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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need to confirm how well the VHF radio is operating. I did a "radio check" on my last trip and could get no response. Any other test I can do before turning it over to a shop with special equipment? Also, if there is a problem, is there a way to determine if it's radio or antennae? All suggestions are welcome.

Thanks,
Richard
 

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Shakespeare (sp) makes a testing device for vhf radios. It hooks up between your antenna and radio. They're around $100.00 or so. With it you can test the signal strength and determine if thats the problem.

http://www.shakespeare-marine.com/accessoryshow.asp?menupick=ART-3

Also check to make sure your setting on the radio is set to USA and not international. This makes a difference as well from what I'm told.

D
 

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Magic Rod said:
Shakespeare (sp) makes a testing device for vhf radios. It hooks up between your antenna and radio. They're around $100.00 or so. With it you can test the signal strength and determine if thats the problem.

http://www.shakespeare-marine.com/accessoryshow.asp?menupick=ART-3

Also check to make sure your setting on the radio is set to USA and not international. This makes a difference as well from what I'm told.

D


I agree with this. Another quick test is take an ohm meter and perform a continuity check.

Shorted Coaxial Cable:
Disconnect coax at radio end. Test for continuity between center pin and threaded sleeve. There should NOT be any continuity.

Open Coaxial Cable Center Lead:
Disconnect coax at radio end. Test for continuity from center pin to antenna base. There MUST continuity.

Open Coaxial Cable Ground Shield:
Disconnect coax at radio end. Test for continuity from the antenna mount to the coax connectors threaded sleeve at the radio end of the coax. There MUST be continuity.
 

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more than likely it's you connection to the antenna, re-do that one first.

This is how I fix/debug VHF problems:

Get a new cheep radio for $120-$150 or so(they are actualy good radios)....they are out there. connect to antenna and test. still not working it's your antenna get a new one.

Either the testing device or a marine shop to debug will cost you more. at worst case you end up with an extra radio using this method.

good luck.
 

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Note that you will not always get a response to a request for a radio check. What channel did you use? Do you receive anything? If so then do the checks above after trying for another radio check. Start with channel 9 then try channels where you hear radio traffic after their conversation is finished. If you are a vessel assist member try hailing them on 22A. VA is not a real good check but it can tell you if you are transmitting at all.
 

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Richard,

What you will need is a SWR (standing wave ratio) meter. That will tell you how much power is going out of your radio and into your antenna and how much is reflected back into the radio. It will also tell you if there is a problem with the coax. You will need one in the VHF frequency range covering the 156 MHz band.

The previous suggestions of checking the antenna and coax with an Ohm meter will let you know if the coax is shorted (inner and outer shield touching) or open (no continuity on the inner wire from end to end. Checking the antenna with an Ohm meter will be difficult because most antennas are shorted internally and you will not know if it is OK or not. There is another piece of equipment called a dip meter that you can hook up to the antenna and it will tell you where the antenna is resonant also known as where the antenna is matched and has a low SWR. This tells you if the antenna is OK

Once you get a meter, hook it up at the radio coax connection. The meter is directional so that is important to have the input and output connected correctly. The meter should show a steady power output of 5 watts on low power and 25 watts on high. If the coax and antenna are OK the reflected power will be zero, and that equals a low or good SWR. A SWR of 1.5/1 is acceptable and actually quite good. A 3.0/1 is bad and could mean a shorted, open coax or a bad antenna or loose connection. Move the meter to the connection at the antenna and check it there. If the power is lower but the match is good, your problem is in the coax. If the power is the same and the match is still bad your antenna could be bad. It could also be the antenna mounting

I live in Anaheim, have an SWR meter and can help check the system for you. Give me a PM and maybe we can hook up. You can also try to get a fellow boater on the phone and test your radio with him listening to his radio for the test.

Good luck ERIK
 

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Smelt is right on, but it is technical stuff to deal with. Try Kerry's idea first, then go buy a new 5225 Shakes antenna, keep the receipt, hook it up on your radio, try. a radio check why holding it up in your hands like the Statue of Liberty, if your radio check goes well, it is the antenna, finish the install of the new antenna, if it is still not working, attack the radio and return the antenna. BTW- I prefer the Digital 529 antenna, much higher quality and the same price, cheaper if you consider WM's prices.
 

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First step: Determine if your radio speaker works: does it squawk loudly with an open squelch?

Second step: if it squawks, we know the amp and speaker work, so next step:

1) Raise the antenna so it is straight up (not slanted)
2) Open the squelch so it squawks.
3) Try the weather channels.

Are you receiving them?

Do you receive any weather channels?

vadp
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all. I did some basic clean up last week. I also used the suggestion of finding a channel with chatter on and was able to get a response from 5 to 10 miles away. I would guess that this would be an acceptable range. Thanks for all the offers of help from everyone.

Richard
 
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