[amsat-bb] Extended rubber ducks / whips on an HT for LEOs

Clayton Coleman W5PFG kayakfishtx at gmail.com
Tue Aug 21 10:49:25 PDT 2012

I think it's time to stop recommending people use AL-800 or SRH320
-style extended whips for LEO newcomers.  These antennas are very poor
performers for working either SO-50 or AO-27.  Even under an ideal
pass, using these antennas will likely result in many missed calls.
We all know "it can be done..."  So can running a dogsled race with

Here's my case, which has been experienced time after time, on the
current FM birds:

1. New station decides to "give sats a try."  (Excellent - we should
encourage and provide proper guidance)
2. Station looks in drawer and finds an extended whip or buys one
based on recommendation from website or article
3. Station gets on a pass, hears a break in the noise and some partial
calls, so he gives his call sign
4. If the new station was lucky enough to capture the bird, likely
other stations will "pounce" on the new guy and perhaps call
5. Perhaps the new station will hear the bird again for a minute,
thinking it is clear, and gives their call sign
6. Repeat step 4-5; continue until LOS (many fewer good contacts are made)

When we had AO-51, reception on an extended whip was more viable.  Now
with AO-27 and SO-50, these "extended" rubber ducks have become much
less viable options. Often the stations on a whip do not take into
account their "handicap" and try to make contacts even though they are
not hearing the bird.

It’s time to retire these extended whips as a recommendation since
there are both inexpensive commercially-available gain antennas and
many good home-brew designs.


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