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Ship to shore radios

Have a chance to get a great ship to shore radio very cheap. My question is they recommnend that the antenna be installed at least three feet from the radio. On a center console,with limited space, what are my options. The boat had a radio before with the antenna mounted to the side of the console within two feet of the radio. Does this really hamper the radios performance? Any help would be greatly appreciated,Thanks.
also heard that mounted my 8 foot whip ontop of pulling post works great
Not the "ideal" place!
When radio manufactures say that, it is to maximize 100% of the radio's power output. Simply put, when the radio transmits close to the antenna, some of the signal "bounces" off of each other. Each other being the radio and the antenna.

When you mount your radio, don't cut your wire short. Leave it long, and don't wrap it too tightly. This has been the best set up in the past for me. Also, try to locate a signal meter from one of your buddies that has a CB. You can fine tune the whip with this device.

VHF, or "ship to shore" radios as you call them are based on transmitting a frequency over line of sight. Thus, the higher the antenna, the better the coverage. Your bay boat will be limited in range due to close proximity to the water. I can talk to boats within a 5 mile range with no problem. Boats that have higher whips can hear and communicate with me further away.

Hope this helps!
S/S Radio
SC...some marine Shakespear or Hi-Gain whips taken off the original bracket has a 1/2" sq base that fits tight into a 1/2" pvc pipe (say 6' long)...drop the pvc thru a rod holder next to the consul and mount another rod holder or clip close to the floor to hold bottom...allowing enough co-ax to go back up to reach the radio...try to use all the co-ax w/out wrapping any...this puts the bottom of the antenna sitting on top the pvc away from the radio w/ only one bend...biggest hassle is taking down and pulling the antenna out and laying both on the floor...but like FFF said the SWR vs.Wave Length is important...have someone check it w/ a meter...'ya might end up talk'n to Fidel...(on a DagoCoonazz rig)...cheers