' Icom Marine Ssb Antenna Grounding'
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INSTRUCTION MANUAL grounding and Icom Inc on your purchase of an ICOM marine single sideband transceiver You havechosen one of the finest sideband sets availableThis special insert in your marine single sideband instruction and installation manual willassist you in choosing the right antenna and getting the best range out of a good groundedsingle sideband installation Good antennas and good grounding are absolutely essential forgood single sideband range and this is why this special report is included with your singlesideband TUNERSIf your ICOM SSB is going aboard a sailboat you may Another antenna system for powerboat operation is theeither use an insulated backstay an insulated sidestay or a pretuned trap 23foot aluminum whip from Morad Incnonresonant white fiber glass whip antenna off the stern This antenna requires no automatic tunersimply feed itto make up your antenna system Your best range will be with coax out of the back of your SSB and it works nicelyfrom an insulated backstay because of the long length of on all of the preset marine frequencies This antennathe antenna radiator which is that portion within the top system must usually be tuned up by a technician and itand bottom insulators Have your rigger put the top usually is not as popular as the nonresonant white fiberinsulator about two feet down from the tip of the mast glass whip used in conjunction with the ICOM tunerHave your rigger install the bottom insulator at about eye Although both are good performers the ICOM tuner andlevel when youre standing back aft This length between the white fiber glass nonresonant whip is usually the should not exceed 120 or be less than 23 If way to goyou decide to go for the nonresonant whip antenna suchas a Shakespeare or Morad the antenna usually goes at We suggest you check with the dealer that sold you yourthe extreme stern and mounts either vertically or raked transceiver if you would like to purchase the ICOM autoback at about a 45degree angle matic tuner as well as a resonant or nonresonant whip antenna assembly Dealers that sell ICOM equipmentThese nonresonant antennas may be tuned by the usually have these accessories on handICOM automatic antenna tuner that matches the ICOMSSB transceiver The tuner goes back aft in the lazarett It THE IMPORTANCE OF GROUNDINGis completely and can easily take the Please read this If you are looking for super range withpunishment of being aft and below deck where youre your new ICOM SSB we have some tricks that will giveprobably also going to store wet life preservers foul you the same kind of range as globecircling cruise shipsweather gear and the like The tuner interconnects with the super tankers solo sailors the Navy and the Coast GuardICOM SSB Full details are in the tuner Surface area to the sea water and the use of copper foiltion manual We suggest you use GTO15 high voltage exclusively throughout your RF ground system is the comleadin wire from the single wire output of the tuner to bination that gives you commercialtype super rangeyour insulated backstay or to your nonresonant whip The sea water acts like a diving board or side of a pool forThis high voltage wire wont break down in wet weather or a diver and a swimmer it gives your signal a solid Use stainless steel hose clamps to attach the wire to push off from This is technically called a counterto the insulated backstay If you decide to use a non poise and its the absolute necessary otherhalf of yourresonant whip attach the single wire with a lug to the antenna system that must be achieved for your overall sinfeedpoint at the base of the whip gle sideband system to work wellMore about the importance of grounding in a moment Its not that hard to develop your own sideband RF ground system in just about a days time and you may even findFor those of you with a powerboat a whip antenna that most of the RF ground system is already installed 20 feet long is what youll be using with you have little to do but to tie everything together withyour new ICOM SSB The most common and preferred set copper foil Read on please and let us show you howup consists of the white fiber glass 21foot nonresonant easy it can bewhip antenna that is automatically tuned with the ICOMautomatic antenna tuner Similar to sailboat installations NONTECHNICALLY SPEAKINGthe tuner is hidden out of the way in the flying bridge area If you plan to have a technician or a technical friend installor below deck near the base of the whip GTO15 wire your sideband system have him skip this part and the whip to the automatic tuner The tuner is reading at Antenna Ground Principles Technicallyfed with coax RG 213 and a control line from the back of Speaking If you plan to do the installation yourself andthe ICOM SSB wherever you plan to hide the autotuner this is the first one youve done read onRemember the ICOM automatic tuner is fully automaticso you can put it completely out of sight 