How to Install a Marine Coaxial Antenna

Written by jonra springs
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How to Install a Marine Coaxial Antenna
Antennas mounted on top of the mast carry signals farther. (us flag on a boat mast image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com)

Marine antennas make it possible for radios on boats to receive and transmit communication signals across the water. A poorly installed antenna will yield less-than-satisfactory communications with even the best-made marine radio models. Marine antenna installation includes setting the aerial as high as possible and wrapping the coaxial cable connection in a way that insulates it. Properly mounted marine antennas allow clear communications with other boaters and shore contacts over several miles.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pen
  • Power drill
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 50 ohm coaxial cable
  • Coaxial stripper
  • Coaxial crimp tool
  • RF connectors
  • Solder
  • Soldering iron
  • Plastic tie strips

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Install a marine antenna on the masthead to get it as high as possible. Position the antenna mounting bracket against the top of the mast and mark the screw holes with a pen. Drill small pilot holes into the masthead at the marks and secure the bracket mounting screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Put the antenna base through the hole in the bracket and secure it with the nut ring.

  2. 2

    Strip the ends of a 50-ohm coaxial cable with a cable stripper. Put RF connectors on both ends of the cable. Crimp the connectors on firmly with a coaxial crimper tool. Solder the inner connectors to the plug by dripping hot solder over wire at the open plug tip with a soldering iron.

  3. 3

    Run the coaxial cable through the inner mast in a conduit raceway if available. Run the cable down one side of the mast if necessary and keep it in place with a plastic tie strip every 10 feet. Attach the connectors at the cable ends to the antenna connection and the radio connector.

  4. 4

    Cover the connection joint at the marine antenna end with insulating tape. Wrap self-amalgamating tape over the insulating tape. Cover the self-amalgamating tape with another layer of insulating tape to keep moisture out of the connectors.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep the communications antenna 3 feet from any other antennas such as the FM radio antenna. Do not use couplers to join cables for sharing one antenna with two different types of radios.
  • A secoond marine antenna installation is recommended on the railing at the rear of the boat for safety
  • at times when the mast is compromised by weather.

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