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Replacement Antenna for HT?

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by WR0220, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. WR0220

    WR0220 Active Member

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    Looking for a good 2m/440 replacement antenna for the rubber duck that comes on the Yaesu VX7. Diamond, Comet, Others???? Can anyone recommend a particular brand/model? I really don't want to have to buy a half dozen antennas just to find a good one...lol. Hoping someone can steer me in the right direction so this will be a one time purchase. Thanks


     

  2. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    If you're looking for one that's just a 'bit' longer than that 'duck', quit while you're ahead. If you don't mind carrying around a sort of 'long' antenna, look for one that's at least close to a 1/4 wave length with a 'hangy-down' sort of thingy about the same length (adds up to a center fed 1/2 wave vertical). That will mean a perceptible improvement. (Hardhat, 1/4 wave vert on top, radials around the rim, ugly/stupid as it sounds, will trash a 'duck' anytime.) Don't want something as long as a 1/4 wave? Keep what you got.
    Not a very satisfying answer, huh? Sorry 'bout that, it's still true.
    - 'Doc
     
  3. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
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    The stock antenna on that HT gets pretty good reviews. I guess the question is, how big are you willing to put up with? Unless you get a pretty big HT antenna, you're not going to gain much, if anything on 6m or 2m.
     
  4. WR0220

    WR0220 Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies, guys. I'd rather get an honest answer (whether it's what I want to hear or not) then to be led down the wrong path. I've read many posts on various forums that stated all the rubber duck antennas that come with the HTs were junk, and that it is the first thing you should upgrade. This is my first HT (VX-7RB) and was just wondering if there was an aftermarket antenna of the approximate same size that would perform better. For now I will stick with the provided antenna, and if need be look into a replacement at a later time. Thanks again for the replies...it is appreciated.
     
  5. Beetle

    Beetle Sr. Member

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    Cut a piece of stranded copper wire (20AWG is fine), about 19-1/2 inches long. Attach one end to the common side of the HTs antenna jack and just let the other end hang straight down. Maybe attach a 1/4" nut to the far end to give the wire some tension and keep it fairly straight. It's called a counterpoise, and it will work with just about any "duckie". It's a little inconvenient, but that's part of what you have to put up with when you get an HT.

    Besides the counterpoise, the best upgrade from a duckie is to attach the HT to a multi-element beam a couple hundred feet up. However, speaking of inconveniences....
     
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  6. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator
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    I have this on a VX-2R, also called a Tiger Tail, :D

    You can get away with a tad bit smaller wire also.

    Take a piece of thin bare wire and twist it around the threaded part of the antenna jack where the antenna screws on. Make sure the wire is as far down on the threaded part as possible. On the VX-2 it has a little rubber dust cover, I lifted the cover and twisted the wire around it there.

    Then just run the wire just short of the length of the radio. Put a few small pieces of black tape over the wire to hold it on the case of the radio so it does not dangle loosely.

    When your hand grabs the HT it actually couples as a counterpoise. For a test, when receiving a station set the radio on a table and watch the signal strength improve as you grab the radio. (y)
     
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  7. Justme

    Justme Sr. Member

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    Most HT´s have a speakerphone here, the wire acts as a counterpoise too.

    The original Icom Q7 antenna is quite good, the Kenwood TH/F7E is adequate, but just to experiment i have a few Diamond after market antenna´s
    RH 901S, 144/430/900 and wideband recieve, roughly 22 inches long
    SRH 771, little shorter, 144/430 and wideband recieve.

    Both add some gain, not spectacular, but with added counterpoise from the speakerphone will make some good distance qso's possible.

    Nothing beats hight however ;)
     
  8. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator
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    Now that I look, I lost my stock antenna and I am using the diamond dual band.

    I called Yaesu and the replacement antenna is $11

    Wanna sell me your stock one or trade for the diamond?
     
  9. Ballistic

    Ballistic "Hmm? Huh? What?"

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    Tiger Tail Counterpoise

    Sorry to resurrect an old thread...

    I just made a tiger tail counterpoise for my Kenwood TH-G71. I tested it with a friend over one mile distant at 5 Watts in to a Comet SMA-24... He used a FT-60.


    My "quick and dirty" method:

    I took a ring terminal and bored it out to match the SMA diameter, then attached, crimped and soldered a 17" length of lamp cord to it.


    Result:

    Without the counterpoise, my remote tester reported S-5...
    With the counterpoise, the result was S-7.
    This test was conducted on 151.82 MHz.


    Total time invested:
    10 minutes.


