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Indoor Antenna

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JackSmith102

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I just recently bought a BCT15 and would like to know how much of a difference a 3rd party antenna would make. Would the difference in reception be 50% or better?

Also, I would need an indoor antenna. I have been considering the AX-31b (http://www.winradio.com/home/ax31b.htm), but it's a bit on the pricey side...

If the sensitivity on the BCT15 is pretty good anyway, do I really need to get a different antenna than what it comes with? Would I notice much of a difference?

Thanks!
 

ka3jjz

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Several things influence the answer to this question; how high can you get the antenna, can you get it up away from things like siding, wiring, ect., what frequencies are you interested in hearing, precisely what are you trying to hear and in general terms, where are you (urban vs. rural, city and state would do nicely...) will all play a role - some larger than others.\

I agree, that WinRadio antenna is expensive, and probably overkill for what you want to do. Be more specific and let's see if there's a less expensive alternative. Chances are that there is. 73s Mike

[edit] By the way, the URL doesn't work because the parenthesis is being read as part of it. For those that want to look at to what Jack is referring, copy/paste will work
 
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JackSmith102

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I'll be moving to Norman, Oklahoma, which is a decent-sized city. Mostly I want to test out the new trunking features that the BCT15 has, so probably want to listen to fire, police, air, etc... I don't really want an antenna that is too specific to one frequency - I would like to be more general-purpose if that's at all possible.

I guess the antenna itself could be up to 40 inches in height if it's going to be indoor, something like that. I'm going to be on the 7th floor of a building, so it'll be somewhat high up.

Hope this helps.
 

ka3jjz

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Well the most likely candidate would be a discone ; maybe even that mini discone that Diamond sells (it's on the Universal website, and supposedly CQ magazine did a review on it). I was going to recommend the off center fed dipole (plans for which we have on the wiki, and Grove sells as well) but it would appear that it would be a tad too big for your requirements. The NilJon is another possibility - make sure you buy the base version with the radials. Perhaps the PAR Mon-3 or the RS Ground plane might be right up your alley.

You've got the height advantage, and that will be a big help. I would hesitate to recommend any amplification; too much gain, and all you'll end up with is hearing lots of pagers and other junk (intermod) or actually losing sensitivity (desense). We have lots of scanner antennas listed in our Scanner Antennas wiki (just click on 'Wiki' in the blue bar, click on 'Antennas' in the first page you come to, and select 'Scanner Antennas'). I'd start looking some of those over.

I'd also post a few questions in the Oklahoma forum - see what others are using with their BCT15s (or similar) - nothing like having some local help. 73s Mike
 
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JackSmith102

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I checked out the discone, and while that looks like a pretty nice antenna, I don't think it has a BNC connector which is what I would need for my scanner. In addition to that, would I have to buy a mast and/or other accessories to set it up in the room?

Once I start including those into the cost of the discone, it starts to exceed the price of the WinRadio ($129).

The other antennas you mentioned look like they are more for outdoor use.

I'll continue to look around on that Wiki you mentioned, but if you have any other ideas please don't hesitate to mention them!

Thanks.
 

VernM

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A scanner-specific wide-band antenna such as Larssen's tri-band scanner antenna on NMO mount, mounted in a magnet mount and placed on the top of the refrigerator or some other metal object, perhaps a window AC, will give you all the band width and signal strength you'll need in a 7th floor apartment..

Been there, done that.
 

ka3jjz

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Just make sure whatever you use for the ground plane is ferrous (magnetic), and yep, that will work too.

73s Mike
 

nd5y

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Mag mounts will work the same on aluminum or other non-ferrous metal.
I have even used them on a wooden bookcase with the top covered with aluminum foil.
The only problem you would have is the antenna falling over because the magnet won't stick.
 

AVL

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i have a bct 8 with a discone and i found that to boost reception the best
 

JackSmith102

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I went ahead and bought the Larsen antenna. Thanks all for your suggestions.

I do have one more question though; the BCT15 has a recording jack that allows a cable to be plugged into it from a PC. I read in the manual that this has to be a 3.5mm connection, but am not sure exactly which cable I would need.

Would something like this work:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102949&cp=2032058&f=Taxonomy/RSK/2032058&categoryId=2032058&kwCatId=2032058&kw=1/8+cable&parentPage=search

Thanks
 

ka3jjz

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Al42

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The scanner output is mono. If you're content with only one channel on the computer carrying the scanner audio you can use a stereo cable. Otherwise you'd want to add a mono-to-stereo adapter of the kind that feeds both channels with the audio from the mono side. The Radio Shack 274-882 should work. (I have no idea what mine is - it's so old the name and number are long gone.)
 
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