I still have a few older UV-5Rs with the original, short antenna. These antennas do a reasonable job when working from inside my car, but there were some dead spots along the way which couldn’t be attributed to the poor front end. Something else I noticed is that this antenna tends to warm up. Not hot in the sense that you can’t touch it, but it’s a sign that the efficiency of this antenna leaves something to be desired. RF should be radiated, not converted into heat.
When I reviewed the Baofeng UV-B5 the advantages of the new stock antenna couldn’t be missed, even without fancy test equipment. The dead spots on the way were gone, and the antenna didn’t run hot. However, because the receiver of the UV-B5 outperforms the receiver of the UV-5R by a generous margin, the boost in performance could have been caused by more factors than the antenna alone.
I took two identical UV-B5s and compared the new stock antenna with the Nagoya NA-701, NA-666 and the famous $3.79 antenna. I picked a location in the open without obstacles, but far away from a number of repeaters. The Nagoya NA-701 performed about the same, and so did the NA-666. The $3.79 antenna, once an improvement, now lost the battle. More hiss, more noise.
Then I screwed on the old, short UV-5R antenna. I immediately lost two distant repeaters on 70cm, and one on 2 meters. From noisy but audible to silence is a big difference. It was time to pick up some more of these UV-B5 antennas. I bought them here for just under $5.00. A steal of a deal!
These antennas now replace about most others here. In some cases they don’t improve performance (Wouxun and Quansheng stock antennas are fine), but this antenna is sturdier than most. Please note that this antenna is only available with an SMA-F connector. Check your radio before buying.