One of the best Ham radios on the market today is a Baofeng UV-5RA. It is without a doubt one of the best little Ham radios on the market today. It is extremely compact, easy to use, a incredibly cost effective for any prepper, emergency response team, new Ham operator, etc. It just can’t be beat for its price and capability.
To improve its capabilities I purchased a Browning BR-180 Amateur Dual Band Mobile Antenna . I already have a NMO (New Motorola) mount on my truck’s roof. FYI – NMO is the defacto standard for professional antenna mounting. So, I have this really great hanheld radio, a matching high quality antenna and no real way to use both in a ground-based application. Yes, I believe I am far more likely to use the radio outside of my truck during times of need. So what antenna would I use?
The question is valid since the Browning BR-180 requires a ground plane that is provided by the truck roof. A ground-based (not in my truck) use would have no such metal roof as a ground plane. So I purchased a ground plane kit.
I bought the TRAM 1465 Land Mobile Base Ground Plane Kit. Cost was $32 through Amazon. The kit solved that issue but I was still undecided on how to set-up the antenna itself. So I went back to basics and defined the “mission” I was trying to accomplish.
A highly portable and versatile dual-band antenna supporting my Baofeng UV-5RA operating in almost any environment.
Then it dawned on me, I already had a support structure for dual UHF/VHF antenna – a camera tripod.
I put an additional bend in the bracket, drilled the appropriate sized hole in the “foot” of the bracket, and then went to Lowes to buy a wingnut to match the threaded post on the camera tripod. The camera tripod has a hook in between the legs in the center that I can attach a weight to hold the tripod steady to the ground. Because the tripod is adjustable I can have significant flexibility with the height of the antenna.
When connecting the radio to the antenna I use the MPD cable (RF coaxial cable SMA female to UHF SO239 PL259 female RG58 20 inches). I also use the speaker/mic to reduce the stress on the cable/radio connection point.
Total time to build: less than 1/2 hour
Cost to build: Less than $25 (includes tripod bought at Goodwill)
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