BCD536HP - Antenna

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scary812

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I know this comes up countless times and I already know and understand that there really is no one Antenna Fits all bands scenario.

Being some what of a Noob and outdated with the newer radio technologies, How do others cope with multiple antennas to listen to multi band frequencies?

As your aware the can scan 25.00 - 1300 Mhz. I'd like to have that range to listen to. But not sure how to accomplish this. Discone antennas have taken a beating from you guys in reviews. I was looking at the Austin Ferrett, but yup, it's a horrible antenna as well.

So am I stuck with the stock Uniden Antenna?
 

captainmax1

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I have been using Discone Antenna's for decades with great results. I have a discone at my house 25 foot in the air with 50 foot of LMR400 leading into my shack. Works great.
 

scary812

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I have been using Discone Antenna's for decades with great results. I have a discone at my house 25 foot in the air with 50 foot of LMR400 leading into my shack. Works great.
What brand? I'd have to do the attic thing with a discone (HOA). What brand would you go with if you were going to buy one today?
 

mmckenna

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It's difficult to get an "all band" antenna that really works well.

Discones are really wide banded, and that's where they shine. That comes as a trade-off, though. With wide band performance comes low/no gain. Gain is what helps pull in the strong signals.

If you are located relatively close to all the systems you want to listen to, and are realistic about the range/performance, discone's can be a good option.

On the other hand, if you live out in the sticks and are trying to pick up a system from 60 miles away and it's weak, a discone is not going to be a good choice.

So, if you can take your scanner up on the roof with the stock antenna and pick up what you want to hear, then a discone might be the right antenna to use.

The lack of gain, however, can work against you. You -really- do need to have high quality coaxial cable. The exact type you need really depends on how long the cable run is.
The trick with coaxial cable is that it all has some amount of signal loss. There is no way around that. As the cable gets longer, the amount of signal loss increases. Also, as you go higher in frequency, the losses go up. So where a VHF system might come in really strong, a similar 900MHz system might have a harder time.
The solution to this is to either keep the coaxial cable run as short as possible and/or use better cable.

(hint: You will not get good coax cable from Radio Shack)

The other part that can help is to get the antenna up as high as you can. Since most of the frequencies your scanner listens to are line of site, the higher the antenna is, the more it can "see". The higher you get the antenna up in the air, the farther off the "radio horizon" is. Just like if you go up to the top of a really tall building, you can see a lot farther than when you are on the ground. Same thing applies to radio waves in the higher frequencies.
Again, trade off is the higher the antenna goes, the longer the coaxial cable is, the more loss it has….

If you can tell us how long the cable run would be, we could probably make some suggestions as to a good cable choice. There really isn't a one size fits all thing here. That is unless you have an unlimited budget.
 

mmckenna

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I'll add that once you get above the 900MHz band, there really isn't much your scanner can listen to up there. About the only thing of interest up above that is the 1.2GHz amateur radio band, and the amount of traffic you hear will depend on how many amateurs in your area are using it.

So, in reality, if you are interested in listening to public safety systems, you really only need to concentrate on frequencies below 900MHz.
 

questnz

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Omni-X

Thanks, but it looks like it's missing some and especially on the lower van. I can't believe there's not a universal discone.@ that will handle from 25.00 - 1300
Hey, absolutely there is no one size fits all kinda antenna. Check frequencies in your area.
Go you really need anything below 100 and above 900Mhz as already mentioned by other friends here. I use to used Diamond D130 for years, and was happy with that until I shift the house and decided to change. Now Omni-X suit me better. Omni-X cover Civ and Mil Air from airport 18 kms away in straight line and all I need from 420 to 500Mhz (in my area). Excellent.
 

scary812

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I'll add that once you get above the 900MHz band, there really isn't much your scanner can listen to up there. About the only thing of interest up above that is the 1.2GHz amateur radio band, and the amount of traffic you hear will depend on how many amateurs in your area are using it.

So, in reality, if you are interested in listening to public safety systems, you really only need to concentrate on frequencies below 900MHz.
I do want to listen to Amateur radio's at times. The thing is I cannot erect a Antenna in my neighborhood. They have strict HOA rules on it, so I'd have to do something in the attic. On the plus side, my roof is not metal. :)
 

scary812

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It's difficult to get an "all band" antenna that really works well.

Discones are really wide banded, and that's where they shine. That comes as a trade-off, though. With wide band performance comes low/no gain. Gain is what helps pull in the strong signals.

If you are located relatively close to all the systems you want to listen to, and are realistic about the range/performance, discone's can be a good option.

On the other hand, if you live out in the sticks and are trying to pick up a system from 60 miles away and it's weak, a discone is not going to be a good choice.

So, if you can take your scanner up on the roof with the stock antenna and pick up what you want to hear, then a discone might be the right antenna to use.

