Newbie starting out in scanning, looking to build own antenna

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compuman86

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Jul 27, 2008
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hello all,
well, im new to this whole scanning thing. I've dabbled with CB before, and in my career ive worked with wireless internet equipment and researching antenna designs, so I have a (small) bit of knowledge in radio and such. I started scanning recently, and I am going farther into it, now wanting to pick up distant stations, up to 40-50 miles away, no Line-Of-Sight. from what i can tell, picking up scanners is similar to picking up TV stations, as they fall into a similar frequency range, though the power is lower (really lower) than that of a broadcast TV station. my question is, is it possible to put together a homemade antenna with hardware store-available parts, and how long would my radials need to be to effectively pick up the police/emergency bands (im not sure of beginning and end, but somewhere in that 150-400mhz +/- range) and is it possible to have a straight up and down or side to side antenna design? my only issue is nothing really funky looking, dont want to scare the neighbors or make the house look weird. like i said, im new in this, so all the info i can get would really help! thanks
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
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Jul 22, 2002
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23,245
Location
Bowie, Md.
The link below is from our wiki here on RR - it's probably as 'invisible' as you can get, and it's built with stuff from Home Depot/Lowe's (except the 300-75 ohm balun, and I think you can still get them at RS, Best Buy, ect.). Anything in blue or underlined is a link...

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Homebrewed_Off-Center_Fed_Dipole

However a better question would be if the 150-400 mhz range or thereabouts would be the ranges you really want. Look in our database - it's quite extensive. I can't see where you are (no sig line, no location, ect.) - city/county/state will do nicely.

Become familiar with what is being used in your area. Do you need digital? Trunking? All of these and many many more questions will be at least partially answered by doing your homework first. We have state-by-state forums, and a wiki article listing numerous scanning related mailing lists. Research!

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/US_Scanning_Mailing_Lists

73 Mike
 
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compuman86

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Joined
Jul 27, 2008
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well that does help alot. the nice thing is, I am currently working as a cable tv installer, so this stuff (rg6, rg11, baluns, RF parts) is just laying around and in good supply, i get decent size remnants of cable all the time by the dumpster. i will be adding to my sig, but i am in algonquin, il, mchenry county. I went through the database, thats how i figured out my range, I just have to find my lowest and highest frequencies. my frequencies are analog, non-trunked systems, probably the most encoding i would run into is ctcss. probably the most trouble id have is pulling the 400mhz range, which seems to be the furthest distance, and has the most loss compared to the local 150mhz range. once again, thanks for the info!
 
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