Getting the best marine VHF antenna for receiving a clear signal isn’t an effortless task, right? Especially where there are a lot of telescopes in the market.
However, if you know your thing and understand what you are looking for, it is easy to buy a Marine VHF Antenna. At first, you must decide for what purpose you want to purchase a VHF Antenna and then choose one that will serve your purpose the best.
In this article, I’ll try to provide you with a list of 8 best Marine VHF Antenna for getting a clear signal from a distant location. It doesn’t matter whether you are part-time or professional; these 8 VHF Antennas will serve your purpose. So, you should not get confused seeing hundreds of VHF Antennas in the market as I guarantee you to get the best one (if you follow my guide).
What is a VHF Marine Antenna?
A marine VHF set is a combination of transmitter and receiver that operate on standard as well as international frequencies known as channels. Naturally, we know Channel 16 (156.8 MHz) is the international calling and distress channel.
At Shakespeare, there are three categories of VHF marine antennas suitable to connect to the right, better and best products. We can also categorize them as Classic Galaxy, and Phase III models.
We can identify the critical differences of the antennas depending on the materials inside the cable, that is, whether it is a coaxial cable, a combination of coax, brass, and copper, or all brass and copper. Generally, brass and copper create the highest efficiency.
However, before dissecting antennas, anglers should consider what an antenna is. According to John Jones, vice president of engineering for Digital Antenna, an antenna is a machine.
On the other hand, many people think it to be a piece of wire. John Jones says anything we build is a physically resonant circuit that we used to get the frequencies. “As an antenna converts electrical signals into photons, we can entitle it to be a photon generator.”
Why do you need a Marine VHF antenna?
VHF antennas are a crucial part of your VHF installation. The primary purpose of a VHF antenna is to provide radiation for the power that the transmitter in the radio producers and to radiate this energy in the correct direction.
Even though all antennas are rated for the entire frequency range, you can use the longest one (150cm) for the best performance.
When your operation frequencies are in the 30-60MHz range, the 80cm long antenna will be suitable. In the same way, when you are in the 70-90MHz range, you can use a 150cm long antenna for better performance. If you have one in-between size, you can use that around 50 to 70 MHz range.
The Benefits of a Marine VHF Antenna
The benefits of a marine VHF antenna are much. There are many reasons behind using marine VHF antenna. Typically, the higher band of a marine VHF antenna provides the users with different types of benefits, especially over HF (High Frequency) band. Therefore, the local governments and several broadcasters have switched from the HF band to the VHF band.
The VHF band usually possesses a more extended range than the HF. As a result, the marine VHF antennas have become so popular among many broadcast television channels, FM stations, aircraft, and naval vessels.
The main advantages of a marine VHF antenna are the standard sound quality, at least radio interference, and the portability of the antenna itself.
Tram 1607-HC 46-Inch
Shakespeare 5101 Centennial White 8’ VHF Marine Antenna
We have enlisted Shakespeare 5101 Centennial White 8’ VHF Marine Antenna in our first choice. It has a clean and clear audio system that helps the users to hear the sound from a distant place very clearly.
Generally, the manufacturers design these antennas with brass and copper. As a result, these antennas are highly reliable and last longer. It has a Chrome-plated brass ferrule with standard 1 inch to 14 threads that make the antenna secure and so it doesn’t break easily.
Besides, it contains 15’ RG-58 cable and a PL-259 connector that makes the antennas more powerful to receive the sounds. It is indeed a good antenna for those who are interested in buying antenna within a limited budget price. Moreover, you will be able to send and receive an intelligible sound from 15 miles away. The instructions are easy to perform.
Tram 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna
Tram 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna is in the second place on our list. It is indeed an excellent antenna because it covers almost all marine band frequencies. We should have an idea of what a rate is. dB and frequency are terms to describe the sound level and numbers of cycles per second. It has a 3 DBD gain, and gain means the ratio of the output power to the input power in dB (Gain).
The construction of the antennas is robust as it is made of heavy-duty fiberglass. Also, it is made up of full nylon ratchet, and so it is effortless to lay down the antennas with no damage. The manufacturers have designed them with stainless steel, so they are strong and durable.
Tram 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna
BOSS Audio Systems MRANT12 Marine Rubber Antenna Compatible with Marine Receivers
We have included BOSS Audio Systems MRANT12 Marine Rubber Antenna in the third place on our list. It is a type of rubber antenna, and so there is no possibility of breaking it. As it has a watertight mast, it is perfect for boats and campers. This antenna can extend up to 56" and has an adjustable base that allows it to mount on any vessel or camper easily.
Moreover, the rubber exterior of the Marine Radio Antenna helps it to resist corrosion for a long time. Nowadays, you will get most of the MRANT12 Marine Rubber Antenna along with an audio option that you can use in your boat or camper. It has an extraordinary quality to provide AM/FM radio signal what is hugely helpful to get national and international information. Naturally, the manufacturers offer a one year warranty.
