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newbie Antenna questions

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stas

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
4
Hi,
I dont know much about scanners or antennas but I recently got a RS pro-2055 scanner and would like to ask some questions.
I live about two miles from a major airport (Newark) and one of my primary reasons for getting the scanner was to listen to air traffic but I cant seem to pick up anything. I went to RS and got the following antenna:http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103641&cp=2032052.2032075.2032078.2032098&allCount=24&fbn=Type/Scanner/HAM&f=PAD/Product+Type/Scanner/HAM&fbc=1&parentPage=family
I have it mounted on the roof of my apartment building which is 4 stories high. However I still cant pick up any air traffic. I'm guessing I might have the wrong antenna? Can someone shed some light on this?
Thanks, Stas
 

jon_k

Member
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
269
Location
Fort Worth, Republic of Texas
stas said:
No I cant. Thats the problem. These are the frequencies im trying to use:
http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=1170
If the frequencies are right, I cant hear anything.
Stas
I'm sorry, I didn't quite ask it right. "You can pickup the airport nearby, correct?" I mean can you pick it up using a mobile unit when you are nearby (driving past) the airport within a certain proximity?

The frequencies for your airport are well within the "optimum" range advertised for that antenna, so as far as I'd think there should be no issue picking it up. You'd think even a "rubber" mobile antenna would work since air traffic control probably transmits with a lot of power behind it for safety reasons.

I'm not sure why you are having issues. If your rig will work when you are across the street from the airport, and not at home then there's something strange going on. Either that or the antenna you have is defective. At about how far away from the airport do you lose the broadcast? You might even take this antenna and park with it across the street from the airport to test it's ability to pick anything up. It very well could be broken.

I would turn squelch ALL the way down and you should at least hear lots of static. This will prove the antenna is not a total brick, as it will prove it is capable of picking up the background radiation on that frequency. If it can do that, then it should in theory pick up the airport.

Someone else might chip in with greater insight.
 
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BKIN

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
18
The aircraft freqs you're tryng to receive are AM.
Did you try using the pre-programmed settings or are
you programming them in yourself?
You may need to set the scanner to AM mode.
 

senduhelp

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
125
Location
Mechanicsburg, PA
I wonder where the NY Tracon (ie. approach/departure freqs) is located? It may not be as close to you as the airport. Either way, if nothing else, you should still hear the airplanes talking to ATC. From my understanding the NY Tracon serves several airports in the area such as JFK, Laguardia, etc.. But as I said you should be able to hear the planes that are landing at Newark talking.
 

stas

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
4
I know to set the mode to AM.

What are some frequencies (or how do I look for them) on which I cold listen to airplanes talk in my area NJ/NYC?
Stas
 

BKIN

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Messages
18
OK stas, can you receive anything with the antenna?
Local VHF-UHF Police/Fire?
 

Eburris12

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Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
29
Location
Fort Myers Florida
My Pro-433 has built in memory banks for different services. I can choose to scan just the air bands. If your radio has that function, try scanning the entire band. Also, if it is not a major airport, there may not be much traffic TO catch so be patient and listen a while. Also some ameture pilots talk between aircraft on 123.4500 MHz so thats a good one to monitor.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,891
Location
Bowie, Md.
Stas I would definitely join the NNJ Scan Yahoo group which concentrates its coverage in that area. If you are too far away from the airport, I would suggest concentrating on the approach/departure freqs. Things like ground services and the tower won't propagate all that far, especially using a duckie antenna, which is a compromise in the first place. If you think that the database freqs are wrong, a popular place to try (apart from the Yahoo group, where it's very likely you will get what you are looking for anyway) is the Airnav website. Be sure to submit any corrections to the database team.

By the way, with a premium subscription, and ARC433 from BuTel (available from Scanner Master) you can download freqs directly from the database into the banks editor, and from there into the scanner. If there's many freqs you need to program, it makes things easier.

73 Mike

[edit] you can read about premium subscriptions here - anything in blue (and in the wiki, underlined) is a link....

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/subscription/
 

Jim41

Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
184
stas said:
Hi,
I dont know much about scanners or antennas but I recently got a RS pro-2055 scanner and would like to ask some questions.
I live about two miles from a major airport (Newark) and one of my primary reasons for getting the scanner was to listen to air traffic but I cant seem to pick up anything. I went to RS and got the following antenna:http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103641&cp=2032052.2032075.2032078.2032098&allCount=24&fbn=Type/Scanner/HAM&f=PAD/Product+Type/Scanner/HAM&fbc=1&parentPage=family
I have it mounted on the roof of my apartment building which is 4 stories high. However I still cant pick up any air traffic. I'm guessing I might have the wrong antenna? Can someone shed some light on this?
Thanks, Stas
Are you able to receive any signals with this antenna? NOAA Weather Stations? Local municipalities?

If not, your problem could be an antenna cable or connector problem.

Another potential problem could be front-end receiver overload from other strong signals that are nearby. If your scanner has an attenuator, try turning it on and compare performance. Next, compare performance between the roof top antenna and an antenna connected at the scanner.

Let us know the results.

Jim41
 

stas

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
4
Hi,
thank you for all the replies. Yes, I can receive local police. And I know that the antenna works somewhat because with it I can catch the state police which I cant hear without it (ie with the stock antenna). I tried using the pre-programed search for air traffic but it comes up with nothing. I'm truly confused. I have three of the busiest airports in the country around my house with one being a grand total of two miles away and I cant find any airplanes?
Stas
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,891
Location
Bowie, Md.
Concentrate on the approach and departure stuff, Stas, and make sure you program the frequencies in AM mode, not FM.

Of course, that little stick is inefficient at these ranges. Truly the simplest antenna you can make is a ground plane - (anything in blue - or in our wiki, underlined - is a link). While this article shows how to build a 144 mhz g-p, simply substitute a frequency of 125 mhz in the formula given and recompute....

http://www.hamuniverse.com/2metergp.html

73 Mike
 
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