Story and photography by Capt. Vincent Daniello
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.