Hello, I am a new ham and I am trying to obtain my first radio + antenna. I've been reading and reading but I am probably beyond my limited understanding. I wonder if anyone would be willing to double-check a summary of what I've learned and what I'm planning. Tell me if I'm crazy or where I've made mistakes! My shack will be on a steel trawler operating on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. There is the potential for future travel on the Atlantic or Gulf. My goals are: relieve boredom when underway by providing something to fiddle with communicate when out of VHF/cellular range -- note this means an antenna must be sturdy enough that it can be used while underway (some marine hams on the forums say they hoist an antenna only when docked at a marina, that's not my goal) use digital modes via a connected laptop buy/build something simple first to be sure it works and I like it before investing a lot of money be able to communicate on the marine nets, particularly MMSN (14.300 MHz) and Waterway/Hurricane Net (14.325 and 7.268 MHz). avoid extensive boat modifications Just to be clear about what I hope to do, at this point I am LESS interested in contesting, DXing, DIY experimentation with different antennas/radios, building my own system, and I really don't need an additional distress/emergency system (although an extra radio is always better than not). I'm more interested in communicating at least for now. Here is my crude drawing of the rigging. From what I can tell the **non-ham** marine people in my situation almost always do the same thing: they buy a marine SSB radio and equip a Shakespeare 23' whip or a backstay antenna. It's easily possible to spend $5000+ doing this, but I guess yacht owners have a lot of money. A lot of them later complain on the forums that they get poor HF performance. In contrast to the non-ham mariners, there are frequent posts by experienced marine hams saying that they have years of personal experience that you can do just as well -- or better -- with a cheaper ham radio and either a simple homemade random-wire antenna hoisted up a mast or a dipole whose high point is the mast. There is even one guy who swears by energizing his own rigging (no antenna). After a lot of reading I think the best way for me to get started would be to buy a 20W Xiegu G90 and hoist a simple wire antenna and see how it goes. I looked at the "Random Wire Antenna Lengths" page and it looks like my best option is probably an end-fed bent vertical that is 35' long hoisted up the signal mast (the main mast) for 20' then bent down the forestay or backstay for the remaining 15' and is grounded to the hull. It is certainly possible that a 68' sloper dipole with the feed at the highest point of the mast would be better -- not sure how to decide between these two. Some people who seem experienced in antennas on the forums seem to always prefer verticals and claim they produce better over-the-water propagation. But maybe the "bent" part of the bent vertical is going to eliminate this advantage. This is about as far as I've gotten and I could use a sanity check. Things I haven't figured out yet: what to actually buy aside from the G90 to make/get the antenna. I have to get the RF away from the helm as much as possible or I'm pretty sure I'll mess up the compass, so I need an insulated feed line I guess. I'm obviously not "Mr. Electrical." Trying to learn here. there is a chimney along part of the signal mast, I'm not sure how hot it gets... there is some electrical wiring up there now so it may be fine but OTOH it doesn't seem great to run an antenna along a hot chimney does it? I don't know. will grounding to the hull cause stray current corrosion on the steel hull? The boat has a bunch of stray current protection stuff (zinc sacrificial anodes, galvanic isolator, bonding system) and I don't want to mess it up but I'm not sure how to find out more about this. does using this antenna raise my risk of damage from a lightning strike? Thunderstorms are frequent and the mast is the highest thing around! will all of the boat's systems make my new radio worthless? Many mariners complain about heavy interference from their own refrigerators, winches, and pumps. The G90 has a note in the specification that says "(voltage must be in 13.8-15V if need 20W)" ... not sure where I would get that extra voltage! I guess I won't? The boat has 12V DC so I expect the best I could possibly get is 12.9V if I operate from the engine room, which isn't feasible. Any thoughts? Reactions? I am really hoping someone can help me get closer to getting this going. Thank you so much in advance. P.S. I was not sure where to post this as it is about my whole system not just the antenna, but it is MOSTLY about the antennas I think, so I've opted for this forum. I hope it was the correct choice!