Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: iridium go...external antenae or not?
With any satellite communications, you are trying to use a very low power device with a tiny antenna to reach 50-300 miles up into the sky and take a shot at hitting something the size of a refrigerator. Like the old joke about a talking dog says, the miracle is that the dog talks at all.
So if putting up an external antenna gives you a three decibel gain over using an internal one below deck? That's going to double your chances of making a solid contact. It really is that simple, every 3db difference in signal *doubles* the effective power. Do you need the extra power? Kinda depends. Heavy rain or snow attenuates signals, maybe you'll only see a difference during bad weather.
If "antennas on the rail" are a PITA, maybe the answer is to put up a pole and move them all on top of that, clear out of the way. Stuff on the rail seems to attract docklines and stray hands grabbing the boat, there's no elegant solution.