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Help on a new VHF Antenna decision

Old 06-29-2013, 02:51 PM
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Default Help on a new VHF Antenna decision

well I need to replace my current antenna, I am looking for an 8 foot antenna and came across the Shakespeare Galaxy 5225-XP. Does anyone have any first hand experience with this antenna ? Any other recommendations aside from the one stated above ?? Looking for the best overall bang for the buck (range/reception) Thanks.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:01 PM
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There is lots of great info on this site on this topic. Many (but not everyone) share the view that for most smaller boats a 3 or 4 foot antenna mounted on 2 or 4 foot extension represents the best setup for the best combination of range and readability in difficult seas, because of the disadvantage of a high gain antenna's performance on a small boat in rolling seas.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:10 PM
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I like the Digital brand antennas--better finish than shakespeare. An 8 foot 6db would be fine for most applications. Digital antennas can be bought with a small connector that is easier to fish through tubes and raceways. It's a mini-uhf, and they give you a PL529 to mini-uhf adapter to use at the radio.
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:41 PM
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I have the 5225-XP. The now long-defunct PowerBoat Reports tested a slew of 8' 6dB antennas and their results showed the Shakespeare Galaxy 5225-XP came out on top with a little better repeatable range/performance than the 2nd place Digital closest comparable model . They also reported they felt the Digital construction was a little better quality internally.
The various 5225's and the rest of the Galaxy series do have very good, smooth, reliable finish. It was the other low-budget models which at least used to have a finish that could eventually deteriorate to a splintery feel.

Shakespeare now has a newer top of their line model, the Phase III series:
http://www.shakespeare-antennas.com/phaseiii/vhf.asp
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:04 AM
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i have this one - works fine
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:27 AM
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Perfect timing for this thread. I was out yesterday and noticed that while scanning, my radio would "stick" on certain channels as if someone was keying the mic. I got annoyed and turned it off, luckily not needing it for the remainder of the day. While cleaning the boat afterwards, I inspected the cable and noticed that the cable jacket had split open right where it enters the clamshell going through the hard top. It appears that the conductor inside has been exposed for some time and finally corroded enough to cause shorting.

It is a Shakespeare 8' antenna (though I don't know which one)

Is it possible to replace just the cable, or is it integral to the antenna?

Also, regarding the issue with a 3db antenna vs 6db antenna in rolling seas - does anyone mount one of each and then use a switch to switch from one antenna to the other depending on sea state? I have two antenna mounts on my hard top, and I've been considering mounting a second antenna to have as a backup.
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:10 AM
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If you wanna split the difference between 3db & 6db Digital Antenna has a 4.5db antenna. Thing is it's 4' long so it theoretically gives up some distance compared to an 8' model.
BTW their mini-connector saved me from drilling a bigger hole for the install, it's a good feature.
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:29 AM
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x2 digital
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SBH20Man View Post

Is it possible to replace just the cable, or is it integral to the antenna?

Also, regarding the issue with a 3db antenna vs 6db antenna in rolling seas - does anyone mount one of each and then use a switch to switch from one antenna to the other depending on sea state? I have two antenna mounts on my hard top, and I've been considering mounting a second antenna to have as a backup.
most antenas the cable is attached to the antenna. some of the better ones have plugs on the bottom (more commercial stuff since they break antennas, and then can be swaped without running the cable again)

if the break was further from the antenna. you could just cut it and extend the cable. but sounds like yours is inches from the antenna. so probably can't. plug you don't want splices outside if you can avoid it.

the switch, extra connectors, and extra cable would lose more gain then the bigger ant would provide.


also shakespheare antennas come with the connector off. so you're only pulling the bare cable through holes. and put the connector on at the end. not sure what you're complaining about drilling holes.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BoatlessInNY View Post
well I need to replace my current antenna ...
What do you have now? Did it perform satisfactorily for you up until now, and if so, why change to something else? If you were dissatisfied with its performance, why? I am a PL-259 soldering genius, so Shakespeare antennas don't bother me. I have two Galaxy 5225-XT's and they work fine for me. Your requirements may vary.

