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New SSB install - troubleshoot (ICOM 710 & SG230)
buenos dias ya'll :-)
So I'm in Mexico and just got a new SSB system installed, but I can’t seem to pick up any signal. I’ve gone through all the 160 user channels that are programmed in, several times. I can’t pick up any time signals on #15 or #16, or any of the WLO broadcasts either. I don’t quite understand the frequency/channel/mode stuff clearly….but seems to me that the user channels already select the correct freq/chan/mode….true? I’ve spent several hours plodding through the stations, and have only managed to pick up a very faint signal two times.
It may just be me not knowing how to use the radio….but let me give you a summary of the components, cables, and install details, and maybe we can do some troubleshooting?
~ The boat is a wooden Kettenburg 43' sloop
~ The radio is an ICOM 710, and an SG230 coupler/tuner.
~ Radio is connected directly to the house batteries (from battery terminals to radio using 8 gage wire, 10 foot run….nothing in between)
~ The ground lug on the radio is NOT connected to anything.
~ Belden RG58U coax and pos/neg 16 gauge wire goes from the radio to the tuner. This is a run of about 25 feet of wire, from the radio about midship to the tuner which is in the lazarette. I opened the SG 230 and made these connections, everything seemed well labeled and I had no doubts.
~ I have an insulated backstay antenna, which is about 45 feet between insulators. (Note that my VHF antenna coax also runs up the backstay, it is a RG213 A/U cable. I know this may cause issues, and I will likely run it down the mast later.....but this shouldn't cause me to get nearly zero reception even when VHF is off...i don't think).
~ I ran a ‘Tuf hide’ GTO 15 14 AWG wire to just above the lower insulator…..stripped an inch or two of wire and attached with a hose clamp, then a couple layers of liquid electrical tape.
~ The GTO15 wire is about 10 feet long and runs to the high voltage stud on the SG230, which is mounted to the underside of the deck only about 8 inches from the bottom of backstay.
~ I’ve run a 3 inch copper ground strap from the tuner ground lug about 10-15 feet and attached to the rudder post housing (I don’t have any near by underwater bronze thru hulls…only an above water one for my exhaust). I do however have a solid brass binnacle near by…..or two monel water tanks around midship, which I considered using, but opted to start minimal/simple. I wire brused the rudder post housing to bright bronze the coated with lanocote and attached copper strap with stanless bolts and fender washers on two corners.
I think that pretty much sums up the installation. I’m not real confident about the ground connection, I know that the rudeer post runs through a bronze housing which passes through about 18 inches or so of keel (wood boat). The rudder post itself is about 5 feet long and 1.5 inch solid bronze rod, but I’m not sure if the connection to the rudder post HOUSING (not the rudder post itself, since I was worried that it moves) is sufficient. I’m also not real confident in the SG230, since I bought it used on eBay (for I think $250). Everything seemed clean and brand new looking under the cover, and it makes a loud click as all the transistors (if that’s what they’re called) power up when I turn on the radio. When I press the tune button the radio, the RX symbol goes away and the word TUNE appears for about 1 second then disappears again. Not sure how to tell if the tuner is actually tuning. Also note that all of this installation/testing is being done in san quintin, mexico (150 miles south of Ensenada)…..at anchor in a large lagoon, no other cruising boats around really….but there is military nearby.
That’s about all I can think of for now, please let me know your thoughts.