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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
170 Montauk Antenna Cable Route
|Author||Topic: 170 Montauk Antenna Cable Route|
posted 08-20-2011 11:03 PM ET (US)
I was thinking about mounting a [VHF Marine Band radio] antenna far aft on my [Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK], perhaps around the starboard cleat. I would like [to mount the antenna] inside the boat, so when I fold the antenna down, the antenna lies basically parallel to but above the navigation light stowed position. Is it possible to get the antenna [transmission line] into there? Or is [that area of the boat hull] filled with foam? I know I can get aft in the rigging tunnel, but from there it might be impossible to go outboard. Has anyone tried this?
posted 08-21-2011 07:06 AM ET (US)
I ran my cable through the tunnel then behind the battery box--on the earlier Montauks, many of the boxes were either mounted on the extreme back, either port or starboard--and up to the antenna mount. Realistically, only about three feet were exposed, between the tunnel and the mount.
I don't think it is an easy job to create a hole inside the hull to achieve what I think you want to do. Multiple holes using a very long bit, and a high degree of accuracy would be needed.
The antenna bracket was attached to the inside of the hull, so when the antenna was folded, it rested on top of the horizontal portion of the grab rail stanchion.
In looking at some Montauk 170 images out on the web, you will not have that option, since your grab rails attach to the top of the gunnel.
On my later Outrage, the mount is in the same location, however when the antenna is down, the tip is inserted into a small clip screwed into the inside gunnel.
Regards - Don
posted 08-21-2011 04:18 PM ET (US)
I suggest you call Boston Whaler (the boat builder) and check with Customer Service to see if they can suggest any route for an antenna transmission line to the console from an antenna mounted on the aft Starboard gunwale of the boat. The mounting located will have to be chosen with an eye to embedded reinforcement material in the hull, as the mounting base for a VHF Marine Band antenna will need a very substantial mounting point in order to resist the turning forces that will be created by the wind loading on the antenna.
posted 08-21-2011 10:50 AM ET (US)
[Says that the Unibond contruction of the Boston Whaler boat hull will be] filled with foam [in the area where it it proposed to run the antenna transmission line].
posted 08-21-2011 10:53 AM ET (US)
I think I'm beginning to see why everyone has their antenna mounted on the center console.
posted 08-21-2011 09:02 PM ET (US)
I posted a similar question a while back about mounting the antenna on the rear/stern of the boat. Someone here posted a picture of what they have done (mounted it on the stern of the boat, do a search, came out nice). This is the one draw back of small Boston whalers (very difficult to mount things do to lack of egress for the wires). I have a older 17 and ended up mounting my antenna (along with my navigation lights) on the console. The problem with mounting an antenna on the console is if you have a Bimini top it will be in the way. I chose to mount a 36 inch stainless antenna (metz) on the console, up all the time, out of the way, and I can put my Bimini top up with the antenna up as well.
posted 08-21-2011 09:08 PM ET (US)
If you want to mount the bracket on the inside of the gunnel, I've had good success with using four mushroom head bolts (stainless, of course) on the outside of the gunnel, through bolted. Painted the bolt heads same color as the hull. No need to locate wood.
Regards - Don
posted 08-21-2011 10:04 PM ET (US)
So I pulled a screw out of the stern cleat, and gave a poke down into the gunnel with a coat hanger.
It's definitly foam in there.
I'm thinking that trying to get a wire up inside the gunnel is going to be tough. Maybe so hard that I should just go with something on the center console like it seems many folks do.
Did anyyone here get a Montauk with a factory installed radio? Where does the factory put the antenna? I found plenty of pics of the radio on the Boston Whaler site, but zero pictures showing any VHF antennas on a 170.
posted 08-22-2011 08:13 AM ET (US)
I suggest you call Boston Whaler (the boat builder) and check with Customer Service to see if they can tell you where the VHF Marine Band radio antenna is mounted on a factory-installed radio installation.
posted 08-22-2011 08:16 AM ET (US)
At the stern of the 170 MONTAUK there are many electrical cables that are routed to the center console. If you mount a VHF Marine Band radio near the stern of a 170 MONTAUK you should be able to route its transmission line to the center console for connection to the radio using the same path the other electrical cables follow. The transmission line may have to be above-deck until it joins the other electrical cables near the outboard engine.
posted 08-22-2011 08:19 AM ET (US)
I visited the Boston Whaler website at WHALER.COM. On their page about the 170 MONTAUK I could see a VHF Marine Band radio antenna installed on a 170 MONTAUK. Here is a link to the image:
posted 08-22-2011 08:32 AM ET (US)
This image from Boston Whaler
shows the layout of the 170 MONTAUK. If you mounted a VHF Marine Band radio at the Starboard aft gunwale, the transmission line for the antenna could run above deck and along the gunwale aft, following the corner of the hull, and then run into the same rigging path that the cables from the outboard engine use. The transmission line would only be above-deck for a few feet. The transmission line could be secured with small white nylon cable clamps. Typically marina antennas are provided with a transmission line with white outer insulation, so the transmission line would blend well with the hull and not be unsightly.
The location for the antenna mount in the stern is better than at the console, in my opinion, and this is based on the electrical properties for the antenna, not on aesthetics. The antenna seen mounted at the console is radiating most of its transmitter power right into the console, the electronics in the console, and the people near the console. An antenna mounted at the stern could be mounted on a four-foot extension mast, raising the actual antenna above the people in the boat and giving it a much better position.
I recommend using a GAM SS-2 antenna and a GAM ADAP-II mount with a four-foot non-conductive extension mast. See my article on VHF Marine Band antennas for small boats for details.
