Wide-Band or Single-Band antenna?

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rob_2012

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Hello and Happy New Year!

My first post here and I don't know jack about this stuff. So I need advice before my new small purchase. I am setting up a new shack on a budget, and I am getting a Uniden Bearcat BC355C Scanner, but the antenna choice I have no clue about do I need Wide-Band or Single-Band antenna? It will be located in my car, so its a mobile set up.

Also, I am looking to buy a 2meter mobile radio for under $200 looking at the FT-2900R and was wondering what mobile antenna to use? I was considering the MR-77 Diamond 2M/70CM Magnetic Mount Mobile Antenna but not sure so many to choose from.....

My location is Bristol County, Mass, and RI on the east coast. I will be traveling through small cities and towns like New Bedford, Fall River, and Warwick, Rhode Island area....I commute 100 miles a day.

Thanks for reading,
Rob
 

n5ims

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There's a third choice, Multi-Band. The choice pretty much depends on what you want to accomplish.

Single-Band - Provides great performance on the band it's designed for and marginal (at best) performance on other bands. Often they provide good gain numbers for larger versions or for shorter ones less visibility and garage issues as a trade off for lower gain. Most will also work for transmitting on the band it was designed for.

Multi-Band - Provides the benefits of a single band antenna on more than one band. Generally they won't give quite the gain of a single band antenna and may be slightly less rugged due to the coil (they won't take as many hits by a limb, for example). Most will allow you to transmit on the designed bands.

Wide-Band - Low or no gain, but very wide frequency coverage. Good for general scanner use for folks that simply must pick up everything from VHF-Low or VHF-Hi (depending on the antenna in question) through the 800/900 MHz bands. Due to the lack of gain, they won't pick up stations from quite as far away, however. They aren't designed for transmitting, but some do have limited ranges where they will work for transmitting.

One significant issue with a wide-band antenna is it will pick up everything, including the stuff that may cause issues with your picking up what you want. It may allow strong FM broadcast signals to overload your receiver so you can't pick up the local PD, for example. A tuned antenna (single-band or multi-band) will also pick up those signals, but if they're not in the designed range for that antenna, they won't be nearly as strong as they would be if the antenna was designed to pick up those frequencies.

Two comments:

First, you need to be careful with a scanner and a transmitter in the same car. It can be done, but care must be taken so you don't overload the scanner when you transmit. Seperate the two antennas the best you can. Vertical height is better than horizontal height so it may be best to put one on the roof and the other on the trunk, if possible. Also use as little power when transmitting as possible.

Second, There are many good antennas on the market for ham use. For mobile it would be a good idea to get an "NMO Mount" antenna and mounting style of your choice (they make fixed, magnetic, and 'temporary-perm' mounts like trunk-lip versions). This will allow you to swap them around as needed. Most of the antennas that have a fixed magenetic mount use very thin (and lossy) coax and are pretty much not repairable if you happen to pinch the coax in the door/window so you must get a new antenna and mount. With a standard mount you can more easily fix the coax (the mounts generally are accessable) if that's damaged or replace only the antenna if that gets damaged.

I also travel with both a Larsen NMO 2/70 for access to both bands, a Larsen 5/8 wave gain antenna for 2 meters (for longer range if needed, but only on 2) and a short dual-band Larsen for easier parking garage access when at my destination. They all attach to the same NMO base so swapping is quite easy. I also have one of the cap protectors (simply a plastic cover for the mount) for when I don't want any antenna on the car (like when parking in areas where security may be an issue so it doesn't yell out "Radio on board!!!").
 

kb2vxa

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Keeping it simple and starting at the bottom, a 2M 1/4 wave whip becomes 3/4 wave on 70cM so transmit wise you're good to go. Stepping up to a dual band "gain" antenna generally helps, especially on 70cM by lowering the vertical radiation angle. In any case they'll receive reasonably well out of band so the scanner is a go.

There are a few reasons for putting a coaxial switch (not a coax switch BTW) in line and using them one at a time. There are some "porcupine whackers" who have a vehicle full of radios all going at once and will disagree on potentially overloading and/or damaging the scanner but frankly I wouldn't take the chance. Oh, the switch that grounds the unused port provides the best protection. Then there's something seldom mentioned, information overload between the ears resulting in a distracted driver and incidental background chatter being picked up by the mic and transmitted. This reduces intelligibility and you want to be heard clearly, also it's annoying to the ham(s) on the other end. Bottom line here; one at a time, never both at once, so turn everything else off when operating.

"I also have one of the cap protectors (simply a plastic cover for the mount) for when I don't want any antenna on the car like when parking in areas where security may be an issue so it doesn't yell out "Radio on board!!!"

Good idea, one I have used with great success especially with a dummy slide mount under the dash and the rig in the glove box. Pause for a ponder, I wonder how this guy keeps his porcupine from being stolen.
 
