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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #101  
Old 03-18-2010
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Question Antenna Connected to DC Ground?



Well, I've installed a copper strap (3" wide, 22 mil THICK (roof flashing) and ~30' long, mostly below the waterline against the hull interior) from my AH-4 Icom tuner (designed first for ham radio) mounted directly below the port backstay, down & across the boat to two sintered bronze grounding shoes (4x12 and 6x18) that were already on the boat outside the hull amidships on the starboard side.

The other side (antenna side) of the tuner is connected to the bottom of my port backstay (GTO-15 high voltage wire), BUT the (port) backstay 'antenna' is not yet insulated from the rest of the rig nor my DC ground which is part of my bonding system (haven't gotten around to installing my already-purchased Hayn Marin Hi-Mod backstay insulator yet). This fact is at the root of my long-winded question (see below)...

I've got an Icom 746 ham radio hooked up to that antenna (currently the entire rigging system). While the RF ground is isolated from DC ground on the ground side of the tuner, the antenna side of the tuner is not, as I currently have continuity between my backstay and DC grounds on the antenna side until I insulate 45 feet of the backstay.

I'm receiving like GANGBUSTERS on 80, 40, 20 meters so far, but have been reluctant to hit the tune button for transmitting. Should I be scared about trying to load up the whole rig (backstays, mast, shrouds, through-hulls, etc.) which is ALSO connected to my bonding system/DC ground/battery negative (but separate from my RF ground)?

Also, before I cut into (one of my two) backstays, is there any antenna length I should avoid for 6-80 meters (ssb AND ham)? I know in ham you should avoid a half wavelength in some antenna designs, but not as clear on marine ssb which I'll be adding soon.

Is this even an issue with an end-fed wire antenna like a backstay (like it most certainly is with dipoles)? I'm currently planning to insulate 45' of my 49' port backstay (one insulator down 4' from the masthead, and the bottom of the stay is already isolated in the glass deck, so I do not plan to insert a second insulator there - will protect from RF burns, however, with PVC).

Add another 3 feet or so of GTO-15 wire connected BELOW decks to the isolated chain plate to the tuner, yielding an effective radiator of about 48'.

The only antenna length issue I'm thinking MIGHT be on 10 meters (28-29.7 Mhz) where a half wavelength is 17.56' (3rd harmonic at 52.7 feet? Dunno). Any additional antenna length considerations before I start sawing away at my 5/16" 1x19 backstay? for marine ssb freqs?

Thanks. You guys are the best! I come with questions, and ALWAYS get answers here !!!!

73 Gene K0GKJ
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  #102  
Old 03-18-2010
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Gene,

Sounds like you're almost there.

While you could load up the whole rig, and it could work very well as is, I'd go ahead and install the insulator.

Hitting the optimum length is iffy. Something around 40-43' would likely be OK. Don't worry, if you happen to hit a length which the tuner can't handle on one band or another, you can add a short stub belowdecks.

I think you're gonna have a very good installation. The 746 is gonna be happy :-)

When you get it installed, be sure to check into the WaterWay Net (7268LSB daily beginning at 0745 EDT with the weather, then at 0800 for general traffic and position reports).

Bill
WA6CCA
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  #103  
Old 03-19-2010
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Thanks Bill (as always!)... the idea of a stub below decks, if needed, relieves my anxiety about cutting the backstay to the "right" length. I'm obviously overthinking this (that's what I do!). I shoulda thot of that.

I'll certainly install the $250 insulator, but thought it would be interesting to try loading up the whole rig if it would not harm the radio or the tuner out of curiosity and a before/after compare. The antenna connected to DC ground is what has me worried, although not sure specifically why - just seems counter-intuitive to my simple brain to have an antenna connected to a battery terminal. But if you don't think that's issue, I think I'll give it a try and see what happens.

And yes, while I've been a member of WRCC for a few years now, having been held hostage in a condo with my boat 2,000 miles away (just moved it down here to FL fm MN), haven't been able to listen in on 40M (or any other), but I do fly my burgee from the port spreader!

