Most sensitive or best VHF base radio

cwhill

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As with any hobby I get involved I tend to get OCD...I’m a network tech by trade and I tend to obsess on performance. Anyway I decided to get into scanning. I’ve always wanted to. I have the sds100 and LOVE it. In my area it works terrific on an P 25 simulcast system. There is another county nearby that I pickup very well that is all VHF (155 range). I’d like to get a separate outside antenna and a base for that VHF county range. I have a BC125 but I’d like a base radio instead. What’s the general consensus on the best or most sensitive Uniden base for strictly VHF (155) range?
Thanks for any input.
 

jim202

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Have you ever considered going to some commercial used radios. The Motorola Spectra dash mount, low power radios make perfect monitor radios for the VHF and UHF bands. They are cheap on the used market and easy to program with an old computer that you run DOS on. Something in the order of less than 1 GHz. clock speed. Can't user more than an 80 GB hard drive formatted in FAT32.

I take and make dual partitions on the hard drive. One for DOS with the limited 80 GB space. Then use the rest of the hard drive to run Window XP so I have the ability to get onto the Internet or my local network to move files between computers.

The programming software for the radios is not that hard to find. But you will need to use a RIB between the computer serial port and the radio. The needed cables you can make up your self.

The batlabs site has all the information you should be looking for.
 

cwhill

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Have you ever considered going to some commercial used radios. The Motorola Spectra dash mount, low power radios make perfect monitor radios for the VHF and UHF bands. They are cheap on the used market and easy to program with an old computer that you run DOS on. Something in the order of less than 1 GHz. clock speed. Can't user more than an 80 GB hard drive formatted in FAT32.

I take and make dual partitions on the hard drive. One for DOS with the limited 80 GB space. Then use the rest of the hard drive to run Window XP so I have the ability to get onto the Internet or my local network to move files between computers.

The programming software for the radios is not that hard to find. But you will need to use a RIB between the computer serial port and the radio. The needed cables you can make up your self.

The batlabs site has all the information you should be looking for.
Oh that sounds like a fun project! I hadn’t considered that at all. Thanks for the idea.
 

cwhill

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If you don't need to demodulate digital modes then the BCT15X is a very nice option. I purchased a used one early last month to monitor a neighboring county that uses conventional analog VHF/UHF, and it works very well.
I was looking at that very radio, It seemed like a good fit for what I was looking to do..
 

ratboy

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I have an old Icom IC2100H/2200H/2300H (Not the plain 2300, a totally different radio) 2 meter mobiles that works great on VHF. Very sensitive and very loud clear audio. Very solid, and they are CHEAP to buy used.. I have either the 2200H or 2300H, I can't remember, it's been in a box since I moved 3 years ago.
 

JoshuaHufford

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I have an old Icom IC2100H/2200H/2300H (Not the plain 2300, a totally different radio) 2 meter mobiles that works great on VHF. Very sensitive and very loud clear audio. Very solid, and they are CHEAP to buy used.. I have either the 2200H or 2300H, I can't remember, it's been in a box since I moved 3 years ago.
I'm not familiar at all with Icom rados.

How many channels do these hold?
Are they able to scan channels and if so how many at one time?
Can they be programed from the front of the radio or do you need a PC?
 

iMONITOR

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I was looking at that very radio, It seemed like a good fit for what I was looking to do..
Check the Classifieds here on Radio Reference!
 

WB9YBM

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As with any hobby I get involved I tend to get OCD...I’m a network tech by trade and I tend to obsess on performance. Anyway I decided to get into scanning. I’ve always wanted to. I have the sds100 and LOVE it. In my area it works terrific on an P 25 simulcast system. There is another county nearby that I pickup very well that is all VHF (155 range). I’d like to get a separate outside antenna and a base for that VHF county range. I have a BC125 but I’d like a base radio instead. What’s the general consensus on the best or most sensitive Uniden base for strictly VHF (155) range?
Thanks for any input.
In addition to sensitivity, I'd also be concerned about selectivity: a super-sensitive radio doesn't do much good if it can't select between the frequency you want to listen to and adjacent frequency "crap". Might not be an issue (or as big of an issue) out in the boondocks but with all the signals happening in a big city...yeah, definitely worth considering. Also, the best receiver in the world is only as good as the antenna system...
 

ratboy

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I'm not familiar at all with Icom rados.

