Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

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Shakespeare INFL8
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Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Shakespeare INFL8 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:29 pm

Hello,

Shakespeare UK have developed a new Inflatable VHF antenna that can increase the range of a handheld radio by 3x

We have been told by many people that the antenna is perfect for sea kayak use! It will allow you to stay in contact and make sure you are safe. Highly visible and adaptor for most VHF’s (SMA ) and packs away to a very small space.

We have heard a lot about limited VHF range from kayaks due to low level and the performance of handled radio antennas - we really feel this is a game changing safety product - welcome your feedback or questions!!

See the product here https://productimageserver.com/literatu ... 6391BR.pdf

See a video here

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Chris Bolton » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:15 pm

Am I right in thinking that connecting this to a handheld set requires one with a removable antenna, eg, an BNC connector or similar? Not to say there are none, but I haven't see a handheld set like that since the 1980s, probably because with the models available now sea kayakers always go for fully waterproof IPX 8 models.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Chas C » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:41 am

Its an SMA adaptor not a BNC, the linked pdf details it.

You'd need time to deploy it and then how well would it would operate if the connectors got wet during assembly.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by andynormancx » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:20 am

The antenna on my Standard Horizon attaches with an SMA connector so there are definitely some handhelds this could connect to.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by G7AFM » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:24 am

even the cheap Baofeng (£40) have sma connectors.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by andynormancx » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:26 am

My ICOM in comparison did not, though I believe they did an adapter for it to get a BNC out.

Shakespeare INFL8
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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Shakespeare INFL8 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:37 am

Hi - Yes, it is supplied with SMA adaptor which will fit about 70% of the handhelds on the market.

The connectors could be pre-installed before use, permanently connected to the handheld if preferred. The unit can be inflated when needed and deflated when not.

Although Shakespeare is predominantly an antenna company for boats, when we have shown this product to local safety advisers, they told Shakespeare to introduce it to the Kayak market because of the additional range and visibility. There are stories of people using phones for emergency contact, which is not safe in open water - anything to increase the range of your communications is important and this antenna packs up to a very small size.

Genuinely we welcome feedback on this. Thank you for your questions!

Note - we tested it on the Icom IC-M73 Euro hand held, which does have SMA fitting.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Chas C » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:03 am

Hi Shakespeare - thanks for the fast update :-).

Looks like an option people could choose, what would the price be.

Oh and your comment "its not safe to use mobile phone in open water", why would that be, I'm interested as I can't see any reason why using a mobile phone might be dangerous (perhaps to rely on as only means of communication). PLB's, Radio, Mobile Phones all have their place.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Shakespeare INFL8 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:18 am

No problem :)

Happy to reply - The concern for Mobile Phones at sea is range. As you get further out the signal / coverage is limited. We would advise you not to take the risk in open water. Being honest - my background is based in bigger vessels where you MUST have a VHF. Of course Phones / PLBs do all have their place but in open water - range is key for contact.


Retail is £149 but street price is lower of course. (There are offers out for next few months in many shops)

happy to answer any other questions

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Sean_soup » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:37 am

Shakespeare INFL8 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:29 pm
We have been told by many people that the antenna is perfect for sea kayak use!
Erm.. you know sea kayakers carry a 2m+ paddle and a 2m+ spare paddle right? There have been some musings on here before about increasing the range of a VHF by using some kind of extension to get more height on the antenna - I don't think anyone yet has suggested a short inflatable stick would be a useful part of that.
Shakespeare INFL8 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:18 am
The concern for Mobile Phones at sea is range. As you get further out the signal / coverage is limited.
Exactly the same as a VHF then. 'Further out' is a relative concept, and some coastlines have better mobile phone coverage than others.

Funnily enough I overheard the CG end of a conversation following a 'mayday' call from a yacht in Pembrokeshire last summer. Apparently the CG were struggling to understand barely intelligible transmissions, but had established that the person calling them had a mobile phone which did appear to have a signal. The last thing I heard on Ch16 was the CG advising them to discontinue the radio conversation and use the phone to call 999 instead.

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Re: Increased VHF range on your Kayak! GALAXY-INFL8

Post by Shakespeare INFL8 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:49 pm

100% correct that no-one has ever suggested an inflatable 'stick' before, which is why we were awarded the global patent on the idea :)

Appreciate the feedback - Extension height on the antenna is all good for extending range and you could strap this product to one of you paddles and increase height even more. The antenna is a full 3dB half wave - making it much more efficient than the small helical on many units.

The good news on your other point is that the person did have mobile phone signal! Glad they were OK. If you have signal and can call 999 that is great, but... if they hadn't and the barely intelligible transmission was all they had? This highlights to me the benefit of a better antenna product.

I am happy to listen to any other questions and learn.

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