Scanner Antenna for car

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dnoyeb

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I am looking for a scanner antenna for my car. I assume I will get better reception than I do with the stock antenna on my 396XT.

I don't have any target frequency since I will be traveling and just listening to whatever comes up. I think CB and police are the most likely candidates to listen to while on the road. But you can never know what frequency police will be using correct?

Anyway, what is a good roof antenna? It can be magnetic mount, or it can clamp on to my roof rack. I have a Subaru with a roof rack.

Thanks for the pointers!

P.S. Ill be asking the same question in a few days for my GMRS radio... Just want to get the scanner squared away first.
 

ka3jjz

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While the Larsen tri bander is otherwise a good choice, the OT also mentions wanting to hear CB. That antenna will hear it, but likely not as well.

Larsen does sell some widebanded scanner antennas; however, it's worth mentioning that any scanner antenna that is so widebanded is likely to perform well on some freqs, not as well in others. In addition, a 1/4 wave CB antenna would be about 8 foot or so high - I kinda doubt you would want to have something that tall on the vehicle. Consequently, most scanner antennas are compromises when you get that low in freq. It will work, and certainly much better than a duckie, but don't expect miracles.

We have lots of links to antennas - including the link to the Universal radio antennas page, which is where I would start - in addition to some reviews linked in our wiki. I would suggest a little homework should start here...

Scanner Antennas - The RadioReference Wiki

Check out the commercial retailers and Homebrew, tech and reviews sections for more information

73 Mike
 

Skypilot007

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Just for information purposes, I have the larson 150/450/800 tri-bander trunk lip mounted and can hear the average trucker on CB from about 1 mile.
 

k9rzz

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I once had a magmount CB antenna that looked like a 800 mhz cell phone antenna, about 9 or 10 inches high. Highly loaded for CB but it worked well! Heard well on VHF and UHF too. Bought it at Farm and Fleet I believe.
 

dnoyeb

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The Larsen looks good. 1 mile of CB range seems kinda small. Is that normally what you get when listening to a CB, or do most people that listen to CB use tall antennas?
 

dnoyeb

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Looks like I have a BNC connection on my scanner. So I need a BNC NMO type of mount. Should I get a magnetic mount? Or should I get something to clamp to the roof rack? I'd prefer a clamp if the performance is good. Though magnetic may be more convenient. I haven't actually seen any that would clamp to the roof rack though.
 

canav844

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Looks like I have a BNC connection on my scanner. So I need a BNC NMO type of mount. Should I get a magnetic mount? Or should I get something to clamp to the roof rack? I'd prefer a clamp if the performance is good. Though magnetic may be more convenient. I haven't actually seen any that would clamp to the roof rack though.
Take a look at some ham supply places and the antenna farm, there's a few companies out there that make roof rack mounts, and I think diamond makes one that's motorized so the antenna will lie flat with just a button press no getting out and adjusting, when you pull into the garage at night.
 

newsphotog

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The Larsen looks good. 1 mile of CB range seems kinda small. Is that normally what you get when listening to a CB, or do most people that listen to CB use tall antennas?
Really depends on atmospheric and terrain conditions. 27 MHz is waaaay different spectrum than 140/440/800, so your performance on 27 MHz with the Larsen tri-bander will suffer. Likewise, if you use an antenna tuned for 27 MHz to receive anything in 140/440/800, it's the 140/440/800 frequencies that will suffer. You'll have to choose what's more important to listen to, because there's going to be trade-offs on every antenna if you want to listen to a wide variety of frequencies across the spectrum.
 

weisej

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Not sure if this is the correct spot to post this but since many that posted are talking about the larsen tri band scanner ill give it a try. I'm scanning in MI with a pro 106 which uses a BNC antenna connection and where they use 150 freqs for PD/FD, ems uses 460's and the MSPCS uses 800's. Im looking in to getting an antenna but not sure where to begin with buying. I understand Ill need the antenna it self but not sure what else I will need to buy and how much the complete antenna with mounts and antenna will cost me. I want an antenna that can use in my house and as a mobile on my car. Ive found the Larsen here at this link but not sure what else I would need to buy. any help would be great. Larsen NMO150450800 Tri-Band Scanner Antenna - MultiBand Antenna - Icom, Laird, Pulse/Larsen, Polyphaser - Kollman Radio Electronics
 

Swipesy

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I understand Ill need the antenna it self but not sure what else I will need to buy and how much the complete antenna with mounts and antenna will cost me. I want an antenna that can use in my house and as a mobile on my car. Ive found the Larsen here at this link but not sure what else I would need to buy. any help would be great. Larsen NMO150450800 Tri-Band Scanner Antenna - MultiBand Antenna - Icom, Laird, Pulse/Larsen, Polyphaser - Kollman Radio Electronics
The Larsen TriBand is a NMO mount antenna. As a result you will need to purchase a NMO mount. Since you are talking about using the antenna indoors as well as mobile you should think about purchasing a NMO mag mount which will cost you about $25.00. Also depending on the connection on the end of the NMO Mag mount you may have to purchase an adapter to fit on the radio if the radio is BNC and the mount is PL259 or whatever. The adapter could cost you $12.00. Finally, I would suggest you purchase a thin jumper cable for the end of the Mag mount cable to the scanner to relieve the stress on the scanner post from using a heavier coax. An 18" jumper would cost about $12.00.
 

