Sailing Boat Antenna Help

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by 2E1HPS, Apr 21, 2020.

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  1. 2E1HPS

    2E1HPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Jeff. I think I'll order one today as it's such a great price and it will get me up and running straight away whilst I play around with all of the other recommendations. I will definitely make the additions that you describe. Could you advise how to know what part of the circuit board to ground.
    Also could you advise how to attach the toroid current choke
    thanks so much.
    Perhaps if your ever in Ramsgate give me a email and you can come out for a sail.
    2E0CIT likes this.
  2. 2E0CIT

    2E0CIT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi again James!
    Your post inspired me to pop outside and set up my homebrew miniwhip again so I can enjoy those nautical signals you mentioned!

    I've connected it to my SDRPlay and powering the antenna via the 5 volts bias-tee output of it (no need for a separate bias-tee like this) ...seems like anything between 5v and 12v works well.
    The Scanmaster I understand is actually the same as a Miniwhip.

    With the Scanmaster. as I recall, I simply soldered a cable to the point on the board where the coax shield connects.
    As mentioned, some hams won't solder a groundwire but will connect the coax shield to an earthstake at the point the coax reaches the ground. You would likely use a metal plate in the sea! I chose to do a separate earth wire as I was experimenting with different heights and didn't want to chop up the coax.

    The reason I put a current choke on the coax right by the antenna is that the active antenna was amplifying signals and rfi that was being picked up on its coax shield, inc signals from my other antennas.....the signals travelling up the coax shield to the active antenna, being amplified and coming back down the coax to the radio! Putting a choke on it prevents this and then you only get to hear what the actual active antenna is hearing, -not rfi generated in the shack!
    The choke could be a commercial one in a black box or you could simply wind the coax a few times around a ferrite toroid (same thing!) ..plenty of instructions on the 'net. The ferrite toroid I used was a Type 43. You can google to see how to make the choke but there are experts on QRZ who would perhaps advise the best type of ferrite. Just now I fitted a homebrew W2DU choke to it made with Type 73 beads. Easy to make. (As anothe 2E0 I'm still learning!) More experienced hams will advise better than I ever could!

    Sites that I found useful for learning about active HF antennas. etc: (an EXCELLENT set up!)

    Thanks for the invite! Really appreciated :), I'll email you, sailing is GREAT, but if it just ends up with a pint then that too will be fine!

    Keep us posted how it works for you!!!!!!
    73 Goodonya, Jeff
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  3. 2E1HPS

    2E1HPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks so much. I'm so appreciative of all the effort put into helping me out. I would love to buy you a pint anytime. I'm truly overwhelmed by the support. I have ordered the antenna and really looking forward to implementing your recommendations.
    2E0CIT likes this.
  4. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I usually comment on grounding of the vessel's electrical system into one well-bonded entity. I'm assuming the hull is wood, possibly covered with fiberglass (or fibreglass). Think about putting two sheets of copper or brass, one on either side of the keel just below the generator/engines. Fair the plates in to allow smooth water flow. Bond the plates together solidly and through-bolt them so the machinery AND radio equipment can use this ground. Works great for the USN's wooden-hulled mine warfare craft, and they put out dandy signals without problems on HF.
  5. 2E1HPS

    2E1HPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks that's a really great tip. Copper plate onto the outsidethe hull with a through bold sounds good. Is it ok to connect the copper plates to the engine.
    The negative side of the boats 12v battery electrics are connected to the engine also. Also I'm not sure if the engine is connected to an anode.

    How big do you think the two copper plates need to be and would you recommend conecting them to the areal with a copper strip or a wire? Sorry lots of Q's. How big should the connecting wire/strip be?
  6. WB5THT

    WB5THT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    We were blue water cruisers on our 40' ketch, our HF radio was essential equipment. I used an insulated backstay with a remote automatic tuner below decks close to the backstay. I ran copper strap around the hull to deck joint on the inside for the counterpoise - it was connected to the tuner ground. It was a great antenna.
  7. 2E0CIT

    2E0CIT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks James!
    Normally I receive WEFAX via my Yaesu FT-450D and Signalink that I use for digital signals but your post inspired me to have fun setting up the miniwhip and receive signals via my SDRPlay. (as I think you propose to do)

    Here I simply tuned into Hamburg 3855 KHz minus 1.5 KHz = 3.853.5 KHz USB and placed my computer microphone in front of the computer loudspeaker.
    Then on FLdigi I selected the microphone as the sound input.
    Adjusted the audio filter on the software program I use with the sdr ((SDRUno) .......and this WEFAX picture developed on the FLDigi screen!
    The fax quality seems as good as anything I get via the normal method using my 135 foot doublet at 15 m height.

    The Miniwhip with a W2DU choke is 2.5 m above ground on a plastic pipe and earthed into wet clay soil with a 1.75 m copper pipe groundstake.

    You'll know what all the squiggles and numbers mean. (I haven't a clue:confused: but the nice lady on the telly tells me it'll be sunny tomorrow:cool:)
    73 Jeff

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  8. 2E1HPS

    2E1HPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks. it's great to get real life experiences from a blue water sailor. About the back stay. Can I ask what you used to insulate the backstay with?

    On a different note. Good job Jeff that looks like a great picture can't wait to get mine up and running. Good news about it being sunny tomorrow!
    What bandwidth did you set on SDR Uno too. And can I ask what your filters where set too also. Great job.
  9. 2E1HPS

    2E1HPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jeff did you use the antenna you sent me the eBay link for. Thanks
  10. 2E0CIT

    2E0CIT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually the active antenna I used to receive the WEFAX above is a simple Miniwhip made from a kit but the Scanmaster I bought via Ebay behaves exactly the same, plus of course it comes already built with a strong case and lugs to fix it to your boat.

    Tomorrow I could run a test using the Scanmaster to verify this statement but conditions change and sometimes the fax quality is bad whatever kit you use!
    The best way to test of course would be to run a side by side or swap comparison

    On SDRUno program I adjusted the audio bandwidth to 3 KHz but it doesn't seem to be critical. It seems most of the signal is confined within a span of 1.5 KHz. I just narrowed the audio bandwidth enough to exclude unwanted noise. Maybe this is easier to do with an SDR and its program than on my Yaesu rig.

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