The lack of gain, however, can work against you. You -really- do need to have high quality coaxial cable. The exact type you need really depends on how long the cable run is.
The trick with coaxial cable is that it all has some amount of signal loss. There is no way around that. As the cable gets longer, the amount of signal loss increases. Also, as you go higher in frequency, the losses go up. So where a VHF system might come in really strong, a similar 900MHz system might have a harder time.
The solution to this is to either keep the coaxial cable run as short as possible and/or use better cable.

(hint: You will not get good coax cable from Radio Shack)

The other part that can help is to get the antenna up as high as you can. Since most of the frequencies your scanner listens to are line of site, the higher the antenna is, the more it can "see". The higher you get the antenna up in the air, the farther off the "radio horizon" is. Just like if you go up to the top of a really tall building, you can see a lot farther than when you are on the ground. Same thing applies to radio waves in the higher frequencies.
Again, trade off is the higher the antenna goes, the longer the coaxial cable is, the more loss it has….

If you can tell us how long the cable run would be, we could probably make some suggestions as to a good cable choice. There really isn't a one size fits all thing here. That is unless you have an unlimited budget.

I'd say the cable run to the attic wouldn't be more than 25- 30 feet. I was looking at LMR400, But the Antenna is the issue. Still stuck on that mmckenna I am looking at Discones, but I want to buy one with the ability that I can return it if I am not satisfied. I thank you for the advice..
 

lindsay34654

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536 HP antenna

I'd say the cable run to the attic wouldn't be more than 25- 30 feet. I was looking at LMR400, But the Antenna is the issue. Still stuck on that mmckenna I am looking at Discones, but I want to buy one with the ability that I can return it if I am not satisfied. I thank you for the advice..
This is where I am going to break some hearts. In my area FL most of the state uses trunking. I bought this little mobile that is about 2 inches across for 5 dollars on EBay you can stick in on a window in your home on your car. The county I live in is about 27 miles across East and west and 15 miles north and south. And I am picking up traffic better then the antenna that came with the radio. See all the fancy antenna in the world with all the designs are just to get you to spend money. Try the little things first. they make 2 types of antenna's one for all bands and one for 700 and 800. and where I live is nothing but forrest and trees. so there is not line of sight
.
 

mmckenna

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I do want to listen to Amateur radio's at times. The thing is I cannot erect a Antenna in my neighborhood. They have strict HOA rules on it, so I'd have to do something in the attic. On the plus side, my roof is not metal. :)
OK, so you are limited.

1.2GHz amateur probably has little traffic on it, at least it does in most areas. A discone will receive that just fine. In fact, -any- antenna will receive something if the signal is strong. Stick a paper clip in place of your antenna, and it'll work.

A discone with the top whip removed will work, and unless you have a very flat roof, you can probably fit it in. The top whip helps with VHF low band reception. It isn't necessary to the function of the antenna above about 100MHz.
 

mmckenna

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I'd say the cable run to the attic wouldn't be more than 25- 30 feet. I was looking at LMR400, But the Antenna is the issue. Still stuck on that mmckenna I am looking at Discones, but I want to buy one with the ability that I can return it if I am not satisfied. I thank you for the advice..
LMR-400 would be fine. Even cable TV RG-6 would work well. It's cheaper, too.

Why I bring it up is because sometimes people will install the antenna 100 feet from where there radio is and use a bunch of RG-58 they found. Usually results in complaints about poor performance.
 

scary812

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OK, so you are limited.

1.2GHz amateur probably has little traffic on it, at least it does in most areas. A discone will receive that just fine. In fact, -any- antenna will receive something if the signal is strong. Stick a paper clip in place of your antenna, and it'll work.

A discone with the top whip removed will work, and unless you have a very flat roof, you can probably fit it in. The top whip helps with VHF low band reception. It isn't necessary to the function of the antenna above about 100MHz.
Dumb question, what frequency range should i expect to hear on a discone? I just remember what you said about gain, would a amp help with the signal? Then I got to figure out what Discone to get.
 

mmckenna

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Dumb question, what frequency range should i expect to hear on a discone? I just remember what you said about gain, would a amp help with the signal? Then I got to figure out what Discone to get.
Depends on their design.
There are discone antennas that will cover well down into the HF bands. Mostly military, etc.
There are discone antennas that will cover way up into the GHz range.

I've got a commercial discone at work, works from about 100MHz to about 3GHz.

Most of the hobby ones will cover from the VHF low band well up to 1.3GHz.

Depends on what is out there, usually if the signal is strong enough, they'll pick it up.

Amplifiers can help, but keep in mind that they'll amplify all radio signals in their passband, that includes things you do not want. If you have a strong nearby cell site, you can overload the front end of your scanner if the signal is too strong. Won't damage it, but might make it deaf to other weak signals. Only real way to know if try putting the antenna up without the amp and see if it works.
 
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