A “TIGER TAIL” FOR YOUR HT
How would you like to boost the performance of your HT’s antenna at almost no cost?
Most of the stock “rubber duckie” antennas that come with HTs these days are mediocre performers. If you’re a few miles away from a repeater, these antennas work fairly well, but, if you’re in a marginal signal area, rubber duckies leave a lot to be desired.
The problem with some stock HT antennas is that they are a quarter-wave whip depending on your body capacitance to complete the other half of the antenna. These antennas just aren’t efficient. Of course, you could buy a commercially made half wave whip and solve the problem for a few dollars. But, there is a simpler and almost free solution to getting your HT antenna to perform better.
An inexpensive, simple, and effective method to improve the “rubber duck” antenna is to add an external counterpoise or “tiger tail” to the bottom of the rubber duck where it attaches to the HT. The “tiger tail” will add the missing half to the quarter-wave whip.
You can fabricate a counterpoise with an additional quarter-wave piece of wire (making a full dipole antenna) soldered to a battery clip or small tension spring clip that will fit the BNC antenna connector and the wire attached to it. Different antenna connectors will call for some creativity on your part, but adding the counterpoise can be done. For the 146 MHz band, use a piece of flexible wire (#16 AWG to #22 AWG) 19.5 inches (49.53 cm) long. For the 220 MHz band, a piece of wire 11.5 inches (29.21 cm) long. And for the 440 MHz band, use a piece of wire 6.5 inches (16.51 cm) long.
According to William McFadden (WD8RIF), the addition of the “tiger tail” element to your “rubber duck” connection point will “improve performance by about 5 dB over the stock rubber duck.”
I made a “tiger tail” for my ancient Kenwood TH-21A (it has an odd antenna connector) and it works very well. Make a “tiger tail” and see how it helps your HT.
http://www.scc-ares-races.org/emergency operations and ht.htm.
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Aloha es 73 de Russ, KH6JRM
BK29jx15–along the beautiful Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island.
Filed under: Amateur Radio