Boating can be a relaxing and joyful experience, but when emergencies arise, you need a way to communicate with other boats and the Coast Guard. Many times, a radio is the only communication option, as cell phone service is limited or impossible in certain areas. Therefore, you must ensure that you have the right VHF marine antenna for your radio and boat.
A Few Quick Pointers
When choosing antennas, it’s best to have a balance between cost, gain, and size. This little piece of equipment is the key to getting reception at all. Remember that the most expensive radio you can find isn’t any good at all if it doesn’t have proper antennas that will reach the mainland or other boats. A good rule of thumb is to choose higher antennas for better radio range, though this rule doesn’t work in all circumstances.
Materials And Mounting
In most cases, a VHF marine antenna is made of fiberglass or stainless steel. The short stainless steel varieties work well for mounting on the masthead, as they’ll have less windage and deliver an appropriate radiation pattern for heeling boats. Likewise, they’re highly durable whereas fiberglass options may not be quite as durable.
When you need the maximum durability and range available (such as the open sea), it may be best to choose antennas that have been coated with polyurethane. They use stainless steel, combined with other metals, to provide the best range and efficiency possible.
The antenna’s height is what will determine how far the radio can transmit its signal. Therefore, it’s best to mount it as high as you can on the boat, but also choose one that is tall enough to get the signal you need. Without such, you won’t be able to use it in an emergency.