Noelex Yacht Association of Australia Inc

Easy to make emergency VHF antenna

It is easy to make an emergency antenna for VHF using a length of cable and a connector. The simplest and least expensive way is to cut the cable off an old discarded antenna (VHF or 27meg). The next step is to carefully remove 18 inches (460mm) of the outer (plastic) insulation from the cut end of the cable. A razor blade can be used, trying not to cut the metal braid.The next step is the most difficult. Tease a hole in the braid where the plastic outer insulation now ends and gradually pull the inner plastic covered wire through it. You should now have 18 inch (460mm) of the metal braid and 18 inch (460mm) of the insulated inner wire, still all connected to the rest of the coax cable which leads to the connector.

To finish off the antenna, use some insulation tape to tape the metal braid to the cable which leads to the connector.The working part of the antenna is now 36 inches (920mm) long and when in use should be held vertical in the cabin. (Use sticky tape or a peg etc).

Suitable cable and a connector can be obtained from Dick Smith, Jaycars, Whitworths etc. $5 to $10 total.

How well does it work? From my front garden in Frankston, Vic (NOT overlooking the Bay!) I can hear transmissions from many sources such as Coast Radio Melbourne, shipping operations, Western Port, the channel 81 repeater etc.

A much more demanding test is to transmit and be successfully heard. Using the home-made antenna (in the cabin and with the boat under its cover and while it was raining- and still in the front garden) I requested a radio check using channel 16 and received a response from the operator at Queenscliff. He asked that I change to 67 and then told me that everything was satisfactory.

I have lent an antenna like this to someone who used it for his Seaphone.

An emergency antenna like this could also be used to check whether an installed antenna is faulty. If your radio is unsatisfactory with its normal antenna, but works with the spare, you know it's the antenna or its cable at fault, rather than the set itself. If you normally use an antenna on the mast, an emergency antenna could be used when the mast is down.

The antenna in use is hung from the cabin top by means of sticky tape or peg etc. Wind plastic tape around exposed sheath and cable to hold them together. The end of cable goes to the VHF set's antenna connector.


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