Author Topic: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?  (Read 361 times)

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Offline wedocq

Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« on: April 08, 2017, 08:11:44 PM »
I am looking to borrow one of these: (or something similar)
https://www.thegpsstore.com/Shakespeare-ART-3-Antenna-Radio-Tester-P2440.aspx?gclid=CjwKEAjwlKLHBRDztKr6wMnRthMSJAALcT-siDh6yLWYIjijx1936vkOH5biBrwoJ_hDZFBvnYVjeBoCzjvw_wcB

If you start researching VHF antennas, 2 will pop up repeatedly on boaters forums, The Shakespeare 5225XT and the Digital 529. I got one of each, and I really don't know if either one is working properly. The 5225XT is about 12 years old. After some issues with the radio, I replaced both the antenna and radio last year with the Horizon 1700 and a Digital 529 antenna. Well, this winter was not kind, and when we got that freak snow storm that dropped 14" overnight, my antenna got cracked when the shelter came down on my boat. Sooo, long story short, I really don't want to buy a new antenna if I don't have to. But I also don't want to trust one of them without testing it thoroughly. Anyone?  :anyone:
-Shawn
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline ATGEP

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 09:49:37 PM »
I dont have one but if I suspected a problem with the VHF, I would replace and not look back. The guys that rolled at NEAH last year got a quick reply to the CG before capsizing that likely saved their lives.

Offline wedocq

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 10:04:55 PM »
I dont have one but if I suspected a problem with the VHF, I would replace and not look back. The guys that rolled at NEAH last year got a quick reply to the CG before capsizing that likely saved their lives.

Ya,I hear ya, but, I  have 2 quality antennas sitting in the garage. If these were crap antennas to begin with, I wouldn't bother testing them.  I don't really want to throw money at something that's still operational. With the tester I posted, you can test receiving ability (Rx), and transmitting power (Tx). If the internals of the Digital 529 were damaged, it would show up in testing. That antenna was not cheap. At the very least, I would like to use one of them on a second VHF. As far as the Shakespeare 5225 XT, I am pretty sure the issue was corrosion at the connection. I chopped it off, put a new connection on, and put it back on the boat for testing. It seems to receive weather channels well. It needs further testing!
-Shawn


2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline wedocq

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 10:30:27 PM »
Well, I found a Shakespeare Art-3 brand new on Ebay for $85. If either of my antennas test out to be functional, I am money ahead! If not, I will be in Neah Bay charging people $20 to check their antennas... :doh:
-Shawn
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline fishmiester

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 09:11:06 AM »
Shawn: If you can find a ham operator close by, they would probably have a swr meter and tell you in a heartbeat if your antennas are ok. W
ish I lived closer , I check them for you.
If it swims, Ill  chase it
84 17' Seachaser, 2010 90hp Tohatsu tldi, BF15 Honda Custom welded kicker bracket.#lovethisboat

Offline wedocq

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2017, 09:19:14 AM »
Oh thanks for the offer! I wish you lived closer too. I went ahead and ordered the tester. I guess it's a good thing. Now I can add "test VHF antenna" to my yearly maintenance. This tester tests Rx, Tx and antenna efficiency.
-Shawn
2002 21' Arima Sea Ranger HT  Suzuki DF175 4-stroke.
WEDOCQ= WE DO SEKIU! It pays homage to my Uncle Jay who died of cancer.

Offline StreamFixer

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Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 09:43:14 AM »
Shawn

When you get that tester, please give me a call, or copy the instructions as they relate to the VSWR.  When checking antenna (as a ham) you want the SWR to be as close to 1 as possible.  The SWR is the standing wave ratio.  When the antenna is prefectly tuned the standing waves are in perfect sync.  Anything higher than a 1 SWR means the transmitter power is being compromised. 

When building antenna (one of those things that Hams do, and Don't ask me why), if you get an SWR of less than 1.5, you are doing well, SWR of 2 marginal, higher than 2 you need to fix something. 

The SWR reading is a reflection of the frequency and antenna length (neither of which you can fix with a commercial antenna)

StreamFixer
'97 19SC w/ Salt Boss Top
'03 Yamaha 115 EFI
'05 Yamaha T8 Solas 4 blade prop

"By the grace of God we travel upon the rivers and sea..
They, like He, are mightier than me."  Mike Jesperson aka 'Nalu'

Offline Croaker Stroker

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 09:46:00 AM »

Looks like the switch goes one way for SWR, and the other way for "watts".  Does the antenna affect the power output of the radio ?
1987 - 17' Sea Pacer - 2004 Evinrude 90 E-tec
15' Sea Sprinter - **SOLD**

"If a fish will, he will… if he won't, he won't… and that's about it… except… he may take this when he won't take that."

Offline StreamFixer

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Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2017, 10:09:32 AM »
Face of the meter does not look 'right' for SWR.  That is why I am asking for the appropriate section of the manual.

StreamFixer
'97 19SC w/ Salt Boss Top
'03 Yamaha 115 EFI
'05 Yamaha T8 Solas 4 blade prop

"By the grace of God we travel upon the rivers and sea..
They, like He, are mightier than me."  Mike Jesperson aka 'Nalu'

Offline gfakkema

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2017, 12:10:35 PM »
Now I can add "test VHF antenna" to my yearly maintenance.

And now I can add "ask Shawn to swing by and test my antenna" to my yearly maintenance, haha.  :biggrin:
2001 22' Sea Legend HT w/Alaskan Bulkhead
2006 Suzuki DF250 / 2004 Mercury 9.9

Offline Kahunanui

Re: Does any one have a VHF antenna tester?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2017, 06:41:51 AM »
StreamFixer's advice to seek out a nearby HAM is good advice.

Here is the link reponse to my Mr. Google request for a user manual for the Shakespeare ART-3 Antenna Radio Tester

http://shakespeare-ce.com/marine/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/04/art-3.pdf

I look forward to informed comments

Stay Pono,  Lawai'a        -        U.S.C.G. -  O.U.P.V.


2001 SC 15'11" 75 hp Honda re-carbed to 90 w/ 9.9 Honda boot. Hawaii is home, currently @ USMC Camp Lejeune NC