Boss Audio Systems Antenna MRANT12
Shakespeare 5241-R Low Profile 3’ VHF Marine Antenna
We have included Shakespeare 5241-R Low Profile 3’ VHF Marine Antenna in our product list. Shakespeare engineers are continually trying to succeed in conquering innovative antennas that fit different but specific needs of boaters. The Classic 5241-R VHF antenna fulfills the requirement of bass boats. You can also use it in center console fishing boats, or any vessels where compact size is the most important.
The measurement of the antenna is 3′. It is made of the sealed, tin-plated copper wire that delivers quality performance. Moreover, the heavy-duty stainless steel belt maintains extra stability at top speeds. It is highly user-friendly and cheap, which makes it the right choice for beginners as well as for the professionals. Its small and compact size assists you to carry it easily with you.
Herdio Waterproof Marine Radio Antenna for Boat Car ATV UTV RZR SPA-Black
We have decided to keep Herdio Waterproof Marine Radio Antenna in our list of choices. It is indeed an excellent antenna. It has a strong and powerful signal for FM/AM radio. Its signal range is up to 10 miles for marine boat, car, and home. You can enjoy the radio station in your leisure time with the help of this antenna. It is waterproof and corrosion-resistant, and so you can easily use it in a marine environment, and you should not worry about the interference of water.
Besides, it is very flexible with the mast, and therefore you can bend the antenna up to 180 degrees without any trouble. Moreover, it has angled mounting options that allow you to install the antenna in the most convenient locations. Furthermore, all the nuts used in it are made of stainless steel, so it doesn’t get rust even though you keep it in water for an extended period.
Shakespeare 5215 VHF 36-Inch Low-Profile Stainless Steel Antenna
Shakespeare 5215 VHF 36-Inch Low-Profile Stainless Steel Antenna is also an antenna that we have decided to keep on our list. It is a unique antenna. The length of the antenna is 3,' and it is a VHF antenna, so it covers a good range to receive sound very clearly. This antenna has the right frequency and contains a 3dB gain. Gain is typically the ratio of the output power to the input power in dB. dB and frequency mean the sound level and the number of cycles of a sound wave per second.
Generally, a 2dB or 3dB gain antenna is suitable for suburban and general settings. If dB gets increased, the radiation of the antenna gets developed toward the horizon to reach the radio communication site, which is far away and less obstructed. It is a stainless steel antenna, so there is no possibility of getting rust quickly, even if it remains underwater for a long time. The manufacturers offer a limited warranty for two years.
Dualband Magnet Base PL-259 Connector, 10 Ft RG58 Cable
Dualband Mobile Antenna 2m/70cm VHF/UHF Ham Radio is also on our list. If you want to get a clear voice and VSWR data, you have to adjust the position of magnet base on the car roof. This portable antenna works only for PL259 connection radios.
It does not work for SMA connections. So, you will need an SMA-FEMALE to PL-259 connectors for this kind of communications. It is a dual-band magnet mount antenna that covers up to 3 dB of gain. You can also use it with your handheld radio (with the common thread SMA-Female adapter).
It can help improve your signal if you mount the antenna on any vehicle with a steel body.
Moreover, if you install the antenna vertically and Omni-directional, it will assist you in receiving a signal from all directions. It has a heavy-duty rare earth magnet on its 2.95-inch magnetic mount. It is indeed a perfect antenna for cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs. Because of having 6.6 ft long Heavy Duty RG-58 cable, you can put your Antenna on almost any vehicle application.
Tram VHF Marine Antenna
We have decided to keep Tram VHF Marine Antenna on our list also. It is an excellent antenna for its activities. The structure of the antenna is delicate. The dimension of the antenna is pretty compact and easily portable. The antenna provides exceptional performance to the users.
The antenna doesn't have almost any wrong with it. Besides, it is pretty easy to install the antenna, although the original was somewhat a little bit weighty. It is fantastic to receive the signal correctly. Indeed, it is much better than the short stubby aerial.
It helps you getting signals three times better than other antenna from a distant location. Besides, you can use it to receive AIS signals, and so there is no objection on transmitter range. Moreover, it is a perfect quality antenna for its price.
Furthermore, it can receive the NOAA weather channel and three other weather band channel what you may not be able to obtain with other antenna. Above all, it provides a good signal as well as range.
Dual Electronics MANT16B Durable Mast Long Range Marine Radio Antenna
Dual Electronics MANT16B Durable Mast Long Range Marine Radio Antenna is also one of the products we have decided to keep on our list. It offers excellent performance and range within a limited price. It is a new, flexible, and long-range marine antenna made with a full-length metal.
Its internal Motorola radio connector provides you with a range of up to 10 miles for all Marine Band frequencies. The engineers have designed the marine radio antennas with an advanced flexible mast so that you can always receive exceptional sound quality.
The corrosive resistant design and the enhanced sealed rubber exterior ensure that your marine antenna won't succumb to salt, and spray for an excellent radio reception and longevity.
Moreover, its unique design incorporates a 180-degree swivel base and a 54-inch cable. Furthermore, it is effortless to mount on any surface at any location. The manufacturers offer two years of warranty without any hassle.
TWAYRDIO Dual Band NMO Antenna 144/430MHz VHF UHF Two Way Radio Antenna
TWAYRDIO Dual Band NMO Antenna 144/430MHz Mobile Radio Antenna is the last one we have included in our choice list. The length of the antenna is 54.5cm, and the weight is 160g. So, it is very easily portable or carryable.
