Better MARCS Antenna?

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RadioTech19

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I have a PRO-106 and I love it. It monitors the MARCS system very very well. Although, I live a little ways from the closest tower. I have to sit the scanner in a window to be able to pick up the audio and decode the audio without the "digital" sound. I currently have a Radio Shack 800MhZ antenna. Any suggestions for improving signal? Have any of tried any other antennas with the PRO-106 and MARCS? Please advise. :) Hope everybody is staying unfrozen in this region.
 

mtindor

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I have a PRO-106 and I love it. It monitors the MARCS system very very well. Although, I live a little ways from the closest tower. I have to sit the scanner in a window to be able to pick up the audio and decode the audio without the "digital" sound. I currently have a Radio Shack 800MhZ antenna. Any suggestions for improving signal? Have any of tried any other antennas with the PRO-106 and MARCS? Please advise. :) Hope everybody is staying unfrozen in this region.
I don't believe you will find a better performing 800 mhz ducky scanner antenna. You may need to go with an external ant.

Mike
 

Nasby

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The radio shack 800 mhz is about the best there is. You'd have to get a big Yagi antenna on the roof with expensive coax to really make a difference.
 

freqhunter

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I have a Seeker. It has a slight edge on the RS 800Mhz ant. But when you factor it is double the cost.... your money is best spent on the RS ant.
 

RadioTech19

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Okay...thanks for all your opinions. I really don't want to put an antenna oustide as my house is fairly new. Do you think that that other ducky antenna would be better than the radioshack I have now? If It works better than I would be more than happy to spend the money on it. What causes interference with the 800mhz? It acts as if I am gathering interference from somewhere. When I set the scanner to pause on one talkgroup I have perfect signal. (SO53DISP) Any ideas?
 

hoser147

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I will also vote for the RS Ducky. Heck I even have one outside and up. Start looking for simple stuff on your interference issues. If you can move the scanner to see if it is something that is in the immediate area of it, also there are is it just certain freq's that you hear the interference?
 

wa8pyr

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Okay...thanks for all your opinions. I really don't want to put an antenna oustide as my house is fairly new. Do you think that that other ducky antenna would be better than the radioshack I have now? If It works better than I would be more than happy to spend the money on it. What causes interference with the 800mhz? It acts as if I am gathering interference from somewhere. When I set the scanner to pause on one talkgroup I have perfect signal. (SO53DISP) Any ideas?
1. Make sure you're monitoring the control channels for all the sites in your area; propagation can be weird and sometimes you might receive the signal from a more distant tower better than the one closest to your location, especially if you're fairly close to the tower.

2. Check Radio Shack and see if they still have the suction cup antenna extension. This is basically an antenna extension cable with suction cups at the top end, which allows you to stick the antenna higher on the window and get more elevation. If RS doesn't carry these any longer you can improvise with the # 278-964 6' BNC extension ($7.49) and a # 278-115 BNC female-to-female adapter ($2.79) to connect the antenna at the far end. Then, hang the assembly from a curtain rod.

In many cases just an extra few inches or a foot of elevation can make a big difference, so always try repositioning the antenna for best performance.

3. It sounds contrary, but try activating the attenuator for the site you have trouble with; if you're experiencing overload from somewhere, the attenuation will knock the interference back and probably make the desired signal better.
 

RadioTech19

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1. Make sure you're monitoring the control channels for all the sites in your area; propagation can be weird and sometimes you might receive the signal from a more distant tower better than the one closest to your location, especially if you're fairly close to the tower.

2. Check Radio Shack and see if they still have the suction cup antenna extension. This is basically an antenna extension cable with suction cups at the top end, which allows you to stick the antenna higher on the window and get more elevation. If RS doesn't carry these any longer you can improvise with the # 278-964 6' BNC extension ($7.49) and a # 278-115 BNC female-to-female adapter ($2.79) to connect the antenna at the far end. Then, hang the assembly from a curtain rod.

In many cases just an extra few inches or a foot of elevation can make a big difference, so always try repositioning the antenna for best performance.

3. It sounds contrary, but try activating the attenuator for the site you have trouble with; if you're experiencing overload from somewhere, the attenuation will knock the interference back and probably make the desired signal better.
Thank you for all your advice!!

1. I think what might be happening is my scanner might be trying to connect to a tower on the farthest end of my county. I have the system set to roam, so when I am driving around the scanner will look for the strongest signal. How do I fix this?

2. I searched rs, but I think I am still unsure what I am looking for.

3. Attenuator? Explain. And how do I activate this? I dont think I am familiar how this works.

Again, thank you for your reply!
 

RadioTech19

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oesjmr

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Pickerington, OH
ATT Button

Thank you for all your advice!!

3. Attenuator? Explain. And how do I activate this? I dont think I am familiar how this works.

Again, thank you for your reply!
Hit the "ATT" button on your scanner's keypad. This setting reduces the scanner's sensitivity to strong nearby signals.
 

Mike-KC8OWL

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Back when Radio Shack used to sell mobile cell phone antennas (for vehicles) I had the chance to pick up a few at a closeout price and have used them very successfully in monitoring several MARCS towers in my area. If you can find one cheaply, that will also work pretty well for you in the 800 - 900 range.
 

rr1965

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Madison
I live on the end of Lake County and I have a very similar issue. I can pick up MARCS in one room of the house and but not the other, All on the same level of the house. Also, I cannot pick up MARCS at all during the summertime. Have only been able to hear the last month or so. I also noticed I seem to receive better reception with ATT off. I am using RS 800 duckie. I am curious to see if this Seeker antenna might be enough hear all year round. Sure hate to go with an external antenna.
 

cfr301

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Wapakoneta Ohio
If you have an OVER Whelming Tower go into the software for programing your scanner and ATT just that tower. Made a big Difference here when I did that, I still receive just great off that tower but it doesn't over load the scanner and allows other reception from other Towers.


By The Way I Use the Diamond Antenna on my 106 and it works GREAT!
 
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Swipesy

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Northern Ohio
You'd have to get a big Yagi antenna on the roof with expensive coax to really make a difference.
Not true at all. I happend to live in a valley, 30 feet lower than street level, with a four story house and trees surrounding the house that are higher than the house. I solved my MARCS and 800 band reception problems by purchasing an Antennex 860 Mhz outdoor antenna, mounted it on 15 foot of Radio Shack 5 ft antenna poles stuck in an umbrella stand behind the house and using 50 foot of LMR 400. MARCS reception is outstanding from the Chardon, Beachwood, Shalersville MARCS towers and the Lake County and Summit County 800 systems. You do not need a Yagi.
 

kd8jhc

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Cincinnati, OH
The radio shack 800 mhz is about the best there is. You'd have to get a big Yagi antenna on the roof with expensive coax to really make a difference.
I also disagree with this. A Yagi for 800 MHz is actually quite small, and very easy to make out of parts you probably have at the workbench. I made this 3 element one - and it works great! Out performs any rubber duck, including the RS 800 MHz antenna, even with the Yagi sitting there on the workbench in the basement.

I used this site for the calculations:

Amateur Beam Antenna Calculator

As you can see I used a leftover piece of 1x1 as the boom, and coat hangers as the elements. It don't look pretty, but it works! I've got it pointing basically due west, toward the nearest tower to my house. Good luck!
 

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