It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good antenna. However, antennas are usually cheap and, surprisingly, also undervalued when it comes to building a Ham setup or even just for a better Ham radio experience.
But do not make the mistake of getting any antenna you think will work with your radio. An antenna can go a long way in improving your overall Ham experience, so put some thought into your purchase.
But if you can’t be bothered to do that, then just stick around as we do exactly that for you below by reviewing the 5 best HAM radio antennas on the market.
Best HAM Radio Antennas
Here are our HAM radio antenna reviews.
The Nagoya UT-72 is a surprisingly functional HAM radio antenna available at a great price. It’s a dual band antenna and works impressively well on both VHF and UHF. It’s designed for mobile and handheld HAM radios, and it a complete antenna product for them with max power of 80 watts.
This is because it includes a massively long cable, a magnet, and an SMA adapter all at a very modest price tag. It’s also very durable and is weatherproof, and is easy to install even for beginners.
It measures 19 inches which is pretty long at this price point and also much thicker than other comparable antennas at 2.5mm. The SWR readings come out great with this antenna even in less-than-ideal conditions.
- Dual band antenna works great on both VHF and UHF
- Surprisingly functional and long for the price
- Complete antenna product with a long cable, magnet and SMA adapter
- Great SWR readings
- The SMA adapter is not as durable as the rest of the unit
Don’t let the price of the Super Antenna MP1LXMAX scare you. It’s only designed for advanced Hams with very demanding operations. It’s a high-end top-of-the-line antenna with the most advanced performance you may have ever known, backed by a power rating of 500 watts. This also makes it ideal for an advanced HAM radio base station setup as well.
It’s a tripod 80m-10m HF antenna, and for VHF it works on the 2m band. Unlike other comparable antennas, it’s surprisingly portable and easy to carry around. The setup is easy, and changing bands is easier.
The tuning is incredibly fast and easy, and you would have no problem operating over 80, 75, 40, 20. 6 and 2 meters with great reports all-round. It includes 2 super Go Bags as well. There’s a lot more to it but we are sure this much is enough to make you check it out on Amazon.
- Top-of-the-line antenna with incredible performance
- Tripod HF and VHF antenna and works on a wide range of frequencies
- Tuning is surprisingly fast and easy
- Easy to set up and to change the bands
- Too pricey for users on a budget
3. Tram 1185
It’s an affordably priced dual band antenna too, but unlike some other antennas in its price range offers a great performance on both UHF and VHF. It’s a mobile magnetic mounted antenna that can be used as both a portable antenna and as a base.
The max power is 75 watts which is amazing for the price. It picks up repeaters incredibly well, even the ones far away from your location and in hilly regions. The reports are great all-round.
The whip length is an impressive 19 inches too, and the Tram 1185 works very well for HAM radios and even scanners.
- Great dual band performance for the price
- Can be used both as a portable and base antenna
- Great max power at 75 watts
- Hits repeaters incredibly well
- The cable it comes with is on the shorter side
The max power is 10 watts which is more than enough for handhelds. The UHF performance is incredible but the VHF performance is disappointing as it’s just not efficient enough on VHF. However, it is 15 inches and offers an improved reception and better signal at least on the UHF.
It’s also very efficient for transmitting, and users report how it turned out to be much better for their HAM radios than stock antennas.
- Affordably priced but offers solid UHF performance
- Surprisingly efficient for transmitting
- Good build quality
- 10 watts of power
- Very disappointing on the VHF band
This antenna is significantly more expensive than the two we reviewed right above, but the higher price comes with a much longer antenna length of 37.9 inches. This difference would definitely be evident in the performance, and it really is, as this antenna works great on all the three bands it supports: 44/245/430Mhz.
The signals turn out to be impressively clear, and the build quality is solid. The max power input is 100 watts which is great even at this price for mobile HAM radios.
Unlike the antenna we reviewed above, this HYS antenna works well with BaoFeng radios as well, along with TYT, Anytone and Kenwood radios.
- Incredible length at 37.9, and thus also a much better multi-band performance
- Great, clear signals
- 100 watts max input power
- Works great for BaoFeng, TYT, Anytone and Kenwood radios
You really won’t find much to complain about this antenna.Check Price on Amazon
HAM Radio Antenna Buying Guide
Well, let us tell you right off the bat that without a good antenna, even the most advanced of Ham stations and setups work like a joke. There are more than a few Hams that gave up on this exciting hobby after spending thousands on their setup just because they couldn’t figure out the right antenna to buy.
A good antenna will FOR SURE enhance your overall Ham experience. It will improve the reception, ensure better and clear signals, help you transmit better, and do much more that will make your Ham experience much more enjoyable in general.
What Is a Good Antenna?
Now that you know why you should take your antenna purchase seriously, let us discuss a bit about what exactly should you look for in a good antenna.
It’s overall performance and functionality is definitely the most important factor in general. It might sound generic, but simply making sure the antenna serves its intended purpose well, paves the way for an improved reception and signal strength, makes it easier to hit faraway repeaters, and just improves the overall performance of your radio or radio setup would make it easy for you to choose a great antenna.
The antenna length, power rating, which bands are covered, and portability are some of the other important factors too.
Perhaps one of the biggest frustration points for beginner Hams with antennas is that they fail to figure out whether or not the antenna they are buying is compatible with their radio or setup. Andwhen it turns out that it doesn’t work with their particular type or brand of radio, it leads to a frustrating experience.
So always check before buying whether that particular antenna is designed for mobile HAM radios, base stations or handheld HAM radios. Typically, the ones with the lowest power ratings are suitable for handhelds, while something in the 50 to 100 watts range would be a better fit for mobile radios.
Base stations may turn out to be much more demanding, though many antennas that work for mobile radios would work for base stations as well.
Finally, some antennas only work for some particular brands, and some of them work with all but one brand, like one of the antennas we reviewed above. These are important details to check as well before placing your order for an antenna.