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Old 02-10-2013, 8:22 PM
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Default FT-857D & ATAS-120A New Install Issues

I purchased a new ATAS-120A from Ham Radio Outlet. The antenna is mounted on the Diamond K400C mount. I grounded the mount itself to the vehicle body (using an additional wire, and it's connected to a FT-857D that is connected to the battery (hot and ground). It's connected by a Diamond MX-62M duplexer.

The antenna tunes, but if it can't, it travels to the top and stops. Then it's unable to be controlled without resetting the ATAS setting of the radio to OFF and then back to ATAS(ALL). Removing the duplexer does not affect this behavior.

There also appears to be some type of popping noise on HF that speeds up and slows down with the engine.

Does this sound like a problem with the grounding or another issue? I tested the ground to the body, the connection looks good.

Is it possible wrapping the coax around the hydraulic lifter has affected the tuning?

Thanks,
Doug
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Old 02-10-2013, 8:22 PM
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One last photo...

Thanks for the advice,
Doug
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:08 PM
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Do you have the case of the radio grounded to the vehicle body, also how long is the "ground" wire from the antenna to the car body?
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:09 PM
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The body of the radio isn't grounded.

The antenna ground wire is stranded wire, and it's about 2 to 3 ft long.

Doug
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:24 PM
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I would suggest a short as possible ground lead from the radio case to the closest ground point. Stray RF can be a problem, taking your RF ground back to the battery isn't good your ground lead becomes a part of your antenna system, same for your "ground" lead from your antenna. A DC current path is a completely different animal from a RF conductor
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Old 02-11-2013, 4:43 AM
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Doug,

I have the same setup as you only in a Tahoe but the issues are the same. I completely bonded my vehicle which just about got rid of all the vehicle's noise. The is a lot to learn about mobile HF, read the bonding section first, K˜BG.COM
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Old 02-17-2013, 9:32 AM
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I would also add get yourself good thich solid copper braid grounding straps and connect all the doors the rear hatch tp the body and make sure its metal to metal metal, to paint is not ground.



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Old 02-23-2013, 9:31 PM
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Hi Doug,
You need to start back from scratch with this to try and pinpoint the problems.
I would suggest the following:

Remove all ground straps from the radio and vehicle body that you may have put on. take them all off. Make sure that the radio is directly connected to the battery appropriately and make sure that there is nothing connected to the radio including speakers. make sure that all other radios are off also. Nothing electrical should be running in the car, including inverters, phone chargers etc.. Preferably the car should be OFF...

First, remove the ATAS from the mount, remove the mount and all ground straps that you may have attached to the mount.
Where you are placing the mount on the vehicle, measure the area where the screws from the mount will screw into the vehicle surface. The mount has 4 screws, the outer two screws need to make full contact with the vehicle's metal. The mount came with a piece of aluminum that you have to cut, so when you put in under the mount lip, the inner 2 screws will press the mount to the vehicle body, but the outer 2 screws will continue to screw into the vehicle area.

NOTE: YOU MUST REMOVE THE PAINT OF THE VEHICLE TO BARE METAL IN THIS AREA. SCRAPE IT OFF TO THE METAL, SAND IT LIGHTLY AGAIN TO THE METAL. ONLY UNDER THE LIP ON THE INSIDE WHERE THE SCREWS ARE...

Once you do that and attach the mount to the vehicle put some silicone around the area to seal out moisture. Periodically you should remove the mount and reapply this to protect the vehicle.

2. you can use a volt-ohm meter to check continuity to make sure that you have a proper ground to the vehicle door. Then check the continuity to the vehicle body also. If there is no continuity to the vehicle body, then the correct way to rectify this is to attach a ground braided strap from the door to the vehicle body. Again directly to a metal surface not a painted surface. Check ground where you are putting it with a V-O meter. Do Not attach a ground strap of any type from the antenna mount to the vehicle. Do not wrap the coax around anything.... you can clean the installation up after it checks out.. Do not ground the radio..

3. Once this checks, next is attach the ATAS to the mount. Make sure their is no crimping or bending or breaks on the coax of the mount anywhere. If there is you will need to replace the coax. The number 1 reason why the antenna doesnt tune is improper menu setup, the second reason is a break or crimp on the coax. The radio send a current to the antenna and if there is a break in the coax, it will fail to initialize/tune.

3. Once this is done, remove the duplexer from the radio, and connect the coax to the radios HF port.
4. Go to the ATAS antenna menu, and first select the off option. exit the menu, shut the radio off. Turn the radio on, go back to the menu option make sure that its on off, rotate the dial to select HF only. Exit the menu, at the radio screen select the option for the Tuner, press and hold the tune button to start initialization. Initialize the ATAS antenna, this can take several minutes : DO NOT TRANSMIT OR TOUCH ANY BUTTON ON THE RADIO OR THE ANTENNA ITSELF while this is going on.......

