I have heard this argument about getting a bunch of wire and making a KISS counterpoise
many times. It would be interesting to have A/B comparison with a KISS system. Has anyone done this?
As most on this forum know, reliable HF communications
, particularly for offshore
boaters, is not a matter of a hobby, or of convenience, it is something that must work
well and reliably in the worst of conditions. I used multiple lengths of 3" copper ribbons in the bilge
for an RF ground on our last boat
, an O'Day 35. it never worked very well and eventually corroded badly with the salt water
. Yes epoxy paint
would help to mitigate corrosion
but I would not trust it over the long term and it is a lot of painting and routing of copper yet again. I had read that marine
growth was a continual problem with sintered grounding plates which require through-hull mounting. So with our new boat
, a Beneteau
46, i decided to try the KISS counterpoise given the feedback from many of boaters who have tried it (boaters both with and without a strong HF radio
experience). I personally use 20 and 40 meters 95 % of the time. The KISS system works so much better than my last setup. Ham friends who I have kept in touch with on regular schedules over the years say consistently that I now have a "booming" signal. One of these friends on land got curious and decided to test the KISS system himself. His results using autotune on his transceiver for all tests were informative. He demonstrated that for his antenna
the KISS system performance was equal to his existing 500' of copper ground radials on 20 and 40 meters. That is perhaps hard for many to explain, but it is consistent with what other boaters have reported, i.e. excellent results with the KISS system especially in the mid HF range.
Freq (kHz) A/B signal report comparison
1900 A > B by three S-units
3970 A > B by two 2 S-units
7100 A = B, no difference observed
14020 A = B, no difference observed
21020 A > B by one S-unit
Notes: A = with 500' of ground radials;
B = with KISS-SSB counterpoise.
Now in addition to the cheap
bundle of wires argument, there are also arguments based on radio
theory, ground current
measurements, spectrum analyzer results, etc. This all misses the point for most boaters. To them, the cost of KISS, about $150, is not at all an issue, especially compared to the routine costs of boat ownership
. A high performing, clean, compact, reliable, corrosion-free, and marine
growth-free solution to the "grounding" problem is what many boaters are after. This is what the KISS system provides, in my opinion. And to have a counterpoise on board that appears to work
as well as 500 feet or radials on land, sounds good enough for me. Anyway, I feel that there is more analysis that can and should be done, but for now the KISS onboard simply works, and it works more reliably partly because it is...well...simple.