Quick question for everyone, what're the main differences between a SMA connector and a BNC? I think my Baofeng UV5R has a male SMA, but I've seen people recommend getting the adapter to BNC.

What are the pros/cons for each?
What is everyone's personal preference, for whatever reasons?


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@FireTerrier sma are fairly small, screw, can be easy to break (I haven't yet) and can put a lot of strain on the connector

BNC are larger, more rugged, and bayonet fit (push and quarter turn) so easier and faster to use. Also larger so less fiddle.

People bemoan pl259 too for being fiddly and inefficient for various frequencies, but I'm yet to modify the connector on any of my radios.

@M0YNG So it would probably be worth it to get an adapter since I'm interested primarily in durability and ease of use. I wanted to get more input since all my antennas are SMA (the more I learn, the more I spend, lol) and didn't want new ones if it wasn't much difference


@FireTerrier I wouldn't get an adaptor of I'm interested in durability. All that would do is add more weight and torque onto the existing sma connector.
If you wanted to improve the durability of the connection you need to replace the entire connector on the radio to BNC (in this case!)

@M0YNG How would one convert the connector? Is It a simple task or more convoluted?

@FireTerrier @M0YNG To be honest, for a Baofeng I think you'd be fine with the standard SMA connector included on it. Even if something happens to it, it's not too much trouble to replace a Boafeng (or update it with a better handheld model, depending on your needs).

I hardly ever do stuff with handhelds, but when I do I've gotten plenty of use out of the Nagoya 771 antenna. It does need a male-to-male SMA adapter to use with the Baofeng, however.

@KN4LIA @M0YNG Yeah, I've now realized the baofeng isn't really...the greatest handheld, haha. I'll probably upgrade down the line, not sure what to or when though.

Eventually I'd like to expand beyond handhelds but part of what I use them for is helped by mobility so I'm definitely still gonna need a decent one.

Thanks for the input!

@FireTerrier no need to convert to BNC. SMA connector are not very rugged and adding weight and manipulation needing to push on the connector (BNC needs that) is not a good idea.
I'm using a Nagoya NA-24J VHF UHF antenna with sma and it is very better than original antenna.

@F1RUM It's weird because I've seen (around the web) more people saying BNC is better but here most are opposed or neutral. The adapter I was looking into screws in like a normal SMA I believe but has the pin for BNC on top, so I don't think it should put too much pressure on the connector. (I could be wrong).

I'm curious about it and the connector was $4 so I went ahead and got it, don't know if it'll be the one I use but I can at least look at it.

Thank you!

@FireTerrier @F1RUM Even if you don't use it, having an SMA to BNC adapter on hand may not be a bad idea, esp. if you upgrade to a general license. I will probably need one soon (or whenever I finish making my trap dipole) so I can measure the antenna with the nanoVNA, which comes with SMA connectors.
(The nanoVNA is an affordable and open source vector network analyzer, which are useful instruments to have if you need to make antennas and various other tasks.)

SMA pros:
More secure
Can be waterproof
Becoming more common on ham radio handhelds

SMA Cons:
Male/female positions not standardized.
Not as sturdy

BNC Pros:
Quick connect
Standard male/female positions

BNC Cons:
Becoming less popular
Adaptors introduce stress and may slightly affect tuning on handhelds.
Not waterproof

Both are perfectly acceptable connectors. It comes down to preference and use case. I tend to stick with what is original.

@Hawk1291 @FireTerrier
I agree with all points. BNC is the past. Seems like SMA is the future. Moving forward I expect more things will be available with SMA while fewer will be available in BNC.

@Tay0 @Hawk1291 @FireTerrier Yeah I think you're right.. Meanwhile I've got a PL259 <-> SMA adaptor for my UV5R and it just looks ridiculous haha

@idanoo @Tay0 @FireTerrier haha ah yes, the so239-SMA adapter on the baofeng, hooked onto a large antenna. A staple of the ham shack. 😆

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