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Looking for a good antenna to fix 396 sensitivity issue.

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wise871

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Today I received my 396T and I not to happy about its reception. My old Pro-93 blows it away when it comes to locking on to all the frequencies I listen too. Don’t get me wrong, I love what this scanner can do. I bought it because I wanted something that matches my 996T. I’m very impressed with what it can do; I just wish the sensitivity was better.

I mainly listen to police and fire on conventional channels in my area. They range in the following:

Fire
150.7875 -173.9875 MHz (VHF High Band)

Police and EMS
450.0000 - 469.9875 MHz (UHF Standard Band)

I also live near 3 major military installations and they are all on APCO P25 digital, partially encrypted system in the 385 - 390 MHz range. Is there an antenna that can help me improve the sensitivity in these ranges? I took the stock antenna from my 996T and put it on the 396. It helps some and I saw an increase in signal but I would rather use an antenna that is close to the stock version.

Before anyone asks, I do have the 396 configured correctly. It matches the 996 settings.
Any advice would be appreciated. I’m just a little bummed out right now.

Thanks
Dan
 

hiegtx

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wise871 said:
Today I received my 396T and I not to happy about its reception. My old Pro-93 blows it away when it comes to locking on to all the frequencies I listen too. Don’t get me wrong, I love what this scanner can do. I bought it because I wanted something that matches my 996T. I’m very impressed with what it can do; I just wish the sensitivity was better.

I mainly listen to police and fire on conventional channels in my area. They range in the following:

Fire
150.7875 -173.9875 MHz (VHF High Band)

Police and EMS
450.0000 - 469.9875 MHz (UHF Standard Band)

I also live near 3 major military installations and they are all on APCO P25 digital, partially encrypted system in the 385 - 390 MHz range. Is there an antenna that can help me improve the sensitivity in these ranges? I took the stock antenna from my 996T and put it on the 396. It helps some and I saw an increase in signal but I would rather use an antenna that is close to the stock version.

Before anyone asks, I do have the 396 configured correctly. It matches the 996 settings.
Any advice would be appreciated. I’m just a little bummed out right now.

Thanks
Dan
You might consider the Diamond RH77CA antenna. It's set up for better performance in the two band areas that interest you. I'm using it on my 246 & the very similar RH771 on my BR330 for Vhf-high & Uhf. It still picks up the stronger 800Mhz systems, but that's not it's strong point. The SRH77CA (on the same page linked above) is identical to the RH77CA, but terminates in the SMA connector needed for the 396 without using the adapter. You can use the other one, which has a BNC connector, by using the adapter that came with the scanner.
 

DaveIN

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Did you try the RadioShack 20-283; 800MHz antenna (with the BNC/SMA adapter) it works with those bands as well as 800MHz.

Diamond makes a good 2M/440MHz SMA; Diamond SRH-519, or Maldol Comet MH-209SMA Active Hunter.
 

wise871

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Thanks for the inputs. I did pick up the RS800 today and it seems to help a little. I now get 1 bar on the signal meter where I didn't before on some channels. Still not the greatest improvement but better then stock. I will look into the SRH77CA. I'm not keen on a 15in antenna when the reason I bought the 396 was, I wanted something I could through in my pocket. From the research I've seen in the forum, this may be my only option. I'm just fustrated that my old Pro-93 doesn't have these issues and it's stock.

Thanks
 

RISC777

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Do you still have the -93? If so, have you tried its antenna on the 396? Just a thought.
 

wise871

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No, not yet. I let a friend borrow it. I got him hooked on the hobby.
 

wise871

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Just an update, I ordered the SRH77CA this weekend. I sure hope it fixes my sensitivity issues. I know it has a lot to do with location and transmitter but from the testing I have done so far, I hope the new antenna will improve things.

I don't live in a big major city, but a small town in Navarre located in the Florida Panhandle. I monitor both are county sheriff, police and fire departments. We also have three major military installations in my area. The area where I live is flat with very few obstructions. I tested the 396T with the Pro-2005, Pro-93 and the BCD996T. All these scanners where able to pick up the frequencies with the default antennas with out a problem, nice and clear on most channels. I had to move the 396 around and listen through the weak signal to hear the same transmissions. The local county sheriff’s office has three channels in my area and I can only pick up one of them clearly on the 396 without making the extra effort.

I did notice something when I went into town the other day. I live 10 miles from Ft. Walton Beach so I drove into town and the 396 worked like my other scanners. I was able to see strong signal bars. What I don't get is how come my other scanners pick up signals 10 to 20 miles away clear as day and the 396 doesn't. I did add the RS800 but it only showed little improvement. Just to check I also connected the 396T to my Scantenna and compared the signal bars with my 996T. The 396 was getting less bar indications then the 996.

I've been reading the forums for a month now to get the full understanding of this radio and how it works. I see some users say it's the radio and others say it's the antenna and locations. I'm not sure anymore. One thing I know, this is a great little radio when it comes to functions.

P.S. Is there a way to tell when it was made. My radio had an older firmware installed when I bought it, v1.09.00 so I updated it to 1.11.03.
 
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wise871

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Question? Does repeater find turned to on effect regular conventional scanning? I was messing around and decided to turn it on. Now during regular scanning, I’m hearing all the traffic that I was missing. It’s almost like the sensitivity has improved. The Sheriff system here utilizes 10 satellite locations and is interconnected by phone lines providing portable coverage in the County. I’m not in search mode but regular scan. If I turn it off, I’m back to where I was in my previous message.
 

GTO_04

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Not sure what you mean by turning repeater on. You normally want to listen to the repeater output not the inputs. If you listen to the repeater inputs you will only be hearing the mobile units. That is not normally what you want, and of course your range will be reduced considerably, and you will miss the base station traffic.

GTO_04
 

Codeman

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wise871 said:
Just an update, I ordered the SRH77CA this weekend. I sure hope it fixes my sensitivity issues. I know it has a lot to do with location and transmitter but from the testing I have done so far, I hope the new antenna will improve things.
...
On weaker freqs, from both peripheral counties and air/ham, the SRH77CA really helped my reception. I suspect you'll see some improvement as well. Whether it's enough to overcome the longer length, though...

I ended up buying 2 SRH77CA. One stays at home, one at work, while I use a Centurion EXE-806-SM in between. It's slightly better than the RS 800 in my area, but it's also got an SMA connector.
 
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