Author Topic: vhf antenna  (Read 1996 times)

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allpauwork

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vhf antenna
« on: January 09, 2013, 09:36:52 AM »
When I took my boat cover off yesterday for some maintenance work, I noticed that my vhf antenna was cracked about a foot from the upper end so took the cracked piece off but didn't notice any wire inside of the antenna tube.  I'm sure there should be some kind of wiring in there or is it just a hollow fiberglass tube?  The antenna looks to be around six to eight feet tall (I really didn't measure it).   I should get a new antenna but was wondering if anyone knew about the wiring.  Thanks.

Offline Croaker Stroker

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 09:57:28 AM »
When I took my boat cover off yesterday for some maintenance work, I noticed that my vhf antenna was cracked about a foot from the upper end so took the cracked piece off but didn't notice any wire inside of the antenna tube.  I'm sure there should be some kind of wiring in there or is it just a hollow fiberglass tube?  The antenna looks to be around six to eight feet tall (I really didn't measure it).   I should get a new antenna but was wondering if anyone knew about the wiring.  Thanks.

West Marine had a antenna display with various cutout antennae? ... antennas?  Anyway, they are just a hollow fiberglass tube with a wire or metal bar running up through the tube. If your antenna is missing the end, either the wire broke off, or it never went all the way to the tip in the first place. You may be able to just seal up the end with 5200 ??   :shrug9:
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 fishorcrab

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 10:28:28 AM »
If the wire has been damaged, buy a new antenna. The length, diameter, and, on an 8 ft antenna, the paper clip-like piece in the middle are all critical to the performance.

If you change anything from its design, it will change how the antenna matches the transmitter design.  It could cause damage to the radio power amplifier. Might work at the low power setting but fail at 25 watts. At that point, repairing or replacing the radio in addition to buying another antenna might exceed any savings you had made. 

Additionally, the unit might not fail until you really need it.   :twocents:

Paul
SC16 Yamaha 4s 90
SP17 Honda 4s 90  - Croaker made me do it. :)

Offline Wyrguy

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Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 11:38:08 AM »
 :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:

In my view, a VHF (and all the associated bits & pieces) are considered 'Safety Devices' on my boat. Last thing I'd want to be doing is "hoping" that I'll be able to get a radio call through when I really needed it (or when someone else on the water close to me needed help too)  :twocents:

Rick
'Arima Therapy' - Life begins were the land ends!
2012 Sea Legend HT, blue hull, S/S 6 rod rocket launcher/radar arch
F250 O/S & T9.9 Yamahas
Aluminum I-beam EZ Loader trailer c/w stainless disc brakes
Raymarine E120W, Scotty HP 2106 DR's c/w 15 lb glow ballzzzz!

Offline Croaker Stroker

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 11:54:44 AM »
Then.......So. Cal.......there's always the cell phone.   :shrug9:

And.... The hand held...

Redundancy...
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 12:07:06 PM by Croaker Stroker »
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 Wyrguy

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Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 12:44:35 PM »
I agree on the redundancy... but a cell phone is back-up to the back-up in my opinion and also according to this info from Transport Canada:

Cellular Phones

With a cellular phone, you may contact Rescue Coordination Centers directly. Or, by dialing *16, you will contact the nearest Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Center. Remember that a cellular phone is not a good substitute for a marine radio and it is not an approved means of issuing a distress call. Making a call does not alert other boaters close to you - those other boats could be the ones to help you first if they could hear you. Unlike VHF transmissions, cellular phone signals cannot be followed back to your location by rescuers. Contact your cellular provider to find out if you have access to the *16 service.

FYI...  :twocents:

Rick
'Arima Therapy' - Life begins were the land ends!
2012 Sea Legend HT, blue hull, S/S 6 rod rocket launcher/radar arch
F250 O/S & T9.9 Yamahas
Aluminum I-beam EZ Loader trailer c/w stainless disc brakes
Raymarine E120W, Scotty HP 2106 DR's c/w 15 lb glow ballzzzz!