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rob_2012

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New Bedford, MASS
I am wondering now if I should get a Trunking mobile scanner? If so I may drop the 2meter purchase to get a better mobile scanner. How can I find out if my state police are using trunking systems?
 

reedeb

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818
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Dallas Texas
Hello and Happy New Year!

My first post here and I don't know jack about this stuff. So I need advice before my new small purchase. I am setting up a new shack on a budget, and I am getting a Uniden Bearcat BC355C Scanner, but the antenna choice I have no clue about do I need Wide-Band or Single-Band antenna? It will be located in my car, so its a mobile set up.

Also, I am looking to buy a 2meter mobile radio for under $200 looking at the FT-2900R and was wondering what mobile antenna to use? I was considering the MR-77 Diamond 2M/70CM Magnetic Mount Mobile Antenna but not sure so many to choose from.....

My location is Bristol County, Mass, and RI on the east coast. I will be traveling through small cities and towns like New Bedford, Fall River, and Warwick, Rhode Island area....I commute 100 miles a day.

Thanks for reading,
Rob
OK for the scanner a wide band [multi band] antenna will do you good. NOW you mentioned you want a 2 meter ham rig as well. ONE important question. Do you have an Amateur Radio license? The reason I ask it sounds like you know zilch about radios/scanners and antenna [something MOST typical tech class ops know about] IF you don't have a license you need to start studying and pass the nsimple exam and get a radio untill you do get your license [IF you don't] the hold off on getting the radio till you do have the ticket.
 

rob_2012

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New Bedford, MASS
OK for the scanner a wide band [multi band] antenna will do you good. NOW you mentioned you want a 2 meter ham rig as well. ONE important question. Do you have an Amateur Radio license? The reason I ask it sounds like you know zilch about radios/scanners and antenna [something MOST typical tech class ops know about] IF you don't have a license you need to start studying and pass the nsimple exam and get a radio untill you do get your license [IF you don't] the hold off on getting the radio till you do have the ticket.
Well I would never transmit on it until I get my license and as far as I know its OK to listen in and own one. I am in the process of obtaining a license and I hope to include my 8 year old son as well, since he will be my base operator when he come home from school if he can pass this exam. I found an online study program that seems pretty good, it has a $20 fee: HamTestOnline™ - Ham Radio Exam Courses
 

Rt169Radio

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A Larsen tri-band antenna would be good for your mobile scanner setup.
 

timkilbride

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For a good overall wide-band coverage I recommend the Larsen Tri-band 150/450/800. I use two of them, one with my HomePatrol1 and the other with a 996xt.

For two-way radios, single/mono band reject interference/unwanted signals better then a dual/tri/quad band radio.

Personally, I have ditched all my "ham radio" stuff and went to using commercial radios. GM300, Spectras, Maxtrac's are all on eBay at pretty affordable prices. Along with some Kenwood and GE stuff. I have recently even started switching to GE equipment. Same quality as /\/\ at 25% of the price.

Tim
 

reedeb

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Well I would never transmit on it until I get my license and as far as I know its OK to listen in and own one. I am in the process of obtaining a license and I hope to include my 8 year old son as well, since he will be my base operator when he come home from school if he can pass this exam. I found an online study program that seems pretty good, it has a $20 fee: HamTestOnline™ - Ham Radio Exam Courses
I would also check for a Ham radio Club in your area. i also noticed your town has [or will soon go digital] i would suggest a Larson 150/450/800. it is a good antenna and get a good DIGITAL scanner.

On the ham rig instead of a plain 2 meter get a dual band radio 2 mter/70 cntmtr rig 2 radios in one. The Tech exam is quite easy [I got mine in 1995 got a study book, and studied for 3 weeks, walked in and took the test in 15 min, and walked out with my certificate] Glad to hear you're going for it as well as your son.
 

rob_2012

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New Bedford, MASS
I would also check for a Ham radio Club in your area. i also noticed your town has [or will soon go digital] i would suggest a Larson 150/450/800. it is a good antenna and get a good DIGITAL scanner.

On the ham rig instead of a plain 2 meter get a dual band radio 2 mter/70 cntmtr rig 2 radios in one. The Tech exam is quite easy [I got mine in 1995 got a study book, and studied for 3 weeks, walked in and took the test in 15 min, and walked out with my certificate] Glad to hear you're going for it as well as your son.
How do I find out that my area is going digital? I was wondering about this.

Thanks for pointing that out!
 

rob_2012

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Jan 2, 2012
Messages
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Location
New Bedford, MASS
I installed my new radio today with a roof mounted MR77 antenna. Powered it up and turned the frequency until I heard some communications and ended up at 146.755 sounded clear with good tone.

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions!

Rob
 

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