I stumbled across this article about HT antennas the other day while I was mulling the addition of a rat/tiger tail to my SOTA handheld. In it, the author uses an antenna chamber to measure and compare the stock antenna of a Yaesu FT1D with a reference dipole, a 1/4 wave whip, a 1/4 wave whip with a rat/tiger tail radia/counterpoise, and an MFJ-1714 1/2 wave antenna. There are a few surprises, not the least of which is that the 1/4 wave antenna on it’s own (no radial) actually performed worse than the stock FT1D antenna by about 9db. There are also some interesting measurements of the change in resonance when holding the HT, as well as how a radial interacts with the 1/2 wave and stock antennas.
Despite it being a somewhat limited study (N=1), it’s certainly food for thought and a good reminder that testing is essential for any antenna system. I’d recommend it to new operators and veteran mountain goats alike.