if you have a helper to disconnect / connect things (or switch things on/off, like cabin lights, fans, sink faucets, bilge pumps, etc.), while you're listening / observing on multiple HF channels on the M-802, it won't take that long...


Once you've tried each system / device on-board individually, one-at-a-time, while you're listening / observing on multiple HF channels on the M-802....then connect / turn on all the ones that you found to cause interference (even if only minor, and/or only on one channel, etc.)....and make your observations, compare to what you see/hear at the dock....with all the offending systems/devices turned on and running nominally...



And, now you can see/hear what is causing your RFI on-board....and see/observe what isn't there, as this is what would be there if you were still at the dock...



You've made note of whatever systems / devices are causing significant RFI (reducing your ability to use your radio), and you can decide if you can accept / live with that RFI or not....for most of it, I assume not, so then you need to decide to either replace them or try to suppress the RFI...






7) RFI suppression is typically done by first making sure all the control/data wiring on-board is shielded wiring, and shields are properly connected on both ends....
(fyi, this is one of the nice elegant ways that Raymarine designed their "SeaTalk" system....power+, data+, and shield...no way to overlook the shield connection, 'cuz it won't work without it....and, I've never seen RFI from SeaTalk, ever...)
If your Link Pro cannot be replaced, I suspect you may need to at least rewire it with shielded wiring and and run it thru ferrite cores...

Then:
a) increasing the distance between the offending system/device (and all their wiring) and your antenna...
(Remember the AT-140 is part of your antenna, as is your GTO-15 wire...and on the lower HF bands, these are the high-current points, where most of the radiation occurs, so they are a very important part of your antenna, for both transmitting and receiving!!
So, get any of the offending systems/devices wiring as far away from the AT-140, GTO-15, and your shroud, as possible!)

[this means do not install your solar charge controller near the AT-140 nor GTO-15....fyi, even not considering HF RFI, it's best to install the charge controller near the batteries / battery switches / buss bar / breaker panel, not near the panels....both for voltage drop / MPPT-boosting reasons as well as for RFI reasons]



b) making sure none of these systems/devices wiring runs parallel to your GTO-15, nor parallel to your "halyard antenna"...



c) shielding (RF shielding / screening) of all offending devices....(typically too difficult and/or expensive for many systems on-board)



d) reducing the length of wiring (both power wiring and control/data wiring) of all the offending systems/devices....and/or coiling any excess wiring thru ferrite cores (the more turns thru the better, as their choking ability increases exponentially with the number of turns)...
[this means check the Link Pro and its wiring...]


e) run all the data / control wiring thru ferrite cores (as many turns thru as you can), as close to each device as possible (so that as little of their wiring as possible can be used as an antenna / radiate the RFI...)
[this means check the Link Pro and its wiring...and make sure it is working correctly after the lightning strike, which it probably isn't....and replace as needed, or at least use shielded wiring for it and run thru some ferrite cores...]





8) As for your transmit signal, whether weak or strong....you've made no mention of where you are at....nor what boat you have....nor how your M-802 is wired/installed....nor whether your M-802 has its internal DSP-based speech compressor turned-on.....nor whether your M-802 is "new" and/or whether it is older (pre-2005/2006) and needs the Icom-factory "clipping-mod" done....

Nor have you described how you've made a direct sea-water connection antenna ground, to use the sea-water as your antenna ground....(fyi, copper strapping to a rudder post generally would not give you a direct sea water connection.....which is why I ask...)


FYI, there is a plethora of info on both installation tips/techniques, RFI, etc. and on operating tips/techniques, of HF maritime systems, right here in the stickies, on top of the Marine Electronics page....of course even if you decide not to read them / not to take the learned, experienced advice there, perhaps you'll just click on a link or two there, and read the advice from others, such as the Sailmail Primer....
And, until we have the answers to all of these questions (and a lot more), there's not much use in me rambling on further...





So...


Bottom line George, all the info is here for you....but, since we don't really know much about your particular M-802/AT-140 installation, nor do we know if your M-802 has been damaged by the lightning strike, nor do we even know where you are located, we cannot offer much beyond the generalities posted here and in the stickies...


Again, if you read the posting from last week, that I referenced.....
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/marine-ssb-stuff-how-to-better-use-properly-install-ssb-and-troubleshoot-rfi-etc-133496-8.html#post3164479
do all the tests I highlighted, and, provide all the additional info requested, we should be able to help you out...