How many channels do these hold?
Are they able to scan channels and if so how many at one time?
Can they be programed from the front of the radio or do you need a PC?
The 2300H is still being made, and it's $169. You don't need a PC to set it, but I think you can if you want. It receives to 174MHZ, not just 2 meters. The 2XXX Icoms are LOUD. Especially with an external speaker, but plenty loud with the one in it.
Here are the specs:

The IC-2300H, 144MHz mobile, retains the same basic features from the popular IC-2200H; powerful 65W output power, simple-to-use user interface, built-in CTCSS and DTCS encoder/decoder, etc. While keeping those basic features, the IC-2300H is packed in to a smaller body (in depth) than the IC-2200H.
Output Power 65W, 25W, 10W, 5W
RX Frequencies:144-148MHz
Memory Channels: 207 (includes 6 scan edges & 1 call)
Simple Operation
Panel Layout
The IC-2300H’s basic panel layout includes a simple user interface. A large LCD with 6 alphanumeric characters offers a good viewing angle for mobile operation. Select either the amber, yellow or green backlight color. The bottom of the display indicates the available front panel functions.
Built Tough
Rough roads won’t stop the IC-2300H from working. This mobile has been tested to and has passed the latest MIL-STD 810 G specifications including shock, vibration and temperature tests. The rugged aluminum diecast chassis provides effective heat dissipation and keeps RF output even during high duty cycle continuous transmission.
Multiple Scan Functions
The IC-2300H supports various scan types for maximum reception to suit your needs. The DMS (Dynamic Memory Scan) system allows you to scan selected banks from 10 memory banks by simply adding and deleting bank links.
  • Full scan
  • Programmed scan
  • Memory scan
  • Bank scan
  • Bank link scan (DMS)
  • Skip scan
  • Priority scan
  • Tone scan

Additional Features
  • Built-in CTCSS and DTCS encoder/decoder for quiet standby and repeater access
  • Power supply voltage display
  • 4.5W (typical) loud audio
  • Reduced depth dimensions
  • DTMF autodial
  • Time-out timer
  • Repeater lockout
  • Automatic power off
  • S-meter squelch
  • Wide/narrow channel setting
  • Weather channel receive and weather alert function
  • Automatic repeater function
  • Selectable squelch delay from short and long
  • Squelch attenuator reduces suppression from string signals
 

WB9YBM

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I've had a few Icom hand-helds in the past and also an Icom mobile I use as a base station; while I'm not familiar with the specific model mentioned in this thread, I can at least vouch that in the models I've used Icom is a good radio...
 
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The 15X is really good, but for conventional analog, many ham rigs are awesome. Better than a scanner. Commercial radios are more of a pain to program and aren't keypad programmable and have fewer knobs/buttons and stuff for scanning.
 

n5ims

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Be aware that anymore a "base" radio is pretty much just a mobile radio with a power supply. If you stay with a scanner, most of the "base/mobile" scanners include a wall-wart power supply to make it work fine on standard home A/C power. A commercial or ham mobile radio will require a separate power supply to run it. Unless you transmit (and note that a license WILL be required for that), a typical small 12vdc supply should work. I'd get at least a 20 amp supply though for two reasons. 1) you might get your ham license and want to transmit and you'd be ready and 2) that single power supply will handle multiple radios (in receive only mode) very easily so you can dedicate a radio to a frequency of interest or divide your frequencies up over many radios so they will rarely miss a transmission.
 

ratboy

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I would agree with the above, but I would pay the extra for a 35 amp supply as I had two 20 amp supplies fail before the warranty expired. The manufacturer's comment was "You shouldn't run them so close to max output!", so the last time, I paid for a 35 and it's been going along without a hitch for many years. The first one that failed was a Pyramid, not great, but the second one was an Astron. I have both a 35 amp Pyramid as a backup and a 35 amp Astron for my primary.
 

WB9YBM

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I would agree with the above, but I would pay the extra for a 35 amp supply as I had two 20 amp supplies fail before the warranty expired. The manufacturer's comment was "You shouldn't run them so close to max output!", so the last time, I paid for a 35 and it's been going along without a hitch for many years. The first one that failed was a Pyramid, not great, but the second one was an Astron. I have both a 35 amp Pyramid as a backup and a 35 amp Astron for my primary.
That manufacturers' comment sounds like B.S.; if the supply can't deliver at stated levels, then it's rated wrong! One thing that's helped me is reading the fine print: some (honest) companies will say something like 50% duty cycle but the less reputable ones will say "sure it'll deliver X amount of current" but conveniently fail to mention the unit can do it for only three minutes out of fifteen!
 

n5ims

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Remember that nearly all power supplies are rated at their "peak" current, which is designed to only be momentary. Check closely for their continuous current ratings, which is often 10 to 15% less than that peak rating. Most 20 amp supplies are only rated for 16 - 17 amps continuous duty load and will quickly fail if you attempt to run them at 20 amps continuously.
 

WB9YBM

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Remember that nearly all power supplies are rated at their "peak" current, which is designed to only be momentary. Check closely for their continuous current ratings, which is often 10 to 15% less than that peak rating. Most 20 amp supplies are only rated for 16 - 17 amps continuous duty load and will quickly fail if you attempt to run them at 20 amps continuously.
That's one reason I recommend people check the spec's, and also why I recommend Astron: they say their duty cycle is 10 minutes on (max out) followed by 10 minutes of reduced current draw. Of course if we add cooling fans, we can improve (i.e. reduce) the "off" time...
 
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