Thursday, June 9, 2016

Paying Attention

I tend to chat with other sailors on IRC online. I noticed something on my mast and figured I would share a picture of what was obviously wrong. I didn't notice it before because the mast has been under the boat, just inside the vertical supports holding the boat up and this issue was on the inside. Apparently, the marina in Kentucky put the standing rigging on the wrong side of the tang.

Well, one of the regular chatters noticed other things. One I had an idea about but another I wasn't really aware of. The part I had noticed was the clevis pins being a bit too long. The part that was mentioned to me is that the clevis pins are also too narrow, leaving a gap in the tangs. With the length and size of the clevis pins, I'm being told that it could wear everything out faster, even causing the holes to become elongated and/or bending the clevis pins. Either of which isn't good. So, I went back to the mast and took these other pictures to get a better view of the pins. 

Seeing them again, it does look like I may have to readjust some things. I replaced the standing rigging myself but used the same clevis pins that came with the boat. Since I've had the boat, the standing rigging hasn't been under much tension/stress.

As I look closer at the mast and think about other projects while taking a break from the current project (fuel tank related), I look at the electrical connectors that run the lighting and feel that these should be replaced as well before using the mast again. I'm on the hunt for connectors that could be used. At the same time, I'm looking to replace the RF cable running up the mast. It's RG-8X and probably 35 years old as well. I'm looking at using two types of RF cable for my refit. Since the RG-8X is a narrow cable, I'll probably stick with something just as narrow. I'm now looking at LMR-240 Ultraflex to run up the mast since it'll still be fairly lightweight. From the mast step and down into the boat, the cable is thicker and since I'm rerouting the RF Cable inside the boat, I'm going to go with LMR-400 Ultraflex. All of this together will give me a much lower signal loss than whats here now getting more power out to the antenna. Being a ham radio operator for the past 20yrs, I should know how to improve the RF system. But doesn't hurt to see what others say. :-)

mast lighting connectors

Plenty of other work to take care of in the meantime. But this is something I'm looking/planning.



  1. Dan I've got the same RF cable running up my mast yet I don't have any near-term plan to get a radio unit while I've got my handhelds. Is it worth it for me to just re-install cable anyway so that in the "event" I have it done?

    1. hi Bill,
      I know a guy who went from MD down to FL via ICW with handhelds. If you're sailing on a lake or close to shore, handhelds should be fine. The idea of having the cable going up to a masthead antenna is to get the signal out at greater distance, which is good for emergencies. In the short term, I don't think it would be a necessity, but something to think about for later if you decide to venture farther off shore or farther away from others.