You hear it over and over, "I'm about to cut my backstay to install insulators for a SSB radio". Some guys just don't get it. In most cases, this is ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY.
Of course, the insulator manufacturers love it. And the riggers do, too. After all, you could spend upwards of a boat unit to get your backstay ready to serve as a (rather mediocre) SSB antenna. And, in the process, you introduce a minimum of 6 additional points of potential failure in a VERY CRITICAL component. Folks...you heard it here first: THE BACKSTAY HOLDS UP YOUR MAST (many Hunter owners excepted...for them, a backstay of any sort would be a blessing). Why in the world would you want to compromise it when there's no need to?
(1) rig an alternate backstay antenna, made of s/s lifeline, hoisted with a spare halyard and tied off on one side to your pushpit. I've successfully used this approach for almost 18 years and many thousands of miles of offshore sailing, and many hundreds of SSB contacts (check out pic here: Gallery :: Miscellaneous 2007 :: AltBksty1_0131
(2) another sort of alternate, like the "Rope Antenna" or the .... dare I say it?...the GAM antenna which fits over your backstay. Both of these work, the rope probably better than the GAM, but they're pretty expensive for what they are.
There's nothing magical about an SSB antenna. With a good tuner, like the SGC SG230 or almost any of the Icom tuners, you can tune a wet noodle, provided that you also have a decent RF ground system. An "alternate backstay antenna" works every bit as well as a traditional backstay antenna. You just don't have to worry about your mast going over the side if an insulator breaks, and you can take the BIG BUCKS you save and spend 'em where they're more likely to do some good (like on Mt. Gay and the ladies!).
Hope this isn't just a cry in the dark!
S/V Born Free