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Aircraft Monitoring Forum - This is the place to discuss monitoring civilian aircraft communications.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2017, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by cdurand View Post
Hi there,

I am finding myself wanting to listening to the "local" airports more and more.

My problem is I can barely receive the towers.

I live 20 miles from SFO and 10 miles from SJC.

I can receive both towers but they are very weak. SFO actually comes in just slightly better than SJC.

Right now I'm using a discone antenna along with a notch filter for the FM band. Before that filter I couldn't receive either tower.

I tried an inline amplifier. It really didn't make much difference.

I'm wonder if a dedicated antenna tuned to the airband frequencies would be a good move.

Anyone have any thoughts on that?

Thanks!

Charlie
Jumping in here as both a ATP Pilot and Technician Ham, with over 25 years of "scanner time"

Unless you live very close, almost visual "I can see the control tower from my house" distance, ground reception of the control tower will be very limited. Height of the antenna will determine reception. Even a low flying airplane, at 1000-2000 Feet (imagine that antenna...) may not pick up the Tower until 50 miles out.

If you cannot hear "ATIS", you cannot hear the Tower freq.

Also, due to hilly terrain in SFO/SJC area, this will present additional challenges.

** also for some additional freqs you may not be aware of, go to this site, and type in the airport in the box, and zoom in

https://skyvector.com/

Hope this helps

Last edited by billpritjr; 04-25-2017 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 05-09-2017, 1:01 PM
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I've been using a j-pole erected @ 30' with CATV cable Hardline . It was built for VHF band but it's receiving vhf , uhf , 800 trunked . I live in the sticks and most radio repeater's are 60 miles away but the j-pole will out perform any antenna system . But height is important , good quality cable and no tree's around .
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...BCT15X for base using a j-pole erected @ 25' ...Feed line is CATV cable...

SC150 for mobile using nmo 1/4 wave .
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Old 05-13-2017, 4:18 PM
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Don't overlook filtering. I'm in an urban area that's hammered with RF noise. Things like an 88-108 MHz notch filter or 112-140 MHz bandpass filter can make a big difference. I can get tower controllers at an airport 20 miles away (discone antenna in attic) but without the filtering I get nothing.
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Old 05-14-2017, 4:52 AM
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dpdproductions.com have some of the best aero antennas that i use.
I also use the miltenna from DPD which provides me with the best reception of commercial and civil airband.
Better than any other antenna i've tried. Its the only antenna that allows me to hear the air traffic controller side of the conversations for some of the distant artcc transmitter sites.
Of course it works great with military frequencies too!
Also, receives good on other vhf and uhf bands.
Other users report good results using these DPD Production antennas in their attics

Last edited by vocoder; 05-14-2017 at 5:06 AM..
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:13 PM
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Default Air Omni UHF/VHF Base Antenna

DPDproductions Air Omni UHF/VHF Base Antenna is the best Airband antenna I have ever owned.I have two of them and I am able to copy the approach and tower at BHM and I am 24 miles NE of the airport.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwall332 View Post
DPDproductions Air Omni UHF/VHF Base Antenna is the best Airband antenna I have ever owned.I have two of them and I am able to copy the approach and tower at BHM and I am 24 miles NE of the airport.
I agree. Dave at DPD Productions is one of the best antenna manufacturers on the market today. I own both Air Omini VHF/UHF and the Mil UHF (225-400 MHz) 1/4 Wave Mobile Antenna (Wideband) that works really well. I live on a big hill so I imagine it helps a lot hearing near and distant and far distant Mil Air communications.
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Old 05-26-2017, 5:11 PM
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In all this discussion, one thing is important, height. Also a tuned antenna and low loss cable ( although VHF air has less loss per foot than say 800 MHz ). To give you an idea...the formula for the radio horizon is 4/3 times the square root of the height;. Say the local airport has a tower 60 feet up, then the horizon is about 10 miles + your antenna height, say 20 feet, then that is about 6 miles ( 5.8 actually ). Add the 2 so the radio horizon will be now about 16 miles in ideal conditions. Now you know why you can hear aircraft at 30,000 feet for such a good distance. I just bought the very same DPD antennas, can't wait to try them.

Eugene KG4AVE
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