Boat Safety: Getting a VHF Antenna
One of the most important yet overlooked features of boating is the ability to communicate in case of emergencies. Therefore, it is important to select the right communication devices. A radio is important, but without the proper marine antenna, it is useless.
In the boating world, most boat owners opt for a VHF (Very High Frequency) antenna over of a UHF (Ultra High Frequency). Even though UHF antennas tend to carry farther distances, VHF antennas generally have a better signal and thus are more widely used. There are three principle dynamics to consider when choosing the right antenna, and believe it or not, it’s not solely based on cost.
The first thing to consider is the gain of the antenna. Gain simply implies the signal strength of the antenna. Gain is measured in decibels and depending on the size of the boat, the gain is variable. For instance, a smaller boat may require a lower gain for a better signal, while a larger boat may require a higher gain.
The second consideration is the height of a marine antenna. The simple equation is better height equals better signal. However, you should not ignore features such as quality and durability with antenna height. Choose a cheaper material on a tall antenna and you could find yourself replacing it with more frequency (no pun intended).
Even after you’ve purchased the perfect antenna, it can be rendered useless if it misplaced. In this case, misplaced does not refer to lost but to put in the wrong place. Placed too low and it won’t send the signal far enough. Place in an area with an obstruction and the signal could bounce off that object. Placed too close to another antenna and the signals could cancel one another out.
A marine antenna makes communicating with the outside world easier, and this is important in case of an emergency. Therefore, choosing the right antenna is a must.