Steaming light, VHF not working.

nevis768

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I have a VHF and steaming light which are not working. I have fitted a new cable from the light to the foot of the mast, but it’s still not working. I thought the VHF was ok because I did a successful test call with Stornaway coastguard. However, I notice now that it only receives very intermittently.

I also found what looks like the VHF cable inside the boat near the mast, but not connected to anything.

The steaming light cable seems to disappear into the headlining and I’m not keen to take it down. I was wondering about fitting a new cable from the fuse panel, and exiting from the same hole as the VHF.

I don’t know anything about boat electrics, and have included a picture of the fittings at the base of the mast. The larger of the 3 is beyond the headlining as it’s in the passageway, could I fit two cables through this somehow, or should I buy something else? It's the white one with black centre. Hope this makes sense.
 

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Daverw

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The cable you show looks like the vhf coax that is screened onto a deck socket, if you take the rubber off you should see the screwed connector, if this is the case you should see on the inside of the boat the vhf cable connections, it could be the inside coax has just pulled out of the fitting
 

MoodySabre

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On the left of your photo is a deck gland through which one of the cables must pass and be connected up inside. You have no option but to take down some of the headlining to find out what goes on below deck.
 

nevis768

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Thanks for the replies. I'll have another look tomorrow and see what I can see. (I think the marina actually took the mast down and didn't put cables back properly, but they are not helpful, and before my ownership) The cable for the left deck gland is for the new steaming light cable, but it won't work, so I suspect the problem is in the headlining.
 

Daverw

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The vhf one looks like they have unscrewed from the deck rather than undo the fitting as the black tape/ rubber boot does not look as if it’s be disturbed, this would then pull the coax cable of on the inside.
it is normal for other cables to be run just inside and using some form of connections the reconnect as this saves pulling cables each time the mast is dropped
 

nevis768

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The vhf one looks like they have unscrewed from the deck rather than undo the fitting as the black tape/ rubber boot does not look as if it’s be disturbed, this would then pull the coax cable of on the inside.
it is normal for other cables to be run just inside and using some form of connections the reconnect as this saves pulling cables each time the mast is dropped
I checked the co-ax cable and you can see it inside the coachroof. I also examined the VHF which had a multi pin plug which connects to the chart plotter, this was not connected, but now is. The emergency location now shows on the VHF.
I am wondering if the most likely culprit is the mast cable and wonder if I should just replace that first and go from there. I can get up the mast fairly easily, main hobby is climbing. The headlining looks a nightmare to take down...
I also wondered about just running another cable from the back of the VHF to the rubber boot mast connection and see if that works?
The annoying thing is that it works if I do a test call to Stornaway coastguard, but only receives very intermittently.
 

Daverw

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Running a patch lead direct from radio to mast foot socket would work but testing with the radio on transmit could damage the radio output circuit due to very high SWR. ideally you need to measure this with an SWR meter. You can receive a reasonably strong signal with a vey bad or even missing antenna
 

nevis768

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Running a patch lead direct from radio to mast foot socket would work but testing with the radio on transmit could damage the radio output circuit due to very high SWR. ideally you need to measure this with an SWR meter. You can receive a reasonably strong signal with a vey bad or even missing antenna
Thanks for advice
 

Refueler

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I have a VHF and steaming light which are not working. I have fitted a new cable from the light to the foot of the mast, but it’s still not working. I thought the VHF was ok because I did a successful test call with Stornaway coastguard. However, I notice now that it only receives very intermittently.

First do not TX your VHF if you don't know about antenna connected or not ... if not connected - it can fry the RF section of the radio. Usually on most VHF's today - they have a Diagnostics test in the menu which includes antenna / cable test.

I also found what looks like the VHF cable inside the boat near the mast, but not connected to anything.

Simpy .. unplug cable from VHF ... now bridge the mast end of cable - short it by connecting the two ends together ... take a meter and test for continuity at VHF plug end .. if shows cable as near zero ohms - next is separate the ends so that now its not shorted ... meter again .. if it shows continuity broken - then you know that's your VHf cable and its not connected to your antenna.

The steaming light cable seems to disappear into the headlining and I’m not keen to take it down.

So what did you connect the new light cable to ?? Can you take your new cable and just put a 12v across it to see if light works ? Maybe its a one way polarised LED lamp ? Switch + / - round - see what happens.

I was wondering about fitting a new cable from the fuse panel, and exiting from the same hole as the VHF.

Judging by the glands . sockets already there - there should be no need to start running new wires ...
What you can do - is switch off everything ... even the battery power to the switch panel. Now meter the Light switch to see if when switched on - you get continuity .. switch off breaks continuity. If yes - then its connected to something !! If no continuity then >>>> Now jump with bit of wire the light switch - meter the cables at mast area from panel - see which cable has continuity. That is your light cable.

I don’t know anything about boat electrics, and have included a picture of the fittings at the base of the mast. The larger of the 3 is beyond the headlining as it’s in the passageway, could I fit two cables through this somehow, or should I buy something else? It's the white one with black centre. Hope this makes sense.

The meter is your friend. With isolating cables - you don't need to get to every inch of a cable - all you often need are the ends to test if its same cable by using the meter and shorting one end of cable. When shorting make sure all power is OFF !!
 
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