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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 06-06-2011
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Connecting GPS to VHF

Can a GPS Smart Antenna be connected directly to a DSC equipped VHF radio?

Seems the info I have been able to find indicates the GPS antenna is connected to a chartplotter and then the chartplotter connected to the VHF. I do not have a chartplotter and would prefer not to have to buy one to get a GPS signal to the VHF. Is there some signal transcoding or conversion function that is happening in the chartplotter that prevents a direct connection between the GPS antenna and the VHF?

Specifically I am looking at installing a Standard Horizon GX2150 (Matrix+) VHF radio. Will probably also use a Standard Horizon GPS antenna.
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Old 06-06-2011
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I have an old Garmin Map76 handheld unit. It has a built in plug connection that allowed me to rig a plug-in to the vhf/dsc radio. So if I had to make an emergency call, or if someone on the boat had to make such a call, you can just plug the handheld unit into the connection to the vhf and position coordinates will be relayed to the receiver. So it is a functional alternative to purchasing a chartplotter.
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Old 06-06-2011
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Oh, f the sales hyperbole, there's no such thing as a "smart antenna".

Either it is an antenna, or an all-in-one "puck" style GPS. If it is a puck and it puts out NMEA sentences that your DSC VHF reads, that's an NMEA or RS-232 serial connection and yes you can connect it.

If it is a "smart antenna" buy the rest of whatever that pitchman is selling, because antennas are as dumb as any other post, and anyone who tries to sell you a smart one is trying to sell you something.
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Old 06-09-2011
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Whatever...

Further communication with Standard Horizon indicates that the "smart" (or otherwise...) antenna can connect directly to the VHF radio if the six-pin connector on the antenna cable is removed and the necessary wires connected to the VHF via a terminal block or hard-wiring.
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Old 06-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mherrcat View Post
Whatever...
No, not "whatever." HS is right. The term "smart antenna" refers to a GPS antenna with a GPS receiver built in. It's not an "antenna," per se, it's a GPS receiver with integral antenna.

Anyway, as you found out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mherrcat View Post
Further communication with Standard Horizon indicates that the "smart" (or otherwise...) antenna can connect directly to the VHF radio if the six-pin connector on the antenna cable is removed and the necessary wires connected to the VHF via a terminal block or hard-wiring.
Yes. I read that somewhere--either on their site or in the 2150's User's Manual. Btw: You'll also have to power it up. You'll want to fuse it when you do that. You might also want to put a switch on it so you can shut it off.

But...

Reconsider before going to the expense of a SH "Smart Antenna." For very little more you can get a chart plotter, then you'll be able to plot incoming DSC and AIS targets, as well.

Jim
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