“I’m about to install an antenna farm on the horizontal arch behind my boat’s cockpit and am wondering whether the antennas need to be placed on the arch in a particular way. Are there guidelines for proper antenna location?”
– Dave Richardson , Winnetka, Illinois
Gordon West replies: You should do several things. First, if possible mount the radar antenna on centerline. If you have more than one cellphone antenna, keep them as far apart as you can. Also keep all GPS antennas as far away as you can from any transmitting antennas; you might want to put the GPS antennas on the stern pulpit. You could put the WiFi and satellite-radio antennas there as well. A Navtex antenna can go anywhere on the platform, because it operates at very low frequencies. If you install a backup VHF antenna on the platform, keep it as far away from the cellphone antennas as you can; there should be a minimum separation of 12 inches.
You should mount your primary VHF antenna at the masthead to give you a maximum range of at least 10 miles. A VHF antenna mounted on the arch will project your transmissions about half that distance, but that’s good enough for close-in ship-to-ship communication. Use large RG-8 coax wire on all your antennas.