Scanner reception while driving

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cpsTN

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I find that with my standard rubber duck antenna the reception is spotty while the car is moving. I do not have a mount for the scanner so I put in one of the cup holders or standing against the back of the passenger seat or wherever. Is this spotty reception something normal for moving scanners or is it where I am able to put the scanner? Could reception be improved if I had a mount for the scanner, a better antenna on the scanner or, better yet, getting an antenna for the truck of the car?
 

SCPD

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If you had an external antenna mounted on the car, the reception would be much better. You're inside a vehicle surrounded by metal, of course radio waves are going to be blocked some what on a rubber duck antenna.

Even a magnetic mount antenna on your vehicle would improve reception.
 

dracer777

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It's just a general signal strength issue. The issue is not with driving itself, but more or less, just that you are moving. Maybe away from the tower, driving by building that limit trasfer if the radio waves themselves. Things of that nature. If the system you are monitoring is local, you -should- be able to receive fine with an external antenna. Personally, I rarely have issues monitoring a local repeater or DTRS tower.
 

kb2vxa

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An antenna mounted on the vehicle will help reception enormously but won't entirely eliminate the "picket fencing" you're experiencing because signal fluctuations while in motion are perfectly normal. I'm sure you've heard it while stationary too because the vehicle transmitting experiences the same phenomenon.

By way of explanation, it's caused by passing through dead spots caused by multipath reception. When waves going directly encounter reflections taking a longer path they tend to cancel each other. That's why very often moving the antenna a few feet can greatly improve reception if you happened upon a dead spot the first time around.
 

kd7rto

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Bountiful, Ut
I had hoped to keep my new Dodge Charger antenna free, and use one of my older vehicles whenever I needed anything more than a handheld, but signals constantly fading out in the middle of a transmission put an end to that plan.

The inferior RF performance of scanners, compared to professional grade equipment, comes up in these forums over and over, yet the only voices the manufacturers seem to be listening to are those who say that hobbyists would not buy any radio priced higher than $500. Foolishness. The market’s full of pricy gear for hams, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who used to monitor with Icom equipment in the days before public safety migrated to trunking.
 
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