9) Oh, and your writing about not knowing what the M-802 settings were is a telling phrase here...as the RF Gain is a receive setting, and power output is a transmit setting....so, perhaps you haven't watched the videos??
If not please do so....they will help, I promise!!


Icom M-802 Instruction Videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2npivDjoFrC-8QKVyMb4tVr


HF-DSC Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2n3z5nlv-ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Maritime HF Comms (in general)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2nPNdApNsZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y



Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2mPZAx2vWzdjTJjHlChruyY



Offshore Sailing
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2nbwAGh5DKgTCj15iyl6qoY



All of the above videos are free for all to use and learn from...nobody is trying to sell you anything, no subscriptions, nope....just free, experienced info for all....(as long as you use it for your own personal use)
These are all done, extemporaneously, no script, no director, just me, my narration off-the-top-of-my-head....my radios and my fingers....that's it...
These are all done LIVE, as it happens, in the real-world, on-board a real offshore cruising boat (at the dock), no simulations, no laboratory, no BS....just like everyone else uses their radio...
(so, please be kind....I mean, they are FREE after all...




The VHF-specific videos are not done by me (except for my description of DSC)....so, they're done in a lab....sorry about that, but, heck they're free as well..
VHF-DSC
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2m-IejYg7J6QugtO2epizxF



I hope this helps


Fair winds...


John
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ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2020, 08:14   #14
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 52
Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Please accept my apologies for the late reply. The last couple of days were a bit crazy and I didn't have time to get back to this post. Nevertheless, to those who have responded, I appreciate your input and advice. It appears though, from ka4wja's response, that I am just beginning the process of determining the cure for what I have.

Before I dive into all the info provided, however, let me respond to some of the questions raised in the newer posts and add a little more info about my boat. I have not checked reflected power between the tuner and coax to the antenna (do you mean tuner and 802 main body?). In addition, the boat is a single masted sailboat situated near Deltaville, VA near the Chesapeake Bay. The 802 and AT-140 were on the boat at the time of the strike, which hit the top of our mast. I am currently unsure if the rig is working correctly but as noted in my original post, I have been able to hear and be heard, albeit not well. So, we are trying to determine how to proceed from here. I have submitted a question to Renogy, which is currently pending, asking them if they know of this type of problem with their equipment, whether it is possible to turn off the charger controller without having to crawl into the aft cockpit locker to disable the controller or disable the solar panels, and or other advice they may offer. I will be calling Xantrex about the Link Pro in the next couple of days to ask the same questions. I have also called ICOM about arrangements for shipping the entire unit (802 & At-140) to them for inspection. Rather than burdening this post with all the info that Ka4wja requests, I would be more than happy to send that info by private message/email for your review, John. Please let me know how you want to proceed.

At this moment, however, it appears I have a lot to read. Nevertheless, I am going for a short cruise in the next couple of days and have the ideal spot picked out away from land based interference and in which I will be able to disable the controller, solar panels and Link (manually, if necessary), to determine if that helps. By the time I return, I should have a better handle on this issue and will report back.

Thanks once again.
gchabs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-06-2020, 08:44   #15
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Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Nassau Bay, TX
Boat: Cape Dory 25D
Posts: 140
Re: Eliminating static on SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by gchabs View Post
Please accept my apologies for the late reply. The last couple of days were a bit crazy and I didn't have time to get back to this post.

Before I dive into all the info provided, however, let me respond to some of the questions raised in the newer posts and add a little more info about my boat. I have not checked reflected power between the tuner and coax to the antenna (do you mean tuner and 802 main body?).
Thanks once again.
I'm not sure how you are setup with your 802 and the tuner. I just suggested checking the swr between the output side of the tuner (the antenna out connector) and the coax going to your antenna. If you show a abnormal amount of reflected power at this location, it would indicate a problem either in the feed line coax going to the antenna or the antenna.

If there is a problem here, checking between the coax on the antenna end and the antenna would further isolate the potential problem. This would probably require going up the mast or wherever your antenna is mounted. :<( Of course, if you have a problem up there, you gonna have to bite the bullet to fix it anyway.

No magic here, just another check to isolate a potential hardware problem.
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