One of the best Ham (can also handle GMRS, FRMS, MURS) radios on the market today is a Baofeng UV-5RA. It is without a doubt one of the best little Ham radios out there today. It is extremely compact, easy to use, and incredibly cost effective for any prepper, emergency response team, new Ham operator, etc. It just can’t be beat for its price and capability…and available acessories.
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 vehicle antenna mounting. So, I have this really great handheld 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 away from 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 mounted on 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 Lowe’s 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 20inches). 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
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Thanks for the good article. Yours are always good. I have several UV-5R’s myself. I did discover the newer UV-82 to be a better radio though, mainly because it is more water proof/dust proof. I ruined one of my UV-5R’s using it on a dusty trail in a UTV. As is with the UV-5R, the price is all over the place, but I searched carefully and got UV-82 for $21 and change, then later got an 8 watt version for $28 and change. The biggest downside is that the batteries are different, so I have 2 sets of batteries and accessories
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