Extending range

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Extending range

Postby Amtrak7 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:44 pm

I have a Uniden BC346XT with the standard rubber ducky and live about 1.5 miles as the crow flies from LIRR's DIVIDE tower. However, I only can hear approximately 50% of the tower's transmissions and no trains calling in the tower except when they are right in front of it in the station. Even then, it's very spotty and barely comprehensible. User Train538 reports in another post that he can hear the same tower from SW CT, at least 20 miles away using a BC72XLT and its rubber ducky. Why the difference? Any way to improve this?
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Re: Extending range

Postby EMTRailfan » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:32 am

Amtrak7 wrote:I have a Uniden BC346XT with the standard rubber ducky and live about 1.5 miles as the crow flies from LIRR's DIVIDE tower. However, I only can hear approximately 50% of the tower's transmissions and no trains calling in the tower except when they are right in front of it in the station. Even then, it's very spotty and barely comprehensible. User Train538 reports in another post that he can hear the same tower from SW CT, at least 20 miles away using a BC72XLT and its rubber ducky. Why the difference? Any way to improve this?


I'm not familiar with LIRR's ops at all, so only taking a stab in the dark, but it sounds like maybe LIRR may use different frequencies for different divisions and/or transmitter sites. I'm sure if you do some research on LIRR frequencies, you will find something. radioreference.com may be a good start, or a LIRR Yahoo group, etc.
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Re: Extending range

Postby Amtrak7 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:17 pm

There have been very spotty cases of me hearing other towers/the trains (especially if I go nearer), so that means I have the right frequencies.
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Re: Extending range

Postby EMTRailfan » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:23 am

Amtrak7 wrote:There have been very spotty cases of me hearing other towers/the trains (especially if I go nearer), so that means I have the right frequencies.


You could try a band specific replacement antenna for when out and about, and maybe a roof top antenna for you home if you listen there (if ordinances allow).
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Re: Extending range

Postby CarterB » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:28 pm

Uniden BC346XT unfortunately is a handheld and has a 'wide band' stubby antenna. Not good for any distance at all.
As previously mentioned, if you can find a band range specific (160-162MHz) VHF antenna that will help.Try a ham radio store to see if they have such. Short of that a longer or telescoping antenna may work better. Also, the higher you are with that handheld, or out of your car vs inside, the better it will work.
(I am a Motorola / I-Com radio dealer, so quite familiar with RF vs antennas and distance from source)
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Re: Extending range

Postby Amtrak7 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:12 pm

But then why does the other user who also uses a Uniden handheld and the included antenna hear the communications better than I do from many times the distance away?
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Re: Extending range

Postby EMTRailfan » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:34 am

Amtrak7 wrote:But then why does the other user who also uses a Uniden handheld and the included antenna hear the communications better than I do from many times the distance away?


Well if that is the case, it sounds like you either have a faulty antenna/scanner, or your friend is scanning frequencies in which you don't have programmed in your scan function. Get a hold of his scanner and see what freqs. he is scanning. Have you tried opening up your squelch a little more? Loosen your squelch until all you hear is static, and then cut it back to just past where the static goes away.

Here is what I found with LIRR freqs. It looks like they are running a duplex system for road/dispatch, but like I said in my OP, they are just numbers and locations to me. I don't know anything about LIRR.
http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=2258
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Re: Extending range

Postby Amtrak7 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:25 pm

Hmm. They're the same channels....
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Re: Extending range

Postby RSD15 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:42 pm

Amtrak7 wrote:But then why does the other user who also uses a Uniden handheld and the included antenna hear the communications better than I do from many times the distance away?


See if you can use his antenna for a few minutes and see if that helps.If it helps your antenna may be bad. If that doesn't help you may have a bad scanner.
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Re: Extending range

Postby Amtrak7 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:09 pm

Weather stations? If I'm in NYC, the NYC Subway comes in a LOT better than the LIRR does when I'm on the island (even outside the system)
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Re: Extending range

Postby RSD15 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:36 am

Amtrak7 wrote:Weather stations? If


http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/
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Re: Extending range

Postby Amtrak7 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:41 am

I pick up the weather station, but there's some static.
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Re: Extending range

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:26 am

There could just be some impediment between you and the LIRR transmitter’s antenna. you could be in a spot where a hill or building obstructs the signal. I suggest that you PM member CPF363. He is an electrical engineer, and specializes in radio equipment.
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Re: Extending range

Postby Gadfly » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:08 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:There could just be some impediment between you and the LIRR transmitter’s antenna. you could be in a spot where a hill or building obstructs the signal. I suggest that you PM member CPF363. He is an electrical engineer, and specializes in radio equipment.


If you are a base station (at home), try a VHF ground plane antenna. Follow the instructions of the other posters here as well. Rubber ducky antennas do not have any "gain" at all, and since you are low to the ground to begin with it can severely hamper your ability to hear. Try also moving to a different location to see if it IS due to some obstruction between you and the Yard you are trying to hear. IF you are in a mobile, try a 5/8" wave VHF antenna. These will have a coil at the base and a whip of about 50-ish inches long (not to be confused with a CB antenna; that is a different animal. Even an 19" quarter wave whip will out-hear a rubber duck. You can find antennas such as described on line at amateur radio supply stores. VHF radio is line-of-sight which means that anything can potentially block out your signal. By following all these suggestions posted here, by me and the others, you can find out what's going on. Gud Luck! :-D

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