BCD996XT good indoor antenna

Status
Not open for further replies.

dons1957

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
56
Location
south bend, IN
I know this is probably an age old question, but I'm going to ask anyway. I've had the BCD996XT for a few years and love it. But, I would like a little better reception. What is a really good indoor antenna for this radio?
 

marksmith

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
4,128
Location
Anne Arundel County, MD
Depends what you want to listen to and what band it is in.

The antenna with the radio is actually pretty good and can be extended or shortened to improve reception on the appropriate band.

Mark
536/436/HP1/HP2/996XT/996P2/396XT/325P2/PSR800
 

dons1957

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
56
Location
south bend, IN
Thanks for the prompt reply. Actually, I listen to both conventional and trunk systems. So, I would need a wide spectrum antenna like the stock antenna except possibly a little more robust. Would a magnetic car mount antenna work better? Or possibly the WAN-97A?
 

Delta33

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 23, 2016
Messages
326
Location
Clinton Iowa
Thanks for the prompt reply. Actually, I listen to both conventional and trunk systems. So, I would need a wide spectrum antenna like the stock antenna except possibly a little more robust. Would a magnetic car mount antenna work better? Or possibly the WAN-97A?
Magnetic mount antennas work quite well inside the house when on large Steel surfaces. File cabinets, Refrigerators, Etc. ;)
 

Timmeh-31

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
64
Location
Syracuse, NY
I'm in the same boat, I live in a high rise where outside antennas are verbotten. I've heard folks have pretty good luck using mobile magnetic mount antennas stuck to a metal ground plane. This can be any sufficiently large and flat piece of metal, and I've encountered people using anything from metal file cabinets to large cookie sheets with pretty decent success. I'm going to be looking to do this very thing in the very near future, so I'll be paying special attention to this and similar threads.
 

dons1957

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
56
Location
south bend, IN
If you catch something on a different thread, please let me know. I am just outside of the city. The signal is just slightly too faint and breaks up. It would not take much of a boost to be perfect.
 

kmi8dy

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Messages
336
Location
ARIZONA and MICHIGAN
believe it or not i use one of those 50 mile flat panel antennas placed in a high window, without any metalic bug screen, facing toward the tower those type of antennas are very close to the 800 mhz freq. that most p25 system uses. they also work good for vhf and uhf also. about 40 bucks or so from amazon. you will have to get a f connector ( tv cable ) to bnc adapter. about 3.99 $. i have 4 of them for scanners that are around the house in different rooms.
 

JamesO

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
1,813
Location
McLean, VA
Clearly getting some sort of antenna that is close to the edge of the house, at a window or outside is the best idea, however, sometimes this is not very feasible and/or you still need an amplifier.

I started out with an amplifier directly on the radio that I have in the core of the house and then worked up to an attic configuration. In the Spring I will likely be getting the attic antenna out on the roof.

Suggest you read the thread below, there are some low cost pre-amps that are in the $30 range up to something like the Mini-circuits ultra Low Noise amplifier than requires a bit more to get set up.

http://forums.radioreference.com/splitters-filters-multicouplers/338568-scanner-pre-amps.html
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,063
Location
Bowie, Md.
Be careful about using amps, particularly if you are in an urban area. They are likely to cause noise and overloading issues where there's already a large amount of RF floating about

Improve your cable and antenna before you consider an amp, even if you are doing some weak signal work (such as EME, weak signal SSB, ect.)

Mike
 

AKJohnny

Scanner Addict
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
139
Location
Kendall County, IL
I know this is probably an age old question, but I'm going to ask anyway. I've had the BCD996XT for a few years and love it. But, I would like a little better reception. What is a really good indoor antenna for this radio?


I use this antenna in my car and in my office at work and it does great. Much better than the stock antenna will ever do. You'll also need a NMO base...
Larsen NMO150-450-800
http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-005891
 

popnokick

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
1,904
Location
Northeast PA
The tip to use a flat panel / blade / leaf type TV antenna in a window is a good one. Lots of people are doing this... TV antennas are broad enough to include most of the popular scanner bands. Three things to watch for though:
- Some TV antennas are UHF only (400 mHz and up) and do not include VHF. Generally the larger ones will include some VHF (check the label on the product)
- Some of the indoor antennas include signal amplifiers. As noted by KA3JJZ, an amp may give you problems if you are in a high-density urban RF area... or have existing interference (the interference gets amplified)
- Try to determine if the antenna is horizontally or circularly polarized. The stuff you want to hear on the scanner is VERTICALLY polarized. TV signals are horizontally or circularly polarized. This means that if the antenna is horizontally polarized you want to turn it 90 degrees when you use it to make it vertical. If it's circularly polarized no adjustment may be necessary. But move it around after you connect it to optimize what you are trying to receive.
 

