Best scanner for a rural area

Hit_Factor

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l don’t know how to seal the connection. It sets up in the antenna base.
Sounds like my discone, the connector is inside a pipe, so the antenna base creates a drip edge.

Maybe something in this video will help.
Weatherproof and UV protect your Coax Cable Connector - DX Engineering - YouTube
 

GTO_04

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Is the Home Patrol 2 as sensitive as a 996P2, or a 536? Probably not. The SDS100 is the most sensitive scanner I have seen on 800MHz, and I would think the SDS200 would do just as well. But it is best to check out the coax and antenna first like the other posters have said.

GTO_04
 

milf

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Running over 50 foot of cable for 700/800 MHz you really do need an preamp for a scanner. To prevent water issues, always put a "drip loop" at the lowest point of the run. Also if your running through your wall, use an "O" ring and some sealant.
 

keithbias1

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Sounds like my discone, the connector is inside a pipe, so the antenna base creates a drip edge.

Maybe something in this video will help.
Weatherproof and UV protect your Coax Cable Connector - DX Engineering - YouTube
I am not sure i can do that. The discone as I said and like you said as well sits down on a hollow pipe. I have mine installed on a 1 inch pipe. So the connector is kind of up inside the base of the antenna. then the antenna sits over the pipe. It should not get any water on that connection. I don't think there is anyway to seal it any better. I am wondering if i had a nick in the coax somewhere else. I it is crazy that it eliminated all 800 mhz traffic. My VHF is working fine. I guess I will need to replace the coax. I do have to have about 100 foot to get from my antenna to my listing post. I have never used any preamp.
 

jonwienke

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I am not sure i can do that. The discone as I said and like you said as well sits down on a hollow pipe. I have mine installed on a 1 inch pipe. So the connector is kind of up inside the base of the antenna. then the antenna sits over the pipe. It should not get any water on that connection. I don't think there is anyway to seal it any better.
Even inside the pipe like that, you'll still get moisture in the connection from condensation if you don't seal the connector.

If the location of the connector precludes using the standard tape wrap sealant stuff, there's another option: get a tube of non-silicone sealant like this, and fill up the PL259 connector on the coax with the sealant before screwing it on to the antenna. It will be harder to screw on because you're squeezing the sealant out of the connection as you tighten it, and you have to be absolutely sure you're not cross-threaded. And it will be a royal PITA to remove the connector once the sealant cures. But that will seal the connection, and if you do everything right, you won't have to remove the connector until it's time to change out the coax anyway. Do the sealant as the final step after using a VNA to verify your cable doesn't have any opens or shorts, and do a final VNA check with the coax connected to the antenna before the sealant cures to make sure everything is good before you're fully committed.
 

jonwienke

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If the grease is waterproof and will stay put, that could work. The critical thing is to use something that won't drip out of the connection or evaporate, and will block water ingress.
 

DeepBlue

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Honestly, it sounds like you are too far away to pick up multiple counties unless your discone is pretty high. Second, P25 and other digital modes are packet like info. The radio will not properly decode partial transmissions. If the transmission were analog, you would likely be able to hear them but they would likely be noisy. You don't get noise with digital modes, you get dropouts of packet segments making it hard to decode if not impossible. It is also likely that the VHF Low frequencies (30-160) are traveling better and farther because at lower frequencies (compared to 700-800 MHz) the radio waves are less absorbed by surfaces like trees, less reflected by buildings, etc. At 700-800 MHz you are approaching microwaves and they bounce, scatter and are absorbed by all sorts of things including moisture in the atmosphere.

If you really want to pick up transmissions from multiple counties you are likely looking for an antenna with a gain factor. A discone has NO gain and is actually has a slight loss. That being said, many of us use them for all sorts of things at great distances, especially aircraft monitoring. A beam antenna has gain but will need aimed at the specific area you are looking for at any given time. A vertical with gain can be found for public safety but they tend to run in bands. Finding a single vertical antenna with gain for VHF Low, VHF High, UHF and 700-800 MHz is probably not going to happen easily or readily.

