Re: VHF Antenna
Whether you use HT or a mounted VHF, my recommendation is to have a backup (at least one, in addition to your primary). Murphy's law works aptly well in the marine envirnment. There are pros and cons to either side of this subject. The best thing to do is weigh options as they apply to you. Every person is different and so are their preferences. My opinion is to have a chassis mount radio with the antenna sitting on top the mast. I just want my signal to reach as far as possible if/when necessary. HTs usually only put out 5 watts or so, where the bigger units give a full 25W. I also prefer the least amount of connections between radio and antenna. Again, this is my opinion. Mounting your antenna on the rail limits your ability. A line of sight calculation will show just how much difference. Keep in mind this is theoretical distances. Atmospheric conditions can both hinder and enhance VHF performance. It just depends on what mother nature wants to dish out.
Good luck in your decision.
Not all who wander are lost. - JRR Tolkien