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Scanner in Apartment/Aircraft Band

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pilotdave1970

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Scanner in Apartment/Aircraft Band Antenna

I was wondering I am trying to get better reception for a scanner inside my apartment. I cannot have any antennas outdoors. I was wondering if there is such thing as a signal boost for an antenna. I am trying to monitor aircraft traffic at a local airport that is 1.5 miles from me. I have a scanner antenna mag mount in the window of my room....Any ideas greatly appreciated.

Thank you for you help

Dave
 
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pilotdave1970

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The cookie sheet helped quite a bit, but not quite there. I was hoping to make something at home. I am a Comcast Cable installer and I have a spool of RG-6 on my closet shelf.
 

fineshot1

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Is there a tv antenna on top of the building that has a distribution system in the building?

If so try hooking that into the scanner. Its not optimum for a scanner but since the airport is only about 1.5 miles away it should work.
 

pilotdave1970

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No all buildings are wired for Cable Television. Its apartment policy to not have antennas on the building. Thanks for the suggestion.....D
 

lebrunmn

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Antenna ideas

Dave-

I know that you can't have antennas hanging off the apt building, but check this link out... it's for a flexible wire antenna...

http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/scanner-antennas/coaxial-scanner-antenna.aspx

My overactive imagination thinks you might be able to find a way to tack that on the outside of your windowframe, and no one would ever know...

Hope it helps.

Regards,
 

Raven95150

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lebrunmn said:
Dave-

I know that you can't have antennas hanging off the apt building, but check this link out... it's for a flexible wire antenna...

http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/scanner-antennas/coaxial-scanner-antenna.aspx

My overactive imagination thinks you might be able to find a way to tack that on the outside of your windowframe, and no one would ever know...

Hope it helps.

Regards,
Exactly...something like that would work perfect. As long as no one knows it's there, they aren't going to complain about it. I used to live in an apartment that had the same policy. I just stuck a small mag-mount outside on the air conditioner and ran the coax in through the patio door. It worked great and no one knew it was there.
 

af5rn

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Yeah, even in the strict neighbourhoods, you can usually get away with a mag mount on the air conditioner unit or window sill, if you're stealthy about it. Take a can of black Rust-Oleum spray paint to even a Rat Shack mag mount, and it becomes really inconspicuous.
 

pilotdave1970

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I guess I am a Noob at all this antenna stuff. My mind wants to make something with the 200ft roll of RG-6 for cable TV. I think I am stuck with signal I have. I think I need height for my antenna. Correct me if I am wrong, what is my alternate method besides height to get good signal. I am using Aviation Frequencies for this project.

Thanks

Dave
 

Airdorn

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Height, and get it OUTSIDE. Having an antenna inside is the worst. If its a mag mount, make sure it's actually mounted to something metal, like an AC unit... or a pie-pan, or anything that'll help out the ground plane.

Use the RG6 to run from your new, shrewdly-hidden OUTSIDE antenna to your scanner.

Maybe try a little pre-amp.

I know what you want to do with that RG6. You want to strip it down to the core and staple it all over the wall of your apartment in exciting, creative patterns. It might look pretty but it won't do any good. :)
 

kny2xb

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For years I've been using a set of twin-whips (rabbit-ears) from one of my old TVs on my scanner. It connects to the TV using a built-in length of 300 ohm flatlead/twinlead. I use a 300 ohm to 75 ohm male adapter, then an F double female, a 3 or 6 foot piece of coax, and finally an F female to BNC male adapter to connect to the scanner. I extend the whips, and it just stands in the corner behind the chest-of-drawers.

I came up with this years ago due to:

1) Like you, we rented, and even though our landlady was family, she freaked at my questions of outdoor scanner antennas, long wire for shortwave listening, etc.

2) Money was extremely tight at that time (like it isn't now?), I couldn't even squeeze the $20.00 or so for a Grove Indoor Antenna (which was the inspiration for this project) out of our budget. I started scrounging through my parts box, and Ta-Da! You may already have a set of these whips floating around, since most everyone watches cable, so these usually get tossed into a box or drawer.

3) Since I was able to conceal/disguise the antenna inside the house, it kept my ex-wife's annoyance for my scanning hobby down.

