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RealityCheck 11-10-2007 03:15 PM

SSB Antenna BackStay Specs
Have a Beneteau 361 but not presently anywhere near it. Planning on installing a SSB unit next month but having trouble getting dimensions of the split back stay. I've tried the Beneteau web sites and get the I, J P and E data but not the backstay info I need.

How have others set up the SSB Antenna using a backstay that splits 10 or so feet up? Not really sure what the length of the backstay is from the split point that goes starboard and port attachments aft of the cockpit. Do you run a bridge around the Y connection and add more insulators or extend the cable to a point above the split? I know it is far better to keep this length from Tuner to antenna as short as possible.

Just have not been able to search an on line source for the info. Ideas? Any on line 361 owners recall how they installed the SSB antenna?

Thanks for any input.:confused:

btrayfors 11-10-2007 04:54 PM

Suggest you consider an "alternate backstay" antenna. Robust, easy to rig, works as well or better than a traditional backstay antenna, and you don't have the expense and hassle and potential problems of breaking up your standing backstay with insulators.

Search the SSCA board ( for the terms, "alternate backstay antenna" and posts by me (btrayfors)....lots of info there.

I've used one for 18 years now, with no problems and great performance.


Valiente 11-10-2007 05:13 PM

Bill, are you talking about the GAM antenna, or something similar?

btrayfors 11-10-2007 05:44 PM

No, not the GAM antenna. I haven't evaluated that one; Gordon West has, says it's OK, but I have my doubts. And, it's damned expensive for what it is.

Basically, you just take a piece of s/s insulated lifeline, 23' long or more, hoist one end with a spare halyard, and tie off the lower end at the leading edge of the pushpit...either port or starboard. Locate the automatic tuner as close under deck as you can. Then, take a length of GTO-15 insulated wire and connect the tuner to your "alternate backstay".

You do, of course, need an RF counterpoise or ground system, just as you do with any end-fed antenna system.

Here's a pic showing the lower-end detail. You don't need the standoff insulators; I just had some spare time one winter and fabricated them from some teak lying around the shop and some glass insulators, but used the antenna successfully without the insulators for over a decade before that!

Also, you don't need the in-line insulator(s). I just used a 2' length of 3/8" dacron braid for many years.

Simple, cheap, equally effective compared to a traditional backstay, no danger of losing the backstay if an insulator breaks, etc., etc.

And, it's easy to work on if you need to; just loosen the halyard.


Valiente 11-10-2007 07:09 PM

Cool...thanks for the suggestion! As I have twin backstays, I can actually run such an antenna straight up to the masthead using a spare main halyard. I can put an AT-140 directly under the deck and use those stand-offs for the three feet to the base of the antenna. It's a steel boat, so the whole thing's an excellent "dynaplate".

The SS lifeline: I already have a spool of that.

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