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post #1 of 19 Old 11-03-2006 Thread Starter
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Exclamation Copper foil for SSB

What is more important to have more surface area (width and lengh) or volume (thicness, width and length)? I was looking at the MacMasterCarr website and they have 2 or 4 inches wide from .001 to .01 thick. WM sell 3" of .003 thick. I thing that I can run about 80 ft of 4" inside the stringers but juts want to know what is most effective size. Of course the thinner it is the more I would be worried about corrosion and it breaking during installation.
thanks

Velero

One step at a time..........

Last edited by velero; 11-03-2006 at 02:12 PM.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-03-2006
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Surface area is the important thing for an SSB ground plane. Anything thinner than .003 is going to be to weak mechanically to be reliable. I would get the 4" x .005 or .01 from MMC rather than the stuff from WM.

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post #3 of 19 Old 11-03-2006
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The foil shouldn't be connected via wire, but should be run to all the connections directly. To make the connections, a good way is to fold the foil over several times and then to drill through thick folded section and use a nut and bolt to connect the various pieces together.

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post #4 of 19 Old 11-03-2006
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Sailing Dog! Oh Crap? I used Renolds Wrap Aluminum foil... I was supposed to use copper?
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-03-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
Sailing Dog! Oh Crap? I used Renolds Wrap Aluminum foil... I was supposed to use copper?
Actually, I don't see why Aluminum Foil wouldnt work... the only real problem is that aluminum foil in the bilge will be very subject to galvanic corrosion. And in a pinch you can take some to wrap up the leftovers from dinner. But you should have used the heavyweight foil, since the regular stuff will probably tear too easily.

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post #6 of 19 Old 11-16-2006 Thread Starter
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Practical Application of Copper Foil 6 Questions

I purchased 100 ft (4" of .003) of Copper foil for my 45 ft sailboat and have a few questions as to how to best install the foil as follows:

1. How many linear ft of foil per foot of boat should I use or linear ft of antenna?
2. Can I epoxie the foil whenever possible?
3. Does it has to lay flat or can I make a W before I pull it through the stingers?
4. Do I apply a single strip on each stringer or can I wraped around one of my water tanks?
5. If the foil gets wet and surface corrosion is visible, will I have to replace it?
6. How far from the radio should the sart laying the foil and what size wire shoul I use to connect to the radio?

Thanks a lot for helping me in getting my boat ready.

Velero
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-16-2006
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The more surface area your ground plane has the better the reception and transmission of the SSB radio will be and the less power it will need to transmit as a general rule—so use it all if you can.

You can make it into a W before pulling it through the stringers. Epoxying over the foil is a good idea, as it will help protect it from corrosion and from physical damage.

You could wrap it around the water tank, but if the tank shifts, it will likely destroy the foil. As for corrosion, I don't believe that is necessary...but not 100% sure on that.

Velero-did you not read what I wrote above. You shouldn't use wire to connect the foil to the radio. See above for the proper way to connect it to the radio.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 11-16-2006 at 06:27 PM.
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-16-2006
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An important thing to understand about Radio Frequency currents is that they flow on the surface of a conductor. Extra thickness adds nothing except resistance to physical damage.
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-16-2006
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Yup... RF runs along the surface, wire shouldn't be used for the ground plane circuit, since it will cause a bottleneck.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 19 Old 11-16-2006
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"2. Can I epoxie the foil whenever possible?" To protect it, yes. To join segments, no. Simplest way to join segments is probably to make a french seam (like blue jeans legs) and hold that away from anything flammable, then use a small torch and electrical solder (not plumbing solder) in the joint.

It would probably be much cheaper, and just as effective, to simply paint over the foil with a good paint or synthetic varnish, i.e. a urethane base product, instead of using epoxy.
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