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Old 09-11-2015, 18:01   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Park City, UT
Boat: Southerly 110, 36'
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VHF Antenna Testing

I have a VHF antenna on top of a 50' mast. I'm not sure of the brand.

From just my observations it seems like my 25 watt icom radio barely outperforms my 4 watt HT.

Is there a way I can test the VHF antenna?
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Old 09-11-2015, 18:19   #2
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Re: VHF Antenna Testing

Three possibilities:
Standing Wave Ratio should be as close to 1:1 as you can get. Test by temporarily installing an SWR meter in-line between radio and antenna.
Or test actual output with Field Strength Meter. You don't need to install to test, but they are pricey, so you may need to hire a tech.
But best of all, use a hand-held to check your output.

By the way, my radio antennas are mounted at about 20' and really booms, so atop a 50 foot mast your range should be tremendous.
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Old 09-11-2015, 20:53   #3
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Re: VHF Antenna Testing

If there's a problem, it could be the antenna, the cables / connectors, and/or the radio. An SWR meter will catch many of these problems. Find someone who knows how to do these tests. We can talk you through it here, but it's *much* better to get some local help.

I would also do some listening tests. Find a weak (noisy) signal and compare your two radios. The masthead antenna should definitely outperform the handheld.

Also, see if the SEATOW automated VHF testing service is available in your area:
With this you can hear an on-the-air playback of your signal, which tests both your transmit and receive.
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
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antenna, vhf

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