Two years ago I had just made the mistake of having nearly 100 feet of 4 inch copper foil and a large bronze ground plate installed. The SSB worked just fine, but two months later I was anchored by a couple that had just received a KISS-SSB and was about to install it in their boat. We decided to compare it with my new copper since it is just a one wire connection. I contacted another cruiser that was nearly 1,000 miles away and we tested our signal strength with each on my boat. The kiss worked better and we were told it had a stronger signal. Reception improved slightly, and transmission improved even more. Since then I have replaced my copper ground plane with the kiss and couldn't be happier. I have an external SWR/PWR meter onboard and while I was installing the kiss I compared the two and found that the kiss had a better SWR rating and was putting out more wattage. I often do net-control, Sailmail, weather fax and use it on all the ham bands too.
For the price and simplicity of installation you can not beat the kiss for your ground plane. I have a ham friend that attempted to make his own and was never able to get a good SWR reading through out the whole marine HF frequencies. He now uses a kiss in his attic along with a long wire also in the attic and says he is working the world. We talk often and we both have strong signals. Just thought I would throw in my two cents.
Oh, I'm sure that KISS works more or less as well as a copper ground-plane - neither is a good, resonant earth! It's amazing how far you can transmit on a random piece of wire - and lets face it, all boat antennae are effectively random pieces of wire - you need something the size of a small cruise liner to put up a resonant antenna for 2MHz! Even at 14MHz the antenna has to be substantially compressed to fit in most yachts.
My problem with the KISS is that it's a hell of a lot of money for a few lengths of wire coiled up...
Unfortunately, RFI has stopped broadcasting their bulletin on Jan 1st this year, it's a real pity it was the only bulletin covering the whole of the Atlantic crossing E-W
The Italian maritime net and Alfredo are the same, he does not use 14297.5 any more but works on 14306.
He does the net when required, that is you must send him an email beforehand and he will be on air. Look for Italian maritime mobile net "iarms" on the internet and you will find his email. He is a really nice guy, of course the net is held in English and Italian.
I plan to cross from the Carib to Acores in a couple of weeks time, and hopefully will be in touch with him, if anhone wants to join.. :smile:
Herb I have not heard anything on several occasions during the last few weeks, his site states he will only talk to people contacting him beforehand because of some problems which occurred lately.
oh no, yet another sailing blog
I am not going to claim any first hand experience, but I quite liked the idea of Yacht-funk (I think it's http://yacht-funk.com ). They have a paint that you paint a chunk of the "bilge" with and that becomes your ground plane. I guess with a rough glass matt finish on a bilge that would even improve the amount of surface area? Seems like a neat and simple idea - lots of the ARC boats seem to use it.
I have no involvement and can't even claim to have heard of someone doing an A-B comparison. Simply that the idea seems straightforward and looks theoretically very nice.
As an aside, several folks here seem to take an "sat phone OR ssb" approach. I personally think they serve complimentary purposes. It would be a bit like saying "shall we take mobile phone or walkie talkies" - they both have their uses and arguably they don't even overlap all that much. Consider using both for their most effective purposes - we have a lot of customers with both (and don't forget it's not an OR vs wifi or cell phones either - sadly you kind of need one of everything...)
Good luck - happy cruising!
oh and also trying to understand the subtleties of the US voice bulletin, they have changed the areas at the beginning of April and I still have difficulties in finding any agreement with the content they show on the internet and the text actually being read by "Mechanical Mike" voice, plus the bulletins are almost 45 minutes long, one waits until the end pen in his hand and his own area is not even mentioned...
I think I'll leave from here Martinique for the Ašores in about a couple of weeks, I'll get in touch with Alfredo to see if he is available for a regular schedule, otherwise try to check in in the other nets (esp the UK one G4FRN on 14303).
Another very active frequency (though I only heard Spanish being spoken) is 14360/14370 at 2300UTC, "Rueda de los navegantes", one land station in the Canary and one in the Ašores.
Interestingly, the frequency is just outside the amateur bands so basically it'a pirate frequency, yet the very King of Spain awarded medals and honours to Rafael del Castillo (the guy running the canary station) because he provides an excellent service to sailors and has often been of great help during distress situations.
Agree with mailasail about the complementarity between ssb and sat phone, with the radio I could cover all my needs, yet this year I am bringing the boat back alone and just to hear the voice of my two daughters from time to time I took a satphone with me :blush:
oh no, yet another sailing blog
Please check in every morning, Livestream for the Med Net at 5:30 UTC on 8.131khz and Drag Net at 6:00 UTC on 6.516khz .
I┤ve you want to check your own SSB transmission, please sent me an e-mail with your location and i switch the Receiver to your frequency and you can listen your audio with a delay of 5sec over the Livestream.
Thanks for the 6 cruiser to use the SSB Live Stream yesterday to test they Equipment over more than 1000 miles. It was a lot of fun for me. In the future we plan to bring the receiver to an external server an you can change by your self the frequency for an ssb Check. At this moment the receiver is located in the middle of germany, we plan 2 or 3 more receiver online ( Balearic Island , Canary Island and the Azores ). But we need contact for locations for install the receivers . We need Internet DSL with 24/7 , and little space for the Antenna . It┤s not a big antenna online a magnetic Loop. Later i take 2 photos of the equipment. I Ve there anybody to help with the location, it┤s very helpful for us .
There is also a APP for iPhone for the Livestream ;-)
cheers, Joerg from Yachtfunk.com
Last edited by lucky; 11-07-12 at 05:14.