Finally got this put together for APRS tracking, email and SMS messaging. The ski pole antenna, while a better performer, does not work well with APRS since you don't know when the rig will transmit.
The antenna is an end fed half wave cut down to be resonant at 2M. It is a Super Antenna Superwhip, titanium. Very nice construction. I've whacked several tree branches with it. The antenna is mounted on an oak dowel. The dowel is also the coil form for the tapped resonator matching network, the same as used on the ski pole antenna posted elsewhere on this site. The dowel also fits into the top of an old Ramer pushbutton probe pole with removeable grip.
The Tara panel is carrying a Mobilinkd KISS TNC that talks to my cell phone running APRSDroid, a Yaesu VX-7R, spare batteries and small solar panel for recharging the cell phone, the TNC and the batteries. I tried a PALS mounted radio case but velcroing the radio to the panel is much more convenient.
This rig is laying down some nice APRS tracks, even at 1 Watt. Better than the rubber duck or a quarter wave whip. The APRS track is a ski jaunt I took yesterday before all our snow melts here in town.
Edit to add: Same tour, same power, same everything except used the Yaesu duck antenna. I only got one packet out. The duck tests better than my Diamond 1/4 wave whip, but the whip is quad band, maybe a single band 1/4 wave would do a respectable job.
ETA again: Wow!, OK, this fellow also finds his SINGLE band 1/4 wave whip is far worse than the Yaesu stock duck. He even used an anechoic chamber.I guess I'm not losing my mind. Guys, stay away from those 1/4 wave whips or at least verify whether there is any advantage with a relative field strength meter.