Dear allThanks for all the suggestions! Must admit that I am toying with the idea of just buying a new led tricolor. Any recommendations on noise-free brands with anchor lights included?Building my own is out of the question. Not only cause of approval issues, but also because I don't understand the technology, and my soldering stinks. One of the great advantages of led nav lights is the fact that they are sealed and last forever - in contrast to traditional navigation lights that break down all too often (particularly on the pulpit). Would never trust my own product in this respect!Will try the tests recommended by valis, transmitterdan and floating dutchman. Dan: no other device connected to the same switch. FD: what type of capacitator should I try? nf7w: what are rf chokes?Don't really know whether the anchor light influences vhf or ais. Those services are less crucial when anchor light is on, and I have never thought to test it out.Will report back when tests have been done, probably in a couple of weeks
Thanks to all for replies and suggestions. I'm struggling to understand everything. So far I am learning more than I am getting confused, I think:)
Some responses in no particular order:
The boat is fibreglass, with an aluminium mast.
I have to admit I don't know how the vhf antenna is grounded. It could be connected to the mast (which is keelstepped and connected to the keel bolts), but I really don't know, the antenna came with the boat. The separate ais antenna which I installed has not been grounded in any way.
The tricolor unit is sealed, so opening it up to tinker with it is not an option, especially since I wouldn't have a clue about what to do. From the message ogm has put on their website, which Kaptainkriz linked to in the third post, they seem to be willing to do it for me, but then I would have to pay freight back and forth across the Atlantic, plus labor - not a great example of customer service on a faulty piece of equipment, I think. Since I could not even be certain that the problem would be fixed when I get it back, I think I would sooner accept defeat and buy a different brand of led tricolor - even if they are bloody expensive.
AIS reception improves drastically when the tricolor is turned off, even though I am using the pushpit antenna, so it is not that location which is the main culprit for the low reception.
Now, for all the suggestions for testing and fault finding: The boat is currently on the hard, with the mast down. This means that some tests are impractical, but on the bright side, if I take the tricolor off the mast I should be in a position to make different tests fairly easily (without having to climb the mast every time I want to try something differently). If you experts could help me design a test programme, that would be great.
As I want to retain both the vhf antenna and a tricolor at the head of the mast, I would need to find a solution that quiets down the noise from the tricolor.
- Capacitators, and possibly separate ferrites on plus and minus going to the tricolor are solutions that has been suggested.
- Oxygen mask suggests a problem with grounding - is there any way I could test that?
- I didn't quite understand what I will learn from the test of checking the different the noise on vhf channels through the ais pushpit antenna, but I will of course do so if Valis or somebody else can help me interpret the reults. I expect there's no danger of any harm from this connection even if the ais antenna is quite small (15cm?), but probably shouldn't try to transmit at 25w? (As you can understand, this is not my area of expertise! )
- Transmitterdan suggested two types of capacitators, in two pairs (?), across plus and minus at the tricolor - I am not sure I understand the connections, could you be more specific?
- Anything else?
Unfortunately, the boat is located a couple of hours from where I am. As we are still in the skiing season here in Norway, I wasn't really planning on starting this (and all the other) work until the end of this month. So I won't be reporting on the results until a couple of weeks from now.
Wow - thanks for rapid replies!
The recommendations about separating the cables for tricolor from vhf/ais make sense, except this was the first ting I did. I put up a separate antenna on the pushpit for the ais, with antenna run aft from navstation, while navigation light cables go forward tvers the mast. Strangely enough this did not improve ais reception when the tricolor was turned on. Turning the tricolor off gave excellent reception again (although probably with slightly reduced reach compared to when antenna was at masthead).
But both of you doubt that filtering will work. Hmmm!
The links to ogm and hanschristian forum were interesting. Will try to contact ogm. Hope the customer service is better than what was described in the hans christian thread!
Of course I could use the navlights at deck level. But I am extremely happening with the tricolor, botn for visibility and for low energy consumption. Trying to maintain low electricity consumption onboard, a led tricolor has a big impact.
I'll let you know what ogm says (also I need to check when I bought the tricolor - believe it was before June 2009, but memory not what it used to be... If more recently, then ogm message that they have solved problem may not mean very much)