Uncovering SSB Ground in lazarette

Last night I found the SSB ground strap inside the lazarette. I had to remove the paint from the fiberglass in places where I suspected the strap might be located.I now see it running under a layer of fiberglass.

I’m not yet sure where it ends. It goes deeper into the glass as it approaches the transom. I don’t know if it turns the corner and goes up the transom or if it ends before that. I suspect it turns the corner. I’d need to use paint remover to figure that out.

I am assuming that I need to get a grinder and grind off the glass until I hit the strap. Will I then be able to lift the strap in order to use it? Or will the strap be glued to the glass below it?

If the strap is glued down, I guess I could lay new strap above it and somehow solder the two together. Whatever I do, I guess I’ll also need to at least put an epoxy coating over the mess the grinder will make.

Any experience here people might share?

The best place to mount the automatic antenna tuner in the lazarett is probably against the transom, as high as possible. The distance between the tuner and the backstay should be minimized. Does your ground strap exit the fiberglass near the transom? If not, you can fasten a new piece of strap so that you can join it to the tuner. I’ve used big fender washers and 1/4" bolt to join straps. You could also solder the join. I don’t see any point in removing the old stap–either tie in to it, or ignore it and lay in some new stap. You can’t have too much strap for your ground. The strap should lay against the hull as much as possible, and doesn’t have to be glued down (or glassed over). If the copper strap in green or black, it has had some access to salt water and should be replaced (but doesn’t have to be removed).

It’s possible that previous owner used a manual tuner, which is mounted near the HF radio in the cabin, and if so, the ground strap would start there. The tuner would be connected to the backstay with coaxial cable. Shaula had this setup for many years.
Hope this helps.

Dan Shaula BCC#59 (ham since 1981)