W6KRU

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So a total just around $75.00 for everything? Any cheaper antennas that are tri band for the three ranges mentioned?
A radio is a system that is composed of the radio and an antenna. Why do people spend hundreds on the radio and then balk at spending a fraction of that for an antenna?


The system will only perform as well as its weakest part.
 

Swipesy

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So a total just around $75.00 for everything? Any cheaper antennas that are tri band for the three ranges mentioned?
I totally agree with Dan's comment. However, there are not too many Tribands out there for what I think you want to do. Comet makes a mag mount one for about $70.00 but it is 39" long versus the Larsen 16.5 inches. Radio Shack has a all purpose antenna (20-032), 36" tall for $30.00. I have the RS and and the Larsen. You get what you pay for.
 

weisej

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Well Dan I do agree Why would someone pay $350 for a digital scanner and then complain of the price of an antenna? I'm sorry if I saved most of my money for that $350 scanner that almost is required here in MI as most of the sate has gone digital. Is it to much to ask a simple question on the forum just to see if there are any cheaper options? I'm not opposed to paying the money if thats the only or best option but for someone to complain of a hard working student trying to save some money where possible I found silly. Saying that MI cut most of there educational funding that was promised to it's college students. Thanks for your comments though makes me feel good "adults" look down on the younger generation for trying to save a penny.
 

stevelton

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You have a point, Im sure the other posters here understand that when you shopped around for the scanner you looked for the best deal, just like you are doing with the antenna.

I would like to make a recommendation.

Nothing beats a tuned antenna for a range of frequencies that you want to receive.
But almost any ham will tell you that the more straight wire (no loading coils) you have to "catch" the RF in the air, the better signal you can get.

I have a radio shop, and a friend of mine was in the same boat, needed a cheap antenna, mainly for 160 railroad, but wanted to hear CB, Low band, UHF, ect. So I set him up with a un-cut vhf quarter wave about 19" long, and a mini NMO mag mount with a BNC already on it. $28.49, and he had to pay sales tax. Again, as others have said, something has to suffer, but it doesnt seem like the VHF quarter wave makes the other bands suffer as bad on low band (50mhz) and UHF (450mhz) as one of our other friends RS scanner antenna that someone else pointed out.
Steven
 

W6KRU

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Well Dan I do agree Why would someone pay $350 for a digital scanner and then complain of the price of an antenna? I'm sorry if I saved most of my money for that $350 scanner that almost is required here in MI as most of the sate has gone digital. Is it to much to ask a simple question on the forum just to see if there are any cheaper options? I'm not opposed to paying the money if thats the only or best option but for someone to complain of a hard working student trying to save some money where possible I found silly. Saying that MI cut most of there educational funding that was promised to it's college students. Thanks for your comments though makes me feel good "adults" look down on the younger generation for trying to save a penny.
Well it appears that neither one of us are explaining ourselves very well. I am unemployed and understand the need to save money when possible.

The antenna you listed is $23 and you asked about a cheaper antenna.Anything cheaper than that isn't going to work very well. IMO.

If you want to save a bit, look at the other bits and pieces. Forget the 18" jumper. What kind of mounting options do you have on the car. The magmount itself is more than the cost of the antenna and you can save a few bucks with other options. You are spending several bucks for convenience with the MM.
 

weisej

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I know it sounds crazy but what mount would work for inside the home? I will probably do a good deal of scanning from my apt. I would say maybe like 20 percent scanning will be done on the road if that. Like Dan said the price of a MM is due to the ease factor but maybe if someone could email me a photo or explain of a Nmo mount they have set up cheaply in there home that I could also switch to use on a car without to much hassle. like I said Im a college student so I will spend most time scanning from apt not in the car.
 

W6KRU

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I know it sounds crazy but what mount would work for inside the home? I will probably do a good deal of scanning from my apt. I would say maybe like 20 percent scanning will be done on the road if that. Like Dan said the price of a MM is due to the ease factor but maybe if someone could email me a photo or explain of a Nmo mount they have set up cheaply in there home that I could also switch to use on a car without to much hassle. like I said Im a college student so I will spend most time scanning from apt not in the car.
Steal an old cookie sheet from mom/GF/whoever. Drill a 3/4"hole in the middle of it and install one of these on it.Larsen NMOK NMO Mount with PL259

Screw the Larsen on it and toss it on top of a lamp shade.

Edit I am not suggesting that vendor for the mount. I just did a search for NMOK.
 
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