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Old 10-03-2013, 07:49   #31
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Yes but the Metz still is a GP based antenna with loading coil. It is probably the best of them though. What I like so much with a dipole is that it is not grounded to the boat which means you often have less noise on the radio.

p.s. I also have one of those simple emergency antenna's, also from Shakespear I believe. Just a piece of coax cable with an 8" antenna or something and it works surprisingly well and is handy with testing things.
OK, so I finally found the "Galaxy" Shakespeare antenna in the UK like Nick's. It looks very cool with the internal dipole arrangement. I'm still waffling, however -- Shakespeare make a "Hawk" whip antenna with integral windex which is a direct replacement for my old antenna, which will save me from a lot of hassle with a junction box, shortening cable, installing a mounting base, installing separate windex, etc., etc.. Since my VHF radio signal was better than I needed anyway, even with the old antenna and 12 year old skinny cable, I'm thinking this might do.

Hmmmmmmm . . . . .

Meanwhile I'm now seriously tempted by those Kenwood HT's and one or another of the Kenwood transceivers . . . looking seriously at the TS 2000, for which you can buy a separate control head for ideal use on board . . . . .

Sure is fun shopping for these toys
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:14   #32
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The down side to a mast head AIS Antenna is during rough seas, when the boat is rolling. There is a phenomena that causes the VHF antenna to lose AIS signals when it is swinging from side to side. The radio geeks can expain it better I m sure. With our mast head antenna, in rough conditions, the Class A targets will come and go until within about 10 miles and Class B are ussually steady at about 2-3 miles.
At 30deg of roll your masthead is now only 86% of its original vertical distance from the water compared to when it's oriented vertically. In addition to this, your antenna will suffering from polarization efficiency losses as it is now 30deg off vertical, so the vertical component of the tx/rx signal is reduced to 86% of vertical too!

The two factors combined can lead to a significant reduction in range - couple this with what may be happening to other Class B vessels'
antennae at the same time and your findings should start to make sense..
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:04   #33
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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OK, so I should use RG213 with PL259 connectors, right? That stuff is quite a bit thicker than what I have now, but I have a nice in-mast conduit so I suppose it won't be too hard to pull
I am happy with RG8 and RG213 is better. If your current cable is thinner then you have RG8X or even RG58 (I hope not..) and you will get a significant improvement. It is not so much about maximum range but it is about how clear your communications will be within that range.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:19   #34
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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It is not so much about maximum range but it is about how clear your communications will be within that range.
Amen to that! Now and again I've thought my English ears were struggling to understand the Cajun tongue .. when the two vessels eventually came closer together the garble consequently turned out to be very poor clarity on the transmitting VHF. (No offence to Cajan dialect intended)
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:11   #35
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Radio use in Holland is very different than in the tropical cruising grounds. I bet UK is same as Holland.

Do you plan to head over this way?
God only knows. I am not retired yet so it's a little hard to plan longer cruises. My dream cruises for the near- to medium-horizon planning include Iceland, Faroes, Orkneys; the Baltic up to Finland; and an Atlantic Circuit with a winter in the Caribbean.

When and if I ever retire (or more likely, take a sabbatical) I want to go much further afield than that, but it's impossible to plan for that so far.
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Old 10-03-2013, 17:51   #36
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God only knows. I am not retired yet so it's a little hard to plan longer cruises. My dream cruises for the near- to medium-horizon planning include Iceland, Faroes, Orkneys; the Baltic up to Finland; and an Atlantic Circuit with a winter in the Caribbean.

When and if I ever retire (or more likely, take a sabbatical) I want to go much further afield than that, but it's impossible to plan for that so far.
Well, put in the D710 as it will serve you world wide, is easily opened for tx everywhere so also emergency use marine vhf etc. etc. get the GreenLight Labs GPS option and you get real time APRS beaconung plus a backup GPS data stream.
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Old 10-03-2013, 22:21   #37
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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I am happy with RG8 and RG213 is better. If your current cable is thinner then you have RG8X or even RG58 (I hope not..) and you will get a significant improvement. It is not so much about maximum range but it is about how clear your communications will be within that range.
Well, I have been perfectly happy with my VHF comms and was not actually planning to change anything, but oddly enough my mast was vandalized (in Cowes!) and the VHF antenna was broken off (also the Ray wind instrument and tricolor).

Now I was going to put things back more or less the way they were, but you are a bad influence on me, Nick! I have now seen a lot of negative things about the Vtronix Hawk antenna/windex so I guess I'm going to have to install that Shakespeare Galaxy after all, and certainly with RG213, if I can find any over here. D*mn it, that's all I needed was a further expansion of this project . . . .
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Old 10-03-2013, 22:34   #38
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Well, put in the D710 as it will serve you world wide, is easily opened for tx everywhere so also emergency use marine vhf etc. etc. get the GreenLight Labs GPS option and you get real time APRS beaconung plus a backup GPS data stream.
Why not just go with one Kenwood TS 2000 instead of two radios? It does everything up to even 23cm if you need it (if you buy the extra board), has the same built-in TNC, and apparently does everything the D710 does other than sending APRS data (but it can receive it). Seems like it would be less clutter in the boat. Also, it will do cross-band repeating over to HF, which is pretty cool -- participate in nets from a HT.

