April 24, 1998

Here in San Francisco I buy 3/4" wide and 40 yards for $9.00 US. Take this ribbon and run it stem to stern on both sides of the bilges (high enough they are not in bilge water, but low enough to be below the waterline". Then you can even paint over it if you want, But anyway, solder them together and use this as your SSB ground.

THEORY: RF (radio energy) travels on the skin of conductors (skin-effect) thus it does not matter if the copper ribbon is thin. The Ribbon acts as one conductor, the ocean as the other, and the hull as the dialectric......thus capacitive coupling to the ocean....just like you dangled a long piece of wire in the ocean for a ground...and it is is a heck of a lot cheaper (OH gawd is it!) than buying that thick 4" wide stuff west marine sells.

Hope this helps.


Dec 28, 2001

It sounds to me like a very good grounding system, but I did have one question about the stainless rod. I understand stainless in an anaerobic environment (such as tapped into lead) will galvanically corrode fairly rapidly. It is for this reason high-quality boat builders use bronze keelbolts. Since there likely isn't any stress on the stainless rod this is probably irrelevant, but might the corrosion also interfere with the ground?

Dec 29, 2001

I have been told that the most important factor in transceiver grounding is the mass (weight) of the ground. It is for that reason that I connected to the ballast lead. I should mention that the threaded stainless bar is sealed to the fiberglass that covers the lead with 5200. Nevertheless there almost certainly is water, probably salt water, near or around the lead and stainless bar as such water must have permeated the whole hull structure after 24 years of constant immersion. The stainless bar has held up for about 12 years, it is about 1/4" diameter, as I recollect. Perhaps bronze would do better.