Using scanner to monitor VHF marine radio traffic

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shumadine

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I use a scanner (Uniden Sportcat 180) to monitor marine radio traffic on the Chesapeake Bay. But when I park it on the table beside a dedicated marine VHF handheld radio, I notice that the VHF receives all the normal traffic and the scanner misses some of it. And the traffic that the scanner does pick up is not nearly as clear as what comes through the VHF radio (for both near and distant signals).

I would much prefer to use the scanner so I could listen to nearby EMS and police activity too. But the sound quality in the handheld VHF is far superior so I tend to listen to that more.

Is this just a sensitivity issue on the SC 180? If so, is there a better scanner that might be more sensitive, like a PRO-97? Or am I better off just finding another VHF radio that can scan between several pre-set channels ?
 

pdfdems286

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Florida.Where it's alway's friggin' hot.
commercial ht-band specific and commercial grade component's.a commercial grade ht is alway's going to win in the sensitivity dept.their speaker's are generally better than a scanner's too.yes,if you have the buck's to spend get a commercial grade radio.keep the scanner for "on the fly" monitoring.commercial radio's have their drawback's.most of them don't make it easy to change frequencies.they usually are not multi band either.a good compromise might be a ham ht.do a little research.just my 2 cent's.out of all of them i seem to like yaesu's the best.
 

cpuerror

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Its probably the antenna. The stock black bearcat antennas do work if you climb up the transmitter tower and make sure the scanner antenna is touching the transmitter antenna, and that transmitter is a minimum of 500w, but for greater range and/or less powerful transmitters I would recommend replacing it.
 

shumadine

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So I should consider something like an Austin Condor or one of the extendable antennas from Radio Shack? I have a hard time believing the antenna would be the issue since the stock 8" antenna is pulling in the signal on the VHF radio so well....
 

N8IAA

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So I should consider something like an Austin Condor or one of the extendable antennas from Radio Shack? I have a hard time believing the antenna would be the issue since the stock 8" antenna is pulling in the signal on the VHF radio so well....
Band specific radios will always outperform a widebanded radio as mentioned above. Audio on scanners has always been a sore point with those of us that use them. By the way, the PD, FD, and other systems you want to listen to are on the VA STARS P-25 digital system. You will need one of the newer digital scanners to listen to those frequencies. For any of my VHF listening, I use a Yaesu VX-170 2m HT, my IC-2720, or by Yaesu FT-1500. Big difference in receive and audio than a scanner.
Larry
 

Twister_2

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I don't live near the oceans...so I don't receive the maritime tx's. I just wanted to know what all you hear....such as distress calls (in any), coast guard, or just radio checks. How interesting is it?
 
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