Opinions on Equipment Please

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dic

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Hey

I am in the process of returning to the road (as a show drummer) and will be driving over 50,000 miles next year.

I am a bit behind on scanners and antennas and would like to request from the fine clientele here at RR some opinions: No arguments please :)

The best scanner for traveling across the US, monitoring lo band to 700mhz trunked?

The last time I checked was the GRE something or other in competition with the Uniden something.
(I am embarrassed to say that I am still using--and happy with the BC 250D)

The best antenna for the above mentioned usage. I am not against using multiple antennas. I am using the Austin Spectra and have had NO problems with it (There isn't a hell of a lot of lo band left, so I need to ask, is the lo band section of the Spectra ONLY the top section?).

Thank you for your time and your opinions.

Thanks
Dic
N1XBA
 

ka3jjz

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Dic, asking what is the best scanner is like asking what car is the best - you're going to get a huge amount of opinions swinging one way or the other. I'm not even going to try to address that aspect - however, since we're talking handhelds, and 700 mhz capable - there are only 4 that qualify. Uniden has the BC396T (which has since been superceded by...) and the newer BCD396XT; GRE has the PSR-500 and RS cloned it to their PRO-106 (beware: the Pro-106 is missing accessories, such as the USB connection cable, that the GRE model includes).

If it were me, I'd go with the 396XT, as its strong signal handling is somewhat better than the GRE/RS. Those radios have a pretty hot front end - too hot, in some cases, and desense is the result.

You can start by reading up on these scanners. We have an extensive wiki which can give you much of the information you will need. Under the Scanner Master ad, in the blue toolbar, float your mouse over Wiki then select Radio Models . Click on the Digital Trunktrackers link (on this site, both here and in the wiki, something in blue is a link) then select the radio you wish to use.

Click on the Wiki Home link in the pulldown, and you will see a section called Links for Newcomers I'd read up on the topics shown there.

I would assume you would need to do programming via a laptop. Although these radios come with preprogrammed systems, some of that information may not be up to date. You can use an app to download data from our databases into a software based editor that can be used to up/download data, but the app will vary from scanner to scanner. Again, on the wiki homepage, under Gateways click on Subscriptions and Web Service

We have numerous forums devoted to each of the scanner manufacturers, as well as each state. In addition, we have a Collaboration area that contains additional information for each state that you may find useful.

Time to get something tall and cold to drink. Start reading - you're going to be here awhile.

73 Mike
 

N8IAA

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Hey, Dic. The info that ka3jjz posted is invaluable. But, I'm going to throw in my TCW. The Spectra antenna is still a great antenna for ham and scanning. The whole length of the antenna is for VHF-lo band. My favorite scanner is the Pro-106, the radio shack version of the PSR-500. I use a variety of antennas when mobile, including dual band gain antennas. I would check here on radio reference as to the laws where you will be traveling, but with your ham license, you should be good in your travels:)
HTH,
Larry
 

dic

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Feb 18, 2001
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Weston, FL/Swampscott MA
Thank you all for your responses.

Mike, thank you.
I am simply behind on the newest equipment because I have been driving back and forth from Florida to Massachusetts (with occasional trips to Buffalo) for my musical work since 2005. (In other words no lucrative National Tours), and haven't needed anything that my present equipment has not provided.

Ampulman, thank you.
I am a General Ham and have lived in Florida and New York on and off for almost 17 years and haven't had ONE INCIDENT with any LE in either state.

Larry, thank you.

I wasn't sure if it was the whole antenna or the top only. Your input is appreciated.

Thanks
Dic
N1XBA
 

benbenrf

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United Kingdom
He309 (??)

Dic

I'm going to restrict my 2cents worth to the antenna side of whatever hardware you settle on - a Rohde & Schwarz HE309.

Okay, they cost somewhere around $7k-9k (with PSU) from R & S new, but you can pick them up on the used/ex-army surplus market (usualy without their PSU's - power supply - the PSU's are designed to work with other antenna's as well, so tend to be held onto) for less than $1k.

This antenna will give you unbeatable band width coverage gain from 20Mhz thru to around 1.3Ghz - gain and to a lessor extent from around 7Mhz thru to 1500Ghz.

Yes - it is a mobile/portable type active antenna.

I know where some ex-UK defence force HE309's are going for sale - without PSU - for around $650-700. PSU's can be home made - really just a low noise coaxial dc source with dc blocking on the preamp receiver output side. 309 PSU's can be purchased (used) for around 300bucks.

A sizable investment for an antenna? - yup, sure is, but I don't know of any other setup that offers the performance spec/band width/gain and factor that the 309 will give you from a single antenna.

Doesn't matter what receiver you buy - it ain't much good if it hasn't got a good set of "ears".
 

tomas21

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Oct 14, 2008
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SFV
Hi Dic did you decide on a scanner?
BCD396XT; GRE PSR-500 or the RS PRO-106?
 
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