BCD396T Antenna Upgrade

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ONTScan

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Although this is regarding antenna's and there is an antenna forum I am posting this msg here
so I can get a better understanding of range more suited to where I am listening from.

I currently own a Uniden BCD396T. I am looking at upgrading the antenna from the original that Uniden supplies. I am only looking for a handheld antenna. I was on the Durham Radio website and have been looking at the Watson WSMA antenna's that operate within the 25-1900MHz.
I am mainly listening to OPP and city PD.
My questions are:

Is there anyone out there who has upgraded to this style of antenna and if so how has it improved or diminished range (give me your 2 cents)?

Have you been able to recieve other out of town frequencies that the original manufacturers antenna was unable to recieve?

Aside from Watson what are some other brands that will offer me greater range and cover numerous frequencies without having to purchase multiple antennae?

Aside from Durham Radio and Radio World are there any other similar stores in the GTA?

I live in Hamilton, and get decent reception- I can pick up Toronto 1st Canada Place(5 bars) as well as PEEL and Pearson Int'l. I listen to OPP Charlton tower, and although I have other towers loaded(Skylon, Cayuga, Britannia, Mowat) I am not recieving anything off these sites. Would an antenna with greater range allow me to recieve these sites?

Thanks

ONTscan.
 

EJB

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Oct 29, 2002
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Downtown Hamilton
Although this is regarding antenna's and there is an antenna forum I am posting this msg here
so I can get a better understanding of range more suited to where I am listening from.

I currently own a Uniden BCD396T. I am looking at upgrading the antenna from the original that Uniden supplies. I am only looking for a handheld antenna. I was on the Durham Radio website and have been looking at the Watson WSMA antenna's that operate within the 25-1900MHz.
I am mainly listening to OPP and city PD.
My questions are:

Is there anyone out there who has upgraded to this style of antenna and if so how has it improved or diminished range (give me your 2 cents)?

Have you been able to recieve other out of town frequencies that the original manufacturers antenna was unable to recieve?

Aside from Watson what are some other brands that will offer me greater range and cover numerous frequencies without having to purchase multiple antennae?

Aside from Durham Radio and Radio World are there any other similar stores in the GTA?

I live in Hamilton, and get decent reception- I can pick up Toronto 1st Canada Place(5 bars) as well as PEEL and Pearson Int'l. I listen to OPP Charlton tower, and although I have other towers loaded(Skylon, Cayuga, Britannia, Mowat) I am not recieving anything off these sites. Would an antenna with greater range allow me to recieve these sites?

Thanks

ONTscan.
Try a Diamond SRH77CA.

I think it helps for Fleetnet but the stock antenna is ok for 800 meg systems IMO.
I used to live in the lower city and was facing Toronto high enough up to recieve the same systems as you did but the mountain blocks the Guelph tower and even the Brantford tower.

how high up are you, where in the city do you live and what direction do you face?

Try Lakeshore Communications out in the west end, they are pricey but the guy who handled me is a member of this site and is a nice guy.
 
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ONTScan

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
19
Try a Diamond SRH77CA.

I think it helps for Fleetnet but the stock antenna is ok for 800 meg systems IMO.
I used to live in the lower city and was facing Toronto high enough up to recieve the same systems as you did but the mountain blocks the Guelph tower and even the Brantford tower.

how high up are you, where in the city do you live and what direction do you face?

Try Lakeshore Communications out in the west end, they are pricey but the guy who handled me is a member of this site and is a nice guy.
Im in Hamilton downtown, in an apartment facing lake, ON TO is just out of sight to the east of me.
 

EJB

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Downtown Hamilton
The 396 isnt the most sensitive radio, I had better results in the same location as you with a 296.
I recommend the Diamond Antenna, you may try asking this question in the antenna forum if you dont get responces here.
 

Gator596

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Niagara Region - Canada
I recently got a Diamond for my bcd396xt and will never look back. It is a great antenna compared to the stock one. The only thing that sucks is that it is fairly looong and makes the radio tip over...
 

radioskip1

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Feb 1, 2006
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Location
Region of Niagara, Canada
The $10 fold it, bend it, home-made whip

Before you order anything here's the antenna I created for my 396T. The rubber ducky was getting zero or 1 on the local Fleetnet towers so I created my own whip antenna out of a discarded piece of Romex cable and a Radio Shack BNC adapter (part# 278-117). The Source also carries this Motorola to BNC RF Adapter. If you don't have a short section of Romex buy two metres at Home Hardware. Carefully cut the outer jacket to reveal a white and a black wire and a bare copper ground. I used the 12 gauge Romex. Strip a 1/2" of insulation off one end of the black wire and through trial and error tin the bare wire with small amounts of electrical solder until it makes a snug fit in the Motorola end of the adapter. If you wish you can permanently solder the wire into the adapter. But before you do place a 4 or 5 inch piece of clear neoprene tubing into the adapter as a spacer. This gives the solid copper wire some support at the adapter. Just take the adapter to the display of tubing at the hardware store and find one that needs to be pushed into hole. Now you can cut the wire for the exact place on the VHF-Hi band you want to receive. My antenna is a convenient 30" in length, a little short perhaps, but it seems to work great from 140 to 155 MHz and the air band. By the way, this antenna won't win awards for good looks and remember you need to be careful when you stand your scanner up because it's top heavy. I often put the scanner on its back and bend the wire to a vertical position so it doesn't fall over.
((the BNC is the same fitting used on the rubber ducky, so it just pops on your 396T's ant. mount))
 

EJB

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Downtown Hamilton
Radioskip: Good for you! I wish I had skills with soldering and building stuff.

I just drove thru your area today; I did not bring my scanner because I was crossing into the states.
 

Windyfarm123

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Nov 11, 2008
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Location
Grey County
EBAY offers a variety of antennas, I bought a Nagoya dual band, 144/460 MHZ for my 396 ($17.00 +-)and it greatly outperforms the stock antenna. I use my scanner primarily in the fringe areas, Mount Forest and Stayner and can hear the Fleetnet towers without issue while the car is moving. I also picked up a telescopic, steel antenna which is slightly better than the Nagoya but not suitable for mobile listening. Tipping of the scanner is a problem, as mentioned above, with both antennas.
 

VA3QRM

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Nov 24, 2005
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EN82mh
not handy with soldering iron?.....but have a couple of $

Try the SMA-3 from Comet. Works ( has worked ) well for me on Fleetnet, 400mhz and 800mhz stuff for 6 years. Folds over for storage in my "manpurse" / carrying case. I see price has come down @ " Canadian Ham Radio Retailers" to $50.
 

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