Longer antenna, worth it? If so, which?

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jrbugee

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I'm kind of new to monitoring, so forgive this if its a rookie question. I have a Radio Shack Pro-97 that I use to monitor mostly aviation and local fire/police traffic (mostly in the 100 and 400 MHz range, I believe). I have the stock 5 1/2 in antenna. I live about 7 miles from out local airport and my scanner seems to be out of range for most of the ATC traffic. Is there a longer or more efficient antenna that will fit my portable that will increase my receiving range? I thought I saw a longer antenna for this model a while back at Radio Shack, but not sure if its applicable to my needs or even still available (no joy on Radio Shacks web site).

Thanks!!! - John, St. Louis
 

FLRAILMAN

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RS PRO-97 antenna

I know a few portable scanner owners who share your problem, everybody has a favorite however the guys that replaced their stock antennas with the Austin Condor antenna all claimed positive results.
Austin Antenna, antennas
FLRAILMAN
 

kc2rgw

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I have a Condor and a Diamond RH-77B both of which I've had for years now. They significantly improve reception vs any of the stock antennas I've had on several scanners.

I prefer the RH-77B simply because it is skinnier and doesn't tip over the scanner as easily as the more dense Condor. I think the Condor has an edge on a few odd bands that I don't generally listen on, but it's very close.

More antenna is almost always better for reception. A telescopic whip, metal, is the best I've used of any...however be very careful of putting strain on your antenna connector on the scanner. It's very easy with those to bang into something and break or damage the connector as the better ones are 4-5' long. With my current scanner and ham HT's I use an SMA to BNC adapter to add some more protection to the SMA connector.
 

n5ims

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Please note that antenna length doesn't indicate strength or range. The length of an antenna is based on frequency and other design parameters. Generally, the higher in frequency you go, the shorter the antenna (of the same design type) would be for one designed to work on that frequency.

Aircraft communication is a bit tricky to monitor. The ground stations are designed to communicate with aircraft flying at high altitudes and their antennas are designed to radiate their signals there. It's pretty hard to hear them from monitoring stations very far from them unless they have a pretty high antenna. Aircraft, however, transmit their signals toward the ground and are generally pretty easy to hear.
 

iMONITOR

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I have a Radio Shack Pro-97 that I use to monitor mostly aviation and local fire/police traffic (mostly in the 100 and 400 MHz range, I believe). Thanks!!! - John, St. Louis
John, for those two bands you won't find a better portable antenna than the Diamond RH77CA. It's 16" long, but if that's not an issue, it will be a worthwhile improvement.

Diamond RH77CA Amateur HT Antenna
 

TheJerk

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I bought a Watson SuperGainer (W-881?) from Scanner Master, it was a major improvement over the stock antenna.
 

N0IU

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Many years ago I bought a fold-over telescopic antenna with a BNC connector. Of course I don't remember the name brand, but MFJ makes one pretty similar to it. MFJ-1812 The nice thing about the fold-over feature is that you can lay the scanner on its back and position the antenna vertically and not have to worry about knocking the scanner over!
 

iMONITOR

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Many years ago I bought a fold-over telescopic antenna with a BNC connector. Of course I don't remember the name brand, but MFJ makes one pretty similar to it. MFJ-1812 The nice thing about the fold-over feature is that you can lay the scanner on its back and position the antenna vertically and not have to worry about knocking the scanner over!

Maldol makes one, available from Universal Radio:
Maldol AH-W100RX Scanner Antenna
 

jrbugee

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Wow, that's a lot of great information! You've given me a great start on my research. Thanks everyone!!!!

- John
 

jclarkr6

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I'd recommend the Watson W-889. I own one and it provides great reception on most bands, including the bands you would be monitoring. It's a telescopic antenna so you can adjust the length of the antenna to suit the band you that intend to monitor.

Personally, I would stay away from the Maldol AH-W100RX Antenna. That was my previous antenna, its reception was inferior to the W-889. I also found the construction of the Maldol antenna to be poor. I got the W-889 to replace the Maldol.
 
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