102" whip antenna

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SCPD

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So for fun, I decided to try this super long whip antenna on my SUV using an ICOM 7000 rig. It's stainless steel and fairly flexible. I saw that DxE has one of these and is advertised as being even more flexible so I ordered that one for grins. This is the Radio Shack model.

I never tried this antenna because it's very long -- at 8.5 ft. Out in a rural area this would be a very fun antenna.

I decided to try the NVIS configuration that some of our military vehicles use... needless to say, I'm quite impressed. This antenna is a monster! My previous antenna was a shorter "CB" whip but it did have a base loading coil. That coil could have been an issue. My ham-stick antennas seem to perform better but they are also nearly 7.5-8 ft long as well.

The plain whip is a signal sucker though. Even this morning at 10am PST, I was getting S9+20 on 20megs WWV and the same on 15megs WWV. Both 10/11m were coming in great too.

The whip is just long enough that I can bend it over and with a 12" loop of dacron rope it's holding tight. The stainless end cap of the antenna is holding it in place but I think I'll wrap a few layers of electrical tape around the end to keep it from coming loose.

If anyone knows of a thin, bungee-like cord with a non-conductive end on it then let me know... The rope should be fine but I'd rather have something a bit more reliable.

The entire whip has a nice buffer between the SUV body or roof. It has about a 8-10" buffer over the roof until the rope brings it back down. (The rope attaches to the stock luggage bar.)

If you haven't tried one of these whips then you don't know what you're missing. The cost is about $30 and well worth it!

PS. I've heard that the R/S model is a cheap Chinese-made whip. The 3/8" stud is actually hollow brass and not solid steel. The DxE model is made in the USA so it might be of better quality. The price is nearly the same.

Here's the R/S link:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102428

Here's the DxE link:

http://www.dxengineering.com/parts/dxe-wp-102
 
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KE5MC

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Not sure if this helps...

Try a search for "Cable P Clamps".

They come in different holes sizes, but the only downside is you usally have to buy a bag full to get just a couple.

Possible a local Lowe's or HomeDepot might have something in the special fastener bins and a smaller part count.

Commonly used item to secure cables inside electronic equipment. Not uncommon to repurpose and used differently.

Mike
 

SCPD

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Thanks for the suggestion Mike. That's a good idea but I think they might be too big. Basically I would need something like that but have a very small opening. Ideally, I would love a bungee-cord string with a thin rubber sleeve that I could slip over the tip of the antenna and pull it around the luggage bar.

I haven't had time to hit Lowes yet but I'll definitely look around. I'm sure there's something like this...
 

SCPD

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After some research I found a couple ideas. I could find a 1/8" ID rubber grommet and loop some wire/rope around that and lock it down with a ferrule. Or, I'll just use some UV resistant shock cord 1/16" and heat-shrink that around near the tip of the antenna and then use another piece of heat-shrink around the ends to seal it. The latter sounds like the best (and cheapest option.)
 

SCPD

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That's a great item but unfortunately, I don't think it'll work for me. I'll have to double-check but I just have these two horizontal bars on top of the roof and no gutters.

I'm actually purchasing a Breedlove mount for my SUV so I'll likely have to change up the tie down anyway in the near future. Probably no point in spending any extra money.
 

n9mxq

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They can be mounted to luggage carriers as long as you don't mine drilling into the carrier.. pull the screw and clamp off and go through with a self tapping screw..

I've done that for others and it works fine.. but some people don't like the extra holes..
 

davenlr

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I used to have one of those whips mounted to my bicycle when I was about 14. Had a Realistic Navajo CD in a basket on one side, and a boat battery in a basket on the other side. That brings back memories. That antenna is great for low band.
 

SCPD

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Quick Update

So after a train derailment in MT and bad weather along the way, I finally received DxE's 102" whip antenna.

I must say though that it was worth the wait. The R/S version can't hold a candle to this one. The R/S version has a brass *hollow* base. The DxE version is solid steel.

The whip on the DxE is definitely springy and very flexible. It seems to have no trouble bending any way you want. Another nice feature of the DxE whip is that it has a nice little ball at the very top -- which helps to secure it -- if tying it down.

The quality of the DxE whip is far superior than that of the R/S version. If you're going to get one then I'd recommend the DxE whip. The additional shipping cost is a bummer but still at $40 this is not a bad investment.

