Better antennas for the UV-5R?

I just wondered. Take a Baofeng UV-5R, try to hit distant repeaters which are known to be problematic, switch antennas and try again. This is exactly what I did yesterday. Because the S-meter of the UV-5R is totally worthless, I had to depend on my ears. I would rather present you a more scientific approach, but that’s not that easy when in the field. Sorry about that.

The third party antennas I tried:

  • Nagoya NA-701. This is the antenna I ended up keeping after testing various models on the UV-3R. A good performer, sturdy, and reasonably cheap. The only other antenna which was just as good, the Nagoya NA-666, also known as “The Antenna From Hell”, could not be tested because mine has the wrong SMA connector.
  • The Wouxun KG-UVD1P stock antenna. Doesn’t fit very well though. There’s a gap between the HT and the base of the antenna.
  • Quansheng TG-UV2 stock antenna. This antenna is nearly identical to the Wouxun KG-UVD1P antenna, slightly longer, but fits perfectly.

Interesting or disappointing, depending on the way you look at it. The differences were marginal at best. The only antenna which did a slightly better job on VHF was the Quansheng TG-UV2 antenna. About 1-1.5 dB gain compared to the stock antenna would be an educated guess. No differences to report on UHF.

Apparently the UV-5R stock antenna isn’t that bad at all. There’s one more antenna on its way, the Nagoya NA-773. Maybe that one will impress me, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

46 comments on “Better antennas for the UV-5R?

  1. I have tested many antennas on my UV-5R, and the Surecom SC-951 is the best hands down! You will be impressed! Cheap too, $12.50 delivered from 409shop.

    *note PD0AC: removed CAPS from original reaction, and corrected antenna brand name.

    • I got two surecom Sc-951’s for the uv-5r and find them worse than the stock antenna, I also tried a NA-771 and that was also worse receiving local ham radio on the 145.000-146.000 band.

      Love these radios and we use them under ofcom business radio licence for coms on video and film production, we have ten VHF and UHF frequencies available and with low power licence free 446 frequencies.

      We have ten radios in total and find them easy to use and to programme via windows XP, I also have the TH-F8 in VHF and UHF but these are far superior and have a better menu layout.

      • The Nagoya NA-771 didn’t impress here in the lab either. A bit better on VHF, but not very good on UHF. The only Nagoya antenna I like is the NA-701. This antenna strikes a perfect balance, and does a better job than most stock antennas. The differences are small though.


      • Ordered a couple of NA-701’s to see how they perform but the stock antenna seems to be quite acceptable.

        Will see how they perform next football season as we use them on premiership soccer football coverage as transceivers for our outside broadcast talkback systems and there can be a lot of metal football stadia inbetween us and the media compound so it would be good to get a little more gain on reception.

        I also bought a magmount antenna similar to the surecom and it seems to work quite well as a mobile car based solution.

        One other thing we do is fit a four way splitter on a 12v PSU so we can charge four units at the same time from one power outlet.

    • Hi Andre,

      as you already know when we discussed this Nagoya model on the local repeater, I do not agree. Tests revealed that the performance of this antenna is not only poor, but using this one might be risky. The SWR is way too high, which could potentially lead to the destruction of the PA module.


  2. Hi Hans,

    Best thing to do right now?
    How many different models do you have tested 😉 , there are some brandnew models too such as your ordered NA-773, do you have it tested and evaluate this already?
    I had mine uv-5r last friday within 10 days over-here in Holland.
    Or is this an example of the idiom ‘Two sides of the same coin’?



    P.s. Complimenten over de algehele verzorging van het artikel en de overige content, eerste reply ging alleen niet helemaal goed.

  3. whcih one would you recommend, the NA-701 or NA-666?
    I’m also wondering where the “antenna from hell” AKA comes from 🙂
    I’ve seen both on with SMA female connection for roughly the same price with about the same specs.
    Only the Surecom SC-951 seems to have 2,15-5.5 DBI gain, though it is unclear to me if this would indeed be a better choice then both Nagoya models.

  4. Hi Hans,
    I need your advice.

    I’m having Baofeng uv5r and my mobile antenna Super Gain SG7200.
    While transmit, other people shall heard my voice (include with background sound like cow).

    I’d changed to my friend’s handy TYT model with my SG7200, the receiver receive my voice clearly without the cow sound.
    Plus, when I try my handy baofeng uv5r with other modem antenna, it seems fine too.

    Do you what is might a root cause for this ?.


  5. RF feedback is basically energy traveling back from your antenna system into the transceiver (your UV-5R). Your coax cable doesn’t just transport the energy from A to B (what it’s supposed to do), but became an integral part of the antenna. Reflected energy travels back through the shielding of the coax and interferes with the electronics of the UV-5R.

    Bad antennas and bad coax cables are often to blame. No connection between the ground of the UV-5R and the ground of your car is even more common.

    Assuming your antenna and coax are OK, you could try to buy a ‘Battery Eliminator’ for the UV-5R, which will automatically connect the ground of the UV-5R to the ground of the vehicle.

