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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Selecting VHF Marine Band Antenna
|Author||Topic: Selecting VHF Marine Band Antenna|
posted 07-08-2013 02:16 PM ET (US)
If getting a new VHF Marine Band antenna, I'm very pleased with my setup using a GAM SS-2 mounted on top of a 4-foot extension. Admittedly, I have not had any opportunity to check out TX functions, but it seems to do quite well receiving. The adapter has a 20' cable as well
posted 07-08-2013 05:18 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the tip Dennis,
I need an 8 foot whip for my area and boat size. I'm bouncing in big seas much of the time, and my 16 classic sits low to begin with.
A 4 footer is probably a better idea for me though since I have snapped at least 2 8 footers on trees and river bridges!
I will surf and search around here for the best antenna. I am ready to spend a couple hundred if I need a really good and tough one.
posted 07-08-2013 05:21 PM ET (US)
Is the purpose of having a 4' antenna mounted on a 4' extension the ease of replacement? It appears you have accomplished the same task as having an 8 footer. Can you fold down the extension when trailering with ease?
posted 07-08-2013 05:54 PM ET (US)
I chose the GAM SS-2 because of good reviews from members here and other places. However, it is only 3' high, and I did not want to mount on a console railing because of interfering with canvas deployment. I put it on the transom with a 4' extension to get some height to it.
The coax cable is bundled with my other rigging, through the rigging tunnel to the console.
The assembly is mounted using a Shakespere quick release mount, and I can fold the whole affair onto the deck next to the RPS and console.
It is mounted on the opposite side of the transom from my stern light. I could use the mooring cover with the antenna upright, but I usually end up folding it down so I don't advertise my new VHF radio.
I'll take some picture this weekend if you are interested.
posted 07-08-2013 06:30 PM ET (US)
The GAM SS-2 antenna mounted on a four-foot extension mast is my antenna set up. I described it in detail several years ago. See
The article explains the features of the antenna system and the reasons for choosing it. It has been working great. No damage to the metal whip, even though it has hit plenty of overhead obstructions.
posted 07-11-2013 08:02 AM ET (US)
[Separated from another discussion on a different topic.]
posted 07-11-2013 08:08 AM ET (US)
The GAM SS-2 has been an extremely durable antenna. Its metal whip is much less likely to be damaged than a fiberglass-encased antenna if it hits something.
Increasing antenna height is very influential for increasing radio range, so getting the antenna as high as possible is the best approach. Height is more important than antenna gain to improve range.
The design of the GAM ADAP antenna mount and the way it handles the transmission line connection is very well done. The ADAP mount makes for a very neat installation.
posted 07-11-2013 08:26 AM ET (US)
I have the same antenna, but mounted to the side of the console without an extension. The extension seemed too unwieldy for a 17' Montauk. I get adequate coverage without the extension but have no doubt it would be better with another 4' height.
posted 07-11-2013 09:59 PM ET (US)
Analysis of radio propagation and range over water seems to suggest that an increase in height is extremely effective in increasing range. See the last post to this thread:
Doubling antenna height increases signal level four-fold.
posted 07-18-2013 04:45 AM ET (US)
After much deliberation, I bought the GAM SS-2, and will start by mounting it directly on the console, and at a later date perhaps use an extension to get more height and "line of sight" performance.
I did spend some time in my local West Marine retail store looking at their "Shake" display carousel which had many of their models "dissected" for the buyer to see the various levels of quality they could choose from.
Most of the more popular models were not in stock and several models on the display were discontinued, which I found interesting... The sales people had virtually no knowledge of Marine VHF and went to their store catalog to find a small article describing some basics on Marine VHF transmission on the water and how the different decibel ratings translated into performance on the water.
They were certainly friendly enough and helpful, but I apologized and ducked out to order the GAM.
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