Starting out in amateur radio, our first rig usually is the venerable handheld radio. But soon after buying one, you realize the limitations of handheld radios. Battery life being the first, but more importantly, range. We all want to get farther with our radios. Making contacts is an enjoyable part of amateur radio, but the watts of the handheld radio can only go so far.
Fortunately, hams are resourceful and we love to do more with less. So to make our signal reach further with a handheld radio, we need to add an external antenna. A common complaint with handheld radios is the terrible quality of their stock antenna. Rubber duck antennas are poor radiators, and the ones included with your handheld is no exception.
But why is this? To illustrate, we need to look at how rubber duck antennas are made. Rubber duck antennas are basically a wound coil of wire encased in a rubberized sheath. These helically wound springs have the electrical length of a quarter wave antenna, but have a greatly shortened physical length.
The main reason for this is convenience. Handheld radios are designed to be worn on the hip, and who wants a quarter wave antenna poking them in the armpit or tickling their neck. Plus the duck antennas are more flexible and durable than a fixed or telescoping antenna. There are certainly better designs for duck antennas than what comes with your radio.
Nagoya makes an excellent aftermarket antenna for the popular Baofeng handheld radios and both Comet and Diamond both offer their version of the duck antenna with the female SMA connector that Baofeng radios require. These aftermarket antennas will certainly improve performance, but your range will still have limits. But to really boost your performance you need to use an external antenna. External antennas come in all shapes and sizes, from the simple quarter wave vertical to multi element beams.
A popular model for the new ham is the 2 meter J-Pole antenna. This antenna will not only give you increased range, but also offer a upgrade path as you replace your handheld radio with a more powerful base station.Here at Walmart.
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Retailer Walmart. AMI Ventures Inc. Absolute Pro Music. Advanced Specialties Inc. All About Service. Austin's Shop. Brand Find a brand. Absolute USA. Andrew Corporation. BaoFeng Tech. CB Radio Supply. Cache Bundle. Consolidated Electronic Wire and Cable.Automobile antennas operate using coaxial cable to connect the antenna to the radio, so repairing or splicing is similar to any other project using coaxial cable.
Splicing one cable to another allows you to join two separate cables together into one connection. The cable consists of an outer rubber insulation, a wire mesh, a plastic insulator, and the center conductor wire. Using a barrel plug to splice the two ends of the cables together will ensure a solid connection. Turn off the car and remove the key from the ignition. Pop the hood on the car and remove the positive red battery cable from the battery terminal.
This will ensure there is no electrical current following through any of the wiring in the car. Locate the two ends of the car antenna to be spliced together. Insert the end of one of the cables into the larger hole on one end of a cable stripper tool. Strip off 1 inch of the outer insulation. Repeat this step to strip the end of the other coaxial cable. Slide the stripped end of one of the cables into the end of one of the male connectors.
Place the crimping tool over the bottom of the male connector and squeeze the handles of the tool together so the jaws of the tool clamp down on the connector and presses the connector to the cable. Repeat this step to attach the remaining male connector to the other cable. Screw one of the male connectors into one end of the barrel connector.
Screw the other male connector into the other end of the barrel connector to complete the splice. Use the wrench to tighten the connectors to the barrel plug. The barrel connector is a small fitting that has two female threaded holes on each side. It will allow you to join to the two male connectors on each end of the cable together. Wrap electrical tape over the connectors, starting on one cable and finishing the wrap on the other cable.
Reconnect the battery cable to the battery and tighten it down. Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to accessory mode.
Using an external antenna with your handheld radio
Turn the radio on and test the antenna for operation by tuning in various stations. This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.
To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Works, contact us. Step 1 Turn off the car and remove the key from the ignition.
Step 2 Locate the two ends of the car antenna to be spliced together. Step 3 Insert the end of one of the cables into the larger hole on one end of a cable stripper tool. Step 4 Slide the stripped end of one of the cables into the end of one of the male connectors. Step 5 Screw one of the male connectors into one end of the barrel connector. Step 6 Wrap electrical tape over the connectors, starting on one cable and finishing the wrap on the other cable.
Tip It may be helpful to purchase a coaxial cable connector splicing kit to complete the project. The kit will contain all the tools and connectors needed for this project.
Or you can purchase each of the tools and connectors separately. Each should be available at a local hardware or electronics store. Warning Avoid touching the positive red and negative black battery cables together or allowing the wrench to touch the two battery posts simultaneously, as this could result in electrical sparks or a fire. Items you will need Adjustable wrench Cable cutters Coaxial cable stripper tool 2 male coaxial connectors Coaxial cable connector crimping tool 1 male-to-male barrel connector Electrical tape.
About the Author This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.
Photo Credits coaxial cable connection image by Michael Shake from Fotolia.Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by dietermoreno, Feb 9, Connect with us. Electronics Forums. FM wire antenna to coax adapter? Reply to Thread. Search Forums Recent Posts. Scroll to continue with content. Feb 9, 1. Is it possible to build a FM wire antenna to coax adapter? The idea is, the Hi Fi receiver has an antenna terminal and a ground terminal, and you connect two wires to the terminals, then solder those 2 wires to a balun maybeand then the ground wire is electrically connected to the shield of the coax via the balun and the antenna wire is electrically connected to the conductor of the coax via the balun.
I'm not sure if using an amplifier makes a difference in the impedence. I would be connecting the coax to an amplifer that is connected to another coax connected to the antenna. Last edited: Feb 9, Feb 9, 2. This receiver has, as all receivers I know, a standard 75 Ohm coax antenna connector. You can directly connect it to the coax output of a suitable antenna.
There may be a misconception on your side: The receiver is typically delivered with a strand of wire that is supposed to be connected to the center pin of the coax connector. This is only a substitue for a good antenna but will suffice in many environments where there are stron radio stations nearby. Nevertheless, the antenna connector is a complete coax antenna input. You must log in or sign up to reply here.
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FM wire antenna to coax adapter? (balun?)
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Related: car radio antenna splitter car radio antenna extension cable car radio antenna amplifier car radio antenna plug car radio antenna adapter ford car radio bluetooth transmitter. Include description. Brand Type.Excellent Folded Dipole Antenna Made Of Coax \u0026 Lamp Cord
Aftermarket Branded Items Unbranded 28 Items Genuine OEM 2 Items 2. Not Specified 68 Items Custom 13 Items Unbranded 38 Items XScorpion 32 Items Placement on Vehicle. Front 24 Items Rear 2 Items 2. Upper 1 Items 1. Lower 1 Items 1. Center 5 Items 5. Unspecified Length 9 Items 9. Fitment Type.
Direct Replacement 41 Items Not Specified Items Black 47 Items Gray 5 Items 5. Mounting Hardware Included. Yes 5 Items 5. No 11 Items New Items New other see details 22 Items Please provide a valid price range.