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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2012, 6:49 PM
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Default Any tips for mobile scanning reception?

I have a BCD996XT and I'm new to the scanning world. I have it mounted in my truck, and I just don't seem to get very good reception. Any suggestions or tips for getting the best reception? Thanks.
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Old 11-08-2012, 7:13 PM
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What kind of antenna are you using

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Old 11-08-2012, 8:03 PM
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The LEAST you could do for now unless you already did that, is to go into Radio Shack and get their Mobile Scanner Antenna ($39.99) and mount it to the very center of the roof of your car. Run the line to the BNC in the back of your radio...

Now, dumb question, what do you have programmed on your radio? Can you post your FreeSCAN file here so we can take a look?
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Old 11-08-2012, 8:07 PM
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My reception quality like tripled when I drilled a hole in the roof and put a proper antenna on.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2012, 5:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixie729 View Post
What kind of antenna are you using

Kevin Absher - HTC Inspire 4G
I have a Tram 1199 25MHz-1300MHz window mount antenna I got from Walmart. I've been looking online at scanner antennas, but I have no idea what might produce a better result.
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Old 11-09-2012, 5:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
The LEAST you could do for now unless you already did that, is to go into Radio Shack and get their Mobile Scanner Antenna ($39.99) and mount it to the very center of the roof of your car. Run the line to the BNC in the back of your radio...

Now, dumb question, what do you have programmed on your radio? Can you post your FreeSCAN file here so we can take a look?
So far, I've manually programmed all of the VA STARRS P25 program, and all of the FM police, rescue, and fire frequencies for nearly 12 counties surrounding me and most of the cities in my area. I can pick everything up, but it's always broken, always loses signal, and is always a short transmission. It's like one second the signal bars are full, and then the next second it's lost completely.
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Old 11-09-2012, 8:58 AM
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You could try a Larsen tri-band NMO ,a Larsen 2/440 NMO, or Larsen VHF/UHF NMO antenna. Basically you need a outside (if you can on top of the roof) antenna.

Also do you happen to have weather alert or priority on? That can also make signals go in and out.
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Old 11-09-2012, 9:21 AM
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tribander is the only way to go not sure exactly what part of va your in but theres alot of vhf and 800 systems around and that antenna is amazing on both imo
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Old 11-09-2012, 9:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jajehalbig View Post
So far, I've manually programmed all of the VA STARRS P25 program, and all of the FM police, rescue, and fire frequencies for nearly 12 counties surrounding me and most of the cities in my area. I can pick everything up, but it's always broken, always loses signal, and is always a short transmission. It's like one second the signal bars are full, and then the next second it's lost completely.
Hmmm, please check that your PRIority scanning is OFF and Close Call is OFF and try again. Those two could cause your radio to go off frequency every so often for long enough to lose lock on another frequency.

There are ways to prevent this other than OFF but for now, let's just check ;-)

If you're like me, you have some seriously powerful transmitters for Safety frequencies and those should be loud and clear, even with a hangar sticking out the back of the BNC connector :P ...

Do you have another radio to compare against? If you do:

--Park both of them on a known strong busy signal
--Compare the output from both...
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Old 11-09-2012, 9:42 AM
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I have a Homepatrol 1 and I use this antenna in my car.

Mobile Cellular Look-Alike Glass-Mount Scanner Antenna : Scanner Antennas | RadioShack.com

If you read and install this antenna right it works so good on all the frequencies that the HP 1 lets you scan. Have had mine on for over 1 and 1/2 years not a single problem.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2012, 12:47 PM
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Yes a triband antenna works very well. I have a MAXRAD maxscan mounted on the roof of my truck

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Old 11-09-2012, 6:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
Hmmm, please check that your PRIority scanning is OFF and Close Call is OFF and try again. Those two could cause your radio to go off frequency every so often for long enough to lose lock on another frequency.

There are ways to prevent this other than OFF but for now, let's just check ;-)

If you're like me, you have some seriously powerful transmitters for Safety frequencies and those should be loud and clear, even with a hangar sticking out the back of the BNC connector :P ...

