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Terry Rugg of Santa Barbara, California, asks:

"The SSB insulators on my Islander 36 are coming off. Any ideas for a new setup for my straight wire backstay?"

Gordon West replies:

You have several alternatives. A stern-mounted 18-inch white whip antenna, from either Shakespeare or Digital Antenna, will transmit a good signal down to 12 MHz, although it will be a bit short for the 4 and 8 MHz channels. The nice thing about a whip is that you can stow it when it’s not needed. Another possibility is the Gam/McKim split-lead antenna, which allows you to slip a dual conductor alongside your backstay. Even though the twin conductors are several millimeters away from the grounded stay, it does get out a good signal. This is a nice alternative for temporary installations, like for an annual distance race where SSB capability is required. For further information, visit gamelectronicsinc.com.

You might also want to think about a slightly more exotic solution that involves threading a high voltage GTO–15 antenna cable inside the sheath of a 3/8in black (for UV protection) double-braid line. First remove the rope’s core and insert the GTO-15 cable in its place. Make sure the upper end of the braided line and the GTO-15 is well sealed to keep moisture out. You can pull the line/antenna up with a halyard, but be sure to keep it away from the boom. When it is hoisted in place you should enjoy good range. The antenna line doesn’t need to be kept taught, but you do have to put the lower end of the GTO-15 cable through the flange at deck level and then run it to the automatic tuner.

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