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:
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Things you need
- Power drill
- Phillips screwdriver
- 50 ohm coaxial cable
- Coaxial stripper
- Coaxial crimp tool
- RF connectors
- Soldering iron
- Plastic tie strips
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.
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.
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.
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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