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KISS-SSB Counterpoise

Radio/Satellite/Phone/E-mail

Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:02 pm

Edited post with resized images and more detailed description...
Last edited by ka4wja on Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by SoonerSailor » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:26 pm

Hi John -

What it the KISS being tested against here? Is it a KISS dipole, or is it being tested as a radiator against some kind of counterpoise or ground system?

Thanks
Chip
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:55 am

Chip,
It's almost 4am, and I haven't been able to sleep.....so I figured what not give myself some sailing/radio therapy!!!
So, I resized the images and edited/added a better description of the test set-up....

I hope this clears up the confusion...

Need be up in 3 hours, so gotta' go...

Fair winds...

John
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:29 pm

FYI, for those unfamilar with what the traces should look like, understand that while antenna vswr traces/sweeps do not have the same steep skirts that filters or other high Q devices have, they should be well defined.....

Here is the return loss / vswr trace of my 12mhz & 14mhz parallel wire dipole (which is a lower-Q antenna, as it is a multi-band parallel wire dipole...)
This is a sweep from 1.5mhz to 28.5mhz...(just like I used for the KISS-SSB-Ground sweeps)
Showing:
14.73db return loss / 1.44:1 VSWR @ 12.3mhz
16.25db return loss / 1.36:1 VSWR @ 14.4mhz
(this antenna's 14mhz reasonance moves 100khz lower when wet....but other than that, she works well.....and has lasted years strung from my genoa #2 halyard)



Image




I do hope some of you find this at least somewhat useful.....
Fair winds...

John
Last edited by ka4wja on Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by aa1gj » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:39 am

Thank you for publishing the photos of your test results. I've been anxiously awaiting these pictures to see what the proper test equipment would show. I don't have the luxury of having a nice spectrum analyzer, but about a year ago I manually swept a KISS laying on a floor using an MFJ 269 Antenna Analyzer. The MFJ 269 showed only one meaningful dip in the vicinity of 16.3-16.5 MHz.

Thanks again for your efforts

73's

Gary
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Gary,
You are very welcome!!

I still hope to have the free time to do some more testing....perhaps I'll take a day to have fun over the Holidays...


{On a side note, when I swept my 12mhz/14mhz parallel wire dipole, I realized how quick and easy tuning that thing would've been using my analyzer instead of running up and down the companionway steps and hoisting/lowering it more than half-a-dozen times, checking the swr!!!
But, I cringed just carrying it on-board....and I had it inside at the Nav Station....I can't think of placing on the foredeck, just a few feet from the saltwater!!!
So, I DO understand why others are not running around boats with 1000's of dollars worth of sensitive equipment!!!!}


Fair winds...
John
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by truehand » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:35 pm

a big THANK-YOU to everybody that contributed to this wealth of "counterpoise" information and discussion!
Especially "KA4WAJ" John.

Having just acquired my ham ticket, I have purchased an ICOM706MKIIG with an AH-4 tuner. I will be using a "rope antenna" instead of my backstay ..because I can't summon the courage to cut my backstay! :)
I plan on using 3-6" wide roofing copper sheet (.032" thickness. PVC coating on one side) running from the tuner to two large bronze thruhulls (cockpit drains)

My question is: what would make the best electrical connection between the copper sheet and thruhull? I can't solder so it will have to be a mechanical connection. conductive paste and clamps? I thought of using lanocote to prevent corrosion but would it also prevent electrical contact? any ideas?

Thanks and "73's"
Dave
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:43 pm

Dave,
You're welcome!!


truehand wrote: I plan on using 3-6" wide roofing copper sheet (.032" thickness. PVC coating on one side) running from the tuner to two large bronze thruhulls (cockpit drains)

My question is: what would make the best electrical connection between the copper sheet and thruhull? I can't solder so it will have to be a mechanical connection. conductive paste and clamps? I thought of using lanocote to prevent corrosion but would it also prevent electrical contact? any ideas?


