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  #31  
Old 09-13-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
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.
Yeah, that's the plan. I'd heat shrink it and I think I saw heat shrink with the waterproof goo in it like the electrical connectors have. Then wrap well with butyl tape.
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  #32  
Old 09-13-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

It might work, IF the cable break is in that last few inches. The cable in the pic doesn't look like a problem. I suppose you could go back up, slice off the last six inches fromthe cable, andbring it back down. Then test it for breaks. If there are no breaks--don't evenbother making up the jumper, you'll know the problem is further down the line.

If the coax is in a mesh (like a chinese finger trap toy?) in the mast, that's actually a good way to grip and secure cables. But if there's a cable problem at all, I think I'd personally rather replace the whole cable and not gamble on whether that jumper will or won't fix it. Just a personal choice.

If you do use the jumper, forget the heat shrink and butyl tape. There's a product called "coax seal" or "antenna seal" that is similar to a thicker softer butyl tape, designed just for this purpose. Clean the cable with some alcohol, wrap neatly with coax seal, and you're done. No need for heat shrinking etc. aloft.
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  #33  
Old 09-13-2012
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

The close up pic you can't see the bottom of the coax there but it was at a pretty sharp angle. It doesn't look so bad in that second pic as I was able to loosen up a clamp and get a bit more slack in the coax. I'm thinking that's where the issue is though. The radio has not worked since I've had the boat back from them. (next logical Q is why I don't take it back to them to fix on warranty. long answer there but not going back to that yard ever again) So unless the coax was broken while being pulled, the logical problem area is that connection.

Good point on testing the 6" of coax but I figure if I'm up there, might as well just add the jumper. I know replacing the cable would be ideal but I have no idea how to easily replace it with that Chinese finger trap toy holding it (like the description, wish I thought of it ).

Thanks for the heads up on the Coax Seal, hadn't heard of that, much easier than the melting the shrink wrap for sure.
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  #34  
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

I keep forgetting the proper name for them, but electricians routinely use those mesh tubes for grabbing wires when they are pulling them. Beats all heck out of taping a line to them. I hadn't heard of leaving one in place to secure the coax before, but it does make sense, since it will spread the load and not compress the insulation the way that a ziptie or other narrow clip would.
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Old 09-14-2012
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I don't know much about radio, antennas or cables. That's why I'm following this thread. But every mannual I've read said not to use the radio without an antenna.
Sometimes, we ruin one thing trying to fix other and becomes an endless puzzle.
Tks for all the very good advices!
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

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Originally Posted by Gunga Din View Post
...every mannual I've read said not to use the radio without an antenna.
To be more specific, don't TRANSMIT without an antenna. It's fine to receive without, or with just about any piece of wire in the jack or at the end of the cable (fine as in it won't hurt anything, though it may not work very well).

Older transmitters, especially tube-type (yes I go back that far), could in fact be damaged by transmitting without a proper load (correctly matched antenna). Many new radios have a "reflected power sensor" (or "SWR sensor") which will shut down or reduce power to protect the transmitter, but depending on a bunch of factors (the reactance of the load and length of the cable - if you really want to know), this may not be successful.

In short (yeah, too late, I know), don't transmit without a proper antenna. Receiving won't hurt.

Oh, and make sure you have the applicable permits/licenses:

- an FCC Station License and FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit for US recreational vessels on international voyages (anywhere outside US waters). US pleasure boaters using a VHF radio within the US generally do not require either.

- a Maritime Mobile Radio Station Licence from Industry Canada for Canadian vessels on international (including to the US) voyages, and a Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) "ROC-M" for ALL operators of Canadian vessel radio stations. A station license is not required for a Canadian vessel within Canada, but an Operator Certificate is *always* needed.

disclaimer: My interpretation of US rules above is to the best of my knowledge and from researching the rules on-line. My statement of the Canadian rules comes from teaching the Marine Radio course and administering the ROC-M exam at our local CPS Squadron.

- another tidbit: apparently Industry Canada has decided that "turning on" a VHF radio constitutes "operating", thereby requiring a certificate. Haven't heard of anyone being cited for just listening to the weather, but now you know.

apologies for semi-hijacking the thread
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  #37  
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

redline-
"apparently Industry Canada has decided that "turning on" a VHF radio constitutes "operating", " Not unusual or odd, since once there is power by definition the radio is operating. Maybe just receiving--but that's one operation on a transceiver.
That's one rason why many radios used to come with a microphone connector and the only push-to-talk was on the mic itself. That way the "control operator" could simply disconnect and secure the mic, leaving the transmitter totally secured and the receiver side able to function with no risk of unauthorized transmissions.
These days? One more part (two more parts), two more expenses, two more failure nodes. Hardwired mics.
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  #38  
Old 08-02-2013
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

Just to close this out.

I finally got up the mast to put an end to this one way or another. I snipped the end off the cable, removed the connector. Installed a new one (shakesphere pl259 with the pliers crimp. I know not ideal, but I was 50' up in 15k of wind. Soldering was out.) I installed a 6" jumper and wrapped the whole thing in the Coax tape mentioned above.

So far.... It works!! Crummy connection of the PL 259 from the yard.

I just looked, I have the old connector and I'll post a pick in a sec. I had a refit done at a yard (where the mast was pulled, painted and all new wires, lines etc. installed) that I've had SO many issues with I'm tempted to post a rant about them. But...if any publicity is good as they say, why give it to them.

This only took me a year to fix!
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  #39  
Old 08-02-2013
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Re: VHF antenna issues?

Pic of old connector for any interested, just sloppy work imo.

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Old 08-12-2013
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VHF antenna issues?

I see that kind of thing all the time. You paid for professional installation and they don't even have a proper crimping tool. The bad thing is they probably get away with it most of the time because that will work well enough and nobody will know better. I have seen where the installers will "hide" the poor crimp with heat shrink tubing. The dead giveaway in one case was the use of butyl tape on connectors inside out of the weather. The tape was holding the connection together.
If wrapped up good, your connector should be good for quite some time.
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