Our radios came in, unfortunately one had a bad mic and we had to send it back.
While we're waiting for the new mic I needed an antenna to use for testing and programming. We have 2 business radio shops in town but no CB or ham shops, I ran by the first radio shop and asked if they had any antennas for the 2 meter ham band? the guy behind the counter said "nope, we just do vhf" Me
umm, dude, 2 meters is vhf.
wow really? well we don't do any of that ham stuff, we just handle stuff from 136 to 174.
umm, ham is 144 to 148 so umm ya, that's kind right in the middle there right
About this time I notice a couple antennas on the wall labeled marine band so walk over and grab one of the packages to check freqs, sure enough it's exactly what I'm looking for. Well, almost, it's a stainless whip with an nmo mount, didn't really want an nmo mount but ohwell, I ask him if he's got the stuff I need to fit it to my mount on the Jeep and how much would it be?
Yep, he's got it but he can't tell me how much until he rings it all up.
Good grief, I'm a high school dropout and I can do simple math like that in my head, this idiot has a degree in radio communications, I think he should be driving the truck and I'll go install radios.
Anyway, he gets it all rung up and it comes to over $70 for a simple stainless whip and some coax, he gave me a funny look when I started laughing and said no thanks.
Just for giggles I ran by the other shop, I walked in the door and asked the nice older gentleman behind the display case full of vhf radios if he had an antenna that would work in the vhf band between 144 and 148mhz? I figured I'd learned me an important lesson, don't mention "ham" it just confuses em.
"nope, we don't do any of that vhf stuff" ooof
I thanked him and just left, I expected the theme to the Twilight Zone would start any time.
Anyway, we whipped up a roll up J pole, I wasn't real impressed with what we got out of it or with the power limitations so I figured we needed something a little more substantial at casa Hobbs. I looked around teh interwebs and found plans for a copper tubing SlimJim.
With notes in hand I hopped in the ole Heep and boogied on down to the hardware store and picked up just under $20 worth of copper tubing and fittings. Came home and within an hour I had all the parts ready to go together and scavenged up a piece of coax from another project to hook it up.
I got it all assembled and started testing and tuning, I just could get a decent SWR reading on this thing, it was driving me nuts because no matter how i adjusted lengths SWR just kept jumping all over the place. then i remembered something. You have to keep a Slim Jim at least one wave length away from anything conductive and I had been leaning it up against the outside of the kitchen wall with the stove and fridge right on the other side
I moved it out to the middle of the porch and used my sons plastic bball hoop to prop it up and SWR dropped right where it was supposed to be.
I haven't got much to compare it too but I already found several repeaters i didn't know were there before.