Back-up Handheld Radio Antenna

N46PG is true high density altitude mountain bird. The combination of the Rajay Turbo-normalized STC, 3 blade scimitar Hartzell prop, and Robertson STOL kit allows for ridiculous short field performance at max gross weight unimaginable in a stock 182. A recent flight over the Sierra Nevada mountains at 16,500 the plane comfortably performed 700’/min climb over clouds with power left to spare.

A previous owner of this aircraft mounted a 3rd comm antenna with a BNC connector overhead for a handheld radio. I’ve never tested the added range of a handheld with the external antenna, but I can pull in distances of communication not capable with just the portable unit’s antenna.

Given the back-country capability of the aircraft, a back-up communications solution is a good idea.

I bought a basic Yaesu handheld kit which included an external power cord, AC charger and battery pack, AAA battery pack, and aviation headset adapter.

The whole set-up connected to the external antenna BNC

A local Avshop made a 3′ BNC antenna cable that stores in an easy coil in the lower kick panel pocket for quick access. I’m very happy with the arrangement and peace of mind knowing there a quality emergency solution. Just as important the antenna cable is slightly behind the pilot’s seat. With the radio in my lap, the antenna cable drops to the right and up between the front seats to overhead connector. The cable never interferes with normal operations.

3rd Comm Antenna on Empennage

A number of pilots are interested in having access to an external antenna. I’ve seen exposed BNC T connector sticking out of the dash or BNC unions that could be uncoupled to then couple-in a handheld antenna. Personally I find both of these solutions unsatisfactory, as a pilot would need to divert their attention from flying to take two hands while bending down to attach an antenna. This is a lower cost option, but does require diversion of attention.

This particular ceiling connector approach allows more attention focused on flying, remain in the upright seating position, while making a one handed twist to set-up the radio.

Hopefully this post will inspire other even better ideas for managing emergency communications options.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *