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Author Topic:   17 Outrage VHF install
Dan posted 11-28-2000 06:19 PM ET (US)   Profile for Dan   Send Email to Dan  
I recently bought a 1999 17' Outrage, which I'll pick up from the dealer next Spring. Part of the deal is that the dealer is adding a VHF radio with antenna. The dealer recommends installing a 3' short stainless antenna on right side of outer console. The dealer also wanted to put the radio in the electronic box at top. I think I'd rather have the radio flushmounted below switches on front of console and have an 8' antenna mounted a foot or so forward of aft quarter seat on starboard side -- on a stainless ratchet mount with a stainless laydown support at center and a rubber antenna clip near the top. The dealer suggested a Standard Communications Eclipse VHF, but I want to pay $50 or so extra for the Intrepid model. One of my considerations for mounting antenna aft is so I can get a console cover on easily and add a suntop or a bimini. The suntop is so big -- maybe a bimini would be better. I don't think I want a T-top because the boat's only 17' and I don't want to start making holes in the deck and console. I don't want to be difficult with the dealer, but I'd rather get the boat set up right to begin with. I'm also adding a $200 Raytheon 365 fishfinder with a transom mount triducer and a handheld GPS. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
DIVE 1 posted 11-28-2000 06:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
I have never looked at a 17' Outrage console, so I am no help with the radio mounting location. I would spend the extra money for the radio upgrade and install Standards 5" external speaker. Your antenna should be mounted in the aft part of the boat for the reasons you listed. I have removed a lot of 3' antennas from center consoles and put on 8' antennas near the stern. All of the owners complained that the antenna on the console was distracting, they whistled, always hitting them when going to the bow of the boat, etc.
lhg posted 11-28-2000 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I think Dive 1's advice is good, and that the antenna should be 8' and be mounted on a rail or gunnel, so it clears any possible later canvas installation.

I like the rear curving stantion of the bow rail for Outrages, since the cable route to the console is short and simple. Use an SS rail mount ratchet lay down mount, about $32.
This also works nicely for a loran or Differential GPS antenna on the opposite side.

Some pictures of 18 Outrages with antennas installed on this location can be seen in Rendezvous section. Sounds like your dealer is giving you the cheap way out.

Peter posted 11-28-2000 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

I have an 18 Outrage with a Standard Nova + mounted flush below the switches. I think that this is a good location because its more or less out of the way but within easy reach. The Nova + is a bigger chasis and has a second speaker in the microphone which comes in handy to overcome the wind noise when underway. I'm not sure whether the Intrepid model has that feature, but if so, it would be worth the extra $. Depending on where you mount such a microphone, the extra speaker might not be needed, otherwise its a good idea. I have a 3' stainless loaded Shakespeare whip mounted on an L bracket about two feet from the stern on the port combing. It works great in that location and doesn't really get in the way of fishing lines. I get about a 15 to 20 mile range. For reasonably priced, marinized handheld GPSes, I think that the Garmin 48 is hard to beat. Although if you want cartography, the Garmin 175 is also a good choice, but with a G-chart chip, it is could be up to 3 times the cost of the 48. I have the 45xl and the 175. The nice thing about the Garmin hand helds is that the control buttons are above the display and are easily workable with the thumb of the hand holding the unit. This feature shows its utility particularly well when using the unit underway.

Hoop posted 11-28-2000 08:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoop  Send Email to Hoop     
Dan, I installed an Intrepid in the console of my Montauk, flush-mounted just above the front access opening to the console, and to the right. I like it there and would do it again, though it is hard to visually see what channel the VHF is tuned to. The microphone buttons have audible indicators to let you know when you are selecting channel 16, bouncing make to a recreational-use channel, or channel 9. The Intrepid model does not have a speaker capability in the microphone, and it is hard to hear at speed; an external speaker is good advice if this is an objective. Mounting location away from the compass would be important, of course.

My antenna is a Shakespeare Galaxy, about $100, which has a 20 foot cable that allowed me to snake the antenna cable down and to the back, then up and along the side to the third vertical rail on the starboard side. This spot gives me clearance for downriggers aft of the antenna, if I should so choose at some point in the future. I like it where it is because it lies flat, out of the way, on the trailer or underway if that what's the moment calls for. It doesn't require a special hole in the boat cover because it doesn't stick off the bow when down. I do have to work around it when fishing, but I guess I really don't catch that many for this to be an issue for me! Chuck Tribolet on this forum advised me of the Galaxy because of cable length, and I'm glad I did.

My dealer, like yours, suggests the console mounting of a short antenna if the owner wants to install canvas. I figure that, if you are going to have an installed VHF, you probably ought to have an 8 foot antenna for distance. Otherwise, you might just as well rely on a handheld!

