Larsen NMO150-450-800 Tri-Band opinions

tnew1738

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hello everyone, i have a BCD996P2 i have been using for awhile now and my reception can be spotty at times with the stock antenna so i am looking to upgrade.
i have been looking through forums reading up on antennas that might work for me and have come to the conclusion that this antenna would be good for my setup however im no expert when it comes to antennas. i use this radio at home and im looking for a antenna to sit on my desk or up on a shelf next to it, i use 144 440 and 800 with 800 being priority.

will this do a good job or is there something similar that is superior?
i can not mount a outdoor antenna (for now)

thanks
 

cpfinlay

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Sounds like you listen to a variety of systems, so you probably need an omni-directional antenna. The Larson tri-band is a good choice for your use case as it won't take up a lot of space or look too crazy (since it's inside). I installed the Larson tri-band inside and it was a huge improvement over any antenna I tried on the back of set. Be sure to place it away from any potential noise sources.
 
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JoshuaHufford

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Your going to need a ground plane kit or a magnetic mount placed upon a metal surface that can provide sufficient ground plane if you go with that antenna.

Magnetic mounts usually come with 17ft. of RG58 which will have a lot of loss at 800MHz which might make things even worse for you. If you do go that route figure the shortest amount of coax you need and either cut the coax down and put your own connection on or you can order one from the antenna farm in custom lengths. They also sell a magnetic mount with RG8X coax which has a bit less signal loss.

I've found no matter how good the antenna is putting it indoors severely impacts its reception.

If putting it outside is not an option is the attic a possibility?
 

JoshuaHufford

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No, it is not a "need". Mine works fine without it. Obviously, that would be better but it is NOT necessary.

Well obviously we can all do what we like but if there is a way to make something work better to me it is wise to recommend it doing it that way. Obviously the OP is having reception problems so if I'm going to suggest something I'm going to do it in the best way I know how.
 

cpfinlay

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Well obviously we can all do what we like but if there is a way to make something work better to me it is wise to recommend it doing it that way. Obviously the OP is having reception problems so if I'm going to suggest something I'm going to do it in the best way I know how.
Agreed.... but it's not a "need". It will work fine without it.
 

JoshuaHufford

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I can't agree that it will work "fine" without it. It might work for the original OP and it might not. Just because it works in your particular situation doesn't mean it will for him.

I will rephrase my original post.

You don't need a ground plane for this antenna but it will work better if you have one.
 

tnew1738

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thanks for the input guys.
the attic and roof are not possible since i live in a apartment. would there be any better options for my situation?
144 and 440 come in clear its the 800 range that im having issues with. my buddy has a 800 handheld he uses with the fire dept and his comes in crystal clear in my apartment
 
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trentbob

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So it sounds like you're listening to different range bands. I don't remember seeing anything there about simulcast reception on P1 or P2. In that case it may be more radio than antenna. But...

What you're asking is an age-old problem. I use a Larsen tri-band on my car, great antenna, I replace the RG58 with low loss coax. If you happen to have a filing cabinet where you listen the magnetic Mount is great on a filing cabinet it provides a good ground other than that I would try...

The rooftop antenna of your choice which could be a ground plane, Discone or yagi directional antenna. Mounted on a broom handle using a short run of low loss coax. You can attach the broom handle to a floor lamp or hat rack or even tripod. You can leave the broom handle leaning up against the wall near a window but the benefit is you can move it around and turn it so that you can fine-tune your reception.

Again we don't know if simulcast is involved here and you're saying your friends handheld works well in your apartment but your reception is spotty. Is the handheld and SDS radio?

A lot more information is needed here but the antenna of your choice mounted on a broom handle with low-loss coax is a great solution for apartment dwellers.
 

cpfinlay

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Is your friend's radio a commercial radio or a scanner? If the department issued it, that would explain why it is better than your scanner. But the fact that his radio can receive it at your place is good news. That means the signal is there.

Which 800mhz system are you monitoring and where are you located? As trentbob said, it may be a simulcast issue in which case you may need to tweak which sites you monitor for that system on your BCD996P2. I know how to tweak them for the Homepatrol-II, but not that radio.
 

cpfinlay

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The Frederick County system is a 13 site simulcast so trentbob may be spot on with that being the issue. Obviously the commercial radio is made for that so it will do better. If you are in the coverage area, you may want to consider upgrading to the SDS100 or SDS200 to overcome that if simulcast turns out to be the issue.
 

mmckenna

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The Larsen is a good antenna, you won't go wrong.

Yes, it'll work better with a ground plane. Issue is that a proper ground plane for VHF is going to involve ground radials sticking out 18 inches from the base. If you have a place to locate it where that won't be an issue, then go for it. If not, get a magnetic mount and put it on top of a file cabinet, or even just a metal baking sheet, pie pan, pizza pan, aluminum foil, etc.

Don't get hung up on coaxial cable. For the short run, there's not going to be a noticeable difference between the RG-58 or anything else. If you are really concerned about that, you'll have better results by cutting the coax to just the length you need and installing a new connector.

Be aware, you may pick up more RF noise from your apartment or your neighbors with this set up. Make sure you try moving it around to different locations to see what works best.
And remember, that some building materials won't work well with radio. If they used metal foil vapor barrier insulation, metal lath under plaster/stucco, metal framing, aluminum siding, or there's lot of wiring, metal plumbing, HVAC ducts, or even metal window screens, they can all impact performance.

Nice thing about using an NMO antenna is that you can always use it on a mobile install if you want to try it out. While I'm generally against mag mounts for any sort of permanent install, you can take the one out of your house, stick it on your car for a short time and take it on the road.
 
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