NASA HF3/W SSB Antenna installation and Reception - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2007
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NASA HF3/W SSB Antenna installation and Reception

I have a Jeanneau SO36.2 and recently purchased a NASA HF3/W SSB with Active Antenna.

I installed it with the active antenna vertically positioned on the rear Transom by but not connected to the split rear backstay. However, I have been unable to get any acceptable level of HF reception and only got a faint BBC World Service on one frequency which was weak and almost unreadable from distortion.

Grounding seemed to make no difference.

My question is does anyone have experience with this SSB and what type of antenna is best used and how to set it up/arrange it. One concern is that the active antenna is mounted vertically (and my recollection is that HF transmissions are generally horizontally polarised).

I am thinking that maybe I will have better success using the split backstay. What sort of length of antenna should I be using and how should i attach it. Furthermore, can anyone give any insight to the advantages/disadvantages to the active antenna.

I am certain my problems relate to the nature of the antenna rather than any other issues...but id be grateful for your comments

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2007
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I'm not familiar with this name brand but so-called active antennas are simply "gadgets". They typically do exactly what any antenna does and nothing more. Polarization can be both vertical or horizontal at HF but most broadcast stations and obviously marine ones are vertical - in either case, the signal attenuation due to polarization in itself would not cause your problem.
If you have a good electrical connection to the antenna regardless of what the cable is, you should be able to pick up signals. What radio is this and are you sure you are familiar with it's operation?
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You don't mention anything about your ground system. Please describe that in some detail??

Howard Keiper
Sea Quest
Berkeley
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Old 12-03-2007
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From very recent experience (2 days ago) ...

If you are in doubt, take a few hundred feet of wire and hook it to the radio then start walking it out through the landscape wrapping it around trees and posts and things as you go. Don't clothesline anybody! lol. That is your baseline reception. If you aren't getting good reception after that it's probably the radio install, if you are then it's probably your antenna.
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Old 12-03-2007
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I had a similar issue with my radio (reception exceedingly poor). I just changed the antenna on my Codan SSB and the radio chap used 10 meters of covered antenna wire, wrapped it in a black sleeve (for UV protection) and ran it up the backstay. He soldered on a contact on the wire and connected it to the insulator on the upper end and I now have great reception.

I got a pro to do this since I haven't worked with radios in 20+ years since my navy days and he had a nifty gadget to test the antenna and amplifier to see if the set worked well. It did, but antenna was heavily UV damaged after 5-6 years at the equator...
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