Originally Posted by SBH20Man View Post
I have two antenna mounts on my hard top, and I've been considering mounting a second antenna to have as a backup.
Good idea. Would you like a 2nd VHF radio with that?
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
What do you have now? Did it perform satisfactorily for you up until now, and if so, why change to something else?
Not sure if this was directed at the OP or me, but in my case It is a shakespeare 8' fiberglass antenna. I bought the boat 3 years ago with the antenna on it, so I don't know what model it is. The only reason I'm changing it is because the cable insulate has cracked and the conductors are shorting inside the cable.

Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
If you were dissatisfied with its performance, why? I am a PL-259 soldering genius, so Shakespeare antennas don't bother me. I have two Galaxy 5225-XT's and they work fine for me. Your requirements may vary.
Performance was fine until the cable shorted out. :-)


Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
Good idea. Would you like a 2nd VHF radio with that?
That's my plan - I have an older (non DSC) Standard Horizon radio there now, and when I replace it (soon) with a DSC unit, I will move the SH unit over into the backup position. Just need to decide on which VHF to replace it with. I'd prefer not to have to mess with legacy NMEA0183 pin-outs, so either a Link-8 (nmea2000) or or Standard Horizon GX1700 or something like that. I'm not sure the GX1700 internal GPS will work through the hard top reliably, however.
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:25 PM
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That first part was directed towards Boatless. So anyway, there's lots of nice new tech on the VHF front, so the shopping is just part of the fun. Wouldn't worry at all about the GPS/VHF functionality. Buy it at WM and tell 'em your plan. My store would take it back in a heartbeat if I didn't think it was working right.
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:11 PM
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H2O Man, I put a 1700 inside my 2520 and the internal gps picked the sats up immediately. It's never missed a beat in 3 months now. Just FYI
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
What do you have now? Did it perform satisfactorily for you up until now, and if so, why change to something else? If you were dissatisfied with its performance, why? I am a PL-259 soldering genius, so Shakespeare antennas don't bother me. I have two Galaxy 5225-XT's and they work fine for me. Your requirements may vary.



Good idea. Would you like a 2nd VHF radio with that?

Pez, reason for replacing is the tip came off thus got exposed to the elements and basically had very short range.....it was a 4 foot Shakespeare, not sure which model as I can not read it and was original to the boat when I purchased it 2 years ago.....I decided on an 8 foot Galaxy 5225-XP.....thanks for the suggestions everyone.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TimC2520 View Post
H2O Man, I put a 1700 inside my 2520 and the internal gps picked the sats up immediately. It's never missed a beat in 3 months now. Just FYI
Good to hear!
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BoatlessInNY View Post
I decided on an 8 foot Galaxy 5225-XP....
You will be pleased as punch,
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:16 AM
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On the Kencraft I recently purchased there was an 8' Shakespeare VHF antenna which I thought was suspect as I didn't seem to be transmitting to far and wasn't picking up anyone from a fair distance away.

Purchased a Digital 528VW 4' CHF antenna since I didn't want an 8' getting beat up all the time on top of the t-top. This is the one with the adapter so there is nothing to do but plug it in to the VHF radio. Found one for $85 at an online retailer and when I received it the adapter was missing. Ended up with a $25 credit so the antenna cost me $60 and I found an adapter on ebay for $6.

Best decision I ever made on the Digital, heard people from over 20 miles away this weekend and transmitted a good distance as well, I'm very satisfied with the antenna.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Milehog View Post
If you wanna split the difference between 3db & 6db Digital Antenna has a 4.5db antenna. Thing is it's 4' long so it theoretically gives up some distance compared to an 8' model.
BTW their mini-connector saved me from drilling a bigger hole for the install, it's a good feature.
X3 on the Digital 4.5 db antenna. I have it in black and it looks really sharp compared to the white fiberglass antennas. It works great and has decent range, not terribly expensive either.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:28 PM
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x4 on the Digital.
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:17 AM
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Was out yesterday and again very impressed at the range on the 4' Digital antenna.
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