Antennas

Super-elastic Signal Sticks

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Signal Stuff Super-elastic Signal Sticks are dual band (2m/70cm) antennas for handheld antennas.

  • 18.25″ long
  • Made of Nitinol, a very resilient and ridiculously flexible nickel-titanium alloy
  • Hand-made by hams in Utah
  • Lifetime guarantee!
  • $20
  • Meaningful gain compared to a standard “rubber duck” antenna

Need help figuring out which connector you need? Try this handy guide.

Order online

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NOTE: We will do our best to keep this up to date, but when we run out of antennas it is necessary to organize a build-it night of local hams to resupply and it takes several days to complete the finals steps. If we can’t fulfill your order right away we will give you the option of either a full refund or we will let you know when we expect to have replacements.

64 thoughts on “Antennas

  1. I understand you also sell the equivalent of LMR 400? Could you tell me, Brand, cost per foot and cost for SMA Female? Do you you also solder connectors to the wires?

    1. I do have some LMR-400, but I’m not set up to ship it; I sell it only for people who are local and can pick it up. The only connectors I have for it are UHF/PL-259, but it’s $0.75 / ft and is actually RFC-400, so not name brand but a respectable clone. I don’t stock it regularly; it’s something I’m considering doing, but the costs to get started are somewhat prohibitive at this point.

  2. Any Christmas specials this season on your antenna?

    1. Probably not, I’m afraid; I don’t have the inventory at the moment to do it justice. I don’t actually do specials very often — I’ve only ever done one online special so far. They are very time consuming to make and ship and I just don’t have the time to handle a large quantity of orders and build new antennas over the next couple of weeks.

      These are the challenges with selling handmade materials :-/ I can’t just order more in from China…

  3. Would one of these antennas work on a radio shack pro 91 scanner?

    1. I don’t see any reason that it wouldn’t, assuming you get the correct connector (BNC I think). I don’t know how well the antenna will perform on all of the frequencies, but should work well at least on the 2m/70cm freqs

  4. I want to use my UV-5R for hunting purposes (studying for my license as I write this). I don’t what a huge clumsy antenna, such as a Nagoya-771. I thought: Maybe go for a telescopic antenna instead, but from what I’ve read, the performance isn’t great.

    I saw your own review, but I had more questions:
    – Could you keep this antenna coiled up for the better part of a day, for a whole week or two of hunting without damaging it?
    – Could you receive a signal (probably not the best reception I agree but at least notice someone is trying to contact you) when the antenna is coiled?
    – Any problems shipping to Canada via USPS ground?

    Thanks!

    David

    1. In order:

      * You can coil it indefinitely without damaging it; it may not look as good if you do. It’ll start to hold a little bit of the curve is all, but never enough that it won’t work just fine. (and if it does send it back and I’ll replace it, because it shouldn’t)

      * I’m sure you could receive a signal when it’s coiled; I’m equally sure that your antenna performance would be *significantly* degraded. How much is more than I can say.

      * I have shipped to Canada before without any difficulty.

  5. I cannot get your site to accept an order. On both iPhone and PC, using various browsers, it will not accept the First or Last Name, Address, Town, State, nor Zip.

    Please let me know if you get her working

    1. Thanks for letting me know; I’ll look into it right away!

    2. Everett,

      Could you please email us at sales@signalstuff.com with the address you’re trying to put in so we can try to reproduce the issue? I just tried with my own information and everything seemed to be working correctly, so we’re missing something.

      Thanks!

  6. Hello, just got your signal stick for my HT- love it. I am wondering if you could make a version for a 25 W Mobile go box unit. Right now we are using telescopic antennas with a flex coil on the bottom to keep from breaking them. To run VHF and lower VSWR the radio go box (mounted on a backpack) has to be fully extended and if in wooded areas the operator needs to stop or risk the possibility of breaking the telescopic.

    What I am looking for is the longest possible dual band flex antenna that would work 2m/70cm in the Ham bands at 20w L and 25W H. I would like the longest that is electrically feasible.

