General assistance

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Delta219

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I recently set my old scanner back up at my new house. I put up a new antenna with the hopes of receiving the local airport. I'm only about 5 miles from the airport and seem to have some trouble picking it up clear. The airborne transmissions to the ground are ok but the tower and ground transmissions are very weak and static. The Orlando approach transmissions from the approach controllers are particularly bad. My engineer friend seems to think it's a scanner issue more than anything. Any advice to help would be great!

I am running a Radio Shack PRO-2067 with an external 25-1300 MHz antenna @ approx 20 Ft.

THANKS!!!
 

jonwienke

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Raise your antenna. The only difference between receiving the tower and aircraft is ground clutter between you and the tower.
 

Weaksignal

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If that was the problem, he'd have trouble hearing the planes and tower.
Agree with Station 51... I just tried WFM mode on my AOR AR8600-MK2, in the aircraft band and I could clearly understand the stronger aircraft signals. In that same mode, the weaker signals were not heard until switching back to AM.
 

mmckenna

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What kind of coaxial cable are you using?
What kind of antenna are you using?
How high is your antenna?

Airborne transmissions are OK because the aircraft are up high and have a clear shot at your antenna. The tower/ground stuff is going to be blocked by terrain, houses, buildings, etc.

Using a proper antenna designed for the AM VHF aircraft frequencies is important.
Using the proper coaxial cable to get the most amount of signal from the antenna to your radio is important.
Having the antenna up high enough to have a "view" of the location is important.
Put all 3 of these together correctly and it'll likely solve your issues.
 

Tim-B

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I think what often adds to the problem is the the tower's antenna are often on the ground. Since the aircraft are in the air the airport's antennas dont need to elevated on a tower and you will often see them in a cluster on the ground.
 

ofd8001

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I have a similar issue - I'm just a couple of miles from the Louisville airport. Air traffic controll is scratchy but aircraft is clear.

I think its the nature of the beast when it comes to aviation radio. They orient their antennas to communicate to aircraft in the sky versus listening posts on the ground.
 

KK4JUG

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It's nearly always line-of-sight from the aircraft to the control tower, even when the aircraft is on the ground. The tower probably doesn't need more than 5 or 10 watts for anyone they talk to. Neither the tower, the aircraft nor the FAA cares about your reception.
 

Tim-B

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Look at how short the tower is for these antennas at an airport;

http://forums.radioreference.com/attachments/aircraft-monitoring-forum/31148d1295991485-what-does-rcag-look-like-0801001738.jpg

Two reasons:
They don't need to be high to get above buildings and trees because the aircraft are above buildings and trees to the antennas work fine close to the ground.
and
The more towers you have near a runway the greater the chance an aircraft will hit them so they keep them low below the approach paths of helicopters and small aircraft.
 

jonwienke

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I live just over 16 miles from an airport. I occasionally get Close Call hits from aircraft, but have never actually heard the tower. Given the frequencies involved and the antenna and tower configurations typically encountered, it's just the nature of the beast.

Also, air band has been AM for the entire history of scanning. It's pretty unlikely any scanner ever made would default to some other modulation method, barring ill-advised user intervention.
 
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