Reception enhancement

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mrbeal

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Relative newb with a couple of questions. I have a PRO-649 and live in a hole on top of a small hill. I get reception but it's not great... some things I hear the back and forth and some things are just like the mic was keyed and nothing sent. I'm looking to get my antenna a little higher without spending too much money. I've done some searching of sites and see antennas ranging from about $15 to over $200.

I want to be able to hear local (Norwell, MA) PD/Fire/Ambulance mostly plus anything else I might find that's interesting so what should I be looking at as far as an antenna goes? AND, is there something that could be used in the car also? I don't plan on using the scanner frequently in the car but would like to once in a while. TIA!
 

GeneseeCoMI

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For home, I recommend the Diamond D130J. I've had it for a few years and it works equally well on all bands and is great for DXing. Make sure to mount it nice and high, above any obstructions such as buildings and trees and away from power lines.

For the car, I recommend the Waters & Stanton WSM-225. Although made for the air bands, I've found it to work quite well on both the VHF high and UHF bands.
 

mrbeal

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Thanks for the information, I have some thinking to do. The D130J is a bit more than I wanted to spend but I guess you get what you pay for.
 

mrbeal

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Now that's more like it... I'm cheap. One day I hope to be able to have an antenna on a pole up high that'll help me receive signals from much farther away but until then I'll be happy with receiving local signals better. I'm in and out of this hobby, several years ago I had 2 handhelds that I somehow lost... one of them got 800mhz signals and the other wasn't as "high tech". It's a hobby, that's all. I get interested and then the interest wanes. At the moment I'm interested again.
 

trp2525

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...I have a PRO-649...
I want to be able to hear local (Norwell, MA) PD/Fire/Ambulance mostly plus anything else I might find that's interesting...
First off your PRO-649 does not cover 800 MHz so you don't need an antenna that covers those frequencies. Norwell Fire is on UHF, Norwell Police is on UHF-T and your local ambulances use the 20 UHF MED channels (MED 1 through MED 10 and MED 12 through MED 102) to contact CMED and the hospital. You should therefore look for an antenna that is especially good on UHF and UHF-T (450-512 MHz).

There is an excellent antenna for your home on eBay right now for $27 (plus shipping). It's an Antenna Specialists MON-3 base station ground plane antenna (Antenna Specialists Mon 3 VHF UHF Monitor Base Station 108 174 450 512 MHz | eBay) and it covers VHF Aircraft, VHF-High and UHF/UHF-T. It's a very well made antenna and should work very well for the bands that you are primarily interested in listening to. You should get significantly better reception compared to any indoor or handheld rubber duck antenna.

For coax you could use standard RG6 cable TV wire with F connectors on each end to keep your costs down. You could then use an F-to-PL259 adapter at the antenna end and an F-to-BNC adapter at the scanner end to hook everything up.
 

mrbeal

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That one looks like what I might want. Simple, inexpensive and it looks like it's east to mount. I'll keep that in mind too.
 

CycleSycho

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:wink: Price seems to be missing from the RS site quoted, if this price is less and you can wait a little time, then Fleabay ( 1pc Adapter UHF PL259 Male Plug to F TV Female Jack RF Connector Straight M F | eBay ) for the F to PL259 (free shipping, no tax). ;)

;) The other connector RS site $7.49 (plus shipping or tax) and Fleabay ( Top F Type F Female Jack to BNC Male Plug RF Coax Cable Adapter Convertor CCTV | eBay ) for the F to BNC $0.98 with no tax and free shipping. ;)

:) Its your $, do what you want to do with it. I find the China connectors are exact fit and 100% reliable (and where does RS get them from with that HUGE markup?). :)
 

mrbeal

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Norwell, MA
If I get the Antenna Specialists MON-3 VHF-UHF Monitor Base Station 108-174 & 450-512 MHZ and mount it on a pole outside do I have to worry about grounding it?? I'd probably want to put it on a pole 20-25 feet up to clear most obstructions and put me up near street level.
 

trp2525

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If I get the Antenna Specialists MON-3 VHF-UHF Monitor Base Station 108-174 & 450-512 MHZ and mount it on a pole outside do I have to worry about grounding it??...
All antennas should be grounded as that is required by code. Here's a link to a very good TV antenna installation guide which has a chapter (# 5) devoted to antenna grounding procedures: TV Antenna Installation Guide - Denny's Antenna. The information in that antenna installation guide should be useful to you as you install your new scanner antenna.
 

Swipesy

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The simple answer is yes it should be grounded. The more difficult answer is if the antenna gets a direct hit from lightening it won't matter if it is grounded or not. Unless you were to spend big dollars on heavy duty grounding the charge will most likely fry the radio. A lightening strike near by can still send energy to the antenna and coax and damage the radio but a ground wire might help. If you live in an area that gets frequent lightening storms I would ground the antenna.
 

mrbeal

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The simple answer is yes it should be grounded. The more difficult answer is if the antenna gets a direct hit from lightening it won't matter if it is grounded or not. Unless you were to spend big dollars on heavy duty grounding the charge will most likely fry the radio. A lightening strike near by can still send energy to the antenna and coax and damage the radio but a ground wire might help. If you live in an area that gets frequent lightening storms I would ground the antenna.
Perhaps you missed the part that I live in a hole... I'm not afraid of a lightning strike but think it's due diligence to ask about that part. If I get a strike close enough that it could "possibly" fry my radio with a grounded antenna attached there's a decent chance it'll get fried if the antenna isn't attached at all. I'm getting a lot of good information from here!
 

Swipesy

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I saw that about your low base location. I have been monitoring public service radio for more than 60 years. When it comes to lightening strikes I have never experience a strike personally both with and without grounded antennas. As you know lightening can also travel through power lines and fry appliances that are plugged in or ruin them through power surges. The bottom line is professionals tell you to ground but unless the grounding is done properly who knows.
 

GeneseeCoMI

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I was told that your antennas need to be grounded according to this building code in order to get your insurance to pay a claim in case something does happen. I have a ton of renter's insurance so I hired an electrician and a general contractor to ground mine just to be safe. I showed them this guide to make sure they did it right. I also have high quality surge protectors on all of my electronics.
 
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