Wireless Mousetrap - Sail Magazine

Wireless Mousetrap

Tom Gilbert of Jensen Beach, Florida, asks:"I'm about to install Wi-Fi on my boat so I can use my laptop when I'm in the harbor. I think a 14-element YAGI, such as the RL/WAVRVMAR or the RL/14ele2.4wp, would be good units I can aim, set, and receive. However, other people tell me that an omnidirectional antenna is the answer. Which is the better
Author:
Publish date:

Tom Gilbert of Jensen Beach, Florida, asks:

"I'm about to install Wi-Fi on my boat so I can use my laptop when I'm in the harbor. I think a 14-element YAGI, such as the RL/WAVRVMAR or the RL/14ele2.4wp, would be good units I can aim, set, and receive. However, other people tell me that an omnidirectional antenna is the answer. Which is the better mousetrap?"

Gordon West replies:

Usually there are many WiFi signals around a harbor. In fact, there may be so many signals that you'll want a directional beam antenna to get good reception. These units beam the transmit-and-receive energy in a concentrated pattern that extends out 5 degrees on either side of the antenna's centerline. If you have access to a yacht club's wireless facility, you should point the beam antenna at the white omnidirectional antenna that is probably located on the roof of the building. This will eliminate the interference coming from other systems using the same channel.

This YAGI, or beam antenna, can be either a dish or a half-dish parabola. I like the units made by MJF Enterprises (mjfenterprises.com). The specific unit I have in mind is the MJF-1800, which sells for about $25. If you want a smaller, flat-panel antenna, look at the MJF 1802, which goes for about $50. It is a good choice for mounting on a dock.

An omnidirectional antenna, on the other hand, has elements that are stacked vertically inside a radome and can receive signals from all directions. If you are moving up and down the coast, you should probably carry both types of antenna. The omnidirectional fiberglass Wi-Fi antenna SF-245W-R from NGC (natcommgroup.com) is just right for a small sailboat.

Related

Sun-Odyssey-490-Bertrand_DUQUENNE-aft

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490

True innovation in monohull sailboat design can be a bit elusive these days. That’s not to say that there are no more new ideas, but it does seem that many new tweaks and introductions are a bit incremental: let’s say evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Just when it seems ...read more

X3M-family

Gear: X3M Flight blocks

Block PartyThe elegance of these new X3M Flight blocks from Ubi Maior conceals the fact that they can handle loads of up to 15 tons. Designed to be used with a variety of textile loops, as fixed or snatch blocks, the X3M blocks have resin frames to carry the loops and anodized ...read more

03-BAVARIA-C34_Interior-2k_2

Ask Sail: The Right Cabin Sole Finish

Q: I am working on refinishing my cabin floorboards. I have brought them home and sanded the old finish off and would appreciate comments on using varnish or polyurethane for the sole.— Danny Love, Grand Rivers, KYDON CASEY REPLIES Polyurethane is the better choice for a cabin ...read more

shutterstock_peterisland

The Caribbean Charter Trade Rides Again

“The BVI is now a bit like it was 20 years ago,” Josie Tucci, vice president of sales and marketing for sister companies Sunsail and The Moorings, told me last December. “Instead of full bars, it may be a guy on the beach with a cooler and a barbeque, but the spirit of the place ...read more

Dragging01

Waterlines: Fear of Dragging

If you have a paranoid personality, anchoring out can be a validating experience. On the one hand, it seems rather simple. You amble up to the bow of your boat, drop a lump of metal overboard, let out some rode and secure it somehow. Then you stroll back to your cockpit and ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTake it easy  Looks untidy, huh? Maybe it does, but I’ve hoisted a lot of mainsails over the years. A few go up easily. Many are a struggle. Sometimes it’s about turning blocks and nasty mast-tracks, but ...read more

boot2019

50th Boot Düsseldorf 2019

Do you love water sports? Then come to Germany from January 19 - 27, 2019 and visit boot Düsseldorf, the world's largest water sports trade fair! For the 50th time, more than 250,000 visitors will experience why sailing, diving or surfing is more than just a hobby.©October 2018 ...read more