It made a big difference in my monitoring. I lived in Western New York State at the time. I was trying to monitor MilAir out over Lake Ontario, and the little stock whip was ineffective for that. After I connected the TV whips, I had no problem copying the ANG from Syracuse. This was between 1990-1992 during a sunspot cycle. I used to copy the CHP while the skip was running on 42 MHz low band. This was inside the second story of a double house.

After we moved to Florida, I discovered the portability helped also. We rented an apartment with a covered patio. Took the whips with me to the porch, sat them behind me in the corner, connected them to my hand-held while reading the paper and sipping lemonade.

I monitor marine band (high), civilian and milair, GMRS (UHF), and 800 MHz trunked. I leave them extended all the time, but you can lengthen or shorten the whips for your particular band.

This may not work for everyone, everybody's situation is different. But I'll never ditch mine.

If you decide to try it, I hope it helps.

Take care,
Greg
Palm Harbor, FL (ex Rochester, NY)
 

kirka127

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Some people have reported having good luck using amplified t.v. rabbit ears. You might want to try that out as well.
 

conve36

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KC9GLG said:
Yes there is an Antenna amplifier. I use a GRE Super Amplifier. You can get one from GRE or on Ebay.
http://www.greamerica.com/scanner_accessories.html It is the last item on the page.

I recently bought and programmed a Pro-164 and mostly monitor my County Sheriffs EDACS system. Anywhere I am it seems to come in crystal clear.

I want to listen to CHP (39.xx) , Paramedics (151.xxx) and Fire (151.xxx) but all of those come in very poor.

How well do you think this amp will work for me? Any other suggestions? (I will be moving into a condo in a couple weeks, so no outside antennas)
 
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conve36

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I went today and bought the car mounted Radio Shack antenna with an extra 50 feet of RG-58 cable. It sounds great! Everything but the FIRE/Paramedics band (155.xxx)...

I only have my little handheld Pro-168, am I losing a lot of signal with all this cable?

Do I need an amp?
 

pilotdave1970

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The way I understand is that all that cable will not help you. You need height on your antenna. No matter how much I posted questions. Where I live most Fire and Police have switched to 800mhz and I can hear just fine with a small 800mhz designated antenna. Don't try and run cable all over it won't help you. An Amp will amplify your no good signal, is the way I understand that.

Get Height or get a mag mount antenna and stick it on a cookie sheet or try your hot water heater. I get exceptional range with that funny as it sounds.

D
 

conve36

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Yeah, because it seems I will get the EDACS (800Mhz) no problem with almost any antenna. The low band California Highway Patrols (39.xx) now comes in quite a bit better and I do pick up another one of the site from the sheriffs EDACS network which is quite far away....but it did NOTHING for FIRE/Medics on the 155.xxx band. I am moving into a condo soon so wont be able to have an outdoor antenna, what do you think about a BASE station? Do they recieve better reception indoors? (with a INDOOR antenna) Thinking about taking this one back (Pro-164) and getting a base/mobile one...
 

af5rn

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conve36 said:
I am moving into a condo soon so wont be able to have an outdoor antenna, what do you think about a BASE station? Do they recieve better reception indoors? (with a INDOOR antenna) Thinking about taking this one back (Pro-164) and getting a base/mobile one...
I have a major personal preference for mobile/base scanners over handhelds simply because of features and ease of use. But really, the performance difference between the two is not usually significant. It's all about antenna, not radio. You're using a cheap antenna with no ground plane and lossy coax. That's three strikes. Improve any of those three factors and you will see an improvement in performance. You could improve all three of those factors for not much money. I'd definitely start with a better antenna as soon as possible though. Doesn't really matter. Scantenna. Rat Shack. Whatever. Just an antenna that is specifically made for base operation, and not mobile operation. Then you have covered both the antenna and the ground plane situation with one move. Later on, if you're still needing a little more performance, invest in some quality LMR coax if you're going 75 feet or more.

A preamp is a last resort, as it increases noise as much or more than it increases signal. So, before you install one, it is important that your antenna system be optimised for best performance by the above steps.

Good luck!
 
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