I am installing an SSB radio in Whaleback and am seeking any assistance regarding the installation of the “counterpoise” grounding system. I am using a 3″ copper foil and would like input from any skipper who has experience with adhesives, connections to tanks, etc. or general feedback on the overall “counterpoise” install. Tim O’Neil (#138, Whaleback) Constitution Marina, Boston
a. A link for some info on SSB, www.yachtwire.com/ssb.pdf . Regards, Frank Bryant
b. For a (SSB Ground Plane) I used 3M 5100 to attach my copper. I was told by a radio man in Seattle that I should shoot for 100 sq.ft. of ground plane. I have 75 sq.ft of 18″ copper foil that is soldered to adjacent copper foil of similar size. I have kept most of this foil below the waterline which is important. I used 3″ foil to connect between my large copper foil area and two 12″x 3″ Dynaplates. I have also incorporated one of my fuel tanks. There are a lot of people that don’t think that is a good idea. Electrolysis can be a problem. I have been told that the signals ??? travel along the service of the foil. People with good radios will keep their foil clean and replace it when corrosion starts to deteriorate it. It’s also important to use 45 and 90 degree folds when changing direction with the 3 ” foil. One should also solder the folded edge. I am not an expert, I do a lot of listening , but I have one of the better radios in a fiberglass boat. I was able to routinely talk to New Zealand from the entire length of the west coast of North America. A good radio is a lot of fun and you are in a position to help others when their radios are not doing the job. There are a large number of radios that will not reach very far. Richard Bacon (s/v #043, Balmacara)
c. Richard, Thanks for your helpful response. Can you advise me regarding the source of your 18″ copper foil? I called the local metal people around Boston to no avail. I was going to try to source copper insect screen next. I was also concerned re the airex core…that it could affect or interfere with counterpoise, but it appears in your case it does not. Again thank you for your response and three cheers for Lester. Best Regards, Tim O’Neil (#138, Whaleback)
d. I got my 18″ foil from an outfit called Pacific Steel. They are located here in Missoula, MT. They ordered it from the west coast. 1 800 446 4766 . I don’t think that the airex is a problem but you can get away from the airex if you get close to the center of the boat where there is no airex. I think the key is to have it below the waterline. R. Bacon (s/v #043, Balmacara).
e. Here is a link to a supplier of copper foil ( SSB Counterpoise ) you may have it already …………. I ordered some myself too. http://www.basiccopper.com/?gclid=CMT5k_2_vJkCFSEgDQodeQhA7A Regards, Frank Bryant.