  6. does anyone tested using diamond antenna model RH-771 cause i plan to buy this antenna, any suggestion from expert in this blog.

    • Yes, I have some of the RH-771 antennas on various radios including the UV-5R, it works very well on VHF, but not so good on UHF. Also, it works best at the higher end of the Two meter band– 154-170 mhz. Enjoy the Toy, Ron.

    • The antenna is a good performer. Be careful though, this Nagoya is easily bent at the base. If you don’t like that, go for the Nagoya NA-701 instead.

      Most helical antennas are ‘negative gain’ antennas. If you talk about gain, it all depends on what you’re comparing with.

  7. Does the nagoya 701 fit securely on the top of the baofeng uv-5r or is there a gap between the bottom of the antenna and the top of the radio.


  8. For Antennas that leave a gap use a rubber O-ring of the proper size. Working great for me. Only Negative: If you screw the antenna on too tight sometimes when you uncrew it you might loosen the SMA Connector Nut on the UV-5R. Tightening the nut solved my problem, so it might have been failrly loose from factory.

  9. If using the uv-5r for UHF 470-480, what would be the best replacement antenna for improved rx/tx?
    Thanks, drew (new to two-ways, trying to learn)

    • The best would choice be a dedicated UHF antenna, but wouldn’t be able to transmit on VHF. Dual band antennas give you more freedom. Opinions vary wildly, but I still think the J0125 antenna would be a good choice.

      • Thanks for that suggestion, I’ll order one and give it a go.
        I also ended up ordering a dedicated UHF antenna from ebay, see item 110505846257, although for Kenwood, I hope it works.
        It would be obvious that I don’t know what I’m talking about with anything radios, but I was expecting better range from these two uv-5r radios I have, perhaps it is the steep terrain that I am using them in which impacts on how far I can communicate between the two units.
        Would a vhf or UHF frequency be better to use for steep terrain that I’m in?
        So far I do just as well using my old 1watt Uniden UHF walkies as I do with these uv-5r, and I have made sure both are on full power in the menu. Maybe I expect too much from them. Sorry for all these questions, I appreciate the help.

      • Range between two portable radios is unpredictable, but generally poor. A pair of UV-5R’s won’t do better than, for example, a pair of good FRS/GMRS radios. Range might vary from a mile or so to 10 miles in the open, or up to 40 miles when using repeaters.

  10. hey can you please suggest me some good antenna for the car ? for baofeng uv 5ra for reasonable price? If it is possible from ? I was thinking about Nagoya UT-106, what do you suggest ? Thank you for your answer in advance.

    • I never tried those Nagoyas, but it might be worth a try. These antennas aren’t too big, which could be an advantage in this case (the UV-5R’s receiver overloads quickly).

  11. yeah i know that i have it to off, but i tought that there is some way to change it, if evrything else is programmbale. this would be a good option to have feew roger beeps avalible, maybe it will be in the future, thanks for your answers.

  12. Hi, great tips from all. My question is if i wanted to get full range from my uv5r+ on both uhf and vhf (136-174/400-520 mhz) without damaging my ht is there an antenna that would accomplish this?

      • I have bought loads of replacement antenna for the UV5R and none of them are any better than the stock one.

        A cheap mag mount for my car does seem to improve things but that is probably down to the ground plane effect!

    • In many cases connecting the UV-5R to an outdoor antenna will result in a big disappointment. The receiver quality is sub-par, and hardly capable handling out-of-band (unwanted) signals while connected to the small stock antenna. Connect the UV-5R to a good outdoor antenna and chances are high that you will hear less, or won’t hear anything at all. This is called ‘receiver overload’. You need a much better radio if you want to do that.

      If you live in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’, you might get away with it.

      ‘Power Booster’ sounds like CB lingo to me, I guess you mean a linear amplifier?

  13. Pingback: Swap it Out! The Best Antennas for the BaoFeng UV-5R | UV5R

  14. Pingback: Swap it Out!The Best Antennas for the BaoFeng UV-5R | UV5R

  15. i’ve just red all the comments here, but i still cant figure out, wich one of all the antennas you’ve mentioned, has the best range. right now i think my range is about 1.5km on “frequency mode” it is a totally standard antenna and im really interrestet in what you guys have come up with? im about to use this baofeng uv-5r ALOT i the forrest and i would like to get as much range as possible.. i use an PTT with BOWMAN does this has enything to say ? and what kind of antenna would you recommend me to use?
    best regards from denmark

    • By choosing a better antenna you get the maximum out of your radio. You will notice the difference between a good and a bad antenna easily if there aren’t too many objects in your way, such as buildings and trees. VHF will generally give you a better range than UHF.

      In a forest even the best antenna won’t be able to improve your range much, as path loss has a much bigger impact. See this Wikipedia article for more info.

      That said, the short Baofeng stock antenna sucks. Quite a few amateurs I know swear by the Nagoya NA-771, a 40cm long antenna. Still, don’t expect miracles when you’re in the woods.

      • Okay thanks for your advice, ill try the NA-771.. I heard from others that it should be a pretty respectable antenna 🙂

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