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Author Topic:   VHF Marine Radio Antenna Location on 18-foot Center Console
djd35de posted 11-15-2006 11:42 AM ET (US)   Profile for djd35de   Send Email to djd35de  
I have a 1987 OUTRAGE 18, I just bought an 8-foot VHF Marine Radio Service antenna. Where is the best location to mount it? I'd like to be able to still use the stock bimini top. Any suggestions and even better yet a few photos would be very helpful. I was going to mount it on the bow rail but did'nt like the clamp. I guess I am stuck mounting it on the gunwale. Any pictures would be greatly appreciated. Thanks David
Tom W Clark posted 11-16-2006 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Mount it at the forward end of either gunwale board towards the outboard side. By mounting it here you will be able to lay it down flat either forward (outside of the bow rail) or sternward (flat along the gunwale board.) This location will not interfere with your bimini at all.

This is a standard antenna mounting location and can be seen in numerous photos in the Cetacea section and elsewhere.

djd35de posted 11-16-2006 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Thank you, Tom, I'll look there. David
jimh posted 11-16-2006 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The front of the boat is not good because of the greater motion. The stern would be the best in terms of least motion and most stable, but putting an antenna back there interferes with fishing. It also locates the antenna close to the engine, the source of a great deal of potential electrical interference. This leaves a mid-ship location. The gunwale mount is a good suggestion.
Chuck Tribolet posted 11-17-2006 12:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Putting the antenna forward is not different (for motion)
than putting it aft, assuming the whaler is a reasonably
stiff structure. Whatever an antenna aft does, an
antenna forward will do, but will be a foot or so higher.

It doesn't matter that the antenna moves up and down, what
counts is the rocking (either fore/aft or port/starboard)
that causes the antenna to be less vertical and have less

And if the whaler is NOT a reasonably stiff structure,
A. I want a different boat.
B. Forward is probably BETTER because the rock and roll is
happening aft, and the flex of the hull will prevent some
of it from reaching the antenna.


cwolf posted 11-17-2006 02:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for cwolf  Send Email to cwolf     
If you look closely at the photo below you will see the antenna location Tom mentions. An eight foot will lay down nicely behind the forward rail with just an inch or so overhang. Wire is then run through drilled hole in gunwale (covered with a clamshell) down behind the plastic cover into rigging tube and up into console. Also, I wrap a little white duck tape on the antenna where it meets the rail base as a bit of extra protection.

Tom W Clark posted 11-17-2006 10:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Putting the antenna forward is not different (for motion) than putting it aft...

No, that is completely wrong. While the rotation of the antenna is the same, the up and down is not. More to the point, it is the combination of rotation and up and down that will really whip an antenna. To understand this point, go flyfishing some time.

Or better yet, ride in the bow on a Montauk on a choppy day then ride in the stern of the same boat. BIG difference.

Buckda posted 11-17-2006 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
For an extra foot or so of height, you may choose to rail mount the antenna on the aft portion of the bow rail. Wiring is routed the same as the gunwale mount, but secured to the railing.

Use a velcro wrap to secure the antenna to the railing when in the "stowed" position.

I did this with my 18 before the arch.

Tom W Clark posted 11-17-2006 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I would discourage anybody from mounting an eight foot whip antenna on the bow rail. While the added height may be slightly beneficial to reception and transmission, the added stress on the rail is not worth it.

Do not underestimate the stress applied by an eight foot long antenna flailing about. The Outrage 18 (and other Whaler models) is known for bow rails that are susceptible to loosing their grip on the hull at the rail bases. Do not compound this problem by mounting an antenna on the bow rail.

In fact, I suggest not mounting anything on the (segmented) bow rail of an Outrage 18. I owned an Outrage 18 for over ten years and at one point mounted Lee's rod holders there. The bow rail had already torn the intermediate rail bases out of the hull and I had repaired them before mounting the rod holders, yet after a season I removed them because i did not like the amount of added flex that the rail had to endure when pounding through a chop.

I removed the rod holders and never reinstalled them. My rail base repairs survived as long as I owned the boat.

Another good reason to mount an antenna amidships and not forward, is that it will not be within your field of vision and your visibility will not be impaired.

jimh posted 11-18-2006 10:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If I had a flying top ("bimini") that stowed in the upright position and had fixed supports instead of straps, I would consider using a rail mount antenna adapter and a small, lightweight "4-foot" whip antenna, such as the antenna from GAM Electronics. I'd mount the antenna to the flying top frame just below the canvas top. This would elevate the antenna quite a bit and get it out of the way. The antenna transmission line might be concealed in the frame tubing, too.

