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Old 18-03-2013, 19:04   #91
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Originally Posted by Scott Berg View Post
In re the N conn, exactly!

And it's easy to remove and solder in a bulkhead N on the back of a radio the same way we used to solder in so 239 conns to Collins and Heathkit replacing the RCA conns

We really need to move beyond the PL259 world as had most commercial radio

S
I used to have a Sailor VHF a long time ago so I just checked a manual for a current one and both have/had SO-239 connectors so it's BS that pro-radios have N connectors. There are more Sailor radios than anything else for professional use.

Also, VHF is just that, VHF and the SO-239 is just fine for that. My dual band HAM with 70cm even has SO-239... do you really think I'm gonna replace the connector? I'd rather just solder the coax straight onto the PCB when I'm a freak about it

I can understand on the antenna end because N-type is more robust mechanically.
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Old 18-03-2013, 19:20   #92
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Your point is well taken... please understand, I'm not challenging the ubiquity of the 259 conn, just their superiority in a hostile environment. In my 25 some years in the marine electronics industry more radio issues are caused by badly soldered 259s than I can count. That, RF grounds for MF/HF, and low voltage and you have 90% of my service calls.

A N conn is watertight by design and with the right tools much easier to install.

Like you I can solder a pl 259 connection in a bosun's chair but prefer the N conn for the antenna fitting... It comes down to preference and I'd still like to move beyond the traditional PL 259 UHF connectors... To each ones own.

FWIW the reports I get on my VHF radio ( LMR400 bury/N conns/whip (bridge-tester)) best any boat in the harbor and I hit 2m repeaters others next to me can't so my next system will be similar...

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Old 18-03-2013, 21:46   #93
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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If You want he best you should look at Procom and AC-Marine from Denmark and Comrod from Norway. These antennas are on almost every commercial ship out there, just like Sailor radios.

A really good antenna should come with, or at least be orderable with, an N connector.

/Marcus
I need a new antenna, but when I searched the names you provided above, I was simply overwhelmed by the choices. Can you make a recommendation?
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Old 18-03-2013, 22:29   #94
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

This one appears to have an acceptable frequency range for VHF/AIS and can be ordered with the N connector.

CXL 2-1/... - Base Station and Marine VHF Antenna - PROCOM A/S
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Old 19-03-2013, 04:26   #95
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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This one appears to have an acceptable frequency range for VHF/AIS and can be ordered with the N connector.

CXL 2-1/... - Base Station and Marine VHF Antenna - PROCOM A/S
Interesting -- costs the same as the Shakespeare Galaxy.

Here's another interesting antenna from Procom:

http://www.busse-yachtshop.de/pdf/pr...rcell3plus.pdf

It does 900mhz mobile telephony in the same antenna!

Maybe that makes sense?! If I'm not mistaken, long distance GSM mobile telephony is all 900mhz anyway (?); 3G signals for some reason don't go as far. So maybe it is stupid for me to screw around trying to set up an antenna with coax which will accomodate 3G signals. This would save a whole cable and mounting position, windage, etc . . . .
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Old 19-03-2013, 04:44   #96
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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I need a new antenna, but when I searched the names you provided above, I was simply overwhelmed by the choices. Can you make a recommendation?
I have been using AC-Marine antennas for over 20 years without a single failure, so I know them the best. They have 2 ranges for VHF antennas, CELmar geared towards the leisure market but still very good for their price, they are light-weight fiberglass or steel whip antennas

http://www.acmarine.dk/productgroup/16

They are meant for through-hole mounting or 1"/14 GPS thread mounts which seem popular in the US market, some have fixed cables.

I prefer the professional range which would be the CX4 (or CX3 5/8 if you need a big motorboat antenna)
Products | AC Marine

The most common, standard VHF antenna is the plain CX4
http://www.acmarine.dk/sites/default...sheets/CX4.pdf

These are all for the professional 1" pipe mount with N240 nut. (1" pipe is 32mm OD). They can be had with N connectors, as well as for different parts of the VHF band, for example centered on AIS frequencies.

They also match exactly their other antennas for 450, 800/900 MHz, or multi-band.

I use on both boats the CELtwin which is a VHF/GSM900 combo.

Products | AC Marine

Procom makes very similar antennas and are also very good.

/Marcus
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Old 19-03-2013, 04:50   #97
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Maybe that makes sense?! If I'm not mistaken, long distance GSM mobile telephony is all 900mhz anyway (?); 3G signals for some reason don't go as far. So maybe it is stupid for me to screw around trying to set up an antenna with coax which will accomodate 3G signals. This would save a whole cable and mounting position, windage, etc . . . .
3G in most of the world is on 2100 MHz. The cable attenuation is very high at these frequencies and you need a VERY expensive (and big) coax cable. IF you need an external 3G antenna it's more realistic to put in on a radar pole or arch to reduce the cable length, and you still need a very unforgiving cable. Try to keep the cable under 5 meters. Otherwise you need an active antenna with Bi-directional amp to compensate for the feeder losses.

/Marcus
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Old 19-03-2013, 05:48   #98
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I have used the CX-4 antenna for many years (17 years) and never had a problem with it; they are a good solid choice. That said, they are of a lesser quality standard than the Galaxy range from Shakespear. When compared to the Galaxy 5400xt, the CX-4 is the exact same dipole design with the same RF performance, but the CX-4 does not have the bronze radiating elements that the Galaxy has, and it uses brass where the Galaxy uses stainless steel.

What we have here in this antenna contest is EU vs USA; both have good antennas but are too quick to reject the other without really knowing much about it, if anything at all.
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Old 19-03-2013, 06:17   #99
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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 have used the CX-4 antenna for many years (17 years) and never had a problem with it; they are a good solid choice. That said, they are of a lesser quality standard than the Galaxy range from Shakespear. When compared to the Galaxy 5400xt, the CX-4 is the exact same dipole design with the same RF performance, but the CX-4 does not have the bronze radiating elements that the Galaxy has, and it uses brass where the Galaxy uses stainless steel.

