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Post Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:27 pm 
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My two cents.. Mount the new gps where the old one is.. Take the old antenna off and fill/repair the holes with gelcoat and be done with it. You can always move the fill hole and add a compas later. I personally would put in the vhf prior to rearranging just to fit into a compas. You can always buy a nice one and keep it in the boat in the rare event you would need it. Shakespeare makes a couple shorter antennas, one is exposed wire and the other is a four foot glass. The latter would be a perfect match when u go the ttop route. I'll try to find the link later for you.

This would be a good option:
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/shakespea ... cordNum=12


Keep it simple and take it in steps..

B

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Last edited by Bergertime on Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:29 pm 
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Getting back to the compass, I'm with Nando. Single most important instrument on any boat. My fourteen foot Jon has one.

Even on a lake it's important. Head over to that island where you like to swim, take note of the compass heading from the dock. Fog rolls in, boat breaks down, getting dark, all electronics go out (it happens) run the opposite heading, you're going home.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:13 am 
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The only time I ever use my compass is to get a heading to pull my anchor buoy offshore. That said I do run twin mfds and carry a Garmin hand held GPS with maps as a backup so I feel I'm covered even in the event of an electronic failure. However, I was not suggesting not to add a compass, just to prioritize and take it in steps.. Truth be told a compass will not..

Contact the cost guard or LE for you if you need help
Will not broadcast ur gps coordinates in distress
Contact commercial traffic (Tampa waterway has a ton) if necessary
Be aware of rolling security zones around LPG tankers and cruise ships or port closures (we have two) I if in effect
Allow you to hear pan-pans or SECURITE announcements including hazardous conditions such as
Storms, and waterway obstructions (happen often here)
Easily communicate with friends other boaters or sea-tow / boat us

Let's not forget smart phones can replace the compass for short periods of time even offshore as I can use my Navionics app without cell service. He not prepping for crossing the Atlantic, mostly an fair-weather day-time inshore boater. My vote still goes to the vhf especially with how active (commercial, recreational & weather) the Tampa bay waters are.

Compass important.. Yes. But a VHF can save ur life or someone else's.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:09 am 
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btf112989 wrote:
The eventual plan is to get either a T-top or a half-tower integrated into a T-top. So I don't know what antenna I could purchase and mount for the VHF until the time I get a T-top and mount it on top of the T-top. Is there an antenna that would be good for now and that could be mounted onto a T-top down the road?

Thanks,
Ben


Regarding the antenna, it's going to consists of an antenna and an antenna mount, I recommend a stainless mount. When and if you go the T-top route it will just be a matter of relocating the mount and re-routing the antenna cable. Keep in mind that the antenna is a key component, I have seen people buy the most expensive VHF radio and then get the cheapest antenna they can find. I find both Standard Horizon & Icom VHF radios to be of high quality. Today's radios even have built in GPS which eliminates the need to have the radio communicate with a separate GPS via a NEMA connection. I have had good experiance with Shakespeare antennas and they have a large selection. For me I prefer an 8 footer which is located on top of my top.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:08 am 
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Blue Agave wrote:
btf112989 wrote:
The eventual plan is to get either a T-top or a half-tower integrated into a T-top. So I don't know what antenna I could purchase and mount for the VHF until the time I get a T-top and mount it on top of the T-top. Is there an antenna that would be good for now and that could be mounted onto a T-top down the road?

Thanks,
Ben


I find both Standard Horizon & Icom VHF radios to be of high quality. Today's radios even have built in GPS which eliminates the need to have the radio communicate with a separate GPS via a NEMA connection.



This ^^^ x2 Get one with internal GPS.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:53 am 
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Without a doubt you don't want to get a cheap antenna. A cheap VHF with a good antenna will work much better than and expensive VHF with a cheap antenna. Now keep in mind when I say cheap I'm talking about build quality. Just because an antenna is expensive it doesn't not mean it is the best for your situation. Shakespeare makes a decent antenna. Digital (brand) is better. Also don't discount a whip antenna. I have had several of the Gam SS-2 whip antennas and they receive and transmit better than anything I have had before. They work great for on top of a T-top. If you want to get them up higher you can mount them on top of a 4' extension. Remember an 8' fiberglass antenna is actually a 4' dipole antenna inside. Dipole meaning two poles. 48" positive going up... and a 48" negative going down. If you have a good ground plane or a good loaded base you don't need the negative portion.

