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Author Topic:   VHF antenna location
B Bear posted 05-16-2001 03:40 AM ET (US)   Profile for B Bear   Send Email to B Bear  
I have a 16 Dauntless with a bimini.
Where is a good location for a VHF antenna so that it can be lowered for trailering and be out of the way of the bimini. The size and style are open considerations. Any ideas would be appriciated.
Thanks
Bear
dauntlass 18 posted 05-16-2001 08:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
Bear, on my dauntless I used a Railfast antenna mount which clamps to console grab rail with a Shakespeare 36in.stainless steel coil loaded antenna.No holes to drill to install.Boat U S has antenna item#307144and mount item #308507 these item # in 2000 catalog.This set up worked fine for me.
Whaletosh posted 05-16-2001 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
Bear,

Dauntless 18s setup is very similar to what I did on my Duantless 13 when I had it. There are short SS whip antennas that are much shorter than the fiberglass ones. Just keep in mind that this limitts your range.

This is what I plan on doing on my Dauntless 14.

blackdog posted 05-16-2001 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
Hey Bear,
My antenna is mounted on the Starboard side console handrail. I believe it is a 36 Stainless whip with a Nylon clamp mount that has a Ratchet lever on the side to lower or adjust it. The Dealer installed it and it works really well even with the Bimini Top up or down. It could be up much higher as the mount is about level with the top of the console. So far I have no complaint with the reception as I can hail Philadelphia Cost Guard Station, which is about 25 miles away. My VHF is on the same side which I understand is not desirable but the VHF could not go on the other side because of the compass. It works! I like the Nylon or Plastic Clamp on mount as it will not damage the handrail but yet with an Allen wrench can be moved.

Blackdog

triblet posted 05-16-2001 11:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
You can probably put an 8' 6db whip on the aft
end of the side rail. I did this on my
Montauk. It folds down and straps to the
the rail for trailering. The straps came
from West Marine and have a rubber gizmo
that goes between the antenna and the rail.

I like the stainless mounts. No problem with
rail damage.

Bear in mind that the CG has 20' 9db gain
antennas on tall structures or hills. This
helps their range. They also have repeaters.
In the case of CG Station Monterey, near as I can
tell, they DON'T have an antenna on the roof.
You may have been a lot closer to their
antenna than you thought. See
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/cgcomms/charts/05philad.jpg . It looks
like Group Philly has an antenna considerably
downstream from the city of Philadelphia
and another upstream somewhere. Also, see
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/cgcomms/charts/05cpmay.jpg
which shows that Group Atlantic City has
antennas at the mouth of Delaware Bay, and
it's quite possible that Group Philly can
use those antennas.

Chuck

Whaletosh posted 05-16-2001 01:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
One thing to remeber about mounting to the handrail. You will gain about two feet in antenna height when compared to mounting on the side rail. This might let a SS whip antenna perform as well as an 8" 'glass antenna mounted on the rail. Sail boaters usually mount the antenna on the main mast, and use SS whip antennas. The higher you can get your antenna, the better it will perform.

One thing that carry on board is a small Shakespeare 5911 emergency antenna. This is a 2' suction cup mount antenna. I heve the adapter, an exctension cable, an adapter that fits my hand held in the emergency kit. I also have some wire ties tha allow me to lash it to my boat pole. This way I can lash the antenna to the boat pole, put the pole in a vertical rod holder, and thus greatly increase my range, even if using the hand held in an emergency.

triblet posted 05-16-2001 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Sailboaters use the short antennas because
they produce a taller signal pattern. The
short antennas have 3db gain. The 8' antennas
have 6db gain. They get their gain by
flatting the signal so it's not sending
power into the sky and oceans. The 6db
antennas have a flat enough signal pattern
that they don't work to the sides of a
heeled over sailboat.

The top of my console rail on my Montauk is
19" above the side rails. The SS antennas
are 36" long. That puts the center of
the anenna 27" above the side rail. With
a 6db antenna on the rail, its center is
48" above the rail.

Chuck

B Bear posted 05-16-2001 10:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Thank you all for the replies.

As pointed out the SS whip antennas are some what limited yet for boating on the Cheasepeake a SS would be more than adaquate. Cabela's is giving them away with alot of their VHFs right now.
If I were to go near off shore in the Atlantic down by Ocean City or later even off the Carolinas I would would think the taller 8' would be more inorder.

You all have given me food for thought.
Thank you again,
Bear

Whaletosh posted 05-17-2001 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
Chuck is absolutely correct. I guess I was thinking of a stainless whip mounted on the side rail as opposed to on the console grab rail.

One thing to keep in mind is that VHF marine radio is "line of sight". The signals don't bend around the horizon or big objects, not by much. So, if you can see another boat while seated you can probably transmit to them, even with a handheld. The main advantage that you gain form a full size radio and a higher gain antenna is in the clarity of you signal. The more power you have and the more concentrated you make it the more ther is a difference between your signal and the ambient noise. So while you technically can't transmit further, what you do transmit is clearer.

How far off the water you antenna is does determine how far you can transmit. This is why Chuck's 8 foot antenna will transmit further, becuse the antenna is further above the water and can "see further".

Sepcifically, when I had my Dauntless 13 and had a 3' whip mounted on the grab rail I could transmit 6 to 7 miles reliably. Which is the normal limit of my travels anyway.

Bear, keep all of this in mind when you make your decision. How and where you use your boat will help you decide.

B Bear posted 06-03-2001 10:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
I ended up installing an 8' Galaxy on the aft seat rail with a rail mount with a tip clip located just aft of the bow rail. The seat rail is slightly outboard of the side rail and the antenna lays outside of the bimini top anchors. I ran the cable through the outbard side of the molded seat back where if would not interfere with the snap on cushion through the tunnel to the console covered with a clam shell. I am mounting a Horizon Interpid LE DSC VHF on the vertical face of the console below the throttle facing up.
Thank you all for your input.
Bear

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