I bought the SlimJim from N9TAX since it got such awesome reviews on eham and I needed a good antenna for my bug-out bag or on the VHF comms. That was a great opportunity to test out my fiberglass pole and the guylines and to exercise the setup. I made the guyline base from a plumbing pipe carrier that has rubber inlets. Great for holding the pole in place. The setup took me about 10 minutes for the first time. I guess I can set it up now in less than 5 minutes.
I attached the SlimJim with elastic straps to the pole. The spacings in the ladder line offer a great opportunity for tying up the antenna to a pole via straps. First I used velcro, but elastic straps are much handier.
I went to a nice plain spot on a hilltop in my area with a clean view to the south. Far away you can see the repeater on the big mountain (bigger picture). The repeater is 35km away. I had no doubt that I can reach it, I can even reach it with my Nagoya 771.
Then I scanned the UHF band with the Slim Jim… Nothing.
I switched to my Nagoya and soon after I started scanning I could listen to a conversation. I then dialed in the frequency on my second Baofeng using the SlimJim and could not hear anything. Even when I opened up the quelch to the max. What the… I could not even get into a conversation with the SlimJim, no one heard me. The Nagoya works fine in that band, I was rather surprised? The N9TAX is a dualband but it really sucks on UHF. I do not understand the reviewers on eHam, they all give it 5 star ratings for both bands. I have to recheck that as soon I get an antenna analyzer.
I then dialed in a frequency of a repeater on the Istrian peninsula. It’s 165km away with a lot of geographical relief in-between. The receive was perfect with awesome modulation. I checked my friend who lives 50km more south, he has a rubber duck antenna on the Baofeng so he recorded me his receiving signal so I have a comparison. I would like to attach it here but it’s on WhatsApp and I am not quite sure how to transfer it to my Blog here. Anyway, the modulation with the rubber duck antenna was pretty bad.
N9TAX SlimJim comparison to Nagoya 771 VHF
Setting up the fiberglass pole
All in all the antenna is not bad but I am really suspicious about its performance on UHF. The VHF performance is outstanding. The great advantage is that you can easily roll it up and put it in your backpack, hang it from a tree, etc. I am not quite sure if the bad UHF reception was due to the fact that I attached it directly to the fiberglass pole. I read on N9TAX’s website that you should use a bow to deploy it on a pole. I still have to figure out how to do that without bending my fiberglass pole too much. I totally forgot that I could attach the top of the antenna to the pole’s top and then tension it with a tent peg and some paracord to the ground with a shift of 1 meter to the base of the pole. That would bend the top of the pole to the side and then there would not be any contact with the pole itself. Will try that next time. My pole is heavy duty, so I hope I will not destroy the antenna with too much tension. I guess I should attach the paracord to the rubber filling in the ladderline rather than to the cable.