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Author Topic: Please help me with my scanner  (Read 6463 times)
phat_farm
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« on: June 08, 2005, 04:14:04 PM »

Hello everyone!

I just bought my very first scanner a Uniden BC 350C but unfortunately am having trouble.  I live 15 miles outside a really busy major airport yet my scanner is not picking up anything being transmitted by air traffic controllers, police/fire/emt dispatchers, and ATIS information.  I am able to hear airplane transmissions only on one of the approach frequencies otherwise none of the other ones are active at all.  I read the manual and followed everything correctly, and I doubt it's an antenna problem because I am able to hear the weather broadcasts and the police/fire/emt units talking to dispatch just fine.  Its just that I cannot hear anything else.  Can anyone please tell me whats going on.  I was under the impression that I would be able to monitor two way radios just fine yet I can't.
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dave
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2005, 04:21:33 PM »

Bottom line...you need an outside antenna if you don't already have one.  The transmissions that you are succeeding in picking up are from higher power transmitter and/or transmitting antennas that are located in higher locations (police/fire, etc.).  Aircraft are easy to pick up since there is great line-of-sight between you and them.  ATC broadcasts from transmitters that are no more than 30-70' off the ground with lower power than the police/fire transmitters use.  That is part of the challenge of picking them up.

The other problem with indoor antennas is noice pickup, which masks weaker signals.

Do a search on this forum for 'antenna' and you will find some more information.

Good luck,
Dave
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IndyTower
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2005, 04:38:29 PM »

Just out of curiosity, what airport are you near?

Matt
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phat_farm
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2005, 06:08:58 PM »

thanks for the reply dave, i was not aware of the fact that I needed to buy an outdoor antenna as you described.  Do all household scanners (especially handhelds) require an extra antenna?  

indytower, its milwaukee.
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Shannon_App_121.40
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2005, 04:23:59 AM »

Not all scanners need one, the reception will be alot clearer if you have one though. Check you have the right frequencies, and they are not locked out, then hit scan or its equivilant.
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dave
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2005, 05:37:05 AM »

Quote from: SAE
Not all scanners need one, the reception will be alot clearer if you have one though. Check you have the right frequencies, and they are not locked out, then hit scan or its equivilant.


It's not a matter of the scanner "needing one," what really matters is your location, that is, how far away are you from what you are trying to receive?  Also, what does the terrain look like between you and that location?  VHF and UHF signals travel largely over line-of-sight paths (not completely, though), so if you have a large hill between you and an airport (or whatever you're trying to pick up), that can be a factor that works to your disadvantage.

It's all about increasing the signal pickup and lowering any man-made noise pickup you may be experiencing.  That's where a better antenna, especially if mounted outside, comes in. This is called increasing the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N ratio).  When you lower N and increase S, your ability to hear gets increasingly better.

-Dave
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phat_farm
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2005, 10:04:59 PM »

can anyone please recommend any specific antenna models i should consider purchasing in order to clearly listen to the atc frequencies?  

update:  after some more tweaking with my scanner i was able to pick up two chicago center artcc where i was able to hear both the controllers and the aircraft after attaching the indoor antenna, that came with the scanner, on my roof.
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tim_attinger
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2005, 03:39:21 AM »

maybe it is faulty
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attinger
phat_farm
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2005, 06:16:49 PM »

Quote from: tim_attinger
maybe it is faulty


if your talking about the scanner I highly doubt it, i think it has to do with a weak indoor antenna
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dwhite
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2005, 06:36:29 PM »

I have the same scanner.  Radio Shack has an antenna that works well.  I don't remember the #.  Just tell them what you are doing they will know the proper model #
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David White
phat_farm
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2005, 07:45:56 PM »

Quote from: dwhite
I have the same scanner.  Radio Shack has an antenna that works well.  I don't remember the #.  Just tell them what you are doing they will know the proper model #


Did you actually buy the antenna?  If so, how does it work for you?

I was at radio shack earlier and I discovered two models that were in my price range.  The model 20-176 was $25 with a "peak performance" in the 152-470 MHz range and the other was 15-2152 costing $60 with a great 90 mile vhf range.  

Now I'm trying to decide which one to buy.  I only live 25 miles outside the airport.  I figure with the cheaper one the "peak performance" may be in the 152 range but it might be good enough to clearly pick up the airband frequencies.  

I was unable to find any reviews on either antenna online so thats why I'm asking anyone here for their suggestion on if the expensive one is worth buying or not.  After all it is a good $35 I would be saving.
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JetBlue
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2005, 07:57:23 PM »

I've been using the RS discone for VHF/UHF air traffic, and no complaints so far. There is another antenna, smaller and cheaper, that I understand does outstanding on the VHF aero band. I think that's the one you're referring to

Kieran
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Kieran J O'Hagan
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dave
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2005, 08:01:53 AM »

Quote from: phat_farm
Quote from: dwhite
I have the same scanner.  Radio Shack has an antenna that works well.  I don't remember the #.  Just tell them what you are doing they will know the proper model #


Did you actually buy the antenna?  If so, how does it work for you?

I was at radio shack earlier and I discovered two models that were in my price range.  The model 20-176 was $25 with a "peak performance" in the 152-470 MHz range and the other was 15-2152 costing $60 with a great 90 mile vhf range.  

Now I'm trying to decide which one to buy.  I only live 25 miles outside the airport.  I figure with the cheaper one the "peak performance" may be in the 152 range but it might be good enough to clearly pick up the airband frequencies.  

I was unable to find any reviews on either antenna online so thats why I'm asking anyone here for their suggestion on if the expensive one is worth buying or not.  After all it is a good $35 I would be saving.


Go with the $25 antenna.  It does cover air band just fine and should work well for you if mounted outside.  The $60 antenna having a great "90 mile VHF range" is a TV antenna, not an antenna well-suited to picking up airband.  Besides, airband signals are vertically polarized and the TV antenna is horizontally polarized, so even if it did cover the right frequency range you would be cross-polarized (with up to 20dB of signal loss).

Dave
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