A few important points here....
1) .032" copper is way overkill.....heck, I'm a fanatic and I wouldn't recommend that!!
If you paint it, or cover it with epoxy, a thinner strap will last decades....(just be sure to not paint, or remove all the paint at the connection points, to allow good RF conducivity...)

2) Trying to "bend", and make fit, copper strapping can be a pain if it is too thick (012" is pretty easy to work with....but .022" is a pain...so choose depending on your application....)

3) The typical way of attaching the copper strapping to a bronze thru-hull fitting is by wrapping the strapping around the bronze thru-hull and securing it with a few SS hose clamps....this gives a large (low-imp) contact area....
This is easy with thin foil, but thin foil doesn't last long....
So, if you use .012" strapping, you should be able to get a good wide (and smooth) area of contact between the two surfaces (which is what is desired, afterall)......and while it is possible to use thicker strapping, it might not work well at all....(you need to look at your thru-hulls and some strapping to see how you can wrap it around...)

4) Use a conductive paste (between the two metals) for disimilar metal-to-metal contact, that maintains (or even enhances) conductivity, such as Penatrox-A.....
(I've been using this for 30+ years, and it's a bit messy, but it works!!! and keeps water from causing problems, keeps open bilge connections flowing well....)
I use this on all open / wet / outdoor connections of alum-alum, alum-copper, copper-copper, SS-copper, bronze-copper, etc....
Allow it to ooze out, as you tighten the connection, and then spread the excess over the top (adding more on top if needed) to "bilge-proof" the connection...
(again, it is messy/greasy, but it works!!!)



5) Dave on a side note...
Be sure to wire the 12vdc power connection of your IC-706mkIIG directly to your house battery bank, using as short of a run of large guage wire that you can manage....
Do not use the whole 10' - 12' long supplied power wires, use only a short secition (1 foot, or so) of these to allow ease of plugging the wiring into the radio....then heavier gauge to the baateries...

The IC-706 series of radios are well known to have issues with operation at low voltages, many have found anything much below 12.5vdc (at the radio when transmitting) to cause problems, and usually anything much below that (or near/below 12vdc) cause much transmit distortion (aka "fm'ing") and eventually transmitter cut-out / rig shut-down....
Note that these are voltages AT the radio, WHEN transmitting at full power, NOT your DC panel voltages....(I've seen some really horrible cases with 11vdc at radio, with 14+ volts showing at the batteryl!!)



I hope this helps...

John
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by truehand » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:17 pm

Just the information I was after, John.
I'll find some Penetrox A and some thinner copper.

Thanks again,
Dave
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:12 pm

Please note that I edited my post from Dec 4, 2012, to show the results from my Dec 26th tests....as there was a bad connection inside my KISS unit (which I "fixed" by coiling/uncoiling it and slapping it on the ground).....and I did NOT wish those test results to be used / misuded....

Dec 26, 2012....I was disappointed in the test results from earlier this month, and I went looking for something amiss....
Well, I found it....
It was my KISS-SSB-Ground....
I shook it about, coiled and un-coiled it, I stretched it out and slapped it on the ground....about dozen times....and then did a quick re-test...

And, to my happy surprise, I found MUCH better test results....(I believe there was some sort of a bad/loose connection inside mine!)
So, I went ahead with further, more varied tests...and found some better news....
While the tests still confirm that there are not many reasonances in the KISS-SSB-Ground system, there are some!!!
See below for the data!!!

AND....
And, I've made the displayed traces less complex, showing just the return loss/vswr plots from 1.5mhz thru 28.5mhz...aloowing for easier understanding by all...



