10 Best Ham Radio Antenna to Make Your Amateur Radio a Beast

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Imagine you could get the best ham radio in the market and enjoy the fabulous reception and transmission without any hurdles.

How good your life be?

But right now you are here, realizing the bitter truth that you need more than an amazing ham radio to get the best out of the system.

You know what went wrong. Yeah, having the best ham radio antenna is equally important as getting the right radio.

What if I tell you that you are one step away from becoming a great hammie? Yes, we have listed some of the high-performance amateur radio antennas in this article.

You just have to continue reading the article and buy the right one for your ham radio.

For those who don’t want to read our in-depth guide, here is a comparison of our top picks:

Overview of Best Ham Antennas

ProductHighlight
Super Antenna MP1DXTR80

 

Our Top Pick
  • Best for traveling and vacations
  • Portable antenna with a backpack
  • Fully compatible with all amateur radio transceivers
  • Durable super whip
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Super Antenna MP1C

 

Top Handheld antenna Antenna
  • For indoor and outdoor use
  • Large portable tripod
  • Easy to tune and set up.
  • Best all frequency
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VFAN

 

Top Dual Band Ham base Antenna
  • Best for car
  • Waterproof design with stainless steel construction
  • One year warranty
  • Quick and easy installation

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Eightwood

 

Great for Vehicles
  • Best dual-band
  • Good value for the size and price
  • Works well on 2-meter and 70 cm
  • Low profile
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ABBREE

 

Customer’s Choice
  • Best handheld
  • Tactical antenna with foldable whip
  • Excellent reception
  • Highly portable and useful
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Why Should You get the best antenna for Ham?

The most challenging choice for any ham radio operator is the choice of the right antenna for your system. There is a wide variety of options in the market of all the different types of ham radio antennas. Depending on your circumstances, your choice can vary from a large directive antenna or a smaller, vertical one.

Typically, most new users prefer experimenting with different forms of ham radio antennas. This practice often results in interesting findings. However, the experiments may not always have favorable outcomes!

  • For example, the quarter-wavelength end-fed wire can result in radiation in the area. For a ham radio user, this may not be good as it can result in a pickup of noise. As for transmitters, radiation occurs near the radio, and it can cause interference with electronic items.
  • Another critical factor you would want to take into consideration is feedline loss. It is the signal that’s lost during to and fro transmission of the radio to the antenna. For this reason, you need a cable that has acceptable loss levels.
  • Purchasing a radio antenna with very high frequencies is going to result in most loss. To minimize this at the highest frequencies, you will need a cable with as little signal loss as possible.
  • Similarly, not paying attention to the antenna you’re purchasing can leave you with not enough band coverage. For example, the cost-effective and simplest form of antenna, the dipole most often offers single band operation. The ham antenna may not be the ideal choice for users operating at multiple bands.
  • While most antennas do match with most radios; however, there can be a mismatch. For example, if you plan on using a 6-meter antenna on 80-meters, the amateur radio won’t receive well. In short, to get your ham radio to operate efficiently, matching the antenna to the feeder is a crucial step!

10 Best Ham Radio Antenna Reviews

Let’s get into the in-depth reviews of our top picks:

1. Super Antenna MP1DXTR80 – The ultimate best!

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When it comes to class and supremacy, nothing beats the old school Super antennas! The complete all-rounder stands apart when it comes to construction. The durable SuperWhip is constructed using indestructible titanium metal alloy.

You will be blown away by how flexible it is, so much so that you can roll it up in a 12-inch diameter circle! When it comes to travel and adventure, carrying an antenna can be quite problematic. But, Super antenna MP1DXTR80 comes to rescue with its portability.

The package also includes a Go bag with internal hidden pockets to store away the gadgets! Did we mention the tripod? This Super antenna consists of a TM1, low profile tripod that you can easily set up on any flat surface!