The GAM ADAP-II mount includes about 20-feet of coaxial transmission line, and that should be enough to reach to the center console from a mount on the Starboard stern of the boat.
The GAM SS-2 will be a good choice for this installation. I suspect you may keep the antenna lowered much of the time. The GAM SS-2 is not a fragile antenna in a fiberglass enclosure. It won't be easily damaged when stowed.
posted 08-25-2011 02:54 PM ET (US)
The image jimh posted shows the factory install of the 3' whip antenna on the starboard side of the center console. The antenna like device seen aft is a fishing rod.
posted 08-25-2011 04:54 PM ET (US)
I don't know where anyone got the notion that a fishing pole was a VHF Marine Band antenna, but, if anyone did, and if they got it from reading this thread, then a big "thank you" for disabusing them of that notion.
And, perhaps also necessary, the antenna-like device seen on the Port side of the console is also a fishing pole.
Also, since the white all-round navigation lamp is mounted on a Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK at the Starboard stern quarter, it seems that there must be some manner to route the electrical cable that is powering that electric lamp to the general vicinity of the Starboard stern quarter. The path used to route that cable could be used as a guide for the path to route the VHF Marine Band radio antenna transmission line to the same place.
posted 08-26-2011 11:53 AM ET (US)
Who are you and what did you do to JimH?
The all-round navigation lamp is mounted on a Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK on a pole light for which the socket is located on the top of the center console.
posted 08-26-2011 12:12 PM ET (US)
Really? Someone posts in reference to mounting an antenna in the stern area and you post an image of a Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK with "something" mounted in that exact area and say "On their page about the 170 MONTAUK I could see a VHF Marine Band radio antenna installed on a 170 MONTAUK".
A casual reader, not knowing that you an infallible man, could possibly jump to that notion.
I have to admit I thought it was an stern mounted antenna and I OWN that make and model.
posted 08-29-2011 09:51 PM ET (US)
There is an “eaiser” way to mount an VHF antennae to the stern rear side of the Montauk 170 if you have the rear rails. Remove the stern rail and use the rear rail mounting location to drill a hole in the gunnel then down through the foam to your opening for your VHF cable exit location, then drill down through the foam next to the stern rear “step” you can now fish the cable down to your hole for the VHF cable pull it up to the gunnel hole and then fish it back to under the rear step - you have the use of the access plate there and you should be able to route it up to the center console via the factory wire tunnel. Fill the hole under the rail with MarineTex, and remount and bed the rail.
posted 08-29-2011 09:59 PM ET (US)
Sorry I have been referencing the Starboard side of the boat.
posted 08-30-2011 09:15 AM ET (US)
The big pole shown in the plan view diagram (above) in its stowed position is the white all-round lamp. I assumed it mounted in that same area. However, I see in the wiring diagram that there is wiring for it at the console. I had no idea it plugged in there. I wonder how it fits under the Bimini top?
As for problems detecting a radio antenna by its visual appearance as distinct from a fishing rod, one distinguishing characteristic of the fishing rod is there is usually a fishing reel attached to the fishing rod near the bottom or thicker part of the fishing rod, while radio antennas do not normally have fishing reels attached. Otherwise, I suppose one might mistake a fishing rod for a radio antenna.
posted 08-31-2011 07:47 AM ET (US)
The bimini top on a 170 has a slot in it for the all-around lamp pole whose socket is indeed in the center of the console.
Also I would note that pictures on the Whaler website usually avoid showing any optional electronics (same policy on many other manufacturer's sites). I presume it is because they don't want to have to fill the brochure with disclaimers "photo shows optional equipment".
There was a picture in a Whaler brochure a few years back showing a couple of guys fishing from a model in the 21' range. The rough state of the sea and the lack of any land in the distance was obviously chosen to imply that this boat was far offshore. Yet there is no VHF antenna (or other electronics) visible.
So unsinkable that communications are not needed....
posted 08-31-2011 09:14 PM ET (US)
After owning a 170 Montauk that came from Whaler with a factory installed Northstar 710 VHF and 3' Northstar antenna (mounted on teh center console), I can promise that if anyone were "far offshore", that radio setup wouldn't have helped much anyway.
posted 09-01-2011 04:48 PM ET (US)
Joe--You'd probably be surprised at the distances and areas well covered by the very tall USCG antennas located on our coasts. Another boat may not receive your broadcast but it's fairly likely the USCG will if you are no farther out than most folks with 17-foot boats.
posted 09-01-2011 05:34 PM ET (US)
I was pretty skeptical about the three-foot antenna on my 170 Montauk. I have downsized from larger boats over the yearsm abd all had eight-foot antennas. But it seems to do the job. There is some sort of loading coil at the antenna base which I assume is designed to give it an effective eight-foot length.
I am in the midcoast Maine area where high terrain limits line-of-sight considerably, yet I have no trouble with this rig hopping over such topography.
posted 09-01-2011 09:47 PM ET (US)
A three-foot antenna is a naturally resonant antenna in the VHF Marine Band. It does not require a loading coil to make up for any missing antenna length. Length alone is not a good predictor of performance, as many well-made three-foot long VHF Marine Band radio antennas work better than eight-foot long antennas which are poorly made or poorly designed.
VHF Radio propagation is not limited to the optical horizon or "line of sight" as it is often called. This is a widespread misconception. The range of communication between two stations depends on the range of each station. As noted, favorably located shore stations with tall antennas have much longer ranges than small boats with low antennas.
We should get back to our topic, which is routing the transmission line from the antenna to the radio on a Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK when the antenna is mounted on the Starboard stern quarter. Are there any more suggestions?
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