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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #21  
Old 04-15-2007
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Backstay Antenna Installation

I'm preparing to convert my backstay for use as a SSB and HF antenna. I've noticed that sometimes people install the lower insulator high off the deck and run the feed from the tuner to above this insulator. Why not install the insulator lower? If you cover the antenna above the insulator with a plastic pipe you should be able to avoid any shocks.

I'm planning on using swageless fittings to convert my backstay. Any recommendation on which brands of fitting and insulators and why?

Thanks
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Old 04-15-2007
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Do335-

Why do you want to cut the backstay and introduce the possibility of rigging failure due to the modification. They also make backstay antennas that are mounted in parallel to the existing backstay, that don't run these risks.

If you really must cut the backstay, I would recommend that you use the Hayn Hi-mod type swageless fittings and their insulator, since it is supposedly failsafe.

The problem isn't really shocks, but RF-induced burns. While I don't recall the maximum distance this can happen at, IIRC, a plastic pipe isn't enough to stop it from happening.

Also, putting a plastic pipe around your backstay is a good way to trap water against it and increase the risks of corrosion-induced failure.
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I've considered a seperate wire to the masthead but that's adding more windage and doesn't seem as reliable. A whip is possible, but has some of the same issues. I've read about the antenna that mounts next to the backstay, but no one who has used one. All HAM's I've spoken to don't believe they will work. The tubing I'm thinking of would be 1" or more in diameter. That should have enough space to allow air between the wire and tube.
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Old 04-15-2007
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Ummm... Do335, you're worried about the windage from adding a separate wire to the masthead... but not worried about the effects of windage that adding a 1" diameter tube over the backstay... Hmmm...strikes me as flawed thinking in many ways.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-15-2007 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 04-18-2007
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The tube only covers the backstay to a height that person could accidently touch the active section of the antenna, approx 7'. This should eliminate or reduce chance of shock when transmitting.
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Has anybody mounted the GAM split-lead antenna on a shroud rather than on the backstay? My Hunter 49 has no backstay!
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Old 03-23-2011
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Old thread but Yes. A good friend has one mounted on a port stay on his lagoon 440. He also has no backstay. The kicker is this. The GAM is 34 feet long and on our boats you will have to set it up to go around the spreader.
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Another option I've seen on some of the Hunters was a fake backstay, which was used as the antenna. Since Hunters use a mainsail with a large roach, just have to make sure the sail will clear the fake backstay.

I usually warn people that are thinking about a GAM that there is one issue to consider. The GTO-15 feed line wicks moisture and can corrode out. The antenna then has to be taken down and sent back to the manufacturer, as this part is not replaceable by the user. If you are close to a port where this is no problem, fine. If you are doing extended cruising, something to consider. Other than that, the antenna works great.
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