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  #1  
Old 06-06-2013
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VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Hello everyone, I'm new to the SailNet community, but have spent a lot of time reading the forums here. I am about to close on a boat later this week and have a question regarding a vhf antenna.

The vessel is a 1975 Irwin 30 and although I see it has a fixed mount vhf, I did not notice any vhf antenna. From what I have read, most suggest mounting the vhf antenna on the masthead. My questions are:

1) Which is cheaper...bringing down the mast and doing the installation myself or having someone install it on a bosun chair? Any other installation options?

2) What would be the cost for installation?

3) Is this something that the marina mechanic or personnel can perform? The vessel is at a wet slip at McCotters Marina in Washington, NC.
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Old 06-06-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

congrats on the new to you boat. you may be jumping the gun a bit. there is most likely an antenna somewhere on the boat. does the radio work? does it have a backstay antenna. my previous boat had a coiled antenna on the mast head that was about 10" long and very hard to see from the deck. i now have the antenna on the stern pulpit and it works just fine for coastal cruising
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Old 06-06-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Overbored is doubly correct. Congrats, and, why not test the radio? Listen to 16 for a half hour, and you'll get a sense of how far away you can receive. Then go to a working channel and ask for a radio check with location feedback from responders. You should get something like 7 miles-ish from a good setup.

If that doesn't work and you do in fact need an antenna, pull the mast. You can then do a nice job by yourself. It's not hard.
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Old 06-06-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Make sure there's an antenna BEFORE keying the mic! A shorted or missing cable is a good way ta burn up the finals.
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Old 06-06-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Seatow has an automated radio check on channel 27 in Washington. Just call in and it repeats what you said back to you.
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Old 06-06-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

If you have any doubt as to whether there's an antenna, DO NOT TURN ON THE RADIO. Deltaten was right, it could damage your radio's finals. Unplug the antenna lead from the back and test the center wire and threaded outer contact of the co-ax cable. If you have somewhere around 50 ohms of resistance, there is likely an antenna somewhere. If you want to get fancy you could use a thing called a standing wave ratio meter, or SWR. That will tell you neat stuff like whether the antenna is 'trimmed' correctly to optimize power transmission or in your case, whether there's any antenna at all! Good luck! ~LL
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

So there is no reason to turn on a radio when there is no antenna. But it's not likely to blow a modern unit. I turned on my west marine radio into a busted antenna lots of times before I finally realized the coax was blown at the deck connector.

I was also going to add that a handheld isn't a bad option for a season if you're not heading too far offshore and/or to unpopulated areas. Take the mast down at the end of the season and get the antenna fixed up then.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Although this suggestion presents some theoretical problems, mounting an antenna on the push pit has many practical advantages over a masthead mount -- much shorter run, less signal loss, no connectors, no cable in the bilge, no weight aloft, cheaper, easier to service. Many years ago I yanked my masthead VHF antenna and masthead anchor light; never regretted the choice.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Everyone, thank you for your responses. I'll be headed over to the marina this weekend and I'll be sure to do a better job of inspecting the vhf setup this time. I have a handheld as a backup, so at least I'll have some peace of mind while on the water. I'm weary about stepping the mast down because I have no experience doing that. I'm hoping I'll find some kind of workable setup.
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Old 06-07-2013
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Re: VHF Antenna Masthead Installation Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsonian View Post
Although this suggestion presents some theoretical problems, mounting an antenna on the push pit has many practical advantages over a masthead mount .
I agree.

When I got AIS I wanted it on its own antenna so I added one to the pushpit. The VHF is now on the rail and the AIS is on the mast head.
The range I get from the pushpit is fine. I have not noticed anyone having any difficulty with receiving me... And I use the damn thing every day.

So if its a matter or doing things economically then go the aft rail.
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