I've Got $100

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lbfergus

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So, I have been scanning as a hobby now for about 10 years, and I want to take the next step and start playing with antennas.

I have about $100 total that I can dedicate to the project. I have tried building in the past, but with poor results, so I think I want to buy this time.

I live in a freestanding house, so I can put something up outside on a mast (although my wife may have differing opinions). I have read over the forums so much, and there are more opinions than people. I really would like recommendations, trying to keep me within my budget (including upgraded coax or whatnot). I have a Radio Shack nearby, which I think is my only real outlet other than online.

I am in Marion County, OR and would like to better receive from neighboring counties. I mostly listen to police and fire on my PRO-96.

Thanks guys!
 
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KE5TLF

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Suggest waiting until you have ~$200.

Any receiver is only as good as it's antenna and feed line and $100 isn't really that much when you start talking about a mast, it's mounting hardware, antenna, coax, connectors, and other misc items.
 

lbfergus

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Suggest waiting until you have ~$200.

Any receiver is only as good as it's antenna and feed line and $100 isn't really that much when you start talking about a mast, it's mounting hardware, antenna, coax, connectors, and other misc items.
I don't know that I'll have that amount to dedicate to the cause any time soon with the family budget. However, mounting hardware, mast, etc. can probably be scrounged; so I'm speaking just of antenna and cable.
 

lbfergus

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What frequencies do you listen to? 150's, 450's, or 800's
All of the above. Locally we're almost all 150's, so is the state police. But, the neighboring counties, which I can hear faintly on just my rubber duck have both 450's and 800's.
 

W6KRU

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You should look at ST-2 and ST-3 antennas. Neither of them are known for durability though. What kind of weather do you have? Ice and high winds might cause problems. There are more durable antennas available that will cover the bands you want but the ones I know of are more than your budget allow.
 

lbfergus

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You should look at ST-2 and ST-3 antennas. Neither of them are known for durability though. What kind of weather do you have? Ice and high winds might cause problems. There are more durable antennas available that will cover the bands you want but the ones I know of are more than your budget allow.
Thanks. I am in Oregon, we have a little bit of wind, but mostly rain and rarely much ice. How high do I need to get the antenna? What kind of coax should I get? Do I need amplifiers or any other electronics?
 

W6KRU

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You should get the antenna as high as you can. VHF and UHF are line of sight frequencies and there is no substitute for antenna height. IMO you should consider the ST-2. Do not use an amplifier unless you can't solve a reception problem any other way.
 

lbfergus

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You should get the antenna as high as you can. VHF and UHF are line of sight frequencies and there is no substitute for antenna height. IMO you should consider the ST-2. Do not use an amplifier unless you can't solve a reception problem any other way.
Do you have a preferred vendor for ST-2?
 

hiegtx

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Thanks guys!
If you have a concern with wind, take a look at this mod.

I've got a couple of these antennas (ST-2) up (no mods), and the only one damaged took a whack from a very large (8" thick) tree limb. Not the antenna's fault there.
 

w2xq

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FWIW IMHO, depending on the length of the coaxial cable run, you want something significantly more substantial than RG-58/U or RG-8X. Look through the RR forum threads for the many past discussions on the cable business. The small-diameter/cheap coax has significant signal loss in the VHF/UHF ranges. Don't get fooled into wasting money. HTH.
 

lbfergus

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FWIW IMHO, depending on the length of the coaxial cable run, you want something significantly more substantial than RG-58/U or RG-8X. Look through the RR forum threads for the many past discussions on the cable business. The small-diameter/cheap coax has significant signal loss in the VHF/UHF ranges. Don't get fooled into wasting money. HTH.
The ST-2 comes with 50' of RG-6 I believe, do you think that would be substantial?
 

digitalanalog

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at 50' it's fine, over 50' you should get better cable, replacing the 50' RG-6 with a better LMR-400 will more then likely not show any improvement at all on a run that short
 
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