Best antenna for VHF contact

I currently use a dual band "tactical" j-pole antenna and have had several unsuccessful attempts at making contact with ISS. I am on a TYT TH-7800 using 50 watts. I have the downlink (145.800) and uplink (144.490) frequencies programmed into my radio. The antenna is not very high in the air right now and there are trees around. What could I do differently to have a better chance of success in contacting the ISS?

K5DWG – Wed, 2018 – 06 – 13 20:51


The hardware is not so much an issue as the availability of someone to talk to you from the ISS. The few crew members that are licensed rarely use the ham radio as a social outlet. Occasionally there is one person aboard that likes to chat and that is when the better equipment helps as you are competing with dozens of other ground operators. Think of a DX pile up on your local FM repeater. That is what it is like for the crew on the ISS trying to talk to folks on the ground. Doug Wheelock has a nice video showing what it is like to operate the ham radio from ISS in his tour of the ISS video.

Submitted by N5VHO on Wed, 2018-06-27 09:38.

Best Antenna for ISS

I currently rely on a turnstile with 6ft square reflector made with screening . I get many nice sstv pix moving antenna twice per pass. I use a 4 element Delta Loop for low horizon passes. it has a wide use of frequencies for simplex and repeaters. again good results especially if you can rotate it. switching between both and hear from horizon to horizon. easy to build with pvc wire wood boom. don't look like much but check my log!!!! The results tell it all. Larry N3CR EPA FN20dt For other UHF I use another turnstile and reflector. Sometime a Quagi uhf 10 element.

Submitted by n3cradio on Thu, 2018-06-28 00:29.

Best Antenna for ISS

I was able to get 7 of the 12 pix P5 mostly with the delta loops since most passes were around 20 degs elevation. no daylight overhead passes. no moving antennas. 2.5 pix heard most passes again to a bad area for me - north. Thanks for the pix!!!! 73s de larry n3cr PA USA

Submitted by n3cradio on Sun, 2018-07-01 22:41.

What are you trying to access?

We are expecting some Russian SSTV images soon ... otherwise, there is nothing to "contact"
on/from the ISS ...

And J-poles are miserable for this. You need gain and directionality. A $15 tape measure
beam will out-perform any omni-directional. Plans to make some simple, high-gain
antennas on the ANTENNAS page at

ARISS would prefer that we NOT use the recently posted repeater pair for FM
voice work.

That was a test of the Tanusha birds, and NOT an open invitation to use it as an
ISS FM Voice repeater. Something definitely went wrong with the Russians' plan
for the testing. And that downlink frequency is - well, kind of like the US' 146.520 as
it is a common terrestrial frequency in Europe.

And the 15-year-old Kenwood D-700 cannot take that amount of ops, as its fan/cooling
is not adequate for such continuous operations.

BUT THE GOOD NEWS: This will all change with the next generation of ISS ham
gear: the IORS. Its FM voice repeater transceiver will include a more robust fan and
special firmware to make voice repeating a regular capability through the ISS.

YOUR DONATIONS are needed! Here's an ARISS FUNDRAZR link:

And, as always, watch for more information!


Submitted by K6LCS on Mon, 2018-06-25 18:01.

ISS Power output

I would also suggest you turn down the 50 Watts output. With a good antenna, 5 Watts is more than sufficient.


Submitted by DA1VF_WD8DUP on Thu, 2018-06-21 07:26.

Best Antenna for VHF contact

Oh my ... there are so many variables. I have a couple of small VHF/UHF HB9CV yagis that work just fine. One of them has collapsible elements and also folds up and makes a neat traveling package.

To build one (and it's easy) you have a couple of options. There a several references on the web for a dual-band yagi from metal measuring tape. But if you want to go an even cheaper route, the AMSAT-UK website has plans for separate VHF & UHF antennas made from stiff cardboard, stiff wire, Styrofoam boards, etc. that can be attached to a standard camera tripod. Both of these antennas need a duplexer unless you have two HT's. Really easy Duplexer plans are on the web also.

Commercially, there's always the Elk VHF/UHF antenna (needs no duplexer) and the well known Arrow (does need a duplexer but it's well hidden in the handgrip).

I have worked the MIR on a home built 2Meter yagi and the ISS with an HT and good (i.e. not stock) antenna.

A huge yagi array and rotor not really necessary unless you want to do moonbounce also.

Check out Cliff's website at Tons of good info there.

Hope this helps.


Submitted by DA1VF_WD8DUP on Thu, 2018-06-21 06:08.


is possibile but ...... i NOT the best choise, the best is an array of yagi antenna with rotor and elevation ....


Submitted by IW2BSF on Tue, 2018-06-19 15:47.

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