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Super simple VHF/UHF antennas for FM, SSB & digital modes

Most of us are familiar with vertically polarised ground plane antennas for FM and repeaters and directional beam antennas most often used for weak signal SSB and digital modes on VHF/UHF. However there's a whole lot of less well known antennas worth trying. They can be very simple yet give good results. Often they can be made from scrap material you may have, or, at worst, can be bought from a hardware store.

Presented below is a mix of vertically polarised antennas for FM and horizontally polarised antennas for SSB and digital modes.


Antennas for your FM handheld

Access more repeaters and talk further on simplex with these easy and quick antennas. Both are good
but the one I recommend is the Flowerpot as it's simpler to build. VK2ZOI's website has more.
It's also an excellent choice if you're looking for something simple to put up at home.


Vertical Extended Double Zepp for 2 metres (and more)

This is by far my favourite antenna for 2m FM use from home. It provides low angle omnidirectional coverage with a bit of gain
ideal for hitting those distant repeaters or extended range simplex contacts. And, as a bonus, it operates effectively
as a vertical dipole on 6 metres as well so you get two antennas in one.


Modified TV rabbits ears

VHF TV rabbits ears antennas are often discarded. Open them up, attach a coaxial feedline and they become a dipole
for 144 MHz. They'll often also work on 432 MHz due to the low impedance (antenna functions as a 1.5 wavelength dipole).
You can either hold one in your hand or, better still, attach one to a backpack-mounted telescoping pole for extra height.


Oblong horizontally polarised loop antenna for 2m

You can't get any simpler but connects straight to coaxial cable with no matching sections required.
And its slimness lets you put it higher on a flexible pole for longer range. Perfect for portable SSB
and weak signal digital modes. Enjoy VK1AD's detailed write-up here.


An hourglass loop antenna for 2m SSB/digital modes

Ideal where you want an extremely narrow but horizontally polarised bidirectional antenna with a little gain.


A 144 MHz magnetic loop in a lunch box

Something to try where small space is really important.
Video shows WSPR test from middle of city. Details on VK5BR website.


Folding beam for 144 MHz portable

This is an advance on the rabbits ears dipole mentioned before. And it's really worthwhile. Adding an extra element
makes it go from 0 dBd gain to 5 dBd gain. That's as good and tripling your transmitter's output power. Range on receive
is improved as well. Videos describe beam and demonstrate its use on 2m SSB and WSPR from various portable locations.


A tape measure yagi for 144 MHz portable

Here's a further upgrade to three elements. A reflector, driven element and a direct. Compared to a two element beam
this gives a little extra forward gain (7 dB over a dipole or five times the effective radiated power) and much better
rejection off the back. It's super-cheap to build if you have an old metal tape measure lying around. The springy robust
elements make it good for amateur radio direction finding. However they are not so useful in moderate to high winds.
For that type of operating you are better using solid aluminium elements such as from an old TV antenna.


A bi quad for 70cm

Another very simple antenna that can connect straight onto coaxial cable without a matching section.
Horizontally polarised when erected like a figure 8.


A bobtail for 70cm

A UHF veriant of an old HF DX favourite.


Comparisons between some of the simple antennas described above



Disclosure: I receive a small commission from items purchased through links on this site.
Items were chosen for likely usefulness and a satisfaction rating of 4/5 or better.


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