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Best Marine VHF Antenna – Stay Connected

Best Marine VHF Antenna

Having a VHF radio isn’t enough you need the best marine VHF antenna to maintain clear communication over a long distance

.Having a radio on your boat is not a nicety, it's a necessity!  Whether in the sea or inland waterways, you use your radio to contact other vessels, land based authorities such as harbormasters and in emergency situations, rescue departments.

In this guide we bring you the best marine VHF antennas that will compliment your radio and serve your needs on the water.

Read next: Check out our review of the best boat coolerunderwater boat lights, and marine VHF radio.

Please note: This article contains affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page you won't pay anything, but we'll get a small commission.

Best Marine VHF Antenna - (Comparison Table)

Best Overall
METZ COMMUNICATION CORP. Manta 6 VHF Marine Antenna with Bracket
Shakespeare 6225-R Phase III VHF Antenna - 8' VHF Marine Band 6dB Gain
Pacific Aerials SeaMaster Pro 6dB 3.3' VHF Antenna
Shakespeare 5225XT Galaxy VHF Antenna, 8-Feet
Best Budget
Shakespeare 5241-R Low Profile 3' VHF Marine Antenna
Brand & Model
Metz Manta 6
Shakespeare 6225-R Phase III
Pacific Aerials SeaMaster Pro
Shakespeare 5225 XT
Shakespeare 5241-R
Length
87cm (34 in)
67.1 cm (26.41 in)
0.89cm (3 ft)
2.4 m (8 ft)
0.9 m (3 ft)
Signal Gain
3 DB
6 DB
6 DB
6 DB
3 DB
Cable Length
--
5m (16.4 ft)
4.57m (15 ft)
6.1m (20ft)
4.57m (15 ft)
Best Overall
METZ COMMUNICATION CORP. Manta 6 VHF Marine Antenna with Bracket
Brand & Model
Metz Manta 6
Length
87cm (34 in)
Signal Gain
3 DB
Cable Length
--
Shakespeare 6225-R Phase III VHF Antenna - 8' VHF Marine Band 6dB Gain
Brand & Model
Shakespeare 6225-R Phase III
Length
67.1 cm (26.41 in)
Signal Gain
6 DB
Cable Length
5m (16.4 ft)
Pacific Aerials SeaMaster Pro 6dB 3.3' VHF Antenna
Brand & Model
Pacific Aerials SeaMaster Pro
Length
0.89cm (3 ft)
Signal Gain
6 DB
Cable Length
4.57m (15 ft)
Shakespeare 5225XT Galaxy VHF Antenna, 8-Feet
Brand & Model
Shakespeare 5225 XT
Length
2.4 m (8 ft)
Signal Gain
6 DB
Cable Length
6.1m (20ft)
Best Budget
Shakespeare 5241-R Low Profile 3' VHF Marine Antenna
Brand & Model
Shakespeare 5241-R
Length
0.9 m (3 ft)
Signal Gain
3 DB
Cable Length
4.57m (15 ft)

VHF Antenna - (Video Review)

Top Marine VHF Antenna

Best Marine VHF Antenna Overall 

Metz Manta 6

This unit has a great reputation and used by coastguards as well as search and rescue operators. The whip can be replaced if it gets damaged and the coil is guaranteed for life.

It’s design makes the unit very easy to install and the galvanized bracket stands up well to the harsh elements of the ocean. The plastic on the unit is UV treated and so wont yellow or crack in the sun.

There are multiple mounts that can be bought for mounting on a bow rail or flat surface.

  • Length: 87cm (34 in)
  • Signal Gain: 3 DB

What we like

  • Antenna has a lifetime warranty
  • High quality construction
  • Trusted by emergency services
  • Resistant to bird strike

What we don't like

  • Cable needs to be purchased separately

Best Marine VHF Antenna For Motor Boats

Shakespeare 6225-R Phase III

The Shakespeare 6225-R features a stainless steel ferrule which not only houses the components in place, but acts as a mounting sleeve.

The length of the antenna is good as it adds extra miles to the range of the radio, but has the disadvantage of being vulnerable to breaking in high winds. The unit does have a fibreglass radome which gives it extra strength.

