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Old 03-13-2001
Sue & Larry Sue & Larry is offline
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HAM Antennas

I have never set up a HAM radio station aboard. I would be interested in getting information on the antennas used on a sailboat.

Sue and Larry respond:

There are several options available to you. The majority of cruisers use their backstay as their antenna. This entails cutting your backstay at two locations, at least 23 feet apart, and fitting each location with an insulator designed for this purpose.

A second option is to use a 23-foot fiberglass whip antenna. Although this is a cheaper option than insulating your backstay, this often doesn't look very good on smaller boats. You may read about several other systems out there, but the above two are the most popular. You will also need proper grounding in your boat. This was covered in the sidebar of our "Choosing and Installing an SSB Radio" article. Good luck with your installation and get ready for some really interesting times.