Best Marine Vhf Antenna Reviews

10 Best Marine VHF Antennas (Reviews Updated 2020)

Owning a VHF radio gives you security for emergency and communication purposes. It’s paramount to have one in your boat so you can always stay connected. To help ensure that you have a reliable and strong connection, then you should get a VHF antenna for your radio.

Radios use antennas to transmit their signals, but if you want to boost the signal’s strength for maximum power and audio quality, then the best VHF antenna is the way to go. There are a lot of options out there, so it might be daunting to decide which is the best one for you. You wouldn’t want to get an antenna that is weak and unreliable.

That’s why we’ve compiled our top VHF antenna choices, to ensure that you’ll only get only the best of the best. We’ll also discuss in our guide what features you should look out for. You’ll be an expert buyer of VHF antennas in no time.

Best Marine VHF Antennas

Here are the 10 best marine vhf antennas.

1. Shakespeare 36-Inch Low-Profile Stainless Steel VHF Antenna

Best Overall

Shakespeare 36 Inch Low Profile Stainless Steel Vhf Antenna

Review

Shakespeare’s antenna uses copper and brass construction, along with chrome brass ferrule. It has a length of 8 ft.. The mounts you can use for this antenna are 4190, 4188-S, and 4187. There is a connector and a cable included in the package. This antenna will prove to be a reliable and durable radio companion.

Size: 96 x 3 x 3 in

Weight: 2 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Comes with connector and cable
  • Length of 8 feet
  • Chrome brass ferrule
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2. Tram Marine Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel “L” Bracket VHF Antenna

Editor’s Top Pick

Tram Marine Heavy Duty Stainless Steel L Bracket Vhf Antenna

Review

Tram’s antenna is built for heavy-duty use with its stainless steel bracket which you can use to mount the antenna to the side or mast. There’s an included coaxial cable and connector in the package. The entire band frequency is covered by the antenna as well.

Size: 36 x 2.5 x 4.5 in

Weight: 1.45 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Covers all frequencies
  • Stainless steel bracket
  • Heavy-duty
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3. Tram Heavy-Duty Thick Stainless Steel VHF Antenna

Great Price

Tram Heavy Duty Thick Stainless Steel Vhf Antenna

Review

Tram’s antenna uses a loading coil along with its stainless steel bracket and a 35-inch whip. You can mount it on either the boat’s mast or side. It’s perfect for a sailboat antenna because of its 6 decibel gain feature.

Size: 36 x 4.5 x 1.8 in

Weight: 1.15 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • 6 decibel gain
  • Stainless steel bracket
  • 35-inch whip
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4. METZ COMMUNICATION CORP Manta 6 Marine VHF Antenna

Metz Communication Corp Manta 6 Marine Vhf Antenna

Review

This METZ antenna is the choice of USCG for their rescue missions, which means that it’s built up quite a reputation. That’s partly thanks to its strong fiberglass construction and thin design. Its stainless steel construction and soldered connections give it better durability, and it even uses a cap that’s UV resistant. It’s built with internal grounding, low radiation emission, weather resistance, and lightning protection. All the features guarantee that this antenna is made to last.

Weight: 1.5 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Strong, durable construction
  • Fiberglass build
  • Thin design
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5. Shakespeare 5400-XT Galaxy 4′ Marine VHF Antenna

Shakespeare 5400 Xt Galaxy 4' Marine Vhf Antenna

Review

This antenna uses copper and brass parts for optimal transmission range and steel ferrule for added durability. The antenna is 4 ft long, comes with a cable that’s 20 ft long and connector, and has a 3 decibel gain feature. You should use this with Shakespeare’s 4187 mount style.

Size: 52 x 3 x 3 in

Weight: 3.13 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • 3 decibel gain
  • Copper and brass parts
  • Comes with a 20 ft cable
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6. Pacific Aerials SeaMaster Pro VHF Antenna

Pacific Aerials Seamaster Pro Vhf Antenna

Review

This Pacific Aerials antenna uses UltraGlass that’s a more affordable but still reliable option. Its unique design allows you to conveniently mount and remove it on your boat. It uses a hardwired cable so there’s no need to cut or pull the cable when you’re removing the antenna. Even its electronics are at par with Pro Series models. It’s a handy and handsome antenna that’s perfect for medium and small boats. Just make sure to use it with the Pro mount as well to allow for mounting on the rail, deck, or side.

Size: 49 x 2 x 2 in

Weight: 1 pound

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Reliable electronics
  • Very user-friendly experience
  • UltraGlass build
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7. Shakespeare Classic VHF Antenna

Shakespeare Classic Vhf Antenna

Review

This is one lightweight and tiny antenna with complete functionality nonetheless. The connector is gold-plated and the whip and bracket are made of stainless steel. There’s a coaxial and mount you can purchase as extra add-ons.

Size: 16 x 5 x 0.4 in

Weight: 0.4 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Lightweight
  • Stainless steel bracket and whip
  • Gold-plated connector
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8. Tram VHF Marine Antenna

Tram Vhf Marine Antenna

Review

The antenna uses strong fiberglass and stainless steel construction for extra durability. It has a 3 decibel gain with all band frequencies covered. It comes with a connector and cable, and there’s a nylon mount included as well.

Size: 51 x 5.2 x 2.5 in

Weight: 2 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Fiberglass and stainless steel build
  • 3 decibel gain
  • Covers all band frequencies
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9. Tram 5 Ft Marine VHF Antenna

Tram 5 Ft Marine Vhf Antenna

Review

This antenna is pretty much similar to the previous antenna. It uses fiberglass and stainless steel and a 3 decibel gain. There’s an included Sony adaptor plate, nylon mount, and coaxial cable in the package.

