A rat tail is a wire attached in some way to the ground of your HT. It effectively adds the missing part for your antenna system. This missing part is the ground wire that matches the length of your antenna length. In normal, every day activity, you really do not need this device. But, if you are going to travel into an area where repeater coverage is iffy, you might consider taking this simple device along with you. You can easily make this device yourself and the cost is cheap. I calculate the wire and connector is less than $1.
Recommended Internet Information: http://www.hamuniverse.com/htantennamod.html
Connector: Insulated Ring 22-18 Guage. 1/4 inch, Vinyl, package of 100 $4.95
Wire: Beldon 8890. 10 feet $9.90 I was able to make 6 rat tails from 10 feet when I cut each length 20 inches.
Vendor: Orvac Electronics, Fullerton, Calif.
After constructing my first rat tail I decided to test its performance.
Test 1: I walk with another ham radio operator each weekend morning. The other operator lives about a mile away and we start walking toward one another and join up at Tri-City Park. I told him I wanted to test the rat tail the night before. The next day as we walk out of our houses and try calling one another, he reported that my signal was improved. Normally when we start walking from our front doors, the audio is scratchy.
Test 2: August 1, 2017 I tried to find a repeater that would respond with the rat tail but not when it was removed. I finally found Sunset Ridge, 145.440, using low power. When the rat tail was removed from the HT the repeater would not respond. When I put the rat tail in place, the repeater did respond. This second test proved that the rat tail is a definite improvement.
Note: This connect
Caution: After about a week and a half wearing this rat tail on my HT, I noticed that the wire coming from the connector seemed to fray, a bit, due to the constant bending. I need to solve this problem.