As far as performance is concerned, I couldn't really tell a difference -- but my 3/8 mount has changed since I had the R/S version so an A/B test wasn't possible.
 

LtDoc

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That "brass *hollow* base" is a standard way of attaching a ferrule to a whip. That brass ferrule is silver soldered on and it's very unlikely that it will ever come off by accident. Unsoldering that ferrule, cutting the whip off, and replacing that ferrule is probably the most common way of 'trimming' a 102" whip.
I have no idea where those '
Rat Shack' whips are made, but they haven't changed in 40 some years to my knowledge.
- 'Doc
 

ka3jjz

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I assume you'll be using this whip in conjunction with the 7000's general coverage receiver? Or do you plan to transmit with it (you'll likely need a tuner if you don't already have one...) Mike
 

SpectreOZ

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I can attest to the "decent performance" on VHF low band as well, our neighbouring State's legacy Police radio network (now running in simulcast with UHF) comes in loud and clear on my DIY copper 9" antenna on the shed roof... albeit not as good as a dedicated resonant antenna (78Mhz) ;)
 

SCPD

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I assume you'll be using this whip in conjunction with the 7000's general coverage receiver? Or do you plan to transmit with it (you'll likely need a tuner if you don't already have one...) Mike
Yes it's primarily a Rx antenna but it tunes up just fine on 20M or higher. I have MFJ sticks for specific bands.

Here's my new mount. The 102" whip works quite well with it.

 

SCPD

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That "brass *hollow* base" is a standard way of attaching a ferrule to a whip. That brass ferrule is silver soldered on and it's very unlikely that it will ever come off by accident. Unsoldering that ferrule, cutting the whip off, and replacing that ferrule is probably the most common way of 'trimming' a 102" whip.
Doc, if you read the R/S web site description of the antenna you can see one user's review where it broke after 3 1/2 months. He has pictures.
 

LtDoc

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nickcarr,
I've found that taking reviews with a very large dose of 'salt' is a pretty good idea.
No, I didn't read the reviews on that site. Mainly because I've used one of those whips for a lot of years (in one way or another) and I feel like I have a 'fair' idea of what they are capable of. There are always going to be 'lemons' no matter who makes it. And you have to be aware that everything has limits. After that, it's up to you not to 'stress' things more than they can handle.
None of this is any particular recommendation for Radio Shack 102" whips, I'm not a particular 'fan' of the 'Rat Shack'. It's pure supposition but I'll bet those whips are all made in the same factory for companies to sell under 'their' name. Oh well...
- 'Doc
 

mmckenna

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After some research I found a couple ideas. I could find a 1/8" ID rubber grommet and loop some wire/rope around that and lock it down with a ferrule. Or, I'll just use some UV resistant shock cord 1/16" and heat-shrink that around near the tip of the antenna and then use another piece of heat-shrink around the ends to seal it. The latter sounds like the best (and cheapest option.)
You can pick these up at most hardware stores in their electrical isle:
Blackburn Type L Mechanical Connectors for #8 Stranded to #14 Solid Wire (2-Pack)-L35-B2-5 at The Home Depot

Find one that the ball on the top of the whip will fit through. Dog down the screw and attach your nonconductive line to tie it down.
 

ridgescan

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Cool stuff Nick. Have you given it the nighttime utilities reception test yet? Man the possibilities of getting that up on a nice hilltop there and see what you can get compared to base.
Can you get some video of it receiving? I'd like to put a setup on my truck for the r75 to go mobile, so it'd be nice to see.
IMO you should shoot the mount semi-flat black to match your truck's non-chrome motif-that'd look killer:)
 

902

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I've been using 102" whips for a long time. For HF use, I have an LDG tuner that is right near the mount. I have played around and used Hustler antennas with the LDG with fantastic results, often checking into the Maritme net on 14.300 for "flight following" as I drove the Interstates during winter time. I also had a shortened whips that were resonant on 29.6, 33.86, and 52.525 MHz that I changed out as the mood hit. The antenna worked fantastically with my Icom IC-725 and the tuner - even outside of the ham bands. Mobile SWLing was really neat.

One thing, though. I would use a good quality spring between the whip and the ball mount. I didn't want any shocks (impacts) conducted down to the mount.

The other thing is that I used tie wraps to hold the longer antennas in an NVIS position. The tie wraps (like a chain for insulation) would go between the whip and the luggage rack. I've also used 50# fishing line as an insulating tie-down.
 
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