1The water that your boat sits in is the ultimate ground copper plumbers tape Threeinch is better Note A Theres none better Commercial AM broad inch strip mounted three inches away from another threecast stations on the coast usually put their giant antenna inch strip of copper foil looks like a nine inch strip to asystem in the mud flats of a local bay for good range radio waveSome boat suppliers put ground foil and ground screen in Its going to take you about a day to work this foil belowthe cabin overhead This is true on expensive powerboats decks and below the water line picking up anything andand is sometimes found in a few sailboats While this type everything of ground potential If you can get at your keelof overhead RF ground system is better than nothing it bolt or tap a screw into the keel your grounding is donestill lacks the capability of coupling with the ocean or lake Lead incapsulated keels are the ultimate in grounds andas the ultimate water ground system A far better RF you may need nothing furtherground system would be the following In powerboats since theres no keel youre going to need 1 100 sq ft area of foil below water line to come up with at least 100 square feet of RF ground 2 Metal water tanks surface below the water line This means you must pick up 3 Lead keel as many ground potentials below the water line as possi 4 Foil radials ble We usually use a stainless steel hose clamp to grab 5 Interconnected throughhull each underwater metal source 6 Engine block 7 Metal oilcatch pans Now lets take a look at grounding from a slightly more 8 Steering system hydraulics technical point of view Dont worry we wont get over technical and its easy to read and understand If youreThats right we list the engine block as last as a good letting a technical friend of technician put in your counterpoise Engine blocks do not have an ment make sure they read over this section several timesextremely large amount of surface area that is flat and The facts here are based on hundreds of hours of doingclose to the water your boat is sitting in The whole idea is and undoing different types of ground systems In allsurface areaand this is why a keel bolt underwater tanks cases following these techniques will give you the and anything else flat and next to the water that you want and thats long range and the loudestdoes such a good job Now we know your next question signal on the bandBut doesnt a good ground actually have to be in contactwith the water Not at all At radio frequencies RF your ANTENNA GROUND ground counterpoise sees the water in a TECHNICALLY way which gives just as good a ground effect The marine antenna system for low medium and highas if it were actually touching the water frequency applications will utilize both the seawater as well as that shiny white fiber glass antenna radiator for itsNow heres another very important point no round wires entire operation Like two kids on a teetertotter the sysfor RF ground Even if you use welding wire the size of tem works well if there is a balance between the antennayour thumb you cannot achieve a good ground counter radiator and the seawater ground This balanced antennapoise with round wire In our Technically Speaking system may electrically be compared to a dipole antennasection well tell you why but in nontechnical terms systemonehalf wavelength long on the frequency bandround wires tend to cancel out at radio frequencies and of operation with voltage and current loops equallythey look invisible as a ground counterpoise interconnect distributed throughout the halfwave length system InThis is why copper foil must be used between the chassis marine applications where a vertical antenna is used thisof your transceiver to your ships RF ground as the chas system is more precisely referred to as a Hertz antenna setupsis of the automatic antenna tuner to ships RF ground The white fiber glass whip is tuned to an wires wont workonly copper foil will onequarter wavelength and the ground system will make up the other onequarter wavelength We technically callYour better marine electronic stores that sell ICOM equip the RF ground system a counterpoise and the antennament will also sell threeinch wide superthin copper the radiatorfoil for grounding In a pinch you can use oneinch wide 2If either a onequarter wavelength antenna or ground be laminated inside the fiber glass layers as the hull issystem is missing or inadequate radio reception and under construction Thin sheets of copper foil could range will be severely reduced How good be used in the manufacturing process of the hull Even thewas your car radio reception when someone broke off conducting mesh that holds together cement hulls can beyour whip antenna The same degradation of range also used quite nicely as a ground counterpoise systemtakes place when there is little or no RF ground system forthe whip to work against in a marine installation Copper foil and grounding screen is available from most marine electronic distributors