If you’re still running the stock antenna on your handheld radio, you’re probably disappointed with the performance on 2m. Stock “rubber duck” style antennas just aren’t long enough to be a good match at the lower frequencies involved. There’s many options for an aftermarket antenna but here we’ll look at the Super-Elastic SignalStick by SignalStuff.
One thing’s for certain - if you’re a fan of long antennas, this is the one for you. It even dwarfs the quite sizable Nagoya NA-771 - the usual candidate for “unreasonably long antenna”. But is it that inconvenient?
While it’s also half the weight of the NA-771, this doesn’t tell the full story. With the ‘771, if you put the radio down on a table with the antenna still wobbling around, it’ll easily pull the radio over. The SignalStick on the other hand is springy, but overall much more rigid and although it’ll swing back and forward a bit, the radio remains upright.
Due to the Nitinol alloy construction, it’s very springy - in fact the antenna can be tied in a knot without any permanent bending. This is handy for storing the radio in a backpack or carrying case. Mine has acquired a slight bend in the bottom from just being kept loose in a backpack, but it’s nothing major.
As for performance, 2m works better than any other HT antenna I’ve tried - not surprising considering it’s a full 1⁄4 wave in length. Performance on 70cm is good too - though being a 3⁄4 wave there’s no huge advantage to the length. I’ll have to see if a counterpoise wire improves performance on 2m further - I have a feeling it will due to the other side of the dipole being made up of the much shorter radio body.
The epoxy-filled 3D printed connector surround feels quite solid though it could probably do with being acetone vapour treated to smooth it down a little. The end cap is also 3D printed but I’d be happier with a rubber cap (though I wonder if no suitable one exists).
Overall I’d recommend it provided you don’t want to carry the HT on the front of your belt. Back pocket is fine, attached to a backpack it’s not a problem.
Price is $20.00 from SignalStuff, with proceeds supporting HamStudy.org. It’s available in SMA Male, SMA Female (for Baofeng) and BNC, and there’s also a 220Mhz version (haven’t tried it - we don’t get that band over here).
(Also, unlike the NA-771, you can be assured of getting a genuine one. I have four NA-771s. They’re all noticably different and I think three of them are fake. I’ve even obtained immediate refunds for two of them upon questioning this…)
(Also, this isn’t a paid review. I bought one and like it, that’s all.)