VHF Issue - Help Diagnosing?

Cole418

Well-Known "Member"
Jul 18, 2019
70
128
35
Encinitas
Name
Cole
Boat
2018 Parker 2320 - "Reel Busy"
Hey guys... so I bought a new (used) boat and had it hauled out here from the east coast. Everything on boat is working perfectly except for the dang VHF. I am trying to figure out/confirm if its an antenna issue.

Wondering if you've ever had this problem...

It powers on just fine... but doesn’t seem to receive much communication at all. I’ve tried every damn setting...most of the time my radio checks (both on 72 and the automated check on 27) result in no comeback at all. Yesterday at the slip I got a clear radio check on 27 and then on 72 - but the one on 72 was also at SD bay. We thought was working but then went out yesterday and radio was quiet on 72 alllll day so I knew something was wrong

All the sudden we started to hear SOME chatter but that was only when we were VERY close to other boats (approaching outside of “the fleet”).

I tried to call to some of the boats but nothing in return.

Any ideas?

It seems like something is off affecting the range... none of connections seemed loose so I’m kinda at a loss....

The radio is a Garmin 210 AIS unit. I've confirmed on the unit itself its set to 25W power...

Today I checked the antenna (Shakespeare 5225XT Galaxy VHF Antenna, 8-Feet) for cracks... there aren't any cracks however there is a rattling that seems like parts are loose/broken in there.

Let me know what ya think... thanks
 

fly liner

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 10, 2009
2,130
1,185
hemet ca USA
Name
Josh
Boat
21' crystaliner /15' prowler
Replace the antenna, and solder the connection. ive had the wire break inside the mount. You could un screw it and look .
 
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Fishbones

Your wife thinks about ME
Nov 7, 2005
1,008,333
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58
Chula Vista
Name
Rich
Boat
One Off 28' Custom Built Skipjack (SOUTHWESTERN) & 18' Sylvan (Short Runs)
Just buy another antenna, you want a communications system that you can trust... Mayday calls do you no good if no one can hear you.
Most fiberglass antennas rattle when you shake them, it’s the coax running up inside of them hitting the shaft
 
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Mike_I

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 19, 2006
1,094
465
Irvine
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Mike_I
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Cabo 216 First Love
Before you start pissing away money as people start telling you to replace things without any testing or diagnosis get with someone that has a thru line watt-meter, I have one but a hundred miles away. That will tell you if the transmitter/antenna system is working as it should. Get with another boat to establish communication distance doesn't matter, as you're talking roughly tweak the mic cord around to make sure you have audio and it's not breaking up. The antenna is not much more than a piece of wire in a fiberglass tube, most likely you're hearing the wire rattle which is usually normal. All you have left to test is the receiver, are you able to receive the weather on multiple channels? Is the radio doing any non radio thing like lights dimming while you transmit or turning off while starting the motor?
 
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Cole418

Well-Known "Member"
Jul 18, 2019
70
128
35
Encinitas
Name
Cole
Boat
2018 Parker 2320 - "Reel Busy"
Before you start pissing away money as people start telling you to replace things without any testing or diagnosis get with someone that has a thru line watt-meter, I have one but a hundred miles away. That will tell you if the transmitter/antenna system is working as it should. Get with another boat to establish communication distance doesn't matter, as you're talking roughly tweak the mic cord around to make sure you have audio and it's not breaking up. The antenna is not much more than a piece of wire in a fiberglass tube, most likely you're hearing the wire rattle which is usually normal. All you have left to test is the receiver, are you able to receive the weather on multiple channels? Is the radio doing any non radio thing like lights dimming while you transmit or turning off while starting the motor?
Thanks a bunch for your reply... I agree with you. It would be nice and simple for someone with the right tools/knowledge to diagnose if it’s the radio or antenna.

The only real reason antenna would seem more likely culprit to me is it just travelled across country and may have bounced around a bit on the drive.

But then again... those things are probably used to bouncing around offshore too...

Both radio and antenna are only 2 years old but that doesn’t matter much at this point... something isn’t working right. That’s for sure.

To answer your questions about WX channels... I haven’t specifically tested any WX channels, I did set the radio to scan just to see what I’d pick up and I got a brief transmission on 16 but that was it. Also got a radio check from someone on 72 but he was in SD bay as well...
 

MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
3,685
3,738
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
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Yes
I would suspect the antenna connection more than the antenna itself. If you want to test completely, you need three pieces of equipment: 1) a watt meter as noted above, 2) an SWR meter, to confirm that the antenna is adequately tuned -- it needs to resonate at the transmit frequency, SWR measures how good the resonation is, and 3) a field strength indicator (to actually measure the strength of your transmissions.

Your description of intermittent failure (or success) sounds like a connection or contact somewhere. But, if not the antenna connection, it could be internal to the radio itself, particularly the volume and/or squelch controls, which are typically MECHANICAL components that rely on good internal contacts. They do go bad -- I have an ICOM 604 radio with a finicky volume button.
 
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Nick

215cc Triumph
Aug 4, 2004
583
151
san diego
www.sandiegoanglers.com
Name
Nick
Boat
bad habit
Do the simple things first. Your radio Just did a long road trip onthe trailer. Check all of the connections to power and antenna. Make sure to clean the antenna connecter, look for a bad solder connection inside of the that connecter. Look inside of thhe connecter on the radio, there be a corrosion problem. The electronics take a beating while on the trailer
 

sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
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LA
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Kerry
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Yellow spot
Receiving is the easy part. It is transmitting that tests the antenna/connections.
 
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mahi

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 5, 2005
784
181
laguna niguel
Name
Bob
Boat
Henriques 28 Express
Start with a new antenna connector, properly soldered. Testing with SWR meter is next step. I had an older Simrad 604 that was doing the same as you describe. I replaced the connector and then the Antenna and it ended up the radio was bad.