HT Antennas - most effective fir portable use, or mixed bag

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KE5VJS, Oct 14, 2020.

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  1. KE5VJS

    KE5VJS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just as the title states which antenna and/or antenna type is most effective on an HT

    The question is broad so for clarity this assumes that the HT is a higher end HT such as Kenwood , Yaesu , Icomm etc. Although the Baofang UV5r with a 16” whip is a great little radio

    My question is other than trial and error - and spending money purchasing antennas, is there a method to determine what antenna is most effective for HT use ?

    Is it reasonable to consider that different HTs are antenna specific such as 1/4wave , 1/2 wave etc ?
  2. KX4O

    KX4O Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've found the stock antenna that comes with my example Yaesu FT-1D is designed to complement the radio quite well bettering other antenna options in straight up EiRP tests seen here compared with a reference dipole and a 1/4 wave aftermarket antenna.
    The situation likely varies greatly among various makes and models of radio. One aftermarket antenna that performed best is the clumsy, but electrically efficient telescopic 1/2 wave antenna...
    Be cautious of 1/4 wave aftermarket antennas. They rely heavily on some sort of "ground" that may be amply supplied by your hand gripping the HT. The stock FT1D antenna was remarkably good given its size so the antenna that comes with your HT may well be good enough. IMO it's certainly worth trying first.
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I carry a pocketful of antennas for field work.

    -Factory stubby, for convenience of putting radio in pocket, etc.
    -Mid size rubber duck from my first HT 35 years ago
    -Telescoping whip for long range/low angle. AEA Hotrod from 30 years ago
    -A 19.5 Inch (1/4 wave) insulated wire radial soldered to a either a clip or ring terminal to clip to base of antenna. It's effect varies depending on which HT I'm using. "Try it and see". My old Santec and Yaesu 50R benefitted greatly with it. My newest IC-51D doesn't seem to need it.
  4. N0IOP

    N0IOP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Moar longer moar better. Moar higher moar better.

    The best HT antennas are not HT antennas at all. They are base station antennas hoisted up on high using a telescoping mast or a piece of rope run over a tree branch or whatever else is available. Sleeve dipoles are good enough. Depending on your situation they may make sense but if you're walking around untethered and carrying a radio with you there are limits to the size of the antenna system..

    Typical stock antennas at 2m are -11 dBd when body losses are taken into account (that is the absorption of signal by the radio user's body). At 440 they are maybe -9 dBd.

    You can use a telescoping whip but eventually you'll break off the antenna connector on your HT. Or at least break the whip.
    W7EDC likes this.
  5. N3EG

    N3EG Ham Member QRZ Page

    As with any other antenna, longer is better.
  6. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Back when starting out I ran an IC2at mobile through a CG-144. I could hit the repeaters better than those running real mobile rigs and 5/8 wave antennas. My receive was better too. Nothing beats the cg-144 for capture area but its a monster.
    I still have both by the way.
    It's the lesson that it's all in the antenna.

    For an HT a telescoping whip along with a counterpoise works best. Have one in your kit.
  7. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    If a really good antenna results in worse reception you may be encountering receiver overload. This is usually due to the absence of front end filtering--a compromise made to allow wideband reception as desired by the customer without adding to the cost.
    KX4O likes this.
  8. N3EG

    N3EG Ham Member QRZ Page

    aka Baofeng.
  9. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    HT antennas, while they may "work" are not good at all. Consider that they are verticals. A vertical needs "the other half" which in the case of the HT is whatever metal is in the HT itself...not much. I have a couple of HT's primarily to use on our property to keep in touch with my wife (also a ham) on 2 meter simplex if I am out of sight doing stuff. That works due to short distances. For even nearby repeaters? Not so well due to a very inefficient antenna.

    When I take my ATV into the woods I do carry my HT BUT it is, via an adaptor, feeding a REAL antenna mounted on my ATV with a good ground beneath it.

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