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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-25-2014 10:08 AM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

Your friend sounds like he knows what he is doing, and I'm sure things will work out fine.

I have done some modeling of the radiation patterns of an insulated backstay versus no insulation and just letting the entire rig be the antenna. The difference is actually much less than you would expect, and in my opinion is pretty insignificant.

Of course, if you don't insulate a backstay, then you have to be very careful that the energized portion of the system and the counterpoise are never joined. For example, if you have a keel-stepped mast, and there is a metal-to-metal connection there between the step and the keel itself, you may have a problem. Or if your keel is exposed to bilge water, and your counterpoise is also able to couple to the bilge water, you may have a problem. Then, too, there is the issue of RFI if you are radiating from your entire rig.

Still, if you can work around these sorts of issues...
09-24-2014 05:28 PM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

I have a friend who has become interested in helping me install HF on my boat. His goal is to use the existing rigging without modifying it except to add feed points. We ran a first experiment last weekend and had good success. We were able to transmit and receive at a preplanned distance of 200 to 300 miles.

His plan was to use the lifelines as a make-shift counterpoise. He fed the backstay in hopes of getting a loop antenna out through the backstay and forestay in the future. For this round, the loop was not complete as the antenna feed was at the base of the backstay with lifelines used as the counterpoise. All of this was set up with alligator clips and a bit of wire (very kludged up). On the first try we were talking with his friend about 220 miles away in Cedar Rapids, IA. While they were talking, a person from Minneapolis (320 miles from our location) joined in. Everybody was clearly heard. This was so much fun. Really cool stuff.

For those who care, we were using 40 meters (7.0 to 7.3 MHz). Also, the plan was to talk with Cedar Rapids (from Waukegan, IL). The band was chosen for this purpose. We didn't try longer distances....yet.

His goal is to be able to use as much of the HF band as possible by adding feed added counterpoise, no copper sheeting on the hull, no modifying the rig, etc. I have a lot of confidence in his ability. We will see how it progresses from here.
08-30-2014 01:48 AM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I am looking to replace the copper foil as it has deteriorated in a couple of spots, I like the sound of the KISS-SSB counterpoise. But I am skeptical, it goes against all I have learned over the years. Convince me please, as I plan to replace the copper in December.
Can't you repair it? I would think copper strapping is superior to KISS.

While I haven't tested them against each other I'd bet dollars to donuts that the KISS counterpoise will work better on a narrow band of frequencies, while the copper strap, bonded to sea water will give better performance throughout the band, and a more evenly distributed antenna pattern.

Both the backstay and the counterpoise will work well on their natural frequencies. If you can choose those by selecting the appropriate lengths, you might have fantastic performance but not everywhere. I don't know what they use for the counterpoise, a larger diameter wire will a give broader bandwidth.

However, if you are like me, a HAM, and an electrical engineer that specialized in antennas, you will choose the copper strapping. Seawater is a great ground plane. I signed in to the century net on 80 meters one night at Block Island and being maritime mobile in a small state everyone on the net wanted to talk to me. I was talking to California, the Virgin Islands, Florida and every place in between. Copper strap works great.

By the way, I see no reason why bonding both of these together would not perform better than either.

I recently purchased a used M802 on eBay, and its antenna tuner, that was pulled from a Sport Fisher, and damaged in the process. I replaced a few damaged components and it is ready to go. I just need to put up an antenna for it.

From what I've seen so far, it won't replace my Ham rig. I do like the 150 watts of power. My Ham rig is 100 watts and the extra 50 watts makes a big difference. I am testing it out at home before moving it onto the boat.

I'd advise anyone who purchases a SSB radio to spend a lot of time using it, playing with it, and learning every function and capability of the radio so that it is second nature.

Using it on the Ham bands is a good way to do that. The 40 meter band is nice for daytime use, but at night the band goes long and these frequencies are European commercial broadcast stations that boom in at night. So everyone moves to 80 meters--the popular nighttime band for hams. Both are on Lower Side Band (LSB). These bands provide great regional coverage albeit they tend to be a bit noisy as lighting and other natural phenomena cause interference. By the way, convention is that LSB is used below 10 MHz and USB is used above 10 MHz.

If you don't have your Ham license, you should get it. Hams spend a lot of time on the radio talking about antennas and radio, so you can ask and get lots of free advice. Hams will track you as you travel on the ocean and can be used to alert authorities if you don't check in. Get your ticket! It only cost about $6.20 and is good for ten years! What a deal! And high seas email is free on the Ham bands.

FYI. Any Ham's that want to use the M802 on the Ham bands, I found this link. It looks pretty easy, and you don't have to cut any traces or remove any diodes inside the radio, it is all done with software.

Ham/Mars Mod:
12-10-2012 10:47 AM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

I chatted with the maker of the KISS, and found him to be very helpful. You can tell from the way he runs his company, that he really believes in his product and was very responsive to questions.

My question to him was similar to SimonV's question. The response I got back was you only have to hook up the KISS to the tuner, and don't need to run foil between the transceiver and tuner, or connect anything by foil to any ground. As the manufacturer of the KISS pointed out, on the ICOM M802 the tuner and the transceiver are already connected via the control cable and there is no reason to ground everything using foil. I was a skeptic, but gave it a try and it did work. And very well at that.
12-09-2012 11:20 PM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

I would second what HelloSailor suggested. I met the designer of the Kiss system and talked with him for quite a while at the Seattle boat show. I bet he'd be happy to answer your questions.

12-09-2012 04:11 PM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

Hello Simon

As I understand it and as I've done with my boat, you only connect the KISS to the tuner ground and NOT to the ground plane you may have already. The KISS is stand alone here to form the counterpoise with no interconnection to anything else.

However, the transceiver chassis must be connected to a thru hull etc for a ground. I've cnnected the chassis via a 3" wide copper to a thru hull. The ground between my tuner and transceiver is not connected.

My system works great!

12-09-2012 12:19 PM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

Simon, the whole purpose of a counterpoise device (the KISS) is to replace grounding and make it unnecessary. More is not necessarily better. If the instructions it came with were unclear, I would suggest contacting the company directly to ask them if they think it should be used alone, or with other grounding connections.
12-09-2012 02:08 AM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

I think the whole point of the Kiss is that you don't have to ground it to anything. If you do, I'm not sure it would be better or worse.

Any way you can test it both ways? Transmit and see if the Martians respond with KISS and see if the beings from Jupiter respond when the KISS itself it grounded?

12-09-2012 12:46 AM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

I have all the parts and was about to re commission the Hf (Icom 802). BUT as the kiss-ssb is a sealed unit and is attached to the ground point on the auto tuner (icom AT-140) How or do I still need to ground the unit to a boats ground? Both the tuner ground and the transceiver ground are grounded to each other via a wire and would normally be grounded via copper foil fixed to The though hulls. As the kiss-ssb is not technically/physically grounded, should I run a grounding wire to say the rudder stock. Will this counter the KISS-SSB.
10-24-2012 01:05 PM
Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

I have done the research the best I could, and given the best price I could find for copper foil to replacing my old green and brittle counterpoise (ground) is $155. The Kiss-ssb seems to win price wise, and given that no one has stated it wont/does not work, and a lot of folks who have and use it, say it works great for them. I have ordered it and it will be in Brisbane when I get there from my travels. How it works I still don't know, Hey the bumble bee shouldn't fly but it does. I will let you know how it goes.
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