Gain is the degree of polarity, or horizontal focus, of the signal. The more gain, the thinner the horizontal beam. A 6 dB gain is quadruple a 3 dB gain. A 9 dB gain is eight times the 3 dB gain and should be reserved for land-based stations. On a rocking boat, the signal would be aimed too high and too low to be received.
Standing wave ratio is the amount of resistance to the signal an antenna exhibits. An SWR of 1:1 is ideal but usually unattainable. Your installation should reflect an SWR meter reading equal to the radio’s specifications.
Recreational VHF radios are limited to 25 watts of output, but land stations can be permitted for higher transmission power.
RG8/X is the higher grade of coax used on VHF antennas in our tests. The higher grade better resists signal interference.
Since the VHF signal is line of sight, the taller antennas reach farther over the curve of the earth.
Range for one antenna with a 15-foot height.
This is the range at which the signal in our tests began to deteriorate.
Each connection in the cable adds resistance to transmission. A longer cable means fewer connections and better transmitting and receiving dynamics.
Stainless steel is better than chromed brass, which will pit. Plastic ferrules should be used where short-term life expectancy is acceptable. Polished stainless steel won’t pit or corrode as readily as chromed brass.
This is the fiberglass shaft that supports the antenna elements and protects them from weather. The better ones are finished with a durable polyurethane coating that protects the resins from the sun and prevents fiberglass shards from splintering on hands and deck.
Shakespeare Galaxy 5225-XT
Twenty feed of higher-quality RG8/X coax is a plus on larger boats. It also has a high-quality gloss finish to protect the radome from the elements. This was the only antenna with a stainless-steel ferrule, which will be much more resistant to corrosion, pitting and UV degradation.
Gain Average: 6 dB
SWR: 1.5:1 at 156.8 MHz
Max Input: 100 watts
Antenna Length: 8 feet
Radio Horizon: 5.3 miles
Tested Range: 5 miles
Coax Supplied: 20 feet
Ferrule: Stainless steel
Radome: Solid fiberglass laminate has a 22 mm diameter at the base and 11 mm at the tip. The composite core is heavily coated for protection and good looks.
Warranty: 5 years
$134 plus shipping;