Size: 66.5 x 5.8 x 4.2 in

Weight: 2.2 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Fiberglass and stainless steel build
  • 3 decibel gain
  • Sony adapter plate
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10. Shakespeare Low Profile VHF Antenna

Shakespeare Low Profile Vhf Antenna

Review

Shakespeare’s antenna is 3 ft long with an included 36-inch steel whip. It uses a 3 decibel gain and comes with a connector. There’s a cable included which you need to pass through a center hole mount.

Size: 40 x 3 x 3 in

Weight: 2.5 lbs

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Cable and connector included
  • 3 decibel gain
  • 3 ft long
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Buyer’s Guide — How To Choose Your Own Marine VHF Antenna

Best Marine Vhf Antenna ReviewsNow that you know which are the best marine VHF antennas you can get, you should also be aware of the different aspects and features of marine antennas. We have a buyer’s guide for you to help you in choosing the right antenna..

Since antennas help ensure your safety, you’ll want to purchase the best one suited to your boat and radio. It must have top-quality features and performance so your equipment will always be prepared to handle any emergency.

With this list of features, you’ll become a more discerning buyer that can tell what makes one antenna better than the other. More importantly, you’ll be able to decide what antenna complements your marine radio well.

Construction

Your antenna must be built to last with durable materials and solid build quality. Investing in a top-quality build is a good idea so your antenna won’t easily succumb to the harsh conditions of marine environments. Of course, better materials used means a more expensive antenna.

Fiberglass material and chrome-coated brass are key indicators that the antenna uses excellent materials. If you want to opt for something cheaper, those antennas will usually be made with plastic ferrule, but it doesn’t have the longevity to boot.

Range

Antenna range indicates the distance your radio signals will be sent. High-quality antennas will succeed better in sending your signals clearly and farther. Check the antenna’s range to see if it’s what you need.

The mounting location will also influence the antenna’s range. And if you have a sailboat antenna, then you should mount it higher for better range.

Gain and Decibel Rating

Gain is denoted using dB or decibels. It’s used to measure how much the antenna energy is being focused, which means that you’ll want to get the right gain depending on the kind of boat you have. A low gain means that the radiation patterns are broader, so your signals will reach more places. This can be useful for transmitting across rolling waves or choppy water. Higher means less horizontal reach but better signal transmission. If you want a sailboat antenna, then a lower dB will suit you better.

Durability

Your antenna must be durable to withstand the elements.  It will be out for long in the open water, so your antenna will be exposed to all kinds of hazards such as the sun, water, moisture, salt, etc. The materials and construction must then have the proper resistance to the marine environment, to ensure that the antenna will last for years.

Design

Many marine antennas are generally compact and the design variation lies in the shape of their antennas. You’ll find short and broader antennas in contrast to tall and thin ones. Decide what size profile you want to have for your antenna.

Height and Mount

The antenna height will affect its sound pick-up range. If your antenna is higher, then you should pick up transmissions and signals better since it has fewer obstacles to contend with it. So naturally, you’d want to make sure that the antenna is on the highest location on the boat that you can place it. By doing so, you’re increasing its capabilities to get clearer and stronger signals. A taller and higher antenna is more ideal.

If you have a sailboat, then your antenna will likely be mounted very high already. This means that the antenna doesn’t have to be designed with that much height. You’ll find sailboat antennas have a much shorter design. But if your boat is naturally shorter, then you should get it a taller antenna to compensate.

Cable Loss

Having cable loss means that you’ll get a weaker signal strength when your cable gets longer and longer. If the cable being used is around 100 ft long and it’s being used for small boats, then that could drastically reduce the signal for as much as 80%. If you’re using a much shorter cable like 10 to 20 ft long, then your signal will be quite intact. So as a general rule, keep the cable short as much as possible.

Mount

Some antennas are sold with a mount included while others need to have their mounts purchased separately. Check to see if the antenna you’re interested in includes a mount in the kit. Getting an antenna with a mount already will mean better convenience for you.

To help answer your burning questions, here are some of the most commonly asked questions by consumers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the frequently asked questions about the best marine VHF antennas.

Why Should I Use VHF Antennas?

An antenna is an essential part of radios. Better antennas result in stronger signal boosts, longer signal range, and clearer transmissions. In normal situations or emergencies, an excellent antenna will ensure that you stay connected to others.

Where Should I Mount The Antenna?

You have to mount the antenna as high as possible. It can be horizontally or vertically mounted, and some even allow mounting on a sloped surface. Just don’t keep the antenna close to other antennas to avoid any signal interference. Keep the antenna at least 3 ft away from your radio too. For sailboats, you ought to mount the antenna on the mast.

Do I Really Need An Antenna For My Radio?

Strictly speaking, it’s not necessary. VHF radios have their own smaller antennas built-in already, after all. Regardless, having one is immensely helpful. Marine antennas will boost the radio signal further than a built-in default antenna can, especially through long distances and harsh weather. And since your safety is one of our primary concerns, we encourage you to get a marine antenna to help your communication in potential emergencies.

After our top choices and buying guide, you should be ready to buy the best marine antenna for your marine radio. Before you make your purchase, here are some last reminders we have for you.

Marine VHF Antenna Review Conclusion

For picking the best marine antenna, you should put reliability as the main concern. You don’t want it failing in crucial moments after all. Durability comes next since antennas should last long against harsh marine conditions.

Having an antenna means peace of mind for you. You’ll be much safer knowing that you can communicate clearly for any assistance you may need in emergencies. You’re bound to have more confidence out in the open seas and in braving the elements that way.

A marine antenna will be a vital investment in your boating equipment. So don’t wait any longer. Get the best marine antenna for you now!