Most stock HT antennas are measured at -6db gain - or worse! An improved whip will help on RX ... but HT whips are not the solution: For reliable success with satellites you really need GAIN. 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 brief 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 use 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 AO-91 and AO-92 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.