JamesO

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
1,813
Location
McLean, VA
Be careful about using amps, particularly if you are in an urban area. They are likely to cause noise and overloading issues where there's already a large amount of RF floating about

Improve your cable and antenna before you consider an amp, even if you are doing some weak signal work (such as EME, weak signal SSB, ect.)

Mike
You can have issues, however, you will RARELY have an issue with the antenna on the back of the radio and/or inside the dwelling.

The primary problem may be with FM Broadcast stations depending on where you live.

I had to find a very good FM Broadcast notch filter because I live about 4 miles from a FM station transmitting at 75kW only 5 miles from my location and 2 - 22 kW stations only 3 miles from my location.

This was not much of a problem until I was able to move the antenna up into the attic,

DO NOT discount ampliiers, not everyone can put up decent antennas outside and have less than 100 feet or more of coax cable.

My "active" antenna configuration works quite well and has no major overload problems once I installed a 9 pole FM Broadcast notch filter.

One of the $30 LNA amplifiers that is powered by a 5 Volt micro USB phone supply works pretty well.
 
Last edited:

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,063
Location
Bowie, Md.
Again, depending on what frequencies you want to cover, this is a good rainy (OK, snowy if you prefer) day project. There are 2 versions - one that uses piping, the other just uses wire....

Homebrewed Off-Center Fed Dipole - The RadioReference Wiki

I've used the wire version, and it works OK (about what you would expect from a vertical dipole indoors...). Just make sure to run the coax feed at a 90 degree angle as far away from the antenna as you can to prevent unintended coupling.

The beauty of this antenna is that it can be moved around a lot fairly easily. A magmount on a cookie sheet is fine, but you're limited by the length of the coax from the mount to where you can move it. There may be sweet spots in your home that you can use - wandering around with a handheld without any antenna will show these up pretty readily. It will be, and often is, trial and error to find a good spot

Mike
 

popnokick

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
1,904
Location
Northeast PA
It's nice that people who read the forums here on RR are so young that they don't remember when TV sets had antennas on the back. Back in the old days it used to be that you had a couple of telescoping "rabbit ear" antennas that came out of the back of the set, or were on a short twinlead cable to a set of rabbit ear antennas on the base. You would have to swivel them around, lengthen / shorten, or even move them to different locations in the house to get the best signal if you had no outdoor antenna. But I guess most people don't remember this, because it is EXACTLY the same situation with indoor scanner antennas. The scanners operate in the same frequency ranges as the TV sets.... and have similar issues when you try to use indoor antennas. You have to find the "sweet spot".
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,063
Location
Bowie, Md.
I remember it quite well - I come from that time just as some of you do. The 'sweet spot' is always a toughie because of all the reflections that can and do happen. It really is trail and error - just like moving the rabbit ears, or using the selector switch on the base of the ears

Mike
 

kmi8dy

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Messages
336
Location
ARIZONA and MICHIGAN
that "sweet spot" was then multiplied by the number of channels you could recieve. each channel had its own "sweet spot "
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,063
Location
Bowie, Md.
Good for 2 meters or 440, but the further you go from the designed frequencies, the reception pattern will be all over the place - almost unpredictable in an indoor environment

Almost certainly not very good for low band, and maybe - just maybe - workable on the 2nd harmonic for 800 Mhz. But how that will affect the reception pattern is very hard to tell

Mike
 

nick223

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
1,045
Location
Ottawa Illinois
Good for 2 meters or 440, but the further you go from the designed frequencies, the reception pattern will be all over the place - almost unpredictable in an indoor environment



Almost certainly not very good for low band, and maybe - just maybe - workable on the 2nd harmonic for 800 Mhz. But how that will affect the reception pattern is very hard to tell



Mike


Um okay?

I use it in my house and can pickup great reception on uhf, vhf and 800mhz
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top