New 800MHz Antenna

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reades50

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I recently purchased a Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna. 800MHz Scanner Antenna - RadioShack.com It is a replacement antenna for my PRO-106 Digital Scanner. I am experiencing a few problems. First, all digital trunked systems receive great and have excellent signal strength. The problem is that the conventional frequencies come and go. For example, I hear nothing on frequencies that normally squawk for hours and then all of a sudden the channels will sound off for quiet some time but only to cease again. This process is continuous and regular. I can often turn the scanner off and immediately turn it back on and all channels operate as normal for a short time. When I replace the 800MHz antenna with the Rubber Duck that came with the scanner, the conventional channels operate as normal, but I suffer reception with law enforcement and fire. The antenna is advertised to boost 800MHz frequencies but to also receive all other frequencies in the PRO-106's range. My question is do I have a faulty antenna or is this the characteristics of this antenna paired with the PRO-106? I have looked at this page for possible solutions Easier to Read Pro-106/197/PSR500/600 Digital Scanner Manual but have not found any setting change to rectify the problem. I am tempted to just go and buy another antenna and see if it behaves in the same manner, but I thought it best to get some thoughts before doing so.

Thanks,
Ricky
 

DredMLM

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RS 800 meg ant.

Ricky,
No, you didn't get a defective antenna. I have three of them and they all perform equally. Yes the antenna WILL receive conventional freqs......as long as you are close to the transmitter! It REALLY is tuned to the 800MHz band so anything you get out of that band is just strong signals. I used to use those antennas at air shows 'cuz they are nice and short and tend to not get caught up in clothing, etc. At the show, it worked well on VHF and UHF air bands.....but I was quite near the transmitters/antennas.
Craig
Watervliet NY
 

jim202

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My first thought is that the new antenna is picking up a strong transmitter someplace and is causing your receiver to go deaf from being overloaded. Using your old original antenna did not cause the problem.

Before you go blaming the new antenna, you need to do some home work on what the actual issue is.
 

reades50

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Jim,

That makes sense. So when you say "goes deaf"...does that mean the scanner does not receive any frequencies? I ask because I never lose all reception. I continuously receive the Trunked 800MHz frequencies very well. I am going to adjust the HD5 Fade in Global settings and see if the problem is solved. "HD5 Fade Length of time to wait after losing a CTCSS/DCS/NAC signal. If the scanner loses programmed CTCSS, DCS, or NAC for the time specified in that parameter, it will mute audio. Increasing the time may help with the above-described behavior under weak signal or overload conditions".hanks for the input and I agree that I do not believe the antenna is the problem.
 

n5ims

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Please be aware that an antenna is designed for one or more frequency ranges, not system types. The 800 MHz antenna is designed to provide best receiption on the 800 MHz band of frequencies (analog, digital, trunking, conventional, clicks to turn on and off sprinkler systems, whatever). The standard duck shipped with the scanner is generally a VHF-Hi antenna (that often has good results on UHF as well) so it works better on those bands (but not necessarily so well on VHF-Low or the 800 MHz bands).

From the performance issues you're talking about I suspect that the "Digital Trunked Systems" are all on the 800 MHz bands and the "Conventional Systems" are on the VHF-Hi and/or UHF bands. This is why you're getting the performance you see. If your area had one of the VHF-Hi Digital Trunked Systems, the 800 MHz antenna wouldn't pick that up nearly as well as a Conventional System that was on 800 MHz, but the stock ducky would.

Please be aware that antenna makers do not want to say that an antenna will not work somewhere. When they say it will work "on all bands" but lable it for just one or two (such as "800 MHz" or "VHF/UHF") you should really only count it working on the specific bands and for "all other bands" think if you get a signal OK, but there's no promises that you will.

I have several of the "800 MHz" antennas from Radio Shack and they are very good for the 800 MHz bands. They do not work very well on the other bands though. I can get VHF and UHF signals with it, but only from closer/stronger stations than if those stations were on the 800 MHz band. I also have several dual band VHF-Hi/UHF antennas. They pick up stations on the VHF-Hi and UHF bands great, but don't work as well on the 800 MHz band stations.

It's not that either antenna is bad, it's just that you're asking them to do something they really weren't designed for. In the past, I've carried heavy loads of supplies in a station wagon, a standard car, and a truck. While they all worked, using the truck worked best. I've also had several folks (about 10 or so in each) ride in a van and a 2 seat sports car. While those in the sports car had fun, they weren't very comfortable and were glad to get out after the 3/4 mile trip (and the campus police officer just gave us a warning). Those in the van were comfortable for the several hundred mile trip.

Although the station wagon and car can haul freight they didn't do it well. Although the MG Sprite could transport 10 people at once we won't do that again (or so we told the officer). The engineers that designed them wouldn't recommend it either, but the folks that market the stuff would probably list them as features (although the legal team may remove some, such as the 10 folks in the MG Sprite). That's why some antennas designed for a single band or even as a dual band coverage will indicate that they'll also work for every other scanner band, and not mention that although it may work, it probably won't work very well on those it wasn't designed to handle.
 

reades50

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WOW! I just purchased this antenna for the Radio Shack PRO-106. It works awesome. I can pick up signals from over 60 miles away with ease. It solved all my problems!