Well, I'm still quite busy (mostly family issues), and I have NOT had the time to do all the tests that I originally wanted to.....
The GOOD news is that these are probably the ones that most will find the most useful...
So, just the other day, I did find the time to do a few tests and save the results....(and will post the sweep images below)



1) Before getting to the details of what/how/where the tests here done, as well as the results, there are a few important things I need to make absolutely clear, up front.....

a) Let state emphatically that, in MY OPINION the "KISS-SSB-Ground" appears to be a well-made, and "pretty" piece of kit.....along with my external observations, Chip opened one up last year, and it appears to be well-done internally as well....
This is not something that I see often, as most stuff that you buy these days is just that "mass-produced / made-in-China crap", and in my opinion the KISS-SSB-Ground is NOT that....
[EDIT: My KISS unit, that I order just to do these tests, was a bit "defective" right-out-of-the-box (see notes above for details)...]

b) Next, please understand that it is NOT my intention to put-down / "pan" the KISS-SSB-Ground in any way...rather, my intent is just to do some tests, post the results, and add a small amount of commentary/advice....

c) Lastly, those familiar with spectrum analyzer scans, should make sure they understand that I used a very unusual amplitude scale of 2db per division for these tests, rather than the usual 10db/div scale.....
This was necessary in order to show any relevant nulls/peaks in the traces....as there simply are not many real reasonances that show up well at the typical 10db/div scale.....
So, while a quick glance of the traces show the peaks, please note the sacle on the image was 2db/div...
(when I did the sweeps the first time, at the normal 10db/div, I thought something was wrong...as I saw no significant peaks/nulls....but when I "looked" close to the screen, I saw the the "bumps", and then realized that I needed to do this in a tighter scale to actually show well what was going on.....)



2) The tests....
Tests were done outside, with no significant structures close by, using plastic tables and chairs, on both a green grass over soil area, and on a cement patio next to the grass over soil area, both near (15' - 20' away) a swimming pool.....
Temperature was about 78* F with humidity near 50%, altitude was about 30' above sea level, and the KISS-SSB-Ground was suspended about 3' above ground (above the grass and cement patio) across a few plastic chairs...(with other tests of the KISS on the ground itself, and further tests with it strung up in the air as a "sloper", sloping down to the analyzer...)
(should've take a few pictures and figured how to upload 'em, but I didn't....:(

The tests were continuous (meaning the traces were constantly running), and I needed to be near the equipment only when pressing the "store" button to store the particular trace, and this was done at arms length, with a long pencil.... :)
The human involved (me) tested mutiple times, with his body nearby (a few feet away) and significantly away from the area (30' away looking at the display thru binoculars), and found NO significant differences/variations....(slight changes of +/- a few dozen khz in reasonances, and/or < 1 db of return loss were the only variations noted, and for this system's tests I deemed them insignificant...)

Analyzer and directional coupler were recently factory calibrated and certified (Oct 2012), and I did a self-test, and self-calibration before each test....

The KISS-SSB-Ground connection lug, was attached directly to the center-pin of the N-connector adapter only (using a short SS screw, nut and washer)...and this was directly connected to the directional coupler, which itself is directly connected to the analyzer/tracking generator....NO coaxial cables, nor other wires were used in the tests, in order to further reduce any test anomolies....
(no RF Ground connection was used in these tests, as I wished to avoid possible "arguements" among semi-trained people questioning the "variables".....although FYI, little variation was noticed in the traces when touching the N-connector outer shield with human hand, or short length of copper hook-up wire...)

Calibartions and resets were done before and after each test....(no variations / errors noted...)

As noted on the images, the sweep was from 1.5mhz thru 28.5mhz....center-freq was 15mhz....scale was 2db/div....



In order to see what actual antenna resonances look like (multi-frequencey resonances in this case), first up, here is a trace of my home-brewed multi-band (12mhz and 14mhz) dipole, across the full HF spectrum, from 1.5mhz thru 28.5mhz....which is hung vertically from a spare halyard to the fordeck toerail, as "vertical sloping dipole" (aka, a "sloper")
The trace shows the typical sharp and distinct distinct resonances at/near its designed frequencies....
Please note that this is a narrow spaced "parallel-wire" dipole, meaning that the wires that make up the dipole run parallel to each other and are only spaced about 3/4" apart (1.5cm).....(I mention this to emphasize the difficulty in "tuning" close-spaced wire elements, but also to show how it should look, if the designer/builder takes the time to "tune" it...)
Image


