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eHam Forums => Antennas and Towers and more => Topic started by: KB6GZ on February 22, 2013, 11:40:43 AM



Title: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KB6GZ on February 22, 2013, 11:40:43 AM
If you have experience operating from a cruise ship balcony please let me know what you used for an HF antenna.

I have an ICOM 706 rig and a power supply but I'm stumped as to what kind of an antenna to use. Length and weight are important considerations as I am confined to a wheelchair and hauling a long antenna on board the ship would be difficult.

I was thinking about maybe a ham stick mounted on the railing and grounded to the ship. Perhaps a manual screwdriver could be used?

What was your experience?

Rick
KB6GZ


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: K2DC on February 22, 2013, 01:38:08 PM
Chris,

   Those are both reasonable options.  If you have ever seen the Alpha Delta Outpost tripod (unfortunately, no longer available), I homebrewed a lightweight version for portable operations that worked great with Hamsticks.

   Keep in mind that you must have the Captain's permission to operate from a cruise ship - that's international law.  It might pay to check with the cruise line first to see if it would even be considered.  It would be a shame to spend a lot of time and effort prepping, only to board ship and find out it's a non-starter.

73,

Don, K2DC
 


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KB6GZ on February 22, 2013, 01:51:47 PM
I will be on Holland America, which is a very Ham friendly cruise line.

Yes, I will have their written permission, and the permission of the ships master.

Some cruise lines will not let you bring Ham equipment on board but Holland America has a published written policy that allows amateur radio operation.

Rick


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KQ6Q on February 22, 2013, 07:27:52 PM
The MFJ-1622 Apartment antenna could be used, clamped on a railing, or similarly the SuperAntennas MP-1. I have the MP-1 - if you use it, be sure to buy a stubby Phillips screwdriver of the correct size to tighten the screws securely when setting it up.


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: WN2C on February 22, 2013, 08:19:17 PM
In what country is the ship registered?  You will probably need reciprocal licensing or a CEPT certificate.  You may want to check into that also.

Rick  wn2c


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: VE3WMB on February 24, 2013, 01:39:28 PM
if you were planning QRP operation I would suggest using an AlexLoop WalkHam Small Magnetic loop mounted on a camera tripod :

http://www.alexloop.com/

The WalkHam model packs up into a case the size of a small laptop bag, but it is only rated at 10w.

Michael VE3WMB

If you have experience operating from a cruise ship balcony please let me know what you used for an HF antenna.

I have an ICOM 706 rig and a power supply but I'm stumped as to what kind of an antenna to use. Length and weight are important considerations as I am confined to a wheelchair and hauling a long antenna on board the ship would be difficult.

I was thinking about maybe a ham stick mounted on the railing and grounded to the ship. Perhaps a manual screwdriver could be used?

What was your experience?

Rick
KB6GZ


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: N6AJR on February 24, 2013, 02:15:58 PM
leave the radio home, and enjoy the cruise with the  wife/ family. play radio when you get home. (besides Marine Mobile does not count for any awards.)


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: SWMAN on February 25, 2013, 03:52:04 AM
If I were you I would take just a HT and see what you could do on 2 meters and 440.It would be a lot more conveient to carry and use. Have fun. 73 Jin W5JJG


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: WB2WIK on February 27, 2013, 09:37:57 AM
HA is very ham-friendly and does stipulate amateur radio operations are allowed.

I believe the ships are all of Netherlands registry.

I've operated from cruise ships before and best "success" was always achieved by clamping a loaded whip to a long railing around the upper deck (often, the sports deck), the highest point on the ship other than the stacks.  Up there it can be windy, but there are usually thick plexiglass "window" like walls to help block the wind.  The advantage, obviously, is that you're very high up above the sea and also above the rest of the ship!

I did try operating using essentially the same technique from a cabin balcony but obviously from there you're 100% blocked in one direction, towards the ship -- so the only "open shot" you have is towards the open sea on that side of the ship.  Better than nothing, but being "up top" is much better.

The Captain advised to keep all wires very controlled and short, and out of the way of everyone; that was easy for me to do as I used a SCOUT with headphones and a keyer paddle, a short coax feedline to the whip, and a 14AH gel-cell for power.  No wires ever reached the floor, so there was nothing to trip over.  I also did my operating very early in the morning before 90% of the passengers were even awake, so there was very little "traffic" up there.