If it doesnt initialize check the coax along the entire length.Check the connectors. Also the radio will not tune if the battery voltage is low. You can do a continuity check of the inner pin on the coax to the outer part of the connector. If there is continuity there, you have a problem with the coax...Do not go by the radios voltage reading. Check the vehicle battery, Try and do this with the car off, but if you cant then turn the car on. It will not initialize or tune if the vehicle battery is low.

Once its initialized, select the band for 40m , choose an appropriate freq, and press the tune button. See if the antenna tunes.?? If it tunes, which means the antenna will almost fully extend. Try making a contact. Then switch bands to 10m choose an appropriate freq, hit the tune button and see if the antenna will retract almost all the way down.

If it does this, then attach the duplexer, go back to the radio menu for the tuner, switch it to off, again, shut the radio down, turn it back on, go back to the menu, make sure its still on off, rotate the dial to select "ALL" exit the menu. Reinitialize the antenna, and choose a freq on 40m first. If it tunes, then select the 10m band, if it retracts, then select the 6m band, it should almost close completely.

If all works then you are good to go, clean up the wires, do not wrap the wires around anything. keep everything clean, and make sure that when you close the door etc.. the wire doesnt crimp.

Contrary to popular belief the ATAS "DOES" need a good ground, but it can get a good ground if you simply remove the paint under those screws. The problem is when the door you are mounting it on doesnt ground to the vehicle Then you have to ground the door to the vehicle "NOT THE ANTENNA TO THE VEHICLE". It will be properly grounded through the mount.

The radio doesnt have to be grounded to the vehicle.

Some vehicles are a pain with the ATAS. But only cause there is poor grounding or no grounding from hatchback doors to the vehicle.

I hope this helps, I know its a lot, but to guess without removing everything is more of a headache than starting fresh and simple. If you have a friend who has the same setup that works already, I would say bring over your ATAS and try it on his radio. It could be faulty, sometime I know this from a couple of local hams, they caused damage to it, by turning the antenna manually.

George
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Old 02-23-2013, 9:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n8zcc View Post
Doug,

I have the same setup as you only in a Tahoe but the issues are the same. I completely bonded my vehicle which just about got rid of all the vehicle's noise. The is a lot to learn about mobile HF, read the bonding section first, KØBG.COM
I have a tahoe, 2008. My truck has so many radios, high power LED lighting, secondary battery system and a ton of other stuff, including TV, air compressor etc.. and never had any problems or issues with the mounting . I have the 857D with the ATAS 120 and has worked flawlessly. The Tahoe is actually an excellent truck to have all this, cause it comes specially equipped and ready to take additional electronics since chevy tahoes are used by law enforcement on all levels.. It comes ready with a high power alternator to handle 2 batteries, and the vehicle is completely bonded.
Ive seen hams go crazy with grounding straps, coax straps etc.. You can easily check if where you are mounting has a good ground before you mount anything, with a V-O meter...

George
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:33 PM
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Update:

Its not coming in through the power, remote head, remote speaker or remote mic. If I disconnect the coax from the radio, the ignition noise goes away completely.

I've installed resistive plug wires with no difference. The radio is now grounded to body as well. Adding a ground strap from the point to the hatchback fixed the tuning issue. I also discovered the hood and tailpipe were factory grounded to the body of the car.

The duplexer isn't grounded, so I'll take it out of the setup to see if that helps.

Doug
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Last edited by DougWare; 03-02-2013 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: edited on a kindle
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Old 04-10-2013, 9:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougWare View Post
I purchased a new ATAS-120A from Ham Radio Outlet. The antenna is mounted on the Diamond K400C mount. I grounded the mount itself to the vehicle body (using an additional wire, and it's connected to a FT-857D that is connected to the battery (hot and ground). It's connected by a Diamond MX-62M duplexer.

The antenna tunes, but if it can't, it travels to the top and stops. Then it's unable to be controlled without resetting the ATAS setting of the radio to OFF and then back to ATAS(ALL). Removing the duplexer does not affect this behavior.

There also appears to be some type of popping noise on HF that speeds up and slows down with the engine.

Does this sound like a problem with the grounding or another issue? I tested the ground to the body, the connection looks good.

Is it possible wrapping the coax around the hydraulic lifter has affected the tuning?

Thanks,
Doug
see the menu to atas, that should solve the issue, if your antenna is on the trunk lid, and you see ground straps loosen them and move them around the other thing you can do if to sand down those spots then to protect those spots from rust apply some silicone over the sanded area, then sock those straps down good, then try that all again !!! It should work now !!!
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