    Long length is no problem and we envision something flexible like the PRC 77/25 whip antennas (except it would be your design style)

    Thanks

    1. There are two problems: First, without a matching coil (which I don’t currently have the ability to manufacture) a longer antenna would not actually work any better. Antenna lengths need to be pretty specifically calculated.

      The second problem is that nitinol is expensive to purchase and I buy it in bulk at a very specific size — the largest size I can get center pins for SMA connectors to crimp to, specifically. This size is only barely rigid enough to work well at the 18.25″ lengths we use for the signal sticks and if you make it much longer it will likely not hold itself up even under its own weight, much less if there is any kind of wind.

      So in essence, I’d love to help… but I don’t see a way that I could. Sorry :-/

  7. Yes this was the same problem we had trying to create a decent tape measure style flex antenna
    I might just try the one I got and see how it goes we do not talk on them long periods just short quick transmissions but will monitor to see if heat or vswr is an issue These are much better than using telescopic a that could be broken. For long periods of xmt we would use roll ups or fixed antennas just wanted something good if moving

  8. Hi,
    I wanted to ask if these antenna’s have any gain or if they are any better than the antenna’s that come with the HT’s?
    Thanks

    1. This is a more complicated question than you might think; the short answer is “yes, it should work much better than the antennas that come with your HT”. The long answer is here: https://signalstuff.com/2016/07/what-kind-of-gain-do-the-signal-sticks-have/

  9. Have spent an hour on your site and Facebook page. Cannot find a reference to match the descriptions of your antennas with your photos. The one in the center is what goes on my Anytone 3318 handheld. In July and August we will be using your Hamstudy with our youth club KC2RHY. Please visit our FB page. Thanks. 73 Jim N2OPS.

    1. I’m not sure I follow exactly what your problem is; if you go to https://signalstuff.com/product/super-elastic-signal-stick/ and choose a connector type and color (just choose black for description purposes) and the page should have whatever photos and descriptions you want. If you have specific questions feel free to email us at sales@signalstuff.com and we’ll do our best to help out!

      We’re very glad you find HamStudy.org helpful — we’ve worked hard on it and are hard at work on the next version! Good luck with your youth club!

  10. I have a UV-5RA and the antenna works really well with it. The rubber duck won’t pull a signal in a brick and metal office building (we can only get one FM station on a stereo). The signal stick does a great job and I am able to listen to the local morning net. And it fits just right and does not unscrew when you’re moving around (like my other more expensive antenna).

  11. How many watts of tx power can this antenna handle? I’m making my mobile go-bag and I’m thinking that since your antenna is so pack-able, what if I pack it along with my 50-watt mobile, would I need to keep my power down below a particular level? Love your antennas by the way! They are used regularly!

    1. You won’t damage the antenna. Keep in mind that the SWR of a handheld antenna is *far* less stable than what you usually use with a mobile rig, so it will probably end up reducing its power automatically because it will inevitably have suboptimal SWR — this is the case with any handheld antenna except possibly some heavily loaded ducks or larger telescoping antennas. It’s not going to give you optimal performance, but you aren’t going to damage the antenna.

  12. Any chance of seeing a dedicated 70cm version? It seems like it would actually be short enough for comfortable belt or shoulder carry, while still retaining the benefits of being ultralight and nearly indestructible.

    1. It’s something I’ve considered, but it costs basically the same amount to do a 70cm version as to do a 2m/70cm version, so we haven’t done much beyond making a few prototypes to test with. I’ll think on it again, since you bring it up; I have better tools to test with these days than when I last played with it.

      You could actually cut one down to 70cm if you wanted to — there is no loading, so all you’d have to do is cut it down the right length. That length would probably be around 5.5 inches, if my calculations are correct.

      Please note that doing so would void the otherwise lifetime warranty =]

      1. Personally, I would gladly pay the same price for a couple of those. For a product like this, it’s perfectly reasonable and expected to see the time/labor cost dominate over the materials. And I’m happy to pay for something that “just works”.

        I considered a DIY solution as you’ve suggested. Not too worried about the warranty actually – I already have a bunch of your antennas, and after experimenting with them in person, I’m plenty confident that there’s practically nothing accidental I could do to them with any reasonable likelihood that would break them.

