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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #21  
Old 02-26-2007
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If you are interested in getting your Ham license, it would make sense to get a MF/HF radio that is type accepted for both Marine SSB and Ham use, like the Icom 802. There are certain restrictions on Ham radio content, which do not apply to marine SSB radio IIRC, so having both licenses is a good idea.

Cutting and insulating the backstay is something that I would personally try to avoid. I would rather install an antenna in parallel with an existing backstay than cut the backstay. Modifying the rigging, and adding possible points of failure into it is generally unwise on a sailboat IMHO.

Also one last point on SSB radio use... most marine channels use the Upper Side Band, and most ham frequencies use the Lower Side Band IIRC. I believe this is one reason that many marine SSB units can not be used for Ham radio transmissions.

As for whether there is a significant difference in the construction of the marine radios vs. ham radios. Most marine SSB radios will have a conformal coating of the circuit boards, to help prevent problems with moisture and corrosion. They will often have better seals around control panels to help prevent the ingress of water/dust. Modifications like this are not going to be apparent from the exterior of the unit.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.

Last edited by sailingdog; 02-26-2007 at 06:25 PM.
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  #22  
Old 02-26-2007
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Sailingdog makes some good points. Just to clarify regarding USB (upper sideband) vs LSB, this is a convention, not anything peculiar to the radio. Hams follow the convention of LSB below 10 Mhz, USB above. Either radio can be operated by choice.
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  #23  
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I believe that sailingdog is correct. It is hard to see inside a sealed case and the 802 had what I wanted in a radio. I just have a time worn suspicion of salesmen. even when thay talk with good information.

There is an interesting option on antennas that I still might use (looking into using it). A split lead backstay antenna by GAM. This antenna slides over the existing backstay. www.gamelectronicsinc.com.

Ken
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There was a recent discussion here about that antenna which you might want to carefully review. My understanding is it is difficult to tell from the marketing ad exactly what it is other than a deluxe (read expensive) version of an old J-pole design, which, in close proximity to a backstay or anything metal, could be easily detuned depending on frequency and as marine channels vary widely, it is impractical to figure out how well/badly this will perform compared with the traditional types.

It's probably best to solicit opinions from anyone who has one and who can compare it with another antenna.
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k1vsk

How do I access that thread?

I have 2 phone numbers of cruisers with the GAM antenna and so far thay have not called back. The old traditional insulators still seems the way to go but why not look at all options. I do wonder if the new antenna tuners have the ability to maintain frequency on this new old antenna? Who knows.

Isn't technology fun!

Ken
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  #26  
Old 02-26-2007
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Thanks for the private message on the thread.

So did GAM ever post the tech specs and testing criteria on their split feed backstay antenna? If it has any potential, putting up the data is absolutely necessary. Without that level of openness from the manufacturer I would not want to try it.

I get so much from these forums. Thanks to all who know so much more than I do.

Ken



Ken
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  #27  
Old 02-27-2007
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Ken-
See http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ht=GAM+antenna

Gordon West is a treasure trove of honest information and since GAM themselves reference him as a recommendation, his longer explanation of it is especially valued.

Bottom line? It might be the right antenna for you, it would be risky to just throw money at it without testing per GW's recommendations first.
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  #28  
Old 02-27-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kengoose
cutting and insulating my backstay for the antenna,
You don't have to cut the backstay, a requirement that frankly always irked me.

http://gamelectronicsinc.com/ssb.htm

EDIT: Apparently, I should read to the end of the thread before posting...D'urrr...

Last edited by Valiente; 02-27-2007 at 10:47 AM.
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Just to be clear, some mfgs have chosen to pay gordon West to write comments on their products. As I said, you'd be better served to actually talk with at least one person who has used this antenna as well as something else with which to compare it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1vsk
Just to be clear, some mfgs have chosen to pay gordon West to write comments on their products. As I said, you'd be better served to actually talk with at least one person who has used this antenna as well as something else with which to compare it.
Fair enough. Not being a ham head, I've never heard of the guy anyway. He could be a shill of George Forman proportions, for all I know.

But getting into that link told me about the idea of a "lifeline SS backstay" on a spare halyard leading to the aft rail. I like that idea best of all, seeing as it's removable and repairable easily and doesn't involve clamping stuff to a backstay nor cutting it into pieces.
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