Handheld HAM radios are great since they are small and portable, but you may find yourself needing to extend their range. A BaoFeng Antenna upgrade might be exactly what you need.
BaoFeng Antenna Upgrade
If you’ve read any of our HAM radio or Communication posts, then you know what fans we are of the BaoFeng handheld radios. They can cover the 2 Meter, 70 cm, MURS, GMRS, FRS, Weather, Marine bands and more.
The stock antenna is fine for most, especially if your looking right at the repeater tower (ok, I’m exaggerating, I’ve gotten some pretty good distance out of the stock antenna). There are those occasions though, where I wish I could pick up far off signals a little better, or just to get a little more reach to someone I’m trying to communicate with or to the repeater.
I finally decided to see if a simple antenna upgrade would rectify these issues.
I’ve had the ExpertPower 14.5″ DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna on my Amazon Wishlist for ages, and since it runs around $12, I can’t figure out why I hadn’t bought it up until now.
I decided to break open my piggy bank and use the $12, I had saved, so I could purchase the ExpertPower 14.5″ antenna.
The procedure to change antennas took 30 seconds, and required no tools. If you can twist a knob, you can change the antenna!
Did it Work?
I took my BaoFeng outside and tried some frequencies that I could pick up, but not very clearly. This Antenna allowed me to hear some of them as if I was standing right beside them. Now it didn’t fix all the frequencies, that I had trouble with, but there was a marked improvement on many of them.
I will note, and as you can see from the pictures, this antenna is long, so I might keep the rubber ducky on for general use (or I may use the ExpertPower 7.5″ DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna, that I ordered after my success with it’s big brother the 14.5″ version) and keep the ExpertPower 14.5″ Antenna, stowed in my backpack (or strapped to the side, if space is an issue). This way if I need to use comms, and I’m not having any luck, I can switch to the longer antenna as needed.
Was this Upgrade worth $12?
I think the ExpertPower 14.5″ DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna was worth every penny of that $12, just as I’m sure that the ExpertPower 7.5″ DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna will be worth the $6, that I paid for it.
My ExpertPower 7.5″ DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna arrived today, and even though it’s only 2″ longer than the stock BaoFeng 5″ antenna, you can tell that it is much better than the stock antenna. I haven’t used it to transmit yet, but if the transmitting benefits as much as the receiving, then the ExpertPower 7.5″ will be used instead of the stock antenna from now on!
Any enhancement that lets me increase my communication abilities may not be valued by money or costs alone, because if I had to use this radio in an emergency, it might make enough of a difference to save a life.
I am pleased with the performance boost, so yes, for $12, I’d buy this Antenna again!