Ssb ground plates


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Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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We have just removed our very corroded SSB ground plate and looking to replace. I came across http://www.kiss-ssb.com/vacations.html on the web which seems to be a much better solution in that there is no through hull or corrosion. Does anyone have any experience of this? It seems to good to be true.
Paul Heiney
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I have one but my ATU got drowned before I had time to try it out. The principle is well known and if you know what you 're doing you can make one yourself for very little cost. Sorry I have no experience to share.
jgbailey (Past OCC Member)
jgbailey
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Simon, I looked up the website the product, it looks great. I also asked the team that support the ARC yachts with SSB equipment for some feedback. The response was " we bought a couple of these ariels and tested them. We also took them apart and found that all was not as claimed". I am in the process of finding out more through ex Royal Navy friends.
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Thanks I would be really interested to hear their conclusions.
Simon
jgbailey (Past OCC Member)
jgbailey
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Simon, the RN feedback was, that it should work in theory.
John MacDougall
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Simon,
I can give you more details and information than you 'd ever desire. But, first some brief, direct answers...
[quote="simoncurrin" post=966]We have just removed our very corroded SSB ground plate and looking to replace. I came across http://www.kiss-ssb.com/vacations.html on the web which seems to be a much better solution in that there is no through hull or corrosion. Does anyone have any experience of this? It seems to good to be true.[/quote]
1) Save your money!!
The KISS-SSB Ground is a waste of money, as it will do little for you.

It will do nothing that a couple random-length, scrap pieces of plain copper wire (attached to your remote auto-tuner 's ground lug) would do. And the scrap pieces of wire are either cheap or FREE...

This has been proven by both scientific testing (see links below) and real world on-air testing, as well...
(it 's a shame that this hasn 't yet made it across the Atlantic....sorry about that, I should 've posted some of this here, last year!)




2) There is/was quite detailed discussions about the "KISS", on my side of the Atlantic for the past year or two.
Including photos of the inside of the KISS, as well as detailed spectrum traces (from my own tests last year) showing its lack of any real resonances. And, multiple on-air comparisons as well.

For LOTS of details, photos, and screen shots of the actual response of the "KISS" in various locations/configurations (including in my own lazarette), please have a look at these discussions.
(This first one jumps you into the guts of the discussion and gives you the best overall sense of the KISS....and the remaining ones bring you to the beginning, should you find yourself with days of spare time to read it all!)

http://www.ssca.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13490&start=75



http://www.ssca.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13490


http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/the-kiss-ssb-counterpoise-revealed-with-pics-56551-13.html

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/the-kiss-ssb-counterpoise-revealed-with-pics-56551.html



3) For attaching your antenna tuner 's ground lug to the sea water (to utilize the sea water as your antenna ground/counterpoise), use of copper strapping is preferred, as 3" wide copper has 48% less inductance than 14 ga copper wire.
If you use copper strapping (of at least 0.012" thickness to 0.022" thickness) rather than the thin foil (of 0.002" - 0.003" thickness) sold by chandleries, etc. it will last a LONG time (many years...10+ years in most cases..)
And, if you paint the copper strapping before installing it (I use a clear lacquer paint), or paint / epoxy after installation, it will last decades (20+ years) without any problems....

See this discussion for the details of the inductance issues, copper strapping vs. copper wire..
http://www.ssca.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14156&start=15





4) As for "what" the antenna ground / counterpoise is supposed to do???
There have been many books written on the subject, and I cannot type it all here :)
(I did write quiet a bit in some of the above linked discussions, look at the last page of the Cruiser 's Forum thread...)

In brief, here is some of what I wrote last year:
Entire books have been written about counterpoises, etc......and written by guys with a far better understanding of the science than I...
(Yeah, I 'm good.....real good with antennas, counterpoises, etc....but I 'm no Walt Maxwell or L.B. Cebik, Frank Jones, Bill Orr, etc. etc....)
So, what to write here that anyone would believe????
Hmmm, I 'm not sure....(hopefully I 'll come up with some good ideas later....but 'til then, here a few quick things...)


