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Best Aircraft Monitoring Scanner

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#1
I enjoy monitoring civilian aircraft in the VHF range. But Uniden scanners seem to always have low audio recovery. I have a Bendix King portable but the scanners have better receive strength.

Is there a particular radio that works better than others? I'm at an altitude of 6,300 feet and can hear for quite some distance. I could use a ClearSpeech DSP but $300 is a lot just to pump up the audio. Any suggestions?
 
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Messages
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#3
I enjoy monitoring civilian aircraft in the VHF range. But Uniden scanners seem to always have low audio recovery. I have a Bendix King portable but the scanners have better receive strength.

Is there a particular radio that works better than others? I'm at an altitude of 6,300 feet and can hear for quite some distance. I could use a ClearSpeech DSP but $300 is a lot just to pump up the audio. Any suggestions?
A lot of airband traffic does seem to occur in a lower tone of voice, especially commercial pilots. From your description it seems like RF signal strength is not the issue, although we are talking analog AM, so with typical low cost detectors more is almost always better and LOUDER audio.

If indeed AUDIO strength is all you need, I would consider auditioning from the plethora of portable amplified loudspeakers that are now available targeting the personal music electronics crowd, ie, iPOD's and such. I agree that while the ClearSpeech product may be the best for communications application, these mass market music boxes might work out for you at a fraction of the price, $30-50.

These powered speakers are available at any discount store, ie, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, where returns are easy if it doesn't help like you need. Although most can connect to an audio source via wireless BlueTooth, they also usually have an option for a mini-phone jack line audio input cable.

Or get a BlueTooth xmtr for the scanner too; many hams are doing that to free up the operating desk from cables for both speakers and microphone inputs to HF/VHF transceivers.

I have no specific recommendation, but here are some examples of products I am talking about, see links below:

Jam Plus Portable Bluetooth Speaker Gray HX-P240GY - Best Buy

JBL Clip+ Portable Bluetooth Speaker Black JBLCLIPPLUSBLK - Best Buy

73 de John WØPV
 

alcahuete

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Antelope Acres, California
#6
The best means of scanning the airband is to get an actual airband radio. I realize that of course adds perhaps a considerable expense for monitoring just one band, but HTs or similar specifically designed for use on the airband will outperform scanners any day of the week.
 

SpectrumAnalyzer

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#8
Signal Communications Aviation Receivers (The Best)

If you can get your hands on one I'd buy a Signal R-532. The best dedicated airband receiver ever marketed for the hobbyist. Excellent sensitivity and good audio.
Not to forget Signals R-535 dual band VHF/UHF civil/military receiver with digital readout, if one elects not to spend the money on real commercial grade aviation transceivers for the ultimate in air scanning then these radios should be the first consideration in receive only radios, multiband scanners don't come close to their overall performance.

RadioPics Database - SIGNAL R-535 (Later Model)
 

N9JCQ

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#10
The Yupiteru 7100 is one of the best as far as portable Civilair/Milair receivers. 1000 channels but you have to program manually; there are no provisions for computer programming. If you want something for the house, the Uniden 780XLT are hard to beat. They are easily programmed from your PC, plentiful and relatively inexpensive ($100).
 
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#12
I have been extremely impressed with the BC125AT. It is very sensitive on airband. Also the Icom R5 is a great hairband scanner. The BC125 paired with the Diamond RH77CA antenna.
 
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Cape May,NJ
#13
I second Safetyobc's comments I love my BC125AT on the airband as well. I have b een getting a lot of milair down here in Cape May and I just have a cheap Radio Shack antenna, the stock antenna stinks. I might upgrade to a Diamond antenna just to see the difference.
 
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Abilene, TX
#14
I am a big air-band fan, more military than civilian, but I monitor both.
My favorites:
Hand-held:
Yupiteru MVT-7100
Radio shack Pro-43, Pro-60, Pro-97, Pro-106, Pro-668

Base:
Radio Shack Pro-2045
Uniden 780, 785
Icom 7100
 

pinballwiz86

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#15
I've had a lot of success with the GRECOM PSR-310 paired with a Radioshack telescoping antenna.

The BC125AT and the BCT-15X are also champs.
 

Your_account

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#17
I would use an SDR Dongle for! The major benefit it support frequency outside of the Airband to.
With an Splitter and 2 - 3 Dongle everyone get ACARS.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
481
Location
Lake Arrowhead, Southern California
#20
For some reason I just got messages from the board and apologize for my late reply.

Adding a FM trap for desense? Umm... no. A FM trap keeps you from receiving an image. Desense is when the FM broadcast station is so close that it swamps your receiver.

Sensitivity and antenna aren't a problem. I have a 5/8 wave vertical for the aircraft band as well as a Diamond discone. They both work but the 5/8 wave is better. At 6,250 feet ASL I can hear the aircraft but the BC780/785 have low audio recovery. As an amateur (AF6D) I have numerous VHF radios that have normal audio recovery. I don't need an amplified speaker because I stream the BC780/785 and have custom software for remote control. I run each radio into a 16-channel mixer. Although I can increase the channel gain it also increases noise and hum that the wall warts are notorious for even if converting to XLR. For that reason I use a converted computer power supply. (They are easy to convert!)

As a private pilot I am familiar with aircraft communications. I am listening to local approach on a Yaesu FT8900 with great receive and audio. But I cannot remote control it. I am using an inverted mag mount scanner antenna in my radio room and I hear 'em just fine. Th 8900's have a 0.20uV sensitivity.

I would be willing to purchase a used Icom A120. I live in forest fire country and we will likely have a bad season this year. Thus the need for a solid receiver. We have a helitac base 1.2 miles from my mountain home. We have rotary and fixed wing. I run an amateur radio repeater and can hear a mouse fart 200 miles in most directions. But aircraft are using at most 25 watts. On the ground I can hear a FM mobile in San Diego 110 miles to my south, so I've got the altitude for long range receive. But most scanners have a 2uV sensitivity and piss poor audio recovery. The ClearSpeach DSP's are great and kill damn near all noise but they aren't cheap.

The Icom A120's are going for $730 new on eBay. eBay sucks. Its supposed to be an auction site, not Amazon. A120 VHF Air Band Transceiver - Specifications - Icom America 1uV sensitivity sucks and a RX preamp would be nice and then a FM trap would be needed.

I think I'll have better luck with an amateur radio because they do AM and FM. Our fixed wing are always on 150.xxx FM and helicopters on 118 or 119 AM. If I use an expensive FT8900 one can split the dual receive to a separate jack and do the 150mHz+ on the right side. You can only do aviation on the left side Do I have any other options? I can't remote control an A120 either. So...

Do I have any other options?
 
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