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Thread: SSB Seminar - request for ideas for presentation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default SSB Seminar - request for ideas for presentation

    Hello All,

    I have been asked to pull together the SSB portion of the communication seminar. I was planning to focus on SSB installation and methods to make sure it all works reliably. I was going to set up a working station as a means of working through material that focuses on getting a radio up and running.

    I won't be spending time on sail mail, I believe Bob has someone lined up already.

    What questions might you who are doing an install have ?

    Thanks,

    Brian
    Redsky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Santa Rosa
    Posts
    578

    Default SSB Installation

    I'm installing a SSB/Ham HF radio on my Wyliecat 30 for the PacCup (maybe SSS TransPac in 2012?). Here's my dilemma: (1) No backstay or shrouds (2) No possibility of anything above stanchion level aft of the mast -which is 5 feet from the bow (3) No metal thru hulls - only 2 plastic speedo/depth holes (4) No metal anything inside the hull. I'm very interested in creative solutions! I'll be at the SSB seminar for sure!
    Pat Broderic "NANCY"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Hi Pat,

    The antenna part is quite easy on the WylieCat 30. The mast is carbon fiber with no other wires close and therefore not a radiator, so just run a piece of wire (any gauge that doesn't break is fine, insulated is fine, but shielded is NOT) up on a spare halyard when you want to send/receive and run it down when your done. Alternatively you could tape it to the mast or silicone it if you wanted it up permanently. For the grounding, you could take a piece of copper foil and put a weight on the end and drop it over the stern when you wanted to send/receive. Both of these would be a bit of a pain when you wanted to use the radio, but on the positive side would require no modifications to the hull or deck and corrosion and other common problems would be very visible. And, yes this would work. Tossing a piece of copper foil over the side at the dock attached to the existing grounding sytem and checking signal strength, and SWR with and without is a common method of trouble shooting permanent installations.

    Good Luck!

    John
    Dream Chaser

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Alameda CA
    Posts
    174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John Hayward View Post
    Hi Pat,

    The antenna part is quite easy on the WylieCat 30. The mast is carbon fiber with no other wires close and therefore not a radiator, so just run a piece of wire (any gauge that doesn't break is fine, insulated is fine, but shielded is NOT) up on a spare halyard when you want to send/receive and run it down when your done. Alternatively you could tape it to the mast or silicone it if you wanted it up permanently. For the grounding, you could take a piece of copper foil and put a weight on the end and drop it over the stern when you wanted to send/receive. Both of these would be a bit of a pain when you wanted to use the radio, but on the positive side would require no modifications to the hull or deck and corrosion and other common problems would be very visible. And, yes this would work. Tossing a piece of copper foil over the side at the dock attached to the existing grounding sytem and checking signal strength, and SWR with and without is a common method of trouble shooting permanent installations.

    Good Luck!

    John
    Dream Chaser
    The best antenna I know of, so far, for a cat rigged boat is the rope antenna. http://www.ropeantenna.com/

    John
    Blueberry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    30

    Default SSB Installation

    I will be installing a SSB on an Express 27. I am wondering about a ground plane. I do not want to put plates outside my hull. My keel bolts are readily accessible, but my keel is fully encapsulated. Can I use my keel bolts? If not, what are my choices? I don't want a marginal setup. If I'm going to carry the damn thing, I want it to work well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Novato
    Posts
    122

    Default Grounding, reducing interference

    Same for me... While I've read differing opinions on how to achieve a good ground, it seems everyone agrees that having a good ground is the most important part of the setup. At present, the plan for Culebra (Olson 34) is probably less than ideal, but is it likely to be enough, and is it a decent plan? (right, install it and find out)... The current plan is to use a single copper strap (of the recommended width and thickness) to tie together the engine, the small stainless fuel tank and, using a keel bolt, the glassed-in keel. There isn't any other significant metal surface area in the boat, I don't want or plan to add any other copper screen or sheeting, and I have no metal thru hulls. An externally installed plate is a nonstarter for me (extra drag, throughbolts in the hull, no thanks).

    Other important topics would be adequate use of ferrites, isolators, etc. to reduce interference with other instruments. How to ensure good connections to the copper strap (use tapped holes with machine screws? untapped hole with screw and nut? other?). Proper installation of the tuner, its location, how to connect it to ground, and if different, how to connect the radio and other instrumentation to ground.

    Thanks, Paul

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,069

    Default

    George and Paul, once the deck is finished you can look at my grounding setup. It's not real "polished" but it seemed to work fine. My keel is not encapsulated and one copper strap goes to a keel bolt. Paul, I just folded the strap over a couple of times to add thickness and then drilled a hole through it. I wire-brushed everything and used a second SS nut to "sandwich" the copper strap on the top of the bolt.

    I found the keel strap was insufficient however, so I added a second strap going to the engine.

    To see a polished setup get ahold of Chris Humann. His Dana 24 has encapsulated keel ballast but by tying in engine, tanks, etc. he was able to get a great grounding setup. His boat is in Berkeley.

    Keep the comments coming for Brian - I know he's already put a lot of thought into his presentation.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    37.205346,-121.963398
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    Smile SSB install, Olson 34 and Exp 27

    Hello Paul and Glythcott,

    I have done installs on both boats (I own an Olson 34). The keel bolt connection works well. On the express we tied to the keel bolts and ran a single strip of copper foil most of the length of the bilge. This was on Elise, and she had a really strong signal all the way to Hawaii, I know this because on monitored the checkins from my home in the South Bay.

    The Olson I have connected to the keel bolts as well as the engine block, make sure you don't connect to the wrong side of the engine mounts as they are isolated with a rubber insulator. That set up works great and I used in several Pac Cups and Long Pacs, never missed a check in, even with running a mere 5 watts power output.

    A connection to keel can be done several ways. Add a stainless nut. Use a stainless hose clamp and clamp a spade lug beneath it. In a large keel bolt you can drill and tap a hole for an 8/32 screw and secure a spade lug under that.

    For RF currents the flow is all on teh surface of the conductor, hence copper foil is popular as it has large surface area. Also, coax braid or other copper/tin braid make acceptable ground runs. The larger the diameter the more surface area. Copper foil has more area but a bit tougher to deal with and expensive.

    As Bob mentions the more metal the better. You can tie in your life lines and stancions but in my experience that has not been necessary.

    The ulitmate solution is an aluminum hull ! Those boats have stunning signals out there. Carbon likely would do as well.

    Brian

  9. #9
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    37.205346,-121.963398
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    691

    Default Nothing above stanchion level aft of mast ?

    Quote Originally Posted by P. Broderick - Elaine View Post
    I'm installing a SSB/Ham HF radio on my Wyliecat 30 for the PacCup (maybe SSS TransPac in 2012?). Here's my dilemma: (1) No backstay or shrouds (2) No possibility of anything above stanchion level aft of the mast -which is 5 feet from the bow (3) No metal thru hulls - only 2 plastic speedo/depth holes (4) No metal anything inside the hull. I'm very interested in creative solutions! I'll be at the SSB seminar for sure!
    Pat Broderic "NANCY"
    Hi Pat,

    Can a whip be installed on the hull at stern if it slopes back over the water some ? Is the issue the boom length striking anything mounted at stern ?

    Brian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    166

    Default

    I used a 17' SSB whip antenna in 2004 and it worked well. I mounted it perpendicular to the deck at the stern. I don't think it would be a problem to angle it back.

    Bill Merrick

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