This week, my ham radio activity was focused on an emergency communications exercise with my local ARES-RACES group. I thought I’d do a post about the simple whip antenna I used with a dual-band radio. I cobbled this set up together a few years back and it has come in handy on several occasions.
During the exercise, I was operating indoors with easy access to our local repeaters. I was copying digital traffic using the Narrowband Emergency Messaging System (NBEMS), so a handheld radio wasn’t a good option. In this situation, a dual-band mobile radio and this little whip antenna hack were able to get the job done.
For the whip, I use commercially available, collapsible BNC whip antennas for the 2 meter and 440 bands. To connect the whip to the radio, I use a UHF-Male to BNC-Female right angle adapter I picked up on eBay. To help improve the efficiency, I attach two 1/4-wave counterpoise wires, one for 2 meters (about 19 inches) and one for 440 (about 6.3 inches).
To attach the counterpoise wires, I re-purposed a 9-volt battery holder. I just drilled out one of the mounting holes and used a small bolt and nut to attach the wires. The clip is just about the perfect size to snap onto the right angle adapter.
The antennas I use came from Smiley Antenna. I have 5/8-wave whips for 2 meters and 440, along with a halfwave whip for 2 meters. Although some of the antennas are specified to handle 50 watts, I generally use them only for 10 watts or less (in the interest of RF safety). If I need to run more power, I’ll go with an antenna placed a safe distance away.
I’ve used this simple antenna arrangement in several situations in recent years. It’s become a permanent part of my emergency communications go-kit.
73, Craig WB3GCK
2 thoughts on “The Quickie Whip”
Did you ever test the SWR before and after the counterpoise? I have the exact same two antennas for a portable rig much like you. I am getting horrendous SWR (6-20!) and think this is worth a try.
Actually, I never measured it. When I use this approach, I generally go with the halfwave whip, so the counterpoise isn’t really important in that case. As I mentioned in the post, I keep the power low (usually 5 watts), and it’s mostly used for receiving NBEMS transmissions.
One thing I noticed over the years is that I need to keep my power supply away from the antenna. If I don’t, the power supply sometimes shuts down from the RF.
If I have somewhere to hang a twinlead J-pole, that’s usually my first choice. However the “Quicky Whip” has served me well on many occasions.
73, Craig WB3GCK