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: N1KTJ on March 08, 2013, 05:23:01 AM
In what country is the ship registered?  You will probably need reciprocal licensing or a CEPT certificate.  You may want to check into that also.

Rick  wn2c

after recently reading about this, am thinking this is true.  you need reciprical license permission from Netherlands likely.  which usually means you have to have an extra class license.  plus maybe get written permission of the country, as well as the boat captain. 


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KB6GZ on March 17, 2013, 07:45:57 PM
I have in hand written permission from the cruise ship company to operate on their ship provided the captain also agrees.

Holland America is registered in a CEPT country so I do not need a certificate. Besides I am licensed in 3 CEPT countries already.

I am searching for antenna ideas.

Right now I'm looking at Ham Sticks.

Rick
KB6GZ


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: G7DMQ on March 18, 2013, 05:01:25 AM
I recently built a Magnetic Loop which is 4' diameter - but would stand being a fair bit smaller I think.   I've used a 10kv 'Comet' capacitor for tuning which seems to be fine at 100W from my IC706.

I'm nothing but impressed with how well it works considering the size.  My direct comparison is with a 1/2 wave tuned for 80m.  It's not quite as good as that, but because of the very narrow bandwidth, can be good for getting rid of adjacent stations in pile-ups.

My loop is made from flat copper roofing strip taped to a hoop of fibreglass rod.  I used the copper strip based on several sites saying you needed to get the loop resistance as low as possible to get decent efficiency.

This weekend, I tried the same capacitor and made the loop out of 14 Gauge wire loosely wrapped round the fibreglass hoop.  The efficiency should be hopeless - but I can't honestly tell the difference!  It seems to get just as far and get similar reports.  I know signal reports are subjective and not proof that the antenna is as efficient as it could be - but if it works, who cares?   I worked a couple of stations in the US on 100w from the UK on 40m & 60m.

The fibreglass hoop used to be one of those instant 'pop up' tents.  The wind shredded the tent - but I kept the fibreglass.  You can roll up the 4' hoop in to about 1' diameter.  The capacitor is about the size of a coke can - so using 14G wire it would pack down pretty small!  I think you might be surprised how good it is!

The best thing about the loop is although the bandwidth is very narrow and you have to tune it frequently as you tune the radio - it's tuning range is very wide.  Mine will cover the top end of 80m 3.7Mhz right up to 15Mhz.

Si


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: W8VVE on March 18, 2013, 12:57:22 PM
leave the radio home, and enjoy the cruise with the  wife/ family. play radio when you get home. (besides Marine Mobile does not count for any awards.)
================================================================
Double Ditto....enjoy the cruise....73...Sam W8VVE


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: K7SRB on June 10, 2013, 10:30:43 AM
I have in hand written permission from the cruise ship company to operate on their ship provided the captain also agrees.

Holland America is registered in a CEPT country so I do not need a certificate. Besides I am licensed in 3 CEPT countries already.

I am searching for antenna ideas.

Right now I'm looking at Ham Sticks.

Rick
KB6GZ

Rick,

I am curious if you have taken your cruise and what results you had.  I will be traveling aboard the M/S Westerdam to Alaska in August.  So far, I have not found the right combination to obtain permission to operate.  Who did you talk to?  What rig/antenna did you settle on and how successful were you?

Thanks and 73,
Steve
K7SRB


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KH6AQ on June 10, 2013, 11:08:46 AM
The MFJ-1780 Box Fan antenna at 24" x 24" looks attractive for shipboard operation. Only $300.


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: K7SRB on June 10, 2013, 08:37:28 PM
The MFJ-1780 Box Fan antenna at 24" x 24" looks attractive for shipboard operation. Only $300.
According to the documentation, the antenna is not suitable for outdoor operation, like the deck of a ship; or for indoor operation in proximity to people, like inside a cruise ship.  What few reviews that there are here on eHam.net also show that it doesn't travel well.  Other than than that it sounds like MFJ has another winner.  Thanks, but I think I will save the $300.