Center-Loaded Telescoping Whip Antenna
(Cat. No. 20-006)
style= "font-weight:bold">Product Features:
Receives 25 to 1300MHz
Transmits on 144 MHz, 220 MHz and 440MHz Ham bands
Nine sections
 

nanZor

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...Receives 25 to 1300MHz...
Yes, but not very well across that wide of a spectrum all at once - kind of like how the 800mhz RS duck works best around 800mhz because it is tuned there at the factory - even though you can still pick up other bands - just not as well as one that was tuned for a very specific range.

Fully extended, the RS telescopic is resonant around 45 mhz. Not even near the low of 25 mhz that they show in the specs - yet you can hear stuff there so they aren't really lying. :) Push the top element about half-way into the coil to disable the coil, and you now have a vhf airband tuned quarter wave. Push all the elements down, and you have a UHF 450 mhz spike. Yes, you can hear 800mhz stuff, but it would be better if the telescopic had 18 elements to shorten it down to 3 inches to really get better 800mhz reception.

Like the other posters mentioned, antennas work best for the specific band(s) they are tuned for - the other bands mentioned are possible to receive on, but you need a very strong signal, or are willing to accept a bit of a compromise out of the tuned band.
 

KE4RWS

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Ever increasing prices

I recently purchased a Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna. 800MHz Scanner Antenna - RadioShack.com

Thanks,
Ricky
Wow, the shack steadily keeps increasing their 800 MHz rubber duck antenna over time :eek:

I can remember when they were $14.99. Then they went to $16.99, $19.99, and according to the link above they are now $20.99 :(

They really are very good 800 MHz antenna's though :)
 

ertony

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are you talking about your trunked system doing this? (going quiet shortly after turning scanner off and on)? because it sounds like a trunking(programming) issue that you have to fix... i had this same problem on the orange county trunked system. its doing this because you have all the control channels programmed and its not a simulcast system... meaning you are inrange of several tranamitting towers however the trunked talk groups are only on certain towers... your scanner is probably set to "lock on" to the control channel with the strongest signal, but that tower could have little no talk group activity... so you end up hearing nothing... you have to set your trunked system to check ALL the control channels for activity, not just one... hope this helps... ertonyrn@gmail.com
I recently purchased a Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna. 800MHz Scanner Antenna - RadioShack.com It is a replacement antenna for my PRO-106 Digital Scanner. I am experiencing a few problems. First, all digital trunked systems receive great and have excellent signal strength. The problem is that the conventional frequencies come and go. For example, I hear nothing on frequencies that normally squawk for hours and then all of a sudden the channels will sound off for quiet some time but only to cease again. This process is continuous and regular. I can often turn the scanner off and immediately turn it back on and all channels operate as normal for a short time. When I replace the 800MHz antenna with the Rubber Duck that came with the scanner, the conventional channels operate as normal, but I suffer reception with law enforcement and fire. The antenna is advertised to boost 800MHz frequencies but to also receive all other frequencies in the PRO-106's range. My question is do I have a faulty antenna or is this the characteristics of this antenna paired with the PRO-106? I have looked at this page for possible solutions Easier to Read Pro-106/197/PSR500/600 Digital Scanner Manual but have not found any setting change to rectify the problem. I am tempted to just go and buy another antenna and see if it behaves in the same manner, but I thought it best to get some thoughts before doing so.

Thanks,
Ricky
 

Anderegg

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Update to my previous post. The new antenna DID have superior reception....for a few days. Now, my scanner gets BETTER reception with the antenna REMOVED than with the Laird. I haven't bent it or broken it as far as I know, it just went "bad". The stupid thing now will not hear a control channel, then I remove the antenna, I can hear the control channel. $40 down the drain. :-(

Paul
 

N1SQB

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Update to my previous post. The new antenna DID have superior reception....for a few days. Now, my scanner gets BETTER reception with the antenna REMOVED than with the Laird. I haven't bent it or broken it as far as I know, it just went "bad". The stupid thing now will not hear a control channel, then I remove the antenna, I can hear the control channel. $40 down the drain. :-(

Paul
Paul, it sounds like something that happened to me once. It may be that the new antenna is overloading your scanner's front end on that band. That happened to me once. The antenna gave me too much gain and a simple paper clip worked just fine. Weird! I ended up having to attenuate the signal via the scanner in order to use that antenna.

Manny
 

Anderegg

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I'm pretty sure I am not overloading it. In my 18 years of monitoring 800Mhz, I have never had a case of overloading in the San Diego area.....I believe that is a myth. :)

The signals I test with are 2 to 3 bar signals on my 396XT. I got more bars with the new ant when i first installed it, then started noticing it wasn't receiving when another scanner was, retested it, and the darn thing was not getting any signal. Ugh. It's a shame because this antenna looks better, no bulky adapter, and was really getting better reception when I first used it.

Paul
 
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