Reception in a valley

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LukeB

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I've done a search for a this in the forums but didnt seem to find one.

I was not able to hear much so I did a little research and found that I am in fact inbetween 2 hills. Although its a small valley, I still live between 2 hills on at least 2 sides of where my antenna is located (FWIW, east and west). I have my antenna approx 15 feet up from a deck on the 2nd floor. It does not clear the roofline and I dont think I am able to do so b/c of instability of the antenna and the deck. I am using a Discone antenna with LMR 400 cable. Its approx a 70' run.

What can I do to get better reception? I know height is the obvious solution but I am unable to do that at this point. Im frustrated and unsure of what to do to improve my reception.
 

Bucko

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An antenna designed ( dipole, ground plane or beam ) for the freq area you are wanting to listen to would probably help, the discone is a broad antenna with no gain in any particular range.
 

LukeB

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So in order to cover the spectrum, you suggest several different antenna's?

My problem I think is that I listen to a lot and it goes from low band to 800mhz. I have a UHF beam antenna but have not put it up yet. Im in the middle of 2 area's I am interested in so I would have to face it in both directions. How well do directional antenna's work in area's not directly pointed to? Say if I was pointing due west, how well would it receive to the north and south of where I am pointed?
 

Bucko

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No I don't suggest several different antenna's, not unless you want to go through that hassle. A good multi band say like a ScanTenna for example ( some report it to be weak on 800mz ) may do what you are looking for. There are multi band beams also, however if pointed like you said to the west signals from the rear and rear corners are going to be low as well as the sides. I am sure someone else will have a good suggestion for you.
 

LarrySC

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The first thing to look for in an antenna is a commerical two-antenna with GAIN. Maxrad makes a dual band VHF/UHF. Also a 5db gain 800 mHz. Some of these are mobile ant's mounted on a base adp. These work fine and cost much less that the really big units. Some people use an older scanner on the VHF/UHF and their new trunking scanner on the 800 antenna. This gives each scanner the Max antenna. Some ideas are here: www.bncantenna.com Good Luck.
 

VernM

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1. Five db isn't much gain, particularly for what it will cost you.

2. The laws of physics are both with you and against you. VHF and higher frequencies are limited generally to line-of-sight from the transmitting antenna. But, refraction over the hill top will bring you a little signal.

I live in a valley with 100 feet or more of hills within 3-5 miles in each direction. I manage to hear the VHF and UHF signals from stations 20-40 miles away with no difficulty. Antennas are predominately discones. Best bang for the buck is from http://www.antennawarehouse.com/Scanner/Discone.htm

Good listening!
 

LukeB

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How well do VHF antenna's work on frequencies in the range of 39.xxx-46.xxx? I've contemplated using an AS MON-53 as a base antenna. I am not quite sure how to set this up and what kind of mount I would need. Anyone have experience with this type of set up, especially with an AS MON-53?
 

brandon

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Hello,

I am in a very similar situation. A good bet would be to try a directional antenna or a commercial vertical if you want all directions.

I am within a 1/2 mile of large hills... probably 300+ feet high. Also have more hills to my west but they are further away. The real killers are the Santa Ana mountains... they make Los Angeles reception rough from this far south. I go north 20 miles and LA reception is beautiful since the mountains are no longer a big factor.

Here is a comparison with a regular "unity-gain" antenna and a log periodic antenna with gain. This is listening to Corona PD which is about 30 miles from here.

The end result is at least listenable, but still not 100% clear. Mountains really do eat up signals big time.

I've found VHF gets all sorts of distoration and static when mountains are between you and the transmitter, UHF isn't as bad (at least for me), and 800 Mhz you just have to pray for a HUGE bulldozer and explosives :D

Good luck.
 

LukeB

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What blows my mind is that I am able to hear VHF transmissions approximately 40 miles away to my west but cannot hear low band 2 towns away from me. UHF struggles a bit and once in a blue moon, I will be able to hear NYC transmissions (I am about 20-30 miles away) which is on VHF and UHF.