Do you have another radio to compare against? If you do:

--Park both of them on a known strong busy signal
--Compare the output from both...


I've made sure both the close-call and priority scan are OFF. I'm still receiving about the same. But I'll definitely be mindful that they can disrupt my reception.
I feel like I should be hearing my local guys with no problem. I am pretty rural, so perhaps they're just not transmitting often.
I did as you suggested and compared my BCD996XT's reception with a BC355C, and they appeared to be receiving the same strength-wise on some transmissions in the county across the river. I was able to hear pretty clear. But I do feel like overall, I'm not hearing a lot of activity, and when I do its just in peices before I lose it entirely.

I think I'll take a drive to Radioshack tomorrow and see if they can maybe help me out with a great antenna.
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Old 11-09-2012, 6:37 PM
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I would say the little window antenna is your problem. As for a mobile antenna..... I'm not sure if radio shack would have any in stock but you could probably one. I got mine from eBay.

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Old 11-09-2012, 7:34 PM
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I believe this is the Radio Shack Model the 2nd poster was referring to, you can probably see if its in stock on their website:

Magnet-mount mobile scanner antenna : Mobile Scanner Antennas | RadioShack.com

I'm personally looking to upgrade my 17" Mag-Mount bought off eBay to the Austin "Spectra".. but they are fairly expensive so I'm waiting for Black Friday / Cyber Monday in hopes of a sale. But if you don't listen to any Low Band then disregard.

Austin Spectra Mobile Antenna
(119$ @ RFWiz, but there were more reviews at this link)

Cheers
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Old 11-09-2012, 7:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixie729 View Post
I would say the little window antenna is your problem. As for a mobile antenna..... I'm not sure if radio shack would have any in stock but you could probably one. I got mine from eBay.

Kevin Absher - HTC Inspire 4G
I tried searching ebay for "maxrad triband" and "maxrad maxscan" with no results also "larsen triband" with 2 results, but I'm not sure what I'm looking at :|
Any advice?
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Old 11-09-2012, 8:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jajehalbig View Post
I tried searching ebay for "maxrad triband" and "maxrad maxscan" with no results also "larsen triband" with 2 results, but I'm not sure what I'm looking at :|
Any advice?
For what its worth, here's what I could find on MaxRad "Max-Scan" via their website:
BMAX Molded Base Antennas PCTEL

eBay Listing for MaxScan (I didn't price check):
Maxrad BMAXSCAN1000 Mobile Scanner Antenna UHF VHF 800 | eBay

Larsen Tri-Band

Larsen Antennas

And here's an article about that antenna, and purchasing from cheapham:
Larsen Antenna &CheapHam
Cheers

Last edited by rylvir; 11-09-2012 at 8:23 PM..
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2012, 11:02 PM
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Here's another good site.
www.theantennafarm.com

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Old 11-10-2012, 1:04 AM
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Any glass mount antenna for any purpose sucks

Pop a hole in the center of the roof and install and NMO mount then stick the Larsen tri-band on it. You could also get one of the 3 inch 800 MHz antennas to put on when going in a parking garage, or car wash, etc. (or just get a plastic cap)

At the very least get a mag base to put the antenna on, IF you have a way to route the cable without damaging it and/or letting rain in.
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Old 11-10-2012, 4:46 PM
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Everyone has posted some really gret information. I'm now commited to ditching the window-mount antenna and getting a Larsen tri-band antenna. Aside from aesthetics, are there any reception advantages to a permenant mount versus a magnetic mount? Also, will the length of the coaxial cable impact reception? And finally, what about my BNC connection at the back of my BCD996XT? Will I need some kind of adapter?

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2012, 5:01 PM
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In general, the shorter the cable, the better for signal loss. However, with fairly strong signals, the typical mobile antenna cable length is fine. If you're desperate you [can try] a small amplifier but I would not think you need one.

Most of the antennas come with a BNC end but it is easy enough to find a PL-259 to BNC adapter if you get one with such an adapter ...

BNC to PL-259 Adapter : Adapters | RadioShack.com
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