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Reviews For: Slim Jim portable 2 meter antenna by N9TAX

Category: Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Omnidirectional: verticals, mobile, etc

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Review Summary For : Slim Jim portable 2 meter antenna by N9TAX
Reviews: 46MSRP: 19.99
Portable, efficient, high quality antenna for two meters
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K6SDW Rating: 2023-03-06
FB fer portable use Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I tape mine to a fishing pole and I'm on the air in minutes. Great idea..

KD2HCU Rating: 2023-03-06
A very handy antenna Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this antenna several years ago as my first antenna to use with a HT. Living in a condo townhouse this was a nice antenna to place in the attic, basically just fit in the height available. I have since replaced it with a small vertical, but always carry it in my car. Its very good in the field, I tie on a rope and throw it over a branch and get excellent performance.
KN6VYP Rating: 2023-03-06
I was so impressed with the VHF/UHF, I bought GMRS/MURS Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Long story short. Hung 15 feet from a redwood limb and 50 watts full quieting QSO through the Brookings,OR repeater 107 miles distance as the crow flies from QTH in Rio Dell, CA. It will be in the go box after I stand my 8' 5/8 dual band vertical. I bought the GMRS/MURS, as it's the perfect antenna to use for cross band repeat of my TYT TH-9800. Added unlocked Retevis RT85 HTs for camp or emcomm.
KI5FKE Rating: 2020-12-04
Great Antenna! Use it as my base station antenna for now. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I currently reside at an apartment complex and wanted an antenna that I can use indoors; didn't want to use a mag-mount. This is a great antenna to use! I own three of them as of 12-3-20. I'm able to reach a repeater in a neighboring county and two in the county east of my location.
KJ7HYQ Rating: 2020-10-19
Excellent, could not recommend highly enough Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've only used this thing a few times so far, and I'm certainly very new to the hobby and might not know what to look for, but I'm able to work repeaters almost fifty miles away on a 1 watt HT in less-than-ideal conditons, and that really impresses me. I went from not being able to talk to my local town repeater with my whip to being able to work repeaters all over. The build quality is very nice and the connector is quality. The antenna requires very little extra to set up, just a rope and some ingenuity. It folds up very neatly and is lightweight enough to be an ideal hiking antenna. If you're a beginner like me looking for an easy to use antenna that will give you excellent results then this might be just the antenna for you, and I would bet that the more advanced users would love it too.

Overall, this antenna is a great performer and you can't beat it for the price, I highly recommend it
M0VNG Rating: 2020-05-24
Fantastic Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had experience of these quite some years ago, and recently took possession of two of the dual band 16ft coax versions fitted with an SMA.
One was hauled up a fibreglass mast for the full length to unroll from a height of 20ft, and connected to a Wouxun handheld. From a suburban location on 5w, it hit two repeaters on 2m some 23 and 39 miles away no problem (we have no currently active 70cms locally) and my QTH is not on the top of a hill.
The power was then lowered to *1W* and it hit both again without any hesitation.
Brilliant for anyone who does emercom work etc, throw in the kit with some haul cord, and make sure to get it back if you lend to anyone. As always, excellent construction and attention to details. Everyone should have one of these.
KG7OTQ Rating: 2019-02-07
Great lightweight antenna. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just received my Slim Jim from N9TAX, and after testing it on my analyzer, hooked it to a HT I had here, and was able to go into the local repeater (13 miles for me) with full quieting on 5w, not bad, considering I had it hanging from the wall about about 5 feet off the floor inside a house. The ferrite choke is a nice feature, and ladder line construction looks and feels well made. Can't beat it for the price!
W2ZF Rating: 2018-12-02
Great portable antenna Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have two of these antennas - both dual-band 2m/70cm. Bought the first one when I was new to the hobby and needed something better on my hand-held to hit local repeaters. I keep it up in a tree about 20-' off the ground in the middle of NYC. It works like a champ. I am able to hit most repeaters in the area really well with some exceptions given that it is blocked by some of the buildings. That one has the 16' of coax and SMA connector. I bought a second one for a go-kit with a UHF connector. Can't recommend this antenna enough. It is very well-made and certainly worth the price.
KG9H Rating: 2018-04-26
Absolutely Great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased 3 of these from N9TAX, all worked out perfectly. After I tried them, I ran my antenna analyzer on them. All made specs and were identical in performance. Nice design, nice build. Thank you for your product.
KX4O Rating: 2016-08-23
Erroneous specs aside, this is an exemplary vertical dipole Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Going beyond simple SWR tests, measurements of antenna patterns were made of the N9TAX single band 2m rollup 2BCX SlimJim style antenna plus other checks for stray currents that tell the real story of antenna performance.

