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Dealing with challenging antenna installs, part 2

Finding available real estate for mounting antennas is limited on most boats. There’s usually several antennas of various sizes and shapes along with running lights, horns, spotlights and cameras that are clustered in one central area. The challenges of keeping critical components from interfering with each other and out of the direct path of radar beams while maintaining proper sightlines can be formidable. Often stock radar arches or marine masts are not adequate to accommodate all of the equipment an owner wants.

Custom mounts may be the answer and they come in a variety of configurations. If you’re considering adding an antenna or other equipment that needs to be mounted high up and in clean air, you ought to take a look at the inventory of mounts, brackets, wedges and adapters made by Seaview. The company has mounts that facilitate installation on virtually any type and size of boat and fit all major marine electronics manufacturers’ equipment.

Below are excerpts from an article written for Marine Electronics Journal by Arnie Hammerman that will introduce you to some of the company’s custom mounts and accessories. Last week we touched on a few topics, including universal pre-drilled top plates that accommodate different brands of electronics and hinged mounts that allow boats to duck under low bridges.

Telescoping pole

Another custom solution is a telescoping pole mount with an electric actuator that raises and lowers the antenna vertically by 37 inches. This antenna mounting solution was originally developed for the M/V Thea Foss, a 1930s-era 120-foot riveted steel yacht from Seattle.  The telescoping mount allows the satellite dome to be raised when being used but lowered to maintain the profile of this classic yacht. Seaview can customize a solution for any type of vessel including actuator controls to move the antennas when needed.

Other more traditionally styled masts have also been customized to lower with actuators. Even if your installation does not require automated control, high-quality custom mounts provide the configuration you need for the specific electronics aboard and have the fit and finish that complement any vessel. 

"We use a lot of Seaview products, which make our electronics installations cleaner with a more professional finish,” said Aaron Held of Octopus Yachts. "Seaview's mounts also help with spacing and separation of multiple components such as when you have a radar, satdome, and a thermal camera or spotlight that all need to be mounted in close proximity.”

Cables runs and pole mounts

Often one of the weak links in many installations is penetrations where wires pass through decks or bulkheads. To allow for easy installation and maintain waterproof integrity Seaview offers a series of watertight cable glands. Standard glands are designed for cable diameters up to 15 mm (.59 inches), and are available in paintable gray glass-filled ABS plastic, and polished or black powder-coated stainless steel. Larger glands (17-33 mm) (.67- 1.3 inches) can fit up to a 1.25-inch connector that can be passed through the housing. A series of drill tubes allows you to customize the diaphragm hole securing the cable in the gland and ensuring watertight integrity. Retrofitable cable glands allow existing wire runs to be secured and made watertight. There is no need to re-run the cables, just install the new cable gland on an existing cable. They provide a waterproof pass-through for antenna, transducer, lights, power and other cables without removal of the factory-installed cable connector.

Certain applications lend themselves to pole mounting and Seaview has a variety of pole kits that allow the installation of marine antennas, lighting and even davits on poles. Mast mounts can be configured for sail and power alike and facilitate the secure mounting of a host of equipment on round, oval and tapered masts. The durability of Seaview mounts keeps electronics intact and functioning even when mounted in vulnerable areas such as the forward section of a sailboat mast. Additional equipment like horns or lights can be mounted on some models and their streamlined housing conceals cables. 

Typical retrofit

Installers are asked regularly to retrofit or replace existing marine electronics. A good example is a powerboat project where an existing manufacturer’s radar arch along with the radar array and running light assembly were removed. Replacement equipment consisted of a new modular mount with a universal top plate, a base wedge for better angle and radar performance, and a light bar and new light box for placement of the running lights above the radar. The aft-raked modular radar (riser) mount is bolted to the existing arch and the cables come up through the open center. A rubber gasket (included) is installed as the top plate is bolted to the mount. The top plate is drilled at the template points to allow the radar wedge and radome to bolt directly onto the platform. The radar cable is fed through the center of the top plate, which is cable gasketed to keep water out. Some boats might need additional cable glands for the wires coming out of the arch, but many times the wires feed into the enclosed center of the angled post of the modular mount which is already sealed.

The light pole attaches to the back of the power mount and running light wires are fed from the arch through the light pole. New LED running lights are attached to the light bar and then the whole assembly is connected and secured to the top of the light bar. With five assembled components from Seaview the new radar and navigation lights are now secured and mounted with the fresh powder-coated aluminum providing a professional look.

Seaview’s product line includes custom solutions for large motoryachts, modular mounting solutions for midsize and production powerboats, mast and pole mounting solutions and waterproof instrument pods for sailboats and open powerboats, and all the pieces and accessories to complete the job. Their website includes graphics of each product to help identify the components you need.

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