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VHF and Antenna Recommendations

Old 01-31-2003, 03:55 PM
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Default VHF and Antenna Recommendations

Will be taking delivery of a new boat this spring (Seapro 22 WA) and will of course be installing some instrumentation, including a VHF. Based on the info received from this forum I am leaning towards an Icom 402 with a digital antenna. My fishing/cruising area is Long Island Sound and vacinity with the occasional run off shore. My question: The digital antenna I am leaning towards is 4 ft. with a gain of 4.5 db. Will this give me the performance I need? I know a 6 ft. antenna will give better gain, but I don't want the extra height if I don't need it. Would appreciate any and all comments. Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:03 PM
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I run the 4' Digital on my 21 CC and I think it does a better job transmitting in rough sea states, at least no one ever asks me to repeat messages due to broken transmission. Ultimate range will be a little less though, I would imagine.

28' Maxcat w/twin Honda 225's
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:22 PM
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I have an 8' Antenna on top of the T-top...NEVER a problem. You're right on the mark as to manufactures, though. Higher is better. Those smaller DB antennas were designed primarially for sailboats that are healed over most of the time. In rough water, I'll bet the average direction of an antenna is UP. When it's calm it's always up. Some day, hopefully not, you'll need that extra range. It's all line of sight...higher is better. Now, if you actually have physical constraints...your into compermise!

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 02-01-2003, 07:42 AM
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Thanks to Chaps and Mumblerone for your reply's. I'll go with an 8 ft. if it's possible.

George
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Old 02-01-2003, 08:01 AM
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The overall length of the antenna has nothing to do with gain. Get all the antenna, lengthwise, you can carry. If its not in the way there is no advantage at all to having a short antenna and with a walk around boat there is no reason why it would ever be in the way. So the limitation you should be concerned about is that it be properly supported. Beyond that get it as high up as you can and then get it as long as you can. Here's one way:



Thom

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Old 02-01-2003, 08:31 AM
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I don't know why height would be a problem. There are ratchet mount to lower them down when needed. I would go 8' 6 db digital if money was no object. Shakespeare 5225 is a fine antenna for the money.



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Old 02-01-2003, 09:04 AM
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Here's is another PIC. You'll note the antenna is leaning a little forward at rest...when running, it's straight up. Not a big item!

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 02-01-2003, 01:49 PM
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I have the Icom M402 mated to the Digital 528V.

I don't think you will be dissappointed. Mount the antenna high on a swivel base.

Mine is mounted on the console rail. I can turn it town for trailering or to get under that low ICW bridge.
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Old 02-03-2003, 03:09 PM
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Thom,

Should you have a drip loop in those cables?

Bill

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Old 02-03-2003, 04:56 PM
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As long as we are picking on Thom's boat, isn't that radome backwards?

OOPS . . . excuse me, after looking at Mumblerone's top I see now that raytheon domes are offset to the rear . . . open mouth, insert foot

28' Maxcat w/twin Honda 225's
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Old 02-03-2003, 05:12 PM
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Lead_Head, are you satisifed with the Icom 402 you have? I will be installing a new VHF and looked at the 402 with DSC and the optional Command Mic for my 34' Silverton Convertible. Thanks.
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:47 AM
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Planeguy,

Very satified. I do not thave the command mic. The 402 gets GPS information from my Garmin 182. Im not sure DSC is something that effective, but I guess it's better than not having it. There was a long thread about DSC here a few months ago, you might want to read. At that time the Coast Guard did not have much monitoring coverage for DSC, and I think there was some uncertanty about how or if they might build out their monitoring capability.
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:19 AM
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Just purchased a Digital 528 V from boatfix.com.

$111.00. Cheap insurance IMHO.
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Old 02-05-2003, 01:31 PM
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Planeguy,
I also have an M402 VHF, and I have the Commander mic in the cabin. Works great. I have the 4' Digital 528 antenna and love that.

The only complaint I have with the M402 is that you can not turn on the VHF from the commander mic. You have to have the main VHF unit powered on to be able to turn on and use the commander mic. They should change that so the main power can be turned on from the commander mic.

Birdman, Capt of
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Old 02-05-2003, 04:21 PM
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Interesting.....on the Icom web page it even says "you can control all functions except DSC from the Command Mic". Glad you told me so I can investigate a little further. Still seems to be what I am looking for. Says you can also use it as an intercom between the command mic and the main unit. Nice feature! Thanks to all for the input.
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Old 02-06-2003, 05:28 AM
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quote: The overall length of the antenna has nothing to do with gain.

Is that right? Then why 9db gain for 14' antennas vs. 6db gain for 8' ones vs. 3db gain for 4 foot ones?

The overall length affects the radiation pattern, and directly affects the apparent gain over an omnidirectional pattern.

[This message was edited by Sea_Dad on 02-06-03 at 09:43 AM.]
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Old 02-06-2003, 06:51 AM
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Sea Dad,

I quite purposfully said "the overall" length of the antenn has nothing to do with its gain, and that is true. What has an effect on the radiation pattern is the length of the radiating element inside of the antenna. It is immaterial what the length of the fiberglass tube you stick that radiating element in is. So you could take the guts (radiating element) out of a 6dB 8-foot antenna and stick them into a 20-foot long tube. You'd then have an overall 20-foot antenna, but it would still be a 6dB antenna.

Thom

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Old 02-06-2003, 10:35 AM
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Planeguy,
Yea, it controls every FEATURE except DSC, but, they don't consider ON/OFF a "feature".

Birdman, Capt of
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:28 AM
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Thom,
I'll buy that answer. But I've never heard of that actually happening in the real world.
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Old 02-06-2003, 01:09 PM
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Planeguy-
If you are still looking at a VHF, have you looked at the 502? I am not knocking the 402 by any means since I have one and it is great. I am upgrading to a 502 for the sake of having a backup in addition to my handheld.

The only reason I mention the 502 is that it has a large rotary knob for channel selection. I often found it a little challenging to hop around the various frequencies when it was a little sloppy, with the 402. I have mine mounted in the overhead e-box next to one of my chartplotters. With my meat hooks, it gets a little tight. Even using the channel selector built into the mic can cause you to skip past the frequency you are looking for. Just a thought for you to consider.

BW 23- Did you just decide on boat-fix, or did you shop around? That very same antenna is EVEN CHEAPER insurance at Bethel Marine for 66.95. And the service is good also.

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