Amel54 SSB installation

Jeroen Jeltes

Hi all ,  fellow Amel owners. Since recently i am proud owner of Fidelis an Amel54 2009.

I am preparing her for paticipating ARC+2019. and decided to install a SBB radio.

The boat is prepared and has a pre-installed groundplate, yet there is no wiring diagramm information of available cabling.  Sadly SAV of chantier Amels has verly little information , apart from i need to disconnect the ground  cable from the SSB power contacts behind the lower charttable sidepanel.

Surely more owners must have gone through this trouble,  so anybody can give me advice is very welcome.

i am struggling with the following questions ?

where can i pick up the ground cable from the groundplate, to ground the antenne tuner? and should this of the flat rass type ?

is the isolated antenne cable between the masts suitable for the SSB ?

what anttenne is used for SSB,  isolated backstay of mizzen mast , or stand alone 6m flex rod type?

perhaps there is anybody who can give directions how to install the system.

( i have contacted local professionals yet these guys do not know this boat and want to start from scratch)

Jeroen  Jeltes


Last year I installed an Icom M801E on my Santorin. The M801 is a great device and a true marine (M = Marine) transceiver class E (E = class E).
Benefits: long range voice and data communications to multiple users, DSC for emergencies, etc. The device can even be "unlocked" and be turned in a true HAM station, what opens up the universe of HAM users all over the world. Lost in sea you can always talk to someone... :-)
Installation: I would check what preinstallations are available on your boat: direct battery connection, security switch, grounding plates for grounding, mounting for a wip antenna, etc. Then decide what else is necessary and make an installation plan. Position for the transceiver: on my boat I had it first inside the navigation table, now it below the navigation table, to get more space.
Antennas: The M801E has 2 receivers built in: one is for transmitting and receiving voice or data; the second constantly monitors the DSC frequencies. I installed a whip antenna for transmitting and receiving and use the triatric stay for the DSC watch, as this antenna is for receiving only. AMEL recommends the whip antenna for several reasons. However, there are advantages and disadvantages with each type of installation.
Legal stuff: HF radio users need a LRC (long range certificate) and need to pass an exam in most countries to get it; as a HAM user you would have also to pass an even more elaborated exam. Check the legal situation in your country.
Support and shopping: or
Options: Adding a Pactor modem enables you to send and receive emails and weather data. And become a member of
Iridium: Again, each system has its advantages and disadvantes. Experienced sailors recommend to get both, if you can afford it.
Good luck - Daniel

Dean Gillies

Hi Daniel,
I am also planning an SSB installation on an Amel 54.
I too have the M801E.

I’m particularly interested in your comment about Amel’s views of Whip Antenna vs Backstay Antenna. Is this information published somewhere accessible.
Best regards
Dean Gillies
SY Stella
Amel 54#154

Dean Gillies

Hi Jeroen,
I am planning to install a SSB system on my Amel 54, using the M801E. I have not yet commenced installation, and I am now away from the boat until April. Sorry I’m unable to offer any guidance.
I’m sure others on this forum can help with good practical advice. I wish you luck. Your questions will be very similar to the ones I will be asking myself!
Best regards
Dean Gillies
SY Stella
Amel 54#154



I am quoting Joel Potter. Please see message 14260.

Joel F Potter
Message 3 of 10 , Sep 2, 2013
View Source
The Amel philosophy regarding using a whip instead of a insulted backstay is
many fold. First, whips are more efficient in almost every possible
measure. Second, if the rig comes tumbling down (unlikely on a Super Maramu
unless the standing rigging is over 12 years old or you do something
incredibly stupid, I mean silly) you can still scream for help with the ssb
as you'll still have an antenna. Third, gentlemen are unlikely to grasp the
whip as they would the backstay when answering the call of nature at the
stern. The internal flesh burn that happens if you are holding the antenna
during a transmission is a horrible wound that can quickly turn gangrenous
when at sea and professional medical treatment is not readily available The
primary disadvantage is the coating on the fiberglass deteriorates after
about 10-15 years in the 35north/35south belt we mostly all voyage in and
causes decreased performance as moisture is absorbed. You also can catch a
really nasty itch if you grab this then deteriorated antenna from the
fiberglass shards that will transfer into your palm. Ask me how I know this.

All the best,


Dean Gillies

Thanks Daniel,
Interesting (and entertaining), definitely food for thought. I had not considered Joel’s third argumennt at all! For me, another point for consideration would be the cumbersome/unsightly nature of the whip (even before it degrades).

At this stage I’m still not fully convinced about which Tx antenna solution I prefer. I believe a properly sized backstay antenna (in concert with a good antenna tuner) is every bit as efficient as a whip antenna.
In the unlikely event that my rig comes down and I really need to make “that” call, my first response is more likely to be EPIRB activation followed by digging out my emergency antenna.
(Anyone know of a dismasted SM or 54?)
Long term degradation of a whip is managed easily by replacement, and the poor aesthetic is offset by the ease of installation with no requirement for a rigger.

It’s still a line ball for me right now !
Luckily I have a few more months to think about it 😜

Many thanks
Dean Gillies
SY Stella
Amel 54#154