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Military Monitoring Forum Discussions regarding monitoring military communications on the ground, in air and at sea. Please keep USCG discussion to this forum also.

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Old 08-22-2014, 12:26 PM
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Default Best performing MilAir scanners/receivers

So I am thoroughly impressed with the performance of the Uniden BCT15X performance on Mil Air. Especially image rejection even when connected to an external antenna designed for 225-400 and 118-150.8 MHz. I have a home brew multi-band dipole that is really surprising me right now.

I have other scanners that cover Mil Air and they are decent enough performers, but I am looking for a hand held with good image rejection in VHF and UHF Air bands including the VHF Mil Air ranges that also has good quick search capabilities like the BCT15X. I have a BCD396XT, but it has some issues with images, especially connected to an external antenna that frustrate searching.

My other scanners are a Sony Wavehawk which is too slow for searching, but does listen well for programmed channels. I also have a Pro-164 which does pretty good too, but does have some image rejection issues affecting searching and a few birdies in the way.

I am starting to look at other reasonably priced receivers such as the Icom IC-R6 and the Alinco DJ-X11.

What I would like to know from Mil Air fans here is, what is your experience with these receivers and is there anything else I should be considering that does not cost a lot more than the Alinco DJ-X11. I am trying to find one that performs very well for all VHF and UHF aviation monitoring and care less about anything else it receives. I am most concerned about image rejection and birdies in these bands as well as audio quality and to a lesser extent battery life. I just would not want one that eats batteries so if one lasts 8 hours and the other 15, no big deal for me.

Is there a much higher priced AOR or something that is really worth the extra expense?

I am mainly interested in VHF and UHF aviation receiver performance with fast search capabilities, and in a hand held. Other bands are negligible to me. I would welcome a receiver designed around the best performance from 118-151 and 225-400 and didn't even cover anything else. But of course that does not exist.
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Old 08-22-2014, 2:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4UXQ View Post
So I am thoroughly impressed with the performance of the Uniden BCT15X performance on Mil Air. Especially image rejection even when connected to an external antenna designed for 225-400 and 118-150.8 MHz. I have a home brew multi-band dipole that is really surprising me right now.

I have other scanners that cover Mil Air and they are decent enough performers, but I am looking for a hand held with good image rejection in VHF and UHF Air bands including the VHF Mil Air ranges that also has good quick search capabilities like the BCT15X. I have a BCD396XT, but it has some issues with images, especially connected to an external antenna that frustrate searching.

My other scanners are a Sony Wavehawk which is too slow for searching, but does listen well for programmed channels. I also have a Pro-164 which does pretty good too, but does have some image rejection issues affecting searching and a few birdies in the way.

I am starting to look at other reasonably priced receivers such as the Icom IC-R6 and the Alinco DJ-X11.

What I would like to know from Mil Air fans here is, what is your experience with these receivers and is there anything else I should be considering that does not cost a lot more than the Alinco DJ-X11. I am trying to find one that performs very well for all VHF and UHF aviation monitoring and care less about anything else it receives. I am most concerned about image rejection and birdies in these bands as well as audio quality and to a lesser extent battery life. I just would not want one that eats batteries so if one lasts 8 hours and the other 15, no big deal for me.

Is there a much higher priced AOR or something that is really worth the extra expense?

I am mainly interested in VHF and UHF aviation receiver performance with fast search capabilities, and in a hand held. Other bands are negligible to me. I would welcome a receiver designed around the best performance from 118-151 and 225-400 and didn't even cover anything else. But of course that does not exist.
And what about the Alinco DJ-X30?
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Old 08-22-2014, 3:05 PM
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Over the years I've had good success with the RS Pro 2004, 2005, 2006 and Pro 43 hand held for VHF and UHF air. I also have a Yupiteru MVT-7100 that is very sensitive and an AOR AR8200 that works very well. A lot of other scanners I've had were not as sensitive or had mushy audio on AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4UXQ View Post
So I am thoroughly impressed with the performance of the Uniden BCT15X performance on Mil Air. Especially image rejection even when connected to an external antenna designed for 225-400 and 118-150.8 MHz. I have a home brew multi-band dipole that is really surprising me right now.