And, now compare the above "tuned" multi-band, multi-frequencey-resonant vertical dipole, with the KISS-SSB-Ground, strung up as a sloping vertical monopole....sloping at an angle, from 2' high to 9' high....
Image



Now onto the details / specific tests / results....
a) THe first two tests were with the KISS-SSB-Ground stretched out staright, suspended about 2.5' to 3' above the grass....
Image
Here we see resonance at 17.34mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.2:1) and a quasi-resonance at 15.9mhz (w/ VSWR of 3.7:1)...


And then the sane above the cement patio....
Image
Here we see a similar resonance, at 15.27mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.8:1), but most of the rest of the trace shows return losses below 4db / VSWR's over 4.7:1, none of which would probably present as a "resonance" to anyone, let alone a remote auto-tuner's tuning software....



b) The next set of tests were with the KISS-SSB-Ground laid on top of a plastic table, in one large 3.5' diameter loop, and the "feed wire" stretched out straight to another table (holding the analyzer)....
Approx. 2.5' - 3' above the grass....
Image
Here we still see our ~17mhz resonance, at 17.475mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.4:1)


And, then the same above the cement patio....
Image
Here we see our ~15mhz resonance again, at 15.405mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.8:1)...and also see our quasi-resonance near 17mhz, at 16.980mhz (w/ VSWR of 3.7:1)




c) The third set of tests were with the KISS-SSB-Ground stretched out straight...
Laying directly on the grass....
Image
Here we see the coupling effect of the ground/earth, and its "detuning" results...
With only a quasi-resonance near 14mhz, at 13.92mhz (w/ VSWR of 3.3:1)


And, then the same, laying directly on the cement patio....
Image
Here we see a little better results, with resonances / quasi-resonaces at 6.18mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.8:1) and at 13.65mhz (w/ VSWR of 3.1:1)




d) The fourth set of tests were with the KISS in one large 3.5' dia coil....
Laying directly on the grass...
Image
Here we see our ~14 - ~15 mhz resonance, at 14.5mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.6:1)


And, then laying directly on the cement patio....
Image
Here we see our ~14 - 15mhz resonance, at 13.83mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.8:1)...and are starting to see a lower frequencey esonance, at 6.18mhz (w/ VSWR of 3.1:1)




e) These next two tests, are with the KISS suspended in the air as a "sloper".....using a rubber / non-conductive bungee cord....
From approx. 2' to 9' high...
Image
Here we see our ~15 mhz resonance, at 15.18mhz (w/ VSWR of 2.9:1)...


And, then a slightly shallower slope, from approx. 3' to 7' high....
Image




3) My results so far (I do intend to do more testiing....for FUN!), speak for themselves....
From 1.5mhz thru 28.5mhz, I found NO MORE than 3 - 4 semi-reasosnant points no matter how the KISS was configured, and typically only 1 or 2 "reasonances"....
With variations depending on the configuration of the KISS-SSB-Ground, I've found some distinct reasonances / quasi-resonances in the 14mhz thru 17mhz region with VSWR's in the 2.8:1 to 4.2:1 range.....and a couple areas of semi/quasi-reasonances with VSWR's in the 6:1 to 9:1 ranges....(see traces, for the details...)


