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post #21 of 26 Old 08-30-2014
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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.

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post #22 of 26 Old 09-24-2014
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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.
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post #23 of 26 Old 09-25-2014
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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...
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post #24 of 26 Old 11-08-2015
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Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

Back in the day ,used to build a copper mesh into the cabin top to act as a ground plane and keep stuff insulated; ocean ground plane just seemed to attract electrolysis problems .Used long tall whips and an inline gizmo to change the antenna characteristics. I know it's an older thread, but just came past it and had to offer my ha'penny.
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post #25 of 26 Old 11-08-2015
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Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

"Back in the day ,used to build a copper mesh into the cabin top to act as a ground plane "
Len, technically that would be a counterpoise and not a ground of any kind. One can be just as effective as the other, and the two terms are often interchanged, but they are different and a primary difference is that there is no electrical ground, no risk of galvanic actions, etc. , from a counterpoise. Which can also be made to match a resonant length for the antenna it is being used with.

The inline gizmo is usually an antenna tuner, and again, that's often misunderstood. An antenna tuner doesn't actually "tune" the antenna, what it does is eat the radio energy which is being reflected back from the antenna, that otherwise would enter the radio and typically damage or destroy it. A good purpose--but it doesn't make the antenna any more efficient, it is just a "spatter shield" that is blocking the "spatter" coming back down the antenna cable. An antenna can radiate power, or absorb power, or spit it back at the radio. Radiating power is the best trick. Absorbing power is a great way to hide a poor design because it "matches" everything. But for practical reasons, an antenna tuner is usually the best solution. Pretty much like a "lobster bib" when you're eating lobsters.(G)
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post #26 of 26 Old 11-08-2015
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Re: Still holding its own - HF Radio

Thanks for the clarification .hello. That brought back much that I'd forgotten about what I only sorta knew. Wasn't my main area of interest anyway. I was out there to catch fish. Like I don't need to understand boolean algebra to use Google or shear lambdas's frequently to see .
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