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Scanner / Receiver Antennas - For discussion of any type of receiving antenna used by a scanner or receiver base, mobile or handheld.

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Old 05-10-2018, 9:28 AM
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Default Milcom Rx antenna

I'm in the market for a new Milcom base antenna. I want to cover the Land Mobile, air, VHF, and UHF bands (30 - 400 MHz roughly). My first thought based on previous experience was to go with a discone. I'm curious to see what the Milcom community's favorites/preferences are. so what I'm really asking is what is your preferred Milcom antenna and who makes it?
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemantincan View Post
I'm in the market for a new Milcom base antenna. I want to cover the Land Mobile, air, VHF, and UHF bands (30 - 400 MHz roughly). My first thought based on previous experience was to go with a discone. I'm curious to see what the Milcom community's favorites/preferences are. so what I'm really asking is what is your preferred Milcom antenna and who makes it?
If all you need is 30-400 MHz, I have had good luck with this antenna:

VHF/UHF Bicone Antenna Omni 30-512 MHz | Antenna Products Corporation

Very well built and works well.
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Old 05-10-2018, 5:28 PM
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Copy that Sig. thanks for the response
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:38 AM
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So I checked out the Bi-cone and it looks like one of the best antennas that I've seen. But, the price isn't in my price range unfortunately (unless there was a typo lol).
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:10 AM
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/Harris-RF-M...QAAOSwviBZvGiD
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemantincan View Post
So I checked out the Bi-cone and it looks like one of the best antennas that I've seen. But, the price isn't in my price range unfortunately (unless there was a typo lol).

I was thinking that would be very costly! How much if you don't mind? Military 'built' antennas are overkill for the scanner hobbyist. No need to spend a lot of money for good performance.

Something as simple and inexpensive as the Hustler DCX might be all you need, depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

https://www.universal-radio.com/cata...ants/1205.html

Last edited by iMONITOR; 05-14-2018 at 12:20 PM..
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Old 05-14-2018, 1:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemantincan View Post
I'm in the market for a new Milcom base antenna. I want to cover the Land Mobile, air, VHF, and UHF bands (30 - 400 MHz roughly). My first thought based on previous experience was to go with a discone. I'm curious to see what the Milcom community's favorites/preferences are. so what I'm really asking is what is your preferred Milcom antenna and who makes it?
Presuming you are not going to transmit using the antenna, I recommend avoiding a Milcom antenna due to the usual cost associated with it. Keep searching you may find something on eBay, but others are looking as well.

You may be better served with two or three scanners and antennas tuned for different bands, depending on the distance of what you are trying to monitor. The added benefit is the short scan time of each resulting in more catches, presuming the freqs do not overlap. Transmissions are typically short.

A single discone may do what you need, but it depends on the distance you want to cover. In particular that want of starting at 30 MHz, if you have low band activity in your area.

I mainly focus on mil air. I use:
- Three scanners
- Two antennas (w/proper signal spliter on one of them)
1. AT-197A/GR (225-400 + notch filter and amp)
2. Regular Discone

If I do catch something down low around 40 MHz on one of the scanners, I turn on an HF radio and use an Off Center Fed or vertical HF antenna.
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Old 05-14-2018, 3:16 PM
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The antenna in Cow's link would be a very good choice and will provide much better performance in the VHF lo band than anything else you could afford. I have several similar antennas from Shakespeare and compared one to an Austin Spectra and A/S MON series, both excellent performers in the VHF lo band. See post 15 here for the article.https://forums.radioreference.com/sc...ts-mon752.html

Using one of the big 30-512Mhz military whips with a ground plane would make an excellent all frequency base antenna. Using surplus military antennas for scanning is in no way overkill and Ebay prices on these are just a fraction of what they cost in tax payers $$.

Edit: If you look at the gain comparison chart in the article it shows a very good scanner antenna tuned for the VHF lo band is about 7dB worse than the military whip and that's at peak resonance on the scanner antenna. Tune away from the scanner antennas sweet spot and the military antenna can be 20 to 30dB better, not including the initial 7dB advantage at the scanner antennas resonant point. That is a huge difference and if you've used other scanner antennas on VHF lo band you won't believe the difference.


