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post #21 of 48 Old 07-14-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

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I can actually receive the weather stations as long as I tune the squelch all the way down but it is very faint and, of course, full of static so I might be just receiving through the coax. The signal from the CG comes in crystal clear although I'm sure they're transmitting at some heavy wattage.
Gerry
Yep..sounds like a connection problem..check your solder joints on those PL 259's..especially the braided portion..

http://www.hcarc.us/articles/solderi...connectors.htm

Last edited by aa3jy; 07-14-2012 at 11:15 AM.
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post #22 of 48 Old 07-14-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

All it would take is one tiny little bit of the braid to find its way to the center conductor of the coax to bollix things up.

Jim
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post #23 of 48 Old 07-20-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

Another thing to try is to connect your emergency antenna to the cable that connects to the mast. You may have to stop at a Radio Shack or some place like that to get a double female connector if you have to interface two male pl259s. If the radio works OK with the emergency antenna connected to the line that runs to the mast, the problem is limited to the mast wiring/connectors/antenna. I saw one installation where a radio tech installed a CB antenna to a marine radio. It worked just about as poorly as yours does.

That one was on a power boat so it was much easier to get to than yours.
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post #24 of 48 Old 07-20-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

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Originally Posted by aa3jy View Post
Yep..sounds like a connection problem..check your solder joints on those PL 259's..especially the braided portion..

Soldering PL-259 Coax Connecters
Yea, thought about that too. I used those solder-less connectors from Shakeshpere on the run from the radio to the mast base but didn't double check them. Certainly could be an issue there. The run from mast base to mast head SHOULD be good as it was done by a "pro" (boat yard) but I need to double check as well.

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All it would take is one tiny little bit of the braid to find its way to the center conductor of the coax to bollix things up.

Jim
Yep, will check out all connections.

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Another thing to try is to connect your emergency antenna to the cable that connects to the mast. You may have to stop at a Radio Shack or some place like that to get a double female connector if you have to interface two male pl259s. If the radio works OK with the emergency antenna connected to the line that runs to the mast, the problem is limited to the mast wiring/connectors/antenna. I saw one installation where a radio tech installed a CB antenna to a marine radio. It worked just about as poorly as yours does.

That one was on a power boat so it was much easier to get to than yours.
Yea, this is why I'm going to go up the mast. I just have to isolate the issue, It would be a lot easier if I were closer. Need to find the time to get up there. If not this month then the end of Aug. for sure... Can you say "America's Cup"!!!
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post #25 of 48 Old 07-20-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

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Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
I did.

I ended up going with the emergency antenna from Shakespeare. When connected to the radio I can receive as good as the handheld when down below ( and better when placed on the boom). I'm thinking my issue is that the boat yard didn't attach the coax to the antenna when they installed it.

SO, that's my next step, to go up the mast. Unfortunately I live in Southern Ca and the boat is in San Fran. It'll have to be next month as I've just been bombarded with work... Can't wait to sail her down so I can do this sort of stuff "on the fly". Maybe (hopefully) in Sept????
Nine times out of ten I find VHF issues are caused by poor terminations and most often when people who think they know how to solder, but don't, and they mess up the shield connection. Could be a bad antenna but I find this rarely when compared to the PL-259 terminations..

I switched years ago to a crimp/solder PL-259 as soldering the shield at the top of a 55' foot spar in 10 knots of wind is like walking up-hill on ice...

Easy VHF Terminations


P.S. One word for VHF antennas for sail boats.... METZ !!!!!!

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post #26 of 48 Old 07-20-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

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Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
I used those solder-less connectors from Shakeshpere on the run from the radio to the mast base but didn't double check them.

JUNK, JUNK, JUNK! Get yourself some real PL-259's..... By far, even above bad soldering of the shield, is the CRAPPY Shakespere solderless connectors... I am amazed there has not been a class action suit against them over these jokes....

Rant over.....

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post #27 of 48 Old 08-01-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

I have two thoughts that are the easy checks. Check the continuity in the coaxial cable with a standard electrical meter if there is no continuity perhaps you have a problem with your coax or the end connectors or check the squelch on your radio. After that???
Please let me know the solution so I can learn something if this does not direct you to the problem.
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post #28 of 48 Old 09-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

OK, I finally had a chance to go up the mast and test with the emergency antenna. The E antenna works fine at mast base connection but not at mast head. So, that leaves the coax and connects in the mast the culprit. My best guess is the connector at the mast head is the issue.

The boat yard installed the antenna and coax and it had a very sharp angle (see pic). I tried to pull some slack up the mast but no luck, didn't want to yank to hard. The coax and electrical go through a mesh sleeve inside the mast and I just can't seem to pull any slack up.

So, I'm thinking of making a small, 6" jumper, cutting off the masthead connector and installing a new one there. Then attach the jumper to connect the antenna. Any thoughts?



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post #29 of 48 Old 09-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

A couple more pics I took while up there





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post #30 of 48 Old 09-13-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

"So, I'm thinking of making a small, 6" jumper, cutting off the masthead connector and installing a new one there. Then attach the jumper to connect the antenna. Any thoughts?"

Sounds like your best plan if you don't want to change the whole coax. However my worry would be water ingress into your inline connection (and hence right down your inmast coax..bad for performance) Could you use adhesive heatshrink around the connection to seal it? That's what they did at the other end of mine, at the mast base. The heatshrink should encompass the inline connector and both plugs mated to it.

Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
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