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I have a Baofeng UV-5R HT radio that I have been using for about a month now and I really like it because it was very inexpensive and portable. It currently has the stock antenna on it and I have noticed that if I'm in more rural areas, I sometimes have trouble hitting some of the repeaters that are past 10-15 miles away. I've heard that an aftermarket antenna is a good way to get a little more transmitting range out of an HT, but I don't want to spend a lot of extra money on a radio that cost me $30.

After looking around, I have been thinking about getting the Nagoya NA-701 or NA-702 to replace the antenna (I know a lot of people recommend the NA-771, but it's just a little too long for me on such a small radio). A lot of people seem to feel that these antennas provide a good balance between performance, portability, and price for the Baofeng radios (plus they have a female SMA connector), but after looking some of the actual dB comparisons people have done I am not totally convinced that these antennas are much better than the stock antenna, since the numbers are so close.

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Does anyone know if there's any real noticeable difference (specifically in regards to transmitting) between the performance of the stock antenna and these Nagoyas? I like the size and price but if I'd have to go to something like the 771 to get any significant advantage, I think I would just save my money and accept the limitations of the stock antenna.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Kevin Reid AG6YO Dec 19 '17 at 14:13

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ There's a related answer here. $\endgroup$ – Juancho Apr 10 '14 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ I appreciate the link. I've actually looked over this post already and agree that the 771 would be a good performing antenna. The problem (like the linked article says) is it is very long. In my case, I would like a shorter antenna to remain portable and want to know if the 701 is noticeably better than the stock antenna. Do you have any personal experience with the 701? Any insights regarding this antenna would be appreciated. $\endgroup$ – StompinFlax Apr 10 '14 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ All antennas are compromises. A shorter antenna trades efficiency for physical size, there's no free lunch in physics. You are going to have to decide how long an antenna you can live with. Optionally, you can have a small antenna mounted when size is important and put on a larger one when stationary or able to tolerate the longer lengths. $\endgroup$ – WPrecht Apr 11 '14 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ This is bordering on opinion-based. If you want an objective comparison between the the antennas, then a well-executed measurement of their gain (in dB) is exactly that. You write that you've looked at this, and you aren't convinced. That doesn't leave a lot of ground to cover that isn't all opinion. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Apr 14 '14 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ I think @PhilFrost-W8II has the right of it here. This question is just accumulating people's reviews, not getting a well-written definitive answer. I'm going to close it. (Don't worry, that doesn't mean it's going to get deleted — just that more answers can't be added.) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Dec 19 '17 at 14:13
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Yes, the baofeng stock antenna is the worst antenna I have ever used. I have both. The range on my 5W BaoFeng UV-5R, with the stock antenna is about 3 KM with direct line of sight and no obstacles, and get terrible audio reports and am unable to hit a repeater accurately any more than 2 km away. With the NA-701, I get about 5 KM distance, with better audio reports, and no problems hitting repeaters 3-5 KM away. Going up to a decent car-mobile antenna gets me up to 8 KM, and with a Yagi I can go 10+ KM at a cost of being highly directional.

I am only talking about my own personal results putting out 5 watts, on 2 meter simplex (no repeaters to help you out). If you just want to hit the repeater and you live right underneath your favorite one, then perhaps you might like the stock antenna, but in my opinion it's rubbish.

I spent $7.00 on a better antenna. Suit yourself. I got slightly better results on 70 cm band with the rubber ducky, but still nothing good. As a 2 HT rig, with the stock antenna, you had better expect serious limitations in your range. Your mileage may vary. Again, dBi don't lie, the rest is opinion.

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  • $\begingroup$ What is the gain of the NA-701 relative to the stock antenna? $\endgroup$ – AG5CI Nov 19 '17 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ Depends on the band, obviously. At 2 meter band, the UV5R Stock antenna is @ -7.0dBm, the NA-701 comes in about +2 dBm which is a pretty righteous bump. $\endgroup$ – Warren VE3WPX Nov 20 '17 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ dBm is an abosulute measure of output power, not a relative measure of gain. Do you maybe mean dBd (dB with respect to a dipole)? $\endgroup$ – AG5CI Nov 20 '17 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ I think so yes. $\endgroup$ – Warren VE3WPX Nov 20 '17 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ I found the specs - it's actually +2 dBi, not dBd it turns out. Where did you find the gain for the stock antenna (I'm curious) $\endgroup$ – AG5CI Nov 20 '17 at 17:33
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I have a UV-5R, and both the 771 and the 701. Those antennas were the best decisions I ever made. I was having trouble hitting repeaters 1-2 km away when I was indoors. With the 771, I could hit 70cm repeaters from up to 6 km away on a good day. The stock antenna is good for nothing, throw it out and buy yourself a real antenna.

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The rubber ducky antennas supplied with handheld radios are not very efficient radiators. The reason they are used is that they are small and portable.Better antennas are bigger and will get much better performance, but are less portable. A quarter wavelength antenna improves your transmitted signal a lot, and isn't that much longer. Alternatively, just connecting a quarter wavelength wire to the outside ( shield) of the stock antenna's connector where it connects to the radio will improve the swr ratings by a good bit.

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My solution is a collapsible telescopic quarter-wave antenna. Collapsed, it's not much longer than the stock antenna. Fully extended, it has significantly better gain. Diamond makes a very good one that seems quite durable, although I'm not sure if they make it with Baofeng's strange reverse SMA connection, but other companies do. Yes, they can break, but if you are reasonably careful that won't happen. You can always pack your stock Baofeng antenna as an emergency spare, since it's somewhat flexible.

A roll-up slim jim (ideally dual band; some are monoband) is great for camping, hotel room windows, and the like. You can throw it in a window or tree and really extend your range.

Consider, too, adding a counterpoise, which can be home built and will help with range.

You can also get a collapsible yagi antenna if you want maximum range, but these are fairly large when fully assembled.

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I found that the stock Baofeng antenna with counterpoise actually performs slightly better than the Nagoya 771. The Nagoya with a counterpoise is slightly better still and is the configuration I use most of the time. The Baofeng seems to benefit more from a counterpoise than does my TYT UV8000H. So, at least with Baofeng HT's, a counterpoise seems to be the best way to immediately improve TX performance.

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You definitely will be better of with the Nagoya. I don't have the NA-701 but I have the NA-771. The difference is night and day.

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I have the UV-5R and BF-F8HP. I have the 771, 701, and 810 that I use depending on situation. I find that even the 810 works better than the antenna that came on both radios stock and I use it in situations where even the 8" 701 is inconvenient, but the 701 is my "go to" antenna. If I am somewhere that I am going to be relatively stationary, then I will use the 771. The price of these antenna makes it practical to have all three and go with what the situation dictates.

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I have the 771, works great, longer antenna, smaller loading coil, better efficiency. If you need further range, add a tiger tail. 771 is a whip, so its flexable.

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  • $\begingroup$ This would be more appropriate as a comment. Answers are expected to be substantive, draw on creditable references, and explain things in some detail. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Nov 16 '14 at 21:00

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