While this SuperWhip is a little on the pricier side, it is excellent to use and well built. Customers are satisfied with their purchase, especially since the antenna is tunable within seconds!

One reason why we love it so much is how easily you can fit a multi-band station within a small backpack!

When it comes to set up, you won’t need to drill holes or look for support! Set up the tripod on any flat surface and you are good to go!

However, an updated version exists in the form of MP1LX, which is 12 ft. high as compared to this 7 ft. tall antenna. It comprises of all the same features, but with better signal reception, and a higher price tag!

Even better than the previous is the Super Antenna MP1LXMAX, which is a deluxe portable antenna. The top-of-the-line certainly justifies the cost with its high-efficiency performance, quality. Moreover, the MP1LXMAX offers better frequency coverage than the MP1DXTR80!

2. Super Antenna MP1C – Best Handheld Ham Radio Antenna

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As the name suggests, this ‘super’ product is reining the markets with its remarkable features!. This is one of the best mobile antennae you can get for your amateur radio.

Some features to look out for in the Super Antenna MP1C are:

      • Can be used in a horizontal and vertical position
      • Quick to set up
      • Easy to tune
      • Portable
      • 500-watt power rating
      • Available in black and metallic colors
      • You need to purchase a mount and coax separately

Additionally, it offers coverage for all bands in the high and ultra-high frequency ranges. Yeah, this is an amazing all band ham radio antenna you can trust.

We believe that MP1C can be a great choice for your prepper ham radio you can use for survival purposes.

Due to its compact nature, you can conveniently carry this antenna wherever you go! It packs down to 12 inches and extends up to 7 ft. when in use!

The Super ham antennas receive recognition for their durability and ruggedness. The construction of this super stick uses aluminum, brass, beryllium, copper, and polymers that all contribute to its robust nature. You will be at complete ease, knowing that the investment is a solid one!

One intriguing feature about the package is the extension rods that come with it. If you are looking to extend the length for better reception, these can surely come in handy.

The Super antenna MP1C is an excellent purchase if you are looking for a handheld, portable antenna.

The two other versions of this Ham antenna which are equally good are:

  1. Super Antenna MP1LXMAX VHF Portable Antenna ( Check the Latest Price on Amazon )
  2. Super Antenna MP1LX Portable Vertical SuperWhip (Check the Latest Price on Amazon)

 

 

3. VFAN – Best Dual Band Ham Base Antenna

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If you are looking for value in the form of a dual-band antenna, look no further than VFAN. This magnetic base antenna has everything you expect from a ham radio antenna!

It offers excellent SWR and frequency coverage at both VHF and UHF. When it comes to vehicles, the top choice is always magnetic antennas as they do not require any modifications. Set it up on the car roof and you will be done under seconds.

Besides, it is a high-performing antenna with omnidirectional radiation for better signal reception.

You will be highly surprised looking at the price tag of this economical antenna choice. Its durability, weatherproof design, and stainless steel construction make it a sure shot steal! Most importantly, VFAN assures customers of its top-quality with a one-year product warranty!

VFAN users cannot stop raving about how easy it is to assemble. Moreover, it is a capable antenna for 2-meter and 70cm use.

Before purchasing, ensure that your radio connector is compatible with this antenna to provide a convenient connection.

4. Eightwood EWCAA024 – Best Ham Radio Antenna for Car

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When it comes to dual-band coverage, Eightwood is a popular choice for vehicles! In fact, we believe that this is a terrific ham radio antenna you can get for your car.

The magnetic base enables smooth installation without having to make any alterations to the car. The two-way ham radio operates at VHF at 136-174MHz and UHF at 400-470MHz.

Other features that the Eightwood antenna has to offer include:

      • Includes mount, cable, and connector
      • Plenty extension cable
      • Uses PL-259 connector
      • Suitable for taller vehicles
      • Compact size

This ham radio antenna is a complete package. You will not have to struggle to look for mount and extension for it. The deal includes all the necessary hardware.