Drawing precise conclusions from just these dozen or so tests may seem like "jumping to conclusions"....
But, I feel confident in stating a few of the more obvious things....some fact and some opinion (and I will clearly state what is my opnion...)

a) A Fact:
The KISS-SSB-Ground does provide one or two random resonances in the mid-HF region, just as you get from 2 or 3 random length wires....

b) My Opinion:
The KISS-SSB-Ground appears to me (my OPINION here) to be "designed" to provide some resonances near some "commonly used HF frequencies", as in the 6mhz - 7mhz range, and at 14mhz....
But, the actual results are not effcetive at all on the lower frequencies and only randomly/mildly effcetive on 14mhz...

c) My Opinion:
I still need to do some tets with the KISS-SSB-Ground actually in my lazarette, and then I'll be able to be more confident of this 3rd conclusion....but, until then my results so far (above) lead me to this...
While the KISS-SSB-Ground can provide a couple random reasonant points along the mid-HF spectrum, it's effectiveness/usefullness, or rather lack there-of, means that you'd be better off cutting a few lengths of copper wire (almost any random length between 10' - 30'), crimping a terminal on one end of them (connecting that terminal to the ground lug of your remote auto-tuner), and tossing that hand-full of wires in the lazarette and/or bilge!!!




4) In my profession, I typically do not see return losses below 25db (VSWR of 1.1:1)...but in HF ham radio antennas, return losses of 9-10db (VSWR of 2:1) are usually accepted by most...
Those unfamilar with return loss vs. vswr, have a look here.....
http://www.minicircuits.com/app/DG03-111.pdf
http://www.rfcafe.com/references/electrical/vswr.htm
http://www.microwaves101.com/encyclopedia/calvswr.cfm



I do really hope that this helps some of you out there who have been wondering what this KISS-SSB-Ground really is (Chip cut it open last year and showed everyone, Thanks Chip!!!), and if it actually does anything at all (not much), and what / how it does it (read all the above).....
Although one of my philosophies of life is: better to have too much info than none at all, I do sincerely hope that I didn't go so overboard with details that it confuses you all!!!




Fair winds and 73,
John
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by SoonerSailor » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:22 pm

Interesting findings John, thanks for taking a look. I would just wonder how the KISS trace would compare to a single 14 foot wire (= to KISS + feed wire) in the same configurations?

It would also be interesting see the sweep with the KISS raised as a vertical antenna against ground mounted radials, though I know that would be a more involved setup. Or two KISSes in a dipole configuration. I'm still not entirely clear what the effective counterpoise of your test setup is. Perhaps just the outside of the coax running to the KISS? It does seem that would influence results, though it is telling that your simple test with finger and wire did not affect the sweep.

Thanks again for taking the time.
Chip
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by SY Gemini » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:02 pm

John

Many thanks... excellent efforts and very useful results.

This sort of information is so much better than anecdotal reports.

Ross
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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:34 pm

Chip, Ross, et al,
You're welcome!
SoonerSailor wrote: Interesting findings John, thanks for taking a look. I would just wonder how the KISS trace would compare to a single 14 foot wire (= to KISS + feed wire) in the same configurations?

1) Asumming insulated copper wire, a 14' length would be resonant at approx. 16.7mhz, strung in the air....and a bit lower (probably close to 16mhz), if strung just a couple feet off the ground....
(the resonant freq of that wire will depend on its height above ground/earth/water....and its distance to other wires it could couple to....the closer to "ground", etc. the lower the resonant frequencey would be....)
That's not something that really needs to be tested (as I've tested that numerous times over the past 40 years, as well as the established calculations).....For a quarter-wave wire, it is approx. 234/14' = 16.7mhz....(234/16.7mhz = 14')

And, the trace would look something like that of my dipole's trace....with only one resonant point, between 15-17mhz...

Others may draw other conclsuions, but in my opinion:
Being that there IS some "native" resonance/semi-resosnace of the KISS-SSB-Ground in the 14mhz to 17mhz range (depending on the configuration), it seems that it IS behaving similar to a 14' - 15' long wire.....




SoonerSailor wrote: It would also be interesting see the sweep with the KISS raised as a vertical antenna against ground mounted radials, though I know that would be a more involved setup.

2) Actually I specifically decided to NOT do this kind of testing (even thought I DO have the time/system to do so), specifically to eliminate any variables of the other "ground radials" or "RF Ground", and all the arm-chair quarter-backing that would accompany those results!!!