Still looking for antenna ideas -- after obtaining permission to operate of course.  Hints on either appreciated.

Steve
K7SRB


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: N6VX on December 18, 2014, 11:55:11 AM

Have just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Ruby Princess, during which
I operated on several HF bands from our balcony stateroom.

Setup was an old FT-100D and an original version of the Buddipole, which worked quite well.

This antenna is easily transported (it breaks down into a very small package).
Used an antenna analyzer (TenTec FG-01) for adjusting the Buddipole to resonance
e.g. 50 Ohms at 21.030 MHz. Perfect. No stray RF problems..
Not sure what the feedpoint impedance was, but I had 50 Ohms at the end of 15 ft.
of RG-58U, with the antenna perpendicular to the railing, about 8 ft. high.
Had an auto tuner with me, but ran it in "bypass" mode.

Operating time was limited because of ship's activities and shore excursions,
but did work all over Europe, North and South America.
Worked a container ship off the coast of West Africa. Ship-to-ship CW!
Not much of this going on these days.... Worked 3B9FR, Rodrigues Island, for best DX.

Most activity was on 15m. All CW. Good RST reports. Usually one call....

Of course, we had full approval of Princess, including the ship's technical office.

Rob, N6VX/VP9/MM



Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: VA2PBJ on December 20, 2014, 02:27:08 AM
I would have to highly recommend the MFJ-1780 box fan loop. It can go anywhere and get great signals and you don't have to worry about counterpoise. It's remotable (can work on batteries) so it ties into being friendly with most qrp gear. It might be a little big for the airplane, but worth the effort.


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KC4MOP on December 20, 2014, 05:07:19 AM
I kinda like the screwdriver antenna. The railing would be the ground and all of that salt water. Variable tuning from 80M (?) to 10??
It seems  that the OP has done this before and knows of the documentation needed to operate on board. What did you use before?

Fred


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: VA2PBJ on December 20, 2014, 06:30:55 AM
The MFJ-1780 Box Fan antenna at 24" x 24" looks attractive for shipboard operation. Only $300.
According to the documentation, the antenna is not suitable for outdoor operation, like the deck of a ship; or for indoor operation in proximity to people, like inside a cruise ship.  What few reviews that there are here on eHam.net also show that it doesn't travel well.  Other than than that it sounds like MFJ has another winner.  Thanks, but I think I will save the $300.

Still looking for antenna ideas -- after obtaining permission to operate of course.  Hints on either appreciated.

Steve
K7SRB

I have mine inside a garbage bag and it is out doors 24/7. No issues. It travels with me to the cottage and I just put it on a patio chair. Unlike the other travel friendly loops, the remote control allows me to get the radio away from the antenna. It works well for mobile use.


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KB5FLA on December 20, 2014, 07:43:31 PM
I used a 13 ft folding antenna from Alpha Antenna from a resort balcony while in Sint Maarten. It comes with a clamp which I used to attach to the railing. Tunes most bands with a tuner. I was using an ICOM 7000 and the matching LDG IC-100 tuner. It does require at least 20 ft of coax and works better if you can deploy the counterpoise wire which I did by just dropping it down the side of the building. Made many contacts in Europe and So Am but the US was blocked by the resort building and a large hill. This antenna packs in a 16 in case, is lightweight and is very suitcase friendly for travel. Link for the antenna:

https://amateurradiostore.com/all-alpha-antennas-c-2/sota-or-home-680-meter-ezmilitary-in-16-bag-match-mount-p-286?zenid=4rmp3ncdv1n4ml5iunbek7u3g1


Title: RE: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation
Post by: KQ0C on December 22, 2014, 10:47:55 AM
Personally I would use either the BuddiStick or the Super Antenna MP but with a little longer extendable antenna. Both fit in a tiny bag. Both are a bit better performers than a ham stick and a single antenna covers 40-10 meters. Clearly getting up high as you can will help. Grounding to the ship should work really well.

If you just love homebrew, cut up some PVC into 2.5 foot lengths, get a few connectors and assemble a vertical support when you want to operate. Put one or more wires inside the PVC or tape them to the outside (advantage being the taped wires help keep the mast together). Build a base support from angled aluminum, wood or whatever and clamp that to railings.