Newbie Antenna Advice

Salvatorejrc

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Joined
Jun 9, 2020
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34
Location
Morris County, Nj
So I'm brand new to this hobby, and as of now I am in the process of purchasing a Uniden sds100 for mobile use and possibly a Uniden bcd996p2 for desktop use. What type of antenna should I buy for my house and my car for the best results in regards to picking up frequencies?
Sal
 

questnz

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Hi depends what you want to listen to and where you are. For Home, you may want to check one of the discone antennas, eg Diamond D130 with good quality low loss Coax Cable to match. Alternative DPD Omni-X is another good choice. For Vehicle Laird or Larsen Triband NMO antennas works well.
 

mmckenna

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As Q suggested, there's a number of variables involved. There isn't a 'best' antenna for all applications.

Knowing where you are and who you want to listen to would really help other give you useful information. Another big help is letting us know what your budget is and you skill level for doing installations. No point in us recommending an antenna that's outside your budget or you would be unable to install.
 

Salvatorejrc

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
34
Location
Morris County, Nj
As Q suggested, there's a number of variables involved. There isn't a 'best' antenna for all applications.

Knowing where you are and who you want to listen to would really help other give you useful information. Another big help is letting us know what your budget is and you skill level for doing installations. No point in us recommending an antenna that's outside your budget or you would be unable to install.
I just updated my location (morris county nj) and I'm very very new to the scanner world, so my skill and knowledge would be at zero. My budget is pretty much very flexible. So how do you reccomend I learn how to understand the concept when being relative to what I would like to hear in my area?
 

mmckenna

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I just updated my location (morris county nj) and I'm very very new to the scanner world, so my skill and knowledge would be at zero. My budget is pretty much very flexible. So how do you reccomend I learn how to understand the concept when being relative to what I would like to hear in my area?
Looks like a lot of VHF, UHF and some low band VHF in your county.

A good basic antenna that will probably work is a basic discone. Not outstanding performers, but what they have going for them is the ability to cover a lot of spectrum with one antenna.
Depending on your proximity to those transmitters, it might work well, or you might need to look at a different antenna, like a commercial dual band base antenna with a separate antenna for low band. Low band can be challenging and it really likes to have a long antenna. The whips on top of some discone antennas can work passably for low band.

The trick with antennas is to get them up as high as you can. VHF and UHF tend to be 'line of sight', as in if your antenna can see the transmitting antenna, you'll likely hear them. The higher up your antenna is, the more it can see.

Coaxial cable is also really important. Doesn't matter how expensive or high up your antenna is, if you don't have good coaxial cable, the signal won't make it to your radio.

So, it's up to you. A lot of the hobby is experimenting. Different antennas, different locations, etc. We can look at the database and see what frequencies the agencies use, but the ability for you to hear them really depends on where your antenna is in relation to them. Remember that public safety agencies design their radio systems to cover their jurisdictions. They don't put effort/money into extending coverage much out beyond that.

You can often use programs like Google Earth to figure out your location in relation to the transmitter sites shown on the FCC license. Using terrain profiles of the path between you and them will give you some ideas of what's going to get in the way of the signal.
You can also talk to other users in your area. They may be able to give you an idea of what you should be able to hear, what will be out of range, and what might work best.

So much of this is about good antennas in the right place. That can be trial and error, and without having the exact latitude and longitude of your home, it's difficult to estimate that. Google (earth) is your friend.
 

tvengr

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Feb 10, 2019
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Location
Baltimore County, MD
I just updated my location (morris county nj)
Here is a Morris Co hpe favorites list file for programming your SDS100. You will need to import it into Uniden Sentinel programming software. You can go ahead and download and install Sentinel while waiting for the scanner. Here is the link: BCDx36HPSentinel < UnidenMan4 < TWiki
I suggest the SDS200 for your base. The BCD996P2 most likely will have problems with simulcast distortion on the NJICS and Morris Co systems.
 

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