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Old 08-06-2023, 12:04   #1
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Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

Just installed a Cortex, and it doesn't come with a cell antenna, and the internal is unlikely(?) to be strong enough.

Vesper seems to sell an antenna, but considering the Garmin buy out, I thought it might be wise to see what other options are out there that would work.

I don't know anything about cell antenna's, but I doubt the Cortex needed a Vesper antenna!

Any suggestions for a 34ft Catalina 34?

Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2023, 12:35   #2
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

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Originally Posted by pbyrne View Post
Just installed a Cortex, and it doesn't come with a cell antenna, and the internal is unlikely(?) to be strong enough.



Vesper seems to sell an antenna, but considering the Garmin buy out, I thought it might be wise to see what other options are out there that would work.



I don't know anything about cell antenna's, but I doubt the Cortex needed a Vesper antenna!



Any suggestions for a 34ft Catalina 34?



Thanks!
Cellular antenna?

Cortex should come with a GPS antenna and wifi antenna.

You attach it to your VHF antenna.

It does not have anything to do with cellular.

(Unless there's a different model I'm not aware of....)
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Old 08-06-2023, 13:08   #3
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

Cortex had ability to provide remote monitoring of various systems/conditions on your boat via cellular.
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Old 08-06-2023, 13:19   #4
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

My bad... I apologize.

There is indeed an internal cell antenna (an external option is available), if one wishes to use the remote monitoring facility.

https://static.garmin.com/pumac/Vesp...EC21_WEBv2.pdf
Attachment 276484

If you find your cell phone requires an external cell amplifier in the locations you sail, likely the Cortex with internal ant would also. Non-cradle cell amplifiers (such as Wilson weboost https://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/weboost) might help with even the Cortex.


Nevertheless, primary operation of Vesper (AIS & VHF) does not require use of cell function.

At least OP's question is generating responses
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Old 09-06-2023, 07:08   #5
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

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Originally Posted by sv_pelagia View Post
My bad... I apologize.

There is indeed an internal cell antenna (an external option is available), if one wishes to use the remote monitoring facility.

https://static.garmin.com/pumac/Vesp...EC21_WEBv2.pdf
Attachment 276484

If you find your cell phone requires an external cell amplifier in the locations you sail, likely the Cortex with internal ant would also. Non-cradle cell amplifiers (such as Wilson weboost https://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/weboost) might help with even the Cortex.


Nevertheless, primary operation of Vesper (AIS & VHF) does not require use of cell function.

At least OP's question is generating responses
I see where you're going with that option. That would also boost the cell phone too which would be a nice safety addition as well.

The reason I asked about a specific antenna for the Cortex itself, is that while there seems to be vendors in Canada, that say they have it for sale, the price is a bit steep, and my comfort level with some of the sites is low.

Surely the Vesper specific antenna isn't the only antenna for this kind of application? For example would this also work? These frequencies are regulated, so I can't see why I need the Vesper specific one.

https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 09-06-2023, 07:26   #6
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

I bought a $10 version off amazon - does not help much and the cortex signal seems to fluctuate and often drops.

We have also used a cell phone as a router and internet for the boat - but the phone seems to disconnect after a few days (still working this out). When using this method things were better (modern android phone).

Personally, I'd rather invest in something that serves more then a single purpose (antennas everywhere solution), unless the antenna has magic pixie dust.
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Old 09-06-2023, 07:33   #7
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

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I bought a $10 version off amazon - does not help much and the cortex signal seems to fluctuate and often drops.

We have also used a cell phone as a router and internet for the boat - but the phone seems to disconnect after a few days (still working this out). When using this method things were better (modern android phone).

Personally, I'd rather invest in something that serves more then a single purpose (antennas everywhere solution), unless the antenna has magic pixie dust.

I say this respectfully, do you think how inexpensive the antenna was is affecting it's performance? Do you think a more expensive one would perform better, or is there no real difference in the hardware and we're just being overcharged?

I agree with more than one purpose, however in this case it's for the Cortex anchor dragging alarm and monitoring alone. I don't anticipate needing anything for my personal cell. It's never been an issue as we anchor well within cell tower range.

Where the Cortex is mounted in the boat, in the hanging locker, is likely to affect the performance of the internal antenna, hence the reason I was exploring an external antenna. I have to mount the GPS antenna anyways, and there is room for an addition antenna.

But.. if there was a GPS/Cell antenna I would consider it, however it would need to have separate cables to hook up to GPS and Cell individual on the Cortex. I have no idea of such a thing even exists... probably not, which mean separate antennas.
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Old 09-06-2023, 09:20   #8
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

My theory, and only a theory, was that any antenna would be better than a cabinet.

