How to Identify the Best Marine VHF Antenna to Use

For anglers, when it comes to finding the most invaluable VHF antenna they would probably see it as finding a great bite. Or surviving a skunk perhaps. But seriously speaking, this could save their lives or keep them from getting stranded or mishap. 

An expert would always encourage us to buy the best possible antenna that our money can afford. Prices for these pieces of equipment would be ranging from around $30 to more than $300 on recreational fishing vessels. 

What is a Marine VHF Antenna?

ICOM, one of the leading brands of marine VHF radios says they have sensitive receivers. They added also that if you will match it with just a meager $30 worth of antenna, you may not be able to optimize the range that ICOM can obtain for you. 

marine radio

VHF marine antennas can be classified into 3 groups. These correlate to good, better and best items. The categories would include Galaxy, Classic, and Phase III models. As for the key differences they have with each other, that part will boil down to what they have inside, whether a combination of coaxial cable, copper, and brass or all brass and copper. The brass and copper type is capable of producing the greatest efficiency. 

But before they decide to take that plunge into the antennas, anglers must understand what an antenna is all about. It is a machine. Most ordinary people see it as just a piece of wire. We qualify them as a physically resonant circuit, catered and designed for the frequencies we are aiming to utilize. They are photon generators because they have the power to convert the electrical signals and render them to become photons.  

Leading manufacturers say that as a general impression consumers think VHF type of antennas would only transmit signals right from its tip. However, this is not precisely correct. They assert that this type of antennas radiates their signal right from the base up.  

We can attribute this to the energy that is surrounding the antenna and since their signal tends to travel by line of sight, the manner in which you installed aboard a vessel is a major key factor here.

Even if you happen to have the best brand of an antenna, you can’t expect to receive optimum performance from them if you place them too close to another similar frequency antenna (it could be another VHF or an AIS type). The same level of underperformance can be expected if you will mount them too near to metal objects or if you mount them too low.  

If you are experiencing radio signal interruptions and think that your antenna could be causing the problem, the best course of action you can try in this kind of situation is to have someone help you test the signal strength from another boat. Have this friend you have started the test by being fairly close to your vessel and then gradually moving away until the radio signal starts to dissipate.  

When you decide to buy and acquire a new antenna, or you have finally decided to replace your old one, there is a big possibility that you are not going to come across a tech creep that is also plaguing some other electronics types. The working technology behind VHF antennas or any other type for that matter is more or less defined by physics — there nothing much about has changed over time. 

Materials though had undergone some changes, but the significant ones so far have something to do with a combination of things: multifunctional radios and antennas (VHF and AIS together, or WiFi and cellular). Everything has something to do with centralizing these products in a much smaller footprint.