How about this one?

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af5rn

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I have that antenna. I just received it yesterday from Scanner Master. I bought it only to compare it's performance to other antennas for reference, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I'll do that tomorrow afternoon and let you know how it stacks up against others.

By the way, the antenna is the Watson Scan-Force, I believe made in the UK, and looks a lot different than the photo at Scanner Master. It has two centre loads instead of two.

http://www.wsplc.com/acatalog/Watson_Mobile_Antennas.html

Notice on that page is also the 17" knock-off of the Valor pmm3 "Hershey's Kiss" antenna. Now we know who is making it.
 

railfanjjf

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Magnsetic Mount

kkovar-- I also read your other post- I also railfan at various locations;when I arrive at the site-I have a "LARSEN" Magnetic Mount-Model "BNC-MM-BNC" that I put on the roof of my car-any antenna you have with a BNC connector can be installed onto the mount. They also have many other types of connectors. The 12' of coax is brought into car and the BNC is attached to the scanner.jSometimes I even leave this set up on the roof if I'm going to be local to listen to Local police, fire and state police. This $15.00 goodie give you a lot of latitude antenna wise for any kind of monitoring. I bought this item at "ham Radio Outlet" Woodbridge, Va I'ts shown on page 100 of thier On-Line catalog GOOD LUCK railfan jjf.
 

kkovar

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Ok, so does the length affect reception? I heard that 17'' is where you want it for the Railroads. Correct? Can someone explain this?

Kk
 

af5rn

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Ok, so does the length affect reception? I heard that 17'' is where you want it for the Railroads. Correct? Can someone explain this?
That only applies to a single-band, quarter-wave whip antenna, not all antennae. And if you get a quarter-wave whip antenna cut specifically for rail band, it will SUCK on every other band, pretty much.

I'm not a railfan so I don't know how the hobby works. How far away are you needing to listen? Just the trains in the nearest yard? Trains over twenty miles away? Are they simplex, or do they go through repeaters? Chances are that the difference between an optimum train antenna and a multiband scanner antenna on the rail bands is not enough to make a real difference to you. And the rail antenna will short you serious performance on the police and fire bands. Unless you need some serious distance on the rail bands, I don't think it is worth it to invest in an antenna cut specifically for them.
 

Nasby

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Actually, I quarter wave antenna cut at 17" gives excellent results on the VHF-Hi band and is not bad on UHF either.
 
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That only applies to a single-band, quarter-wave whip antenna, not all antennae. And if you get a quarter-wave whip antenna cut specifically for rail band, it will SUCK on every other band, pretty much.

I'm not a railfan so I don't know how the hobby works. How far away are you needing to listen? Just the trains in the nearest yard? Trains over twenty miles away? Are they simplex, or do they go through repeaters? Chances are that the difference between an optimum train antenna and a multiband scanner antenna on the rail bands is not enough to make a real difference to you. And the rail antenna will short you serious performance on the police and fire bands. Unless you need some serious distance on the rail bands, I don't think it is worth it to invest in an antenna cut specifically for them.
The railroads are simplex 99% of the time except the PBX repeaters with the phone patch. So the further out you can reach the better. especially since the train defect detectors are only 1-5 watts and packsets (ht's) are what 5 watts?
Also some areas use a tower link to link to other towers. 457.900 is one sided, and 452.00 is both sides repeated for up to 50+ miles. that is point to point communications that means you have to be in the path of the signal to receive it. since that is UHF then a dual band antenna is needed for monitoring that as well. plus ETD's and DPU's are in the 457s and 452s
 

KC0QNB

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The key to any antenna system for receive purposes, is capture area (antenna length) for example if you have a 102" whip on your truck, and you have a 36" antenna also on your truck. now both antennas are tuned for the CB band, for transmit purposes which antenna do you think would "hear better"?

This thread is about the 160 mHz band so here is an appropriate example, if you have a 1/4 wave whip tuned for this band it would be in the neighborhood of 17-7/8" long, a 5/8 wave 3dBgain base load antenna whip would be around 42-1/2" long, again which antenna do you think would "hear better"? the longer antenna is about 2.5 times longer for the 160mHz band. I just looked at a dual band antenna that would cover the 160 mHz band and the 450mHz band at the lowest tuned frequency (longest antenna) it is only 20" long. This is an interesting quandary we are in, so in the sense of fair play in practical application (experience) which antenna is best for rail fanning? I am betting on the 5/8 wave 3dB gain unit.
 

kkovar

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So you all think that this antenna for my Rail needs and the Fire/PD in the 450-470 range is the choice to go for? Anyone a railfan in the Dallas area here? I would love to hear HotBox Detectors and ETD's... Hopefully I will be able to with this antenna...

http://www.scannermaster.com/Product...47&Click=20907





Right now, I have the regular rubber ducky that came with my scanner. I can hear the main Union Pacific dispatcher talking to the trains, but cannot hear the trains talking to the dispatcher... I live 30 miles away from the tracks now, but im mostly concerned when I am actually at the tracks.. It would be nice to hear from home though. I am thinking about getting the Diamond RC77CA i(think that is what it is) this would be for home use and outside use at the tracks... Magnetic mount above in the car.

This a good choice experts?
 

af5rn

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It should do fine. Of course, if you want to spend the money to get the best, you'll want to go with a dual-band professional or ham antenna. It'll cost you about twice what the Scan-Force antenna costs, but it'll make a difference, if it's worth it to you.