as well as marine a swimmer making a flip turn but not having the dealers Thickness of the screen and foil is not importantside of the pool to push off from The same thing happens the most common foil is generally one to four mills thickwith radio wave transmissions on single sideband The and comes in threeinch wide rolls of just about any lengthmost powerful antenna will not radiate a signal if it has not you want Copper window screen if you can find itcounterpoise to push off the signal from is usable thickness is not important Radio frequency energy travels on the outside of this conducting surfaceIn technical terms the less RF ground the higher the called skin effect eliminating the need for thickradiation resistance of the antenna system This radiation grounding will lead to substantial power loss and singlesideband equipment will not only perform poorly but also Since grounding foil and screen is relatively expensiveget quite hot in the transmitter section An inadequate most boat builders will simply leave out this sideband RF ground will also lead to hot mikes process and expect the customer to provide their own RFwhere the operator actually receives a radio frequency ground once the boat is finished This is a shameits soburn each time the mike is held next to his mouth Poor RF easy to build in when the hull is under construction andgrounding will also lead to erratic movement of analogue far more difficult to add after the vessel is fully completeddial instruments bizarre behavior of automatic pilotswhile transmitting on the sideband set and may even The copper foil and screen does not actually need to concause burnouts of tiny integrated circuits in companion tact seawater in order to create the ground system Radiomarine electronic gear aboard Isolating your RF ground frequency energy passes quite nicely through fiber glassing system from your DC grounding system will prevent so an incapsulated ground system works just as well asthese unwanted occurrences one that is actually exposed to the seawater Incapsulated lead keels with a halfinch of resin also work well Any RFSURFACE AREA ground system that is capacitively coupled to the seawaterFor marine SSB radios a good radio frequency ground sys is enhanced by the seawater itselftem will consist of a minimum of 100 square feet of metalbelow the waterline Now we know youre going to jump Developing the ground system for radio frequency appliout of your chairs when you read this but dont be over cations as opposed to DC circuits requires that all groundwhelmed There are plenty of underwater metals that we connections be interlaced using copper foil Round groundmight attach to in order to obtain this amount of counter wires are out Wires actually look like inductive trapcirpoise below the waterline Lead keels incapsulated within cuits at certain radio frequencies and will appear invisiblefiber glass will make excellent surface area grounds in sail as an effective way of coupling your set to your groundboat applications The tough part will be getting to the system Thats right copper foil must be run from belowlead keel or the exposed keel bolt the waterline ground system and attached directly to each piece of low and high frequency radio gearIn other marine installations stainless steel tanks lines and throughhulls will help make up the While this may also seem to be an insurmountable probRF ground counterpoise system lem in running foil rather than wire foil handles quite nicely even in tight places The foil is easily soldered toBoat manufacturers have the capabilities of adding a the below waterline ground system and then routed upterrific RF ground system when the hull is being laid up the side of the hull into the area of the NAV station It mayLightweight copper screen is one of the best ways to be glassed into the hull painted over glued in or even leftprovide a good surface area ground Copper screen could resting on the side of the hull The foil may be bent in order 3to accomplish a 90degree turn If the foil must absolutely We usually ground everything with foil at the navigationpass through a small hole it may be rolled up in a notso station This would include the casing of the windtight configuration and squeezed through the orifice and speed equipment pilot control box GPS sidebandAvoid a concentric type for that type tends to cancel oscil radar VHF and just about everything else that lights uplating radio frequencies Flat is best The more grounding you provide for your central electron ics the less problems you will have with stray RFThere are several sticky marine compounds that will allowthe foil to adhere to the underside of a hatch or to the side The ground foil must also run to remote tuners Thisof a hull Almost anything will work and there is little includes the tuner on your Loran antenna setup as well asdanger of any substantial amounts of voltage developing the ICOM single sideband tuner thats usually several feeton your ground foil run The ground foil and