When it comes to two-way radios, nothing quite beats the convenience of handheld radios. Apart from being easy to tuck away in your pocket, they are excellent choices for short range communication too. In fact, all you would really need to worry about would be the battery life.
Like most people though, once you familiarize yourself with your handheld radio scanner, you will realize that there is more to what your scanner can do. Getting a good handheld scanner antenna to go with your radio is usually one of the first steps in the right direction.
A good handheld scanner antenna will not only increase your radio’s short-range capabilities, but it will also increase its overall performance for mid-range communication. In this article, we highlight four of the best handheld scanner antennas you can buy for your radio today.
How We Picked These 4 Best Handheld Scanner Antennas
Choosing a handheld scanner antenna for your radio is a no-brainer once you know the compatible connection type. Our selection, however, focused on handheld scanner antennas that are compatible with a wide variety of radios. We included antennas that use BNC and SMA so that you can easily find the perfect antenna for your unit.
In addition, we also paid close attention to the reviews that these antennas have amassed. Ideally, we picked antennas that other radio owners have used and loved. There is no need to worry about pricing too since nearly all of the antennas listed are affordable.
Reviews of The 4 Best Handheld Scanner Antennas
Versatility and performance underscore what the Comet Original BNC-W100RX is all about. With a frequency range of 25MHz to 1300MHz, this is one of the best handheld scanners you can get whenever you want to get the most value for your money.
The antenna has a full extended length of 40″ which is pretty generous. However, you can also collapse it to a mere 8″ for those situations where you want to store it safely. Its design is also impressive in that it has a unique double pivot. This allows you to comfortably use it on either handheld or desktop scanners.
As its name suggests, you can use the Comet Original BNC-W100RX for handheld scanners that use the BNC connector type. Since you can extend it up to 40″ in length, this could be the perfect antenna for anyone who enjoys the portability of his/her scanner but would occasionally enjoy a longer antenna for better reception.
Uniden as a brand instills a sense of quality and reliability, and Uniden’s BATG0481001 handheld scanner antenna is a true testament. First off, the antenna fits most of the handheld scanners since it uses the BNC connector type. This means that you can use this great quality antenna even though you don’t own a Uniden radio.
The antenna also has a maximum frequency range of 800MHz which is lower than that of the Comet Original BNC-W100RX, but still useful for a wide variety of people. Since a good number of handheld scanners have their frequencies capped at much lower levels, you can tell that the BATG0481001 is still relevant and comes at an affordable price.
As this antenna is fairly shorter than many others, this actually makes it super convenient for use with handheld scanners. While it is not adjustable like the Comet antenna we had earlier looked at, its short length means that it is far easier to use with highly portable radios.
If you must have at least one dual-band antenna for your handheld scanner, then you will certainly love the Diamond SRH77CA. It is a dual-band high gain antenna that truly lives up to its words by incorporating features that complement dual watch functionality on your radio.
For starters, the antenna can handle gain frequencies of either 144MHz or 440MHz on the higher scale. However, the antenna still has you covered in case you needed high receive frequencies as well. It can handle receive frequencies of up to 900MHz making it a worthy contender to the Comet Original BNC-W100RX.
The antenna also boasts a maximum power handling capability of 10W which is huge when it comes to handheld scanners. Standing tall at 15″ though, you should consider the Diamond SRH77CA only if you are comfortable with the height as it is not retractable. Additionally, the antenna uses a BNC connection type, but you can still get other Diamond antennas that use SMA connections.
The Nagoya NA-320A is a relatively new triband antenna that is based on the NA-771 antenna from BaoFeng Tech. As a brand that is known for quality products, we expected the best from the NA-320A and we were happy that BaoFeng once again overdelivered.
This antenna can handle up to three different frequencies which include 144MHz, 220MHz, and 440MHz. This makes it ideal for situations where you want to tune in to multiple channels at the same time. Its receive-only band, on the other hand, maxes out to 900MHz while its transmission and reception frequency range lies in the 400MHz to 520MHz range.
Like the Diamond SRH77CA, this antenna also has a maximum power handling capability of 10W but with an average gain to stock antenna of 2.15dBi. It is also the longest antenna on our list as it stands tall at 17.7″. This is good for getting high quality signals on your handheld scanner, but it can be problematic if you don’t have a convenient place to store it.
The antenna equally uses an SMA female connector type unlike most others on the list that use the BNC. As you may have guessed, this antenna is also perfect with all models of BaoFeng radios. As such, it would be a worthy pick if you already own a BaoFeng handheld radio.
You get a 107″ standard Motorola reception wire when you get this hidden car antenna. Considering that other antennas had much shorter cables, we were happy that AntennaMastRus did not follow in their direction.
This antenna also has a low noise tolerance in both FM and AM modes and can thus guarantee crisper audio quality.
Things to Consider When Buying a Handheld Scanner Antenna
There are often a few things you should consider before tossing away your stock antenna and buying a new handheld scanner antenna. Below are some of the things to keep in mind.
You should know the connection type of the antenna you intend to buy and whether it can fit on your radio. For most handheld radios, the two most common connector types are BNC and SMA. Some radio manufacturers tend to prefer BNC while others prefer SMA. However, even if you bought the wrong antenna, you can still get a BNC to SMA adapter or an SMA to BNC adapter.
Not all radios are made equal, and chances are that your radio might benefit from an antenna with above average frequency range. Getting an antenna with a high frequency range is usually advisable because it is more versatile and can even be used with a wide variety of radios.
The Uniden BATG0481001, for instance, would be great for radios that have frequency ranges of less than 800MHz. However, you should also consider price as well. It would not make sense to go for an expensive handheld scanner antenna yet most of your radios are capped at lower frequency ranges.
Does your radio have features such as Dual Watch? If so, then you should consider grabbing a dual-band or even tri-band antenna to get the most from your radio. Multi-band antennas usually allow communication in multiple bands unlike single band which only let you communicate in one band.
Additionally, many such antennas also have relatively high power handling capabilities of up to 10W or more. As such they can be worthy investments if you intend to use them on multiple devices from time to time. Ham radio and handheld CB radio owners are good examples of some of the people that would benefit from such antennas.
The most important thing to remember about handheld scanner antennas is to find one that works for you. Unlike with radios where you need to have a firm grasp of the exact specifications you need, you can find an amazing antenna for your radio quicker if you know the connector type. Afterwards, it will only be a matter of understanding how much power the antenna is capable of and whether you will need that power. Additionally, the fact that adapters exist also makes things a little easier in case you do end up picking an antenna with the wrong connector type.