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SHAKESPEARE QUICKCONNECT ANTENNAS

Let’s face it, anyone who has ever owned a boat and has performed any of the electronics rigging firsthand knows one thing that is for sure - installing and wiring a VHF antenna is a real challenge.
By Capt. John N. Raguso
SHAKESPEARE QUICKCONNECT ANTENNAS

While that is especially true the first time through the lineup, it’s even more unbearable having to do it all over again, a punishment that is required in case of an unforeseen malfunction. Shakespeare fielded the customer service calls and challenged their engineering and design team to solve the problem and they did, in the form of the QuickConnect antenna series.

At dockside, replacing a VHF marine antenna has never been an easy task. Even when a boat is on jack stands or a trailer, running coax cable is difficult and time-consuming. With Shakespeare's new QuickConnect, sail and powerboat owners simply screw or unscrew the antenna from its mount, swap it out with another unit and it’s done. Available in 3-, 4- and 8-foot models, the QuickConnect line of antennas provides boat owners with the ability to easily and rapidly replace a damaged antenna, or remove it when winterizing or towing. It's also perfect for backup, OEM and refit installations.

For general inshore boating applications, the 3- and 4-foot models have a 3dB gain, while the 8-foot version is rated at 6dB, which is more appropriate for coastal and offshore service. All have a voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) of <1.5:1 at 156.8 MHz, and a bandwidth of 5 MHz within 2.0:1 VSWR. Chrome-plated brass ferrules thread into high-quality connections that won't generate noise due to vibration. Each comes with easy-to-use Centerpin PL-259 crimp-on connectors and 20 feet of RG-58 coax cable. A splash cap is supplied to seal off the connection when the antenna is removed. The mounts are available in rail and ratchet style, in long-lasting stainless steel.

The bottom line is that there is no added cost to leverage the insightful engineering or convenience of the Shakespeare QuickConnect antenna mount. If you were to buy the components separately, a quality standard 6 dB/8-foot antenna with a heavy duty epoxy radome (like the Shakespeare Galaxy 5225) is $152.99 at West Marine, plus an additional $50 or so for the S/S ratchet mount. The MSRP for a similar sized 6 dB QuickConnect system is $59.95 for the 8-foot QC-8 antenna and $99.95 for the proprietary deck/hardtop/T-Top stainless steel ratchet mount, so it’s actually a bit more affordable for the added safety factor of being able to quickly swap out a dysfunctional antenna.

The QuickConnect system requires that you run the wiring once and that’s it. Antenna changes are a breeze after that and there’s no need to spend an hour or more snaking the new coax cable through a labyrinth of pipes, curves and secret passages as it works its way from your VHF, AIS or AM/FM receiver to wherever that elevated perch is up above where your antenna calls home.

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