Hoop, San Jose

lhg posted 11-28-2000 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
One of the Rendezvous participants has one of the neatest ideas I've seen yet for hearing a radio while under way. He uses a Radio Shack headset plugged into his radios' external speaker jack. To me this seems like a great idea and he says it works beautifully, never missing a word.
hauptjm posted 11-29-2000 10:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Recently I used a headset for the VHF and couldn't believe the difference. I was a chase boat for 186 Optimist prams during a national regatta. When you've got 186 kids ranging from 8 to 15 years old on the water at one time, it's crucial to hear every single word coming over the radio. Particularly, when there are 3 different courses spread out over several miles of open water. It's not something I would use all of the time, but in certain circumstances, it is a great way to monitor the VHF.
triblet posted 12-04-2000 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
- Get an 8 foot, 6 db gain, antenna. 3',
3 db gain, antennas are for sailboats
that heel a lot.

- the Garmin 48 and 175 are both obsolescent
designs. They work fine, and are still
in Garmin's lineup, but the industry has
moved on to physically smaller units with
more pixels and downloadable cartography.
I'd look at the Garmin eMap (but check the
waterproofness) and 162.

Chuck Tribolet

blackdog posted 12-04-2000 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I have the intrepid model and I like it. - - It is hard to hear @ WOT . I got the radio on line from for $199 (w/ shipping & no tax) so it was like 40$ more than the Eclipse. More features than I think I will ever use. I also like that the radio has a hookup for a GPS. I am looking at the Garmin 162 or the 168I. I had the dealer install mine radio before I picked my 16’ Dauntless up last October. They recommended mounting the antenna on the console’s handrail. I have a 3’ Shakespeare with some sort of plastic ratchet mount that clamps on. It has good range (About 20 mi+) and for the type of boating I do a 3’ foot is fine. The 3’ also allows me to install a console cover and Mills mooring cover without removing. Just loosen the ratchet. The antenna also does not interfere with the Sun Top or trip any fishing lines up.
The only thing I would change/ I am concerned about is that the Radio is not 3’ from the antenna as the Mfg recommends. It is mounted on top of the console, Could this be a problem?


triblet posted 12-04-2000 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Something you might try with the Intrepid
is holding the mike up to your ear. Turns
out that on my Eclipse, the mike functions
as a speaker too. The manual doesn't mention

You can also add an external speaker which
should improve understandability. I'm
thinking of adding a 4" to my Eclipse.

Hooking your GPS up to the radio is a good
idea. The CG is starting to get DSC radios
(all new purchases (new boat or replacement
radio) are DSC, and that one button:
"MAYDAY -- My position is XXXX" call is
real handy, esp when the shit hits the fan
like a fire or major injury.

The Intrepid and Spectrum are submersible.
The Eclipse is only splash proof. I
wouldn't have less than splashproof on an
open boat (the voice of experience).

Chuck Tribolet

rwest posted 12-04-2000 06:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for rwest  Send Email to rwest     
I have a Standard Eclipse + which is a great VHF. The Intrepid modle is a better choice in that it has the added feture of the automated calling which will become standard in a couple of years. As to the antenna, I'd go with the 8 ft and either mount it aft as others have suggested or on the aft part of the bow rail. Care must be taken when docking or pulling alongside other boats with either mount. Mounting any antenna on the center console will be a problme with just about any type of top. I ahd a 3 ft fiberglass one on my 1971 Nauset with Mahogany console and I had to lower it whenever I put up the suntop. Lowering it greatly reduces ranger as well as making it a pain to get around.
lhg posted 12-04-2000 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Regarding 4" external speakers mentioned by Chuck, I thought one of these would be the answer for my Montauk consoled Outrage. So I nicely rigged it up with a thumb screw rail mount to the console rail when needed. But I later found out it's powerful magnet pulled the compass off about 30 degrees. These things have to be at least 4' from the compass to avoid interference.
Dan posted 12-04-2000 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
I spoke to the dealer today, and he agreed to install the Intrepid VHF at no extra cost. It will be flush mounted below switches. I plan on following the headphone advice and will keep a set in the electronics box secured with velcro -- I think. As for the antenna, I'm installing an 8' Shakespeare Galaxy antenna on the aft starboard gunwale deck. I've spoken a dozen times with Mills Canvas trying to get info. I wish they could supply product photos. Anyway, I decided to get the Fly Top instead of the Sun Top. They said both tops for the Outrage 17 1999 are the same size and store in an upright position and fold aft for trailering. The Fly Top is $60 more but could accept a dodger and windshield in the future. I think I'll break with tradition and order a black and white tweed Sunbrella fabric. The woman I've spoken seems gaga over my choice. I live 70 miles from Mills and am seriously considering trailering the boat there for installation. The top of the Outrage console is a bit on the narrow side and I'm wondering if I should put the fishfinder in the electronics box or on the top right of console. Decisions. Either way all this distracts me from the fact that there's about 6 more months till Spring. Thanks to the people on this board for the input -- there's still time to make changes so if you've got any suggestions...
lhg posted 12-04-2000 07:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Dan: I think you've made the right decision to get the Mills flying top, since I'm sure you'll eventually want the forward shelter and windshield later. But in BLACK & WHITE tweed? I can't imagine what a forward shelter would look like in that color! Mills canvas looks nice in dark blue on white Whalers. Maybe you should re-think that one in the cold light of winter!
jimh posted 12-05-2000 12:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The best external speakers are those from commercial radios like MOTOROLA. If you can get your hands on an old MOTOROLA or RCA 2-way radio speaker, it will produce enough sound to be heard over almost any noise, assuming your radio has enough audio power to drive it. The old MOTRAC 2-way radios has 10-Watts of audio power, really a lot of horsepower for a comm radio audio output.