It’s a really nice cabinet, so maybe an expensive antenna that lacks any sort of specifications (at all) would out perform the cabinet?

To paraphrase, the bands that the vesper cortex uses are not a priority for the mobile industry (in my area) and using Wi-Fi for the coretex from a modern data source is they way.

Good luck.
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Old 10-06-2023, 18:05   #9
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

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My theory, and only a theory, was that any antenna would be better than a cabinet.

Itís a really nice cabinet, so maybe an expensive antenna that lacks any sort of specifications (at all) would out perform the cabinet?

To paraphrase, the bands that the vesper cortex uses are not a priority for the mobile industry (in my area) and using Wi-Fi for the coretex from a modern data source is they way.

Good luck.
The antennas I've seen do have specs for celluar so that's not an issue.

The likelyhood of there being wifi at an anchorage are very low, and even if it was there, I wouldn't have the id or pwd.

Cellular connections are very likely though.
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Old 10-06-2023, 18:42   #10
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

I find the internal cell antenna normmally works fine for what's needed (it's only used for the monitoring like anchor drag - not to make cell phone calls).

But in areas with weak cell service the Cortex also lets you use any boat wifi network too instead of the Cortex cell. I connect my Cortex to my boat's Starlink system but you could use a Peplink router or a cell MIFI.

But remember the Cortex is first and foremost an AIS. The AIS funtionality is head and shoulders above anything else on the market. That's why Garmin bought them. The VHF, monitoring, and anchor watch all work quite well (after some early problems that were fixed with updates) - but AIS is the main show.
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Old 10-06-2023, 19:31   #11
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

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I find the internal cell antenna normmally works fine for what's needed (it's only used for the monitoring like anchor drag - not to make cell phone calls).

But in areas with weak cell service the Cortex also lets you use any boat wifi network too instead of the Cortex cell. I connect my Cortex to my boat's Starlink system but you could use a Peplink router or a cell MIFI.

But remember the Cortex is first and foremost an AIS. The AIS funtionality is head and shoulders above anything else on the market. That's why Garmin bought them. The VHF, monitoring, and anchor watch all work quite well (after some early problems that were fixed with updates) - but AIS is the main show.
Starlink would be a great! But, I don't have that. The issue with Wifi is that it isn't going to be near by, and I won't have the uid or pwd even if it was.

My primary use case for cell is off the boat, and monitoring any dragging, while at anchor, and I'm not on the boat. I don't see any alternative other than a cell antenna... assuming the internal isn't enough.
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Old 11-06-2023, 05:03   #12
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

I have the cellular antenna with our Vesper Cortex. It reliably stays attached to the cellular network, but I did not buy into the remote monitoring feature. It recently came in very useful for Garmin/Cortex to reprogram our MMSI. The antenna is obviously a commercially available unit, but I don't recall seeing any markings to identify it. I found the cable was too short for where I originally wanted to mount it.
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Old 11-06-2023, 06:29   #13
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

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I have the cellular antenna with our Vesper Cortex. It reliably stays attached to the cellular network, but I did not buy into the remote monitoring feature. It recently came in very useful for Garmin/Cortex to reprogram our MMSI. The antenna is obviously a commercially available unit, but I don't recall seeing any markings to identify it. I found the cable was too short for where I originally wanted to mount it.
That's what I was thinking. I must just be a commerical unit, but the only one that I find that seems reasonable is https://www.amazon.ca/Electronics-9-...89412551&psc=1

https://canadianmarineparts.com/product/wideband-cel/

Yes, same problem for me, the 20ft that comes with it is probably too short, but I'm not sure if that's the maximum you can go before it affects the signal.

For the price of the antenna, I might be better off looking at a cell booster for the boat.

I'm assuming the Cortex would connect to the strongest signal automatically? In this case that would be the booster on the boat.
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Old 11-06-2023, 07:51   #14
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

[QUOTE=pbyrne;3788088] https://www.amazon.ca/Electronics-9-...89412551&psc=1


Note that that is only a 4G antenna (hence its lower price). The way things are going, I would ensure 5G connectivity.

Again, look into Wilson Weboost products. They ARE available in Canada. (I have one and it makes a big difference in areas with marginal coverage.)
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Old 11-06-2023, 14:58   #15
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Re: Vesper Cortex Cellular Antenna

I contacted Vesper about the antenna cable length. It was recommended NOT to go longer. I didn't get any background details as to why.
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