VHF Antenna - replacment

Discussion in 'Electronics Q&A' started by rlynch03, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. rlynch03

    rlynch03 Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    May 16, 2019
    Annapolis, MD
    07 52 Sedan Bridge, 2019 Brig Falcon 360HT-30HP Honda, 2003 16' Dauntless
    Cummins QSM 11 660 HP w/ ZF 325-1A
    Have you replaced your VHF antenna? Mine is looking a bit rough and the exposed wire insulation is falling off.

    I noticed West Marine has a standard 8’ antenna for about $80 and an “extra heavy duty” antenna for $125.

    Any need for the extra heavy duty?

    Appreciate any thoughts
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  2. SeasNT

    SeasNT Member

    Jan 30, 2016
    Lake Erie
    44 DB 2006
    QSC 500
    A good antenna is the most important link in the chain. Buy the best Shakespeare 8' you can afford.
    Cocktail Time likes this.
  3. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    That's what I did...only about $125 as I recall...
  4. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    In your boating how do you use the VHF? Hailing someone close to the boat or far away? If you are contacting or listening someone close to the boat keep the antenna gain low (between 4db and 6db). If you are in open water and need long distances then gain should be higher. The issue is as gain goes up the beam width goes down and your antenna will only pick up and transmit within that beam width. I have a 8 foot long 6db antenna atop the bridge roof; seems to work well for the boating we do. I thought this was educational - https://www.nmea.org/Assets/nmea antenna installations ibex presentation 2011.pdf
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    There's a very noticeable difference in the construction, both external and internal, in VHF antennas. The cheaper ones will yellow and expose glass strands much sooner, have thinner fiberglass shells and the actual "antenna" part (inside) is simply a coax cable. As you progress to the better ones (Sea Ray actually typically used a high end one to begin with) - something like the the Shakes Galaxy 5525 XT, for example - you get an SS base and the internals become solid brass and copper. It's a huge difference in quality.

    Not sure about West Marine - I never really buy from them as I have better sources.
  6. Cocktail Time

    Cocktail Time Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 9, 2007
    Lake Lanier, GA
    1998 400 Sundancer, Garmin 840xs GPS, Furuno RDP-110, B&G GPS pilot etc.
    Cat 3116's, Westerbeke 7.6kw
  7. Jaybeaux

    Jaybeaux Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 3, 2016
    Upper Potomac River
    420 Sundancer 2004
    Naught On Call
    Cummins 6CTA-8.3's with V-Drives
    9KW Onan Genset
    Maybe this is a dumb question, but since the antennas have a fiberglass exterior, should we be applying wax periodically to increase longevity?

  8. joeyleggz

    joeyleggz Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2013
    long island
    current boat: 1997 sea ray 330 express cruiser
    twin 454's efi
    3587D5FE-F525-48BA-AC92-C5518D647CDE.gif Lol
  9. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    Cocktail Time likes this.
  10. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods
    The actual antenna is the wire inside the fiberglass tube. Wax isn’t going to cause a problem. Painting it on the other hand might complicate things.

    And since somebody has to say this, If you rake the antenna back it will work worse when you are on plane. If you want properly rake the antenna tilt it forward!
    Jaybeaux and Cocktail Time like this.
  11. villain style

    villain style Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Mears Point Marina Kent Island, MD
    2006 44 DA
    QSC 8.3s
    Cummins QSC 8.3s 500HO
    I installed the Shakespeare 8' 5225XT Galaxy last year. No complaints...
    Cocktail Time likes this.

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