STL/METRO & antenna ?'s (apologize if in wrong forum)

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Kimberson

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From what I've gathered, aside from "olde standbys" e.g., CB/HAM "established" frequencies of operation which have been somewhat standardized nat'l inter-op systems run the gamut of "reliable in geo-area X" to the antithesis of [such] dependability. This is nothing new, nor is it a gripe pertaining to the Curious Mix.

My question, for those of whom reside in/ are familiar with the greater STL Metro area, and it's [seemingly] ever-changing modus op/infrastructure is frustrating and probably has a simple answer. I haven't any friends/acquaintances who are into AR/Scanning as hobby, making things a bit difficult (I learn best through person-2-person exchange, am terrible with manuals).

My focus is (still) on scanning pub safety, as it seems the most accessible in present time /w my budget.

The frustration: scanner is 396XT. I have the 800mhz (.3x meters?/70cm?) radio shack duck, stock duck, a 144-160 mini whip (mag), Austin Spectra (mag) and a 1 meter mag whip, and a 2 band telescopic RadioShack duck. I understand receive only is much more forgiving than a 2 way get-up, but there are so many inconsistencies with what I can pick up using antenna XYZ...it's frustration-nation!

The tiny 14$ mini mag mounted 144-160 whip picks up the 150ish freqs much better then the 120$ spectra. Being near 270-olive, the 14$ whip picks up St Charles P25 better too- same with MOT systems. The 800mhz RS duck often times works better then both the spectra and the 14$ car mounted combo- at 150mhz(?)...the 1 meter (I'd think I'd be best for 39-50mhz) whip is hit or miss...and the telescoping duck (it's a rather large one!) will surprise me, pulling in some freqs which the others won't.

The only thing which seems to make a bit of sense, is the spectra works better than the 14$ job in the city- the 800 RS may work better...I'm constantly having to change the antennas on the scanner!

I saw an ad for a car mount-antenna which resembled a metal arachnid of sorts- it had many (5-6?) antenna jutting out in odd directions, truncating at the base. I forget the model, but from the comments, it seems like, if true, a better way of doing what I do (switching antennas) "AIO" solution...

I can understand somewhat the change when driving in STL City proper, but cannot for the life of me make any sense of the antennas I have.

Is there something STL-Metro specific which would explain the mystery? Could it be scanner program related? Thing is, when I get a signal, going from one antenna to another, the signal will attenuate to the point of "pass"- which would seem to indicate(?) something antenna related.

Thanks everyone!
 

pinballwiz86

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Raise all your antennas higher above ground. Should solve your problems.


Remember, VHF/UHF work by "line of sight".
 

scanman1958

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You have multiple issues. Trying to monitor both VHF hi and 700/800 systems at the same time will be tricky at best. You will need the best antenna and cable feed that you can get but remember too good of a signal will cause the reception to disappear. That will be a mind game.

Mobile and base scanning use different technics. So be prepared to experiment.

Good luck.
 

Kimberson

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STL/METRO & antenna ?'s (apologize if in wrong forum)

Thanks. Pardon my ignorance, could someone give an explanation as to why good signal= null reception? I've noticed "full bars" and "silence" on many occasions and chocked it up to erroneous programming on my behalf. I'm certain this is the case for some of my issues but I'm unfamiliar with the strong signal=bad reception phenomenon.

Alas- being new to the hobby, I purchased the a-spectra antenna going on user reviews. I've had problems with it since the beginning. Of course, I want(ed) an AIO antenna solution (mobile), thus far the radio shack duck (UHF) and the cheap whip on a mount (hi VHF) work best- it's a hassle, I have a splitter-switch, which I use which is the best solution thus far. Any antenna (mobile) recommendations? I wouldn't mind paying 200$ for 1 antenna which worked as well as the combo setup I use now, if such a thing exists.

-ty
 

nick1427d

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What frequency bands are you attempting to monitor? Even better would be what specific systems or agency are you having difficulty monitoring? If it's VHF and it's st. louis county related, I wouldn't worry too much as they will all be going to the new 800mhz trunking system soon. Not saying that won't come with a whole set of new problems.

St. Louis city's P25 system has always been my biggest headache with my 396XT. I've tried many things and nothing helps with my reception. I can be downtown and it's choppy. I now monitor city via other means and have 0 issues.
 

scanman1958

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With present day scanners if you get 'too good of a signal' either being very close to an antenna or using a good outdoor antenna you can 'overload the front end' of the scanner. Don't ask me what that really means but that is what happens. The signal becomes so strong that the circuitry of the scanner casues the signal to diminish some how. That is where the ATT/att buttons come into play. You can use the att buttons to 'turn down' (sort of) the signal so you can hear it better. Yes it does work. If you can do it on each channel that is giving you problems, and leave alone the ones that are working ok, then it might help. As I said with present day scanners (and probably older ones too) you get this problem. Remember it is a $400 scanner not a $3000 radio. (or more).
 

Kimberson

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Isn't it ironic!

I just bought a 19$ "2 band" mfj whip( 2 meters/70cm). I also bought a 2 meter intermod filter to play around with.

The 19$ whip is night and day /w 70cm.

Best luck I've had in STL City is the RS 800 whip.

I'm not knocking the $$$ spectra, but for me the 19$ MM whip blows it away!

(Argh!)
 
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