VHF Antennas

By Don Casey

Revised by BoatUS editors in April 2012

As a general rule, mount a new antenna well clear of those already on your boat. For maximum range, mount a VHF antenna as high as possible

The range of SSB (Single Side Band) and ham radios is less dependent on antenna height, so these antennas can be mounted near deck level, but they should have a clear view of the sky, unobstructed by a top or rigging. Radar range and reception are improved by mounting the radar antenna as high as possible. Keep in mind that radar transmissions can damage eyes, so be sure this antenna is well above head level.  

A number of antenna mounts are readily available that will simplify your installation. Some are screwed to a horizontal or vertical surface; others simply clamp around a railing.

Don Casey has been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30 years, and is one of the BoatUS Magazine's panel of experts. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.


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