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Old 10-16-2018, 12:56 PM   #1
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VHF antenna for inflatable

Hello everyone,

I am looking to mount a SMALL vhf antenna on the console of my inflatable. The console is small and there is really no good place to put it that doesn't interfere with hand holds etc. A longer one also will be problematic when hoisting it up and down from the upper deck.


I understand the longer the better for reception. The reality is that I plan on using it for communication with the big boat and for emergency reasons. I currently use a hand held, but I have forgotten it on more than one occasion.

I thought I remember seeing an 18" fiberglass one, but maybe I am confusing it with the similar AM/FM radio antenna??

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:11 PM   #2
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Lots of short, base loaded sailboat antennas on the market. Generally stainless whips of 2-3 feet or so on a matching base...Flexible and compact
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:48 PM   #3
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Shakespeare Classic 5216 VHF Antenna (15"):
https://www.defender.com/product3.js...9060&id=809709

Shakespeare 5218 Stowable VHF Antenna (19"):
https://www.defender.com/product3.js...9060&id=906887

Shakespeare 5911 Stowaway Portable VHF Antenna:

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...29060&id=70975
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:58 PM   #4
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I agree with Steve. If you're just using it for local mothership communications a small stainless whip would be perfect. Remember that such antennae are hazardous; they radiate enough RF energy to cause burns. You and any passengers need to be mindful that the antenna is a "no hand hold" object.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:07 PM   #5
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I would just stick with the hand held. Mount a holder for it somewhere that you can see it so you will know if the radio is onboard before you depart.

https://www.amazon.com/SOFT-Handheld.../dp/B00JGX4D0U

A fixed mount radio with a fixed antenna sounds like a bit of overkill IMO.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:23 PM   #6
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My vote is to stick with the handheld too.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:35 PM   #7
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Handheld. And stop forgetting it. Belt clips usually work OK.

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Old 10-16-2018, 03:00 PM   #8
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Handheld only. Handheld to high boat antenna is several miles range easy.

We use a soft cooler bag from Walmart. Everything goes in there for the dinghy, including the handheld, flares, reg, spark plugs, essential tools, flashlight, sunscreen, etc. Grab it and growl.
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:19 PM   #9
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Hello all,
Thanks for the replies. Yes, it probably would be easier to have a handheld and remember it. The reality is that with guests on the boat, people come and go on the inflatable. It is a matter of time before it gets forgotten, lost, or the battery runs down.

I had a recent experience recently in the Bahamas where one of my guests was going to take the inflatable offshore and troll for Dorado. On the last trip returning guests from the beach the prop spun. It really opened my eyes to what may have happened if they had disappeared in the inflatable and spun the prop and forgot the handheld.

After being a fireman for 30 years, I am guilty of overdoing it. A hard mounted VHF takes any human element out of the equation.

I plan on leaving Florida in March and leaving the boat in Panama and Costa Rica. I will be in some very remote areas and am trying to eliminate any problems.
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:51 PM   #10
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https://www.morad.com/
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Old 10-16-2018, 08:23 PM   #11
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Shakespeare makes several 3 foot antennas. I have personally used their 4400 antenna with excellent results on my 17 ft center console. The tip is only 6 feet off the water and have talked to the CG 10 miles away easily. Very durable and easy to mount.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:15 PM   #12
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You can probably also mount a stainless whip and use an adapter to connect a hand held to the whip.

For those times your range from the mothership increases.

Good range with flexibility.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:47 PM   #13
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I just replaced my dinghy with one (actually, exact same model as I had before) from the place from which I bought my last one. Last time, against their advice, they delivered with a 4' (I think) whip, as I wanted longer range communication than a handheld length would provide. This time, I took their advice and took a handheld length antenna (6" ? rubber ducky?). I really don't need any longer range and the longer antenna always got in the way.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:45 PM   #14
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If you have a console on which to mount it, use a 3’ - 4’ antennae on a pivoting mount. Swing it down when you load and store the tender. This length is a “real” antenna for range and is the tip is high enough to not poke anyone in the face. Easy to swing it down to store. A nice stainless pivoting mount is about $50 and worth it.
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Old 10-17-2018, 06:34 AM   #15
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Pretty sure a higher gain antenna is not just so much for distance, but clearer comms snd the ability to overcome weaker signals from other stations that may clutter yours.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:07 AM   #16
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Perhaps a covering of red shrink tubing would stop some RF burns for folks that use the whip as a hand hold?
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freespool View Post
Yes, it probably would be easier to have a handheld and remember it. The reality is that with guests on the boat, people come and go on the inflatable. It is a matter of time before it gets forgotten, lost, or the battery runs down.

Maybe have several handhelds, then, and a check-list for using the dinghy, stuff to take, how to "manage" some of the stuff, etc.

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Old 10-17-2018, 08:06 AM   #18
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Iím more wary of a whip in the eye. Put a tennis ball on the end please
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:18 AM   #19
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Here is what mine looks like. I mounted it on the aft handhold, then fold it down when I put the cover on.
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Old 10-17-2018, 01:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktdtx View Post

That's what I have they are great
Use one for the VHF and one for a regular FM radio (works)
They are both mounted to the roll bar but the dingy is also 19 feet long

If you don't have a place to mount out of the way I think a dedicated portable that is mounted in a charging cradle under the dash.
I always leave a smart charger on the dingy battery's when it is stored away that might be a good idea also
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