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Vhf issue

Old 11-13-2016, 04:07 PM
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Default Vhf issue

Bought a used boat and came with a standard horizon vhf and a Shakespeare antenna. When transmitting and receiving ,it very low and a bit staticy. I made sure it's on hi frequency, I haven't checked anything yet . Just curious what I should look for. It was installed new in 2011. When I am close to people it is definitely louder and clearer. Thanks for any help,
Old 11-16-2016, 06:06 PM
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?
Old 11-17-2016, 01:57 AM
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Hello. Assuming the squelch is adjusted correctly, so you don´t "tune out" too much, I would check the antenna connection into the radio. If it is dirty it will build up resistance. If it is one of those Shakespeare "quick connect" types with prongs or teeeth that perforate the antenna cable insulation, replace it at once, they are complete crap! I have replaced so many of those things, it´s a shame the Shakespeare antennas are good products and they make proper VHF connections too. I would recommend a crimp and solder type connector, prefereably with a rubber jacket to cover the connecter, or use self amalgamting tape to cover it. Hope this helps.
Old 11-17-2016, 03:15 AM
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Ok thanks
Old 11-17-2016, 04:03 AM
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I recommend everyone get a external speaker-- Really does make a BIG diff.
To make sure what your radio is doing,,, do a automated radio check,, (I had friend tell me my radio was weak, it turned out it was his antenna.
https://www.seatow.com/tools-and-edu...ed-radio-check
Old 11-17-2016, 04:44 AM
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Purchase an SWR meter from most any marine or electronics store. Shakespeare makes one. Also, you can perform radio checks using SeaTow's system. Look up SeaTow's website for automated checks and look up your area. That will let you know what channel to broadcast on. In my area it's 26 or 27 but that changes by location.
Old 11-17-2016, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by rparkssos View Post
Purchase an SWR meter from most any marine or electronics store. Shakespeare makes one. Also, you can perform radio checks using SeaTow's system. Look up SeaTow's website for automated checks and look up your area. That will let you know what channel to broadcast on. In my area it's 26 or 27 but that changes by location.
I've been considering one of these SWR meters. I think my radio works, but I'm not sure. I can receive and send, but the quality is lacking. It may be working, but not as well as it should. I don't want to spend over $100 for an ART-3 meter.

I've seen a product called Workman 104 SWR meter for about $30, but haven't gotten any feedback if it is a reasonable tool (don't care about 100% accuracy - just close enough to see if things are working).
Old 11-17-2016, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dlevitt View Post
I've been considering one of these SWR meters. I think my radio works, but I'm not sure. I can receive and send, but the quality is lacking. It may be working, but not as well as it should. I don't want to spend over $100 for an ART-3 meter.

I've seen a product called Workman 104 SWR meter for about $30, but haven't gotten any feedback if it is a reasonable tool (don't care about 100% accuracy - just close enough to see if things are working).
I don't go cheap with test equipment, but Bird is unaffordable for me now, and have been tempted by the Workman also. All my other stuff is mostly Fluke, but I went cheap for a sat TV-dish analog aiming meter (around $10) and it was perfect for a one-time job. If I was a pro dish installer, I would have selected something better, but this thing did the job. I did a self-install for DTV to save $125 (and, do it better), but their compass and inclinometer instructions simply didn't optimize signal strength.
Old 11-17-2016, 03:15 PM
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How far are you transmitting and receiving that you are questioning?
What height antenna do you have? 8ft As they get shorter so does the range.
Make sure squelch is adjusted correctly. Tune to just after the noise stops.
You could have it on high frequency but some channels are only low wattage (1)
Old 11-17-2016, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by C Skip R View Post
You could have it on high frequency but some channels are only low wattage)
Sorry to nit-pick, but you both mean "high-power" (generally 25 watts) and not "high frequency".

And yes, some channels are indeed restricted to 1-watt, generally port and bridge channels, only used for very short ranges, often within shouting distance.

I agree that the Shakespeare quick-PL259 connector is not ideal, and should be a soldered one, or at least a crimp/solder version. And, these series of connectors are not waterproof...
rubber 3M "splicing tape" is what's used on towers, and, if exposed to UV, should be covered by a wrap of vinyl electrical tape, or it will eventually get brittle. Most HD stores are now stocking that 3M product.
Old 11-18-2016, 07:33 PM
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What size and model is the antenna and how is it mounted?

Just to clarify: When on the water using your VHF, you do keep your VHF antenna straight up/plumb , right, not at an unwise "sporty" raked angle as seen on so many smaller boats? That makes a BIG difference in effective range.
Do you by any chance use a VHF / stereo radio antenna-splitter that may degrade signal?
Volume up sufficiently , and gain down to minimum before background static overwhelms?
On USA channel set , and not on low power channel like 13 or 67 or DSC ch 70?
Make sure cable connections are clean and tight . You could wiggle the antenna cable near the VHF or any splice connections to see if that causes static response.

Like others, I suggest test hailing the nearest SeaTow automated radio check response channel to rule out problems with the other boats' equipment. And use of an ART-3 tester will not only test the VSWR ( reflected signal in the antenna circuit- look for less than 2.0:1 and very good is a 1.2:1 to 1.5:1 reading) , but also the transmit power wattage of your particular VHF set.
If you spring for one of those , possibly with some boating friends if need be, You can check VHF system health once or more a year to help ensure it works at best range when/if you really need it.
Old 11-21-2016, 05:27 PM
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TTaxi, thanks there is a vhf/stereo radio splitter. I am going to by pass that and see how it works . Thanks

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