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Henry Meyer of Chicago, Illinois asks:

"I'm thinking about getting a satellite radio receiver so I can download all the marine weather products that are available these days. But I'm curious: Will I have to mount one of those softball-sized antennas above my deck?"

Gordon West replies:

Before you do anything about mounting the antenna, first check with your marine electronics specialist and make sure that the satellite radio weather products you plan to receive will be compatible with the charting program you have or plan to use. Navico's Northstar, for example, includes the Sirius weather module with Shakespeare's Galaxy softball-sized antenna system, and this antenna can pull signals in through fiberglass. Even so, if you have a deck with a teak overlay and it is covered with seawater, chances are good that reception of satellite signals will likely be blocked.

So if you want to mount one of these antennas below, you have to be sure the only thing between the antenna and the outside world is fiberglass. Otherwise you had better mount it in a secure place somewhere above the deck.

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