So what is a Slim Jim Antenna and why would you want one in your radio kit bag?
The Slim Jim antenna is a flexible antenna made from ladder line. The two ends are soldered together to make a loop and a small gap cut out of one side of the ladder line, the Coax feeder is then soldered to the ladder line to make a flexible antenna.
Designed normally for 70CM (UHF – 440Mhz) and 2M (VHF – 145Mhz), these cheap, easy to make and lightweight radios are the perfect way to improve both the reception and transmission distance of simple handhelds such as the very popular first radio, the Baofeng UV5R. You can remove your “rubber-ducky” antenna and attach the Slim Jim with a SMA to BNC adapter in just seconds.
These antennas are fabulous for working portable and can be attached to a tree branch, fixed to a fishing pole or flag pole. They can even be put inside a piece of domestic plumbing pipe to weather proof them for more permanent installations at home.
They are very cheap to make yourself, if you have ladder line laying around they can be build for no money at all. Alternatively, kits can be purchased online for less than £20 and put together in about an hour by following a number of online build instructions.
These antennas are omni-directional, meaning they emit their signal equally in all directions. This means there is no need to “point” the antenna in any particular direction and working multiple stations from one location becomes possible.
With a very cost effective “flag-pole” which can be found on various online auction sites, you can create a portable 2M/70CM radio station for contacting other amateurs. Its very easy to chat with people 30-50 miles away using a simple hand held radio using just 5 watts. (distances depend on location and surrounding topography)
So to answer the question, why would you want a Slim Jim Antenna. I would say, why wouldn’t you want one!
They are cheap, easy to build and very practical for all kinds of situations where you want to get set up and use your radio quickly and easily.
As you can see in this Article , the UK based vendor HAMTronics.uk has a kit available which has been very popular with new Amateur Radio users.
Their kit comes with everything you need to build a 2M Slim Jim and includes: 1.5M of Ladder Line, Velcro strap, Zip ties, various lengths of RG58 Feeder with a pre-installed BNC plug. All you need are some basic tools such as wire cutters, a soldering iron and a ruler/tap measure. There is a full set of step-by-step instructions available for downloading as a PDF to guide you through the build.
See it on their webstore here: 2M (144-146Mhz) SlimJim Kit. – HAMtronics