Paul Newton mounts an anchor light and emergency VHF antenna on his pushpit

My Colvic 26 did not have an anchor light at the masthead, or a spare VHF antenna. So I devised an all-in-one: anchor light, cockpit light and emergency antenna.

It was all made from stuff that I had in the shed: a glass and stainless light fitting from a boat jumble, a few electrical connectors, bits of scrap pipe and an aluminium extending pole (from somewhere).

The large-diameter pipe was drilled at each end, in three places, to allow self-tapping screws to fix in the UPVC end plugs. The top one was flush with the other recessed inwards to make a weather-shielded position for connectors. The extending pole goes through the bottom plug and is bolted to the top plug with a single Allen screw. Now the cylindrical equipment platform (CEP) is secured to the extending pole. This is 3m (9ft 10in) long when extended, and reduces to 1.5m (4ft 11in) for stowage. The whole lot fits into a bracket on the pushpit.


The antenna extended to about 5m will give a range of roughly 4.7NM


The pole fits into this simple bracket mounted on the pushpit


The white light will illuminate the cockpit, or act as an anchor light


There is a power cable and aerial connector underneath

The white light was attached to the top of the CEP and connected to a deck plug underneath. I had some spare flex to plug it into the cockpit power socket. So now I have a handy cockpit night-light, 1.5m above the pushpit rail, but if anchoring, I can extend it.

I also mounted an antenna stud within the CEP, so that it poked out of the top, and connected it to an N-type connector in the weather-shielded bottom plug. A long length of coaxial cable with a BNC connector at one end and the male N-type at the other made a flying lead, to fit between the CEP and the radio in the cabin. I store the delicate, spare quarter-wave antenna in a piece of white plastic tube fixed to a bulkhead. If the masthead antenna fails, extending the pole would get the quarter wavelength antenna about 5m (16ft 5in) above the waterline, giving a range of 4.7NM, which is better than a rail-mounted antenna or a handheld. Handhelds also suffer from both limited battery life and limited power, and the stub antennas are not as efficient as a quarter wave antenna. So this type of emergency antenna has more range and output power, and by storing it all within the boat it will not be carried off by rigging if you are dismasted.

Send us your practical projects! We pay at least £30 for each one published…