Once I decided to buy a radio, there are a million choices out there. I had no idea what exactly I was looking for, or what I would use, or how fast I would outgrow it and want something better. I knew I wanted a handheld, and that’s about it. Many people suggest that you should buy a cheap Baofeng as your first radio. That way you can expand your skills and learn what you really want and like before spending a lot of money. I ignored that advice. I figure that I’ll always want a handheld, so I might as well just get a good one.
After lots of research and looking carefully at many options I chose the Kenwood TH-D72A. It’s a 5W dual bander with built in GPS and APRS, and it’s splash proof and dust proof.
I immediately replaced the included rubber duck with a Diamond SRH320A triband antenna. This change made a marked improvement in both transmit and receive performance. If you were wondering if replacing the rubber duck antenna on your handheld is worth it, stop wondering and just buy a better antenna. Money well spent.
This antenna feels like if you bent it too much, it would permanently deform, or even worse, break. However, it has proved to be much sturdier than I expected. It’s been thrown in backpacks with other stuff, tossed in duffle bags with clothes, and bent every which way, with no ill effects. With the stock rubber duck antenna, the radio is 11″ tall. With the SRH320A, it’s about 18.5″ tall.
I have been very happy with this radio and antenna combo. Highly recommended.