Vehicle antenna

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shifty277

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For some reason I cannot find what I'm looking for. I think I'm having a massive brain fart.

Anyway, I have a Uniden bcd396xt and pretty much monitor everything police/fire that's conventional/trucked so I am looking for a magnetic antenna for my vehicle. Any ideas?
 

awattam

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For some reason I cannot find what I'm looking for. I think I'm having a massive brain fart.

Anyway, I have a Uniden bcd396xt and pretty much monitor everything police/fire that's conventional/trucked so I am looking for a magnetic antenna for my vehicle. Any ideas?
I have the Austin Spectra with the mag mount option but this is quite pricy. Check out Scannermaster for some cheaper and lower profile options. This is a good one:

SpectrumForce Wideband Antenna with Mag Mount and SMA

If you use an antenna with a heavier cable, I would recommend a pigtail adapter to put less strain on the SMA connector on the scanner
 

mikesatter

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Another vote for the Larsen NMO 150/450/800 Antenna. Check out Larsen Antennas this is where I purchased mine for $32.95 bear in mind that you will need a base NMO mount which runs about $32.
 
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nyair1

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I have been looking into that larsen antenna also after reading about it online. Alot of people have had good results with it. The Antenna Farm has a good price on it too and all kinds of mounts for it.
 

reconrider8

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Ill add another vote for the tri-bander the only downside to the "Tri-Bander"is it doesnt cover low now 150/450/800
 

LtDoc

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Tjhe 'dead nuts' simplest 'all band' antenna is one that's 'cut' for the lowest frequency of use. It won't be the best for some higher bands, but there are not "one size fit's all" antennas, they are all compromises. Or, if there are particular 'bands' of interest, get an antenna that does well on that/those bands. Then you can just 'settle' for what that antenna will 'do' on non-resonant harmonic bands. Tht really is what you'll have to do.
What would be the -"best"- antenna for you? I don't have the slightest idea. Sorry 'bout that.
- 'Doc
 

AronDouglas

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+1 for the Austin Spectra if you can afford it. 35+ mile over flat land covered in swamp and slash pine I can receive 800mhz truncked system pretty good. 40-50+ miles 150 and 400ish range is still very clear.
 

n5ims

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The biggest problem with an antenna that'll cover "Pretty much everything" is it will do so rather poorly. If you can start eliminating some of the bands, you can start finding some pretty good antennas that'll cover them. The band that'll kill most performance on "Pretty much everything" coverage is the VHF-Low band (30 - 50 MHz or so). If you can eliminate that one you have a good start on finding a good performing antenna. This is generally pretty easy to do since most areas have pretty much given up on the VHF-Low band (the LA California area is one large exception to this).

I have several of the Larsen tri banders (150/450/800) and they do a very good job on most everywhere I scan (it doesn't work well on VHF-Low, but it's rare to find anything there most of the time here anyway so that isn't a loss for me). When I was stuck on the "Pretty much everything" antenna (my scanner worked there so my antenna should also) I never really found anything that worked. If it worked well on VHF-Low, it was very poor on the 800 MHz systems that are in heavy use here. I finally checked my scanner's programming and did some research and discovered that the few VHF-Low frequencies I had programmed in never were in use (they're still licensed, but at best they're a back-up to the back-up).

If you're in an area that does still use some VHF-Low frequencies, you can cover them easily without affecting your other coverage if you use a little trick. Nearly all VHF-Low use is standard analog FM that most any scanner will pick up. If you do have some important need to cover that band, find an old used (but in good condition) scanner and dedicate it to that band with an antenna designed to work there. You'll get better coverage of those channels and your other scanner (trunking at least and perhaps digital) won't be weighed down by using a highly compromised antenna.
 
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LtDoc

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Something to keep in mind for any VHF/UHF radios/antennas. It's all 'line of sight', meaning it's only going to be going/coming from the 'horizon'. If your and their antennas are within 'sight' of each other it's very likely you will hear those signals. If that other antenna is over the horizon from yours, good luck, probably won't hear squat. There are no 'miracle' antennas that hear amazing distances, it's all physics/geography, topography. You can see further by climbing on to a ladder, and so does your antenna. Height is might means something at VHF/UHF. All the rest of it is just advertisement. Or, what you spread on a garden to make it grow better, you know?
- 'Doc
 

AronDouglas

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My mentality is that your a mobile unit, any antenna that can offer a minimum of 20 miles is a good antenna. If you have a lot of static you can either go closer or you dont need to hear them. You dont need 50-100 miles receive in your car, unless your recording while your mobile and broadcasting that signal to a scanner website.

But thats just me.
 

shifty277

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Yes I agree. I went with one from radio shack I will post pictures in the proper thread.

As always. Thank you all for your assistance.
 

