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Law Enforcement Vessel Antennas

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sflmonitor

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Im trying to identify the purpose of the antennas pictured below that are in use by the US Coast Guard, CBP and other law enforcement vessels. Generally most of these vessels have antennas for VHF marine, AIS, agency specific, GPS, etc. My understanding is that this particular antenna is most likely VHF. I found this link that possibly identifies the antenna: Morad Antenna. So even if I’m correct and this is indeed the antenna they are using, why use this type? Why not a “standard” Fiberglas marine VHF? All I can think of is gain. Maybe. Hoping that someone with experience in this cane chime in.

1BE8CAEA-E1AC-41DF-A104-177997B71CF5.jpeg923D7FBB-2BE5-47B2-9721-873C91FCB89B.jpeg
 

mmckenna

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why use this type? Why not a “standard” Fiberglas marine VHF? All I can think of is gain. Maybe. Hoping that someone with experience in this cane chime in.
The commonly seen fiberglass whips tend to not stand up well to heavy vibration. There are some that are better than others, but most of them are a cheap/thin fiberglass tube with with small elements inside (better ones) or simply stripped back coax (cheap ones).

The choice was probably made by looking at long term durability.

And gain isn't that important when the antenna is that close to the water. At that height, distance to horizon is probably on the order for 4 miles or so. Lower gain antennas can work better when the boat is rocking a lot also. One of the reason s you'll see half wave antennas on sail boats isn't just because of the lack of suitable ground plane, but also because the radiation pattern can be a bit more favorable when the mast is laying over in a high wind.
 

sflmonitor

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The commonly seen fiberglass whips tend to not stand up well to heavy vibration. There are some that are better than others, but most of them are a cheap/thin fiberglass tube with with small elements inside (better ones) or simply stripped back coax (cheap ones).

The choice was probably made by looking at long term durability.
I’m not well versed on marine antennas so this is good info. Thank you. But that brings up another question. Why would those entities not use the more durable antennas universally instead of having a mix of fiberglass, stainless steel whip, etc.? I’m assuming when it comes to antennas for their agency specific radios, there may be limited inventory to chose from? I see they all have a mix of antennas so not coincidence it seems. But otherwise...

Thoughts?
 

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The fat antenna does look like a Morad. In So Cal the USCG uses mostly Shakespeare and the model HS-2774 for 136-174MHz is pretty much standard. I've worked with the guys that install antennas and equipment for USCG Sector Los Angeles, if I see them in the near future I'll ask what they are installing now.

Update, here is a picture of a similar boat I took last year, you can see the Shakespeare HS-2774 at the far left and what I believe is its UHF 380-490Mhz counterpart on the far right. If you don't like the choice of antennas at USCG Sector LA, you will answer to the black thing hanging out front. The second picture of the guy with an M4 has nothing to do with antennas but I took that on the same day and it looks cool.....


IMG_1617.JPG

IMG_1616.JPG
 
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mmckenna

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If you are referring to the Morad antenna, It's not a mix of fiberglass and stainless. the lower part is aluminum and the whip is stainless steel.

As to why there is a mix, I don't know. There is not a wide range of UHF marine antennas out there, so maybe using what is available. And as PRCGUY suggested, things get swapped out periodically, so unless the boat is new, there's going to be a mix of stuff.

It's probably not a limited inventory choice, we never worked that way back in the 90's. While we did get some stuff thorough the federal government, you'd be surprised how much stuff was commercial off the shelf stuff.
 

sflmonitor

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If you are referring to the Morad antenna, It's not a mix of fiberglass and stainless. the lower part is aluminum and the whip is stainless steel.
Not referring to Morad being a mix, but was wondering why they wouldn’t just have all Morad for VHF instead of a mix of Morad and fiberglass. Or vice versa.
 

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The USCG has frequencies from the high 130Mhz range through the high 160Mhz range on some radios and a wide band antenna like the Shakespeare HS-2774 is needed. For a marine band only radio a Morad or regular marine antenna would suffice.

Not referring to Morad being a mix, but was wondering why they wouldn’t just have all Morad for VHF instead of a mix of Morad and fiberglass. Or vice versa.
 

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Here is the typical UHF antenna you will see on military and Fed boats for odd UHF freqs and interop. Its a Shakespeare model US-3849 and covers 380 to 490Mhz. I see it as a compliment to the VHF HS-2774.

88147


If you are referring to the Morad antenna, It's not a mix of fiberglass and stainless. the lower part is aluminum and the whip is stainless steel.

