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I have a Garmin chart plotter, depth finder (can't remember the exact model number but it doesn't really matter, its a lower end color unit). The problem is that for the second time the GPS isn't reading satellites. The first time, it was under warranty and the guy who installed it came out and installed a new antenna. It seems like the same thing is happening again.

My questions are:
1. Is antenna failure a common occurrence, or have I been getting some bad antennas?
2. Might this problem be in my Garmin unit and not in the antenna itself?
3. Should I replace just the antenna unit that is mounted to my T-Top or should I replace the antenna and the entire cable assembly?
4. If I only replace the antenna at the top, how is the cable spliced into the antenna? Is there a splicing kit I'll need to buy?

Any additional experience or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dave
 

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Dave.

1- Not sure, I have a Garmin but have never had an issue.

2- Hard to say exactly where the problem is, it could be either. Without having it checked by Garmin I don't know how you would tell without just trying the antenna.

3 & 4- The antenna and cable will come as one assembly, I wouldn't recommend trying to splice the cable. Its very small wire and splicing could effect the accuracy.

Andy
 

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The first time it happened - changing out the antenna fixed it so that almost points to another bad antenna.

There is a way to check the output voltage from the unit.On my NorthStar- it was 5.5 -6.0. Not sure what a Garmin should be.

You might want to look to see if the antenna cable is chafing and wearing through.Sometimes a warranty part will carry an extended warranty- can not hurt to ask.

Some units have a self check - it might require reading the booklet to find the right buttons to push.
 

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I have a Garmin 2006 Chartplotter unit, and last summer, I was having a few issues losing the sats while running faster than 30... I bought a short extention pole (18"- 2' maybe), and remounted my old GPS antenna, and I havent had a single problem since.

I had bought the antenna to replace if raising it didnt cure the problem, it was like $65, but luckily, I didnt need to use it. Just a simple $20 extention pole. Good Luck!
 

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Dave.

3 & 4- The antenna and cable will come as one assembly, I wouldn't recommend trying to splice the cable. Its very small wire and splicing could effect the accuracy.

Andy
At this point I would disagree....remove the cable from the unit and make sure it's clean, a shot of contact cleaner will help. Test it, if problem persists then crimp a new end to the cable....while a tricky procedure it can be done if you take your time and use caution on assembly.
What do you have to lose....3 or 4 bucks for the cable end ?
 

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I tried spicing.... unsuccessful

My cable wore though. I tried to splice it with a cable splice from Radio shack.... Did not work.... Getting the impedance to match is a very tricky proposition... I bought a new antenna for I think $49.00 (cheapest price) from a place called the Antenna Store....

Also an antenna "mast" can be made with ordinary PVC pipe and fittings from your home improvement store......

I remove it when I park my boat to prevent theft....

Good luck....

Bill
 

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At this point I would disagree....remove the cable from the unit and make sure it's clean, a shot of contact cleaner will help. Test it, if problem persists then crimp a new end to the cable....while a tricky procedure it can be done if you take your time and use caution on assembly.
What do you have to lose....3 or 4 bucks for the cable end ?
To clarify, I wouldn't splice it in the middle of the cable or at the antenna. Depending on which plotter it is, there may not be a screw-on cable end, some come with raw wires that have to be splice into the NMEA cable. He didn't specify the model. And your right, checking all connections should be the place to start.
 

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for I think $49.00 (cheapest price) from a place called the Antenna Store....

Also an antenna "mast" can be made with ordinary PVC pipe and fittings from your home improvement store......

Bill
Just to be clear to the potential "do it yourselfers"- an antenna mast made from PVC is only a goo idea if you intend to do what Bill described (removing after each use). PVC exposed to direct sunlight (as needed for accurate GPS antenna placement) will become very brittle, and will begin to break down (those with older boats with pvc rod holders, or pvc seat frames). You can probably get a few seasons out of it though...
 
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