VHF antenna install on Quickstep 24 - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-30-2011 Thread Starter
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VHF antenna install on Quickstep 24

Hi,
I'm interested in installing a VHF antenna onto the top of my mast, thus requiring me to run the cable through the deck step, then into the cabin bulkhead and bla, bla, bla. For those familiar the Quickstep, the anchor light wire is already run through the step and (I assume sealed with a silicon sealant of some sort at the factory), then into the bulkhead and run back to the panel. My question is basic... Has anyone run wire (of any sort) through the step on a Quickstep.
Ideally, I'd like to run the antenna cable along the anchor light wire, but I'm not sure... A) Whether the existing hole is wide enough at the step for the cable (without pulling out the factory sealant, which doesn't leak and MIGHT be best left alone). B) How the anchor wire is run through the bulkhead (ie: is it feasible to run another fatter cable through the existing channel given the limited access to the inside of the bulkhead. C) What is reinforcing the mast inside the bulkhead under the step (there seems to be a 1' square block which would make it difficult to simple drop a cable through the step into the bulkhead, but I can't be certain).
Alternatively, I could drill a second hole at an angle (facing down and back) through the step into a section of the bulkhead that isn't reinforced. But, without knowing what is reinforcing the mast, I'm hesitant to start drilling.
Finally, I have certainly thought about simply running the whip off the transom, but it would be one more thing cluttering up an already crowed space. Also, the advantages of installing a VHF with a whip off the back are largely negated with a whip off the back. At that point, I might as well just stick to a hand held.
Thoughts? Suggestions?
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-30-2011
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i would just drill another hole a couple of inches from the anchor wire[just big enough for the vhf cable] i would buy the bigger vhf cable and seal it with a good sealent[apply some to the cable before pulling the last couple of inches through,if your new hole is a slightly tight fit i doubt you will have a leakage problem,a stern mounted antenna on a sailboat doesn't work well at all
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-30-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply. Are you familiar with the Quickstep? I'm fairly certain there is solid brace of some sort under the step, which could cause problems for me if I decide to drill a new hole. If my suspicions are correct, I would have to drill through that brace and headliner into the cabin. This is something I'd very much like to avoid. But this is only a guess based wrapping on the headliner and listening for hollow spots.

Last edited by dgordon; 03-30-2011 at 07:23 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-30-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawingknots View Post
i would just drill another hole a couple of inches from the anchor wire[just big enough for the vhf cable] i would buy the bigger vhf cable and seal it with a good sealent[apply some to the cable before pulling the last couple of inches through,if your new hole is a slightly tight fit i doubt you will have a leakage problem,a stern mounted antenna on a sailboat doesn't work well at all
Depends on the situation. I've had a stern mounted antenna for years. I just found it easier to deal with than a masthead mount and the extra connections and sealing necessary with annual unstepping/stepping the mast. Mounting it on the stern rail makes for simple connect/disconnect with the seasons and simplifies troubleshooting if something goes pear-shaped.
Range is diminished, but depending upon where and how you sail it might not be a big concern.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-31-2011
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Off topic a little, but, I am going to stern mount my antenna this year, and move it up to top of mast next year. Just use VHF to open bridges. But, in the long run should be available for emergencies.

A much less elegant solution, but, would provide more options for drilling holes: have a cable exit at base of mast, and plug into deck mounted socket. This, however, is more prone to corrosion, leakage, and tripping hazard.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-31-2011
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I just went through this on my Coronado 25, so I can at least talk about my solution. I believe the Quickstep and the Coronado are similar in that we have a "compression bulkhead" instead of a post under the mast. You are right not to want to drill through that.

All of my mast power wires exited the base of the mast, through a tiny hole in the mast step and into the cabin. I agonized over a deck plug for power and signal connections, and in the end abandoned the idea as extra clutter that I don't need on my small boat.

I simply used a hole saw to widen the hole in my mast step wide enough to accept the coax and extra power wires for other accessories that I added to the mast. I lined the hole with a plumbing fitting bedded in 3M 4200 sealant to protect the deck core from moisture. I've had some fierce rains and I haven't had a single drop enter the cabin through this fitting.

All of my mast power connections are in the cabin, secured to the overhead where they can be easily checked and maintained. In my case, I was able to run the coax to the port side, and through the existing wire run hole in the bulkhead, back to the VHF. This is below the compression bulkhead, through the regular bulkhead that separates the main cabin from the hang-up locker and head area.

I would think you can do the same.

S/V Old Shoes
1973 Pearson 30 #255
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