The $3.79 antenna review
It’s almost silly to review a $3.79 dual band antenna, but I’m slightly bored. A while ago I noticed a dual band antenna on eBay for a price that didn’t make much sense. It was one of those events where you start to smell the faint scent of a scam – “This can’t be true, I’m buying a total piece of crap for sure”. Fortunately this is not the case.
On the picture, from left to right: the $3.79 antenna, Wouxun stock antenna, Quansheng stock antenna. The $3.79 antenna is significantly longer than the Wouxun, and almost identical in length when compared to the Quansheng.
When I first spotted the antenna, I figured that it was the same antenna you would get when ordering a Wouxun or Quansheng. Well, it’s close, very close, but it isn’t. This antenna is built a little different. Contrary to the Wouxun antenna, this one doesn’t leave a gap between the UV-5R and the base of the antenna. No rubber washer needed. Mechanically this antenna proves to be a much better fit for the UV-5R than I hoped for.
Performance wise you won’t be able to distinguish this one from a Wouxun or Quansheng antenna, which is a good thing. SWR is fine on both bands. Gain is, as usual, virtually non existent. No single helical antenna I ever tried delivered any gain, in spite of manufacturer claims. I think it all depends on what you’re using to compare it with. Electrically these helical antennas are often a 1/4λ on 2 meters and about 1/2λ on 70cm, but that’s where the story ends. Stick a full size 1/4λ or 1/2λ antenna on your HT and you’ll know the difference.
This cheap find does a better job than the UV-5R stock antenna, and that is all that counts. Especially on VHF the difference is noticeable without even touching any fancy test equipment. The seller restocked them, so they’re still available.