Offline Threeweight

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 12:59:59 PM »
I've never taken one apart and looked inside, but my understanding is that the beef of a VHF antenna is contained in its top 1' or so of length (the highest point above water), with wiring running down through the shaft to the base.  Maybe yours broke below the physical antenna?  You could try and limp along with it for a while (maybe seal w/ 3m 5200), but I agree with folks... look for a replacement when you can.  If saltwater gets inside, it will kill it in short order.

I like the Digital 529... the marine electronics gurus here in Oregon generally rate it as the best bang for the buck, much better built than the Shakespeare units.

Re: other options... VHF is line of sight... a 5 watt hand held's effective range is about 5 miles (less in rough water and big swells).  Good emergency back up, but not a replacement for a fixed mount 25 watt VHF w/ a 8' antenna (about 25 miles maximum range).  I have gotten cell phone calls as far as 15 miles offshore (I'm on Verizon), but I wouldn't want to try and find the # for the Coasties while running my boat in bad weather... :bigshock:
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline Croaker Stroker

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 01:18:16 PM »
The cheaper ones have a wire. The more expensive ones have brass or stainless rod or bar.  The wire may not extend all the way to the end.

In my previous post, I should have said "for back up".

« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 01:45:06 PM by Croaker Stroker »
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."

allpauwork

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Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 08:06:29 PM »
I do have a new VHF with the GPS/chart plotter  feature and it did work with the old antenna but now that it is cracked and somewhat brittle, I'm going to get a new antenna before going out again.  I do carry a back up hand held VHF and the cell phone.

The antenna was mounted on the starboard side by the steering wheel, so when folded down it extended past the stern and the pressure of the tarp probably cracked it due to old age.  Anyone ever mount their antenna at the stern?

So.Cali

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Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 07:27:27 AM »
Probably a good idea to replace it. BTW, Verizon service is only good about 8 miles out here in SoCal, which is pretty good since it was only about 3 miles a few years ago.

Offline Threeweight

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 09:34:02 AM »
Stern would be a hassle to work around when fighting fish.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Offline Croaker Stroker

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 07:58:22 PM »
Probably a good idea to replace it. BTW, Verizon service is only good about 8 miles out here in SoCal, which is pretty good since it was only about 3 miles a few years ago.

You get coverage from Avalon too.
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."

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 04:31:59 PM »
I'm just within the Puget Sound so I opted for the 1 M steel whip antennae.  I mounted it on a swivel bracket on the top of my railing ahead of the windshield.  I located it so when at the helm it is visually behind the frame of the windshield.  It folds down easily when travelling or going into a garage.

I think there must be a conducting element inside any fiberglass antenna.  It could be a foil surface or embedded wires, but for tuning I would expect it to be a wire or heavier rod.
'84 SR17 Restored '10 Honda BF90

So.Cali

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Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2013, 01:06:49 AM »

You get coverage from Avalon too.
[/quote]

 Really??? I'll have to check that out as soon as I can get out there again. Usually I just shut my phone off once I get a few miles out. Next time I go out toward Catalina, I'll leave it on and see if it keeps reception.

allpauwork

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Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2013, 09:00:05 PM »
I picked up a new  eight foot antenna today with the solid core wire inside only to find out that it won't fit my existing bracket so it's back to the store tomorrow.

I cut the old antenna in half because I was curious to find out why I didn't see anything inside at the broken tip.  At about the four foot mark, I found the old solid core wire inside but the top half was gone!  The wire looks like it simply corroded away as the tip of the remaining solid wire was jagged and rusty. 

Offline Croaker Stroker

Re: vhf antenna
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 10:15:42 PM »
Geez.  I drove my boat under the eve of my house on the way out to go fishing this morning.  Broke the plastic antenna mounting bracket.   :doh:   

Then at the launch ramp I realized I forgot my FishFinder/GPS.   :doh: :doh:


I did remember to put the plug in.   :applause:
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."