I have other scanners that cover Mil Air and they are decent enough performers, but I am looking for a hand held with good image rejection in VHF and UHF Air bands including the VHF Mil Air ranges that also has good quick search capabilities like the BCT15X. I have a BCD396XT, but it has some issues with images, especially connected to an external antenna that frustrate searching.

My other scanners are a Sony Wavehawk which is too slow for searching, but does listen well for programmed channels. I also have a Pro-164 which does pretty good too, but does have some image rejection issues affecting searching and a few birdies in the way.

I am starting to look at other reasonably priced receivers such as the Icom IC-R6 and the Alinco DJ-X11.

What I would like to know from Mil Air fans here is, what is your experience with these receivers and is there anything else I should be considering that does not cost a lot more than the Alinco DJ-X11. I am trying to find one that performs very well for all VHF and UHF aviation monitoring and care less about anything else it receives. I am most concerned about image rejection and birdies in these bands as well as audio quality and to a lesser extent battery life. I just would not want one that eats batteries so if one lasts 8 hours and the other 15, no big deal for me.

Is there a much higher priced AOR or something that is really worth the extra expense?

I am mainly interested in VHF and UHF aviation receiver performance with fast search capabilities, and in a hand held. Other bands are negligible to me. I would welcome a receiver designed around the best performance from 118-151 and 225-400 and didn't even cover anything else. But of course that does not exist.
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Old 08-22-2014, 6:19 PM
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Pro-2042 & (U)BC780XLT are good bases. 246AT for portable, maybe?
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Old 08-22-2014, 6:43 PM
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If you can find one, a RS PRO-43 handheld is hard to beat. It's getting a bit long in the tooth, though. It's famous for being one hot milair handheld

I understand that the old Uniden BC250 is also very good here - you don't need the optional card for this...Mike
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Old 08-22-2014, 8:02 PM
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I have the BC125AT for that same stuff, milair/ vhf air. It does a great job, wish they didn't chop the band, they stopped at 380. I have a few local freqs here in the 380-400 range. Not a deal breaker though, nice little airband/milair scanner.
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Old 08-22-2014, 8:19 PM
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Love my old Pro-43.
I just refurbished it.....
I opened her up....recoated the backs of the buttons with defroster line liquid to refresh the contacts, replaced the volume knob, replaced the speaker, and resoldered a loose antenna connection.

It works great again.
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Old 08-23-2014, 7:27 PM
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imho, although i do not do a lot of milair monitoring,the rs pro-43,rs pro-2052,pro-2005/6,bc780, were among some of the best regarded scanners for milair. at some point i had every single one of them.
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Old 08-25-2014, 9:36 AM
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I have been looking for a decent PRO-43 without paying a fortune. What is it about it that made it so great on MilAir?
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Old 08-25-2014, 5:41 PM
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My favorite handheld is the Yupiteru MVT-7100

At home I use the BC780XLT and the Radio Shack PRO-2045
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Old 08-25-2014, 6:14 PM
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Another vote for the BCT15X. I don't know why they made the BCT15X's little brother the 346XT(C) not able to do mil air...
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:40 PM
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I have an Alinco DJX2000 as my primary milair scanner, does a great job but I imagine it would be tough to find.
Also have a Pro 43, great no frills milair scanner, doesn't look very slick on the hip though.
Have a BCD396XT, not overly impressed with its performance, has some clipping and weak reception issues [may or may not be my fault].
finally I have a BC125AT, as noted it is hobbled having milair clipped at 380, I'd be hard pressed to recommend.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:43 PM
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I'd look into the Pro-164 is has the coverage & capacity. Can be had from 50-100 USD & you can load freqs with software
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Old 08-27-2014, 9:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeuser View Post
I'd look into the Pro-164 is has the coverage & capacity. Can be had from 50-100 USD & you can load freqs with software
I'm going to try using a PRO-164 for Mil Air. The Yupiteru radios have always piqued my interest too but I have not read anything in detail about their performance on civil or Mil Air, especially in regards to image rejection.

