When shopping for your boat’s new VHF antenna, do you know what to look for? There are different heights, multiple colors, fancy names, and differing circumferences. However, they are basically the same when you tear them apart. That doesn’t mean you should purchase the first antenna you come across because the antennae do transmit differently and serve different functions. Here are some facts you should know about selecting the right VHF antenna for your boat.
The Importance of dB
The first thing you may notice when searching through antennae is the different dB options. The range makes a difference, but you probably don’t need the highest option available. An antenna is a photon generator that acts as a focus for your communication or emergency signal. Some antennae make the sound go further but cover less overall space. Also, if you often spend time on rough water, the rocking boat will cause the signal to fade. A 24-foot sailboat is good with a 3 dB antenna, and anything above 32 feet should consider a 9dB antenna.
Height Makes a Difference
The height of your antenna can make a huge difference in an emergency because height equals signal reach. You will want to combine your mounting point and the VHF antenna length to estimate your signal strength. Input the information into Shakespear’s Line of Sight Calculator to find your antenna’s nautical mile communication range.
Quality Is Essential
Background noise can damage transmission range; so, maximize your signal by drowning out the environment’s noise and other radios. Purchasing quality connectors, cables, and other antenna elements will boost the efficiency of your signal. Shakespear’s Cable Loss and Efficiency Chart can help you determine coax cable differences as applied to your antenna.
Your boat’s VHF antenna can be a critical emergency tool. Choosing one that emits a strong signal without fading and one that sends clear transmissions may be essential to your outdoor enjoyment. No one wants to be stranded on the water!