A baseline test would be done in an rf anechic chamber....with further testing (like I've done) in the field...
I do have access to an RF anechoic chamber, and even more sophisticated test equipment....BUT..
But, I'm not willing to spend > $10,000 of my money doing the tests that should be done by (or contracted out by) the designer of the system!!



SoonerSailor wrote: Or two KISSes in a dipole configuration.
3) While I originally thought of doing this (and Gary offered to send me another KISS to do these tests), I decided that while that would show what a "KISS-Dipole" would be like (I'm 99% certain it would be like the results of my "KISS-sloper", with some native resonance in the 15mhz-17mhz range), this would NOT show what the KISS-SSB-Ground is when configured as designed, and because of this would be both a distraction from the subject and another point of arguement....





4) Forgive me for not having any pictures of the testing, as this would clear things up...
SoonerSailor wrote: I'm still not entirely clear what the effective counterpoise of your test setup is. Perhaps just the outside of the coax running to the KISS? It does seem that would influence results, though it is telling that your simple test with finger and wire did not affect the sweep.
In these tests the KISS-SSB-Ground is the counterpoise being tested....there is no other counterpoise/rf ground being used....
There is NO coax being used at all....NONE....
There is NO balun, NO ground radials, NO nothing, other than what I described....

Just the scalar network analyzer / spectrum analyzer, built-in tracking generator, directional coupler (directly connected to the analzer/tracking gen) with the dir coupler and connections swept thru 3Ghz/3000mhz and retun losses > 35db, VSWR's below 1.05:1, NO coax is being used, and the KISS-SSB-Ground's lug terminal connected to the center-pin of the directional coupler's connector by a small (#8 or #10) stainless screw, nut, and washers....

I evaluated the effects of myself and surroundings by viewing the traces while moving things about.....also by touching the outside (shield-side) of the directional coupler and/or coupler's connector with human hand and a short piece of wire (4' - 5' of 14ga copper, simulating a "copper strap to thru-hull" set-up), and even with this other end of this copper wire flaoting in mid air, laying on the ground,or attached to an electrical ground...
Little effect was noted....as I wrote above, slight changes of +/- a few dozen khz in reasonances, and/or < 1 db of return loss, for this system's tests I deemed them insignificant...)




4) Yes, I still need to test the KISS actually in place, in my lazarette....
(and yeah I will need to bring my analyzer on-board again.....something I'm still not too comfortable with, so I waiting on nice weather....)
But, until then the above should suffice...


Fair winds...

John
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110

(currently lying, Sewall's Point, FL)

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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:40 pm

I've received some e-mails from a few of you, thanking me and asking for some clarifications....
So, you're all welcome...and I hope this posting helps clarify some things...

But, I think what is needed is more use of texts rather than tests... :)
And, since I don't have the time to write a book here, maybe I can add some more test data, along with some other "facts" (that you'd need to believe), and then things will start to become clear...

[I will leave my opinion to the final paragraph...]

1) One such fact is that for vertical monoploes we should all understand that when speaking about "tuned radials" / "elevated radials" (radials not "grounded"), this a very different situation than when using "grounded radials" (where the radials are used to couple to the earth, etc. and hence cannot be resonant), and at least two (and preferably 3 or 4) "radials" are necessary to allow decent efficiency at low-angles of radiation, and they MUST be opposite from each other (and/or 3 - 4, in a symetrical arrangement), in order for these to NOT add high-angle / horizontal-polarized radiation to your antenna patterns.....
If you had a 1/4-wave monople in this configuration, and you could achieve the theoretically "zero ground loss", you'd have a feed point imp of about 35 - 36 ohms, and assuming you can match that to your transmitter all your power would be radiated effectively at low angles, by the vertical monopole....
But, on our small / mid-sized boats, with backstays and "counterpoises", etc. it is almost impossible for us to achieve this on most HF bands, since these are sailboats, not antenna platforms....and most (all??) cannot get even one "tuned" radial set-up per band of use...(and many / most, have no "tuned radials" at all, which is fine, as this isn't a necessity...but even if not "tuned", having a symetrical radial arrangement is still the best design, but again on most boats, almost impossible!!!)

