Antenna suggestions?

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troutscott

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Hi
I live on the second floor of a brick apt. building.
I purchased a $35.00 antenna (pictured) to replace the stock antenna on my Whistler scanner.

My reception is still poor.
Any recommendations?

Thank you,
Scott
 

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popnokick

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How are you defining "poor" reception? And what is it you are trying to receive? Answering those questions will help other make appropriate recommendations.

Without the answers to those questions, I'm going to make some assumptions and a recommendation:
ASSUMPTIONS
- You can't get higher (roof) in your building
- You can't get outside your building
- You want to receive a wide range of frequencies in the popular "scanner bands"
- You don't want to spend much on a new antenna until you find something that works better that what you bought (Which shouldn't be hard to improve upon)

Assuming all of the above are correct, I would suggest this -
Homebrewed Off-Center Fed Dipole - The RadioReference Wiki
Yes... I know it looks like the one you already have. But there are some key differences, starting with the fact that what you have may be nothing more than a vertical dipole in a PVC pipe; or worse, a single vertical element that is no different than the antenna that came with your scanner. But the OCFD is a proven performer when you need something indoors, and if built exactly to the specs in the RR Wiki page (above). And if you want to read how well it works, search "OCFD" here on RR.
If you want to spend less to do a quick check whether the OCFD will work for you, scroll down the Wiki page and you'll see the same antenna made from simple hookup / bell wire. You can slap it together in about 15 min and for $10 in parts from any home store or Walmart. If it works and you like it, make the copper pipe version.
The other low cost alternative: one of those "leaf" or "patch" TV antennas you get in any home store or Walmart. But before we can recommend one of them it would be best to know what frequency ranges you want to receive, since some of them do not handle VHF Low band. (The OCFD does.)
UPDATE: Just noticed you are in St. Croix county, WI. And RR DB shows mostly VHF and UHF. So the OCFD could serve you well. But you may also be able to use one of the TV antennas I wrote about.
 
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trp2525

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...My reception is still poor.
Any recommendations?...
One thing I check on any antenna installation is to make sure there is a not a short between the shield and center conductor of the coax. Test the connector at the scanner end with a test meter to make sure a short is not present.

Another experiment you could conduct would be to test the reception of the 7 NOAA weather channels (162.4000 through 162.5500). Check them first with your stock scanner antenna and then with your purchased antenna. Keep an eye on your signal strength indicator on your scanner. This will tell you if you are getting any better (or worse) performance with your purchased antenna compared to the stock antenna (at least on the VHF-High band).
 

Ubbe

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Is that a metal screen door? And the walls are made of concreate? Then you must have the antenna outside and perhaps use an antenna amplifier to boost performance and overcome the coax loss.

/Ubbe
 

br0adband

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No offense but those craptastic PVC things that are basically spammed all over eBay and other sites are crap, plain and simple. The sellers are more often than not taking advantage of buyers being ignorant of how antennas work and creating flashy ads with a lot of claims that those things just cannot live up to. Honestly you'd probably get better reception from using a coat hanger you unbent then straightened out, seriously.

As noted above the OCFD is a nice project that requires minimal cost (like $10-15 in parts), minimal time to construct which doesn't even require soldering but it's recommended to drill the holes as required, you can get the place you buy the copper piping from to cut it to the 18"/48" lengths if you make the full blown model but the wire version is even simpler to make with just a balun/transformer.

I can't tell specifically but if it's a metal pipe you've got it attached to that could affect the overall performance of the one you did spend money on but more than likely that's not the reason for the poor performance (that being it's a crappy antenna, period).

Try making the wire version of the OCFD as mentioned following the instructions from the wiki article, and also read over the main thread about the OCFD located here:

http://forums.radioreference.com/build-your-own-antenna/259567-my-homemade-off-center-dipole-antenna.html

which has a lot more info as well as people posting their own experiences of building and using them.
 

cmdrwill

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In the OP's photo of his 'new antenna'. I hope the black mast is NOT metal as that will kill reception... Antenna needs to be away from any conductive material.
 

troutscott

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Antenna suggestions

Thank you to everyone that replied.
I have looked at the pages for building your own antenna and will do so.
I have been very busy so I apologize for the delay in responding.

