Best overall antenna for DFW Area?

DFD1994

Fire Photographer
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
26
Location
DFW Metroplex
I have been scanning the DFW area since about 2008 when I was gifted my first scanner. As anyone in this part of texas knows we are seeing more and more digital but still have several analog systems still running strong on the public safety side of things. I am looking to see if anyone has recomendations for a good overal antenna for both handheld and vehicle-mount. I have been experimenting with a few different setups since I moved out of Dallas proper and to the North East under the PAWM system. I have pretty good luck with just about any antenna grabbing the digital (have some choppy transmissions but I feel that could be a need for a newer scanner) but find myself having the switch to much higher gain whips when traveling back into Dallas or when trying to monitor some SO or HEMS frequencies. I know it's a pretty large band so I don't expect perfect performance from one magical antenna but a good median choice that would allow me to commute through without having to have a threesome of antennas for my handheld. Hopefully looking to find something that preforms well enough to mount to my truck without feeling like it's only going to cover a part of the metroplex as well. Any help or recommendations would be greatly apprecited.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
9,998
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Antennas are not as smart as you think and have no clue what digital or analog is, they only know frequency. What specific frequencies are you having troubles with? For general hand held use in fringe areas I use the Austin Antenna Condor rubber duck. Its big and ugly but a noticeable improvement on VHF, UHF and 800 over stock hand held antennas. For vehicle use, especially mag mount, the tri-band Larsen or Maxrad BMAXSCAN1000 should work about as good as any single antenna can on VHF, UHF and 800. The Laird WPD136M6C-001 tri-band is also a contender and all of these can show up on Ebay cheap at times.

I've been playing with an unusual antenna called the COMPACTenna Scan III and its been very interesting. It seems to do well in dense urban and hilly areas and overall its not that much different than the Laird WPD136M6C-001 tri-band for unobstructed line of site stuff. Its going to be awhile until I'm back in Richardson but it would be interesting to loan you several of these antennas to test on your typical drive to see if one stands out over the others.

I monitor mostly Richardson stuff while in Richardson, so my antenna needs are not as extreme as yours but I do keep an Austin Condor and a Larsen tri-band with mag mount there for when I'm in town.

Update: Here is what the antennas I described look like together.

4 ants.JPG
 

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FishScan

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
15
Antennas are not as smart as you think and have no clue what digital or analog is, they only know frequency. What specific frequencies are you having troubles with? For general hand held use in fringe areas I use the Austin Antenna Condor rubber duck. Its big and ugly but a noticeable improvement on VHF, UHF and 800 over stock hand held antennas. For vehicle use, especially mag mount, the tri-band Larsen or Maxrad BMAXSCAN1000 should work about as good as any single antenna can on VHF, UHF and 800. The Laird WPD136M6C-001 tri-band is also a contender and all of these can show up on Ebay cheap at times.

I've been playing with an unusual antenna called the COMPACTenna Scan III and its been very interesting. It seems to do well in dense urban and hilly areas and overall its not that much different than the Laird WPD136M6C-001 tri-band for unobstructed line of site stuff. Its going to be awhile until I'm back in Richardson but it would be interesting to loan you several of these antennas to test on your typical drive to see if one stands out over the others.

I monitor mostly Richardson stuff while in Richardson, so my antenna needs are not as extreme as yours but I do keep an Austin Condor and a Larsen tri-band with mag mount there for when I'm in town.

What are you listening to in Richardson? City services?
 

DFD1994

Fire Photographer
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
26
Location
DFW Metroplex
Antennas are not as smart as you think and have no clue what digital or analog is, they only know frequency. What specific frequencies are you having troubles with? For general hand held use in fringe areas I use the Austin Antenna Condor rubber duck. Its big and ugly but a noticeable improvement on VHF, UHF and 800 over stock hand held antennas. For vehicle use, especially mag mount, the tri-band Larsen or Maxrad BMAXSCAN1000 should work about as good as any single antenna can on VHF, UHF and 800. The Laird WPD136M6C-001 tri-band is also a contender and all of these can show up on Ebay cheap at times.

I've been playing with an unusual antenna called the COMPACTenna Scan III and its been very interesting. It seems to do well in dense urban and hilly areas and overall its not that much different than the Laird WPD136M6C-001 tri-band for unobstructed line of site stuff. Its going to be awhile until I'm back in Richardson but it would be interesting to loan you several of these antennas to test on your typical drive to see if one stands out over the others.

I monitor mostly Richardson stuff while in Richardson, so my antenna needs are not as extreme as yours but I do keep an Austin Condor and a Larsen tri-band with mag mount there for when I'm in town.

Update: Here is what the antennas I described look like together.

View attachment 88284
You'd be correct, obviously, I think I associate it with digital vs analog as the systems I'm struggling with just happen to all fall into the digital side. I think that looking at a larger tri-band that I can mount to my vehicle is the way to go and just keeping a smaller antenna handy for when I'm getting out somewhere since in those cases local agency is really all I am going to be concerned with.
 
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