I really need Antenna assistance!

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Fartsicle

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Hey folks,

I'm a newbie to scanning, and recently purchased a Radioshack Pro - 197 digital desktop scanner with their discone antenna they sell for $75 that you're supposed to mount outside. The problem is, I can't mount it outside, and quite frankly don't want too. I have the discone standing upright near the table where my scanner lays.

Question is, which is superior, my discone inside, or a the standard antenna that come with the scanner? I mostly so far, listen to frequencies in the 400Mhz range, and the 800Mhz range.

Thanks alot!
 

eaf1956

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$70

And the winner IS... the discone.
For $70 and not being mounted OUTSIDE....I'd say the antenna that came with the scanner will do just as good and it's INCLUDED with the scanner. Not to mention a DISCONE on a table or FLOOR of the house will get in the way.

KC9LVX
 

Fartsicle

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I'm not concerned with the price or the fact it's "in the way", it's really out of the way actually. What I am concerned about is having a better antenna than the stock. Thanks for the help so far, some conflicting answers though!
 

kayi4cle

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Hey folks,

I'm a newbie to scanning, and recently purchased a Radioshack Pro - 197 digital desktop scanner with their discone antenna they sell for $75 that you're supposed to mount outside. The problem is, I can't mount it outside, and quite frankly don't want too. I have the discone standing upright near the table where my scanner lays.

Question is, which is superior, my discone inside, or a the standard antenna that come with the scanner? I mostly so far, listen to frequencies in the 400Mhz range, and the 800Mhz range.

Thanks alot!
Welcome to Radio Reference! I was very impressed with the antenna that came with my 197 - one of the best of that type that I have. However, I also have a Diamond discone inside mounted to a coat rack sitting near a window. I especially like it for VHF (airband and railroad). I also have a magmount sitting on a windowsill. It's the kind where you can attach any BNC antenna to it. For the 400-800 range I prefer the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna on the magmount (but I haven't done a comparison between that and the original antenna).

For starters, why not try the antenna that came with your radio. For 400 MHz you could try using it half extended, and for 800 you could shorten it even more. Then compare it to results you are getting with your discone. Move your radio and antenna to different locations in your home and see if there is an optimum spot for reception. Generally, the higher up you get your antenna the better.

There are a lot of possibilities for inside antennas. Some people use magmounts on top of a refrigerator or metal file cabinet (for a better groundplane), for example. How much effort it will take to monitor your desired systems depends on a lot of factors including how near you are to the source. So have fun experimenting, and good luck with your new radio! :)
 

SCPD

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Antenna

Yes, your discone, ought to way out perform, the stock antenna.
If you use good coax cable, from your discone to radio, it'll even
make more of a difference. For example, the LMR 400 is really good
for the 800 frequencies. Belden 9913, I think is another. The 800
mhz. frequencies, really respond well to better than normal coax cable,
or so I've personally found. Good Luck and let us know how it works out
for you. :)
 

K7CAR

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That short of a distance it won't matter what kind of coax you are using, so don't waste your money on $$$ coax. As posted in a previous post, move the discone around and see what the best reception is. You may find it doesn't make that much difference depending on what you are wanting to listen too.

If you have some very strong signals close by, it may be better to use the stock antenna. Most often though you'll be far better off getting it outside your home and in the open. Why is that a problem?
 

kb2vxa

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"Thanks for the help so far, some conflicting answers though!"

"Welcome to Radio Reference!"
Amen brother, if you're looking for people living in harmony you came to the wrong place. You're beginning to see why the discone is the better antenna even if you must sort through all the mess I try to avoid... to no avail. To me KISS means keep it simple stupid, to them it's a rock band which in a way makes sense; some give the quiet answer while others like making a lot of noise. (;->)
 

ERICMYERS

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'better' is relative to like a million variables. Whatever actually works better for you is what's better.

I did something very similar for several years, using a camera tripod and some half inch conduit.j It looked goofy, poked me in the eye a few times, but it worked 'better'. Eventually, I put it up in the attic, which was better aesthetically and pleasing to the XYL, and an improvement to reception. To this day, however, I still throw on a 900 mhz rubberduck and a 90 degree bnc to the back of the set for some things.

Experiment and enjoy.
 

Fartsicle

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Thanks alot guys,

really appreciate the answers. I'm going to keep the discone in my room for now, some of your comments put me at ease. I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, and not knowing which was most likely superior was driving me nuts.

The reason I don't want to put it outside is simple, I don't want to drill holes in the wall. I have an absolute solid brick house, and would have trouble anyways even if i had the required tools. Maybe I'm just ignorant of how to do it. I can program my own OS, but I can hardly operate a hammer.

Thanks again.
 

ERICMYERS

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Think about the attic if you have one. A small hole through a closet ceiling, and coax run neatly along baseboards is really unobtrusive. Hang the thing with twine from a rafter. No need for complex grounding in the attic. If you have a wood roof and stay away from electrical wires, you're in pretty great shape for a long time with that antenna.

Going outside, you've got a LOT more to consider in grounding, weatherproofing, mounting, maintenance, etc.
 
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