Better antenna for satellite work

Having worked my fist ‘bird’ with a hand-held, it was time to take the next step and try using a better antenna. The ubiquitous ‘rubber duckie’ has been said by many to be nothing more than an eloborate ground; it’s certainly a compromise antenna designed for simplicity and basic functionality at best.

Wallace, VK4CBW, suggested I try working SO-50 with a gain antenna as it would improve transmission and reception markedly. He offered to lend me his Elk hand-held antenna.

This antenna is a log periodic cut for the 2m/70cm bands and is only two foot long – perfect for satellite work.

I assembled the antenna (it comes with the elements all colour-coded for easy assembly) and put out a call the next time the satellite was within range. Bob, VK3MQ, replied and we had a superb, short, QSO. I was delighted as the distance between us was 1,346 km (836 miles). Not bad for an FM contact on simplex.


Next I worked Cam, VK4FAAJ, who was using a hand-held coupled to a home-brew yagi he made from a tape measure! Nice copy too, even though he was in my neck of the woods.





3 thoughts on “Better antenna for satellite work

  1. Hi Grant,
    It’s a great result for such a simple setup. I query the term “simplex” though, that is usually reserved for a contact made on a single frequency, direct to the other station. In this case it is a repeater in the sky. I thought the radio would have the feedline of the antenna plugged into it, but in the photo, it still has its flexible stubby antenna. Photo taken after the event I guess?
    keep experimenting…
    Andrew vk1da

      • Hi Andrew, Yes, the Elk is connected to the rig via a coax cable and BNC connector. I disconnected the rubber duckie and connected the coax in its place. As for simplex, what I mean is 2m straight up link with the receive being on the 70cm down link. A straight (simple) direct path up and down. In fact, some operators use two radios, one for the up link and one for the down link; they would both be considered to be operating in a simplex fashion, I would think.

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