What is a Rat Tail?
A “Rat Tail”, or counterpoise, is basically the missing part of a whip antenna. You can consider it to be something like an actual Dipole antenna on your HT. The whip antenna is your Driven Element, and the Rat Tail is your groundplane. This in turn will give you a greater signal strength on TX than a basic rubber ducky antenna. You can also make a Dual Band Rat Tail like the one featured in my Baofeng Range Test.
How do I build one?
It is one of the easiest things to build. All you need is 19.5″ of stranded copper wire and a ring terminal. For the Baofeng radios, a 3/8″ terminal works best. It fits perfectly around the radio.
Here are the parts you need
- 19.5″ of 18awg stranded wire
- 3/8″ ring terminal
- Wire Stripper
- Measure and cut 19.5″ of the wire. Strip 1/4 in. of the wire.
- Insert the bare wire to the ring terminal and crimp it down.
- For extra precaution, you can solder the wire to the ring terminal. This is optional, but it will help your Rat Tail from being ripped apart.
- Take the antenna off and place the completed Rat Tail on the connection, then connect your antenna and you are done!
You now have a portable Dipole antenna…… kinda. There is a lot of theory and science that is behind this project. But for know, you just increased the TX capabilities on your Baofeng.
What are the results?
I am fortunate to have a local repeater in my area that gives Signal Reports. During this test, I was about 14 miles from the repeater inside my second story apartment. These are the results:
Stock Antenna: S2
Nagoya NA-771: S4
Nagoya NaA-771 w/ Rat Tail: S5
*If you don’t feel like making one, I will be selling these for $1.50 with free shipping. Just click here and it will direct you my store.
Have you built one of these?
If so, leave your tips or comments in the section below.