The standard rubber duck on my Yaesu VX170 is getting a bit bashed and beaten. It’s been up a 250+ summits I reckon that whilst it still works it looks tired. I was thinking of replacing it with something more flexible and possibly with more gain. The current antenna is about 15cms long and I don’t mind replacing it with something upto 30cms long, connection is to a standard SMA female. I’d like it to be quite flexible. Has anyone bought a 3rd party replacement that they’d buy again without thinking? Or anything to avoid like the plague?
I have a Nagoya 771 on my VX-5R that is rugged, flexible and seems to be better on RX and TX than a similar Diamond I have. It is a bit longer at about 39cm. I have another Diamond RH901S which is extremely flexible above its narrow center loading coil - also works well but is pushing 47cm,
I bought an MRW-210 from Maplin, which I use on my VX5. In my usual disorganised way, I identified a need at the last minute, and that was all that I could find locally!
I do like the physical construction - it is flexible / floppy enough to stuff into a rucksack, and won’t have your eye out as you drag it out again. It is stiff enough to stay vertical in use, though.
I have no measured data on its performance, but my impression is that it is better than the original - it should be, as at 37cm it is a bit longer.
I bought an MRW-420 from Moonraker for my triband handheld, but must say that I was somewhat disappointed with its performance. Maybe I was expecting more as it was considerably longer than the original helical which I had unfortunately mislaid. While it is 40cm long, it is very flexible so fits into the backpack very easily and the construction is good. I think it might be worthwhile trying a wire counterpoise with it, particularly on 2m.
With VX-7s we use a permanently attached low profile sma to BNC adaptor. This generally has a 30cm helical stick attached to it. The stick is removed when we are in our chosen activation position and the feeder to the half-wave dipole, J-pole or beam connected instead. We find this works very well, even in quite heavy rain. The system has been in use for several years as we began using it it the VX-3 days back in 2010. Failure of the helical sticks has been the only real problem, but they really don’t stand up well to being trodden on
Absolutely without question is the Comet SMA-24. Dual band 2/70cm, 41cm long and extremely flexible (literally you can tie it in a knot). For me it has been the best antenna I have found for use with my HT radios. Some may whinge about it whipping around, but with the performance it has, I don’t care.
I have the Nagoya 771 on my HT and has been working well for about 3 years, they are cheap and cheerful.
You may laugh out loud at this but if you don’t mind ‘cheapo’ I have several of these for my mono band handies and they have proved reliable:- http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-BNC-RUBBER-DUCK-140MHz-150MHz-HAM-AMATEUR-RADIO-2-METER-BAND-FLEXIBLE-ANTENNA-/141746304834?hash=item2100bcf742
It’s not too much of a disaster if you lose one. They are pretty flexible; you can bend them in a complete ‘U’ shape and a bit more. Weight is 26 grams. Overall length is 132mm and diameter is 10mm. They seem robust and have a glued-on cap which you can pull off if you wish to tune them more accurately to say 145.500 MHz but they work fine as received. I have had two shipments of these so far and no problem with delivery, though you have to wait.
Of course if you want to upgrade to more gain and a longer antenna, these won’t be suitable but as standard ducks they do a good job.
Roy tells me that you have been invading England recently. I will be getting my own back from 7th to 16th September at Fort Bill! I was hoping to tackle Ben Nevis again but now I find it’s ‘Too High.’ Shame about that.
All the best,
Thanks John and everyone for the suggestions. The Nagoya seems to be available for not much money at all. Comet and Diamond antennas are a little more. It’s knowing which actually work is important, so personal experience is very useful.
Yes, a flying raid to take in a “significant” birthday party for my mother-in-law. A simple 1150 mile round trip to bag 6 uniques and 6 points. Long Crag SB-008 being a well kept secret gem of a summit. Well with diesel at £1.08/L it seemed rude to not to partake!
If you’re set on keeping the length at less than 30 cm you might want to try something from the people at www.smileyantenna.com, though I’d still recommend a real 1/4 wave whip like the Nagoya.
The smileyantenna.com site looks interesting.
I can remember reading something the late Julan G4ILO wrote about testing antennas bought from eBay in that many were not real Diamond/Nagoya antennas but cheap BY-land tatty clones that were not resonant anywhere near 2m, either the 144-146 Region 1 or 144-148 Region II allocations. Some of the Nagoya antennas are on offer for £3.00 ($4.75 / 4.15Eu) including postage. I’m almost tempted to think “well it’s less than the cost of a pint of beer so why not take a chance”. Probably that mentality is what keeps a lot of tat-manufacturers in business, plenty of cheapskate mugs in the word. An antenna from smileyantenna.com is traceable to a real company making products that actually should function as described. Is the extra cost worth it, probably.
I have hesitated to comment as my recommendation does not fit your stated requirement. I suggest that you look at the Moonraker MRW-222. It is longer than you want, it is BNC terminated so you would need an adaptor, but I have used one with my 817 and it is pretty dam’ good. You might remember at an MT meet a few years ago I worked an LD portable from the garden that couldn’t be heard on the handhelds that the others were carrying, at that time I had a quarter wave extensible whip from Maplin. I had just bought that to replace the Moonraker antenna as I had given the Moonraker away to a sick ham, and the Moonraker noticably outperformed the quarter wave whip.
It may be too long, the adapter may be a nuisance, its gain may overwhelm some handhelds filtering, but it is worth considering if only for the 817!
FYI, I purchased my Nagoya from ebay seller ‘radioshop888’ a few years ago and when tested against a legit similar design dual band Diamond, this had better VSWR across the bands of interest.
Diamond supply not just antennas but also SWR bridges, PSUs etc. I have heard that Diamond do design some of their own products but they also rebadge ones made by the big Chinese powerhouse manufactuers who build the same product for multiple companies (often importers) and put whatever company name / model identification is required on the product. So in many cases, buying a “known name” can mean paying more just for the sticky label.
Getting back to the original question, if you really want performance from your HT what I have found is that if I attach a $2 adapter from SMA to SO239, then take the mobile whip (usually the 1/4 wave not the 5/8) off it’s mag mount and attach that to the adapter on the HT, the performance improvement on transmit and receive is dramatic. I also have a speaker/mic so it’s then possible to position the HT at an optimal point for better signals and not de-tune the whip with your brain cells. Adding some form of radial wires to the outside of the SO239 creates a further signal improvement.