The way we use antennas for HF comms on-board our boats, the "counterpoises" we use, function in multiple ways....depending on the freqs/band, length of antenna (backstay, whip, etc.), and exact design/lay-out of the counterpoise, any/all of the below are the primary ways our counterpoises function:

1 -- reduce/eliminate feedline radiation.....

2 -- on most freqs / bands, they provide "the other half of the antenna"..(allowing the antenna return currents traveling through the ground / sea water, to get back to the antenna feed-point / base of the antenna, more effectively)

3 -- shunt "un-radiated" RF to ground (reducing RFI, etc.).....

4 -- assist an antenna couple (auto-tuner) in making an adequate match..

(although, some may question the "necessity" of this last item these days, as our modern auto-tuners could match a " wire coat-hanger", etc.....what this last function gives us is, the ability of the auto-tuner to find a more efficient tuning regime, thereby allowing more of our transmitted power to be properly coupled TO the antenna...is it "necessary", no....is it "desirable", YES! )


One of the misunderstandings that always amazes me is that many do not grasp the "differences" between using the sea water as our antenna ground/counterpoise, vs. using an artificial counterpoise made up of "radials"...(little distinction is made, between different ground/counterpoise systems, but there are REAL differences!)

The simple fact that using wire radials as a "counterpoise" does work, and
the simple fact that using copper strap to connect to the sea water, using the sea water as a "counterpoise" also works.....
They are NOT mutually exclusive....they are just different.....
(on-board radial-type counterpoises are typically made to be resonant on certain bands/freqs, and work "good-enough" elsewhere......
and, sea water-type counterpoises are broadband, and typically also have a fair amount of copper strapping inside the vessel that is functioning as part of the "counterpoise", similarly to the fact that the GTO-15 wire leaving your auto-tuner IS part of your antenna....)

There are pluses and minuses in both.....(barnacles, installation time/effort, complexity, possibility of RFI, etc.)
They both work.....which one you choose depends on many variables....
What works well for one application / one owner, may not be optimal for another.....
But, in most installations/applications the direct sea water connection, utilizing the sea water as the primary antenna ground/counterpoise, works best!!!




I hope all of the above helps, and does not overly complicate/confuse??

Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
Simon Currin
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Thanks John,

In the end I dipped into my wallet and replaced the through hull ground plates so your email makes me feel better about this decision.

Simon
jgbailey (Past OCC Member)
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All / Simon

I recently came across this article which seems to offer an easy way of reducing the interference on SSB radios. (Switch your fridge off during transmission.)

The full article is readable via the link below.

http://www.oceannavigator.com/Web-Exclusives-2015/Reducing-radio-interference/

John
Dick
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Hey all,
I have been a ham x 15 years and doing Winlink for the same amount for wx and emails as a full time live-aboard. I have done 2 SSB installations and consulted on numerous others. My take is that many forms of counterpoise work fine for when conditions are adequate to good, but that some of the “short cut” methods fall off dramatically when conditions get marginal. I suspect that is why there is are some quite varied reports as to performance. Many parts of the world you can connect with a wet finger as an aerial. Others are far more challenging.
More important, possibly, is the general inadequacy of many SSB installations, even those done by “professionals”. Casual observation reveals a lack of stand-offs for the high energy wire to the backstay on many installations, and if that is done, I would think likely short cuts by laziness or lack of knowledge were hidden in the less observable portions of the boat.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Erik Snel
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Hi Simon,

As already posted in another topic, I have installed and used a Kiss ground plane this year on our trip to the Azores. We had another problem with the installation and had a knowledgeable radio amateur look at the installation on Faial. He solved the problem and also commented that the antenna and ground plane setup worked very well.
I installed the ground plane for exactly the same reasons you state and we are happy with it!

Erik Snel
sy Dutch Rose
GO

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