The Best Marine VHF Antenna Of 2018

For your marine vehicle, a VHF marine radio is a staple component. It allows you to communicate with your crew or other vessels nearby. But before this thing works, take into account that it won't operate without a solid antenna. For that purpose, you'll need to also invest in the best marine VHF antenna.

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Of course, we are all aware of the mechanism of an antenna. In layman's term, the antenna is the one that provides sufficient reception so that you can transmit and receive a message. For a radio, the antenna is the heart of its operation. It can't function without it. It is the component that yields the power so that you can send signals where you need it to be sent.​

If your VHF marine radio has a poor antenna, the signals that it sends would eventually get lost. Furthermore, the range of flimsy antennas is not that great. There's a limit to what they can do. On the other hand, top-rated VHF marine radio antennas can optimize its range while ensuring that the reception is clear and properly directed.

We have several options for a marine VHF antenna. Just like the best walkie talkies for cruise ships, you'll have several options to consider. But in the end, only a few can serve you on your adventures in the drifting waters. Let me show you some of the best of them.

Best Marine VHF Antenna On The 2018 Market​

Product Name

Image

Quality

Our Rating

1. Shakespeare 5101 Centennial White 8' VHF Marine Antenna - Editor's Choice

Shakespeare 5101 Centennial White 8' VHF Marine Antenna

A+

2. TRAM 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna - Runner-Up

TRAM 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna

A

3. TRAM 1600-HC 35-Inch VHF Marine Antenna - Budget-Friendly Option

TRAM 1600-HC 35 - Inch VHF Marine Antenna

A

4. Shakespeare 5226-XT 8' Galaxy Antenna - High-End Pick

Shakespeare 5226-XT 8' Galaxy Antenna

A

5. Shakespeare 5240-R Low Profile 3' VHF Marine Antenna - Niche Pick for Discreet VHF Antenna Design

Shakespeare 5240-R Low Profile 3' VHF Marine Antenna

A

Shakespeare 5101 Centennial White 8' VHF Marine Antenna

If you are looking for an antenna that was able to meet the industry's standards, the 5101 Centennial VHF Marine Antenna of Shakespeare can be an excellent choice. It features technologically appropriate capabilities that can work with a variety of marine radios. The performance of the device can persist even in harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, the antenna is economically priced. It won't break your bank account at all.

This antenna has a length of 8 feet, which is decent enough for marine applications. It comes with a brass element to amplify and optimize its reception. The surface has been lavished with highly glossy polyurethane so that it can fend off corrosion and rust. Even if the antenna is exposed to different elements, it won't become yellowish at all. These protective features ensure that the antenna can last long.

The performance of this antenna is more than superb. The antenna gain of the Shakespeare 5101 Centennial VHF Marine Antenna is around 6dB. Such a rating highlights the capability of the antenna to provide sufficient and clutter-free reception. Meanwhile, its maximum input power is at 50 watts. It can help your radio receive and transmit signals efficiently, regardless of the condition or distance.

Pros

  • Weather-resistant construction
  • Can resist rust and corrosion
  • High-gain antenna
  • Provides excellent reception
  • Simple installation.

Cons

  • No noticeable drawbacks.
TRAM 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna

The TRAM 1607-HC 46-Inch VHF Marine Antenna is an excellent partner for your marine radio. This particular antenna is capable of accessing different marine band frequencies--as it has been designed that way. The spectacular performance of this antenna is suitable for those who are working on challenging conditions. It can survive different elements without sustaining any damages.

One of the best features of this antenna is durability. Specifically, the entire antenna is encased in a rugged fiberglass. Meanwhile, the hardware of the device highlights a stainless steel construction. As a result, the antenna can resist different harmful elements such as water and heat. Furthermore, installing the antenna is quite simple. It has a connector that you can screw to the installation hole of the radio.

The strength of this antenna lies in its exceptional frequency gain. That's the very reason why it is capable of picking up a myriad of marine frequencies. It has a wide coverage and ensures that your radio can receive and transmit signals wherever you are. It can ensure that the transmission you send will be delivered to the appropriate frequency. Durable and reliable, the TRAM 1607-HC can work on different scenarios while you are on the waters.

