Handheld in car problems. Maybe Antenna?

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Awz1287

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I have been having trouble with my bcd436hp in the car. I get good audio when I'm stopped but when I'm driving the audio is choppy and not clear. I tried moving it around the car with no luck. I have tried 2 different antennas the stock one and a RS 800mhz one. Do I need another antenna or is it something else.
 

n4yek

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copperhd

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Static or loss of signal?

First: when driving do you lay the scanner down in the seat/floor making the antenna horizontal instead of vertical (as it should be)? also if it is in the seat/floor there is much more metal such as doors and body panels blocking your receive. If you don't want a roof/trunk mount antenna there is an option, there is a suction cup mount that you can put your rubberduck antenna onto to stick on the inside surface of any window in the up position with a lead wire that attaches to the scanner, does an excellent job and is discreet. The scanner can then be put in any position but the antenna remains vertical. As for static: could be anything from cheap spark plugs to a altenator or anywhere in-between, I'd have to hear that to even hazard a guess.
 

LtDoc

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Antennas like to be above things, not beside it or under it. Getting that antenna outside the metal body of a vehicle is a very nice thing to do. It isn't a 'fool-proof' way of hearing everything you want to hear, there's just no 'magic' way of doing that (no matter what the advertisements say).
How a signal get's from here to there is called propagation and is determined by a large number of thingys. Sometimes it just won't 'stretch', you know? Buildings, distance, terrain, 'Momma Nature', they all have a finger in that pie.
Noise is a fact of radio life. There are so many ways for noise to enter the picture, it can be very mysterious! And another little 'goody' is that vertically polarized antennas tend to 'hear' more noise than any other type of polarization. No way to get rid of all of it, but you can get rid of some. Find the source of that noise and eliminate it, or 'hide' it from your radio. That's so much fun! Right?
Oh well, do what you can and then live with it. Good luck.
- 'Doc
 

jackj

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GO HOGS!!

Gentlemen, I believe he stated that he was using a mag-mount mounted on the outside of the car. The chop on weaker signals is normal. You move through areas of weak and strong signal while traveling in the car. The variation in signal strength is caused by multipath due to reflected signals adding or subtracting to the signal and/or obstructions between you and the transmitter. It happens regardless of the signal strength but you notice it only on weak signals. There is really nothing you can do about it except live with it.
 
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GO HOGS!!

Gentlemen, I believe he stated that he was using a mag-mount mounted on the outside of the car. The chop on weaker signals is normal. You move through areas of weak and strong signal while traveling in the car. The variation in signal strength is caused by multipath due to reflected signals adding or subtracting to the signal and/or obstructions between you and the transmitter. It happens regardless of the signal strength but you notice it only on weak signals. There is really nothing you can do about it except live with it.
Op never said he had a mag, black did. Op said stock and 800.

And it's never good to use a radio inside. The car body blocks signal as does window tint.

Drill a NMO in the roof a pop up there a nice multiband antenna

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Awz1287

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Thanks for the help guys. I would like a external antenna I don't want to damage or put holes in anything because it is a newer truck. maybe I will try a magnet has anyone had any paint damage from them? Can you recommend a good one?
Also I want to add that I mostly listen to conventional channels. The radio is upright in a cup holder. I get perfect reception when I am stopped from inside the car.
I also saw in another post it could be rf interference? If it is rf interference why is it just when moving? will an external antenna work to stop it, if it is from rf interference?

Edit: is there a way to test for rf interference?
 
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Ensnared

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Magnetic Mount Rash

Thanks for the help guys. I would like a external antenna but I don't want to damage or put holes in anything because it is a newer truck. maybe I will try a magnet has anyone had any paint damage from them? Can you recommend a good one?
Also I want to add that I mostly listen to conventional channels. I get perfect reception when I am stopped from inside the car. If it is rf interference why is it just be when moving? will an external antenna work to stop it, if it is from rf interference?

Edit: is there a way to test for rf interference?
I too was faced with this dilemma on when I bought my new car, whether to drill or put a use a magnetic mount. I already knew, from experience, what would happen. I don't know anyway to avoid rash from a magnetic antenna. It does mess up a paint finish. Since I don't really care if the top of my car has rash, I still run it, Procomm 1/4 wave. I remain unconvinced that through-the-glass antennas are worth a crap.
 