        It just feels like a waste, though, especially since elsewhere you mentioned that Nitinol is not that easy to obtain – and the extra length that I’d have to trim could otherwise be two more such antennas. I’d rather you keep the extra material, and make more good stuff out of it :)

        1. This is definitely something I’ll consider; over the years as demand for these has increased I’ve had to find a variety of ways to improve my process. One of the things I’ve done is to find a company that sells me the nitinol pre-cut to the correct length. (Yes, I did a *lot* of testing before setting that length :-P)

          One interesting thing I found out as I sat down and did the math tonight, though, is that if you wanted to you could cut just over 6 inches (probably 6 and 1/16 inches) off the end and it should be the perfect length for your 1.25 meter (220) band. Even more interesting is that if you then take that remaining 6 inches and put a connector on it, maybe shave off 1/8 inch, you should have your 440 antenna.

          I haven’t done this and tested it on the analyzer yet (it’s far less simple than it sounds) but those numbers should work. Next time I build antennas maybe I’ll run off a couple dozen of each (1.25m and 70cm) and see if anyone is interested in buying them. I don’t expect BNC would be needed, since all the HTs I know of that are 440 only or that have 220 are SMA or SMA-F.

          Anyone else think they’d be interested in something like that? Chime in!

          1. I’ll ask around and see if anyone else might be interested hereabouts.

            One other thing that came to mind… given how light these antennas are, it’s not far-fetched to have a complete 2m/220/440 set, perfect lengths for each – I think it’ll still weigh less than Smiley’s collapsible tri-band, for example. The trick is coming up with a way to carry the ones that aren’t attached to the radio conveniently. Maybe you could join forces with e.g. guys at CountyComm, and come up with some sort of compact carry pouch – they seem to have some experience there – and then sell those things as a combo through them.

            Or maybe not even a pouch, but make the 3D printed base that covers the connector have some kind of hook-like appendage to dangle the other antennas from (after weaving them up into a loop)? Although that might affect the signal?..

          2. So far indications are that something like that would be relatively uncommon, but who knows what we might decide to do in the future? We’ll see what kind of demand there is.

          3. I just happened upon your page. Wondering if anything ever came out of this discussion. I too would pay the same price for dedicated 1.25 and 70cm antennas. I’ll be ordering one of your dual band antennas shortly. Can’t wait! Also would be interested in a length optimized for 6m.

          4. I’m still considering the 1.25m antennas; they’d be easy enough to do. I’ve experimented with the 70cm and I don’t feel they actually have any real advantage over the rubber duck, so I’m not strongly inclined towards them. Basically I just haven’t had time to play with it yet =]

            6m with the current design will not be happening, I’m afraid; the wire I have (which is the widest I can get connectors for so far) isn’t thick enough to support its own weight at the length the wire would need to be for that wavelength. If we ever develop a good way to develop a coil which is reliable enough for our needs then that might change, but for now…. sorry :-/

          5. I just ordered a dual bamd and have a BridgeCom 220mhz handheld. I would be very interested in a 1.25 version.

          6. I do actually have a limited number of monoband 1.25 meter antennas; they are the same price and I have them in both SMA-M and SMA-F. To order just order the connector you want and put in the notes that you want for 220; email sales@signalstuff.com to verify availability.

            Eventually I’ll find time to list them, but I’ve been working on a new version of HamStudy recently and it’s taken all of my time. =]

          7. I’d be interested in a GMRS variant (~465 MHz) as well as a 70 cm one – both/either with SMA-F connector/s. You might be able to make one length that will work well on both bands.

          8. Hi Leverett,

            I’ve actually made a few 70cm only variants; they are a lot harder to nail down than the dual band ones and end up being about the same length as a rubber duck anyway, so I haven’t found them to really be worthwhile to produce at scale, particularly since they cost basically the same as the longer ones; most of the materials end up being either the same or “close enough” and they actually take longer to make (because I have materials pre-cut for the normal length)

            That said, I’ve found that the dual band versions work adequately at GMRS frequencies; they may not be totally ideal, but they are pretty close.

