Why The Height of a VHF Radio Antenna Important?

While you go with the installation of the radio, the most common concern is that where you would mount it and what would be the perfect height for the VHF antenna to catch the signals. The height of the antenna is important because the reception between the two HF antennas occurs when they are in the visible range of each other.

When the height of the antenna is increased, its signal reception power is increased. It is because as the antenna is far above the obstacles, its line of reception and transmission becomes better. In order to see something property when you go at some had a place you can see all the things properly, similar is the case with the mounting of a VHF antenna.

Tips for mounting VHF radio antenna

There are a few tips that you should give consideration before mounting your VHF radio antenna.

VHF radio antenna
  • Make your VHF antenna stand in front of direct sunlight. There should be a shade above it. Direct sunlight distorts the antenna transmission, and then you would not be able to hear anything.
  • If you have more than one antennas, then the distance between them should at least be 4 to 5 feet. Any other objects that might cause interference in the signal like magnetic compass should be kept away from the VHF antenna.
  • Keep the antenna controllers in your reach. So that when you need fixing, you can easily access them.
  • Make proper connections of your VHF antenna with your main electric power supply. You should seek help from a professional electrician if you don't know the installation process yourself.
  • Maintenance of your VHF antenna would increase its life, so make sure that you perform proper checks and tests with it to make sure that its signal reception is better.
  • It is quite surprising that the presence of light interference with the transmission and reception of the VHF antenna, so make sure that your radio is mounted above the light, such as LED lights or floodlights.
  • The most important thing regarding your VHF antenna communication skill is height. The reception antenna must be in a straight line with the transmission antenna; or other words, it should be able to see the transmitting antenna visually.
  • The obstacles present in the way of two antennas can cause serious issues like a reflection of waves which would result in the lack of signals at the receiver end of the antenna.
  • The proper functioning of a VHF antenna is essential because a VHF antenna not only receives the signals but also helps in transmission and connecting with other devices and vehicles around it.
  • VHF antenna, which is properly installed, can save your life as you can communicate with nearby boats and submarines in case of emergency. For this purpose, when you go to buy a boat, a proper VHF antenna should be your priority.
  • The coaxial cable attaching your antenna with your device must be a good quality wire, most probably a copper wire. Ensure that its orientation is proper and it is not then otherwise, it would cause interference in your reception and transmission. Ensure that there are no knots and tangles for extra hanging coaxial cable with your antenna.
  • While testing, you are VHF antenna working; you must have all the necessary equipment required for the testing process. Before going to sail with your boat, it is better to have your VHF antenna tested for emergency situations and communication.
  • When a VHF antenna is mounted high, the radial limit of the water is automatically decreased as compared to the antenna height. So even the distant object seems to be in the visible range of the antenna, and it can successfully connect with those devices and vehicles even if they are far.

Apart from all these things and precautions, you can also have family radios with you can have a specially designed radio for non-commercial purposes like to connect with your antennas and other radio antennas nearby while you are on an outdoor boating trip. The range of these radio signals is between 2 to 3 miles. But there is a limitation with those radios that a special channel cannot be generated at the spot, so you must have established a secure channel or connection with a nearby radio beforehand just if you need them in an emergency situation.

How high should you mount a VHF antenna?

There are a few simple steps by which you can mount your VHF antenna, taking into care its height easily. First of all, we need to select the perfect location and height for mounting the VHF antenna. The height should be kept maximum so that it can connect with the vehicles far and nearby.

The direction of the antenna is also very important. Vhf antenna should be directed in the plane of transmission or radiation but without the presence of any metal object nearby it, which interferes with us the radio signals.

The next step is rounding the antenna, which means that selecting a proper base for it. The base for or mounting the VHF antenna is the basic reference point of it. it should be made of some organic matter so that the grounding gets stronger with time. With the grounding and the mounting area, it is better to leave some space so that you can walk around the antenna if you want for checking and inspecting.

The VHF antenna height

The third step is establishing the connection of the antenna with the ground. Exclusively, a coaxial cable is used for this purpose. The quality of the coaxial cable is important as the signal transmission, and reception depends highly upon it. The coaxial cable should be kept away from any harm or damage, and the distance between the radio and coaxial cable should be at least 1 meter. More than the required length of coaxial able would result in signal loss.