Moreover, the PL-259 connector makes the antenna compatible with most amateur radios.

Additionally, if you are looking to install it in your house or garage, there is plenty of cable for you: 16.4 ft. precisely! It allows for easy mounting without any hassle.

If you ask us, we find the deal to be pretty spectacular, given that it includes the coax and mount!

5. ABBREE – Most sold handheld

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Considered as one of the top choices, ABBREE sure doesn’t disappoint! The updated antenna has better signal reception and folding. Yes, you read that correctly!

It is a highly flexible antenna that fits into the hand like a glove.

Do you want to know the best part? This handheld antenna is available for purchase under $15! In case you are looking for durability, a weatherproofed version is also available.

If you are looking to use it with a BAOFENG amateur radio, you’re in luck. The ABBREE antenna increases its range and works effectively. Most users find it to provide an improvement in the overall reception.

Most importantly, being a foldable and flexible antenna, it has a sturdy construction. Keep the antenna in its extended position to avoid slow snap back.

If you aren’t sure whether the ABBREE antenna is for you, you can try it out for 30 days with easy returns.

6. Tram 1185 – Sturdy, reliable antenna

Most ham radio operators recognize Tram as a reputable brand in the world of radios. Not only does the brand feature high-quality communication radios, but also remarkable antennas. Here’s why it is known to be the best in the business:

      • Includes mount and cable
      • 2-meter VHF and 70cm UHF transmission
      • In a stunning black finish
      • Consists of 12 ft. cable
      • Portable for cars
      • Sturdy mag-mount

With Tram at hand, you won’t have to worry about the antenna slipping off the car roof. Moreover, you can install it right out of the package by screwing it into the base. However, keep in mind that to fix this in your car, you may need additional cable.

What we love about the Tram 1185 is its coated base magnet. It proves excellent in preventing the antenna from scraping off paint from the roof. Additionally, the wand threads also have an O-ring sealing, to prevent moisture from seeping in.

Looking at all these exciting features, it is safe to assume that customer satisfaction is Tram’s top priority.

7. Tram Amateur Dual-Band – Excellent ease-of-use

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Another popular choice from the same brand is the amateur dual-band antenna with a sturdy magnetic housing. The antenna comes pre-tuned to make it user-friendly for new operators, limiting struggle.

The hi-power and chrome-plated antenna is the ideal choice to stay connected with your loved ones. It has a 180-watt power rating. Also, if you are all about the looks, this stunning Tram antenna is undoubtedly calling your name!

If you’re one to travel at interstate speeds, don’t worry because the heavy-duty magnet won’t budge. Not even in harsh weather conditions! But, for quick and effortless removal, a hex key does the job.

The highlight of this Tram antenna is its cable length and quality. It allows for convenient installation! Moreover, it delivers nearly perfect SWR, something most other antennas fail to do!

We find the economical price as a bonus with the high-quality transmission the antenna delivers!

8. Workman – Top Mobile Ham Radio Antenna

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A rather compact antenna that is portable and serves as a great travel buddy. It is quite easy to wrap and carry everywhere you go. This is exactly why many people consider this Workman product as one of the best mobile ham antennae in the market.

Here’s what makes Workman one of the hot-sellers in the business:

      • Includes magnetic mount, cable, and connector
      • Comes in a stunning black color
      • Transmits 144-148 / 430-450MHz dual-band
      • Compatible with mobile and handheld radios

Apart from this, it proves quite handy in clearing squelchy background with its fantastic reception. Additionally, the magnet strength is quite astonishing as it requires force to budge. The SWR on it is remarkable, making it a must-have for outdoor or mobile use.

Most users prefer setting it up on their vehicles for quality communication.

However, the antenna needs weatherproofing to prevent damage to the whip and wand threads. Moreover, the base needs a better solution to prevent it from scraping off the roof paint.

