Diamond RH77CA Vs. Austin Condor

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JASII

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I haven't owned a handheld scanner for a few years, but I bought a Uniden Bearcat BCD325P2 recently. I am somewhat underwhelmed by the OEM rubber duck antenna. Several years ago, I bought a Diamond RH77CA and it seemed to work pretty well on VHF high band, UHF, and 800 MHz. I have no experience with an Austin Condor, but I have read a little bit about them. Anyway, can anybody here commend on their experiences with Diamond RH77CA Vs. Austin Condor? Is one of them clearly superior to the other? Or, is it like so many things in the radio hobby, that the Diamond might outperform the Austin Condor on certain frequencies and vice-versa?
 

DHAS12

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Never used the Austin Condor, but In my opinion the Rh77ca is a good performer on UHF and VHF due to it being tuned for Ham use.
 

br0adband

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I owned a Condor many years ago and was utterly disappointed in the performance across the main popular bands (150/450/900 and anything closely related) compared to the RH77CA but that's only my own experience of using both antennas. Perhaps the design of the Condor has been modified over the past decade or so since I owned one, I don't know, but I personally wouldn't buy one again myself. I bought my RH77CA in 2004-ish an I still own it, along with a Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna I purchased in the 1990s and they have been my go-to antennas since purchase but I do make a lot of antennas of various kinds since they're dirt cheap and easy to create, especially 1/4 wave ground planes.

In my experience of using the RH77CA it offers good/great receive performance from the CivAir band (118-136 MHz) all the way to the 935-940 MHz commercial business band and I can't recommend it enough as an antenna if you just one to get one that works well across a wide range of frequencies. It's not perfect, no, but it does remarkably well.

If you really want a great wideband antenna then get a telescopic whip you can adjust/tune to specific center frequencies for the bands you wish to monitor and go from there. An excellent telescopic whip in that style would be the Diamond RH789 (BNC) or SRH789 (SMA) - it even has markings on the whip elements to give you an idea of where they should be extended to get to certain center frequencies in the popular ranges.
 

hiegtx

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I owned a Condor many years ago and was utterly disappointed in the performance across the main popular bands (150/450/900 and anything closely related) compared to the RH77CA but that's only my own experience of using both antennas. Perhaps the design of the Condor has been modified over the past decade or so since I owned one, I don't know, but I personally wouldn't buy one again myself. I bought my RH77CA in 2004-ish an I still own it, along with a Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna I purchased in the 1990s and they have been my go-to antennas since purchase but I do make a lot of antennas of various kinds since they're dirt cheap and easy to create, especially 1/4 wave ground planes.

In my experience of using the RH77CA it offers good/great receive performance from the CivAir band (118-136 MHz) all the way to the 935-940 MHz commercial business band and I can't recommend it enough as an antenna if you just one to get one that works well across a wide range of frequencies. It's not perfect, no, but it does remarkably well.
My past experience with the Condor mirrors yours. Much better results with the RH77CA and RH789.
 

teufler

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Used both on a 396xt scanner. As for receive "bars", little difference between the two. The RH77CA is alittle better on the scanner antenna port, as its lighter and less strain. The RH77CA is cheaper, and its easier to carry around. If the scanner is stationary, For 800 mhz monitoring, I use Motorola 800 rubber ducks, that were designed for 800 trunking.
 

AA6IO

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My experience also the same as Br0adband and Hiegtx. Bought an Austin Condor a couple of years ago after seeing a couple of good reviews somewhere. Very disappointed in the performance for scanning here in So. Calif. on low VHF (CHP), VHF, and UHF. For 800 Mhz, no way.
I find the RH77CA to be a much better antenna (have 3 of them) all around, but for 800, my go-to-antenna is the RS-800. For civilian air and CHP, I actually find the Radio Shack telescopic (9 segment with coil between segment 4 and 5) to be even a bit better than the RH77CA. For CHP, I use the antenna fully extended, for civilian air, I use it with 8 segments extended, but the center coil shorted out.
 

sibbley

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I bought the Austin Condor last year. I was also very disappointed. I've also tried many antennas over the years. The best overall antenna has been the RS-800.
 

dsalomon

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The RH-77Ca is an excellent antenna. I use one for ham use and it performs very well. If you are in a position to use a whip, however, it should perform better than any shortened antenna, especially because it can be tuned. If you do use a whip, take your time and learn how to tune it. Then, mark the positions on the whip so you don't have to remember them. Caution with a whip is that it can be much harder on your antenna connection on the radio, and is more fragile than a duck. If you're walking and hit a rubber duck on something (e.g. a tree limb), the duck will go boing :). If you hit a telescoping antenna on a limb, you may bend or break the antenna or break the antenna connection on the radio.

So, think about how you plan to use the antenna when making a decision. Also, do you want to be walking around somewhere public with a huge telescoping antenna in view? These days, cops are much more suspicious about radios and antennas (as they rightfully should be, for all our safety). Finally, if you do go with a telescoping antenna, get a LOOOONG one, the longer the better, if it will work for your particular application. A short telescoping antenna may be no better than the RH-77CA.

Best - David
 

JASII

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Diamond RH77CA

Thank you for all of the replies. I was actually able to find my Diamond RH77CA in a little used desk drawer. I t is now on my Uniden Bearcat BCD325P2 and seems to be MUCH better everywhere I listen than the OEM antenna. I won't even bother with looking for an Austin Condor then
 

lmrtek

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comet ht-55

built to cover land mobile frequencies

the ham antennas are too far off frequency
 
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trp2525

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Thank you for all of the replies. I was actually able to find my Diamond RH77CA in a little used desk drawer. I t is now on my Uniden Bearcat BCD325P2 and seems to be MUCH better everywhere I listen than the OEM antenna. I won't even bother with looking for an Austin Condor then
If you want something shorter than a Diamond RH77CA for portable use (especially when wearing the scanner on your belt) I can HIGHLY recommend a Comet MH-255 which is only 3" tall. I use it on my 396XT with excellent results on VHF-High and UHF (antenna is tuned for commercial/land mobile dual-band 155 MHz and 465 MHz) and very good results even on 800 MHz.

Links to the Comet MH-255:

Ham Radio Outlet $26.95 (plus shipping): COMET-NCG MH-255 Antenna HT Dual Band 6m-2m, MH255
Lentini Communications on eBay $26.95 (plus shipping): Comet MH-255 Stubby VHF/UHF Commercial Band HT/Scanner Antenna w/SMA Male | eBay
 

br0adband

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The Watson 881 is almost a clone of the Diamond RH77CA, it's technically not but it's so close in terms of size and specs that it could be and yet it does seem to command a higher price for some reason. Gotta wonder... :D
 
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