Rooftop Scanner Antenna Comparison

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Guy_Rhodes

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Jul 2, 2008
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Hey Everyone,

I've been lurking in the forums here for about a week, following my decision to upgrade to a new trunking scanner. I have my eye on the Uniden 396T, and I want to get a rooftop antenna to complete the setup. After shopping around and searching / reading several threads here, I have my eye on two that I think will suit my needs. They are...

Radio Shack 20-176 - $25.99
(http://www.radioshack.com/sm-outdoor-vhf-hi-uhf-scanner-antenna--pi-2103641.html)

SA7000 Super Wide Band Receive Antenna - $209.95
(http://www.scannermaster.com/SA7000_Super_Wide_Band_Receive_Antenna_p/19-541049.htm)

Primarily, I want to listen to the 800mhz trunked system for the police in my city as well as the neighboring city, the other area emergency frequencies in the 150mhz and 400mhz range (up to 20 miles away), as well as the control tower to a nearby airport (125mhz). If my understanding is correct, both of these antennas will do the job. But, will the significantly pricier SA7000 do the job that much better?

I've read about the 20-176 being flimsy and poorly constructed. This isn't really a concern. For the price, I could easily replace it in a few years should it not stand up to the weather.

I've also looked into discone antennas as well as the "Scantenna," but due to my mounting location being very visible from the street, I'd like something a little cleaner, which is why I've narrowed down my choices to the above two.

Thanks for any info. or opinions!
 

LordJ

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My oldest 20-176 is 17 years old, and has weathered many severe monsoons, and microbursts, 40' up to this day. Works great especially on VHF High (its a 1/4 wave vhf antenna after all, first and foremost), but it also does pretty well on UHF, and even has little 800 mhz elements so it does fine there too. If I didn't need a 800 mhz yagi because of my local PD being a hard to monitor simulcast, I would probably be happy with ONLY the 20-176. It is the best affordable compromise out there, period.

In a dense RF zone like mine, it works great, with only unity gain on vhf. Kind of funny putting a $25 antenna on a $500 scanner, but oh well.

If you live out in the boonies and need gain, obviously this isn't going to be your best bet though.
 

SAR923

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I've never used the AOR product but I've used the 20-176 for many years and it's by no means flimsy. You may be thinking of the RS discone, which is nowhere near as robust as the 20-176. For everything but low band and distant 800 MHz signals, you can't get a better antenna for the money than the 20-176.
 

weathermedic

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I live in Brooklyn, NYC. I've had the RS on my roof for about 15 years. Performs well except in the vhf-lo band (no center element on top like the Diamond)
Just this past year, one of the 800 mhz elements came off. I found it lying in my driveway one day. I was thinking it was due to birds perching on it rather then the wind, but I am not sure.
 

KC0QNB

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Gothenburg, NE
Birds will get you every time, I have an older RS dicone without the top low band element, been in the air since '91, and the discone survived a 60' Maple tree that fell on my guy wires and mast back in '97.
I looked at my antennas yesterday, (as I do most days) everything up there is still 100% intact, well except for all the little black vinyl tips on the rods of the discone, and most of them are still there. I can't speak for the new version though don't have one.
 

walterb

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Since one is almost 10x the price, wouldn't the AOR antenna need to be about 10 times better in order just to break even?
 

af5rn

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N. Tex / S. Fla
I guess that depends on what scanning is worth to you. If it only allows you to hear one mile farther, but that is exactly what you needed to hear, then I'd say it's worth it.
 
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