Opinions On Rat Tail Antenna Booster

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prcguy

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Adding a 1/4 dangling wire to the ground side of your handheld antenna connector will work better and cost almost nothing. There can be a noticeable increase in performance and it will vary with the radio.

A tiny handheld provides a very small counterpoise and will benefit more than a large handheld with a metal frame.

For most handhelds you can fit a thin 1/2" dia or similar lug with wire over the BNC connector and the antenna will hold it down or if there is space add a spring washer to keep tension on the lug.

Please don't spend $30 or $40 for a ground radial.
prcguy
 

WA6KFI

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Rat Tail Antennas...

As most of us know all rubber duck antennas are just 1/4 wave and have no gain to them, but on the other hand the longer the antenna the better receive do to its length. It make a deference for picking up those lower frequencies like CHP and some ambulance companies here in Southern California. Workman make a very good "rat tail" antenna #WEP-12...for 146 to 440MHz., and cost is around $16 to $20 depending where you buy.

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W2PMX

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The retail cost of 19" of wire and an alligator clip is about $1. Add $40 for profit and $1 for packaging and you can rip people off too. But that's all the thing is - wire and a clip.
 

LtDoc

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Do they work? Yes, they do. That "rat tail" is the 'other half' of the antenna taking the place of the HT's chassis which is what is usually the 'other half' of the antenna. It's still limited by the 'size' of the whole thing, there's no miracles involved here. A typical rubber-duck antenna is not a quarter wave in size. It can 'load' like one, but that doesn't make it a quarter wave, it's length does that. It's still a 'shortened', loaded antenna. The simplest solution would be to make that rubber-duck 19 inches for 2 meters, or about 6 inches for 70 cm, or whatever length for the band of interest (that "rat tail" too). Another part of the typical HT's antenna system is the user's hand/arm/body, it's coupled into that antenna system too. Lots of variations in that! The 'tune' of that antenna system is very vague, not really all that 'close'. And will change with how the HT is held/used. (Same for a hand-held scanner/receiver with attached antenna.)
The rubber-duck on any HT is for convenience only, not performance. Expecting good performance from any 'variable' antenna system depends on how it's used and situated. The best way of improving that sort of antenna system is by divorcing it from the radio, moving the antenna to a less 'variable' position. Those weird-o's with the antenna mounted on a hard-hat ain't so weird are they? Well, sort of anyway...
- 'Doc
 

N1BHH

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Save yourself some money, get yourself 20 inches of wire and bare the last inch or so, wrap the bare wire around the antenna connector and put your ducky back on and you've saved yourself some money. Now with UHF, all you need is 7 inches and do the same.
 

YaesuFan2012

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isoutar

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Rattail .... from the inventor

I should say the price went up to 31.95 ... it has never been as high as suggested. That was after 10 years at the o.d price.

If one of you actually used one you would see remarkable results. Theory in Radio rarely matches the field. The RatTail has great reviews on Eham by owners of the units.

It was given away as a prize at Dayton for 2 years. We raised the price mainly for the professional markets of air and marine where it has taken off for emergency use. Plus it was time after a decade at 20 dollars. The new price is 31.95. The price above is false.

Ian Soutar
Inventor of Rattail
Microsec R&D Inc.
RatTailAntenna dot com
 

kayn1n32008

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isoutar said:
I should say the price went up to 31.95 ... it has never been as high as suggested. That was after 10 years at the o.d price.

If one of you actually used one you would see remarkable results. Theory in Radio rarely matches the field. The RatTail has great reviews on Eham by owners of the units.

It was given away as a prize at Dayton for 2 years. We raised the price mainly for the professional markets of air and marine where it has taken off for emergency use. Plus it was time after a decade at 20 dollars. The new price is 31.95. The price above is false.

Ian Soutar
Inventor of Rattail
Microsec R&D Inc.
RatTailAntenna dot com
Wow that's some profit margine.

Made my own years ago, I would see, at times, 2 s-units of improvement in handheld receive performance. Really you are taking an antenna that has NEGITIVE gain (-6 to -9dbd-ish) and bringing it up to close to unity (0dbd) gain.
 

isoutar

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Rattal Antenna Booster Challenge

Thanks for your interest in our product.

The idea is precisely as suggested ... you take a radio with a terrible antenna (all rubber antennas are terrible by comparison to a full length one. For emergency work the rattail is superior to a super tall full sized antenna because it just dangles and is less awkward.

