With a hand held the antenna is what makes it. The little rubber duck antenna that comes with it will work OK if you are close to the repeaters. The next step up is the longer antennas for the hand held which work better.
The best is some sort of external antenna either a bought J-pole or home made and you can find them anywhere, even cheap ham has the Arrow one.
A trick I use with my hand held is to just put a loop in the end of a wire about 19 inches long and slip the loop end over the antenna on the hand held so it comes down to the bottom of the antenna then you can hold it in your hand against the case with the rest hanging down. It helps improve the efficiency of the antenna on the hand held. I use this trick on mine out here on the plains of CO and it gets me into the repeaters west of Denver OK. I can barely get a signal in without the wire dangling down.
It just makes a good ground plane for the antenna.
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