I missed this thread earlier - wasn't paying attention.
When I bought my boat I also bought a Icom SSB with a matched antenna tuner coincidentally from two different sellers on e-bay and I paid IIRC US$700 for both and both were virtually brand new (still in original packaging and not a mark on either). This was in 2007.
Then I saw an antenna advertised on the net called a GAM dipole. It is made from a plastic extrusion with three tubes side by side. The centre extrusion is split all the way up and the two outside tracks have an antenna cable running up.
So you open the split and feed it onto the backstay and slide it up until the whole thing is on the backstay. Then it simply feeds into the boat and connects to the tuner/radio setup. Easy as.
I can't find the original website but have a look here:
Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: SSB backstay antenna, a new way
I did the whole radio installation myself without any previous experience and in about 6 hours. I sailed from San Diego to New Zealand and at no time did I not get good reception. I spoke on radio with a weather router in California all the way to within 400 miles of NZ. I spoke with other boats in Hawaii and around the Pacific. I still have the same setup and it still works 100%.
I don't know whether these antennae are still available but if they are I would unreservedly recommend one. They work a treat and are a DIY dream.
And no, I have no commercial connection to the product other than I bought one.