For details about the antenna from GAM Electronics, see:

djd35de posted 11-21-2006 12:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Could somebody post a picture of the gunwale where it is mounted. It is not real clear. I mounted mine just behind where the bow rail ends. I went fishing and I must admit kind of takes away the sweet spot for fishing. Now I am thinking of moving to just under the rail just above where you route the wire through the tunnel. I didn't have a angle drill and I feel like a fool having already drilled the gunwale rail. This boat never had a hole drilled and I fear I screwed up. A top view please guys. Funny I had bought a rail mount but didn't like how it moved seemed to stick and you'd have to almost remove the screw to adjust the antenna. I could just see the writing on the wall. It was going to fall in the water so I mounted the other one. Just hated drilling on this boat. David
Tom W Clark posted 11-21-2006 12:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Here is a photo of my Outrage 18 and the two antennas I mounted on it. The antennas rarely interfered with my fishing.

djd35de posted 11-21-2006 02:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Wow that picture looks like fun.

[The discussion now diverts away from antenna installation and turns to details of other features of the OUTRAGE boat from Boston Whaler.]

I have an 1987 OUTRAGE are the bow rails all the same length or size. From the picture it looks like I mounted mine just the same.

[The discussion now diverts away from the bow railings used on the OUTRAGE boat from Boston Whaler and turns to accessories added for improved angling.]

Also noticed it looks like you have 2 downriggers.What brand and have they performed good for you Tom. thanks David

djd35de posted 11-21-2006 02:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Tom it looks like my rail is longer and extends past the console.from the picture it looks like where yours is mounted is straight above the tunnel am i right? if so mine is back bow rail slopes down and yours seems to go down at the end. thanks for yor help david
djd35de posted 11-21-2006 02:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Tom do you have some close up pictures? I like that rear rail you have as mine just has the front bow rail.Can that still be bought?
Tom W Clark posted 11-21-2006 10:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The bow rails for the Outrages are all the same size and shape regardless of what year and whether it is segmented or welded.

The downriggers were Scotty Strong Arms. The best.

I made the grab rail for the boat. I did not like the Whaler optional offerings of Grab Rail or Side Rails. My grab rails are slightly longer and made of .065 tubing. I have since made a couple pairs for other Outrage 18 owners.

But that is a discussion for anther thread. (In fact it has been covered more than once.)

Mounting an antenna on the stern portion of the bow rail would not gain you a foot of height. Maybe you could gain 8" or 10". Do not do it.

djd35de posted 11-21-2006 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Tom i looked at my rail again and it extends all the way to about the middle of the pedestal seats,meaning way past the center console.I think iam going to move it just above the routiong tunnel as yours appears to be. What a bummer as i already drilled the holes and soldered the wires ect.My 18ft outrage has that option of no teak gunwales maybe the rails are different also. David
Tom W Clark posted 11-22-2006 10:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Your bow rail is not OE. Looking at your profile I see you are in California. I suspect the boat you own was originally sold by Schock Boats in Newport Beach. I have seen many Whalers from Schock with customized bow rails. That seems to be something they used to do a lot of in the 1980s. There is even a photo of a customized Outrage 18 in one of the Whaler Owner's newsletters from the early 1980s showing a rail like that.

It is too bad really. Whaler designed their products the way they did for very specific reasons. The OE bow rail is more useful and you would not have had this problem with it.

djd35de posted 11-22-2006 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
thanks tom,Its kind of funny and sad at the same time.I was trying to be real careful and make sure i made no mistakes drilling holes etc... as this boat was never drilled on nothing ever mounted,but thats life sometimes iam going to move it up just above the tunnel and maybe just leave the bolts in,won't look too bad i guess. David
dfmcintyre posted 11-24-2006 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Dave -

I'm more familier with the 17, 21 and 25 hulls, so I've got to ask if the teak gunwale in the stern has an inside vertical board?

I've had good sucess mounting a stainless steel swivel bracket with an 8' antenna in that area. On the 17' hull I had to through bolt to a plate on the outside (plate was epoxyed same color, not noticable), but on the 25 Revenge and the 21, there enough space to place a backing plate on the other side.

I also mounted a small clip that would hold the very top of the antenna (by bending the antenna slightly) when stowed.

On the negative side of the coin, I get slightly more engine interference noise with the antenna being closer. But it's also out of the way.

Flip the coin, take your chances.

Regards - Don

djd35de posted 11-24-2006 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for djd35de  Send Email to djd35de     
Thanks Don and all for the replys,My boat did'nt come with teak gunwales,form what i understand it was an option to not have teak gunwales. Its nice like this and alot easier to maintain but they sure look beautiful when there kept up properly. David
jimh posted 11-25-2006 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The material used to construct the gunwales won't have much effect on the electrical operation of the radio antenna. Both wood and resin/cloth laminates are non-conductive.

Further discussion of the historical use of various materials for the gunwales and bow rails of classic Boston Whaler boats should be moved to the THE GAM discussion. For advice in how to improve your skill at angling please use a website that focuses on such topics.

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