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Antenna Options

Story and photography by Capt. Vincent Daniello

Click to enlargeWhich Antenna, Where?

Not all antennas are made by Wilson, of course. Glomax and Shakespeare are big players, too. The latter company’s 4-, 8-, and 18-foot models all use similar 4-foot elements raised within a fiberglass whip and connected to the base with an ultra-low-loss conductor cable. So Shakespeare’s 18-foot antenna, for example, weakens the signal far less than a 4-foot antenna with coax running through a separate 14-foot mast.

Antennas up to 8 feet overall mount directly to Shakespeare’s heavy-duty stainless steel ratchet mount. The slot in the threads allows coax to pass through without removing ends. Install antennas taller than 8 feet with a swivel mount and upper support.

“Try for at least 3 feet between the antenna and any parallel antennas or metal bimini top or tower supports,” says Donald Henry, director of Shakespeare’s Marine Products Group (www.shakespeare-marine.com). He’s concerned the cellular booster antenna might affect the VHF radio, a boat’s primary communicator.