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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 12-08-2009
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SSB Installation

I am here to take on any questions that one may have on their Marine SSB installations. Our project is to help other cruisers with carefree and effective SSB comunication questions, installations and problems. It seems that when it comes to SSB installations there is a lot of confusion.
Have a question? I'll try and help, Carl
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Old 12-08-2009
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I'll bite.

1) What is the difference between SSB & HAM? Can one use a HAM radio on a boat...they seem to be much cheaper than the equipment for a true Marine SSB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
I'll bite.

1) What is the difference between SSB & HAM? Can one use a HAM radio on a boat...they seem to be much cheaper than the equipment for a true Marine SSB
Radios that will be used on marine frequencies must be certified for marine use. Because you have to certify the radio, the cost for the unit increases. So you can use a ham radio on a boat when you operate on the ham bands. You can also modify a ham radio to work on marine frequencies. However, to do so is illegal except in an emergency. However, as others will tell you, the enforcement is lax in the US.

Outside of that, and a little operating differences, the theory is the same.
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Great answer Windward54.

Now, on to the next question:

2) If one were to install a Marine SSB (one of those nice ICOM units) - what is absolutely required and what equipment is optional or nice to have? Is an insulated backstay antenna required? I have heartburn cutting the rigging...and I have a true split backstay (not a Y).

What other options are there for antenna installs...is this thing viable:
http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|344|295760|320775&id=332511
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Last edited by night0wl; 12-08-2009 at 02:02 PM.
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Here is a simple, and proven easy way to get you up and running without all the hassle: A lot of sailors have bought their SSB HF radios on E-Bay, look there. If not there are less expensive ones than the Icom M802's. The 802 is thye best, but there are a number of other models and brands that also do just fine. If you do not want to cut your backstay and put in insulators, then get yourself a "GAM clip on the backstay" antenna, they work just fine. As for all the hype and confusion on the copper foil, bronze Dynaplate, copper mesh, etc, go to KISS-SSB and check out the simple KISS-SSB free standing ground plane system,and the installation diagram, it truly works very well. To put it all in perspective, Icom IC-710 radio $1,550.0, Icom At-130 tuner - $430.00, GAM clip-on antenna - $450.00, KISS-SSB ground plane system $130.00 It all adds up to - $2,560.00. This is one of the least expensive ways to go, that still gives you a great signal. Plus can all be installed by most anyone in a day and is the most simple. Hope that helps, Carl
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Usually the equipment is a transceiver, tuner and antenna. Nice to have is a Pactor modem if you want to do email over the air from your boat. I too have a split backstay. I used the Gam antenna and it worked fine. I had a problem with the feed line so I'm going to a backstay antenna. If your lower leg of your backstay is longer than 20 feet, then it should be ok. I'm personally removing the split and going with two separate lines. Bottom line is most of the mast support is done by the forestay and shrouds. As long as you inspect your backstay, it should be fine strengthwise.

If you don't want to do these options, you can use a whip antenna.
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Old 12-08-2009
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Hi Carl. I am refitting my 42 Tayana, and I am almost up to installing the components that were all boxed up by the original owner. Last week in all the stuff, we found an ICOM M600! I have no manual, or wiring diagram for the unit, would you like to give us a hand? What is your opinion of this unit? Thanks. Brian.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioTeck View Post
Here is a simple, and proven easy way to get you up and running without all the hassle: A lot of sailors have bought their SSB HF radios on E-Bay, look there. If not there are less expensive ones than the Icom M802's. The 802 is thye best, but there are a number of other models and brands that also do just fine. If you do not want to cut your backstay and put in insulators, then get yourself a "GAM clip on the backstay" antenna, they work just fine. As for all the hype and confusion on the copper foil, bronze Dynaplate, copper mesh, etc, go to KISS-SSB and check out the simple KISS-SSB free standing ground plane system,and the installation diagram, it truly works very well. To put it all in perspective, Icom IC-710 radio $1,550.0, Icom At-130 tuner - $430.00, GAM clip-on antenna - $450.00, KISS-SSB ground plane system $130.00 It all adds up to - $2,560.00. This is one of the least expensive ways to go, that still gives you a great signal. Plus can all be installed by most anyone in a day and is the most simple. Hope that helps, Carl
I agree with Carl re: eBay as a good place to find used radios, both marine and ham. However, you have to know what you're looking at or for...sometimes it's better to deal with a professional.

By the way, the prices Carl mentioned above were for all-new components. It's perfectly possible to come up with complete marine SSB system components (used) for under $1,000, as many of my clients have found. For example, you can get a good marine radio for $500-600 (like the M600 or M700 or the excellent TKM-707), and add a tuner for $200-350 more.

An excellent way to go with the antenna for many boats is with an "alternative backstay" made of insulated stainless lifeline, and carried from mast top to one side of the pushpit. I've installed many of these, and have one on my own boat which is nearly 20 years old. Works every bit as well as an insulated backstay, and doesn't require cutting your backstay.

Carl and I also seem to agree about RF grounds, i.e., the traditional Dynaplate and copper foil solutions are unnecessary. There are other -- and perhaps better -- ways, including his own KISS-SSB radials product mentioned above. Alternatively, you can fashion your own, depending on your boat and your circumstances.

Bottom line: there's little reason not to have an SSB aboard if you intend any serious cruising. If you're talented, experienced, and inclined, you can do-it-yourself. Or, for many sailors, you'd be better advised to engage or work with an electronics/communications professional who could save you money and help you avoid the many pot holes out there while you're earning your SSB legs :-)

Bill
WA6CCA

Captain Blue: the M600 is a very nice radio. I even have one here for sale, fully programmed and tested for both marine and ham. Really like its small footprint and good performance.

B.

Last edited by btrayfors; 12-08-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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Hi Brian. You can google up the manual very easily. The M600 is the European model, but that does not matter at all. It still is a great 1.5 to 29mhz High Frequency SSB 150 watt transciever. It installs just like any of the new Icoms or other brands of SSB, it just does not have the removable faceplate. The recommended tuner for it is the Icom AT-120 which could be hard to get now. If you can not find it look up the SGC-Smart Tuner, that will work just fine for it. As for the installation print off the online manual.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Carl and I also seem to agree about RF grounds, i.e., the traditional Dynaplate and copper foil solutions are unnecessary. There are other -- and perhaps better -- ways, including his own KISS-SSB radials product mentioned above. Alternatively, you can fashion your own, depending on your boat and your circumstances.

B.
Can you elaborate? There are some very big conflicting opinions about this solution vs the traditional ones online.

Also, why is a tuner required in addition to the transceiver unit
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