I have been working my tail off looking for the best accessories for the Baofeng UV-5RA radio. As you well know by now, I love that little radio and feel every single person should have one. Yes, that means each member of the family or your group. They are great little radios, useful as heck, and priced so anyone can afford one. But this article is about an antenna.
During one of my Internet searches for Baofeng UV-5RA antennas I came across this little antenna set-up. It is actually two separate pieces that make up a single antenna system. At first I dismissed it but then got to thinking about it and thought there might be a potential application for it with the portable dual-band repeater that I put together. So I thought I would check it out.
First let me give you the specifications –
Aweek Nagoya NL-R2 antenna:
- Frequency: 144/430 MHz
- Connector: PL259
- Max power: 100W
- V.S.W.R. Less 1.5
- Impedance: 50OHM
- Length: 15-1/8″
- Gain: 2.15/3.0dbi
- Weight: 3oz
Aweek RE-02 ground plane:
- Frequency: 10-1300MHz
- Three Short Gain Rod 4″
- Three Long Gain Rod 6″
And here are the SWR readings –
So it looked pretty good initially, before I saw the SWR readings. I liked the idea that the ground plane would connected directly to the antenna. And all of that would connect on the repeater box with no cable or other external antenna equipment needed.
Then I started thinking if this would work well as a “throw away” antenna for the UV-5RA. I am speaking of the Aweek UV-108UV Covert Dual-Band Antenna.I started asking myself all kinds of operational questions, but, bottom line, was it worth all the extra space weight and set-up time compared to the 108UV with 30′ cable and a great antenna with better SWR readings?
Here was the need…you are out in the field and you need more distance coverage and so you need to get better height for your antenna. You hook this puppy up with some antenna cable and you throw the antenna up in a tree over a limb. Then hook it up to the radio and bingo! You now have a whole bunch more height for your antenna.
Well…it fails at both of those. First came the cross-band repeater box application. Yes, it works but not as good as the regular Tram 1185 mag mount vehicle antenna. What I mean by that, the SWR readings were not as good as the Tram 1185. So I could stick to my standard Tram 1185 mag mount antenna for this application or go with the 108UV antenna.
Then came the “throw” application. Once again…fail. It is a bit cludgy to throw. And the little “rods” make it somewhat fragile. And on top of that they also make it harder to retrieve from whatever you have thrown it into, like a tree. My 108UV antenna works much better in a “throw” application so I will stick with that one.
So this antenna is ineffectual from an operations perspective and cost more money…fail.
This antenna is a for sure…”Do not Buy!”
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