On the compass subject. without a doubt it is a very important piece of equipment to be on any boat. Even when I'm navigating to a waypoint I use the compass to make sure I'm on course. I use the GPS just to confirm I'm on track. Relying on a the GPS alone will result in a zig zag course since the GPS does not update heading instantly. It has to take several position fixes over a period of a several seconds.. and then extrapolate your heading over the ground. The GPS has NO IDEA which way the pointy end of the boat is facing UNLESS you have an external... you got it compass module tied into your chart plotter. In my opinion EVERY mariner should know how to navigate with a paper chart and a compass. You do carry charts on board don't you?

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:38 pm 
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At Bruce's recommendation we installed the Gam SS-2 mentioned above. Talks a LONG way, and every radio check request is "read you loud and clear".

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:20 pm 
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Wow! You guys are full of knowledge on the VHF radio, compass, chartplotters, etc! Whenever I used to pull the boat down to Bonita Springs, I would just navigate with the old paper charts and my handheld GPS compass reading. However, I knew where I was going for the most part(I know that's a short-sighted way of thinking & that can get you into trouble on the ocean), so I never invested in any of these tools.

Now that my primary boating/fishing waters have changed, I'm on board with making some changes for safety's sake and ease of navigating. I also agree that the VHF needs to be installed first and foremost, especially since my outboard is a 15 year old HPDI and SeaTow will need to be radioed at some point. That Gam SS-2 antenna looks like it could be threaded onto my external GPS antenna base for the time being, then I could move the whole mount/antenna to the T-top one day in the future.

My wife will be happy to hear that I need a compass for my birthday in a few months! Maybe she will still feel generous and get me both a 1911 and a Ritchie compass! Wishful thinking!

The backwards thing about all of this is that I have both a compass and a fishfinder mounted in my 12' jon boat up in Tennessee. It's time to get the primary boat back up to speed now!

Thanks Guys!

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:07 pm 
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I've been able to hit the Seatow automated radio check in Tarpon Springs from my house with my Gam SS-2. A distance of 25 miles over land. That's pretty darn good considering VHF is line of sight and there are quite a few obsticals between blocking the signal.

On a side note I accidentally left my antenna up when I left the ramp Sunday. My antenna is mounted on top of a 4' stainless extension on top of my hard top. Who knows what trees and what not it what it was hitting on the way home. When I get home I found the base cover laying on my deck. Nothing was broken. I contacted Gam and they said just glue it back on with CA glue. I did that once before with my fiberglass Shakespeare and it was busted in two.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:58 pm 
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wingtime wrote:
On a side note I accidentally left my antenna up when I left the ramp Sunday. My antenna is mounted on top of a 4' stainless extension on top of my hard top. Who knows what trees and what not it what it was hitting on the way home. When I get home I found the base cover laying on my deck. Nothing was broken. I contacted Gam and they said just glue it back on with CA glue. I did that once before with my fiberglass Shakespeare and it was busted in two.

You've done that more than once? Might want to consider some ginkgo, stimulates blood flow to the brain.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:16 pm 
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Brucie, your best fishin' buddy is coming on you pretty good :mrgreen:

But hey, leaving that little antennae up is nothing. Try leaving up an eight foot Shakespeare 5202 high dollar through a grove of live oaks at 35 mph. Oh yea sFun_crazydance

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:19 pm 
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Yeah but Fernando was the last one up in the boat.........

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:26 pm 
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Ruh-Roh. Nando? Did you do that?

:504_shrugging:

:mrgreen:

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:22 am 
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gran398 wrote:
Ruh-Roh. Nando? Did you do that?

:504_shrugging:

:mrgreen:


I don't recall, I was off my ginkgo

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:15 am 
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Ben,

When are you brining you boat down? I am going to be out and about Labor Day weekend.. Let me know.

b

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