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Old 16-01-2022, 02:02   #1
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Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

Yachties in Vava'u Tonga want use the SSB on my steel hull boat for comms after volcanic eruption seems to have damaged submarine fiberoptic cable. The boat is on the hard with about 2 dozen other masted boats. Will using the SSB cause damage to the SSB? Can it be effective?
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Old 16-01-2022, 02:43   #2
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

No problems that I can see.
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Old 16-01-2022, 05:13   #3
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DebPerfitt View Post
Yachties in Vava'u Tonga want use the SSB on my steel hull boat for comms after volcanic eruption seems to have damaged submarine fiberoptic cable. The boat is on the hard with about 2 dozen other masted boats. Will using the SSB cause damage to the SSB? Can it be effective?

No you won't damage it but it probably won't work effectively without some extra work.



Two facts to consider:
1) There has to be a ground or counterpoise for it to transmit effectively using a backstay antenna. If your boat is set up with a dynaplate-type ground it will hardly work at all on the hard. If you have a kiss-type counterpoise it may work a little but not very well.


2) Electrical noise in the harbor will affect receive performance.


In that situation I would recommend using the SSB with a dipole antenna. They are easy to make and cost little. You need some space and can use any kind of wire. There are articles online. There are other ways to deal with the ground/counterpoise/antenna requirement. Volumes have been written.



Modern SSBs (Icom etc) will reduce power or stop transmitting if the antenna/ground/counterpoise system isn't suitable and will not damage themselves.
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Old 16-01-2022, 05:54   #4
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

No problem at all.

Your steel hull will go long way to being an effective counterpoise although not as good as being afloat.

SSB is used in vehicles.
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Old 16-01-2022, 07:00   #5
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

I am not a ham, but having a good ground plan is important. The boat on the water is well connected to the water for a ground plane. I am going to have to wonder if driving a 3' copper (or any metal for quick short term) into the ground and attach it to hull for the time being would help the ground plane problem.

You run into secondary problems from other masts causing odd reception and transmission as they will reflect the signals and if things are just right could cause poor reception in some directions. To people who know enough electronics we consider radio stuff to be voodoo electronics. It can get weird quick. I deal with aircraft 1 gig hz transponder stuff and have seen some weird stuff. A proper ground plane makes a big difference.
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Old 16-01-2022, 10:17   #6
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

One would think that a really good antennae could be set up (other than the backstay) that would possibly provide more reliable communications. Hopefully there is somebody local that can help with rigging such a rig.
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Old 16-01-2022, 10:24   #7
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

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I am not a ham, but having a good ground plan is important. The boat on the water is well connected to the water for a ground plane. I am going to have to wonder if driving a 3' copper (or any metal for quick short term) into the ground and attach it to hull for the time being would help the ground plane problem.

You run into secondary problems from other masts causing odd reception and transmission as they will reflect the signals and if things are just right could cause poor reception in some directions. To people who know enough electronics we consider radio stuff to be voodoo electronics. It can get weird quick. I deal with aircraft 1 gig hz transponder stuff and have seen some weird stuff. A proper ground plane makes a big difference.
A longer rod would probably be more effective. Don't try driving one in. A small amount of water at the base of the rod and a little up and down motion adding water as you go. The ground rod will go in easily.
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Old 16-01-2022, 12:01   #8
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

You will be fine. ground the hull to the ground if the stands/keel are not well connected. the hulll is a big enough grou8nd plane and the variables of your location/interference is what it is. The eruption will possibly be the biggest hinderance.

SSB negatives are trying to fire it without an antenna load connected. Otherwise,
it is safe for radio.
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Old 16-01-2022, 12:46   #9
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

We have often used our ham rig whilst on the hard. Gets out surprisingly well with no additional ground efforts. Local noise will likely be a problem and there are often frequent lightning strokes during eruptions that will cause interference crashes (QRN) that may well be quite annoying.

BTW, our counterpoise is the steel shell keel and it works ok on the hard so your hull should be even better.

How is life going there?

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Old 16-01-2022, 13:27   #10
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

A reminder that the OP has a steel hull and presumably a steel deck - it's a pretty good counterpoise (by simply doing nothing).
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Old 16-01-2022, 13:50   #11
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DebPerfitt View Post
Yachties in Vava'u Tonga want use the SSB on my steel hull boat for comms after volcanic eruption seems to have damaged submarine fiberoptic cable. The boat is on the hard with about 2 dozen other masted boats. Will using the SSB cause damage to the SSB? Can it be effective?
How do you communicate with these “yachties in Vava’u Tonga” if the submarine cable is out?
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Old 16-01-2022, 14:30   #12
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

A man called Baker used to run radio scheds from Vava'u on HF from land I think. Maybe moved on?
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Old 16-01-2022, 20:39   #13
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DebPerfitt View Post
Yachties in Vava'u Tonga want use the SSB on my steel hull boat for comms after volcanic eruption seems to have damaged submarine fiberoptic cable. The boat is on the hard with about 2 dozen other masted boats. Will using the SSB cause damage to the SSB? Can it be effective?
Tuning will be different, but that big steel hull will go a long way to making an effective counterpoise. I would have thought the capacitive coupling between the steel hull and ground would be significant.
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Old 17-01-2022, 05:54   #14
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

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Tuning will be different, but that big steel hull will go a long way to making an effective counterpoise. I would have thought the capacitive coupling between the steel hull and ground would be significant.


The steel hull does not need to have any continuity with the actual ground. The whole idea of a rod driven into the ground as an effective part of a radio antenna system is a misunderstanding and a red herring - it is quite ineffective, apart from the length of wire leading to the putative ground rod. The ground rod can be part of an effective lightning and static dissipation system however.

The steel hull of the OP’s boat will form an effective counterpoise. The antenna may perform more like a dipole in this instance since it doesn’t have the sea to broaden the resonance of the counterpoise half of the system, but as others have said it should work very well.
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Old 17-01-2022, 20:40   #15
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Re: Using SSB in boatyard - safe? effective?

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Originally Posted by SoonerSailor View Post
The steel hull does not need to have any continuity with the actual ground. The whole idea of a rod driven into the ground as an effective part of a radio antenna system is a misunderstanding and a red herring - it is quite ineffective, apart from the length of wire leading to the putative ground rod. The ground rod can be part of an effective lightning and static dissipation system however.

The steel hull of the OP’s boat will form an effective counterpoise. The antenna may perform more like a dipole in this instance since it doesn’t have the sea to broaden the resonance of the counterpoise half of the system, but as others have said it should work very well.
As I said - capacitive coupling. Not suggesting the hull is electrically connected to ground - nor does it need to be.

Actual earth connection for RF is a whole lot different to lightening discharge grounding.
A proper RF ground typically involves an earth mat (or the sea ....).
The alternative is a counterpoise insulated from ground, and ideally tuned - as you suggest, it then becomes more like a dipole.

Interesting subject antennas and grounding systems - then there is the length of ground cable from Tx to earth ......
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