Generally the audio output capacity of the VHR-Marine radio is not too great, likely only a couple of watts of real RMS audio power.

But if you connect it to a good "communications" speaker--one built for strictly for voice reproduction and not Hi-Fi--you will see a huge improvement over the usual built-in speaker.

As Larry (lhg) mentions, watch out where the speaker is mounted as the magnetic field from it is generally strong and not well shielded.

On that note, it might also be useful to try some of the better "computer" speakers. Some of these are magnetically shielded to permit them to be placed adjacent to large CRT monitor screens. The color purity and registration of a CRT can be very easily affected by external magnetic fields. In order to use a speaker right next to the CRT the cabinet of the speaker is designed to contain the magnetic field of the speaker's magnet. These might find good application on boats with compasses.

As for antennas, I think the really long whips are not the way to go. The best approach is with a relatively low gain antenna, like a 3-foot whip or smaller, and mounted as high as possible.


Dan posted 12-05-2000 09:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
Mills Canvas told me that the "standard" Whaler canvas colors are Pacific Blue, Jockey Red, Cadet Grey, Captain Navy, and Forest Green. I'm considering the Charcoal Tweed -- maybe because I'm a photographer and I like the black and white aspect. I saw a similar top on a Robalo and it looked sharp. However, the Pacific Blue on all the Whaler photos in the Cetacea section of this site look "classic." I may have to rethink this.

Jim, 3 foot whip might be better than longer antenna?

Peter posted 12-05-2000 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

I agree with Jimh that the long whips are not necessarily the way to go. Certainly, they can have a range advantage, but they also have a greater nuisance factor. I think your choice on antennas will depend in part on what range you require which in turn depends on how far off shore you will typically go. One key point is to make sure with any antenna is that there is good impedance matching in the connections. A VSWR tester can help assess this. As I mentioned on an earlier post in this section, I have the 3' stainless whip mounted near the stern and I easily get a 15 to 20 mile range and the top of the whip is hardly 3' above the gun'l board and because it is behind the helm, you don't hear any wind noise from the whip.

Peter posted 12-05-2000 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

One other thing I forgot to mention is that I bought a suntop from Mills several years ago and it was very easy to install. All you need is a drill, a philips screw driver and some caulk. It took an hour at tops. Assuming Mills has instructions for your boat, the instructions tell you everything you need to know. You may only need help getting the top into the brackets once their installed.

I assume you'll be doing most of your boating in LI Sound. That's where we do most of ours.

blackdog posted 12-05-2000 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
A general question about the screw connection on the back of the radio. I noticed that when I last removed it the center probe or male portion looked like it had been burned or scorched. Anyone know what that is?


jimh posted 12-05-2000 07:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding the center conductor of the coax connector appearing black:

This is likely due to one or two causes:

--the connector is silver plated (common) and you are seeing silver-oxide, AKA tarnish.

--you have experienced arcing at the connection and you are seeing carbon deposits.

Silver-oxide is conductive, by the way.


Ed Stone posted 12-05-2000 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
Hey Jimh,
I know you have talked about it before,but
why a lower gain and a 3ft.whip?I have been
told to keep the antenna as vertical as
possible because you can lose range with
the antenna sloped.As with sail boats don't
they say the top of the mast is not the best
place for your antenna?
Ed Stone
Peter posted 12-10-2000 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Chuck Tribolet

I disagree with your view about the Garmin 48 and 175 being obsolete in view of the emap and other models. While the eMap is portable and looks similar to the 175 and has the advantage of downloadability, I think its memory may be limited and I also don't believe it is really suited for the marine environment. For a marine application, I think the 175 is a better choice over the eMap, if for no other reason, because of ergonomics -- the control buttons are located above the display rather than below. As I mentioned before, this location allows for one hand operation which becomes critical when underway in a chop. Even if mounted in the cradle accessory, it is nice to have a firm grip on the unit when controlling the functions. Garmin does not market the eMap for marine applications. If the control buttons were above the display, then maybe the eMap would be a replacement. Just my 2 cents.


triblet posted 12-10-2000 08:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The eMap takes pluggable memory cartridges.
My 162 has 2.7 M of built in memory for
maps, which is more than I need. The eMap
can take cartridges up to 32M which is WAY
WAY WAY more than I need.

Chuck Tribolet

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