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BCD396T Reception range from eastern Howard Co.

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menglish

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Mar 12, 2004
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Columbia, MD
I have had my 396 for about 6 months and one of the first things I noticed is the reception on the 800 trunked systems has a fairly short range and the conventional UHF and VHF is pretty bad (especially air). I am using the rubber duck that came with it most of the time because the telescoping RS antenna makes it harder to carry in my jacket pocket and listen to at work. I know that is part of my problem, but my 245XT runs circles around it in the air band even with the stock antenna.

Both my house and my office in Columbia are directly on the approach for runway 10 at BWI at about 10 DME for my house and 8 DME for my office. At home with the 245XT I can pick up both sides of the conversation between Tower and aircraft on final from below grade level in my house. At work I have a direct line of site to the beacon at BWI from my location on the 4th floor and with the 396T the aircraft portion of the conversation is weak and I can't pick up the tower at all.

I have never picked up Mil-Air on the 396T either and Close Call has never found a thing.
I have Howard and the surrounding Counties' trunked systems programmed and Howard comes in clear almost all the time. Baltimore Co and AA are weak but readable. Carroll and Montgomery are no shows on the signal meter. Again I find this a bit strange as I can see downtown Baltimore, Key Bridge, and many other tall things from my window at work.
There is a probably a good amount of RF interference in my office but could it really be that much?

So my question is did I get a bum radio that should be sent back or have others had similar experiences with the 396T and the rubber duck antenna?
Advice or tests I can use to check it would be appreciated.

Thanks,
-Matt
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
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Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,782
Location
Bowie, Md.
First try the cheap options; try putting the 245's antenna on it and see what happens. Of course it would help if you didn't inadvertantly put the attenuator on each channel, hi.

Yes, you could be getting desensed at your office - there's LOTS of RF generating stuff in it. Everything from crummy PC monitors, routers (a VERY common problem here), flourescent lights (the ballasts radiate like crazy, particularly when they're on their way out)
and other things. Probably one of the worst monitoring environments, unless you can get an antenna outside the building on the roof....73 Mike
 

troymail

Silent Key
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Dec 19, 2002
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Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
Reception with the 396 isn't great.... but it really depends. For instance, I'm just south of BWI... of course, AA County comes in just fine... Howard's just as good... Baltimore City is somewhat weak when I'm sitting on the firstfloor or my house but at the same time, the DC system comes in with no problem at all. When I go to my basement, reception for Baltimore is non-existant....

I know you didn't ask but my PSR-500 picked up Baltimore City in my basement without any problems... on the good side, the PSR-500 has much better reception (range) than the 396 but there's a downside - the PSR-500 is easily overwhelmed by interference (cell towers, etc.) while the 396 keeps on going... which is the reason I even mention the 500... seems as if the 396 is intentionally "attenuated" to reduce interference while the 500 gives you an option re: attenuation (AT) from the keypad.
 

menglish

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2004
Messages
11
Location
Columbia, MD
Thanks for the responses. I will test it out in some other spots. As for work, I am moving up one floor soon, which will take me further away from the IT equipment. So that might help some too.
 
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