Adding to what has been said... there was another thread a few weeks ago on TV reception antennas.
Another reason VHF marine
antennas don't work well for TV besides the very narrow bandwidth VHF marine antennas are design for is that they are vertically polarized while TV transmissions are horizontally polarized. This 'cross-polarization' results in tremendous reduction of reception ( -20 dB). That reduction is akin to a 100 watt light bulb shutting down to a candle flickering. And, while there are still a few TV stations still near VHF, the far majority of TV station were shifted to UHF frequencies during the US shift to all digital tv. This makes using a VHF marine antenna almost invisible to the majority of today's TV stations.
While there are several marine options for good TV reception, size and height matters. I use a Shakespeare 2030 which looks like a 22" Frisbee and is mounted 40' at top of my mizzen mast
. I get 60 station program viewing options and I'm 45 miles from closest tv station here on eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay
I have mizzen steps which allowed me to experiment
with four different popular marine tv antennas and differences in performance with mounting height. The options that were 9" in diameter received less than half the stations and I noticed many of them would fade out or not work on rainy days... just when you want pass the time.
The absolute best location is above the mast/ everything on the mast. To do this I had a bracket made to offset my spare VHF antenna that had the mizzen's real estate and the Shakesphere 2030 took over the original VHF mount using a standard threaded 12" extension that marine stores sells in their antenna area.
Without steps it would be a tedious DYI project
but for months over the Winter, I just hauled the antenna up using the spinnaker halyard
and used the dangling TV lean-in coax tied out on bow to keep winter winds from banging the antenna against mast. But at my first wx window after the new VHF antenna bracket was ready, I got the VHF repositioned, and the 2030 mounted and pulled the new tv coax (as well as new VHF coax) down inside the mast. With a helper down below it took about an hour for the work up top.
As I said in the other post, my experience here in Chesapeake Bay
area (much is very remote) and my brother's experience up/ down ICW
to Ft Lauderdale... you'll almost always have 20-60 channel/ programs. In almost every area here and along ICW
is one or more TV stations that use one of their 4-5 sub-TV channels for a dedicated 24/7 wx channel channel w/ live local wx and 200 mile+ wx radar
. Even though my sailboat has radar
, it's hard to get more than 24 mile range which only gives you a 30 minute ahead of time view of a violent Summer thunderstorm moving 50 kts (which we get all the time here in Chesapeake area). Having a 200 mile radar available/ wx analysis at the end of your tv remote
anytime, especially during your late night viewing or during morning coffee/ breakfast assures up to date planning/ and day of departure updates. Of course most of us are using iPhones/ Android devices for access to wx maps/ forecasts. But it seems more accurate when it's coming come a local weather
person familiar with the area/ history
and in our case the unique aspects of the areas Bay water
, effects of nearby ocean, & western MD mountains.
Many cruisers/ friends who have been on the boat have dropped their lusting for satellite
after seeing the HD pix quality/ programming choice that's for free after completing a good antenna installation
. One of the best 'nice to have' cruising projects I've done.
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