The N9TAX 2m antenna works pretty darn well yielding a free space H-plane gain a bit over 2 dBi plus or minus the usual small J antenna gain perturbations. This agrees well with models for J style antennas (traditional J, G2BCX SlimJim, whatever). I was suspicious of the ferrite choke working at VHF, but testing confirms it does mitigate current flow back down the feed line - a surprising and very happy finding. The conclusion of VHF performance is the N9TAX 2m antenna is as good as any standalone dipole in free space with inconsequential interactions with the feed line to spoil things. This is the best an antenna of this length can be and N9TAX nails it.

The single band model at its 3rd harmonic:
If you can deal with a bit higher SWR at the UHF frequency, this single band model will offer some capability at the 3rd harmonic for 440 operation with reduced broadside gain and significant energy both above and below the antenna’s waist. Not wonderful or optimal, but likely better than an HT’s rubber duck antenna.

Fantastic. The attention to detail is obvious. The heatshink placement is logical, gives a polished look and makes his weather resistant claims 100% believable. The little built-in Velcro strap for holding the bundle together during stowage is functional and brilliant. Yes anyone can build one of these for much less money, but N9TAX’s value added improvements and features justify the price.

Custom tuning available:
The N9TAX web site states this single band model can be custom made for frequencies between 136 to 999 MHz. This is no doubt true as N9TAX has obvious experience tuning these models to perfection although we expect geometric realities will be problematic at the higher frequencies. Keep in mind our testing reveals the ferrite stops functioning as a choke somewhere between 160 MHz and 440 MHz therefore expect copious feed line radiation for anything other than VHF use.

Custom cable/connector choice:
Near the top of my favorite features of N9TAX antennas are the options available for cable lengths and connectors. My personal favorite is 16’ of RG58 with an SMA that when rolled up with the antenna portion isn’t much larger than my hand when stowed and deploys into a tree for an extremely effective aerial hence turning an HT into a much more capable communicator. This antenna and an HT can fit into the top flap pocket of a backpack making a portable solution that literally “packs” a punch.

Solid conductor limits use:
A ladder line with stranded conductors, such as DX Engineering’s DXE-LL450, would be more appropriate for antennas intended for frequent deployment - aka backpackers. I'd pay $10 more for this improvement if given the option.

For VHF this antenna shines and provides great value for the fair price.

SlimJim high gain myth:
While N9TAX obviously knows how to mechanically build an antenna exceptionally well, his "6db of gain" claim (note the lack of dBi or dBd or any statement of gain reference or conditions - i.e. freespace) on his sales web site (retrieved August 16, 2016) and zero antenna patterns of any kind, simulated or measured is troubling. In his defense, the whole SlimJim 6 dB over something-or-other kerfuffle is a myth that just won't go away and he is just another victim of it with his parroting of the obviously nonsensical gain claim of what is essentially a form of folded dipole. Quelling that myth on the Internet is like playing whack-a-mole, but vendors such as N9TAX are not helping. If you are selling antennas, you really need to confirm their performance if you are making performance claims (aka promises) in your sales literature.

SlimJim low gain myth:
On the other hand, there is a loud and vocal consortium of so called “antenna experts” suggesting the J antenna and its variants can never better a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna despite crystal clear evidence to the contrary... provided there is, of course, containment of the well known and problematic RF currents on the feed line and conductive mounting structure.

N9TAX SlimJim – a classic dipole where you want it:
The N9TAX single band antenna has no conductive mounting structure to worry about. The ferrite, for VHF at least, chokes the common mode feed line RF currents. This yields an end-fed vertical dipole with a freespace gain figure of just over 2 dBi wherever you can hang it. Nice!

One star off for not vetting or patterning your product. Another star off for making indefinite gain claims in your sales literature. One star back for producing a customizable, affordable and portable antenna that is an example of an exemplary VHF vertical dipole.