Most stock HT antennas are measured at -6db gain - or worse! An improved whip will help on 2M RX ... but HT whips are not the ideal solution: For reliable success with satellites you really need GAIN and DIRECTIONALITY.

Some great DIY antenna projects - and other ideas - right here for you!

Sat Skeds

You are here!

My Gear


Do Tape Measure Antennas Measure Up?

Short answer: YES! I am working Commander Wiseman in the photo to the right - as he was about 450 miles downrange aboard the ISS. My Yaesu FT-60R was turned DOWN to 2W TX power. Here's an MP3 of that contact.

     Arrow Antennas -- MODS

     Elk Log Periodic Antennas

     Alex Diaz' Homebrew Yagis

     Got an Old Umbrella?

     WB2HOL's Tape Measure

     WB2HOL's Tape Measure Kits!

     W6NBC's 2M/70CM Tape  

          Measure Beam (from the

          01/2012 issue of QST (pdf)


     Smiley 3-Band HT Antenna

The Smiley (pictured) operates ...

- 1/4 wave 2M fully extended

- 5/8 wave 440 2 sections down

- 1/4 wave 440 fully collapsed

- 1/4 wave 220 4 sections down


It has a tuned coil/spring which protects your delicate HT antenna connector, and is available with just about any connector. The flex coil matching network provides at band center low SWR as well as a +/- 5 MHz band center. Length is  4.5" down and 16.5" up. NOT the gain for satellites - but a great alternative to stock HT antennas!


(And the Smiley is HALF the price of the popular Diamond SRH-320a!)

Ed Fong's CLASSIC J-Pole Antennas

NOT "high-gain" by any means ... but EVERY ham working 2m/70cm should build and enjoy a J-Pole! (g)  Ed's DBJ1 is encapsulated in PVC pipe. And his DBJ2 is the "roll-up" is made out of 300-ohm twin lead antenna wire.

  NOTES ...



Full-duplex operations

Although preferable to work satellites in full-duplex mode - defined as being able to hear the downlink as you key your mic - it is not absolutely mandatory.  Just listen and wait for a break in the action!

Reception ...

You will hear the strong 2M downlinks from the satellites and the ISS with stock antennas ... But you really need some gain to access them!



Arrow Antenna MODS  

First mod - adding an ergonomic handle.

Second mod - a "tray" for your HT on the handle end of the boom.

Either is a great investment. Some Internet "myths" debunked in this article.


Daimon Tilley G4USI

Daimon cited our sitein the June, 2020 issue of Practical Wireless  magazine. Click here for a copy!

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

CQ Amateur Radio published my satellite tutorial in the May, 2012 Special Dayton issue.

Doug Cook KD5PDN

Doug wrote two great articles on working the ISS: One article  using a tape measure beam, the other using an antenna made out of barbed wire!

    Satellite Skeds


    Tracking the Satellites

     Shack Aids

●     My Gear



To the left are some fun-to-build, proven antenna projects.

Build them "to the letter," and you won't need expensive testing equipment.