But the NOAA satellites (and quite a few other satellites) use a circularly polarized signal, and for just a tiny bit more money (perhaps the cost of the dongle) you can make a MUCH better antenna for circularly polarized signals. Some designs are just helixes made with coax cable, some are just a couple of wires in an x-shape.
Google is your friend, and building an antenna is a fun cheap weekend project and will greatly enhance your results when hunting for satellite signals.
P.S. if you make a circularly polarized antenna and you discover that you made a LH polarization instead of the RH that you wanted (or vice versa), just turn the antenna upside down. It may behoove you if you are planning on listening to signals with both polarities to construct one that is easily flipped over.
While the signal he is receiving is in the 2-meter
band, a monopole antenna works better if it is 1/4 the
wavelength, so he might actually get better reception
with a 0.5 meter length of wire.
Imagine (or actually draw) a sine wave graph, and then fit your antenna along the X axis of the graph. Now look at "signal" amplitude at the antenna's extremities. You'll notice that 1/4 wavelength antenna will give you the strongest signal, while 1/2 and full wavelength will apparently give no signal at all. The only reason that full-wavelength piece of wire picks up anything at all are build imperfections - wire length not perfectly matched to wavelength, not perfectly straight, not perfectly aligned with signal source, signal reflections hitting it from different angle, etc. Thats why olympus refers to performance of full-wavelength piece of wire as "random piece of wire"-kind of performance.
On the other hand, linear dipole would be 1/2-wavelength (or 2 times 1/4-wavelength), as it is just two 1/4-monopoles put together.