Pros

  • Comes with a 20-foot cable for better portability
  • Strong and wide signal coverage
  • Aids in the proper transmission of a signal
  • Coated in weather-resistant materials
  • Durable and rugged antenna.

Cons

  • The mounting system is not that great.
TRAM 1600-HC 35 - Inch VHF Marine Antenna

The TRAM 1600-HC is the little brother of the TRAM 160-HC. It is an optimal antenna of VHF radios that are installed on small fishing boats. Admittedly, the gain and reception of this antenna are not on par with the first two antennas that I have featured here. However, it is more than capable of serving hobbyists vessels. It can still transmit and receive signals even in harsh conditions.

Notably, the TRAM 1600-HC can cover most of the marine band frequencies that exist today. It is a definite feature that will allow you to access emergency service frequencies and other signals that are coming from other vessels or stations. Despite being an economical choice, this antenna is deliberately powerful enough to let your radio stay on the grid.

The mounting system of the TRAM 1600-HC is impressive, too. It is not similar to those flimsy mounting mechanisms that are offered by ordinary VHF antennas. Specifically, its mounting bracket is crafted from stain steel. You can do a side installation for it or mast mounting. I also love how this antenna was constructed. At first, the antenna appears to be fragile. But a few tests have confirmed that it is durable and capable of surviving challenging weather conditions.

Pros

  • Excellent mounting system
  • Optimized transmission of signals
  • Can resist rust and corrosion
  • Can access various marine band frequencies
  • Affordable option.

Cons

  • The removable design of the antenna makes it susceptible to moisture.
Shakespeare 5226-XT 8' Galaxy Antenna

Many have considered that the Shakespeare 5226-XT is the best product that Shakespeare has ever made. It has a high-quality and all-powerful antenna that pushes its coverage range to the limit. It is a great choice for serious fishers and vessels that venture on distant places. It is capable of transmitting and receiving signals from different frequencies in real-time. The transmission that it can deliver on the radio is clear and on-point.

For the record, the Shakespeare 5226-XT is extremely durable and rugged. It is an antenna that deserves to be brought on any conditions and atmospheric situations. The entire frame is crafted from a sturdy and weather-resistant material. It doesn't yield down to water, moisture, heat, and other elements that can compromise its hardware. For hardtops, radar arches, and T-tops, this antenna is the most viable option.

There are copper and brass elements that are installed on this antenna. These components have dramatically improved the range and transmission efficiency of the device. It can even be stated that its performance has been doubled compared to conventional VH antennas. The gain of this antenna is around 6dB. Meanwhile, its maximum power input is an eye-popping 100 watts. That's more than what you can ask for.

Pros

  • Maximized reception range and coverage
  • Can withstand strong winds
  • An ideal option for harsh weather conditions
  • Solid build; all hardware and sensitive parts were protected
  • High-input power.

Cons

  • No noticeable drawbacks.

#5. Shakespeare 5240-R Low Profile 3' VHF Marine Antenna - Niche Pick for Discreet VHF Antenna Design

Shakespeare 5240-R Low Profile 3' VHF Marine Antenna

Some people just don't want clutter on their communication board. Even a simple eyesore in their setup can irritate them. Fortunately, I do not belong to the same class. However, I know a few vessel owners who are akin to the cleanliness of their rig. Well, antennas are not exactly obtrusive, but if you want to have something that you can consider low-profile, the Shakespeare 5240-R is the right one for you.

Unlike the rest of the marine antennas that I have featured here, the Shakespeare 5240-R has a very slim body. The construction of this antenna can fit the varying needs and requirements of boaters. It is extremely innovative in a sense, considering that it can provide the same performance as other rugged antennas. As far as I know, the Shakespeare 5240-R has already been used on console fishing boats and bass boats. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that this is also a versatile marine VHF antenna.