So, this is one of the main reasons why Bill T's praise of, and results from, 1/2 vertical dipoles is so spot-on!!!
As, a 1/2-wave vertical dipole, where the 1/4-wave "radial" is one half of the antenna, and is "reciprocal" in this "symetrical" antenna....there is no high-angle, horizontal-polarized radiation (except when "sloped" too far...:)
(and, being over salt water, we can take full-advantage of the extremely low psuedo-brewster angle, and have excellent low-angles of radiation from 1/2-wave vertical dipoles!!!)


And when using a backstay, whip, etc. (or any kind of vertical monopole on-board), if we can use the sea water around us (although certainly not "tuned" and lossier than copper), as our "symetrical" radial array / counterpoise, we can achieve very good results with low angles of radiation from our vertical monopoles....

I'm not saying that a backstay is better than a 1/2-wave vertical dipole (not at all), but that we CAN get results just as good (on at least some bands), if we spend the time/effort....
You see, there ARE many reasons that using a direct sea water connection (for using the sea water as our counterpoise), is recommended by most HF radio antenna designers, for mulitband/multiuse vertical monopoles!!!

The above is not just me rambling...there are many books that explain much of this in quite some detail (radio engineering handbooks, arrl handbooks, rsgb handbooks, rsgb antenna handbook, arrl antenna books, on4un low-band dx'ing, etc. etc. etc...), but I don't have 'em handy (200+ miles away from me), so I cannot give you quotes, page numbers, etc...but, if you can have a little faith in me, and believe that I'm not trying to "convince" anyone that I'm right, or that I'm some wacko know-it-all, but I'm just trying to explain why things work they way they do, and why things have been done certain ways for years....(it's not to get your $$$, but because of physics...:)

[Sorry about the above digression, but I thought it was needed to put the rest of this into context...]



2) Some more facts...
Below are more traces, with return losses and VSWR's of many different "radials", wires, etc. (and a re-post of two of the KISS's traces), in various configurations, that will show the fallacy that you can place multiple "resonant/tuned radials" next to each other, and maintain any distinct resonances...that's not to say that the freqs change too much, but that the "match" / "resonance" no longer really exists, and there is no real-world difference between this and random length wires/radials....(look at the traces!!)
Although back-in-the-day some semblence of resonance could be seen on older GDO / GDM (Grid-Drip-Meter), we knew that the lack of sharp nulls meant a poor match, etc... (and even deflections on "antenna analyzers" thesedays can be very misleading!!!)

Notwithstanding that many amateur radio vertical antenna manufactures (Hustler, Bencher, etc.) have been selling "tuned radial kits", for their multi-band verticals, for many, many years....the facts are that these multiconductor wires and/or ribbon wires do NOT represent good resonances at all....and while their use is "convenient", they are NOT anymore effective than random lengths of wire strung out as elevated "radials"....
Please understand again, that I'm not saying that radials don't work, but rather that the MYTHS of "multi-band tuned radials" being easy-to-design and build...and that just one per band, etc. is all you need, should be dispelled for good!!!



3) So, with the above accepted, below are some traces that I think will help clarify things...
I grabbed some wire...and cut a few lengths..
[Please note that the exact res freqs are effected by these wires' close proximity to grd...just like they'd be on a sailboat...]
--- one at about 17.5' - 18' long...(which surprisingly made a nice 12mhz radial, just by chance!)
--- one to 16.2' (to approximate a 14mhz 1/4-wave radial)
--- one to 33.5' (to approximate a 7mhz 1/4-wave radial)

--- and then I cut two at random (that ended up being 14' and 16' each)

I strung them up, one at a time, sloping from 3' to 9', above the grass....and swept them...

I also swept them when laying on the ground....

And, also connected them together (keeping them seperate), and swept them while in the air and on the ground...

