VHF Issue - Help Diagnosing?

Cole418

Almost A Member
  • Jul 18, 2019
    144
    377
    36
    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
     
    Upvote 0

    fly liner

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Apr 10, 2009
    2,241
    1,483
    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 .
     
    • Like
    Reactions: mahi
    Upvote 0

    Fishbones

    Your wife thinks about ME
    Nov 7, 2005
    8,485
    703
    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
     
    • Like
    Reactions: sickcat
    Upvote 0

    Mike_I

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 19, 2006
    1,235
    592
    Irvine
    Name
    Mike_I
    Boat
    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?
     
    • Like
    Reactions: sickcat
    Upvote 0

    Cole418

    Almost A Member
  • Jul 18, 2019
    144
    377
    36
    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...
     
    Upvote 0

    MYNomad

    Heading South
    Dec 12, 2007
    4,177
    4,776
    Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
    Name
    Rick
    Boat
    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.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: sickcat
    Upvote 0

    Nick

    215cc Triumph
    Aug 4, 2004
    662
    270
    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
     
    Upvote 0

    sickcat

    Silverback
    Aug 5, 2003
    3,736
    1,770
    64
    LA
    Name
    Kerry
    Boat
    Yellow spot
    Receiving is the easy part. It is transmitting that tests the antenna/connections.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: mahi
    Upvote 0

    mahi

    Member
    Jan 5, 2005
    855
    204
    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.
     
    Upvote 0

    Latest posts