BC125AT Range upgrade for 5.5 Mi

peeeeeta

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Hello, I'm currently living just a little over 5.5 miles from a big class bravo international airport and I want to be able to pick up the tower frequency with my Uniden BC125AT. Currently, I'm using the diamond rh77ca antenna but I cant pick up the actual ATC, only planes when they pass by. Is there an antenna with a better range that can reach the antenna?
 

wa8pyr

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Hello, I'm currently living just a little over 5.5 miles from a big class bravo international airport and I want to be able to pick up the tower frequency with my Uniden BC125AT. Currently, I'm using the diamond rh77ca antenna but I cant pick up the actual ATC, only planes when they pass by. Is there an antenna with a better range that can reach the antenna?
Try something on the roof of the house, but it still might not work as you would probably need an antenna pretty high up in the air to catch the tower side of the conversation. Aviation transmitter antennas are typically pretty low to the ground, since the users they're talking to are high in the air (or in the case of an airport, right close to the antenna).

If you're actually in NYC, it's also possible that all the steel and concrete tall buildings are blocking the tower signal from you, in which case an antenna on top of the house may not help much. If you live in an apartment building try going up on the roof with your radio to see if you can pick up the tower.
 

peeeeeta

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Try something on the roof of the house, but it still might not work as you would probably need an antenna pretty high up in the air to catch the tower side of the conversation. Aviation transmitter antennas are typically pretty low to the ground, since the users they're talking to are high in the air (or in the case of an airport, right close to the antenna).

If you're actually in NYC, it's also possible that all the steel and concrete tall buildings are blocking the tower signal from you, in which case an antenna on top of the house may not help much. If you live in an apartment building try going up on the roof with your radio to see if you can pick up the tower.
I'll try going up on a roof and testing it out to see if that changes anything. The steel and concrete theory might also be the case although I think that is less likely for me. I assume there is no other antenna that will help me with this?
 

jaspence

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I use an inexpensive dual band mag mount ham antenna on a steel storage cabinet. I am just under 20 miles from DTW airport.
 

mmckenna

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I assume there is no other antenna that will help me with this?
Simply changing out the antenna on top of your radio isn't going to solve the issue.

The issue you are experiencing is that, as others said, the transmitters you want to hear are low to the ground. There's curvature of the earth getting in the way, even with that short a distance. Add in other buildings, and you're in a situation where the only solution is to raise the antenna up high enough so it can see the transmitters. That means an antenna mounted on the roof of your home.

One way you can test this is to go up on your roof with your scanner and see if that allows you to receive what you want to hear. Just standing on the roof and in the clear may work. Or, it may not. You may need more height. Only one way to find out.
But I've never heard anyone ever say "I wish I hadn't put an external scanner antenna on my house!". The biggest thing you can do to increase scanner performance is an external antenna. You'll be amazed by the amount of traffic you'll get with a good external antenna. You won't regret it.
 

sparklehorse

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Do you have a window that faces the direction of the airport? If so, have you tried setting your scanner there? Or by any window, no matter the direction? If that doesn’t help, but you do get a signal from your rooftop, you could try an antenna with some gain in the aircraft band. Set it by or in your window, or maybe even hang it outside. DP productions makes one:


If that’s too spendy you could try a mag mount vhf scanner antenna or 2m ham antenna. Mount it on some metal, like a big cookie sheet as a minimum. Check out the antennas on offer at ScannerMaster or The Antenna Farm.
.
 
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spongella

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Outside antennas generally beat indoor antennas by a large margin. If you can, install an outside antenna that covers the frequency range you require. If indoors antennas are your only option then get a better antenna, like a beam antenna. You can use a tripod mount and turn it in the direction of the tower, but there are no guarantees. You have to experiment. Good luck.
 

Ubbe

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You can test with just a 2ft electrical wire stuck in the antenna hole. Or better use an adaptor so you don't break the scanners connector that would be costly to repair.

If you have a lenght of coax with a suitable connector for the scanner you could strip 2ft off the braid at the end and the exposed end would work as the antenna.

If that works then you can get a telescope antenna and use that for airband monitoring.

/Ubbe
 
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