Could I just have a crappy antenna? As mentioned earlier, I have a Diamond Discone with the low band whip. I was advised to get the thicker cable so I have less loss on the UHF and 800mhz stuff. I thought this would help me but I dont seem to hear any difference. I will have to do some research on the above mentioned antenna's. Any suggestions on where to purchase or get the best deals?
 

dangitdoug

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A long shot but here it goes.....

Do you have the ability to run an antenna wire around either side to get an unobstructed shot at the blind side? This might help your situation.

You might also look into the origin of the signals you are trying to monitor. What is their tx strength and normal area of coverage?

Do you have a portable scanner that you can use to check these signals from a better location and determine if they are strong enough to be heard to begin with?

Good Luck

Doug K
 

GaRyMErRitT

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I'll tell you how to inprove your Reception , I also live in a valley between two mountains , The Mountains of Pennsylvania ! Go to your Ace hardware store , or any hardware store that sell these and get a TV - VCR Distribution Amplifier VHF/UHF/FM 24db , Your Radio will pick up several hundred percent of what it gets now! Antenna to the INPUT - Scanner to the OUTPUT. this is what we call an Amplifier..........Any Questions let me know .
 
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iMONITOR

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LukeB said:
What can I do to get better reception? I know height is the obvious solution but I am unable to do that at this point. Im frustrated and unsure of what to do to improve my reception.
What bands/frequencies are the biggest problem?
 

gcgrotz

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If a hill is truly blocking you from the desired signal then the only thing that will cure it is more elevation. Line of sight means just that, and RF doesn't penetrate dirt very well.

If you are hearing some barely readable signal then a directional gain antenna would help, and you could possibly point it to a strong reflection from somewhere nearby that is higher.
 

LukeB

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GreatLakes said:
What bands/frequencies are the biggest problem?
Lets see...

Low band- I live 2 towns away to the north and I can only hear the base of the transmission. But I am able to hear VHF transmissions over 40 miles away. On the same token, I cannot hear VHF aprox. 25-30 miles away in that same direction.

UHF- I can barely hear the next county to my west. There is a hill that is approx. 300 feet tall directly to my west which could be hurting the signal, which is understandable. Its hit or miss while listening to these stations.

To summarize, I am having issues with low band, VHF and UHF. Since I like listening to a lot, I have a full range antenna. I understand using seperate antenna's for seperate bands is the best but I don't have the true ability to mount several antenna's. I am using a deck post that is able to hold what I have up there now but I don't think it could hold if I put another antenna and cable up.

While elevation is the easy answer, I cant go any higher than my 15' mast for this same reason. I would love to, trust me but I am renting and am happy that I have permission to put the antenna and mast that I have up there now. I also dont have a big budget for this and purchasing additional antenna's and cable is not too easy at this point. Ideally, I would love to throw an antenna up at the top of a tree and just let it sit there and hope it lasts. I will have elevation and everything else I need to have good reception, just I dont plan on being where I am forever.

The best suggestion at this point seems to be that TV - VCR Distribution Amplifier VHF/UHF/FM 24db. I would be willing to try that first as it doesnt really require modification to my current set-up. (Do you have a model number or stock number to reference?)

As state earlier, height is might but I do not have the ability to go up as of now. I thought about putting it at the roof's edge but the roof hangs so far over the side of the house, I wouldnt be able to mount it correctly and feel comfortable.
 

iMONITOR

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Is all your monitoring coming from basically the same direction, or it is scattered in several directions?
 

LukeB

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Mostly to the west and east. Im in the center of 2 major area's I like to monitor but there are also things i am interested to the north and south that are not as distant as the east to west signals.
 

LukeB

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I finally had an opportunity to pick up an amp (as suggested in this thread) and the connectors. I must say that I am able to hear things I was unable to hear without it. I am not hearing incredible but as long as it is more than I was without it, I am satisfied. I would definitely suggest this "fix" for poor reception.

Thanks to all for your assistance.
 
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