Fixed VHF Installation

Started by Quantico Frank, May 07, 2023, 06:46 PM

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Quantico Frank

Sailing out of Quantico, VA, it's fairly lonely on that part of the Potomac on weekdays and especially in Spring and Fall, and I had come to realize that my 6w VHF handheld was not much good on transmit as well as being very lacking on receive. I decided to rectify that situation this off-season by installing a fixed VHF 25w radio with an antenna at the top of the mast. (This project got a huge boost when I discovered to my joy that I wouldn't have to paint the bottom this off-season!)

The first phase, and the one I expected to be the most difficult was mounting the antenna and running the antenna cable through the mast. To my surprise, however, I lucked out on that part of the project. With lots of advice from Tim who did the same thing last year, I actually really lucked out. I modified the existing platform I had made for my wind sensor to also accept the antenna mount, and the running of the cable was nothing other than drilling a couple holes, installing grommets in them to reduce abrasion and using a fish tape to get the cable through the holes. The main part of running the antenna that I did not like was soldering the connectors on the ends-- I don't think I'm a very good solder-er, but the results worked out pretty well, apparently. The other issue is that I don't have great deconfliction between the main halyard and the cable. To mitigate that, I triple-wrapped the cable with plastic and gaffer's tape which I hope will hold it for at least the season.You cannot view this attachment.You cannot view this attachment.

The next thing was to run the VHF cable into the cabin and install the mic extension in the cockpit. This went predictably without any snags really.You cannot view this attachment. You cannot view this attachment.

Finally, there was the electrical and NMEA 2000 wiring (which sends the GPS position to the VHF in order to make a DSC call in an emergency). This also wen't predictably and it all worked (to make a long story short.) I mounted the (surprisingly small) radio on the shelf behind the bench seats on the starboard side and it left everything accessible with zero room left over. You cannot view this attachment.

So far the performance of the new radio seems good, but I can't actually quantify it yet. I do know that a small cacophony responds to my radio checks on the river at this point, but I also want to do a range test with the marina once I have the chance and get them to monitor a particular frequency. We'll see....
Precision 165 "Spirit" built 2011
Home port Quantico, VA, Potomac River


A lot of work Frank. I hope it works well for you.
Precision 165 "Simple Pleasure"
Sisu 22 "FogCutter"
Portage Pram "Tiny"


Looks great Frank. Quality work !

Quantico Frank

Quote from: DBthal on May 08, 2023, 12:05 PMA lot of work Frank. I hope it works well for you.
Hey, Dan, notice I used your suggestion on using Velcro on the cabin "fur" for routing cables? Worked like a charm.
Precision 165 "Spirit" built 2011
Home port Quantico, VA, Potomac River

Brian N.

And to think people criticized Precision for using "Monkey Fur"    ;D

Frank - You have turned your P165 into a regular Yacht! 
Fair winds
Brian N.


Looking good Frank, look forward to hearing the results of the range test.
1985 Rebel Spindrift 22 - Rum Line
1985 Achilles RIB - Achilles Last Stand