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.