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Need Help Selecting (and possibly building) a Multi-band Scanner Antenna

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Joined
Apr 21, 2008
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29
Location
Fort Myers Florida
#1
Hello. A scanner newbie here looking for a cheap antenna to cover the 29-1300Mhz range. I either want to buy one, or make one. I'll probably end up making one to learn more about the subject. I don't know what design to use or how to go about building it. I have soldering skills but no access to a welder.

Its going to be for a base station for my Pro-433 scanner. I'd like to get decent range and be able to pick up some skip without emptying my wallet. I don't really want a directional antenna because I don't want to have to climb on the roof to adjust it. :)
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
 
Joined
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Location
Jackson Square, East Weymouth, MA.
#2
Building can be a blast. Got some leftover pieces of cable and wire kicking around? You can be inventive and build your ideas on that. Half wave dipoles can be real simple. The formula for converting in inches is 5616 divided by frequency. After you find that a half wave at, say 155, is a tad over 36 inches just strip back a little of a piece of coax, separating the braid and center conductor, now strip a couple pieces of wire a bit and simply twist the wire ends to these, tape the connections, and voila, you got an antenna.

As far as antennas on the market, the Scantenna comes partially assembled, I believe. I have never had one, so I assume they are that way. Discones are in pieces, you have to put them all together, that can be a bunch of fun, I have one, works pretty good. There are plenty of things you can do, the possibilities are endless.

Building a ground plane with an SO239 is about the most basic you can do. All you need is welding rod, or just very stiff wire and solder a radiating element and some radials and you have a cheapy antenna. I have built quite a few for VHF and UHF, of course the formula is cut in half from what a half wave is. In other words 2808 divided by frequency, because it's a quarter wave ground plane.

The sky is not the limit, in fact there is no limit of what you can do. I can't stand when I hear people say they can't do anything. That is just closed-mindedness. Explore, you will find all kinds of things you can do.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
29
Location
Fort Myers Florida
#3
Thanks for the info! One question though. Will I have to have a separate antenna for each band? Is there an antenna design that I can build that will work on the 29-13000mhz range that I will not have to tune? Sorry. I'm really new to antennas other than buying them and hooking them up. :)
 
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Joined
Mar 31, 2007
Messages
1,843
Location
Jackson Square, East Weymouth, MA.
#5
The Scantenna is a very good choice for a scanning. I am looking into buying one myself so I can free up my other antennas for other usage.

You can put multiple dipoles on the same feed point. Radio Shack has a ground plane that uses the same idea, with multiple radiators sticking out the top. It's here: http://www.radioshack.com/family/in...pe/Scanner/HAM&fbn=Type/Scanner/HAM

They used to have a ground plane years ago which had three verticals designed to resonate on low band, high band and UHF.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Fort Myers Florida
#6
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
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Location
North Alabama
#7
I'd recommend either the Scantenna or the RS 20-176.

I own the RS 20-176 and it's a good performer at a good price. It does very well in 100 Mhz and good in 400 Mhz. It's not as good in 800 Mhz, but it still receives them.

I haven't owned the Scantenna but have heard many good things about it, and some bad too. It has good reception in all bands, but is very large and fragile.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
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Location
N. Tex / S. Fla
#8
It would help us if you were more specific about what "decent range" means. Are you talking about hearing repeater systems over sixty-miles away, or are you talking about hearing local, non-repeater mobiles/HTs? Or are you just talking about normal public safety scanning of the local agencies?

Also, what bands are you most interested in? All these things will figure into the answer to your questions. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Skip... you either get it or you don't. It's much more about propagation than antenna.
 
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