by Gordon West

Long-time SAIL contributor Gordon West is a nationally recognized expert and educator specializing in radio communications

Wobbly Cells

by Gordon West, Posted July 21, 2010
Chet Sturgis of Chicago, Illinois, asks:"Recently, I installed a cell phone amplifier—I don’t recall the manufacturer’s name—to increase my range when I’m sailing off the coast. Although range has improved, when I’m back in my slip I can’t get good reception from someone who is calling me from just several hundred yards away until I turn off the amplifier. What am I doing

Name Changer

by Gordon West, Posted June 19, 2010
Paul Scott of Coral Gables, Florida, asks:"I just bought a pre-owned boat that came with a fairly new 406 MHz EPIRB. I've checked the date on the battery, and it is fine, but when I contacted the FCC to change the registration information, they told me that they don't handle EPIRB registrations. Where should I go to re-register my unit?"Gordon West

GPS Harmony

by Gordon West, Posted April 19, 2010
Dick Hansen of Norwalk, Connecticut, asks:"My new chartplotter is just great and gives me aerial and radar overlays. But when I transmit on VHF Channel 68, a frequency we use a lot in my area, the GPS hiccups, the chartplotter freezes, and it can take about 30 seconds for the system to recover. Everything works fine when I transmit on other channels; it’s just 68 that is

Call Waiting

by Gordon West, Posted March 19, 2010
Bob Hayes of Coral Gables, Florida, asks:"I’ve just returned from cruising in the Caribbean, and I can’t say enough about my AIS. It was great to be able to see the ships around us and to use their Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers to hail them on the VHF. But when we got closer to Miami on our way home we began having some close calls with foreign vessels,

Speak Easy

by Gordon West, Posted February 19, 2010
Terry Rugg of Santa Barbara, California, asks:"The SSB insulators on my Islander 36 are coming off. Any ideas for a new setup for my straight wire backstay?"Gordon West replies:You have several alternatives. A stern-mounted 18-inch white whip antenna, from either Shakespeare or Digital Antenna, will transmit a good signal down to 12 MHz,

Tracking Cool

by Gordon West, Posted January 19, 2010
Ralph Furman of Newport Beach, California, asks:"I use wireless sensors aboard my Hunter 45DS to monitor temperatures for my refrigerator, freezer, engine compartment, engine-cooling system and air conditioning. My system works fine except for two hours a day when the engine compartment and refrigerator readings go blank. But during the other 22 hours everything is fine.

Mozart Mumbles

by Gordon West, Posted December 15, 2009
Robert Hall of Stuart, Florida, asks:"My stereo system works perfectly, but at a certain time in the afternoon, when the volume is set low, I can hear an annoying tic-tic-tic sound in the speakers when I’m listening to my classical-music station. When I turn the volume up a little the sound goes away. Someone told me it was because I had a cheap audio system so I went out

Clear Eyes

by Gordon West, Posted October 14, 2009
Robert Miller of Port Isabelle, Texas, asks:"If I don’t bother to clean my radome when it gets covered with dried salt spray, dirt and dust, will that have any effect on the efficiency of my marine radar antenna?" Gordon West replies:It could be significant, which is why you should always keep your radome as clean as possible. Soot, dust,

Clear Channel

by Gordon West, Posted September 20, 2009
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

VHF Alarm System

by Gordon West, Posted July 20, 2009
D.B. of Marina del Rey, California, asks:"Not long ago I received a phone call from my dockmaster telling me a loud alarm was coming from my boat. I told him I’d be right down, and to keep an eye on things until I arrived. When I went aboard I found the sound was coming from my RayMarine Ray 240 marine VHF. How could it possibly go into an alert mode after being turned
  • facebook
  • twitter