    Money invested:
    "less than" 2 cents...


    Conclusion:

    2 S-Units represents a gain of 12 dB over the SMA-24.
    Is my math wrong? I stand to be corrected.


    Note: No parameters were changed...
    That is, we both remained stationary, no change in power out, both on HTs, etcetera...

    This is merely a statement of my own experience...

    1/4 wave whips are a "compromise at best," but as far as "A/B" comparisons go, I'd call this experiment a success.

    Any input/comments/suggestions?

    Thanks. :)
     
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  10. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    Sounds like typical results. If you'd change that '1/4 wave antenna compromise' to the typical 'rubber duck' antenna, I'd certainly agree with you about the 'compromise' part! That 'tail' converts that '1/4 wave' antenna to a vertical 1/2 wave antenna, which should certainly help. The 'problem' with hand held radios is the antenna being shorter than optimal, and that it uses the chassis of the radio as the 'other half' of that antenna (along with the body of the person holding the thing to some extent). By adding the 'tail' you substitute that 'tail' in place of the chassis of the radio which will usually come closer to the 'right' length of the antenna. If that 'duck' antenna is less than 1/4 wave length long you still have a less than optimal antenna, but it's closer to being 'right'.
    That's not the best way of describing what happened, but it's 'close'. And for a few pennies, ain't much to complain about, huh? :)
    - 'Doc
     
  11. TonyV225

    TonyV225 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    This is all very interesting because I to would like to replace a few antennas.
     
  12. WR0220

    WR0220 Active Member

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    I ended up purchasing the Comet SMA-24 also. For a "tiger tail" I used an old telescoping antenna and a small piece of metal. A hole was drilled in one end of the metal to fit snuggly onto the SMA connector, and a smaller hole was drilled in the other end of the metal for a screw to pass through that threads into the bottom of the antenna. I slid a piece of shrink tube onto the first section of antenna, then adhered a piece of velcro to it which helps prevent movement. I did all this with stuff I had laying around in the junk drawer, so it was a $0 investment. Signals I once received at 4 bars (using the original rubber duck) are now received full scale. :)
     
  13. Ballistic

    Ballistic "Hmm? Huh? What?"

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    Thanks for your input. :)

    The Comet "SMA-24" is a 1/4 wave whip, so the antenna length is "optimal." Alone, it has approximately 2.15 dBi gain. (manufacturer's spec.- for what that is worth). I realize that 2.15 is no great shakes, but it adds up to a significant gain over the stock duck.

    It's an ongoing experiment. Eventually, I will adjust the length of the counterpoise, but I'm not gonna get into tweaking it down to "perfection." ;)
    To do so would not add any more "fun" to the hobby, but so far, the gain factor alone has made it totally worthwhile. The only thing I want to change is the color of the counterpoise. The radio and antenna are black, and the counter is white, so cosmetically speaking, that's the only downside for me.

    I intend to take the rig on a day trip to the local mountains with a friend. I'll get some signal reports with and without the counter over the local repeaters, but I don't expect the difference to be any more significant than the first test I mentioned. I'll probably mount it to my backpack, "manpack style", and use a speaker mic. This should minimize any interaction between my body and the antenna, but I don't expect that to be much of an issue. I'll report back after the trip with any info that might be worthwhile.

    Bottom line, though, is that the efficiency gain versus cost has made this a cheap way to improve the rig's performance. :)
     
  14. Blue Jay

    Blue Jay W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    If you want to really find out how much it helps forget the repeaters and use simplex. Then you and your contact will just be using your signals and not that of the repeater.
     
  15. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    And something to keep in mind about gain figures...

    The figure as given is for an isotropic antenna. When you convert that to a 'real world' number, you subtract '2.15 dB' from the isotropic gain figure. Something else to remember is that isotropic, along with 'real world' antenna gain figures are all based on comparison to a 1/2 wave length antenna at the same frequency. That means that the quoted numbers are a bit 'optimistic'. A 1/4 wave length antenna has a negative gain when compared to a 1/2 wave standard antenna. You would be much closer to a factual gain figure if you'd put a (-) in front of the quoted gain, '-2.15 dB'.
    That negative gain figure for a 1/4 wave antenna is about as 'dead nutz' normal as you can get. If a 1/4 wave antenna suits your purpose, who cares what it's "gain" is, it works. If you're expecting some sort of 'gain' from an antenna on a hand held radio on 2 meters, and if you expect it to be a convenient size to carry around, I just happen to have this boat for sale!!
    - 'Doc
     

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