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Portable vs. mobile scanner

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multisync

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I have a portable 246T that I connect to an external antenna in the car. I find the reception is ok but not the best. I fugure the receiver isn't as good as a mobile unit that designed to be attached to an external antenna.

What's your opinion?
 

wyldman

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What antenna are you using ? What kind of coax does the antenna have ? I use my 246,and other portables in the car,and some external antennas actually degrade the performance due to the poor cable.It is really noticable on 800 Mhz systems.
 

mass-man

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Ditto wyldman's post!!! The ever popular small magnetic antenna with that RG-174 cable is not going to cut it at 800mhz!!!

I regularly use my handheld scanner in the car and in the house. Sure it receives a bit better at home, but the antenna is higher. In the car, I can hear everything I want to. I would look close at your coax!
 

hiegtx

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multisync said:
I have a portable 246T that I connect to an external antenna in the car. I find the reception is ok but not the best. I fugure the receiver isn't as good as a mobile unit that designed to be attached to an external antenna.

What's your opinion?
That's been kicked around before, including here.

In my opinion, it's not really possible to make a blanket statement. The 246 is not as sensitive as some other scanners (handheld & base/mobile). The BR330T, another Uniden handheld, is, in my opinion, a good bit more sensitive, and would match up well with any other scanner with similar features.

You could only make a valid comparison if you had handheld and a base (or base/mobile) version of the essentially same unit. You don't have those direct equals in the Uniden line. The 396 was released last summer. The closest base/mobile, the 996, was released this summer. Yes, from all reports it appears to be more sensitive. But it has a number of improvements not present in the 396, so they are not direct equals. You would also expect a 'next generation' model to be better.

The BR330 (handheld) & the new BCT-15 (base/mobile) are also not direct equals, coming out about 8 months apart, with different feature sets. However, from commments of those that own both, senitivity appears to be good, no comments about major differnces that I've seen. Don't know that anyone has done a true comparison, on the exact same system, using the same antenna.

A better comparison could be made in the Radio Shack line. The digital Pro-96 (handheld) and Pro-2096 (base/mobile) are the same basic unit. Same with the non-digital twins, the Pro-97 handhelds, and the Pro-2055 base mobile. Comments from those who own both indicate fairly equal performance between the two versions, with differences more likely attributeable to sample variance than to design.

The base or base/mobiles do have larger cases and speakers, making the audio sound better. Also, the bigger cases allow for more separation of the internal components, and the usually metal exterior does help reduce the introduction of spurious signals into the receiver circuitry.
 

DaveIN

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Not to mention the BCT15 and BCD996T have two layers of metal cases when the 330 and 996 have only plastic. Granted you take the outer case off if you install it in a DIN sleve, but that should also improve reception and image rejection.
 

wyldman

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hiegtx is correct.The 330 and 396 handhelds are more sensitive and better at dealing with interference.It is nice to have portables with most of the features of the bigger units,as they can go everwhere.

The 246 is still a good radio.I still suggest you look at picking a good antenna for what you are going to listen to,with some decent coax.Keep the run as short as possible if your listening to 800 mhz.

Another option is just getting a better rubber duck,and you may not need an external antenna in the car.
 

multisync

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The run of coax is 17 feet and it's not the best however I have used dual shield RG 58 and the results are the same on 800, degraded performance. AND I have tried a Motorola MTX830 on the same antenna and the sensitivity was WORSE then on the Uniden!

I guess it's just part and parcel of that particular band. Line losses are pretty great at 800mhz. I just like the convenience of the portable. I would imagine the mobile would fair better with the same antenna.

So for now I use a (long) dipole 800 mhz rubber duck from Centurian in the car. I have been unable to find an external antenna that can match the performane of the dipole. I have tried the typical 800 mhz open coil, 1/4 wave, and even dual band 2m 440 larsen. The larsen dual bander actually works well at 800, better then the band specific 800 open coil.
 

wyldman

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That is pretty much EXACTLY what I have found.

I have the Larsen dual band as well,and a Larsen 800 Mhz which i swap on the same NMO mount.The dual band works better on 800 Mhz than the 800 Mhz antenna !

The 800 Mhz Larsen also seems to do better on the lower bands than i does on 800.It isn't as good as the dual band on the low end,but still pulls in the lower frequencies quite well.I figured as it is a dedicated 800 Mhz antenna,that the lower bands would be pretty dead.it was a disappointing purchase though,as i expected to pull in some distant 800 Mhz systems with it,only to find it's worse than the dual band unit.

The only benefit I have found with the 800 Mhz Larsen is better rejection in strong signal areas.The dual band will overload my 246 when I'm close to towers,where the 800 Mhz unit doesn't.

Chopping off the crappy coax,and replacing it with a short run of better stuff made the 800 Mhz on both antennas much better.With the original coax (20 ft or so ?),800 mhz reception was non existant.Now it is just slightly better than the stock rubber duck,so I can keep the scanner mounted down by my seat.
 
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