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