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Old 27-10-2020, 12:33   #1
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VHF / AIS antenna

I am on the hard and have the mast down. Inspecting the VHF antenna I notice that the white cap just below the antenna covering the “squatting body” is getting hard from constantly being in the sun. The antenna works fine.

Any suggestions on what to coat this brittle rubber with. Don’t want to put the mast back up only to 6 months later having to climb the mast and replace the antenna.
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Old 27-10-2020, 13:37   #2
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

Consider replacing antenna and coax while mast is down. Seems like Practical Sailor did a rating on antennas a while back.
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Old 27-10-2020, 14:05   #3
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

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Originally Posted by Tomodore View Post
Consider replacing antenna and coax while mast is down. Seems like Practical Sailor did a rating on antennas a while back.
This is often a great idea, particularly if the antenna and/or coax have some age. We replaced both when having standing rigging replaced, just because the mast was down so the labor to do it was small, and it made a huge difference in our radio reception and transmission clarity.
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Old 27-10-2020, 14:56   #4
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

I agree. I have twice replaced the VHF antenna in the past 16 or so years when the mast was down. Antennas are reasonably inexpensive and the VHF is an extremely important piece of gear for safety and other reasons.

The first time that I did the replacement, I did not replace the cable from the antenna to the radio. I did not make this mistake the second time and the cable to antenna fitting is now wrapped in self-annealing, UV resistant tape to protect the integrity of the cable at that junction.
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Old 28-10-2020, 04:53   #5
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

Thank you, I will replace both the antenna and wiring. It does make sense and much easier on the hard than up the mast after it has broken.


s/v Aloisius
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Old 28-10-2020, 05:30   #6
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

Currently I have a VHF / AIS antenna on the mast. I do have AIS, although we have a separate antenna on the stern for it.
My question. Stay with a VHF / AIS antenna on the mast as a backup, or get a VHF only. Does it matter?
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Old 28-10-2020, 07:01   #7
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

The most likely failure is the mast top antenna, given lightning, long coax run, etc. The one on the fantail is your backup - it's accessible, and OK if not so good for VHF and just fine for AIS. So, run VHF off the mast top, AIS off the fantail, and leave enough coax at the bottom of both to allow you to switch either way. Keep the splitter, even if you don't use it.
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Old 28-10-2020, 08:42   #8
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

Good comment on the lightening strike.


Thanks
Dave

sv Aloisius
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Old 29-10-2020, 07:04   #9
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Re: VHF / AIS antenna

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Originally Posted by Marathon1150 View Post
I agree. I have twice replaced the VHF antenna in the past 16 or so years when the mast was down. Antennas are reasonably inexpensive and the VHF is an extremely important piece of gear for safety and other reasons.

The first time that I did the replacement, I did not replace the cable from the antenna to the radio. I did not make this mistake the second time and the cable to antenna fitting is now wrapped in self-annealing, UV resistant tape to protect the integrity of the cable at that junction.


"self-annealing, UV resistant tape" sounds like good stuff to apply to any of the connectors on deck that is exposed to the elements. Do you have a source of supply for it?

Thanks
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