I will post my results after completing my antenna.
Thanks again,
Scott
 

KD8DVR

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Thank you to everyone that replied.
I have looked at the pages for building your own antenna and will do so.
I have been very busy so I apologize for the delay in responding.

I will post my results after completing my antenna.
Thanks again,
Scott
If that's the same antenna I have, it actually works too good. I'm in an area with simulcast sites and it has too much gain. I had to mount it in such a fashion as to cripple it for nearby systems. A LOT of trial and error was involved to find just that right spot. I have a second antenna, I use for more distant systems.
700/800 is finicky to receive, especially with dongles. Finding that right mounting location sometimes is a challenge.

AntiSquid Disclaimer: All posted content is personal opinion only and may not imply fact or accusation.
 

jbantennaman

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A wise man once said a fool and his money shall soon be parted.

Yes that plastic pipe PVC antenna is a rip off.

Start with the basic's, you aren't saying what frequencies you desire to receive.
Yes the person with the advice that steel reinforced concrete, low E glass, aluminum screen will all block UHF signals, add to that - you might be on the wrong side of the building.

Yes your best option is to drill a hole, place a proper antenna outside of the building, up at least 10 feet higher than the building.
Then again, if you have the wrong scanner and everything is digital, you still won't have reception.
It isn't like it was 10 or 20 years ago, when all you had to do was BUY an analog scanner, maybe some crystals for the local frequencies and listen.

Local radio traffic should be able to be received with nothing more then a portable, programmable scanner and a rubber duck antenna, since that is all that the firemen are carrying.
The police for years had a mobile radio inside of the car that worked as a repeater, listened on one frequency, transmitted what it heard on another when they used their portables.

Maybe your scanner isn't working properly, can't tell because you are there and I am here and my crystal ball is broken.. My advice is to take the scanner back to GoodWill and ask for a refund.
 

N8IAA

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A wise man once said a fool and his money shall soon be parted.

Yes that plastic pipe PVC antenna is a rip off.

Start with the basic's, you aren't saying what frequencies you desire to receive.
Yes the person with the advice that steel reinforced concrete, low E glass, aluminum screen will all block UHF signals, add to that - you might be on the wrong side of the building.

Yes your best option is to drill a hole, place a proper antenna outside of the building, up at least 10 feet higher than the building.
Then again, if you have the wrong scanner and everything is digital, you still won't have reception.
It isn't like it was 10 or 20 years ago, when all you had to do was BUY an analog scanner, maybe some crystals for the local frequencies and listen.

Local radio traffic should be able to be received with nothing more then a portable, programmable scanner and a rubber duck antenna, since that is all that the firemen are carrying.
The police for years had a mobile radio inside of the car that worked as a repeater, listened on one frequency, transmitted what it heard on another when they used their portables.

Maybe your scanner isn't working properly, can't tell because you are there and I am here and my crystal ball is broken.. My advice is to take the scanner back to GoodWill and ask for a refund.
I'm sure that his apartment manager would not like him drilling holes:roll:
He has a WS1065 which will work for the statewide system he wants to monitor. Doesn't say anywhere that he got it at the Goodwill.
As you say, you're not there. So, maybe lay off the sarcasm on new scanner hobbyists. That attitude runs off more than helps.
JMTCW,
Larry
 

N8IAA

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Thank you to everyone that replied.
I have looked at the pages for building your own antenna and will do so.
I have been very busy so I apologize for the delay in responding.

I will post my results after completing my antenna.
Thanks again,
Scott
Scott, what exactly are you trying to monitor? Your county conventional frequencies, or WISCOM?
You need to be a little more specific with that info for others to help.
Larry
 

allend

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Sometimes no matter what kind of antenna you buy as well as spending top dollar for an antenna never fixes your problem. Sometimes with thick windows and concrete block walls it just blocks RF signals to your apartment.

Honestly the only way of really fixing your problem is that you need to have an outdoor antenna and as high as you can get it ontop of the roof.

But when you live in apartments you will always be limited to what you can do. It's just the way it is. Just keep saving your money and buy a single family dwelling home and then you can put a 30 to 40 ft mast up with a nice Diamond DJ130 Disconne antenna up and you will be the happiest guy in the world.
 
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