R30 Great radio; shame about the antenna connector...

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Jul 30, 2020
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Hi all.

I got myself an Icom IC-R30 last week, and I'm certainly impressed with it. (I will be even more impressed when I can work out how to programme all my airband frequencies into it using my laptop keyboard instead of fiddly buttons on the set, but I haven't quite fathomed the user manual yet. I will eventually.)

But the one thing that I really don't like about the set is the antenna connector. Why on earth have Icom decided to fit it with an SMA connector with an external screwthread, requiring an antenna with an internal screwthread? It is the most difficult connector to get alternative antennas for, and so far I have only managed to find one, a Watson WSMA-801. On the other hand I have a collection of different helical 'rubber ducks' for my old Yupiteru MVT-7100, which has the far more common BNC connector.

I appreciate that the supplied telescopic antenna is more efficient than a compact helical, but I'm not too bothered about reception of weak signals. I generally use scanners at airfields, where range and signal strength is not all that critical, but where having a scanner on a belt-clip with a telescopic antenna up could take someone's eye out...

Has anyone got any ideas on suitable compact helicals please? The Mil UHF band-tuned helical I have for my MVT-7100 is only a couple of inches long: it works a treat, and I'd love to be able to get one that fits my R30.
 

fasteddy64

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There are many male SMA antennas out there, far more than the female type. Ham rigs have been using them for years.
Comet, Diamond, Malcolm, Jetstream etc... just to name a few.
 

N4DJC

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The SMA is a more weatherproof connection. I didn’t care for it on the R-30 either. The telescoping antenna works fine, but it’s so floppy it‘s a nightmare. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone uses a Smiley duck with an SMA on one. They make a nice helical tuned for specific frequencies, the 160 MHz one I have works better than the various Diamond and Comet antennas I’ve tried.
 

footage

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The SMA is a more weatherproof connection. I didn’t care for it on the R-30 either. The telescoping antenna works fine, but it’s so floppy it‘s a nightmare. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone uses a Smiley duck with an SMA on one. They make a nice helical tuned for specific frequencies, the 160 MHz one I have works better than the various Diamond and Comet antennas I’ve tried.
I use Smileys for airband, 2m and 70cm. They work pretty well. Still testing them against the old Watson Tele-Gainer.
 
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Thanks everyone for piping-up to help; I was beginning to think nobody cared... :)

Being unfamiliar with the SMA also caused me to get confused about SMA terminology, and I bought a couple of SMA-to-BNC adaptors that were 'the wrong sex', as it were. In my mind the thing sticking up out of my R-30 was 'male', which screwed into the antenna, which I therefore assumed was 'female'. But no! They're the other way around, aren't they. Very confusing... Can someone please confirm that I am now correct in that what I need are antennas with Male SMA connectors?

N4DJC, I appreciate the point about the SMA being more weatherproof, and, yes, it does look less likely to be affected by rain, so I guess that answers my question about why Icom chose it. And I'm interested in the tuned 'Smiley' antennas you refer to.

I've just discovered their website. (My Google searches in the UK didn't throw them up.) Apart from choosing 'Female SMA' in the 'Base Connectors' drop-down on the website, (Have I got that right?), are there any specific Smiley product numbers I should be looking for?

Thanks again.
 

sallen07

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Can someone please confirm that I am now correct in that what I need are antennas with Male SMA connectors?

Apart from choosing 'Female SMA' in the 'Base Connectors' drop-down on the website, (Have I got that right?)
MALE. "Normal" SMA connectors on an antenna are male. Baofengs and other CCRs use antennas with female SMA.

Not to be graphic, but the "male" part isn't the threaded cylinder, it's the little pin that plugs into the cylinder. :)
 

N4DJC

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@sirnigelgresley

I evidently didn’t catch the UHF part, the Smiley is for the VHF band. They do offer some UHF but they are geared for public service frequencies. My apologies...
 
Last edited:

wcsd45

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Hello,

I also rise in support of the Smiley Antennas; been using them for many years and do not mind getting more each tuned for specific use and bands. RT Systems makes programming for the R30. No affiliation with either company; just happy with their products, and the R30 of course!

73 and good luck,

Chuck KC9QBY
 

K9DWB

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FWIW I just bought the Yaesu FT3DR that has the same SMA connector. I bought a Diamond SRH77CA that's about 19" in SMA and a MFJ-1714 again in SMA for mine. And I'll be getting a Signal Stick dual band next week...SMA. They are out there and I don't mind the connector myself. BNC is quick connect but it's not that much faster IMO.
73s
 

jaspence

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I have tried all the IC-R30 software. RT Systems wins hands down. One of the others requires writing to the SD card and then transferring to the radio memory.
 

Hit_Factor

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I buy Smileys wound for Marine frequencies. A friend of mine is a Ships Pilot, and every time he gets a new radio he asks me to get a smiley for him. He's passed some on to other Pilots and has several on his radios.
 

footage

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I've had somewhat better luck in my location with the Smiley Stubby Ducks than the Slim Ducks, but your mileage may vary. Well-made and decently priced antennas. I hear they also do custom work if you have a nonstandard frequency requirement.
 

K9DWB

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Thanks everyone for piping-up to help; I was beginning to think nobody cared... :)

Being unfamiliar with the SMA also caused me to get confused about SMA terminology, and I bought a couple of SMA-to-BNC adaptors that were 'the wrong %%%', as it were. In my mind the thing sticking up out of my R-30 was 'male', which %%%%%%% into the antenna, which I therefore assumed was 'female'. But no! They're the other way around, aren't they. Very confusing... Can someone please confirm that I am now correct in that what I need are antennas with Male SMA connectors?

N4DJC, I appreciate the point about the SMA being more weatherproof, and, yes, it does look less likely to be affected by rain, so I guess that answers my question about why Icom chose it. And I'm interested in the tuned 'Smiley' antennas you refer to.

I've just discovered their website. (My Google searches in the UK didn't throw them up.) Apart from choosing 'Female SMA' in the 'Base Connectors' drop-down on the website, (Have I got that right?), are there any specific Smiley product numbers I should be looking for?

Thanks again.
My understanding of this comes from Signal Stick. They describe the middle connector "stinger" in the center that's recessed as the male portion. See the image.

SMAM_1.jpg
 

N1SQB

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I use two antennas on my R30; The Diamond SRH77CA (tall ) and the Nagoya NA-701 in sma male ( short ) for close by reception. Both work very well and are very sturdy. Links are for reference only, not an endorsement of the sites.

 

M0PAC

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Jan 2, 2020
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In case you're not aware there are two formats for SMA connectors. SMA and SMA-RP (reverse polarity). The 'pin' is in the internal threaded part in SMA and in the external threaded part in SMA-RP. You can get adaptors of course but for antenna connections where strength is important its best to get an antenna with the correct connection in the first place.

1598307849928.png
 
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