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Author Topic: Antennas for Cruise Ship Operation  (Read 4136 times)
KB6GZ
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« 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
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K2DC
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« Reply #1 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
 
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KB6GZ
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« Reply #2 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
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #3 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.
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WN2C
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« Reply #4 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
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VE3WMB
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Posts: 287




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« Reply #5 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
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N6AJR
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« Reply #6 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.)
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SWMAN
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« Reply #7 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
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 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.
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N1KCG
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« Reply #9 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. 
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KB6GZ
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« Reply #10 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
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G7DMQ
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« Reply #11 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
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W8VVE
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Posts: 188




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« Reply #12 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
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K7SRB
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« Reply #13 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
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 10:42:27 AM by K7SRB » Logged
WX7G
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Posts: 5985




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« Reply #14 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.
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