your away from the equipment These tuners may be all thecomplete RF ground system which run inside the hull way back aft adding another dimension to your groundalso will not substantially change your corrosion exposure foil run Its best to run the foil from the RF ground sourceto the seawater Galvanic corrosion problems occur directly to your tuner rather than stringing everything outwhen dissimilar metals are immersed in seawater The in series like Christmas tree lights Now picture oneground system is not actually immersed its coupling is ground foil run from the keel bolt to the electronics and aonly capacitive second ground foil run from the keel bolt back aft to the sideband tuner and your sternmounted Loran is another form of corrosion where stray These tuner ground circuits are mandatory for any type ofcurrents may begin to eat up underwater metals Good reliable operation If you try to run an ICOM sideband setwiring techniques for your 12volt system independent of with a remote tuner that is undergrounded you stand theyour RF ground system will eliminate electrolysis chance of not only burning up your equipment but also damaging other electronics onboard with stray RF If itsNow lets get back to finding a spot to terminate that three not easy to run ground foil from your central below theinch wide copper foil that emanates from the below water waterline ground source back aft then try to figure outline ground system Most manufacturers of Loran weather another way to do it It has to be donefax and marine single sideband sets dont provide aneasy way of adding ground foil to the stern end of their You can also pick up additional ground counterpoise surelectronics The best method is to run the foil up to the face area by adding substantial metals along the way inback of the equipment and use existing sheet metal your copper foil run Stainless steel hose clamps make itscrews to make a firm connection Where a ground post easy to pick up throughhull bronze fittings water tanksstud with nuts and a washer are provided all the copper hydraulic lines bilge pump valves and the foil up to the stud double it back on itself lines small underwater grounding lightning plates andseveral times for strength punch a hole in it and then anything else that may give you some additional undermake the connection Never negate all your hard work of water surface arearunning the foil by using a small jumper wire to interconnect the foil to the radio setup You will be putting a Mariners with sailboats with poured incapsulated leadweak link in your ground system at radio frequencies keels as well as metal hull vessels have the easiest time in obtaining a good ground counterpoise If the keel isWe usually accordion up the excess foil in back of the visible a second nut on the exposed thread will anchor onequipment so that we might remove the equipment for the ground foil We usually seal this connection to with the foil attached If you put the bends in the deterioration from the bilge water It may also be recomright spot the foil will resume its natural collapsed state mended by local experts to tie in the aluminum mast towhen the equipment is put back in place Watch out for this close proximity keel bolt for lightning protection Thethe sharp corners on the ground foil they are capable of run from the mast to the keel bolt must be smooth directpiercing through the plastic protective covering on electri and without sharp turns in order to pass lightning energycal wires Make sure that red and black voltage carrying effectively into the underwater lead Again consult localwires are not allowed to rub up against the side of the lightning expertsground foil 4Steelhulled vessels are easily attached to with foil byscraping away any protective coating from the hull andmaking a low resistant good surface area contact Againseal this connection well Nonmetal hull or keel boatsrequire yards and yards of foil to be run below the waterline anywhere you can and picking up any other largebelow the waterline tanks and tubesSUMMARY SUMMARYIf you follow If you follow these steps you will have an outstanding single sideband signal that can bethese steps heard around the world The difference between a good and bad ground is easily noticed onyou will have transmission as well as reception Since your ground counterpoise is actually a part of youran outstand complete antenna system pay just as much attention to RF grounding as you did to puttingi n g up that white fiber glass whip or going to your insulated backstaysingle sideband signalthat can beheard aroundthe worldThe difference betweena good andbad ground ise a s i l ynoticed well as reception Since your ground counterpoise isactually a part of your complete antenna system pay justas much attention to RF grounding as you did to puttingup that white fiber glass whip or going to your 5Count on us Icom Inc 6916 Kamihigashi Hiranoku Osaka 547 Japan 2000 by Icom Inc MA4648 700
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