Q: I have a new Icom M-802 that I am installing aboard. I read about wires that make up the needed ground, and a wire run up the backstay for the antenna. I plan an around-the-world voyage. What do you suggest?
D. Freeman, Anacortes, WA
GORDON WEST REPLIES
If you are going around the world, you need the most powerful SSB signal you can get. Your reception and transmission range is enhanced with a true seawater ground, not a little wire disappearing into the bilge and going to the engine frame. Go with copper foil from the auto tuner to a bronze ground plate aft. For the antenna, an insulated backstay will keep your signal “in the clear” for maximum radiation to the ionosphere. The top insulator goes a couple of feet down from the masthead, the lower insulator no higher than you can reach up to clean it and regularly reattach the high voltage wire for a low-resistance connection point. You do not need to space this high-voltage wire away from the lower half of the stay, if the stay goes into a chain plate un-grounded to your ground system.
Gordon West is an electronics expert who specializes in radio communications
Do you have a question for our experts? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org