It has both VHF and UHF options, and so it covers a good range to receive clear sound. The frequency range of the antenna is excellent measuring 144/430MHz (VHF: 136-174MHz; UHF: 400-470MHz).
The antenna has a right frequency and contains a 2.15dBi gain. Gain is usually the ratio of the output power to the input power in dB. dB and frequency indicate the sound level and the number of cycles of a sound wave in a second.
The antenna has a significant advantage because it doesn’t require any tuning! The whip mast used in it is made of stainless steel. So, it has no possibility of getting rust rapidly, even though it remains underwater for an extended period.
Consider when buying a VHF Marine Antenna
From the outside, they all look like white or black cooler sticks of different heights. When choosing an antenna, how can you define which one is best for your boat?
There are many differences between the types of antennas. You should consider a lot of things to find the antenna that is most suitable for your boat.
First of all you consider this factors below
What dB Does Your Boat Need?
If you use an antenna with more dB, you may not get the best signal. It means that larger dB does not always provide a better signal. Besides, if you increase the dB, the message will be more compressed like a focused flashlight. A compressed beam can fade the signal in rough seas, especially for smaller boats, as they sway more. Although a larger dB sends a further message, it is not so suitable with high levels of boat movement.
We should remember that California state law regulates the big boats and excessively loud amplified music. Overly loud amplified music create disturbance to the peace and order.
Any vessel operated by motor on the inland waters of California or ocean waters within one mile of the coastline must be muffled or otherwise prevented from exceeding the following noise levels:
- Ninety decibels stationary sound level test as defined by SAE J-2005 if the engine was manufactured before January 1, 1993, or...88 decibels stationary sound level test as defined by SAE J-2005 if the engine was made on or after January 1, 1993, or...
- Seventy-five decibels sound allowed by SAE J-1970 for all engines. However, such measurement will not prevent a motionless sound level test as prescribed by SAE J-2005.
Because of the curvatures of the earth, as the distance between the 2 antennas increases, they eventually fall below the horizon. In this case, communication with each other is disrupted.
The higher the power of your antenna, the more you will be able to maintain communication at a distance. It usually limits VHF antennas are usually 35-50 miles. The antenna performance is depending upon antenna height.
Coaxial Cable & connectors
The cable that joins the antenna to the radio is always a coaxial cable, which is a center conductor surrounded by a plastic wrapping sleeve, which is surrounded by a braked copper wire.
You can lose enough signal power with weak cables and connections. The longer the cable, the more signal loss will occur. Not only is the length of 10 to 20 feet too much of a concern, but using a small diameter wire 100 feet long can cause a vessel to lose 80% of its signal strength.
You should use the wire diameter the length of your antenna cable increases - the RG58 is excellent for shorter lengths, and the RG213 / UR67 is more convenient for longer runs.
We should mount the pump, drive, and motor horizontally on a massive, rigid base plate or frame that will resist twisting and distortion during operation. We should bolt the base to the floor or a machine. Ideally, we should use a broad base so that no pump components and accessories can overhang the base dimensions.
If we move the pumps forwards and backward, it will create vibration during operation. To isolate this vibration from other equipment, we can mount the pump base unit on anti-vibration mounts.
We can also lessen vibration by separating the inlet and outlet of the pump using hoses. Moreover, we can avoid the hard plumbing of the pump to a piping system.
Certainly, if you require it, you can. However, you should keep at least three feet of coax, measured from the place where the cable exits the antenna.
Note: It may not be right for all antennas. You should not typically cut CB antennas' coax. You can roll the unnecessary lengths of in a coil of at least 8-inch diameter and stow in an out-of-the-way place.
To check the utility of your antenna, you can transmit to a friend's receiver from a range of known distances. Have access to your friend to make sure the transmission quality.
Shakespeare has made antenna/radio testers – the ART-3 Tester to measure the efficacy of your antenna/radio system more scientifically,
The ART-3 can measure transceiver output power, antenna VSWR, and proper receiver sensitivity.
No, you don't need any ground plane for a VHF antenna. Shakespeare has designed VHF and CB Marine Band antennas independent ground planes built-in.
On the other hand, you must ground the SSB antennas properly.
There is no particular height to get a good signal. However, if you keep the antenna in a higher place, you can expect a better range and result.
Satellite Radio antennas only require a clear view of the Southern sky, but height is not as crucial as the unobstructed view to the satellites.
For calculating the range of an antenna, multiply the square root of its height (In feet) above water by 1.42. It will provide you with a range of miles.
Remember to perform the calculation for BOTH the vessels, and you have to add the results to get the range between two boats.
The buying guide plays an important role during buying any device or product. If you wish to buy any standard or quality product, you should thoroughly read the buying guide. It will provide you with essential information about your expected antenna.
I think you have already read the manual, and now you know how to find the Best marine VHF Antenna. We are sure that you will quickly discover the device that you are looking for.
If you find our guide helpful, forward it to your friends and family, who need antenna and love reading articles on different devices.