As some have suggested, a mast mounted pre-amp is the best bet here. If you can't do that, a pre-amp in your radio room may still help out. The idea however is amplify the signal close to the antenna, not at the end of your coax where it is already a bit weak. For the sake of going inexpensive, you can try a television signal amplifier. They generally have the frequency range to cover about everything you seem to be looking for. Get a decent one though and only as many output ports as you need and don't go with some extreme amplification factor.

Lastly, better cables allow more signal to reach the radio. Makes sense. You can read up on attenuation of signals when using different cables and it usually gives a dB loss for a 100' run. Less (loss) equals more (signal) in this case.

See if any of that helps.

S.
 

Bob1955

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What scanner would you guys recommend for a rural area. I have a diskcone antenna about 25 feet in the air. My main problem is that i live in Union County. I want to monitor Franklin, Wayne, Fayette counties. They each have at least one site but sometimes reception is not the best. I dont want to always use the outside antenna. Is one radio better than another for that?
I'm right up there with drdialtone reccomdation, the Uniden Bearcat BCD-996P2 is a great analog/digital and a price that is affordable. Any questions, please feel free to PM me.
Hope you have a good 2020.
 

keithbias1

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I am going to be able to make the run 50 feet. As was said I have no sites in my county so I decided on the discone so I could hit the Surrounding counties. It’s just so strange that it stopped working except for on VHF frequency’s I don’t think it has anything to do with the control channels because I can plug an outside mobile magnet mount it hundred and turn it into my unit and it receives fairly well
 

keithbias1

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Thanks for all of your help guys. I cut the coax length down to 50 foot. I still don't get the issue. I have been testing tonight. I have a magnet mount mobile antenna that i just set up in the window of my house on the first floor. I have a radio shack pro 106 plugged into it and i am picking up 3 times more traffic on it than on the home patrol 2 connected on the discone. I checked the signal strength and quality on the home patrol and they are good, and yet i don't here much at all. So i just changed radios and put the portable scanner on the discone and now it is not picking up anything. I guess i will just stick a mobile antenna out on my tower a few feet up and use that. Its crazy
I must be missing something somewhere
 

keithbias1

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With RG-8, 800MHz, 100 Feet, you almost have 7db of signal loss.

If you are going to go to the trouble of replacing the coax, I'd suggest something better, and/or shorten the run as much as possible.

I just got the length down to 50 feet. It is still so strange. I can hear more on a magnet mount mobile antenna inside my houses then i can on the discone. I just dont understand. The scanner even shows a good signal and good quality
 

ka3aaa

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if it aint broken dont fix it. let the antenna sit in the window where the reception is the best and park tgyhe scanner there near the antenna.
 

jonwienke

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I just got the length down to 50 feet. It is still so strange. I can hear more on a magnet mount mobile antenna inside my houses then i can on the discone. I just dont understand. The scanner even shows a good signal and good quality
I'd get one of the Nano VNAs off Amazon and do some diagnostic testing on your cable and antenna setup to try to figure out what's wrong.
 

keithbias1

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I have a Tram 1410 Broad Band Discone on the peak of my house. That puts it about 35 or so feet off the ground. I do not live in a valley. The three counties that surround me are the ones i am trying to monitor. Each of them have at least 1 site in their county. I am within about 15 to 20 miles of each site. All have been working better now that i have cut the length of the coax down to 50 foot. It is just so strange that sometimes one of the sites will almost just disappear. I am sitting listing tonight and i can hear two of the 3 three counties traffic. The third one I had not heard anything on. I did an analyze system and that site is not showing any signal strength, on my Home Patrol 2. I have a Radio Shack Pro 106 handheld that i plugged into a hustler magnet mount mobile antenna and put it in the downstairs window of my house. I am now picking up the third county. How is it that that antenna that is pretty much rated for the same freq. as my discone can pickup traffic on the ground floor and inside more than the one that is 35 feet in the air with no obstruction. Is it possible that the Radio Shack scanner is more sensitive to 800mhz then the hp2. That was kind of my original question. What scanner would be best for where I live and the situation I have. I am wanting a new scanner and just don't know if it is really worth is or not.

Thanks
 
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