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Old 20-07-2012, 21:32   #1
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VHF radio reception

I've just purchased a new Standard Horizon GX1600. The installation was straight forward. I'm in the testing phase and have come across a strange phenomena, I can pick weather stations on my handheld VHF fine in my slip but cannot on my new radio. I can pick up the same stations on my new radio about 300 yards away in the bay. Can someone please explain why I might be getting a better signal on my little handheld radio? My next option is to see if the cable and antenna are doing there job.
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Old 20-07-2012, 22:39   #2
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Re: VHF radio reception

Do you have an SWR meter ?if not they are for sale cheap at Radio Shack or maybe someone you know has one it may cure your problems! just a thought
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Old 21-07-2012, 10:24   #3
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Re: VHF radio reception

Most reception (and transmit) problems can be tracked down to the antenna cable. How long is the run to your antenna? What grade of cable did you use? (Most sail boats use cable that is WAY to small for the trip to the mast). Spices/connections in the cable? How were those made up?

What kind of antenna? Gain rating?

Note: an SWR meter will only help you with transmit testing -- sound like your issue is with reception right?
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Old 21-07-2012, 12:22   #4
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Re: VHF radio reception

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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
Do you have an SWR meter ?if not they are for sale cheap at Radio Shack or maybe someone you know has one it may cure your problems! just a thought
Don't waste your time on the Radio Shack SWR Meter. I did, only to find that it doesn't cover the Marine VHF frequency band and yields no reading. I ended up returning it and got a real one from a Ham shop. Check the frequency range and power range carefully on the meter before buying.
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Old 21-07-2012, 12:46   #5
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Re: VHF radio reception

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Originally Posted by Jenna1 View Post
I can pick up the same stations on my new radio about 300 yards away in the bay.

I infer from that the new VHF/mast mount antenna works better once you leave the dock. In that case, there is some interaction with nearby masts and/or antennas or the ambient RF noise in the marina changes the signal to noise ratio of the VHF (because the mast antenna works more effectively than that of a handheld).
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Old 21-07-2012, 13:05   #6
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Re: VHF radio reception

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
I infer from that the new VHF/mast mount antenna works better once you leave the dock. In that case, there is some interaction with nearby masts and/or antennas or the ambient RF noise in the marina changes the signal to noise ratio of the VHF (because the mast antenna works more effectively than that of a handheld).
This is what I was told by a Ham salesman/operator.
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Old 21-07-2012, 16:11   #7
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Re: VHF radio reception

As stated above, interference from other masts in the marina is probably the culprit. This happens frequently with my extrenal WI-FI Antenna and to a lesser amount with my VHF in really crowded marinas.

Just out of curiousity.... Did you try all ten weather channels and if so, confirming you receive nothing on any of them?

Also, remember that VHF antennas are pretty much line of sight... While sitting in your cockpit, 6 feet off the water, you may have a clear line to the broadcasting antenna, but might not from the top of you mast 40 or 50 feet off the water....

The true test would be hold the hanbdheld at the same height of your mast antenna and see if you get any reception up there...

As far as SWR, yes that could be a problem, but not for this type of intermitent reception.
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Old 21-07-2012, 18:06   #8
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Re: VHF radio reception

Check out that antenna cable / connectors.

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Old 23-07-2012, 05:29   #9
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Thanks for all the responses, the antenna connectors were verified and are ok.
I had changed the coax to a RG-8X in the cabin but still have a 35 yr old piece of RG-58U in the mast which may explain the loss.
I did use the radio this weekend and the people I spoke to about my transmission said I was coming in loud and clear.
I guess I will be changing up my coax in the fall when I take the mast down.
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Old 23-07-2012, 09:53   #10
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Re: VHF radio reception

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Thanks for all the responses, the antenna connectors were verified and are ok.
I had changed the coax to a RG-8X in the cabin but still have a 35 yr old piece of RG-58U in the mast which may explain the loss.
The usual suspect! Getting decent results at all is a touch surprising.

Good luck with making the entire cable new and secured.
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