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davedaver1

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It's a half (or quarter) of the wavelength of the frequency (or band). The radio frequencies you want to listen to have a wavelength, and antennas are typically 1/4, 1/2 or sometimes 5/8 of the wavelength. The smaller the number, the shorter the antenna. Things get more complex for multiband antennas.

For your use as a scanner receiving antenna, you don't have to worry so much about the wavelength as simply how big the antenna is. Bigger is usually better.

BTW, if you periodically clean (and wax) the area where your mag mount is located, you'll be fine. The quality antennas have a plastic film that prevents paint damage. Depending on your vehicle, you might be able to get a mount which clamps on the hood, trunk or even door lip, eliminating the magnet mount.

Lastly, the antenna doesn't have anything to do with interference. Your reception quality (the choppiness) should get a lot better vs. having a small antenna inside the vehicle. You're inside a metal cage which is blocking a lot of the signal, so putting the antenna outside and giving it a ground plane (the metal of the vehicle) will help a lot.
 

wa2chj

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To completely avoid the rash from a mag mount antenna, get some of the clear 3M tape used to protect the paint behind tires on the fenders/bodies of some of the newer vehicles. Cut a piece of the tape the same shape and just slightly larger than the magnet. Clean the surface of the vehicle and stick the tape where you want to mount the antenna. Place the antenna on top. It will still stick magnetically, and you will have NO damage from the mount. When you want to remove the tape, pick up a corner and peel it back 180 degrees on itself. If it's cold or doesn't want to let go, use a hair dryer to gently heat the tape. It only needs to be WARM not hot. It will come off and not leave any adhesive behind. I've done this for years on several vehicles without any problems or damage. I repeat....stick the tape to the vehicle, NOT the magnet. If you stick it to the magnet, you can still get grit between the tape and vehicle paint which will cause scratches.
 

Ensnared

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Cool Solution

To completely avoid the rash from a mag mount antenna, get some of the clear 3M tape used to protect the paint behind tires on the fenders/bodies of some of the newer vehicles. Cut a piece of the tape the same shape and just slightly larger than the magnet. Clean the surface of the vehicle and stick the tape where you want to mount the antenna. Place the antenna on top. It will still stick magnetically, and you will have NO damage from the mount. When you want to remove the tape, pick up a corner and peel it back 180 degrees on itself. If it's cold or doesn't want to let go, use a hair dryer to gently heat the tape. It only needs to be WARM not hot. It will come off and not leave any adhesive behind. I've done this for years on several vehicles without any problems or damage. I repeat....stick the tape to the vehicle, NOT the magnet. If you stick it to the magnet, you can still get grit between the tape and vehicle paint which will cause scratches.
That is a wonderful idea. I have already scratched my finish, but I might attempt to do this in order to avoid further damage. At times, moisture has accumulated under my two magnets, K40. Of course, with the K40, you need a pry bar to get it off, LOL.
 

Ensnared

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Fender Mount?

My vote is to finder mount or hood lip

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I'm assuming "finder" was a typo. LOL. I have never ever heard of a fender mount. I will be looking. I wonder if trunk lip mount would work on a Nissan Versa Hatchback?

I used to own the best antenna I've ever seen, the Antenna Specialist MOT with the 800 mhz microchoke. I wish I could find one of those boys! Nothing has matched that antenna for the price. I had it mounted on a Larsen magnetic base. Awesome.
 

Ensnared

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ProComm 1/4 Wave Rust Tendency

I would like to add something about the ProComm 1/4 wave. Although the antenna is stainless, the base is something else. The first one I owned rusted really bad. So, I sprayed it with clear coat. It certainly stopped the rust issue.

I would also like to say, I do not like the RS mobile antenna. When I bought one, I thought it was a flimsy design. Others like it. To each his own.

The advantage of a trunk lip mount is eliminating the problem of running the coax through a door or trunk lid. After a while, the pinching will affect the coax.
 
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Awz1287

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What is the difference between a cb antenna and a scanner antenna? I am looking around and see a lot of antennas listed a cb with good prices? For instance there is one firestik brand that has a lot of good reviews and is cheap but says cb antenna is this usable for scanners?

I see on Amazon.com vehicle antennas with the hood lip mount but the antennas and mounts are sold separate is this normal?
 
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