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Author Topic:   Marine Band Radio Installation On a Small Boat
jimh posted 04-02-2015 07:45 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
In a separate article, VHF Marine Band Radio Installation on a Small Boat, I briefly describe a number of considerations to be taken when installing a VHF Marine Band radio on a small boat. In the article, there are numerous hyperlinks to additional material that will expand the discussion of the various topics.
Whaler_bob posted 04-02-2015 10:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob    
Thanks Jim!

I'm about to install a Lowrance Link-8 VHF radio in my boat which never had a VHF radio. Looks like there's a lot to consider placement wise.

Being that my [chart plotter] will show AIS targets [received] from the VHF radio via NMEA 2000 network, is it really necessary to have the VHF radio viewable at all times?

My Grady Tournament 192 is a dual-console layout, there's only two weather protected locations to mount electronics. Unfortunately, Grady placed the magnetic compass in the forward part of the Starboard glovebox. I already have my Garmin 7607 [chart plotter] mounted in that glovebox as it has to be in line of sight of the helm. There is still just enough room in that glovebox to mount the Link-8 VHF radio, but it will be only a foot or so away from the magnetic compass.

I was considering installing the VHF radio in the port side glovebox to keep it away from the compass, I'd run the 6-meter NMEA 2000 drop-wire across to the starboard glovebox electronics. The only [concern] is that while underway, that port side glovebox needs to stay closed, so I won't be able to see [the radio] display for AIS targets. I'll likely have the networked [chart plotter] on all the time while underway, so I should be able to see the AIS targets on its screen.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan?

jimh posted 04-02-2015 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hi Bob. In my installation, I can't see the radio control panel from the normal helm position, either. The radio is mounted in a cabinet below the helm, on the top shelf. I use a remote speaker, so the sound of the radio is clearly audible at the helm. To see the control panel or operate the radio controls, I have to lean down. I usually keep the cabinet door open when underway, and bring the radio transmitter's microphone up to the helm position, where it stows in a microphone clip. The microphone cord reaches far enough that I can talk into the microphone while standing at the helm. It is a bit of a pain to lean down to operate the radio, but, for most routine operations, like changing channels, I can use the simplified remote controls on the microphone.

The radio Bob mentions, the Lowrance LINK-8, is a bit more complicated than the typical radio because the LINK-8 has two, built-in AIS receivers, a mini-chart plotter, and a navigation computer. It does seem a bit of a shame to not be able to see the radio's control panel and its nice display.

Bob is correct in his assumption that the chart plotter should be able to display the position of any AIS target vessels that are received on the AIS receiver. At least I presume a GARMIN 7607 should be able to do that. It might be best to check with GARMIN or carefully read the specifications for that model.

I recommend checking the compass to see if it is affected by mounting the radio only 1-foot away. I don't know if Lowrance used a permanent magnet loudspeaker in that radio that is shielded to suppress external magnet currents. If they did, the compass might not be much affected by the radio being near.

Whaler_bob posted 04-02-2015 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob    
Jim--thanks a lot. I'm feeling a bit better about my limited options.

The Link-8 has a lot to offer and I'd love to be able to see its display while underway. I guess I could temporarily lay the radio in the starboard glovebox, power it up and see if the magnetic compass is affected.

I probably can't use the Garmin 7607xsv internal GPS receiver since it will be in a glovebox, too. Fortunately, I have NMEA 2000 GPS receiver that was part of the Evinrude boat show promotional package for ICON PRO gauges from my 2015 E-TEC purchase. I am looking forward to the snow melting, getting the new E-TEC mounted on the transom, and doing the rigging and electronics setup.

jimh posted 04-03-2015 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The internal GPS receiver in the chart plotter may work okay inside the helm area, as long as all that is between it and the open sky is fiberglass.
Whaler_bob posted 04-03-2015 11:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_bob    
^ That would be great... I'll let you know once it set up!
I'll still use the Evinrude supplied (looks like they currently source the Lowrance Point-1 GPS receiver) GPS antenna for the ICON PRO system SOG input, etc.

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