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KISS-SSB – simple, proven marine SSB ground plane

posted Apr 15, 2013, 12:40 PM by Donald McLennan   [ updated Jun 11, 2013, 12:14 PM by Tartan-Owners Southern California ]

Having a marine/ham SSB radio onboard is not only a safety feature, but opens the door for the social/cruising networks, sending/receiving email and receiving weather information.  On the TOSCA website, I will be posting articles and technical bits as I progress with installing a marine ham/SSB radio. Stay tuned for more information!

One of the more challenging aspects of installing a marine/ham SSB radio is providing a proper antenna ground plane.  In the past, the common practice was to run 100 square feet of copper sheeting below the floorboards, bond a copper strip to thruhulls/strut/dynaplate or install various counterpoise radials. I've seen boats where the copper strip has corroded or damaged, which reduces the effectiveness of the radio.

Carl Nichols (KISS-SSB) has solved the marine/ham SSB antenna ground on boats by offering a self-contained counterpoise radial ground system. This innovative, patent-pending system consists of pre-cut radials tuned to specific marine SSB, Winlink, Sailmail, NOAA Weatherfax and all ham frequencies, in a self-contained, easy to install package.

The system is a 10’ 1” diameter cable with a 4’ lead that connects to the ground-terminal of the antenna tuner.  The cable can easily be run along the hull or wrapped in the stern.  

On our Tartan 3500, I’ll probably run this below the aft berth on the port side.  Installation couldn't be easier!

The KISS-SSB has been featured by Blue Water Sailing magazine and is often referenced in Latitude 38.  There are numerous testimonials about the effectiveness of the KISS-SSB.  I believe for the price vs. performance, this is great way to connect an antenna ground.

On Carl’s website, the KISS-SSB system retails for $139, including shipping.  A discount to TOSCA members is available - please contact TOSCA ( if you are purchasing a KISS-SSB counterpoise radial ground system for a super great price.

I look forward to learning more about marine/ham SSB and sharing my experiences with everyone!  Please check the TOSCA website frequently for more information.