I am a huge Baofeng UV-5R handheld radio fan! Yes, it is a Ham Radio, but it is also much, much more and I love the little radio. It is a dynamo! The radio is a great size, packed full of features, reliable, and more than anything else EXTREMELY affordable. You can read more about my review of the Baofeng UV-5R radio here < UV-5RA review >. This post is dedicated to the Tram 1185 Amateur Dual-Band Magnet Antenna.
Note: For this antenna to work with the Baofeng UV-5R radio you have to use a SMA to UHF SO-239 adapter cable. I will explain this towards the end of the article.
Here is why I want you to purchase this antenna – vehicle operations. Yup, that’s it. I want you to be able to operate your Baofeng UV-5R radio in your vehicle. Why the need for the antenna?
You vehicle has a metal shell and that metal shell interferes with the reception of incoming radio signals and inhibits the transmitted signals from escaping the vehicle’s metal shell. So you have to get that antenna outside of that metal shell. Hence, the magnetic mount Tram vehicle antenna.
Can your radio work within the vehicle without this antenna set-up? Yes. But you will be disappointed with it seriously reduced performance without the roof mounted antenna.
The added bonus is the antenna will probably be at a greater height mounted on the vehicle than when you are carrying around in your hand. The greater the height of the antenna, the longer range of your radio transmissions.
- 19″ tall
- Dual band 144-148 / 440-450MHz
- 2.5 dBd gain on UHF
- 0 dBd gain VHF
- 3 1/4″ magnet
- 12-ft premium 95% tinned copper shield RG58 A/U cable with PL-259
Not a lot more to say about this little beauty other than it works like is supposed to, is good quality, very affordable and hasn’t let me down in the nearly 4 years I’ve owned it.
Now, there is one additional piece you will have to purchase to make it work with the Baofeng radio – SMA to UHF SO-239 adapter cable.
Why? because the PL-259 connector on the end of the antenna cable will not connect to the UV-5R antenna connection on top of the radio. The adapter cable solves that problem.
Why not buy the antenna with the right connector to begin with? Well, I am a man that likes options and redundancy. I own several radios; Yaesu FT-60R, Yaesu FT-8900R, etc. The PL-259 connector allows me the ability to hook-up to any of those radios. If I had a cable with the SMA connector for the UV-5R, then I would need an adapter cable for everything. A bunch of adapter cables sitting around getting lost or confusing with what antenna goes with what radio.
The adapter cable that I use and recommend is the RF coaxial cable SMA female to UHF SO239 PL259 female RG58 (20″ length). It is made in the U.S.A. by MPD Digital. The cable is ultra low-loss double shielded MILSPEC RG-58u Coaxial Cable. It exceeds all US, NATO and IDF MIL-C-17 Standards. Double shielded 95% copper braid center conductor. Outer jacket material: flexible UV proof FR-PVC.
But you not quite done yet. The connection between the SMA connector on the cable and the SMA connector on the Baofeng radio is a “fail point.” If there was going to be a problem and something with this antenna was going to break, this would be the most likely spot. Don’t get me wrong, when you connect the cable to the radio it feels like a very solid connection, and it is. But remember, I said “If there was going to be a problem…”
Why could there be a problem? Because the connectors are so small and you would be moving the radio around a lot in your hand while transmitting and all that movement stress would be directed at the point where the cable connects to the radio.
So you mitigate this potential weak point by reducing the amount of movement of the radio. Thus, you reduce the cumulative stress placed on the connection. The best way to do that is not to move the radio around any more than you have to. And the best way to do that is with a speaker-microphone. I like and use the Baofeng BF-S112 two way radio speaker microphone. And I will do a review specifically on that item in a couple of days and add a link here when it is posted.
This allows you to essentially leave the radio setting in a holder or in the center console and you hold the speaker-mic in your hand. All the movement stress is absorbed by the speaker-mic’s cable.
A nice little bonus to this option is the clip on the back of the speaker-mic. Other operational applications of the radio allow you to use the speak-mic and the clip can bring the listening and transmitting very close to your ear and mouth. An example of that application would be the speaker-mic attached to your tactical vest next to your left ear. The volume could be turned down allowing for privacy. To transmit all you would have to do is turn your head slightly for your mouth to be right on the speaker-mic. But more on that later.
So there you have it, a great vehicle antenna rig to give you move flexibility and operational capability with your Baofeng UV-5R radio.
BUY this antenna!
Article on how to reinforce the 14.5″ antenna for the Boafeng UV-5R radio…
FYI…I use the magnetic mount antenna for other radios and applications as well. Here is just a teaser, more info to come.
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