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VHF Range??

Old 07-31-2005, 08:23 PM
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Default VHF Range??

Was out a weekend ago and attempting to talk with a buddy on VHF. I was 10 miles offshore and buddy was 1 mile offshore. I could hear him plain as day no problem, but he could not hear me. He could tell someone was trying to reach him, but he could not make out much of anything with my transmissions. Not sure what the problem is here......I thought VHF range was about 10 miles, and since I could hear him thought he should be able to hear me. Any ideas here?? Antenna maybe? I carry a handheld but this makes me nervous.

My radio is a new Standard Horizon GX1255S with 6' Shakesphere antenna mounted on my t-top. It was set on Hi power.

Thanks for any ideas here - FB
Old 07-31-2005, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

That's 9 miles across water which should be no problem. You've got a problem IMO. Have you double checked antenna connections? If so, maybe get an output meter to chekc output from radio. Definetly sounds weak.

Steve
Old 08-01-2005, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

You have a 6 ft Shakespeare antenna? That may be your problem as I don't believe Shakespeare makes a 6 ft antenna. However, if you have an 8 ft 6db Shakespeare antenna you should be able to reach your buddies boat under the circumstances you described, with your radio set on on low power, assuming you are getting proper voltage to the radio, and your antenna connections are wired correctly.
Old 08-01-2005, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

Get an 8ft Shakespere 5225 XP or a Digital 529 VW and that should take care of you problem. Another idea is to get an SWR meter to check your power output..
Old 08-01-2005, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

I agree with the post above. Get someone to check the power output of your radio. I had the same exact problem with my Ray53 recently, and it turns out the radio was not putting out enough watts. Had to send the radio back.
Old 08-01-2005, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

IMO putting a 6 footer on top of a T-top (what you said) should still get you 9 miles without a problem.
Old 08-02-2005, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

I decided to stop wondering and finally bought a Shakespeare power/SWR meter. It tells you how much power you are transmitting & the SWR (efficiency) of your system. About $40 at BW. Good troubleshooting tool (lets you know if you have a problem) and will allow periodic checks to make sure performance is good (instead of inconclusive & annoying radio checks)
Old 08-02-2005, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

stevec717 - IMO putting a 6 footer on top of a T-top (what you said) should still get you 9 miles without a problem.
Who makes a 6 ft VHF antenna?
Old 08-02-2005, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

I believe all the above posts are pretty much on target. Since you can hear your buddy, the path is not too great. That leaves your radio output as the suspect. You can throw money at the problem by replacing the Antenna and its cable first, then purchase a better VHF transceiver, or repeat the test you did last time out, but this time start with a closer seperation and keep increasing until your pal says he is having troubles hearing you. That will give you an idea as to what you can expect.

KKKKFL
Old 08-02-2005, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

First Light - 8/2/2005 9:52 AM

stevec717 - IMO putting a 6 footer on top of a T-top (what you said) should still get you 9 miles without a problem.
Who makes a 6 ft VHF antenna?
I assumed Shakespeare since that what he said he has. I know they make 5' and 8' now and thought they once had a 6' too. I doubt he could mistake a 4' for a 6', so if he's wrong then it's likely an 8' which only makes the point that it shoouldn't be a line-of-sight of the antenna.

Steve
Old 08-02-2005, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

First Light - 8/2/2005 9:52 AM

stevec717 - IMO putting a 6 footer on top of a T-top (what you said) should still get you 9 miles without a problem.
Who makes a 6 ft VHF antenna?
I assumed Shakespeare since that what he said he has. I know they make 5' and 8' now and thought they once had a 6' too. I doubt he could mistake a 4' for a 6', so if he's wrong then it's likely an 8' which only makes the point that it shoouldn't be a line-of-sight of the antenna. Just responding to the original post.

Steve
Old 08-03-2005, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

Elusive - 8/2/2005 8:16 AM

I decided to stop wondering and finally bought a Shakespeare power/SWR meter. It tells you how much power you are transmitting & the SWR (efficiency) of your system. About $40 at BW. Good troubleshooting tool (lets you know if you have a problem) and will allow periodic checks to make sure performance is good (instead of inconclusive & annoying radio checks)

Elusive,

What does buy a Power/SWR do for you. I understand it is a meter that you place inline with the antenna lead, but after that I am at a loss. I know with a CB you can then tune your antenna, but what about a VHF.

I was considering buying one, but wanted some type of return for my money.
Old 08-03-2005, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

NPH - 8/3/2005 9:05 AM
Elusive - 8/2/2005 8:16 AM I decided to stop wondering and finally bought a Shakespeare power/SWR meter. It tells you how much power you are transmitting & the SWR (efficiency) of your system. About $40 at BW. Good troubleshooting tool (lets you know if you have a problem) and will allow periodic checks to make sure performance is good (instead of inconclusive & annoying radio checks)
Elusive, What does buy a Power/SWR do for you. I understand it is a meter that you place inline with the antenna lead, but after that I am at a loss. I know with a CB you can then tune your antenna, but what about a VHF. I was considering buying one, but wanted some type of return for my money.
It only verifies the performance of the radio/antenna pair. There are no adjustments that can be made. Instead of relying on relatively meaningless radio checks, I wanted some way to verify the performance. It's not going to be a frequently used tool, but for $40 I think it was worth it. I found that my radio output was 22 watts and I had an SWR of 1.1.
Old 08-03-2005, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

Elusive - I want to make sure I understand the readings you have obtained from the SWR meter. What does the SWR reading of 1.1 tell you? Also, was your radio deficient as it was putting out 22 watts instead of 25?

I suspect my antenna or connection is bad because I remember a similar transmission problem with a buddy with my prior VHF. Can I make this determination with the SWR meter?

Thanks for the help folks.
Old 08-03-2005, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

FishBut - 8/3/2005 12:21 PM Elusive - I want to make sure I understand the readings you have obtained from the SWR meter. What does the SWR reading of 1.1 tell you? Also, was your radio deficient as it was putting out 22 watts instead of 25? I suspect my antenna or connection is bad because I remember a similar transmission problem with a buddy with my prior VHF. Can I make this determination with the SWR meter? Thanks for the help folks.
Perfect (theoretical) SWR is 1:1. A reading of 1.1:1 is great. As the number gets larger ,it indicates decreased efficiency. Anything up to 2:1 is considered satisfactory. VHF max output is 25 watts. Although my reading is 22 watts, I don't perceive this to be a deficiency.
Old 08-05-2005, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

An SWR meter is always a good idea to check out power output in transmit. However, the problem you decribe could just as likely be due to receive problems on your buddy's boat. Can your buddy hear other transmissions at 10 mile distanc?. If not then it is probably radio frequency interference (RFI) from fish finder or gps on his boat. Have him try turning off the FF and GPS when his reception is marginal and see if that helps.
Old 08-05-2005, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

Good point reellife....

Should I be able to detect an antenna problem with the SWR meter?

Thanks - FB
Old 08-06-2005, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

fishbut, you have a fine capable unit and all recommendations given above are spot-on. take your time and fix it right and you will more than pleased with its performance. if the problem persists, resist the temptation of thinking bad about SH as a brand till a systematic troubleshooting process has been completed. there have been multiple theads recently slamming i-com as a brand for radio problems likely caused by faulty installation. you can't go wrong with either SH or I-com and once this hickup is fixed, it will perform great, good luck.....

Old 08-07-2005, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: VHF Range??

FishBut - 8/5/2005 9:10 PM Good point reellife.... Should I be able to detect an antenna problem with the SWR meter? Thanks - FB
Yes, an SWR reading of 3:1 or greater would indicate a problem

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