  13. I have an Icom M73 marine vhf hand held with a female SMA (rubber ducky) antenna. Do you make antennas for 156.0 to 162.025 MHz?

    1. We don’t specifically do 156 to 162mhz, but you can tune it to 159Mhz (in the middle of that range) by snipping off 1.5 inches from one of our other antennas. As I have mentioned in other comments, doing so will unfortunately void the warranty (because I can’t then repair it for normal use if it breaks in a common way) but there is a reason that we offer a lifetime warranty — relatively few people ever need to use it, and nearly always because they dropped the radio in some way and it snapped the wire off at the connector. If you order one for this purpose, mention it in the comments and I’ll include a spare tip that you can superglue on after shortening it.

      1. Thank you for the quick (and favorable) response. I will certainly be ordering a few antennas and I look forward to using them. It sounds like the Nitinol antenna material used might be “picky” about the tool used to cut/shorten it. Is there a specific method/tool used for best results?

        1. It’s not actually picky about how you shorten it, it’s just that cutting it will notch most tools because it’s so hard. I use a heavy duty set of lineman’s pliers which seems to work out okay most of the time. I do have a leatherman tool that I need to get replaced because I notched the pliers pretty bad while cutting nitinol…. =]

          1. Got it, thank you.

  14. I am totally new to HAM radio. What is the suitable connector for my Yaesu FT-60R?
    I would like to order one. BTW, I am in Australia.

    1. the FT-60 requires an SMA-M connector on the antenna. See https://signalstuff.com/2016/08/choosing-the-correct-antenna-connector-for-your-radio/

      Also, just FYI “ham” is not an acronym and shouldn’t be capitalized =] (there is a wikipedia article about this with plenty of well documented sources)

  15. can you tell me the correct tune how much to cut? for gmrs frequencies i understand it voids warranty

    1. According to my calculations (and I haven’t tested this at all) to hit 462Mhz you’d need it to be ~5.75 inches long, which means you’d need to cut off about 12.5 inches. Keep in mind that the normal length working well on 70cm is a happy coincidence as it’s actually a 146mhz antenna, but if you’re just using it for GMRS there is no reason to keep it long.

      1. Should I cut from top down?

  16. I am buying a Yaesu VX-6R triple band – want to buy your flexible antenna- what connector does it use?

    1. See https://signalstuff.com/2016/08/choosing-the-correct-antenna-connector-for-your-radio/

      That said, the Yaesu FT-60, VX-{5-8}, ft-150, ft-170, and ft-270 as well as most other current Yeasu HTs all require an antenna with a SMA-M connector.

  17. I own anytone AT-3318UVE triband do you have anything for that?thanks

    1. We don’t currently have any triband antennas. You could use a dual band one on the two bands we do cover, but we don’t currently have a good way to manufacture triband antennas.

  18. How do I buy locally to avoid shipping? Thanks.

    1. You can contact us at sales@signalstuff.com to arrange a local pickup — I also nearly always have them at the exam sessions in Provo. That said, shipping is only $2, so it’s not that bad.

  19. I wonder about the length, 18,25″. Is that really a full quarter wave on 145 MHz?

    1. As a matter of fact, it isn’t =] A quarter wave on 145 Mhz would be 20.364 inches; however, radio waves actually travel at different speeds through different materials. When you calculate an antenna width you need to take into account not just actual wavelength but also Velocity Factor, which is responsible for most of the difference.

      The rest of the difference comes from the fact that a 1/4 antenna on a handheld is actually fudging things a bit — your radio and arm make up half of the dipole (and adding a tiger tail would just change the specifics, not remove the impact of that), so the best we can do is come up with a test harness that is “fairly realistic” and use that for fine tuning. I’ve done extensive tests over the last 15 years and I feel this is the best length… but I bet you could get very similar results if the wire was up to an inch longer or even shorter.

      It’s also worth noting that nearly all HT antennas are affected the same way — the ones that are less affected would be heavily loaded rubber ducks (which are practically just resistors anyway) or well designed telescoping ones which can provide a full dipole system in the antenna.

      Hope that helps!

