Mobile Antenna VHF/UHF/800 with gain?

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twhitson

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I just can't seem to find a good tri-band mobile antenna. Size and mounting are no object; it'll be on a Honda Element that already has HF/VHF/UHF ham antennas. I'm looking for something with gain on all bands, quality made, and as my vehicle already looks like Sputnik I really dont care if it further geeks it out. I live within 20 miles of a major city and along the interstate where the highway patrol uses a statewide 800mhz trunked system yet I find my performance lacking when I take my BCD396 mobile. Right now I'm using a no-name ham dual band 2m/440 mag mount but I'm ready to move up. I know the radio works; I pick up everything when I'm on my base J-pole at only 10 feet so I think I merely need a mobile upgrade. Any ideas?
 

ka3jjz

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It probably wouldn't hurt to upgrade the firmware as well, if you haven't done that already.

Interestingly, most scanner antenna manufacturers don't say much about 'gain' when they list their antennas - for example, here..

Scanner Antennas - The RadioReference Wiki

No doubt you would benefit from a better antenna, but having any 'gain' on it is going to work against you if you get near that major city. Personally speaking, I use the Austin Spectra - expensive but it works just fine with my 396 and my older 245. I get nailed a bit when I drive near 2 transmitter towers - and I expect that, no consumer grade radio is going to stand up to that - but the Spectra has been tough as nails, survived the Snowcalypse we had here just recently without any damage (snow got into the support spring - I shook it off and put it back on my trunk lip mount...); ice storms, hurricanes and no issues at all.

I see Comtelco has a low profile model (just recently saw the ad here) and there's also the very popular Larsen model that covers VHF/UHF and 800. Comtelco antennas are very well regarded, and the Larsen is similarly well thought of.

When it comes to 'gain' on a mobile scanner antenna - it's overrated, if you live in a semi urban area like me. Besides the few times I've seen it listed, it's almost always in db - not dbd or dbi. Somewhat misleading, frankly.

73 Mike
 

Swipesy

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I like the Laird/Antenex Phantom TRA 8063P 806-866 band antenna. It is the size of a salt shaker, is outstanding on 800, very good on UHF, good on high VHF, completely deaf on low VHF. It is not inexpensive by the time you get done with the mag mount but I have used mine for 5 years and it still looks good as new, low profile as just plain works. Comes in black or white.
 

newsphotog

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Des Moines, IA
I like the Laird/Antenex Phantom TRA 8063P 806-866 band antenna. It is the size of a salt shaker, is outstanding on 800, very good on UHF, good on high VHF, completely deaf on low VHF. It is not inexpensive by the time you get done with the mag mount but I have used mine for 5 years and it still looks good as new, low profile as just plain works. Comes in black or white.
I'll second that. I use the Antenex Phantom ETRAB8063 and it's pretty awesome. Most of what I listen to is now 800MHz, with one city still on UHF and county fire on VHF. It all performs very well.

If you want better reception on VHF and UHF, you'll sacrifice good reception on 800, but if that's what you want then I'd recommend the Larsen 150/450/800 tri-band scanner antenna. I used this on my car until I reconfigured everything. It worked ok, but I still prefer my Phantom.
 
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