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Last edited by prcguy; 05-14-2018 at 3:34 PM..
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Old 05-14-2018, 8:33 PM
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What's the smallest ground plane I can get away with using the Harris? I have one just haven't installed it anywhere yet. I think the documentation said 10ft sq but I would have to dig it out again. I would really like to put it on the roof but not sure how that would work.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:54 AM
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A 1/4 wave at the lowest freq, or about 16ft dia for 30MHz would be ideal. I would consider mounting it at the peak of a roof then draping chicken wire or hardware cloth below it instead of using individual radials.

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What's the smallest ground plane I can get away with using the Harris? I have one just haven't installed it anywhere yet. I think the documentation said 10ft sq but I would have to dig it out again. I would really like to put it on the roof but not sure how that would work.
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Old 05-15-2018, 2:44 AM
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Anybody know how much of $$$ cost Bicone Omni thingy ?
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Old 05-15-2018, 4:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMONITOR View Post
I was thinking that would be very costly! How much if you don't mind? Military 'built' antennas are overkill for the scanner hobbyist. No need to spend a lot of money for good performance.

Something as simple and inexpensive as the Hustler DCX might be all you need, depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

https://www.universal-radio.com/cata...ants/1205.html
I had one of those back in the late 1980's. It was terrible--especially at 800 MHz. A Diamond or ICOM discone with a Type-N connector worked much better--though only ones with the vertical whip on top work reasonably well below 100 MHz.
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Old 05-15-2018, 6:09 AM
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Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
A 1/4 wave at the lowest freq, or about 16ft dia for 30MHz would be ideal. I would consider mounting it at the peak of a roof then draping chicken wire or hardware cloth below it instead of using individual radials.
So the hardware cloth would follow the slope of the roof? Would that still be an effective GP even though it wouldn't be a geometric (flat) plane?
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Old 05-15-2018, 7:43 AM
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It should work better than three or four individual radials and it will not be resonant and critical to tune. The radiation pattern may not exactly perfect with part of it sloping with the roof and other parts flat, but I think it will be better overall than any radial system.

The military antennas in question get mounted to the sides and corners of military vehicles and in the case of the magazine article it was mounted on the rear corner of a HUMMER.

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So the hardware cloth would follow the slope of the roof? Would that still be an effective GP even though it wouldn't be a geometric (flat) plane?
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Old 05-15-2018, 8:54 AM
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I use the mil band antennas that dpd productions makes. They are tuned / cut for the military bands and work great. I have been listening to the mil bands for over 30 years using various antenna rigs. After finding them on their website, they work best for me and provide more distant monitoring.
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Old 05-15-2018, 9:48 AM
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I don't see any VHF lo band antennas from DPD and he makes nothing that compares to the wide band military whips from Harris and Shakespeare being discussed. In my opinion to cover all the mil bands you want 30 to at least 75Mhz, 118 to 150 and 225 to 400MHz with VHF lo being the most difficult to find antennas for. Narrow band antennas should not be considered due to the wide frequency spread of the mil bands.

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I use the mil band antennas that dpd productions makes. They are tuned / cut for the military bands and work great. I have been listening to the mil bands for over 30 years using various antenna rigs. After finding them on their website, they work best for me and provide more distant monitoring.

Last edited by prcguy; 05-15-2018 at 9:54 AM..
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by dlwtrunked View Post
I had one of those back in the late 1980's. It was terrible--especially at 800 MHz. A Diamond or ICOM discone with a Type-N connector worked much better--though only ones with the vertical whip on top work reasonably well below 100 MHz.

No, it wold not work well at 800 MHz, it's not designed for that band at all. I recommended it because the O.P. ask for an antenna that for receiving (30 - 400 MHz roughly).
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
I don't see any VHF lo band antennas from DPD and he makes nothing that compares to the wide band military whips from Harris and Shakespeare being discussed. In my opinion to cover all the mil bands you want 30 to at least 75Mhz, 118 to 150 and 225 to 400MHz with VHF lo being the most difficult to find antennas for. Narrow band antennas should not be considered due to the wide frequency spread of the mil bands.
You are right
Whoops, i forgot 30-75, i dont use them for vhf lo. I use the disone for 30-75.
I think im going to try your suggestion for low band, cuz the discone does not perform well.
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