EDMO: New Antenna Switches Boost Aircraft Comms

The Icarus Instruments EXTenna switches allow pilots to use an existing VHF comm antenna with any hand-held VHF radio.

EXTenna switch [Courtesy: EDMO Distributors]

EDMO Distributors has new options to improve your cockpit comms.

The Icarus Instruments EXTenna Switch is a small device that, when installed in an aircraft, allows the pilot to use an existing VHF comm antenna with any hand-held VHF radio.

According to EDMO, EXTenna Switch greatly extends the range and readability of most battery powered, hand-held radios that usually rely on the rubber antenna that comes attached to the radio. Often the range on these devices is very limited inside the aircraft.

The EXTenna Switch eliminates the need to install a dedicated backup VHF comm antenna, a process that is often expensive and adds drag to the airframe, as well compromising the aesthetic authenticity of antique and vintage designs.


Installation can be accomplished by using Minor Alteration FAA guidance, as the EXTenna Switch is a small, nonpowered, passive device that weighs only 2 ounces.

The EXTenna Switch can be panel mounted (P/N EXTSW-1) by drilling three small holes (precision steel drilling template supplied) and applying a supplied label.

It can also be installed in a preexisting 2.25-inch clock hole (P/N EXTSW-2). The unit has two

BNC connectors on the back side. One labeled TX connects to an existing VHF comm radio’s antenna connector (normally Comm 2) using a BNC jumper cable (not supplied). The other, labeled ANT, connects to the VHF comm antenna serving the same radio using the existing cable that was previously connected to the radio.

The default condition has the comm radio directly connected to the existing comm antenna through the EXTenna Switch.

When the pilot needs to use the hand-held radio, a supplied 4-foot cable is attached to its BNC RF jack at one end, and its 3.5 mm connector is plugged into the jack on the EXTenna Switch. This enables the pilot to disconnect the normal comm radio from its antenna and reconnect it to the hand-held radio.

In addition, EXTenna allows effective use of a hand-held radio in emergency situations, such as avionics or electrical failure, or for prestart Clearance Delivery or Ground Control communications.

The unit sells for a suggested price of $129.95.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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