9. LUITON – Best for outdoor usage

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When you’re looking to shop on a tight budget and need an economical option, what better than this Luiton deal? The pack of 2 is just what you need for a safe backup. The package also includes an antenna cover to protect the whip from unwanted damage.

It has a maximum frequency range of 144-430MHz, which makes it perfect for outdoors! The NA-771 is compatible with 888s plus, UV-5R, and UV-82 series. The antenna, combined with your ham radio, is a match made in heaven!

Not only is the price budget-friendly, but the brand also provides a 1-year warranty to keep you satisfied!

Why Luiton is not to be missed is because it extends the range of two-way walkie-talkies by approximately a mile! Its short-height makes it an excellent tool for walkie-talkies and portable radio systems. Not so much for longer-distance communication!

A critical pointer to note is that the antenna uses a different kind of connector. Since it’s not the universal PL-259, it may not work with every radio.

10. Nagoya NMO-200A – High-quality, portable whip

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With so many options on the block, what makes this dual-band antenna so unique? Let’s find out!

      • Omnidirectional radiation pattern
      • Easy to assemble
      • Uses NMO connector
      • Fold-over design
      • Does not require tuning
      • Solid brass mount with a satin finish

To offer users variety, the brand offers various ways to mount it, with the first being the magnetic mount. You can also opt for drill and bracket mounts, or lip and fender mounts.

You can use Nagoya NMO-200A with mobile or base mounts that use NMO connectors. This antenna will prove useful in extending your radio’s transmission.

The brand terms its products as highly reliable and dependable and rightly so! Arguably, it is one of the best magnetic antennas you can get for your ham radios. You won’t be disappointed!

Comparison of Best Antennas for Ham Radios

ProductBandsLengthRange
Super Antenna MP1DXTR80HF/VHF7 ft.3.5MHz to 4.8MHz and 7MHz-30MHz, and 30MHz-54MHz
Super Antenna MP1CHF/VHF7 ft.7MHz-30MHz and 30MHz to 300MHz
VFANVHF/UHF10 ft.137-149MHz and 437-480 MHz
EightwoodVHF/UHF16.4 ft.136-174MHz and:400-470MHz
ABBREEVHF/UHF1.5 ft.144/430MHz
Tram 1185VHF/UHF1.5 ft.144MHz-148MHz and 440MHz-450MHz
Tram Amateur Dual BandVHF/UHF3 ft.144MHz-148MHz and 440MHz-450MHz
WorkmanVHF/UHF1.5 ft.144-148MHz & 430-470MHz
LUITONVHF/UHF1.3 ft.144-430MHz
Nagoya NMO-200AVHF/UHF3.2 ft.136-174MHz and 400-520MHz

How to buy Amateur Radio Antennas

amateur radio antennas

Antenna Types

Finding the right antenna type for your ham radio is not a smooth task. It’s a scary thing for most newbies, just like finding the best ham radio for beginners.

To ease your nerves, we have a handy guide for you to help you distinguish between all ham radio antenna types.

  • End fed wire

A popular and commonly used antenna type is the end fed half wave (EFHW). At its lowest frequency, the EFHW is a half-wavelength long.

The system is relatively low cost and offers multiple band operation. Most importantly, is it quite easy to install. However, instead of the earth connection, you need a counterpoise.

  • Dipole

Some options you have are the fan, wire, and trap dipole. The fan dipole is a half-wave dipole, but with some additional features. These elements cover other bands.

The wire dipole is a straightforward and cost-effective solution to most antenna problems. When mounted on an elevated height, it performs excellently. However, it is mainly used for a single band.

  • Vertical antenna

The standard and simplest antenna is the vertical one. It is a top choice for users with limited space options. You can easily install it in an empty garden plot.

Vertical antennas work best for HF, VHF, and UHF owing to is omnidirectional radiation in the horizontal plane.

The best part is that various designs are available for the vertical VHF antennas. However, keep in mind, you will require a good earth connection or ground plane for efficient performance.

