Handheld Rubber Duck Antennas

I recently purchased a new FT-60R dual band handheld from Yaesu, as the handheld I had already (a VX-150) was only a single band. Seeing as I do a fair amount of stuff up in the 70cm band, it would be useful to have a handheld that could do so as well.

After receiving my new handheld, it seemed like I wasn’t receiving as well as I felt like I aught to be. So, I decided to run a test, to see what the loss is, when going from the single band rubber duck antenna on my VX-150 to the dual band rubber duck on my new FT-60R.

Here’s the picture of both radios with their associated antennas, and tuned to one of the local NOAA weather radio channels. My VX-150 is on the left, and the FT-60R is on the right. Note that the VX-150 is showing six bars on the S Meter and the FT-60R is only showing three.

Now, one could say with just this test having been done that perhaps the VX-150 is just more sensitive, or the FT-60R is a little deaf in that frequency range. But we’ll swap the antennas to take the sensitivity (or not) of the radios out of the equation.

Now note that using the dual band antenna on the VX-150 results on only three bars, and the FT-60 now has six.

So, now we’ve come down to the truth of the matter, that the stock antenna that comes with the FT-60R is rather poor, even by rubber duck standards, when compared to the single band equivalent despite being physically longer. Since I don’t have a 70cm handheld and matching rubber duck, I can’t compare it there.

Which leads me to the conclusion that if I want to be able to receive very well, or get out at all, I should invest in a longer aftermarket dual band rubber duck antenna. Hopefully that will give me enough gain to at minimum match the performance of the single band antenna.

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One Response to Handheld Rubber Duck Antennas

  1. Michael OK7SE says:

    Hi there! Although it’s ten years after, I think the problem is still alive. I have had ~10 HTs, some of them already sold. Additionally, I have around 15 more rubber duckies from Diamond, Wouxun, Nagoya and also no-names. I must say that I haven’t found a ducky that would be actually dualband (2m + 70cm). All of them are either totally out of tune or they work reasonably on only one of the bands. Sad. The only antenna that would be still HT-like and works on both bands is Diamond RH770 telescope. However, it’s rather for using when not moving, on a hill top, not something you could have on your HT clipped on a belt when hiking, sadly. Constant changing of duckies per band is neither a good idea, the SMA connectors won’t like that. So rather, I have a permanent SMA-BNC reduction and use BNC telescopes and whips according to what I need. However, as I said, there’s unfortunately no rubber duck so far that would “just work” with reasonable performance. I don’t need SWR 1.0 everywhere, but I wish it was at least below 2.0 on both bands… :-(

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