  20. Does it work with the Wouxun KG-UV9D handheld radio?

    1. Yes it does; you need an antenna with an SMA-M connector for that radio.

  21. A Firefighter friend (N1DAE) had told me of your antennae, just ordered 2 SMA-F for my Baofeng UV82HP and an SMA-M for my Tytera MD-380 DMR.

    I’ve had my Tech ticket since 2001 and found out in 2016 that the CW requirement was dropped in 2004 – Boy am I slow :-) .

    Anyways I studied for my General and Extra through HamStudy and my other half (K1DAE) — [yeah the firefighter and my other half have the same initials — mind blowing at club meetings] had studied for her Tech, General, and Extra through the site.

    I am getting mine first to try them and she will order (through me) later. We are both VEs now and tell others of your site.

    We are proud to support such a worthwhile site. I also run our club’s website (n1me.org) and are going to put in a link to your site for people to study for tests.

    Keep up the great job.
    73
    Kevin – W1KMC

  22. I Have a Yaesu VX-170 and have a couple of questions.
    1) I need a SMA female antenna (the radio has the male portion) but when I click on it I get a pic of a male antenna I need to make sure I get the correct one.
    2) The VX-170 is a waterproof unit as well as its rubber duck antenna/connector. I use this radio in the rain and in blizzards and need to maintain the waterproofness. Will your antennas provide a waterproof seal?

    1. It’s good that you asked — your radio actually has a SMA female connection on the radio, thus you need an SMA male antenna. The gender is determined by the center conductor, not the threads. Thus since your radio has a socket, it’s a female connector. The antenna has a pin, so it’s male.

      1. Thanks for the clarification on the thread vs conductor being the determining factor on the male vs female. Does your antenna keep the waterproofness of the radio?

        1. Ack, sorry for not responding completely. No, our antennas will not make a watertight seal. Most aftermarket antennas won’t in fact.

  23. So I have read threw the comments and didn’t see this question, if it was already asked I apologize. Will this antenna make the radio top heavy? I have a Baofeng with an aftermarket nagoya antenna and it makes this little thing so top heavy it barely stands up in its own. I am thinking of putting one on my Yaesu FT2DR which is a slightly bigger radio but I was just curious. Thanks and 73 de W4JRQ

    1. I think most would say that no, they don’t make your radio top-heavy. These antennas are extremely lightweight, but they are also ~18.5″ long, so while compared to most antennas (even some rubber ducks!) they will not make the radio top-heavy, if you set it upright and the antenna is swinging it will still probably knock it over =]

    2. @Jesse: I have a Yaesu FT1xDR with one of these antennas on it, and I have no issues with the antenna knocking over the radio, even if the antenna is swaying when I set the radio down.

  24. Hi,

    I bought one then another of these Signal Sticks and am satisfied with them. My question is I have a 10m HT and there seems to be virtually no HT antenna that is adequate enough short of a 1/4 wave. I have purchased some Nitinol wire and am attempting to duplicate the 2m version. I know it will be inordinately large at 10m, as a quarter-wave is going to require a minimum of 8.5 feet, but Nitinol is easy on a BNC chassis mount whereas a 102 inch steel whip definitely is not. Are there any sellers out there who provide the shrink tubing with parallel memory properties to cover the Nitinol wire. And PS I figured out how to solder the Nitinol into the BNC. Stretched out the wire is highly efficient, even at the bottom end of the cycle.

    1. Hi Richard,

      You’re absolutely right about the length being excessively long =] More concerning than the convenience of such a thing, though, I’d be concerned about the relatively high resistivity of nitinol wire; at the length that a HT antenna is the resistivity is acceptable, but when you make it that long I’d be concerned that it may be too high for the antenna to perform. The SWR may look fine, but that could be “fine” in the same way that a 50 ohm resistor has very low SWR =] Just something to watch out for.

      That said, you can buy spools of heat shrink at various places; you’ll need to match it to the diameter of your wire, which can be tricky, but you shouldn’t need anything special to match the memory properties of the wire as most heat shrink is flexible enough that it can be bent or coiled just fine.

      73 and good luck with your project,

      Richard
      KD7BBC

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