  • Directional

Expert 6-meter operators prefer the Yagi or directional antenna, which produces a significant signal. Since many stations can require additional gain over existing dipole antennas, the Yagi is an excellent option. They are primarily used for long-distance operation at VHF/UHF.

Bands

For a newbie, another crucial aspect to remember is the band support. As a rule of thumb, the more bands that an antenna can support, the better it is! However, this can be a little heavy on the pocket as amateur radio antennas don’t come cheap.

A dual-band antenna is always a good idea as it provides a better range of frequencies: high and ultra-high!

Antenna length

As with any antenna, the longer length always translates in greater signal strength. If you are looking to use your antenna as a repeater system, you will need more headroom for it.

Feedline loss

As mentioned earlier, feed line loss can be a significant issue. It is the signal lost during to and fro transmission between the radio and antenna. Choose the right cable for your antenna to limit this problem!

Coax length

Before deciding on the cable length, you would want to first think about the mounting location. If you are looking to set up the system within a car, you won’t need excess coax. However, if you’re looking to connect the antenna to the ham at home or in a garage, you’ll require additional cable length.

If you are a DIY person, here is our guide on how to build a ham radio antenna at home.

FAQs

How to tune a ham radio antenna?

Remain wary of RF burns before tuning. Ensure that you do not activate the transmitter when someone is in contact with the antenna.

  • The first step is to connect an SWR meter between the radio and antenna through your coax cable. Make sure you have the right connectors – most commonly, it’s the PL-259s and a short jumper of coax.
  • To make a connection between the radio and antenna, take one end of this jumper and link it to the back of the ham radio. The other end connects to the transmitter socket on the meter.
  • Keep your transmitter power settings at a minimum when you are adjusting the SWR. During the process, you will need to set your radio at either the FM or CW mode. Next, tune it to the low edge of the band you are adjusting for.
  • Transmit and calibrate the meter, taking your reading down.
  • Once you have tuned it to the low edge, perform the same procedure to adjust it to the high side. Transmit and calibrate and record the reading.

If you are looking to adjust your dual or multi-band antenna, you will need to change the length of the short section for the high-frequency band. Similarly, adjust the next section for the next lower band until you have completed it for all parts.

Once the tuning process is complete, you will need to perform weatherproofing. If your antenna gets any water in its parts, it will cause a lot of trouble.

How to ground a ham radio antenna?

A few antenna types are naturally unbalanced. For them to operate efficiently, you will need to provide a ground connection. You will need to perform grounding with vertical or end-fed wire antennas.

The first method is the physical RF ground system. It is made by providing direct contact with the ground.

On the other hand, the method that most vertical antennas employ is called the ground plane. It is a type of a simulator as the ground is made from a sheet of a conductor. Typically, it extends to quarter wavelengths from the antenna.

How far does my ham antenna need to be from my computer?

RF interference with digital devices is a common sight. It is characterized by digital delay or buzzing sounds. However, placement can limit the issue significantly.

For example, if your receiver is experiencing severe interference, you can resolve the issue by moving it as little as 30 centimeters away!

Physically separating the devices will minimize the issue. Electromagnetic fields drop off quickly, creating as much distance as possible will resolve the problem in no time.

How to mount a ham radio antenna on a roof?
Drill four heavy lag screws on your house fascia. Use it to support the vertical antenna on the roof. The location will deliver the best signal performance. However, low hanging objects can cause some problems.

Summing-up

Being the heart of your ham radio system, you need to pay extra attention while picking out the antenna. Without a best-quality ham antenna, you won’t be able to transmit or receive information adequately.

Our top recommendations in the list will help you a great deal in finding the right band coverage, length, and frequency range for your needs.

If you enjoy adventure just as much as we do, look for a compact, portable one that makes traveling safer. Alternately, you can search for a sturdy one that’s easy-to-mount on your vehicle for enhanced reception.

With a little forethought, you can pick out the best antennas on the market for your ham radio!