Best antenna for railroad use

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iceman977th

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Ive been using my Pro-404 to listen to local police and fire, as well as use it for railfanning. Only problem is the stock antenna only catches trains about 2 or 3 blocks away (at least CSX wise). I've been looking for a magnetic one to stick ontop of the roof of the car, and maybe even get a big one to put on the house so I can pick them up (however the railroads are up to 5 miles away). Anyone got a suggestion? I forget the name of the connection.
 

burner50

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One of the best and cheapest ways to get a good base station antenna is to build one!


Piece of cake!

Here is a J-Pole Calculator that will give you all of the measurments. Since its going to be receive only, it doesnt have to be very close to the dimensions that you're going to get out of the calculator.


J POLE ANTENNA DESIGN CALCULATOR by K4ABT
 

Astro25

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For the car, if height isn't a concern, I'd recommend using a Maxrad, well, now PCTel (personal preference) 5/8 wave. (MHB5800 or similar)

If you've got an SUV or something where height of the antenna matters for parking garages or whatever, a quarter wave will usually do ya fine for local stuff.
 

jackj

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For home use, a 1/4 wave vertical mounted with four 1/4 wave radials will usually out perform a j-pole. J-pole antennas are really hard to build and maintain a low angle of radiation and a 50 ohm impedance.
 

wwhitby

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For home use, a 1/4 wave vertical mounted with four 1/4 wave radials will usually out perform a j-pole. J-pole antennas are really hard to build and maintain a low angle of radiation and a 50 ohm impedance.
I agree. I did a head-to-head of a j-pole tuned for 160Mhz versus a Radio Shack 20-176 using distant defect detectors and the 20-176 was able to pull more signal out of the noise.

Warren
 

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Don't be discouraged by the comments about j-poles. J-poles work just fine and can easily be made. Some folks just don't like them. I made my j-pole from the aluminum materials of the old Radio Shack antenna that was replace by Radio Shack 20-176.
 
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prcguy

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If you have equipment to check and tune the J-pole then you can get a fraction of a dB more performance over a 1/4 ground plane. If you don't have the test equipment the ground plane will be easier to make and will work every time.
prcguy

Don't be discouraged by the comments about j-poles. J-poles work just fine and can easily be made. Some folks just don't like them. I made my j-pole from the aluminum materials of the old Radio Shack antenna that was replace by Radio Shack 20-176.
 
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