Random Note: Comet SMA-503 on the Yaesu FT-60

I recently and without planning was thrust into the market for an aftermarket antenna for my Yaesu FT-60 HT. The original one became unscrewed fell off on a hike last week. Gotta love those losing SMA connectors that merely screw on instead of clicking securely into place with a bayonet mechanism like the far superior BNC ones.

Anyhow, I needed a new antenna ASAP because starting tomorrow I’m going to be in the woods doing botanical surveys for a few days, and I don’t like to be alone away from cell coverage without some other possible means of communication. And since it was easier to source an aftermarket antenna promptly rather than an exact factory replacement, that’s what I did.

While the SMA connector mates fine electrically, the factory antenna had a little skirt below the connector that made a tight seal. The new antenna has no skirt, and so leaves a gap that is both unsightly and a way for dirt and moisture to enter. Comet even included a small rubber washer with the antenna for this purpose, but it is too small to fill the gap in my case.

The solution is an O-ring, in this case a #83 (1/2″ OD X 5/16″ ID X 3/32″ thick) O-ring. Figured I’d mention that here in case anyone fires up Google to search for a solution, and mention both the size number and the dimensions of the O-ring.

My experience indicates that about 49% of hardware stores sell O-rings only by size number and look at you like you’re a visitor from Mars if you give them dimensions, and 49% of hardware stores sell O-rings only by dimensions and look at you like you’re a visitor from Mars if you give them a size number. (I’m one of the lucky 2% these days; my local hardware store sells them by both specifications.) So be sure and take both specifications with you.

If you’re radio is something other than an FT-60, and you have a gap to fill, don’t rely on my information above. Each radio is slightly different. If the included rubber washer doesn’t do the trick, there is no substitute for having the radio with you so you can find exactly the best size.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.