BCD536HP: Signal Strength, Antenna Questions

JE5SEJAMES

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
10
Hello everyone!

I'm new to the scanner/radio world so please bear with my ignorance.

I recently bought a BCD536HP and I'm slowing figuring things out but realize I've got a lot to learn.

My next feat is figuring out how to get a better/stronger signal for my scanner.

After doing a Google search about antennas, I feel like it's a bit of a cult following and I need to take out a loan to have the best set up along with renting a billboard sign near my house just so I can throw my afore mentioned best set up on top of it because that is the absolutely only way to get the best and strongest signal and all other attempts are futile.

Obviously my diatribe is a bit tongue in cheek but after reading back and forth conversations about antenna set ups, I feel it closely summates what I have seen.

So all that being said, how can I make my signal better and/or stronger for my scanner?

I am currently using the stock antenna. I bought another antenna that says it is better for the 800 to 900 range but it seems to be about the same.

The information that I believe is relevant:
- 800-900 range is the desired monitor range
- scanner is stationary in a room, not mobile
- in a populous suburban area with many smaller buildings around

If more details are needed, feel free to ask.

I'm basically looking for better than what I currently have suggestions. Better, not best scenarios. I would like to think sticking an antenna on one of my windows and plugging it into my scanner will give me an improvement over what I currently have... I just don't really know.

If I really can't do ANY better without a loan and billboard then that's fine too, I'll start saving up now because going into debt isn't an option.

Fire away with your suggestions and please be nice. I'm not dumb. I'm just new and ignorant.

Thanks in advance for the responses.

- J.J.
 

tvengr

Active Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
3,152
Location
Baltimore County, MD
If you have the Remtronix 800 MHz antenna, there should be quite an improvement for that band. If you don't notice a difference, you may be suffering from simulcast distortion. If that is the case, more signal can increase your receive problems. Is the audio garbled and cuts in and out? What is your city, county, and state and which system are you monitoring?
 

n1chu

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 18, 2002
Messages
845
Location
Farmington, Connecticut
The higher the better when talking antennas. I gather you are restricted, no outside antennas? Or not allowed on the roof? If you have an attic that’s a possibility. Since you haven’t mentioned any simulcast symptoms I will assume it’s just the need for a better signal. But, as Tvengr stated, we need more info. Don’t forget to include the county your town is in along with the state. Then Tvengr will have enough to research and advise. But an exterior antenna at the highest elevation is . basic. If you do decide to mount an outside antenna, go online first and learn what that entails. There are important safety aspects relating to the instigation, not to mention town/city requirements.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
7,780
Location
Dallas, TX
Hello everyone!

I'm new to the scanner/radio world so please bear with my ignorance.

I recently bought a BCD536HP and I'm slowing figuring things out but realize I've got a lot to learn.

My next feat is figuring out how to get a better/stronger signal for my scanner.

After doing a Google search about antennas, I feel like it's a bit of a cult following and I need to take out a loan to have the best set up along with renting a billboard sign near my house just so I can throw my afore mentioned best set up on top of it because that is the absolutely only way to get the best and strongest signal and all other attempts are futile.

Obviously my diatribe is a bit tongue in cheek but after reading back and forth conversations about antenna set ups, I feel it closely summates what I have seen.

So all that being said, how can I make my signal better and/or stronger for my scanner?

I am currently using the stock antenna. I bought another antenna that says it is better for the 800 to 900 range but it seems to be about the same.

The information that I believe is relevant:
- 800-900 range is the desired monitor range
- scanner is stationary in a room, not mobile
- in a populous suburban area with many smaller buildings around

If more details are needed, feel free to ask.

I'm basically looking for better than what I currently have suggestions. Better, not best scenarios. I would like to think sticking an antenna on one of my windows and plugging it into my scanner will give me an improvement over what I currently have... I just don't really know.

If I really can't do ANY better without a loan and billboard then that's fine too, I'll start saving up now because going into debt isn't an option.

Fire away with your suggestions and please be nice. I'm not dumb. I'm just new and ignorant.

Thanks in advance for the responses.

- J.J.
If you are trying to receive the system that you asked about in a different thread, then you likely are likely to be experiencing simulcast issues. All of the sites on that system, with the exception of one designated as an intellirepeater for the jail, are simulcast. If you are using the scanner at home, not mobile, then you may be able to mitigate some of the problem by using a directional antenna. There are versions more than small enough to mount either in an attic, or even indoors. More on Simulcast is in the Wiki.
Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

If you have the Remtronix 800 MHz antenna, there should be quite an improvement for that band. If you don't notice a difference, you may be suffering from simulcast distortion. If that is the case, more signal can increase your receive problems. Is the audio garbled and cuts in and out? What is your city, county, and state and which system are you monitoring?
If the system I've referenced is not the one you are trying to receive, then, as already asked, provide the name of the system, preferably with a link to it's database page, as well as your location.
 

nessnet

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
504
Location
Kenmore, WA
No-one has said it yet....
The SDS100/200 are Uniden's solution to simulcast (multipath) distortion.
The 436/536 are fine radios, and in some ways, can be said superior to the 100/200.
But, the software radios in them do very well with simulcast.

