Tiger Tail

In my teenage years, the ‘late 60s/ early 70s, oil giant Esso brought out a promotion when you bought their petrol, you got the chance to buy a ‘Tiger Tail’ from their filling stations. I remember having one (more actually) and we never had a car but this item was the ‘must have’…nostalgia time now. Round about that time I had a part-time job in a local petrol station, how about £1.00 for only 6 gallon of four-star.  I’ll not post the price of beer. Those were the days, eh.

Less of the nostalgia…

Esso Tiger Tail

Esso Tiger Tail

I was browsing You Tube recently and noticed under a Ham Radio search, a video for a ‘Tigertail’,  intrigued as I remember reading some online article about this a few years ago so I watched the two-part video (links below) and thought that this is worth a go. I did some further ‘googling ‘ and I read other various hints and tips on this idea. I’ll let Jerry show you how to build the ‘Tiger Tail’ in his excellent YouTube videos at end of blog post. I have a face specially built for radio.

I got organised and rattled one up. I used 14swg coated stranded wire along with a terminal adaptor (yellow). I used the measurement most commonly used 19.5 in or in new money, 49.5cm. I crimped then soldered the wire and terminal. I just wrapped some black tape around it although I would imagine shrink tubing would be a better option as stress will be on the wire during use. I never bothered with the ‘Tiger Tail’ option for 70cm as I have only used 70cm on a rare occasion but TBH I will add-on this on the next one as when I’m out I’m monitoring PMR frequencies as well.

I was heading out early on Sunday morning and thought I would test this with listening to the RSGB news which is broadcast in my area from 10.00 am on 2m FM. I reached the top of the usual track, attached the ‘Tiger Tail’ as the news started then I headed down the wrong side of the hill, I had no problem listening as I dropped down in height, I met the ’75’ cycle track where I headed westwards to head home and using the ‘Tiger Tail’ in various positions, I maintained a good signal even as I walked through the old sidings with high rock faces either side. I bent the wire this and that way and yes, it works (on receive).

The wire is a counterpoise and reckoned to add some directivity even in marginal conditions when moving it, using your hand to fix the radiation pattern where you need it, it will produce a  stronger signal than letting it fall limp.

Shrink tubing is an essential as it will help reduce the flex. This will make a handy addition on my regular ‘tours’ of the local countryside.

Thanks goes to Wikipedia and Jerry KDØBIK

You Tube Videos

Tigertail Counterpoise Pt 1′ <HERE> and ‘Pt 2’ <HERE>

Looking back on it all, the Texaco ‘Fake Bullet hole’ stickers were probably the best petrol giveaway (sadly no original images available)