As to why there is a mix, I don't know. There is not a wide range of UHF marine antennas out there, so maybe using what is available. And as PRCGUY suggested, things get swapped out periodically, so unless the boat is new, there's going to be a mix of stuff.

It's probably not a limited inventory choice, we never worked that way back in the 90's. While we did get some stuff thorough the federal government, you'd be surprised how much stuff was commercial off the shelf stuff.
 

iMONITOR

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Could it possibly be for HF? I found this:

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary took part in a DART Emergency Preparedness Drill


88149
 

prcguy

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Oh gawd, that thing. I know the person who owns the car in the picture and turned them on to the tapped HF coil in the picture. Seems like its model was a 392 or something similar, I have one in my garage. It works as a base load but works much better as a center load and depending on the mast and whip length will tune anywhere from 80 through 10m.

Here is a newer version from the same mfr. 784P Hf Mobile Antenna Coil, 80 - 10 meters SOTA, FIELD, Portable, Ham Radio NEW | eBay

Could it possibly be for HF? I found this:

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary took part in a DART Emergency Preparedness Drill

View attachment 88149
 

mmckenna

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Could it possibly be for HF? I found this:
I doubt it. I don't think they are running HF in boats that small. Even if they were, that would be a horrible choice for an HF antenna. I do know they are running VHF and UHF, as PRCGUY pointed out, and that would explain the two antennas.
 

prcguy

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The picture of the coil and whip on the car with sun roof is an HF antenna but for the USCG AUX and you won't find that on a USCG vessel.

I doubt it. I don't think they are running HF in boats that small. Even if they were, that would be a horrible choice for an HF antenna. I do know they are running VHF and UHF, as PRCGUY pointed out, and that would explain the two antennas.
 

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The USCG has frequencies from the high 130Mhz range through the high 160Mhz range on some radios and a wide band antenna like the Shakespeare HS-2774 is needed. For a marine band only radio a Morad or regular marine antenna would suffice.
Ok that makes perfect sense. Thank you and mmckenna for your inputs. As they say, there’s a reason to the madness and this seems to be a good example.
 

hill

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Never saw a indication of HF on the 25's or the newer 29's.

The 45' RB-M does have HF onboard and its whatever is the latest and greatest HF from Motorola. The HF whip antennas are black.
 

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I doubt it. I don't think they are running HF in boats that small. Even if they were, that would be a horrible choice for an HF antenna. I do know they are running VHF and UHF, as PRCGUY pointed out, and that would explain the two antennas.
I was thinking possibly for eavesdropping/tracking drug boats, pirates from other countries.
 

prcguy

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I think the little boats do patrols and some physical interceptions but not any radio radio interception, that is a specialized task not suited for a little boat. I know Predator type drones have been used for surveillance along the So Cal coast with many different agencies responding to the final destination for the drug or human trafficking.

In some cases I believe it would be good to do some radio monitoring as its been reported when boats hit the shore, sometimes in expensive neighborhoods, there seems to be a van waiting to load up all the people from the boat and speed off. Its been mentioned they might use FRS or similar between the van and smugglers.


I was thinking possibly for eavesdropping/tracking drug boats, pirates from other countries.
 

ecps92

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for CBP, might it be for their own VHF Net??
for USCG for their LMR Net [VHF and UHF] keeping a VHF Marine open to monitoring 16/9 etc?
Im trying to identify the purpose of the antennas pictured below that are in use by the US Coast Guard, CBP and other law enforcement vessels. Generally most of these vessels have antennas for VHF marine, AIS, agency specific, GPS, etc. My understanding is that this particular antenna is most likely VHF. I found this link that possibly identifies the antenna: Morad Antenna. So even if I’m correct and this is indeed the antenna they are using, why use this type? Why not a “standard” Fiberglas marine VHF? All I can think of is gain. Maybe. Hoping that someone with experience in this cane chime in.
 

sflmonitor

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for CBP, might it be for their own VHF Net??
for USCG for their LMR Net [VHF and UHF] keeping a VHF Marine open to monitoring 16/9 etc?
I’m thinking along the same lines as prcguy in that the Morad is probably for the marine radios as it has a very narrow bandwidth and the other fiberglass antennas are for their agency-specific VHF/UHF radios as those antennas have a broader bandwidth.
 

hill

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Having worked along side these CG small boats I know that don't really do any radio intercept of any criminal activities.

Radios onboard are used for command and control, plus talking with other vessels.
 
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