Subscribe to our newsletter

Offshore Cruiser

Choose the Right VHF Antenna — Offshore Cruiser

Click to enlarge
Offshore Cruisers, such as this Marlow Explorer, travel at moderate speeds with a relatively gentle motion at sea and can carry large antennas that should be mounted as high above the water as possible to extend effective radio range.

Bluewater cruising boats need reliable communications over long ranges, which necessitates a high-gain antenna, mounted as far above the waterline as possible, and with good quality RG-8X feed cable to minimize power loss over what is likely to be quite a long cable run. Since the boat is unlikely to be slamming over waves at high speed, and should be able to support a big antenna plumb upright, a 9dBi antenna such as the 21-foot, two-piece Glomex RA500 ($675) or Digital Antenna’s 532-V ($442.85) would both be good choices. 

Chris Catoe, sales engineer at marine-antenna manufacturer Shakespeare says that owners looking to outfit a boat of this type could also go for something even bigger: “I’d suggest our 5309-R Galaxy ($784.95). It’s a solid-performing 23-foot, two-piece antenna with elements made of complex brass and copper tubing to give it the right combination of performance and longevity coupled with a smooth, glossy finish.”