Has anyone had any experience using the Icom IC-R6? I had an Icom IC-R2 years ago and it was prone to image reception. The IC-R20 is more than I would like to invest, but if it is worthy I would consider it.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4UXQ View Post
I'm going to try using a PRO-164 for Mil Air. The Yupiteru radios have always piqued my interest too but I have not read anything in detail about their performance on civil or Mil Air, especially in regards to image rejection.

Has anyone had any experience using the Icom IC-R6? I had an Icom IC-R2 years ago and it was prone to image reception. The IC-R20 is more than I would like to invest, but if it is worthy I would consider it.
I can't speak to the quality & performance, they always seemed to expensive for me. I love this hobby, but I just will not devote that kind of money to it. Uniden, GRE, Radio Shack, etc. always seemed to fill my needs. The 164 can be had on eBay from 50 - 100$ so its a cheap way to go. You'll want to get a better antenna but the stock is decent... Quite a few software options for it also
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:14 AM
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From personal experience...the BC780 was one of the best mil air scanners made. The Icom R6 and AOR 8200mk3 both do great. If you like Uniden handhelds, then get a BR330T. That was my primary mil air handheld for 4 years and it performed well.

Don't know if I'd get the AOR just because of mil air, due to the price. It has many other features, and so solid mil air is a bonus.

The R6 is inexpensive, tiny, runs forever on 2 AAs, and scans very fast which is crucial for mil air. It does great on all airbands, and is in fact my only scanner that can stop on a local 111.1 MHz airport beacon during a band search. It's my primary mil air handheld.

Avoid GREs...my former PSR-500 sucked bad on mil air. Not sensitive, muddy comms when I did get them, and total image overload on 138-142 MHz mil air.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
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Avoid GREs...my former PSR-500 sucked bad on mil air. Not sensitive, muddy comms when I did get them, and total image overload on 138-142 MHz mil air.
Same comment applies to the GRE PSR-800 as the 500 - Avoid.

Also the Uniden BC125AT works well on Mil Air and can be purchased for $103.00 on Amazon.
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Old 08-27-2014, 7:29 PM
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Bought another Pro-164 that appears to be like new off eBay. I had not been using mine much, but am trying it out again. I am finding out it does fine portable in most locations, but an external antenna can overload it. That's where the BCT15X shines. No overload at all on an external antenna which is dedicated for Mil Air.

I will be at Daytona Beach in October during the Air Show and there is tons of Mil Air down there besides. Also staying in a condo on the 26th floor, so reception will be great with my portable antenna sitting on the balcony.

I was eyeing the ICOM IC-R6 and because it gets favorable reports for Mil Air, I will likely try one of those soon as well. Also very nice to know which others to consider when looking around eBay and which ones to avoid.

This BCT15X is one of the best scanners I have bought in a long time. Mil Air and civil air performance is extremely good and the price on Amazon is great!

I think the replies here could help others when deciding what scanners to consider for Mil Air.

Thanks to all!

Last edited by KD4UXQ; 08-27-2014 at 7:36 PM..
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Old 08-27-2014, 9:14 PM
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Enjoy!
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Old 08-27-2014, 9:42 PM
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The AOR AR-8200MK3 is great for VHF and UHF air and excels as a portable VHF/UHF receiver, but its not a very good police scanner and its much worse as an HF receiver.
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From personal experience...the BC780 was one of the best mil air scanners made. The Icom R6 and AOR 8200mk3 both do great. If you like Uniden handhelds, then get a BR330T. That was my primary mil air handheld for 4 years and it performed well.

Don't know if I'd get the AOR just because of mil air, due to the price. It has many other features, and so solid mil air is a bonus.

The R6 is inexpensive, tiny, runs forever on 2 AAs, and scans very fast which is crucial for mil air. It does great on all airbands, and is in fact my only scanner that can stop on a local 111.1 MHz airport beacon during a band search. It's my primary mil air handheld.

Avoid GREs...my former PSR-500 sucked bad on mil air. Not sensitive, muddy comms when I did get them, and total image overload on 138-142 MHz mil air.
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