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Old 19-08-2022, 05:12   #1
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Great Lakes HF/SSB

We are shopping for a boat that we will use mainly on Lake Superior for the next few years. I am thinking through both the technical and social/community aspects of installing HF.


When commenting, keep in mind that places like the Chesapeake and other deep bays and sounds have a fair amount of salt in them, even if locally perceived as "fresh water."



Freshwater doesn't conduct electricity nearly as well as the ocean and this has implications for all antenna types but particularly the common backstay antennas that depend on either a dynaplate or a "kiss" type bundle of wires. I think a temporary inverted-V dipole would be most likely to work. Workable down to 8 MHz. Comments? Experiences?



I'm aware of some (land-based) ham nets in the area. Anything more cruising oriented? Is there any sort of culture of using HF among boaters on the Great Lakes?
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Old 19-08-2022, 05:44   #2
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Re: Great Lakes HF/SSB

Can’t say much about your technical questions, but I was on the GL for 15 years — most of that on Superior — and I don’t recall ever even seeing a boat with a HF radio. Certainly not any community to speak of.

I considered installing an SSB radio on our boat when we were up there. My boat had one in the past, so all I need is the radio. But I never found a need for one.
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Old 19-08-2022, 14:18   #3
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Re: Great Lakes HF/SSB

Two possible options for your antenna system. First you already mentioned an inverted V, but instead of that, a half-wave dipole if the boat has the real estate. The second would be the standard mobile ham antenna such as a Ham Stick or Hustler Ham Antenna. But would be rail mounted and use the entire boat as the "ground plane" or "counterpoise", if I may. And, can be removed or swiveled down.

Bill Trayfors (WA6CCA-SK) was a proponent of the vertical dipole. Information on such an antenna can be found here. He had an 8MHz dipole on his boat.

As far as nets and the such I am not familiar with anything except Maritime Mobile on 14300 KHz.

Sorry, that is the best I can do. And as always, JMHO.
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Old 19-08-2022, 16:05   #4
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Re: Great Lakes HF/SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
We are shopping for a boat that we will use mainly on Lake Superior for the next few years. I am thinking through both the technical and social/community aspects of installing HF.


“When commenting, keep in mind that places like the Chesapeake and other deep bays and sounds have a fair amount of salt in them, even if locally perceived as "fresh water." “

Locals here consider the waters of the Chessy as being ‘Brackish’..a mix of salt and fresh..

“Freshwater doesn't conduct electricity nearly as well as the ocean and this has implications for all antenna types but particularly the common backstay antennas that depend on either a dynaplate or a "kiss" type bundle of wires. I think a temporary inverted-V dipole would be most likely to work. Workable down to 8 MHz. Comments? Experiences?”

Have worked both on board..Prefer a dyna plate over Kiss

“I'm aware of some (land-based) ham nets in the area. Anything more cruising oriented? Is there any sort of culture of using HF among boaters on the Great Lakes?”
Try 7.268 The Waterway Radio Net between 7:45 and April.8:30am every day
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Old 19-08-2022, 17:37   #5
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Re: Great Lakes HF/SSB

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Originally Posted by Brian.D View Post
Bill Trayfors (WA6CCA-SK) was a proponent of the vertical dipole. Information on such an antenna can be found here. He had an 8MHz dipole on his boat.

It's always interesting to see construction techniques that have worked for various people. Others have suggested a copper or copper-clad conductor inside rope. I haven't seen anything specifically about Dyneema but I would think that single-braid Dyneema with a stranded hard-drawn copper core would work particularly well.
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Old 19-08-2022, 18:52   #6
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Re: Great Lakes HF/SSB

I too have heard of copper within the rope. But why go through all that effort when wire rope already exist and can be used? Plus, wire rope is easy to replace and is pretty much impervious to harsh boating environment.
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