There must be a rule that I’ve adopted — nothing can be left alone, always adjusting and tweaking — I’m sure it’s an ethos of continuous improvement. But, if only it worked out that way! The improvement part, that is. My latest adjustment, at least that makes it to these pages, is the search for a nifty antenna for my Icom ID-31A 440 MHz hand-held.

The impetus for this effort is that the ID-31A is a 70 cm only transceiver. So why use a dual 2M/70cm antenna? Well, the antenna that comes with the unit is a dual band antenna. So I began looking for both mobile and replacement hand-held antennas that were just for 440 MHz. I did find one mobile antenna, a Super-M 400 from MP Antennas. It looks really cool, too. But it does cost a fair bit. So after some searching and considering what my actual use will be for a mobile antenna, I decided on a Diamond MR-77. While it is dual-band, what I liked about it was the built-in magnet mount and the cable terminating in an SMA connector. So it’s one unit without adapters, etc. It works well. I’ve been using it primarily on Saturdays when I drive about 25 miles one-way to pick up my daughter.

Smiley Slim Line 440 MHz
Smiley Slim Line 440 MHz
Smiley 5/8 Slim Duck 440 MHz
Smiley 5/8 Slim Duck 440 MHz
ID-31A Original Antenna
ID-31A Original Antenna

As to the hand-held antennas, I’ve provided photos of the ID-31A with the original antenna and the two Smiley Antennas that I’ve purchased. I tried the 5/8 wave Slim Duck first. You can order the exact frequency you want, in this case 440 MHz. It works well but just didn’t suit my eye. So after a couple of months, I sprang for the Slim Line also tuned for 440 MHz. I really like this antenna. It, too, works well. What I like is the slim look and the very flexible whip antenna. It looks just right, at least to my eye. I’ve also appreciated Smiley Antenna’s very prompt shipment.

I really like my Icom ID-31A. While I’ve looked at the new ID-51, that’s the dual band version. It doesn’t really appeal to me. Most of the D-Star repeaters are on 440 MHz anyway. As to D-Star, right now I’m listening to the local Fort Worth repeater on reflector 001C with some guys in London and locally talking about D-Star technology. This morning it was Storm Spotting appreciation day with stations checking in from all over the US, Britain, and Belgium. This I like. One more ham radio adventure. I hope you have your own adventures going on. Comments welcome.



    • Hi Walter. I wasn’t expecting all the traffic. But it was great listening in on my way to pick up my daughter and then on the way to a local contest club meeting. 73, Jim, K5ND

  1. Dang, how did you hide all the cabling on the back of your operating position?
    Surely looks so nice, I wonder how you get anything done.
    No drawers for pencils, pens, small tools and finger nail clippers or scissors!
    Maybe a roll around to pull up behind for operating.

    You should be a shoo-in for neatnik of the century.

    73, George K5JF

    • Hi George,

      Lots of cables in a cable tray under the back of the table. I do have a couple of nearby shelves and cubby holes for stuff. Not quite at neatnik of the century (although it’s early in the century).

      Thanks and 73, Jim, K5ND

  2. I really appreciate the photos but, I confess, I’m not exactly sure what information is being converyed by the Elecraft instrument. Can you please elaborate on the differences between the three antennae?

      • Thank you for the clarification Jim. I went out and bought a Smiley Slim Duck for my 2M HT based upon this article. It seems to be an improvement in terms of receive. I’m able to hear a repeater 35miles away that I was not able to with the stock antenna….Thanks for the review.

        KK6ZLE Brad.

        • I’ve used the Slim Line mostly. It worked great at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, getting access to the main repeater from wherever I happened to be. All the best,

          73, Jim, K5ND

  3. Pretty good antenna. I have a couple of the 170MHz 5/8 versions for use on 173. Works great and very far range on a 5 watt HT

What do you think?