Monday, October 15, 2012

Radar Arch or Instrument Pole?

Most cruising boats today have lots of gadgets; chart plotters, GPS units, radars, wifi boosters and more.  With these gadgets come antennae.  Unlike a house where you just stick them on the roof, a cruising boat needs a dedicated place to mount these things.  On Rasmus, we opted for an instrument arch.  Arches are great in that they are a one stop shop; they can house the dinghy davits, antennae, an outboard motor hoist and solar panels in one spot which can be very convenient.  The downsides are:  they are heavy (especially if made of stainless steel like ours was), are often very expensive and can affect the lines of the boat (some arches look downright ugly).

With this new boat, Scott and I decided to scratch the arch and go with a simple instrument pole.  Several factors played into this decision: 1) Use - our radar is already mounted on the mast 2) Need -we'll be using flexible solar panels zipped into our bimini top so don't need a framework* 3) Cost - a custom arch would have been 10K or more and 4) Look -we think the lines on this boat are so pretty and perfect, we'd like to keep them as streamlined and clean as we can.

Scott and Walt got to work running the wires and prepping the new pole for installation with some help from little miss Isla.  This new pole will hold our two GPS antennae, our Rogue Wave Pro antenna, our stern light, an aft deck light as well as our outboard motor hoist.  In addition we will have stainless davits custom made for us by UMT Marine.  We think it's going to look pretty slick.

How do you manage the antennae aboard your boat?  Do you have a preference for arch vs. pole?  We'd love to hear your thoughts!

*More on this when we get to that point.


Robert Salnick said...

Hi guys -

On Eolian we have neither an arch nor a pole. But we do have a mizzenmast (OK, I guess that's kind of a pole), where the radar is mounted.

The VHF antenna is mounted on the top of the mainmast, as high as it can be; there is a second (currently not connected) VHF antenna on top of the mizzen.

Our GPS has an internal antenna (yea!).

For Wifi, our antenna is inside, near the computer - we also use a Clearwire cell phone modem (useless outside the US, I'm sure), also inside near the computer.

Finally, for our ham radio, we have an insulated backstay.

There would probably be some sort of electronic Armageddon if we tried to use all of this stuff simultaneously...

s/v Eolian

Robert Salnick said...

Oh yeah - there's a TV antenna on the mizzen too. :)


Neophyte Cruiser said...

We, too, have a radar pole...but, Isla sure is growing up fast! We can't get over how much she's changed this past half-year! It does go by fast. It's good you two (Scott and Brittany) have the good fortune to spend so much time with Isla!

Windtraveler said...

@ Robert - sounds like you've got a sweet setup. We looked at several ketch rigged boats and loved the idea of a mizzen for mounting stuff...our backstay is also insulated for the SSB, and our VHF antenna is also at the top of the mast. I'm looking forward to seeing how the final pole/davits project turns out because this was Scott's "baby" - he is a stickler for aesthetics and so far all his "ideas" have been good ones!
@Neophyte - She sure is!! Just yesterday she pulled herself to standing for the first time...she's a crawling, laughing, chattering machine these days. Seriously loving every single minute watching her wire up her limbs and figure out the world around her!

Anson Theodore said...

It looks like a radar dish to me. Better check the interim spc technology connector and its designated SKU just to be sure.

July Savard said...

Found the same model with antenna perth. On closer inspection most antenna as receivers and transmitters have similar circuitry.

Lilly Clarke said...

There are instances that you will be needing some laser hand tools in creating an improvised radar. But I think, this will also work perfectly since most of the inventions were created by accident.

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