LIScanner101

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The biggest problem with an antenna that'll cover "Pretty much everything" is it will do so rather poorly. If you can start eliminating some of the bands, you can start finding some pretty good antennas that'll cover them. The band that'll kill most performance on "Pretty much everything" coverage is the VHF-Low band (30 - 50 MHz or so). If you can eliminate that one you have a good start on finding a good performing antenna. This is generally pretty easy to do since most areas have pretty much given up on the VHF-Low band (the LA California area is one large exception to this).
The only “all band” scanner antenna I’ve ever owned that actually does VERY well on low band through 800MHz is the venerable, out-of-production Antenna Specialists MON Series. Fortunately after scouring ebay and Etsy I lucked into several of them over the past year – I have about 6-7 of the MONs as well as two of the base versions. I fully realize this doesn’t help anybody who is looking for a CONTEMPORARY solution, I'm just saying that a solution DID exist at one time. While, of course, these antennas are STILL a “compromise”, they do much better OVERALL than anything currently on the market. I’m not an antenna engineer, but if I had to guess I would say that the main reason they do so well OVERALL is because they are super-long – about 4 feet. No all-band scanner mobile antennas on the market like that right now.
 

LIScanner101

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Tjhe 'dead nuts' simplest 'all band' antenna is one that's 'cut' for the lowest frequency of use. It won't be the best for some higher bands, but there are not "one size fit's all" antennas, they are all compromises. Or, if there are particular 'bands' of interest, get an antenna that does well on that/those bands. Then you can just 'settle' for what that antenna will 'do' on non-resonant harmonic bands. Tht really is what you'll have to do.
What would be the -"best"- antenna for you? I don't have the slightest idea. Sorry 'bout that.
- 'Doc
You know, that’s something I am struggling with - the “harmonics” issue. Hopefully you can help me out with that ;) …….

Let’s say that I want to focus on 155MHz and 453MHz. I could, of course, cut a 1/4 wave whip for both frequencies (18.8” for 155MHz, 6.4” for 453MHz) and just swap them out as needed. OK, what if I want to listen to both WITHOUT swapping antennas? I could just use the 18.8” whip since I actually know that works pretty well for the UHF frequency as well and be done with it. But since a FULL wave 453MHz antenna “wants” to be 25.7”, a whip cut to 18” is 73% of a full wave at 453MHz, or pretty damned close to a 3/4 wave. Is that “good” or “bad”? What about cutting the antenna to be a 5/8 wave at 453MHz, which works out to 16”? But then it’s only 85% of the ideal 1/4 wave length for 155MHz. And round and round we go….ahhhh!!!

I think the 16” whip would be best, because it’s exactly 5/8 wave at 453MHz and “nearly” a 1/4 wave at 155Mhz - but I could of course be wrong about that, which is why I’m here LOL!

Any thoughts on my crazy ideas?
 

lu81fitter

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Antenna problems.

I am struggling with the same exact thing. I'm trying to listen to both bands myself. The VHF hi bands are closer, so I think that the antenna for the 450-465 MHz range would be better, as the signal from them (VHF) would probably come in anyway. But the scanner is mobile, so when I travel, the strength of the signal varies greatly. I was wondering about multiple antennas, but not sure how to go about it.
Good luck with your experimentation. I think we will both learn from this.
You know, that’s something I am struggling with - the “harmonics” issue. Hopefully you can help me out with that ;) …….

Let’s say that I want to focus on 155MHz and 453MHz. I could, of course, cut a 1/4 wave whip for both frequencies (18.8” for 155MHz, 6.4” for 453MHz) and just swap them out as needed. OK, what if I want to listen to both WITHOUT swapping antennas? I could just use the 18.8” whip since I actually know that works pretty well for the UHF frequency as well and be done with it. But since a FULL wave 453MHz antenna “wants” to be 25.7”, a whip cut to 18” is 73% of a full wave at 453MHz, or pretty damned close to a 3/4 wave. Is that “good” or “bad”? What about cutting the antenna to be a 5/8 wave at 453MHz, which works out to 16”? But then it’s only 85% of the ideal 1/4 wave length for 155MHz. And round and round we go….ahhhh!!!

I think the 16” whip would be best, because it’s exactly 5/8 wave at 453MHz and “nearly” a 1/4 wave at 155Mhz - but I could of course be wrong about that, which is why I’m here LOL!

Any thoughts on my crazy ideas?
 

mark40

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Pike County, Pennsylvania
I am struggling with the same exact thing. I'm trying to listen to both bands myself. The VHF hi bands are closer, so I think that the antenna for the 450-465 MHz range would be better, as the signal from them (VHF) would probably come in anyway. But the scanner is mobile, so when I travel, the strength of the signal varies greatly. I was wondering about multiple antennas, but not sure how to go about it.
Good luck with your experimentation. I think we will both learn from this.
Gents- similar situation as my interest lies in scanning 154/155 MHz and 453-460 MHZ. Started out with a Larsen NMO 18" trunk mounted whip. Later purchased a dual bander and the difference was negligible in my case. Opted to go back to the 18" whip simply because it is lower profile/thiner compared to the dual bander which is thicker, black and with the load even more noticeable. Will be interested to hear about any experimentation/results you may get from trimming the whip
 
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