No Signal (Radiant Barrier)

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outrun

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I just moved to a new house in Allen, Texas. They cities around here use all new technology so I bought a Uniden 435HD Portable. Got the new house and couldn't pick up anything. Now it's been months and If I am lucky I might get a few words and that is it.

Turns out their is a radiant barrier in the attack. I tried pulling some of it back in a certain area but it didn't make a difference. I am not on my second antenna to with still no signal. I am about ready to just drill a hole in the ceiling and run a cable up there. Problem is my ceilings are 12ft tall. Takes a massive ladder.

Im frustrated. Anyone have any recommendations on what to do?

Jason
 

mmckenna

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You have to get the antenna outside of the structure.

Radiant barriers in your attic are probably part of the problem. Foil backed insulation, "Low E" glass, etc all add to the issue.

All this metal creates a Faraday cage. Basically an enclosed space, where you and your scanner are, that can't be penetrated by RF very well.

You need to get the antenna outside and up as high as you can. Probably it won't take much. Ideally you want the antenna totally in the clear, which usually means up above the roof.

If you do it right, as in good coaxial cable and a good antenna, you'll be surprised as to how well your radio can work. There is a drawback, though. Some of these systems are simulcast, which means they are transmitting the same signal on the same frequency from multiple towers. Scanners often have a hard time dealing with simulcast systems if they are picking up multiple transmitters on the same frequencies. In those cases, too good an antenna can cause issues.
 

br0adband

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Just for the record I think you meant to say "radiant barrier in the attic..." ;)

Never heard of a radiant barrier till your post but I see from some quick research that yes indeed it's a real actual thing, go figure. I'm not sure just what kind of effect that barrier's material may have on actual radio wave propagation aka is it causing the signals to just bounce off your house (literally) and prevent decent reception on the inside or what.

Can you comment on how the scanner works if you're outside the home, preferably in a position that's in the direction of the transmitter site you're trying to monitor? You can look at the RadioReference database information for the systems in your area and track down where the actual transmitter sites are located based on GPS coordinates tied to the FCC licensing for a given system.

If the scanner works great outside or at least much better than it does inside then yes, getting an external antenna - preferably one on the site-facing side - would probably help things obviously. If however being outside no matter where you're positioned you're not getting good reception then it could be you happen to have a home in a dead-spot area that could require a lot more effort and hardware to get a workable signal you can depend on.
 

outrun

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Thanks for the info guys. Guess I will have to hire someone to get up on the roof. I am going to get some kind of adapter like bluetooth where I can have the audio broadcast to wherever I am in the house.
 

br0adband

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Bluetooth has a roughly 30 foot limitation and it's affected by metallic surfaces even more so than the stuff you're trying to listen to (2.4 GHz radio waves are very "bouncy" in that respect and don't penetrate structures and walls all that well) so you might find yourself even more frustrated by attempting that.

I'm sure you'll figure it all out at some point, however.
 

marksmith

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A quick solution is to get a cheap antenna made to be stuck to the window. I have several and they work great, especially for 700-860mz

Mark
536/436/WS1095/HP1/HP2/996T/996XT/996P2/396XT/325P2/PSR800/15X/others
 

Rred

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The OP is in Texas. Won't need a ladder, a bullet costs less than a buck and at twelve feet it shouldn't be too hard to point.(G)
The problem may be more than the radiant barrier in the attic, if the home is constructed with folded sheet metal ("steel") beams instead of wooden 2x4's, those kill reception. If the home has a stucco finish (both popular because they are termite proof) that's over a wire mesh, and that's a real good Faraday cage.
The good news is that keeps out radio energy and should be healthier. The bad news is, cell phone and everything else will be blocked.
By the way, there are two common classes of Bluetooth. One has a 30' range, the other less common has a 300' (hundred meter) range. High power BT, or WiFi with an in-home repeater, might do the trick even with steel studs in the walls.
 
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