I am back home in Los Angeles and I have been listening into LAPD and LAFD. I am located in the hills near mulholland, and I have been trying to listen to LAPD north hollywood division and hollywood division. LAFD dispatch and LAPD Dispatch for hollywood comes in completely clear, but transmissions from LAPD dispatch for north hollywood are pretty muddled. I am using the stock antenna, and I think it would be best if I were to buy a new antenna with the hills in mind. So, what antenna should I buy if I am located in a hilly area and trying to listen to the city close by?
I'm on the other side of the hill from you, the Valley side and the way the radio system works is a bit problematic due to the tower locations and coverage.
Basically if you're in the hills or on the basin side, you probably will not be able to receive the valley divisions at all, and if you're on the valley side, you won't get the west and south divisions.
For example, if you're in Van Nuys, even with a tall discone or directional antenna, you'llhear:
Valley Bureau: Topanga, Devonshire, West Valley, Van Nuys, Mission, Foothill, North Hollywood
Central: Northeast, Hollenbeck, Newton, Rampart
What you won't hear is:
West: West LA, Pacific, Hollywood, Wilshire, Olympic
South: Southwest, 77th, South East and Harbor.
In your area, you'll probably have a lot of luck getting Central, West, and South, but a lot of difficulty getting the Valley frequencies.
If you want to try and see if a new antenna helps, you can try any all-band antenna or one tuned for UHF-T band. For those who don't know LAPD North Hollywood is on 484.9625mhz P25.
LAPD's signal is so strong, I've used everything from stock rubber ducky to diamond RH77's, and the suction cup string antennas to get good results. For some of the harder to get signals (in my case it's Newton/Hollenbeck), the string and a cheapo telescoping magmount I have on a pie plate by the window works great that I got with my 30 dollar SDR.
If it's coming in muddled, you're getting something though so a new antenna will definitely help. You said you just want to update the antenna attached to your scanner, so I'm guessing you mean you just want another portable antenna... not a window mount, mag mount, pole mount permanent fixed antenna.
In that case... look at Comet or Diamond... whichever one works in your price range will be an improvement. You can either get something super narrow that just focuses on UHF-T.. or really wide like the Comet W100RX which goes from 25mhz to 1300. The nice thing about the really wide ones are that you can use it to listen to CHP in the 44mhz, LAPD and LASD in the 480s, LACoFD in the 470s, the Brush fire tacs in the 150s, and LAFD in the 800s. You've also got ICI, RICS, STRS, and CWIRS to play with as well.