Topic Author
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2002 8:43 pm

Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 16, 2003 1:29 am

Hi guys. Since a lot of you guys are tech people, i thought it would be best to ask you. I have a scanner, and I want to increase my reception. It has a BNC (I think thats what its called) connector at the top.
Could you please tell me what price range i would be looking at to increase my reception, by quite a lot, and where I should look.
H. Simpson
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 7:30 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 16, 2003 2:29 am

It depends on how good the quality the antenna you want. Some outdoor antennas (called discone, if i'm not mistaken) can run about $40-90 USD, big improvement if u place one on the rooftop.

I have a telescoping whip with a BNC connection from Radio Shack, that one runs about ~$10 and it's a great performer! Big grin

Remember that 90% of the time the stock antenna is a poor performer, and also try to find out the "gain" of the antenna before you purchase. In the VHF (airband) range, the higher the gain, the better it will be

good luck!
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2001 5:39 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:49 am

In the cub I have one that I can attach to the window with a suction cub and it works great. I believe it's pretty cheap too if you buy it from Aircraft Spruce or Sporties.
At worst, you screw up and die.
Posts: 3369
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:58 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 16, 2003 11:22 am

In the world of VHF antennas, its not the price you pay, its the height that counts. VHF frequencies don't "bounce" so well so line of sight is the rule of thumb.

If you can get that thing up high, you'll increase your performance even if you're using a coat hanger for an antenna.

One of the problems though, is that the longer you make the antenna lead, the more loss you'll have in the line. This isn't usually significant until you need more than 50 feet. Even in that case you can use low loss cable like RG-8 (50 ohms) cable.

RE: Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 16, 2003 2:27 pm

I have a Sony 2001 radio (HF and VHF) - For reception of VHF at home the antenna (Sony AN-1) is installed high on the roof, the antenna comes with a 15 meters long coaxial cable to connect to the radio - BNC connection -
The Sony AN-1 was about US$ 75.oo when I bought it, but that was some 15-20 years ago, I understand it is still sold commercially, same as the AN-3, the active HF antenna which I use for HF reception... that one is some $150.oo -
Since it is VHF, place the antenna as high as you can (line of sight) -
(s) Skipper
Posts: 1195
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2001 1:08 pm

RE: Scanner Antennas

Sun Apr 27, 2003 1:46 pm

It also depends on the type of scanner and esp. the location. In my case, I live about 25 miles from KLAX and I just cant pick up ATC. Because why? Well, there are these hills called the Hollywood Hills, and believe me they do have an impact. The highest peak of them all is about 1800 feet (Mt. Lee).

As stated above, these could have alot of impact. Also, get a good rotator, I use one for my radio what I use to talk on Ham Radio. Line of Sight is the the the MOST important of all.

Since I just received my FCC tech license for Ham Radio, if you guys need some answers than fill free to ask to me.
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Sun Apr 27, 2003 5:55 pm

The height of the antena is a big factor, not to understate that line of sight is also critical.

If you want to attempt to be real highspeed, you could always build your own antenna.

Go and buy an ARRL handbook. They usually have some pretty good information on antenna construction in them.

You mainly need two ceramic insulators, and a wire as the major components if you want to build your own.
Posts: 580
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2001 5:19 pm

RE: Scanner Antennas

Tue Apr 29, 2003 1:00 am

A simple home-made antenna will work better than any discone...provided you "tune" it for the required frequency of operation.

For a frequency of 120Mhz (somewhere near the middle of the airband - you can of course use a more specific frequency like your local tower or approach) the wavelength is 2.5 metres...give or take a few mm  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

A simple half wave dipole, resonant at this frequency, can then be constructed using a length of wire just 1.25 metres long.

Cut your length of wire in half and attach it to a suitable length of dowel (or similar). Attach a length of 50 ohm co-ax to the centre point (where you made the cut) ...making sure there is about an inch gap and that there is no short circuit.

Attach a BNC connector to the other end of the coax and you're good to go!  Big thumbs up

Any book (or website!) on antenna theory will include diagrams and probably better instructions. I use one of these and it really pulls in those stations that would otherwise be down in the noise!

You can do it!

Dean (qualified ham radio op. G0RIF)
Life's dangerous. Get a f**king helmet!
H. Simpson
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 7:30 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Tue Apr 29, 2003 2:28 am

Also...look for those antennas have "magnet mount", those magnetic mount can "stick" your antenna on a metal object and it acts as a ground. The bigger the "metal object" (ie. Car) the better the antenna perform!

I have my VHF/UHF antenna placed on up of my radiator with a magnet mount and it works WELL!

Take care,
Dennis (another ham radio op. N2KIN)

p.s. I wonder how many ham radio operator are in this forum? Give me a shout!
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Tue Apr 29, 2003 6:22 am

I am not H. Simpson.

But I was US Army Signal Corp a decade ago.

Learn some things but never really got the chance to practice them!

Want to pick up HAM someday but not right now, Got to pay for school, not the Gear!

And those Collins R 390's aren't cheap.....

H. Simpson
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 7:30 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 30, 2003 12:02 pm

lol...well good luck and I;m sure you will come back one day with the Collins  Big thumbs up
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Scanner Antennas

Wed Apr 30, 2003 12:14 pm

I'd love to but that might be difficult

The Collins is just a reciever...I have no way to transmit  Crying
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2000 9:44 pm

RE: Scanner Antennas

Fri May 09, 2003 10:16 am

I'm using ICOM. By the way, what is a BNC connection? I'm living roughly about 13miles away from the airport. At certain times of the day/night I can receive ATC depending on which frequency.

Any tips how I can improve the reception.


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