All of the copper element of this antenna has been sealed on a tin plate. This flawless design has amplified the performance of the antenna when it comes to receiving and transmitting signals. It has an extra-large reception, too. Furthermore, the antenna features a heavy-duty stainless steel whip that ensures its rigidity while traversing high-speeds.

Pros

  • Discreet and low-profile
  • Brass canister reduce the tendencies of re-tuning
  • Can withstand strong winds
  • Not susceptible to rust and corrosion
  • Provides excellent transmission.

Cons

  • Requires extreme caution on its installation.

Selecting The Best Marine VHF Antenna

Selecting the Best Marine VHF Antenna

Radio communication has been varied these days. There are a variety of tools and amenities that you can use to ensure that your daily life is equipped with them. For instance, handheld ham radios can be utilized by enthusiasts and survivalists to get real-time updates. It can also serve as a means to monitor ongoing emergency situations.

By far, these radios have been purposeful. Even with the advent of modern communication devices like cell phones and computers, these radios and other similar systems are still usable. After all, they can provide the reliability that you need when all else fail.

Satellite signals can be limited once you leave the shore. In short, phones and the internet connection might not work once you are on a vessel. VHF radios, on the other hand, can still operate on these circumstances. They can tap into different marine frequencies for transmitting and receiving signals.

But of course, these VHF radios won't be as good if they don't have a solid marine VHF antenna. Specifically, the purpose of these VHF antennas is to transmit the power from the radio and throw it on a specified direction or frequency. These antennas will help you establish the desired connection that you need to other boaters and shore stations. You can't expect that a stand-alone VHF radio can do this.

Any marine VHF requires the installation of an appropriate antenna. You can learn how to choose one by reading the guideline below:​

Decibel Rating

One of the most crucial considerations in choosing a VHF antenna is its gain. Typically known as "dB rating", the gain of the antenna determines its capacity to transmit power. By concentrating the power that is being drawn by the antenna, the signal that is being transmitted from your VHF will get stronger. Therefore, other stations and boaters can receive them easily. In the same manner, this will allow you to send signals easily.

A high-gain antenna can reduce the power that is being transferred below or above the antenna. This situation is quite problematic if your vessel is venturing high seas. Take into account that signals can fade from time to time as a boat pitches and rolls. The gain of the antenna escalates with its height. They are proportional. However, the taller the antenna, the horizontal transmission angle diminishes.

There are instances where you need to use a low dB antenna. One good example of this is when you are cruising on a sailboat. Specifically, it is recommended that sailors on a sailboat should use a 3dB antenna. The latter should be mounted above the mast so that it can transmit and send signals.


Durability

Of course, every sailor knows that these antennas are always susceptible to various elements. If you are already on the sea, all of your amenities--including the boat itself--is exposed to wind, heat, and water. All of these components can cause adverse effects to the materials that they get in contact with.

VHF antennas are not exempted to this predicament. In fact, you should always be wary of them. According to seasoned anglers, the lifespan of an antenna is difficult to determine. Some would say two years while others say thirty. Well, all of these claims are actually correct. The way you take care and maintain the antenna can also contribute to the preservation of its lifespan.

However, purchasing a rugged antenna is already a good start to ensure its survivability. It would be great if the antenna you get has fiberglass construction. Alternatively, you could also opt for those that have been painted with UV blockers. These components maximize the defense of the antenna against rust, corrosion, and other physical breakages.​

Conclusion

The best marine VHF antenna completes the overall installation of a VHF. With this component, any marine band frequencies within your vicinity can be caught in your reception. It will allow you to be "visible" on the spectrum of other boaters and stations. Of course, this can give you a lot of benefits. Transmitting information and sending distress signals are among the perks that you can get from having a good VHF antenna.

If you are planning to install a VHF on your vessel, make sure that you can select the appropriate antenna for it. The ones that I have listed here are among the most versatile options that you can opt for. Better check them first before going to other alternatives.

That's it for now. If you have some questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.​

The Best Marine VHF Antenna Of 2018
5 (100%) 5 votes

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