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Just Imagine must have lost the dedicated, separate, insulated stay antenna on the mizzen, before I purchased the boat. Only a piece of the turnbuckle and insulator remained.

Rather than replace it with another, heavy, expensive, stainless steel, insulated stay, or compromise the backstay with insulators, I came up with the idea for a rope antenna, based on the emergency antennas available in stores.

I bought a length of 7/16" braided line, and a length of RG8X (mini-8) coax. I removed the inner core of the braided line and replaced it with the coax for the length between the deck and the pad eye at the top of the mizzen where the old insulated stay attached.

The outer shield of the coax is used as the antenna (the inner core is not used) and only the outer braid connects to output lug of the antenna tuner.

The braided rope sheath provides strength and support for the coax, UV protection from the sun, and insulation both top and bottom from the mast and deck.

The coax comes from the output lug on the tuner under the deck, through a watertight deck fitting, into the braided rope about 4 inches above the deck, up the mizzen inside the rope, out at the top about 4 inches from the pad eye, and then up to the existing insulated triatic stay between the mizzen and the main. It was simply hose clamped on to the triatic and then sealed and rubber taped.

The top of the braided rope attaches to the pad eye near the top of the mizzen. There is a loop in the rope about 4 inches above the deck and the tail passes through the deck pad eye and through this rope loop several times so that it can be cinched up to take the slack out of the line.

I have only had to tighten this up once in the last 3 years despite everyone using the line as a hand hold. The antenna appears to be just another halyard.

The length of the wire alone would probably have tuned quite well without the triatic stay, but since it was there, I used it.

This worked extremely well, and I was able to communicate with Herb Hilgenberg in Toronto, all the way across the Atlantic.

The same braided rope antenna idea could be used on any boat, on a permanent or temporary basis on the main or mizzen. The SSB rope antenna could be hoisted on a halyard or flag halyard when needed and coiled near the deck when not in use.

I will try and find a photograph to clarify this simple and effective idea.

There is a company in Florida that makes these. See http://www.ropeantenna.com/

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 19-Nov-2008