I'm also anxious to check into Cruzheimer's, the weather nets, etc. Heading out for a 4-6 week cruise in April, so I'm motivated to get this setup working soon, especially since I can't afford a marine ssb rig just yet. But the Vibroplex bug and paddle are both already on board. Oh yeah, the mic too :-)

Exciting! (it's the little things!).

Thanks again, Bill.

73 Gene K0GKJ dit dit
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  #104  
Old 04-25-2010
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Hello, my name is Chris I am new to this forum and primarily like to thank all of you for all the information you have provided to the sailing community over the web; however I have come upon a problem with my SSB that i cannot seem to find the answer to on this forum yet.

I have a ICOM M700 with an ICOM AT-120 i have never used the radiotelephone before and recently i went to use it and the tune function simply does not work. As far as i know it is all installed properly ( right length antenna and the hardware is compatible) the radio allows me to do everything else other than auto tune, in-fact when i push the tune button on the M700 there is no indication that anything is happening at all. I am a real strong believer in do it yourself methodology so and input would be much appreciated.
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  #105  
Old 04-27-2010
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Thanks again for your earlier help. The installation is going smoothly so far after the PITA of finding all of what I needed on Vancouver Island.

Quick question: My used tuner came with co-ax (from transceiver to tuner). I don't know if the co-ax will be long enough (it's close enough that it could go either way). If I run it through the cockpit combing and come up short, can I extend it with a second piece or will that be bad news for my signal and I should go buy another piece and re-run it instead?
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  #106  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christophre View Post
Hello, my name is Chris I am new to this forum and primarily like to thank all of you for all the information you have provided to the sailing community over the web; however I have come upon a problem with my SSB that i cannot seem to find the answer to on this forum yet.

I have a ICOM M700 with an ICOM AT-120 i have never used the radiotelephone before and recently i went to use it and the tune function simply does not work. As far as i know it is all installed properly ( right length antenna and the hardware is compatible) the radio allows me to do everything else other than auto tune, in-fact when i push the tune button on the M700 there is no indication that anything is happening at all. I am a real strong believer in do it yourself methodology so and input would be much appreciated.
Be sure that the switches S1/Tune and S2/Key in the AT-120 are both in the #2 position.

If that doesn't work, you may have a problem with the wiring/cable connections or, possibly, an internal problem in either the tuner or the radio.

Bill
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  #107  
Old 04-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livia View Post
Thanks again for your earlier help. The installation is going smoothly so far after the PITA of finding all of what I needed on Vancouver Island.

Quick question: My used tuner came with co-ax (from transceiver to tuner). I don't know if the co-ax will be long enough (it's close enough that it could go either way). If I run it through the cockpit combing and come up short, can I extend it with a second piece or will that be bad news for my signal and I should go buy another piece and re-run it instead?
No problem extending the coax. It can be any length. However, be sure to use quality coax with good connectors properly affixed to the coax. You'll need a UHF barrel connector. Tape or shrink-wrap the connections.

Bill
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  #108  
Old 04-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
No problem extending the coax. It can be any length. However, be sure to use quality coax with good connectors properly affixed to the coax. You'll need a UHF barrel connector. Tape or shrink-wrap the connections.

Bill
I'm breathing a sigh of relief. I have the transceiver mounted now and connected to the modem and am starting to string the cables.

For next week, the tuner mount should be straight forward and then I am going to have a painful time figuring out how to reach the insulator on the backstay which was done by the PO very high above the bimini. I'll probably have to go up the mast and use a leash to lower down the backstay.
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  #109  
Old 04-28-2010
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I am not afilliated in any way but there is a guy in Victoria.... Muir communications. He was a big help to me a little while ago. Good luck.
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  #110  
Old 04-28-2010
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Thanks for the rec in case I run into some real trouble. I am going to try do do this all on my own (um, minus asking the experts here a million questions).
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