Ask SAIL: The Ultimate Ground

Author:
Publish date:

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?

Ultimate Ground Copper

D. Freeman, Anacortes, WA

GORDON WEST REPLIES

West-head

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 sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

7261ab1f-6891-424f-a22f-14c946c08ba8

Gear: Fusion Panel-Stereo

Plug & Play StereoIt can be a real pain to install a marine stereo inside a boat, what with the tiresome business of running cables through cramped spaces and finding somewhere sensible to locate the speakers. The audiophiles at Fusion thought about this and came up with the ...read more

00-2019BestBoatsPromo-04

Best Boats 2019

Some years ago, the book Aak to Zumbra catalogued—and celebrated—the incredible diversity of watercraft that has evolved over the centuries, a diversity that remains evident to this day in the 11 winners comprising the “Class of 2019” in SAIL’s Best Boats contest. Indeed, it ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGuaranteed result What you see on the end of this halyard isn’t a beautiful Flemish Eye worked by a rigger, but it will make a big difference when you have to “mouse” a line through the mast. If the ...read more

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more