The Baofeng UV-B5/B6 Antenna

What we often do when we receive a Chinese radio is looking around for a better antenna. Especially performance of UV-5R stock antenna left a lot to be desired. The safest bet so far was buying the Nagoya NA-701 or the cheaper $3.79 antenna (which, BTW, is now about $5).

Then the Baofeng UV-B5 arrived, a totally redesigned radio with a totally new antenna. It was surprising to find out that this stock antenna performed as well as any replacement antenna I own. On UHF it even does slightly better than the $3.79 antenna.


Did we find the miracle antenna? No. In spite of manufacturers’ claims (no exceptions), these small helicals are negative gain antennas. The performance just seems more balanced. I’m in the process of assembling a field strength / VSWR test setup in my shack. This will hopefully allow me to come up with meaningful numbers instead of sometimes vague and unreliable field tests.

It’s safe to say though that, if you’re looking for an SMA-F dual band antenna to improve the performance of the UV-5R, you might want to give this one some serious thought. The UV-B5 antenna is not expensive, around $6.50. There aren’t any rip-offs sold either, which is reported sometimes by customers who bought antennas branded as Nagoya or Diamond.

24 comments on “The Baofeng UV-B5/B6 Antenna

  1. Hello Hans, I tried to find myself a better antenna for the UV-3R Mark2. But after a few try outs a came back to the original rubber duck. I think it doesn’t matter too much what kind of antenna you use on these small handhelds, at least the difference between the good resonant ones I mean. You probabely hear some difference between a small 10cm rubberduck and a 50cm alternative. But even that would be sometimes,. Besides that a 50cm is not really comfortable with a small handheld. 73, Bas

  2. Hello Hans,

    About two weeks ago I received from 409shop the Baofeng UV-5B for my friend Ben (PA2OLD)
    When I was playing with the radio I have made some tests.
    One of the test was the difference between the B5 antenna and the standard 5R antenna on my UV-5R.
    It was a short test but I got the feeling that the B5 antenna was better on UHF than the 5R antenna.
    I also use sometimes an Nagoya NA701 dualbandantenna.

    Today I received an B5 dualband antenne from 409shop and made some test with my home made Field strenght meter (DD7LP) and the three antennas for de UV-5R radio
    Testfrequencies: 145,500 MHz and 431,0 MHz. Radio: Baofeng UV-5R

    Results VHF test:
    Nr. 1 Standard B5 dualband (the best)
    Nr. 2 Standard UV5R dualband
    Nr. 3 Nagoya NA701 dualband

    Results UHF test:
    Nr.1 Standard B5 dualband (the best)
    Nr.2 Nagoya NA701 dualband
    Nr.3 Standard UV5R dualband

    Quess which antenna on my radio is .-.)

    73 Hans, PE1BVQ

  3. have you compared the $3.79 antenna with UV-3R stock one?
    For me, when receiving a very far repeater, the $3.79 did a much better job.

  4. The original antenna UV B5 is really good.
    Better than UV5R antenna and antenna Wouxun.
    This was also installed on the Puxing PX888K (Dual Bander).
    Then I realized just how good this is.
    The only advantage of the Wouxun antenna is the better FM reception (who it needs).
    Because it is longer ….


  5. Hi Hans, thanks on your tests and reviews.
    I wondered if you maybe have some sorts of graph or similar which would show were is the “sweet spot” of the UV-B5 antenna between 136 and 174 mhz (lowest swr, best performance etc.) . Is it as one would expect dead in the midle of the band – around 155 mhz?
    73, 9a3bkr

    • I didn’t measure that antenna yet, but it is common that they’re (electrically) a bit too short for optimal performance on the amateur bands. So yes, in general they’re a bit better up in the bands.

  6. Hans, is there a place where I can order just the stock antenna for the UV-B5 or UV-B6 to replace the antenna for my UV-5R? I have not been able to find it.

  7. Do the ones from eBay perform as well as the antenna that comes stock with the UV-B5? I notice the picture from the eBay item showed “U-V Antenna” written on the antenna while the antenna that comes with the UV-B5 has “Baoefeng” written on it.

  8. I have a few Baofeng uv-5r radios and I find I can not even use them at short distances, do you have any advice for the best talk around frequency and a better antenna, Thank you

    • What range in miles did you expect? It’s just a handheld, and not even a really powerful one. Range depends largely on terrain but generally won’t exceed a few miles, unless you talk from hilltop to hilltop.

      If you would have a ham radio license, you could use VHF/UHF repeaters and extend the range dramatically. My UV-5R could reach a repeater 25 miles away, just on the stock antenna.

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