GPS Antenna - Internal or External - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 02-24-2012
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GPS Antenna - Internal or External

I've got tired and confused by reviewing and comparing different gps/chartplotters specs and manuals.

Gps/chartplotters with internal antenna sounds like a more practical solutions in terms of one less component and cable installation.

Do you think internal antennas are reliable and powerful enough for coastal cruising.

How much difference external antenna makes?

Thanks in advance for your comments,

Tafa
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Old 02-24-2012
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Where is your chartplotter?

Internal antennas have been reported to work just fine down below. All my handheld GPS units work fine down below, as does my BU-353 GPS hockey puck ocnnected to my laptop.
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Old 02-24-2012
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Tafa, 20 years ago it was a big difference. Todays 4th-generation GPS receivers are so much more sensitive that an indoor antenna should be perfectly adequate unless you're in a metal boat or have an extremely heavily made deck.

Take any modern smartphone or recent gps, turn on the gps monitor screen, look at signal strength. Now take it below and see how far it drops and whether you've still got useable signal.

And remember an external deck-mounted antenna is useless if it winds up in a location where it will be stepped on, sat on, or torn off by sheets.
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Old 02-24-2012
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Thanks Stu and HelloSailor,

I'm planning to install it on the pinnacle. In this case internal antenna would be fine.

This gonna save me some installation time and some maintenance budget (to spend on something else for the boat of course

Tafa
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Old 02-26-2012
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I have a fixed mount chart plotter with an external antenna mounted on top of the pilot house and often use a handheld model inside the pilot house and down below. Haven't notice any difference between the performance on the roof mounted or the internal antennas.

Last edited by LinekinBayCD; 02-26-2012 at 10:55 AM.
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I've used both, the internals work fine, and avoid the complexity of running cables. The only downside is an external antenna can be more accurate, and if well located give a better signal.

Also required to have fixed antenna location when interfacing with AIS.
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Old 02-26-2012
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Thanks CpnBilll

That's what I was looking for. So there's no remarkable difference in accuracy between external and internal antennas.

I'm not planning to get an AIS for now but I will consider compatibility for future needs

Cheers,

Tafa
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