Of course, the best thing you could do antenna wise is to not get a mag mount at all, and to mount a real antenna on your vehicle. Better and cheaper too.
 

KC0QNB

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At the tracks probably OK performance, at home 30 miles away get a VHF Yagi and point it at the tracks, bear in mind the more elements the tighter the beamwidth, want to trade locations? there is a three track UP mainline about a mile from my house, last I heard (been a few years ago) average 110 trains per day, and there is this, yeah I know it is off topic but I thought you would like it.
 

SAR923

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You will not hear the trains at 30 miles even with the best rubber duck. You'll need a good base antenna mounted as high as you can get it. I'm about 10 air miles away from the CSX yards in Montgomery and I can usually hear the trains for a radius of about 20 miles. I have a Radio Shack 20-176 1/4 wave ground plane about 20 feet in the air but mounted in my attic. I suspect I might increase the radius by 5 miles if I had it 30 feet in the air on an outside mast but I think that's about it for an omnidirectional antenna. In my experience, the RS ground plane is the equal of any other, and more expensive, antenna that I've used for railroads. The only one I haven't tried is the Scantenna. It may be a little better or a little worse on the railroad frequencies but I doubt it would make a huge difference.

If the railroad is the only thing you want to listen to, you'll have a much better chance with a yagi type antenna. The problem is that it's very directional and, while it will have a better chance of picking up trains, trains move, and yu'll only be able to pick them up within the limited arc of the yagi, which means maybe a couple of miles on either side of the aiming point.

You can certainly try a good 5/8 wave omnidirectional ground plane and hope for better range. There'a a good one at http://anttron.tripod.com/id34.htm - the ADB-2440-B. It's $100 plus shipping but it may be your best hope for an omnidirectional antenna that will give you the maximum range. Just get it as high in the air as you can and hope for the best. :)
 
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At the tracks probably OK performance, at home 30 miles away get a VHF Yagi and point it at the tracks, bear in mind the more elements the tighter the beamwidth, want to trade locations? there is a three track UP mainline about a mile from my house, last I heard (been a few years ago) average 110 trains per day, and there is this, yeah I know it is off topic but I thought you would like it.
Why not this one? A railroad band log periodic http://www.dpdproductions.com/page_traintenna.html
it would hear more off the sides then a yagi would plus some gain straight ahead. That way the trains would be in range more to the left and right.

Eric Burris
 

prcguy

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For VHF base use why not build the 4-bay dipole array in the RR antenna forum? It uses copper and PVC water pipe and some TV coax and mounts to a 20ft long mast when finished. If assembled correctly it would be hard to buy a better VHF base antenna.
prcguy
You will not hear the trains at 30 miles even with the best rubber duck. You'll need a good base antenna mounted as high as you can get it. I'm about 10 air miles away from the CSX yards in Montgomery and I can usually hear the trains for a radius of about 20 miles. I have a Radio Shack 20-176 1/4 wave ground plane about 20 feet in the air but mounted in my attic. I suspect I might increase the radius by 5 miles if I had it 30 feet in the air on an outside mast but I think that's about it for an omnidirectional antenna. In my experience, the RS ground plane is the equal of any other, and more expensive, antenna that I've used for railroads. The only one I haven't tried is the Scantenna. It may be a little better or a little worse on the railroad frequencies but I doubt it would make a huge difference.

If the railroad is the only thing you want to listen to, you'll have a much better chance with a yagi type antenna. The problem is that it's very directional and, while it will have a better chance of picking up trains, trains move, and yu'll only be able to pick them up within the limited arc of the yagi, which means maybe a couple of miles on either side of the aiming point.

You can certainly try a good 5/8 wave omnidirectional ground plane and hope for better range. There'a a good one at http://anttron.tripod.com/id34.htm - the ADB-2440-B. It's $100 plus shipping but it may be your best hope for an omnidirectional antenna that will give you the maximum range. Just get it as high in the air as you can and hope for the best. :)
 
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Emporia, KS
For VHF base use why not build the 4-bay dipole array in the RR antenna forum? It uses copper and PVC water pipe and some TV coax and mounts to a 20ft long mast when finished. If assembled correctly it would be hard to buy a better VHF base antenna.
prcguy
I saw your thread about it. what is the total cost of that project? I heard that copper is expensive these days.

Eric Burris
 

prcguy

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PVC was cheap, 8 hose clamps at around $1.20ea and coax was almost free. 3/4" Copper pipe was $19 for 12 ft and aluminum tubing of similar OD would be cheaper and lighter. The UHF T adapters and Amphenol PL-259s were way too much and type F connectors and Ts will be a lot cheaper. I'm going to experiment with soldering the phasing harness together using a very small piece of circuit board or copper sheet as an attachment point for the coax shields. This can be encapsulated in RTV or resin and the cables can enter and exit along the same plane which is nicer than using a T adapter and having one cable on each T sticking out from the mast. I'm giving the antenna in the article to a friend and didn't have to buy any mast so I don't know that cost yet. I used some old RS TV mast just to tune and check the performance. A 21ft length of 1 1/4" fence post would be great for the mast based on the size of PVC Ts used for the dipole mounts. The next version will be for VHF air and I'll use 1 1/2" PVC reducer Ts for the dipole mounts, which is a good match to 1 7/8" fence post.
prcguy
$18
I saw your thread about it. what is the total cost of that project? I heard that copper is expensive these days.

Eric Burris
 
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