And, finally, connected together, in a couple bundles, one bundle, and folded back onto each other (like the KISS-SSB-Ground), and swept them...
The results are not surprising to me, but some of you may find them interesting.....

{Spoiler alert....a group of random wires, works as well or better than the KISS...}

a) First up is my ~ 17.5' - 18' long wire, strung in the air (which I "measured", by just using 3 fingertip-to-fingertip lengths)...
Image


b) Next is the 16' wire, strung in the air...
Image


c) The 33' 6" wire, strung in the air...
Image


d) The two "random length" wires (which happened to be 14' and 16'), strung in the air...
Image


e) The two random wires, stretched out, laying on the ground/grass....
Image


f) The two random wires, laying on the grd, in one big bundle....
Image




g) Comdining the random wires with the 33' 6" wire, strung in the air...
Image


h) The random wires with the 33' 6" wire, laying on the grd....
Image


i) The 33' 6" wire comdined with the 16' wire, strung in the air....
Image


j) All four wires (33'6", 16', and the two random wires), strung in the air...
Image

And, another look at the trace of the KISS, strung in the air....
Image


k) All four wires, stretched out, laying on the grd...
Image


l) All for wires, laying on the ground, in two bundles...
Image


m) All four wires, laying on the grd, in one big bundle....
Image


n) All four wires, laying on the grd, folded back onto each other in one 14' long group....
Image

And, another look at the trace of the KISS, stretched out on the grd...
Image




o) The KISS in my lazarette, first stretched out in a long "U" shape...and the second, in one large coil...
Image
Image



p) All four of my home-made wires (33', 16', 14' and 17'), in my lazarette....stretched out as best as possible, scattered about a bit, and in one bundle....
Image
Image
Image



q) And, finally all 4 wires scattered about, along with the KISS stretched out, in the lazarette...
Image


r) And a couple photos of the inside of the KISS, thabks to Chip...
Image
Image



4) Again, not trying to write a book here on antenna counterpoises, etc...and not wishing to denounce the KISS-SSB-Ground as snake oil....bur rather I thought I could put some facts out there for all to see....and let you all make up you own minds....


5) With all the above facts floating around, I suppose I should simply lay out my opinion (based on ~ 40 years experience in HF comms, my professional education, my reading of numerous texts, my understanding of radio waves and how antennas transform the electrical energy of our transmitters into the electro-magnetic fields that move thru the eather, etc. etc...as well as all the testing I've done over the past month, etc...), here's my summed-up opinion:
If you just grab some wire out of a dumpster, cut it into a few random lengths (between 12' and 35'), attach a ring terminal to the end of the group of wires...you HAVE made an antenna counterpoise for FREE that works as well as (or better than) the KISS....and if need to buy some wire, it'll cost you < $5....
BUT, the really good news is that if you can get a short, low-imp direct connection to the sea water, you'd be much better off...but, I digress!!!



I do hope this helps clear things up....

Fair winds...

John


P.S. A couple final traces that are not really on-topic, but some may find interesting....

A 2db/div trace of the old MFJ dummy load I keep on-board....
Image


Here is one last trace of a 1/4-wave "line" ( a 5" dia, 1/4-wave cavity), which I used to use when teaching seminars, a few years ago...it is > 10 years old, and is of my 2m repeater rec cavities as delivered...the specs called for 80db isolation, but I found only 78.7db, so I retuned 'em, and finaly got about 83.6db....you'll note that this is from one of my older analyzers, which although MUCH pricier, doesn't have all the new features....(actually found this in "my pictures folder", by accident last night, as I didn't think I had any of those traces in this laptop....enjoy)
Image
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110

(currently lying, Sewall's Point, FL)

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Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise

by ka4wja » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:18 am

I realize I did get a bit carried away, but you know when you're havin' fun.....:)

Seriously though, I do hope all of the above is found to be useful, and doesn't confuse or overwhelm...

Fair winds..
John
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110

(currently lying, Sewall's Point, FL)

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