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post #21 of 34 Old 08-29-2011
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Yes, there is test equipment but you won't want to spend what it costs for one-time personal use.

You can do some gross testing with a multimeter, to see if there are continuity problems, and then use an SWR meter with the radio to test the whole system. That's the most effective way to test it. An SWR (standing wave ratio) meter probably will run $100 at the Best Marine store but you can use one that is sold for "two meter ham radio" from ham radio stores for half of that. Or buy one sold for two-meter ham radio on eBay for $25, just as good.

Two-meter ham radio is a VHF band right next to marine VHF (approx. 144 MHz versus 165MHz) and the SWR meters have enough range to cover both with no problem. As opposed to meters for HF or CB radio, which usually can't do VHF at all.
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post #22 of 34 Old 08-29-2011
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Thanks, I'll look into the ham radio equipment on ebay.

Sorry to sound naive, but I do not want to assume anything. What constitutes a continuity problem with an antenna? If it has continuity a good thing, or a sign of water intrusion in the antenna or connectors? Or is lack of continuity a bad thing, or a sign of a cracked copper in the core? Is there a general resistivity or impedance spec?


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post #23 of 34 Old 08-29-2011
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A continuity problem would be either a dead short in the coax, or a break in it. Depending on what's in the antenna (coil, etc.) I'm not sure what resistance you might find with the antenna connected, but measuring actual impedance would need the expensive test equipment.
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post #24 of 34 Old 09-03-2011
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I didn't read all the replies so forgive me if this was mentioned. If you have one of the so called smartphones, navionics has a app that turns it into a chartplotter. Ithink its like 30 bucks
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post #25 of 34 Old 03-09-2016
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Re: GPS Chart Plotters VHF Radios

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Yes, there is test equipment but you won't want to spend what it costs for one-time personal use.

You can do some gross testing with a multimeter, to see if there are continuity problems, and then use an SWR meter with the radio to test the whole system. That's the most effective way to test it. An SWR (standing wave ratio) meter probably will run $100 at the Best Marine store but you can use one that is sold for "two meter ham radio" from ham radio stores for half of that. Or buy one sold for two-meter ham radio on eBay for $25, just as good.

Two-meter ham radio is a VHF band right next to marine VHF (approx. 144 MHz versus 165MHz) and the SWR meters have enough range to cover both with no problem. As opposed to meters for HF or CB radio, which usually can't do VHF at all.
Thanks for this advice from a few years ago. I think I'm going to look for an SWR meter. What do you know about this one? It claims to cover 120-500 MHz:

http://www.amazon.com/SWR-Power-METE...eter+ham+radio


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post #26 of 34 Old 03-09-2016
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Re: GPS Chart Plotters VHF Radios

Are you coming down to Annapolis this summer? I can meet you with my cross needle SWR meter and antenna analyzer and interpret the results for you.

The linked meter is not particularly impressive.

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post #27 of 34 Old 03-09-2016
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Re: GPS Chart Plotters VHF Radios

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Are you coming down to Annapolis this summer? I can meet you with my cross needle SWR meter and antenna analyzer and interpret the results for you.

The linked meter is not particularly impressive.
I hung out on your dock in Galesville (slip 52) much of last summer, and I will make it to Annapolis, but neither will be in my boat, and that's the one I would like to test.

I wish I could get my boat down to Annapolis, but not sure at this point if I'll have enough time to get down that far.

I assume that the decent equipment that I need is more expensive than I can justify for a single/occasional use, right?


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post #28 of 34 Old 03-09-2016
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Re: GPS Chart Plotters VHF Radios

an SWR meter is inexpensive, but you have to know how to use one (not really all that hard honestly)...
Tuning the antenna the hard part.

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post #29 of 34 Old 03-10-2016
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Re: GPS Chart Plotters VHF Radios

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I hung out on your dock in Galesville (slip 52) much of last summer, and I will make it to Annapolis, but neither will be in my boat, and that's the one I would like to test.
Sorry I missed you in Galesville. We didn't get in any sailing at all last summer (and the boat showed it). Too many deliveries and other work.

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I wish I could get my boat down to Annapolis, but not sure at this point if I'll have enough time to get down that far.

I assume that the decent equipment that I need is more expensive than I can justify for a single/occasional use, right?
You definitely don't want to buy an antenna analyzer. The sort of SWR meter you linked to with a "set" and "read" switch is awkward and takes some practice to get good repeatable results. If you're going to spend money get something decent, a cross-needle SWR meter like Diamond SX-20C and SX-40C SWR Power Meters .

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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post #30 of 34 Old 03-10-2016
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Re: GPS Chart Plotters VHF Radios

Not sure I'll make this purchase, but if I do, I assume that the Diamond SX-40C is the one I should select. Right?


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