• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Update on home HF counterpoise

Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
After much study to include the webpage I made regarding the KISS-SSB, I tried a new-to-me counterpoise system. I knew it was going to be long so I ordered 200' of 18AWG wire for this test. The purpose was to see if I would get any different results against the existing counterpoise I now have.

I used 4 lengths of wire at 33.5', 18', 16', and 14'. These were the values given on the KISS-SSB webpage. You can figure out the frequency per each length by using the formula 234/length in feet.

After cutting I folded the wires as a group. First I measure the height from my balun to the top of the patio cover. That was 8'. The remaining wire was folded into 6'. Total length of wires reduced to 14'. I taped at each fold but will eventually put the whole mess in a tube. I went with 8' to keep the mass of the wire on the patio cover and not hanging off of the balun.

Results: When I first turned on the radio I heard some activity on 20m (14300 KHz). Don't normally hear that even on a good day. So initial feeling was good. I then tuned all the bands I use. Some got a 1.0:1 SWR but the worst was 1.6:1 SWR. I was able to resolve that by retuning and got it down to 1.2:1. I can live with those figures. The tuner by the way is a MFJ929 Automatic Smart Tuner.

First test was to try and connect to WINLINK station in Austin Tx. First I tried on 5 watts and got a hit, but was not reliable. Up the power to 25 watts and locked with the server. This is using WINMOR, not PACTOR. Those who have PACTOR are lucky. But WINMOR works just fine.

Next test was to move to 40 Meters which is a no go for me during the day. I connected right away with the WINLINK station is San Rafael Ca. Normally I can hit him in the early morning or late evening, but not midday. So that was a positive event with the new counterpoise.

I plan on making one more so I have basically a double counterpoise system. Will it improve my contacts? Might, might not. We will see.

I bought an antenna analyzer (MFJ259C) and tried to get some readings from the counterpoise. It didn't show much in the way of good dips, but the counterpoise works to a degree.

Later!
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,685
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
That sounds very positive Brian... Way to go.
What about the cost. More or less than the pre-made?
Of course you just can not buy the joy of trying something and making it work. That cost... Priceless
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
The cost of the wire, which I did not have lying around, was $14. It is 200' of stranded CCA (copper clad aluminum). Yeah, the joy of measuring out the wire and putting it all together was priceless. Whoot. LOL
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Oct 22, 2014
15,685
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Well the wire cost alone is better than the KISS-SSB listed price...
How close were you to cutting the correct lengths? Any over/under cuts? 33.5ft is not necessarily easy to get exact.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
When one is as OCD as me and using a tape measure, measureing three times before even thinking about cutting, I think I nailed it. LOL I didn't tune it beyond just cutting. At that length being off 1/4" is not going to make any difference. Now, get up into the microwave band and 1/4" can make you miss the moon by a million miles. LOL
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Oct 22, 2014
15,685
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
So does NASA know your shooting microwaves at the moon... You may be getting a visit from the new Space Force if your not careful...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Jim, no. A horizontal random wire that is 35.5' long. There are certain lengths that are not 1/2-wave, or even-multiples (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, etc) thereof, that will tune on most of the ham bands. Unfortunately, there are more marine SSB bands so not all tuners will tune all the available frequencies.

If I was younger I would volunteer for the new Space Force. Specifically in the communications field. No more grunt for me. LOL
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Jan 25, 2011
2,218
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
Brian, are you testing all your configurations at the same day/time as much as practical? Comparing different configs on different days/times introduces the variable of propogation differences. Also, I think I would use a manual tuner for test purposes as you can control it..
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Mark, that is kind of impractical, yet I understand what your are talking about. I really wish I could do everything at once. But I have to extrapolate what I can given the nature of propagation. Those were initial test results though unscientific at best. I usually wait a few days and monitor activities based on SFI and WSPR. True, I may have a day in which the RF gods are messing with me. LOL. We will see over the next few days.

This is probably no different than installing a new ground system on a boat and hearing stuff you haven't before. Too many variables to contend with. But as of now, when I have being heard in Antarctica on 40M I won't complain. LOL

Before changing out the counterpoise I can confirm that I was having hearing issues. That has changed now for real. I am hearing more stations that before. I do not believe the SFI, A and K indicies are changing for the better. So with that, there is a good indication that the counterpoise has increased efficiency somewhat.
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,554
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
A horizontal random wire
Those are directional and normally act as a beam antennae in the balun to tip direction.
I had these tall trees and two strings to change the direction and elevation above the ground to beam on all HF bands.
On a hillside, no less, so the hill would act as a ground plane. On 20m I could get a great signal when the Sun was over Hawaii and QRP clear channel Japan and Russia.;)
Jim...
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Don, horizontal random wire @ 35.5'. It is attached to a 4:1 unun.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,077
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Don't do that eznec thing. I tried that and it was useless for me. I do use a counterpoise because I have a choke balun at the feed. I do not want my coax to radiate. So with the antenna being some odd multiple of a quarter-wave, it requires some sort of counter system. Same hold true with a quarter-wave vertical. Make sense? I have tried without the counterpoise and could not tune.