What we have here in this antenna contest is EU vs USA; both have good antennas but are too quick to reject the other without really knowing much about it, if anything at all.
The new Galaxy 5400 is improved, with silver covered radiating elements.

Can anyone explain whether silver either in antennae or in coax (I asked that question in another thread) is really valuable, and worth a price premium?

RG214 coax with silver covered copper conductors and double braids is about triple the cost of regular mil spec all copper RG214. Is it worth it?
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Old 19-03-2013, 06:27   #100
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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Originally Posted by Shipraiser View Post
3G in most of the world is on 2100 MHz. The cable attenuation is very high at these frequencies and you need a VERY expensive (and big) coax cable. IF you need an external 3G antenna it's more realistic to put in on a radar pole or arch to reduce the cable length, and you still need a very unforgiving cable. Try to keep the cable under 5 meters. Otherwise you need an active antenna with Bi-directional amp to compensate for the feeder losses.

/Marcus
Mobile telephony is by far the single most important means of communications on board when cruising near coasts (which is the majority of the time even for circumnavigators).

It is by far the best Internet connection -- most consistently available and by far most economical, and in my experience usually more bandwidth and less latency than marina wifi connections. For that you need 3G (HSPDA, UMTS, etc.).

But it is also crucial for voice comms.

Seems to me that it is a possibly unwinnable technical challenge to greatly extend the range of 3G data comms.

But I can imagine a really killer 900mhz GSM voice comms system with a masthead mounted antenna and one of those obsolete high powered 8 watt fixed mount car phones which Motorola and Nokia used to make. Someone told me that there is an artificial limit to the range you can get for GSM as the towers detect the distance by measuring the echo time or something, and cut you off if you are too far away, even if you have a good signal. Need to research that I guess.

I'm starting to think something like that could be really valuable. I believe most European carriers use 900mhz for long range voice comms (and you can do GPRS or EDGE over that kind of channel in a pinch, too). For the occasional times when more range is needed for 3G, I could put that antenna out a hatch. Hmmmmm!
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Old 19-03-2013, 07:42   #101
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

The product information for the Galaxy 5400 XT says, "brass and copper elements." Also, they don't seem to offer the antenna with the N-Connector.

The Galaxy would be easier to purchase, however; I can't seem to find a source for the others.

Shakespeare Galaxy 5400XT 4 Ft VHF Antenna
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Old 19-03-2013, 09:44   #102
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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The product information for the Galaxy 5400 XT says, "brass and copper elements." Also, they don't seem to offer the antenna with the N-Connector.

The Galaxy would be easier to purchase, however; I can't seem to find a source for the others.

Shakespeare Galaxy 5400XT 4 Ft VHF Antenna
If you want an N-connector, buy one and put it on; I mean, for masthead mount you have to cut off most of the cable and put a new connector on anyway.

The silver-plated elements version is here: Shakespeare Galaxy Series 5400XP VHF Antenna
For the price difference I would buy it.
@Dockhead: HF current has this skin-effect meaning it travels along the skin of the conductor. If you silver-coat that conductor, it will travel through silver just like with a solid silver conductor. For an antenna I would do this but not for my cable. I would buy that nice flex-type LMR400 though but don't know if it's also available in the UK...
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Old 19-03-2013, 11:15   #103
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

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If you want an N-connector, buy one and put it on; I mean, for masthead mount you have to cut off most of the cable and put a new connector on anyway.

The silver-plated elements version is here: Shakespeare Galaxy Series 5400XP VHF Antenna
For the price difference I would buy it.
@Dockhead: HF current has this skin-effect meaning it travels along the skin of the conductor. If you silver-coat that conductor, it will travel through silver just like with a solid silver conductor. For an antenna I would do this but not for my cable. I would buy that nice flex-type LMR400 though but don't know if it's also available in the UK...
Thanks. Well, any advantage from silver is not reflected in the specs of the cable. I would think that attenuation would be the whole story, not so? It's no different. Maybe it's more durable, for some reason?

LMR400 has the foam dielectric with many reports of water problems. It is available in the UK, and it is less expensive than the silver-coated RG214, but I think I won't risk that at my masthead. Perhaps some direct-burial type, but still -- the foam is inherently risky for marine use, it seems to me?

Decisions, decisions. I think it's harder figuring out antennae and coax than it was to design a whole new N2K network . . .
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Old 19-03-2013, 12:06   #104
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

Did you check the flexible LMR400? It was proven to be good for marine use... Let me find it again and post it here.

Here is APRS weather graphics from a station in Panama: this stuff is so cool that we're gonna have to add a decent PeerBros weather station to the list... seems weird to duplicate sensors so what we need is a converter from NMEA2000...
APRS/CWOP weather report from HP1COO

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Thanks. Well, any advantage from silver is not reflected in the specs of the cable. I would think that attenuation would be the whole story, not so? It's no different. Maybe it's more durable, for some reason?

LMR400 has the foam dielectric with many reports of water problems. It is available in the UK, and it is less expensive than the silver-coated RG214, but I think I won't risk that at my masthead. Perhaps some direct-burial type, but still -- the foam is inherently risky for marine use, it seems to me?

Decisions, decisions. I think it's harder figuring out antennae and coax than it was to design a whole new N2K network . . .
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Old 19-03-2013, 12:07   #105
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Re: Please Recommend a Quality VHF Masthead Antenna

This is the best cable to pick: http://www.timesmicrowave.com/produc...oads/62-65.pdf
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