The unit boats a 6 DB gain which is very powerful and aids in wider communication. It has a 20 ft cable that allows a variety of places for out of the way installation.

  • Length: 2.4 m (8ft)
  • Signal Gain: 6 DB
  • Cable Length: ​6.1m (20ft)

What we like

  • High signal gain
  • Solid construction
  • Provides good line of sight over long distances.

What we don't like

  • Vulnerable in high winds
  • At the higher end of the price range.

Best Removable VHF Antenna

Pacific Aerials SeaMaster Pro

This antenna is unique on the list as it’s the only one that can be easily removed. The cable is connected to the base of the mount, the antenna can then be screwed into place when needed.

This is a great option for protecting the antenna when not in use.  The antenna is tough hard wearing and long lasting.

  • Length: 0.89cm (3 ft)
  • Signal Gain: 6 DB
  • Cable Length: 5m (16.4 ft)

What we like

  • Easily removable
  • 6 DB signal gain

What we don't like

  • Can only be used with SeaMaster mounts

Best Value Marine VHF Antenna

Shakespeare 5225 XT

This unit is taller than other VHF antennas and provides a longer range. The 6 DB signal gain provides a crisp clear quality.

This model has been strengthened to cope better in high winds and contains a Stainless steel ferrule for extra stability.

The 6.1m (20ft) cable allows you to mount the antenna in the most optimal position without needing to move or adjust any of your other equipment.

  • Length: 2.4 m (8 ft)
  • Signal Gain: 6 DB
  • Cable Length: ​6.1m (20ft)

What we like

  • High gain
  • Strong and resistant to snapping in high winds
  • 20 ft cable
  • 5 year warranty

What we don't like

  • Fairly expensive

Best Budget Marine VHF Antenna 

Shakespeare 5241-R

This unit has a whip antenna, making it suitable for high winds. It can be mounted on masts without fear of it breaking when the winds get up. Its compact size also makes it perfect for the smaller types of vessels.

The Antenna has a stainless steel ferrule which adds to its strength and features a brass bass where the cable can be threaded..

  • Length: 0.9 m (3 ft)
  • Signal Gain: 3 db
  • Cable Length: ​4.57m (15 ft)

What we like

  • 3 DB signal gain
  • 2 year warranty 
  • Strong and compact

What we don't like

  • The shorter antenna impedes its range

Buyer's Guide for Best Marine VHF Antenna

Why do I need an antenna?

If you buy a VHF radio and install it, there is a chance it will work without an antenna, at least for extremely short distances, like in the harbour and that is a BIG CHANCE.

Your Radio needs an antenna to boost its send and receive signal. Without an antenna, your VHF radio is basically useless.

Is the length of an antenna important?

Yes!
VHF radios work by line of sight. This means that they need to see one another. The antenna acts like a giant radio eye. The higher it is off the deck of a boat the further it can see. Remember the earth is not flat. As the distance between vessels grow, the line of sight between the vessels becomes impaired.

You are not going to get an antenna that will allow you to broadcast your VHF signal around the world. You need to consider where you are going to mount your antenna, what distance you will need to use it over, and what conditions you are likely to be in.

If you have a motorboat for instance then the areas you have to mount your antenna are plentiful, but mounting your antenna up high may be a bit of a challenge as most motor boats don't have masts. Getting a tall antenna in this case makes sense.

On a fishing boat, or yacht where the option to mount your antenna higher is easier, choosing a shorter antenna is a better idea. The higher an antenna is mounted the more exposed it is to high winds which could cause damage.

What Signal Gain is best?

Generally speaking the bigger the vessel the greater the signal gain should be. The higher the gain the more focused the signal.

In rough seas if the boat is rocking a lot the signal can become distorted in higher gain antennas.  This is why high gain antennas on small boats is not advised.  The more stable the platform the larger the gain can be.

A rough gauge. 24 ft vessels and below should go with a 3 DB gain. 24 to 40 should go with a 6 DB.

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About the Author Brad Pickering-Dunn

Hey, I'm Brad - the founder and editor of Watercraft Watch. My love for boating is what prompted me to start WatercraftWatch.com – helping people find the right equipment and supplies so they can enjoy their time on the water. I hope you find the articles on the site useful, and share in my love for boating.

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