Either that, or put in the D710 and do HF on the Icom (illegally). 2 meters and 70cm are quite active bands in Europe; it's 6 meters which is forbidden for maritime mobile. I think it will be fun to play around with in port or at anchor.
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:57   #39
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

The saga continues -- like all projects, this one, which was hardly a glimmer in my eye when I started this refit, has snowballed into a lot of trouble and expense.

Now I'm going to have to reconfigure my masthead -- separate windex, new mount for the cool Shakespeare Galaxy bipole antenna, junction box . . . .

And I'm going to use the thick RG213 cable. Only problem is the tinned conductor kind apparently doesn't exist in the UK, except by special order (and I don't have time for that) through Salty John. Apparently everybody uses something called Armada Marine Grade RG213, which is even certified by Germanischer Lloyd. I guess it must be suitable, but bare copper conductors??!! Anybody use any of this stuff?

Armada
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:32   #40
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The saga continues -- like all projects, this one, which was hardly a glimmer in my eye when I started this refit, has snowballed into a lot of trouble and expense.

Now I'm going to have to reconfigure my masthead -- separate windex, new mount for the cool Shakespeare Galaxy bipole antenna, junction box . . . .

And I'm going to use the thick RG213 cable. Only problem is the tinned conductor kind apparently doesn't exist in the UK, except by special order (and I don't have time for that) through Salty John. Apparently everybody uses something called Armada Marine Grade RG213, which is even certified by Germanischer Lloyd. I guess it must be suitable, but bare copper conductors??!! Anybody use any of this stuff?

Armada
Go with that 213 but make sure you seal it from the environment using heatshrink with glue lining completely encapsulating the connectors. As long as you keep moisture and salty air out, they perform equally well.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:15   #41
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I am happy with RG8 and RG213 is better. If your current cable is thinner then you have RG8X or even RG58 (I hope not..) and you will get a significant improvement. It is not so much about maximum range but it is about how clear your communications will be within that range.
So you have RG8U, probably, the thick kind (0.4"; 9mm)? I think my mast is taller than yours; the total run is about 32 meters. I don't know what kind of cable is there now, but it is not 9mm thick. Yet I can hear the Coast Guard from at least 40 miles off, and always get excellent signal reports. With that skinny cable and that apparently crappy VTronix Hawk steel whip. Go figure.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:16   #42
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Go with that 213 but make sure you seal it from the environment using heatshrink with glue lining completely encapsulating the connectors. As long as you keep moisture and salty air out, they perform equally well.
OK, good. That's what I will do.

Thanks very much for all the good advice
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Old 11-03-2013, 14:23   #43
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So you have RG8U, probably, the thick kind (0.4"; 9mm)? I think my mast is taller than yours; the total run is about 32 meters. I don't know what kind of cable is there now, but it is not 9mm thick. Yet I can hear the Coast Guard from at least 40 miles off, and always get excellent signal reports. With that skinny cable and that apparently crappy VTronix Hawk steel whip. Go figure.
Yes I have RG8U. When you have thinner, it is RG8X at best which is okay but not for that long run. The coast Guard at 40nm is peanuts, it is ship to ship traffic that becomes difficult. When both sides have a good install with masthead antennas, 40-50nm should work. I get coast guard a 100nm. They have antennas high up and they are directional antennas.

If you pull that cable, I would also pull a NMEA2000 cable and just leave a waterproof cap on the connectors until you're ready for an ultrasonic wind/weather instrument wish I had done that heheh
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Old 11-03-2013, 14:33   #44
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Yes I have RG8U. When you have thinner, it is RG8X at best which is okay but not for that long run. The coast Guard at 40nm is peanuts, it is ship to ship traffic that becomes difficult. When both sides have a good install with masthead antennas, 40-50nm should work. I get coast guard a 100nm. They have antennas high up and they are directional antennas.

If you pull that cable, I would also pull a NMEA2000 cable and just leave a waterproof cap on the connectors until you're ready for an ultrasonic wind/weather instrument wish I had done that heheh
One step ahead of you You have clearly not read my epic electronics refit thread. The Maretron WSO100 is already there. Ive installed 2 separate N2K networks and a couple dozen N2K devices
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Old 11-03-2013, 18:11   #45
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

dockhead, no I have not used the tenta-11 but I really like the mounting and the quality of the antenna. I have used a number of base loaded antenna and have never really trusted them, although I have not had a problem with any of them. I keep thinking that it wouldn't take much to get water into the coil. The only thing I don't like about the shakespeare (for a masthead antenna) is the mount. They seem to be made for power boats. However if you need the clearance under a bridge it would be nice to be able to just drop it over. Long climb to do that though.
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