BCD396XT Antenna Upgrade

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Farleston

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Greetings!

I've been doing some research about my new-found love of snooping around (hence the new toy), and have found it difficult to narrow in on a decision for an after-market antenna. I'm not quite convinced I'm getting the best possible reception from this stock "rubber ducky?", as about 15% of incoming transmissions come across mostly clear with a slight digital distortion. I live in Beaufort, SC near a military base and love listening in on the local MP's. I've recently ordered a Radio Shack 800Mhz Antenna, and though it hasn't arrived, I'm not sure it would be up to par of a telescopic whip due to it's short stature.

Any suggestions as to which I should go with? I'm fine with a telescopic antenna measuring 2 - 3.5 feet, though I'm not able to mount an external (outdoors). Also, since I live adjacent to the coast, how do I go about tuning into the marine channels?

v/r
Farleston
 
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signal500

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Greetings!

I've been doing some research about my new-found love of snooping around (hence the new toy), and have found it difficult to narrow in on a decision for an after-market antenna. I'm not quite convinced I'm getting the best possible reception from this stock "rubber ducky?", as about 15% of incoming transmissions come across mostly clear with a slight digital distortion. I live in Beaufort, SC near a military base and love listening in on the local MP's. I've recently ordered a Radio Shack 800Mhz Antenna, and though it hasn't arrived, I'm not sure it would be up to par of a telescopic whip due to it's short stature.

Any suggestions as to which I should go with? I'm fine with a telescopic antenna measuring 2 - 3.5 feet, though I'm not able to mount an external (outdoors). Also, since I live adjacent to the coast, how do I go about tuning into the marine channels?

v/r
Farleston
I use the WSMA-881 Super Gainer on my BCD396XT and it works very well.

WSMA-881 Super Gainer SMA Portable Antenna
 

SCPD

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Those longer antennas do stress the connector on the scanner. They also make the 801 model which is normal size and is FAR better than the R/S 800 Mhz antenna. The 801 is wideband. I use them on my PSR-800 and 396XT. The best rubber duck replacement ever, IMHO.
 

Farleston

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Thank you all for the speedy replies!

Nickcarr when you were referring to the 801 did you mean WSMA-801 Regular Gainer SMA Portable Antenna? Also, what is the difference between the BNC and SMA connectors if any at all, and how badly would the WSMA-881 stress the connector? I purchased a couple diferent connectors when I bought my BCD396XT just in case I wanted to upgrade in the future.

On a side note, business takes me from Beaufort, SC to Myrtle Beach, SC passing through Charleston and Georgetown on my way. Would the 801 pick up enough transmissions, clearly of course. Any more suggestions?

v/r
Farleston
 

SCPD

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Yep that's it. The stress depends on how you abuse it and that will take time. After my experiences with those longer rubber ducks the performance benefit isn't really a factor. The 801 works very well. As you can see they're a little hard to find in stock. Try E-Bay.
 

Farleston

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Do you not recommend the rigid telescopic antenna's? I'd think it would be better on the connector, but I could also be talking out of my behind...
 

signal500

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Those longer antennas do stress the connector on the scanner. They also make the 801 model which is normal size and is FAR better than the R/S 800 Mhz antenna. The 801 is wideband. I use them on my PSR-800 and 396XT. The best rubber duck replacement ever, IMHO.
I do agree with Nick that longer antennas do stress the connector, but I have never had that issue.

I noticed scanner master is out of stock. Here is a company that has all of the antennas mentioned in stock, but is located 'over the pond'. I have ordered from them before and they have quick shipping and good customer service.

WATSON WSMA-881 25-1900MHz Super Gainer SMA - Radioworld
 

SCPD

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Do you not recommend the rigid telescopic antenna's? I'd think it would be better on the connector, but I could also be talking out of my behind...
Again, the problem won't necessarily happen just note that it can happen at some future point. When using portable HAM radios those longer rubber ducks offered better performance but the antenna would definitely get bent and there was a very good chance that you would damage the BNC connector. (SMA is an improvement on the physical design. It can handle more stress.)

The stress problem is not my main reason for skipping over them. I just prefer shorter antennas. The longer ones can become a pain to carry -- for fear of bending the antenna -- and other reasons.

I believe the same company made a telescopic version. I meant to buy both but I was so impressed with the 801 series that I didn't see any need.

I would try the 801 and see how it goes... I think you'll be quite happy with the end result. And it is FAR superior to the stock antenna. I just read a review on Scanner-master's web site from someone saying that it was similar to the stock antenna -- it's not even close.

If for some reason you find yourself on the fringe of radio coverage then you'll need a mobile antenna in your car. Regardless of the rubber duck installed, you simply won't get the same performance as with a mobile antenna.
 

bear780ks

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If your mainly listening to 800 the R.S. is a good solid choice and it doesn't have a long stinger to cause stress) if your in a Area of were your close to a 800 system's tower a short Antenna like one of the one's from WPS will work really well that is what i use allot on my 396

These are my Antenna's that I use.. with my BCD396xt

1. EXE821SM from WPS
2. EXS806SM from WPS
3. SMA 3 from Commet
4. And the R.S. 800mhz.
 

SCPD

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If your mainly listening to 800 the R.S. is a good solid choice and it doesn't have a long stinger to cause stress) if your in a Area of were your close to a 800 system's tower a short Antenna like one of the one's from WPS will work really well that is what i use allot on my 396

These are my Antenna's that I use.. with my BCD396xt

1. EXE821SM from WPS
2. EXS806SM from WPS
3. SMA 3 from Commet
4. And the R.S. 800mhz.
I have those too and they're fine for 800Mhz but they're not wideband. So if you want to use close-call then I recommend the 801. Laird antennas are nice for concealment but it seems they're not making as many models as previous years. :(
 

bear780ks

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Nick that's a good choice too the one you listed I just don't have it yet in my Antenna Box :D but I might soon.

My Antenna Box: Flambeau Model 3009UM makes for great storage of several Antenna's :p Bear
 

questnz

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Agree with nickcarr, I have about 10 different antennas for my handheld scanners including Watson WSMA 801, 881, 889, 901 Air and Nagoya MA 771. Watson WSMA 801 is my favorite all round antenna for out of the house, out of the vehicle and overseas trips antenna. Perfect replacement for stock duckies.
Easy to conceal due to short length and great performance.
 

Farleston

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I sincerely appreciate all the replies!
Seems like the the way to go is the WSMA 801 for my needs. Just ordered one from Radio World UK; funny enough, British Pounds to USD ended up cheaper even with over-seas shipping.
 

televiper75

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Does anyone have suggestions for an in car antenna for the 396XT? Mine moves from the car to the home, so I'd like to find something to replace the antenna sticking up from the console.
 
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