We are concentrating on the Emergency radio market of Marine and Aircraft as well as Ham Emergency volunteers. Having presented the product at Dayton Ohio in 2003 it was taken up by Universal Radio where you can buy it in the USA. Otherwise it is online as you know.

The RatTail Antenna Booster is now fully hand assembled and tested because the major market is emergency communication. Various army / navy / marine rescue groups are using them. Our major market is no longer the ham radio community.

You are welcome to make your own for your own use, as is the case with all patented products. However the vast majority of hams prefer to buy their own equipment, rather than making their own. That is how the Rattail Antenna Booster started ... and now it is spread to other radio industries.

Check out Eham if you want to see reviews of actual Rattail users, rather than theoretical studies which show nothing useful or accurate.

A theoretical study which shows the Rattail Antenna Booster does not work reminds me of the study in the late 1800s proving conclusively that powered flight cannot be done. The Rattail is a mature and well tested product which has been given away as a prize at Dayton Hamvention for several years. Perhaps the skeptics can get lucky at Dayton next year!

No customers over 10 years of sales have ever asked for their money back. If they are dissatisfied they can ask for a refund through paypal. It seems the above conversations are from those who have never tried the product.

If someone wants to buy one and test it they can. If it fails ot function a refund wil be given. The review could be place in this forum.

Ian Soutar
Microsec R&D Inc.
Vancouver Island
Canada.
 

W2NJS

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This statement from the item's source shows exactly what we are dealing with here:

"However the vast majority of hams prefer to buy their own equipment, rather than making their own."

Well, that's not true where I come from, and I've been in hamming now for more than sixty years. The thing is still just a piece of wire, and the method of bringing the short antenna up to almost unity gain with the added wire has been around for many, many years. Anyone who gets suckered into believing those claims of 800% improvement (whatever that means) probably deserves to pay thirty bucks for a fifty-cent piece of wire.
 

RESlusher

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I agree with ya, W2NJS!

If I can homebrew something that will work as well as a piece of professionally built hardware for a lot less, I'll do it! Provided that it works reasonably close and doesn't tax my abilities too much.

I've borrowed a rat-tail and compared it to my simple snippet of wire with a ring terminal and I honestly can't tell the difference. My wallet does though. $1.25 versus $20?? No brainer!
 

gewecke

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Adding a 1/4 dangling wire to the ground side of your handheld antenna connector will work better and cost almost nothing. There can be a noticeable increase in performance and it will vary with the radio.

A tiny handheld provides a very small counterpoise and will benefit more than a large handheld with a metal frame.

For most handhelds you can fit a thin 1/2" dia or similar lug with wire over the BNC connector and the antenna will hold it down or if there is space add a spring washer to keep tension on the lug.

Please don't spend $30 or $40 for a ground radial.
prcguy
I second this also, although it's tricky for some SMA connectors. ;)

73,
n9zas
 

LtDoc

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For those who love SMA connectors as much as I do, this may come in handy. And then, it may not if you are using an HT different that mine.
I tried the ring connector thingy and just plain wire to the SMA connection. That wasn't exactly easy to do because of the shape of the HT's case. Sharp bends would eventually 'kink' the wire in two. Pulled the battery off of the HT to see if I could get at the SMA connector from 'under' the HT's outer case. Nope, beyond my 'chicken limit' for disassembling stuff. But wait a minute, looky there! That SMA connector is connected to the metal case under that plastic outer case of the HT. And the battery's case is plastic except for a couple of power contacts. But it's a very tight fit to the HT's metal frame in there... So skin off some insulation on the end of that wire. Make a very pretty spiral coil of that bare wire. Place it on the metal HT's frame. Snap battery back onto the HT to hold it on there. What's the name of that song from 'Rocky'? Ever hear it after you've made something that actually works? Nice ain't it??
- 'Doc

Stay away from those power connections in there, don't mess with them.
 
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VE6CLG

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Patented? Really?

I was always under the impression that patents could only be granted to unique items, not to someone that took universal knowledge that is widely available and build something from it and turn it to their monetary advantage.

And why do we target the SAR community with our Rat Tail? Because they often have access to ECRF (Externally Contributed Resource Funding), and therefore it's easier to profit from them.
 
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