What antenna for Pro-97/164?

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bbedsole

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Ok, so I'm a News Reporter and I recently decided to get my own scanner for work/personal reasons. Got a great deal on a Pro-97 scanner package on Ebay, and it works fantastic with our EDACS systems in the South Texas area. I also downloaded Win97. Love it. Then this past week (after seeing all the new and exciting channels I could pick up with *my* Pro-97) the TV station went down the street to Radio Shack, bought a Pro-164 and programming cable, brought it back to me and said "Make this work like yours". Thanks to Win97, it was ready to go about 10 minutes later.

My question is about antennas. Both scanners already have the Radio Shack 800mhz antennas, and they work great. But are there other inexpensive ones out there that are even better? And what about the conventional frequencies (most surrounding cities/counties are in the 154-155.xxx range)? What antenna is recommended to best increase the range/quality for those lower frequencies?

FYI, we're considering both base and mobile antennas.

Thanks in advance for the advice. And I'm sorry if the question has been asked a million times already, but I did check for a similar post and didn't find any.
 

gmclam

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The best antenna totally depends on the frequencies you will be monitoring. The best overall rubber antenna is the one that comes with the scanner. If you're only monitoring 800MHz, then of course the best rubber antenna is the Radio Shack RS800 antenna.

If you are going to monitor a single band, you can select an antenna that will do a stellar job. If you plan to monitor all bands (30 MHz to 900 MHz), then there are, IMO, a few choices.

I run a discone for a base antenna. It is omni-directional and works very well. It is advertised as able to receive 25MHz to 2000MHz.

The first issue with mobile antennas is how you expect to mount it. If you have no problem boring holes in your vehicle for an antenna, there are a lot of NMO mounts out there. I went with a magenetic mount. I have two different mag mounts and like them both. Nothing specific, just antennas that work from 25MHz to 1000MHz.
 

bbedsole

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How much of a difference?

Thanks for the advice @gmclam (in case this works like Twitter). I've read quite a few of your posts on 97/164 issues, so I know you know what you're talking about.

If I may follow up, how much of a difference would you say a $30 magnetic mount makes (compared to rubber duck) when it comes to 800mhz? 155mhz? Is it a night and day improvement, or a small step up?

Thanks again.
 

N8IAA

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Thanks for the advice @gmclam (in case this works like Twitter). I've read quite a few of your posts on 97/164 issues, so I know you know what you're talking about.

If I may follow up, how much of a difference would you say a $30 magnetic mount makes (compared to rubber duck) when it comes to 800mhz? 155mhz? Is it a night and day improvement, or a small step up?

Thanks again.
Any external antenna makes for a huge difference in reception of signals. My setup on the vehicle is a trunklip NMO mobile mount. It allows me to use a variety of antennas for my different travels. My basic antenna is a 1/4 wave VHF antenna cut for the UHF frequencies. I have really strong VHF signals in my area, not too much on UHF, but it acts as a 1/2 wave 800Mhz antenna. I pull in trunked systems from the metro area where I live. My favorite antenna, however, is a Larsen 2m/440Mhz shorty dual band antenna. When going on road trips, my Laird dual band 150/450Mhz antenna is attatched. It works for all what I monitor. Mostly, all conventional VHF/UHF frequencies. It is even adequate for 42Mhz NC SHP. As I said before, any external antenna will make monitoring a better thing:D
Larry
 

gmclam

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If I may follow up, how much of a difference would you say a $30 magnetic mount makes (compared to rubber duck) when it comes to 800mhz? 155mhz? Is it a night and day improvement, or a small step up?
I did not spend more than $30 for either of my mag mounts. Because one of the agencies of primary focus to me is CHP, and they are on VHF low band, an external antenna made the difference between picking them up and not. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best reception, my reception of CHP in a (especially moving) vehicle went from 1 to 10.

As the frequencies go up, the improvement by using an external antenna went down. But overall, the difference is day and night. This is why I stress that it all depends on the exact bands you want to receive in, if you don't need VHF low band, get an antenna designed for about 108MHz to about 900MHz.
 

kev3889

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8" tuff duck for any radioshack scanner

This 800 mhz, 2.5db gain antenna works great . The Pro-96 hendheld model with the "tough duck" antenna received better than my base model (pro-197). My pro-197 even had a discone antenna mounted outside 25' high. These are sold on scannermaster for about $30. Even if its a RS desktop scanner, buy an elbow and put this antenna on it!! Picking up just about all of CSP
 

StatuSChecKa

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I bought these in store.

800MHz Scanner Antenna - RadioShack.com (This one is better then the stock one, more reception, less static; And more attractive)

Center-Loaded Telescoping Whip Antenna - RadioShack.com (I bought this one for the heck of it, it extends to like 4 feet. And looks pretty cool when it is not telescoped. I use this mostly when I am monitoring Storm Chasers, or monitor Police and Fire during a rainy and cloudy storm; This one can be adjusted for reception on all frequencies)
 

Gcom

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800 mhz mobile antenna

Sorry this posting maybe a little late . I have dedicated quite a bit of time in testing performance of mobile antennas for 800mhz i.e. scanning . The antenna of choice is a Laird B8065C, co-phased 5db loaded Coil Antenna.(Item # B8065C, Mobile Load Coil Antennas on Laird Technologies) or Laird Technologies - Electromagnetic Interference [EMI] shielding materials, thermal interface products, wireless antenna solutions. This antenna not only offers good 800 performance but is a hot performer for VHF high band , equalling 1/4 wave performance in the VHF Hi band region. Please NOTE that this mobile antenna ONLY performs well in the 800 band when fed with high quality low loss coax such as Proflex from Antenna Specialist(tessco.com) , Cushcrafts UltraLink coax (TEDI - Technical Equipment Distributors Inc.) or DuoBond coax from Belden. Many RG-58 cables are too lossy & you will find that your 800 rubber duck inside a vehicle will outperform your new 800 external mobile antenna , yet on VHF you will experience a enhancement even with lower grade coax due to losses in the VHF region being less than at the higher 800 mhz frequency. BTW, The 800 mhz rubber duck from Radio Shack as aforementioned in your post is a great 800 portable antenna that also performs well on the VhF high band usually equal to the supplied stock duck. Hope this helps.

73's
 
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