Now we need to attach the coaxial cable to the radio. Be careful while attaching the two wires. You will ensure quality work if you follow proper precautions. As all the connections have been made and your antenna has been mounted, you need to take a simple test whether your antenna is working or not.

How to check the VHF antenna height, and why is it important?

Measuring the height of the antenna is very easy as well as essential because it would determine the range of your antenna. The mathematical formula for calculating a VHF antenna height is that the transmission range is the proportion of 1.4 times the square root of the height of the antenna.

If you find your answer to be ambiguous in units, you can convert it into a metric system. Interference is subtracted from the total height of the antenna to make an estimate of the exact height of the antenna.

How to check the VHF antenna height

However, the height of the antenna highly depends upon the area in which you live. You must access whether the situation in your area allows a heighted antenna or not. For example, in coastal areas where the weather changes are extremely heighted, VHF antennas do not work well.

How to calculate the range of VHF antenna by using antenna height?

The range of a VHF antenna can easily be calculated if you have determined the antenna height. The range of the antenna is equal to 1.2 square root of height as the distance of water is the front from the ground, so we use a different scale rather than miles to measure the distance. In the case of water, one nautical mile is used as a standard.

The formula differs with every antenna, and the height required for every antenna is different. For example, the suitable height for a handheld radio is about 3 to 4 feet. Its range would be smaller as compared to a VHF antenna because of the height difference.

How to calculate the range of VHF antenna

For getting the perfect value of range with the VHF antenna, you need to add the height of the antenna as well as the horizon of the antenna at the reception and. If we make a sum of both the heights, we can get the exact range of the VHF antenna. The range of the VHF antenna determines how far your VHF antenna would be able to communicate.

The ideal height of VHF antenna

So the next question arises that what is the exact and ideal height for your VHF antenna. The exact height for the VHF antenna differs with every boat. But a general estimate can be made to help you. For example, if you have a board of about 25 feet and an antenna of about 19 feet in height, you can get the transmission a range of about 6 to 7 miles around you which is a relatively good range for an average trip boat.

VHF antenna

Also, when you increase the height, the obstacles would be distant from the boat so that the signal interference would be less, and reception would be perfect. The range automatically depends upon the height is greater the height, the greater the range of the antenna.

Advantages and disadvantages of a VHF antenna

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of having a VHF antenna installed on your boat. It is a life-saving source when you need to connect with the neighboring boats. As a VHF antenna is mounted high, it would limit the interference of the radio signal even if there are a lot of obstacles in the signal path.

When the interference is decreased, the reception experience of the VHF radio is automatically increased so that you can enjoy good transmission and reception. As far as the size of a VHF antenna is concerned, it is very small as well as easily portable so that you can move it anywhere around your device for proper reception of signals.

As the antenna components are very simple and made of durable metal, they would last longer even if you take care of them. The maintenance of a VHF antenna is very easy as there is no complex wiring or hidden screws with it.

a VHF antenna

Now coming towards the disadvantages of a VHF antenna. These disadvantages are very less almost negligible, and if you take proper care while installation and usage the VHF, you can prevent all these things.

The first main issue is poor reception. There are many reasons why the reception of your VHF antenna is not proper. If you have used a low-quality coaxial cable, they would automatically interfere with your signal transmission and reception. If the copper or lead inside the wire is badly encased, the internal circuit of the why would automatically be destroyed, resulting in increased interference.

The style and design of the cable that you are using are a determiner of the interference level caused by your VHF antenna. Even though a VHF antenna is simple in design, its installation is particularly very tricky and needs to be done very cautiously. The length and quantity of wire should always be more than the required but do not at all of the wires that you have in your VHF antenna connections.

Is VHF antenna height a determiner of its power?

The power of a radio is thought to be the essential component that determines its strength and range probably. But it is quite surprising to know that in this case, the weight of height is more important as compared to its power. We can say that the power of the antenna is determined by its height actually.

But it does not mean that the height of your antenna is dependent upon your antenna power or vice versa. Actually, even if the VHF radio antenna power is low, the signal range would be greater if your height of the antenna is appropriate.

The height of the antenna is undoubtedly dependent upon the visible range or range of vision between the reception and the transmission antennas. You can increase or decrease the antenna height depending upon the height of the transmitter antenna, but the range would automatically be decreased this way.


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