I do want to say that there are many factors when it comes to reception. All depending on YOUR exact situation. You may have weak signal. You may have RFI. You may have simulcast problems. Each have a different solution.

Lastly, the Remtronix suggestion is a good one. Great antennas (best IMO) for an antenna that is mounted directly on the radio.
 

KEWB-N1EXA

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
132
Location
Acushnet Heights New Bedford,MA
Hello everyone!

I'm new to the scanner/radio world so please bear with my ignorance.

I recently bought a BCD536HP and I'm slowing figuring things out but realize I've got a lot to learn.

My next feat is figuring out how to get a better/stronger signal for my scanner.

After doing a Google search about antennas, I feel like it's a bit of a cult following and I need to take out a loan to have the best set up along with renting a billboard sign near my house just so I can throw my afore mentioned best set up on top of it because that is the absolutely only way to get the best and strongest signal and all other attempts are futile.

Obviously my diatribe is a bit tongue in cheek but after reading back and forth conversations about antenna set ups, I feel it closely summates what I have seen.

So all that being said, how can I make my signal better and/or stronger for my scanner?

I am currently using the stock antenna. I bought another antenna that says it is better for the 800 to 900 range but it seems to be about the same.

The information that I believe is relevant:
- 800-900 range is the desired monitor range
- scanner is stationary in a room, not mobile
- in a populous suburban area with many smaller buildings around

If more details are needed, feel free to ask.

I'm basically looking for better than what I currently have suggestions. Better, not best scenarios. I would like to think sticking an antenna on one of my windows and plugging it into my scanner will give me an improvement over what I currently have... I just don't really know.

If I really can't do ANY better without a loan and billboard then that's fine too, I'll start saving up now because going into debt isn't an option.

Fire away with your suggestions and please be nice. I'm not dumb. I'm just new and ignorant.

Thanks in advance for the responses.

- J.J.
Just get a piece of coax with a BNC connector. say 25-50 feet On the end with no connector strip the shield back so the center is exposed and get it as far up and away from the scanner - Put it in a window... See if your signal improves..

How far to strip back ? simple math take 234 and Divide by the frequency then times 12 gives you the length to strip back.

234/850 mhz * 12 = 3.3 inches were as 234/162.55 mhz * 12 =17.27 inches or 17 1/4

No need to spend a big amount of money to experiment. as for the cable ? Your only recieving so try 50 ohm RG-58 or 75 Ohm RG-6

Pete N1EXA
 

ofd8001

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
6,946
Location
Louisville, KY
The radio phenomena is weird. Listening to a conventional system or non-simulcast TRS, you want the best antenna setup possible to pull in distant signals. With simulcast, if you are in the coverage footprint to multiple towers, then you MAY want a worse antenna setup. That's because your scanner is getting great reception - the problem is decoding what it receives. Multiple signals just a tad out of sync means garble or no audio. However, some folks get lucky with simulcast because they are really close to a tower and all they get is signal from the one site.

First thing to consider is whether you have some electrical appliance nearby that is generating some form of interference. Simply move the scanner around the house to see if reception clears up.

To improve reception, as in bringing in distant signals, your options are these: a roof mounted antenna using a real good coax such as LMR 400. This is costly. Next best thing would be an antenna in the attic with real good coax. Sky-band Antenna | Scanner Master

This cost is slightly less because you won't have roof mounting hardware. The third best, and less costly, would be a magnetic mount antenna on a pizza pan (for a good ground wave) in a room on top of a bookcase, etc. SpectrumForce Wideband Antenna with Mag Mount and BNC | Scanner Master

If you do have a simulcast problem, which you can verify by taking your scanner close to a transmitter site (RR database will show these) and see if the problem clears up. If it is simulcast, there are some things to try, but improvements may be slight. (Calling 'em like I see 'em, Uniden knows their scanners have simulcast issues, which is why they came out with the SDS models which use different technology and do a great job with simulcast). These things should be done one step at a time at first, then trying different combinations. Be patient, it will take several efforts to get best (but not perfect) results. These steps are in the Favorites List Editor, in the Site Options tab. Also, what works good at your home may not at your neighbor's. Simulcast is real touchy and finicky.

*Turn the attenuator ON for the simulcast site. This dampens incoming signal and getting too much signal is problematic for simulcast.

*Set the Digital Threshold Mode to Manual. There is a "procedure" in the scanner's software that decodes incoming signals. When in Automatic, it tries to minimize the bit error rate to the best value it can find. Transmissions tend to be short, it keeps changing the parameters too much to settle in on something. By going to Manual, this halts that procedure.

*Try different Digital Threshold Levels. This is the starting point is for those procedures.

As noted above, getting the best "sweet spot" will take trial and error. And that's not promising you have a "sweet spot".

I've pretty much given up hope on getting pristine audio from my local simulcast system. I have gone the way of SDS scanners or XTS 3000/5000 radios bought off of eBay, got firmware reflashed and got programmed to receive a simulcast system. (Yeah I'm familiar with the issues of system security and potential for radio bricking and know how to work around them.)
 
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