Best allband portable antenna for 396xt

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camay123

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Im looking to upgrade my antenna on my 396xt, but I still want the size to be similar to the stock antenna.

Im looking for an all band or close to allband optimized.

Any suggestions ?
 

capmeo

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Researching the same issue...I am now looking at the following:

Austin Condor - Much larger (Height & Thickness) than the OEM antenna
Diamond SRH77CA - 15" in length, nice fit and finish. Received good reviews so far
WSMA-881 Super Gainer - 16" in length...Have not heard any feedback so far on this antenna.

Right now I am leaning toward the Diamond SRH77CA, but I am still researching.
 

barryman

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When wanting better reception on my 396T, I use the Austin Condor to "pull them in" - very happy with it - yes, it is larger than the stock antenna, but don't think you will find one that small that will perform like the Condor.
 

kg4pbd

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I have Diamond SRH77CA I use occasionally on my 396. It's great on UHF, not so great on 800 mhz. For me it's too long to be practical but it is a very good antenna.

I've tried lots of antenna's on this radio and the Radio Shack 800mhz antenna is still overall the best in my experience. It just isn't very attractive with the BNC-SMA adapter......
 

Haley

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Totally agree with kg4pbd, I use the Diamond mainly for VHF, and MIL-AIR, but it is a decent compromise on all bands. Just a little too long to be a compact package when going mobile (although I still do.).It really shines on the airbands and VHF though. The RS 800MHz. antenna, for the money, in my opinion, is hands down one of the best out there. Dont let its size fool you, its great on UHF and 700,800,900 MHz. but honestly it does a respectable job on VHF also. Maldol makes a pretty good telescoping antenna that I use , on both my 346xt, and 396xt. It has a chart right on the bottom section to tell you the length for each band, double hinged and pretty compact when all the way down. The model number is AH-W100RX, pretty good all-around antenna. Mike
 

LordJ

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I use the Icom FA-156B most of the time if I am carrying the radio with me as it is short and flexible. When I am in the car, I use the Watson wsma-889 telescoping...Love both of theses...
 

Skypilot007

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I like the RS 800MHz antenna also. Yeah you give up a little on VHF but its much better than the stock antenna on 500 and 800MHz.
 

capmeo

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Great feedback - Thanks

I will take a look at the Maldol now and others recommended...The RS800 has a BNC connector; does RS sell an SMA adaptor?

Thanks
 

OHIOSCAN

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Look at the Watson 889

I have used all the antenna mentioned below, there all goioid but have issues.

The Austin looks like a adult toy, the Diamond is probably the best bang for your buck.
I use Watson 889's for there good coverage and compact size, I don't know if Watson
has an SMA version though. The 889 swivels so that's nice if you need to lay your radio
down. If you want the best airband antenna the Maldol 500 is the choice, negatives on the
Maldol are cost and size. Some people have complained about past problems with 889
cracking at the base. I have 6 used over 10+ years and never had a problem.

Ohioscan
 

ofd8001

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My vote is for the RS 800 version. An adapter for BNC/SMA should have come with your scanner. If it got misplaced, they are easy to find on the internet.
 

LouCheese

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I've got the Austin Condor and the Diamond RH77CA and although the Austin Condor pulls in a nice strong signal for a "portable" antenna, I rarely use it because it's so big it attracts a lot of attention, in fact my greatest fear is not that someone will see it who thinks scanning is illegal, but rather that someone will mistake it for a gun barrel. Plus, the darn thing is so heavy that you can't use it if you have the scanner in a case with a swivel clip. The antenna is so heavy it gets top heavy and it will spin the scanner so that it is horizontal or upside down....and that's when it really starts looking like a gun barrel.

I use the Diamond as the go-to antenna. Sure it's a little long, but it's much lighter than the condor and for the frequencies I listen to it's just as good. And it's much thinner than the Condor. Between the two, the Diamond is closer to your desire to have something similar in size to the OEM antenna.

The Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna has a lot of fans, but with any antenna that needs an adapter, the adapter means additional length.

The Diamond RHF40 is another option, if you want a shorter length just bend the antenna down. And it gets a much better performance from your scanner than the standard telescoping variety. I did a comparison between it and the telescoping antenna my 996XT came with and the RHF40 blew the OEM antenna away, more than doubling the signal strength on the same signal.
 
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bearcat991

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Best

Of course if you ask 10 people this question you'll receive 15 different answers. The best "all" band I have ever found is the Watson WSMA-801 find it at scanner master. The Austin condor is a gimmick Antenna "way" to heavy and large for the sma connector on the 396 even with the adapter.. Besides not working well at all it looks absurd. The stock antenna is actually not bad on my 396XT but the Watson is better for all band use. The shack 800 antenna is about the best around for the 800 band....I do wish they would make an SMA version. Do yourself and big favor and don't waste your money on the Austin Condor buy the Watson...you will like it and besides it won't break the connector on your small scanner. I just counted I have 53 hand held antennas and 7 outside....think I've tried them all over the past 40 years of scanning....that condor POS is at the bottom of the junk drawer.......


73
 

capmeo

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I am going with the Watson; probably going to purchase the 801 and Tele-Gainer. Thanks to all for the help.
 

jdm911

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Take a look at the Diamond SRH519 HT/Scanner Antenna. Great size for your radio and great VHF/UHF reception. Receives 800 and air nicely as well. Very nice fit on BCD396xt if you ask me.
 
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DougWare

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Of course if you ask 10 people this question you'll receive 15 different answers. The best "all" band I have ever found is the Watson WSMA-801 find it at scanner master. The Austin condor is a gimmick Antenna "way" to heavy and large for the sma connector on the 396 even with the adapter.. Besides not working well at all it looks absurd. The stock antenna is actually not bad on my 396XT but the Watson is better for all band use. The shack 800 antenna is about the best around for the 800 band....I do wish they would make an SMA version. Do yourself and big favor and don't waste your money on the Austin Condor buy the Watson...you will like it and besides it won't break the connector on your small scanner. I just counted I have 53 hand held antennas and 7 outside....think I've tried them all over the past 40 years of scanning....that condor POS is at the bottom of the junk drawer.......


73
I second this...

I've added 6-7 miles of distance on my local public safety 800mhz trunk with my WSMA-801 over the stock antenna. I also like the look and feel of the WSMA-801.

Doug
 

Danny6569

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Antennas

What you could also do is find the best antenna out there, and then put it on a pre amp also, that would pull more in better than anything else.
 

jimg

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Of course if you ask 10 people this question you'll receive 15 different answers. The best "all" band I have ever found is the Watson WSMA-801 find it at scanner master. The Austin condor is a gimmick Antenna "way" to heavy and large for the sma connector on the 396 even with the adapter.. Besides not working well at all it looks absurd. The stock antenna is actually not bad on my 396XT but the Watson is better for all band use. The shack 800 antenna is about the best around for the 800 band....I do wish they would make an SMA version. Do yourself and big favor and don't waste your money on the Austin Condor buy the Watson...you will like it and besides it won't break the connector on your small scanner. I just counted I have 53 hand held antennas and 7 outside....think I've tried them all over the past 40 years of scanning....that condor POS is at the bottom of the junk drawer.......


73
How does it do on low band (42 - 50 mhz)?
 

capmeo

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I recieved my two antennas the WSMA 801 and WSMA 881 (tele gainer); I am very satisifed with both antennas. My local frequencies come in much stronger and clearer with the 801 and the tele-gainer is picking up feeds 35-40 miles away.

I just wanted to thank all members of the forum who posted and helped me with my decision.
 
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