About a year ago, I "upgraded" to a significantly larger boat
, moved aboard, and brought my SSB
system with me. In this age of satellite
and cellular communications
, the HF radio
is probably now more of an optional hobby item, so it hasn't been a big priority. But I'm not ready to throw it away. Since then, it has been knocking around in cardboard boxes, taking up space and getting in the way. But now, I am doing some other installs, have access panels
open and am trying to figure out how to run the SSB cables
To cut to the chase, I have two options for installing the AT-140 antenna
tuner. Both seem to have problems and advantages. The backstay runs through a gap in the middle of the solar
panel array, which is cantilevered forward of an aluminum
arch. The arch is populated with various other electronic toys.
Option one: conventionally below deck
, with a lot of GTO-15 snaking around the backstay adjuster
, solar panels
, etc. (Or a long
run up one leg of the arch, but that's close to other wiring
.) This requires only one deck
penetration (well, two if I also put up the DSC
antenna) but I don't really like the idea of antenna
wire on the hydraulic backstay adjuster
, which has to, well, adjust
. That's also what you inevitably grab on to when climbing up the swim ladder. And this route
seems to have great potential for mutual interferences.
Option two: mount the AT-140 up on the aluminum
arch, beneath the solar panels
. This would require at least one extra deck penetration but would put the antenna stud only 6-8 inches from the backstay and put almost all the radiating wire above the arch.
But... how would I run the ground from the tuner, way up there? My thought is to run a short strap (probably aluminum for galvanic reasons) from the tuner stud directly to the nearest tube of the tower. The tower (and the panel frames) is connected to the ship's bonding system through its legs, below deck. I could probably improve this by running copper strap (on hand) from the (stainless) mounting bolts of one leg to the strut mounting bolts. (There is quite a lot of "structure" in between.) Getting it to a keel
bolt would be even more of a project
but might be possible. So that's a pretty long connection from the tuner to ground, but is there some reason why this wouldn't work
/ is a dumb idea?
Better to find out now, before all that work!
Either way, I'm going to have to send away for some longer cables
- but the tuner placement would determine which
ones need to be longer. I've got one of those GAM split-lead things "for now," but if this works, would get an insulated backstay next time the rigging
is worked on.