Base antenna help

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Base antenna help

Postby csxjs » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:17 pm

I live in the small town of Fort Montgomery, NY and I mainly listen to the csx river line. The problem is, im completely surrounded by mountains. I only get trains calling signals 6 miles north (storm king mountain) and 12 miles south (high tor) and cant pick up the Stony Point DED (dunderberg mountain and anthonys nose). Thats using a 5/8 whip on a pro 404 scanner and the stock antenna on a pro-160. I was thinking of putting an antenna on the roof. I only need to recieve north/south because there are mountains in front and behind me. I saw the plans for a VHF dipole array but I would rather have somthing smaller than a 20 foot antenna on my roof. I was thinking of the radio shack 20-176 but i would only need north/south directional coverage, and not omnidirectional coverage. And that doesnt have any gain. I was also going to try a j-pole, but once again I only need the directional coverage. Im sorry if I dragged this out but I am hoping I can get some tips and suggestions.

Thanks in advance
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Re: Base antenna help

Postby Aa3rt » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:46 am

By doing a quick Google search on the term "directional scanner antenna" I found the TrainTenna that appears that it would meet your needs. It's pricey but you can take a look at it here:
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Re: Base antenna help

Postby Ken W2KB » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:29 pm

Aa3rt wrote:By doing a quick Google search on the term "directional scanner antenna" I found the TrainTenna that appears that it would meet your needs. It's pricey but you can take a look at it here:

Two of them, one pointed north and one south, with a matching coupler to a single transmission cable to the radio would make sense. A good quality preamp as well, located at the coupler end up by the antenna(s).
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Re: Base antenna help

Postby EdM » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:23 am

Well, just read this today and hafta stick in my two cents....

Statements by most to the contrary, there is NO SILVER BULLET, or
gooder antenna. The limiting factor is noise which CANNOT be
overcome by amplification. The best antenna is a dipole or beam
which is a dipole with reflectors and directors. The Ft Bliss event
was a result of propagation enhancement a topic well beyond this
post, but is well covered for the novice by the RAdio Amateurs
Handbook, available in most librarys.. To go out and buy a
recommeded antenna by a particular manufacturer is just plain
foolish... That having been said: Put a 17" high radio shack
adjustable mag mount in the center of the metal roof of your vehicle
(or on a frig or file cabinet inside), replace your scanner
(broadbanded) with a two meter amateur HT that covers RR frequencies
and you have gone about as far as you can practically go without
becoming an expert in the field. Putting your HT in the center of
your vehicle roof will also enhance recption, as the "antenna" on the
HT is only 1/2 the antenna, the radio is attempting to be the other
half. I heard this from there is so dependent upon undefined
variables that for the novice, it is just ill advised.. de K2LCK,
Ed... 65 grids on 144, 55 countries on 6, and over 55 years licensed,
retired RF/Antenna tech..

BUT I will modify the above blurb: A low gain antenna up high is better than a low high gain antenna . I would suggest a vert ground plane antenna (NOT a J-pole) up AS HIGH AS YOU CAN GET IT, fed with low loss coax. The J-pole, cousin of the Zepp antenna from Zepplin days, is NOT that great, I have one on the RV and it is really outpreformed (by a LOT) by the 5/8 wave mag mount on the Corella. (nov 11) Also if mountains are a factor, just walking around your yard with an antenna may prove a worthwhile effort...wierd things happen ... Ed
de k2lck..spinner of antennas,tall tales and some outright lies...
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Re: Base antenna help

Postby AMK0123 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:51 pm

Figured I'd start this thread back up.... csxjs was wondering how you made out and wondered what you ended up going with? I currently have a similar problem. Being from Dutchess Cty near the Taconic State Pkwy I usually can monitor the CSX river line from about automatic 58 through to automatic 72 and both dispatch channels towers at Cornwall and Milton, NY. Currently though I have noticed that my reception is coming in worse (can't pickup the Roseton detector / mobile radio transmissions not coming in clear). I currently have a Uniden Bearcat BCT8 scanner which I had just recvd about 2 years ago. I use the telescoping antenna that it came with and usually leave it on a dresser near one of my front windows that faces the west. I was wondering without going with any type of roof mounted antenna what I can do to maximize my reception. I do have a small attic that I had tried mounting a spider antenna to one of the rafters but that worked worse than the telescoping one. I do have a boiler vent/chimney that runs through the center of the attic so I could stick a magnet mount up there if I got a longer piece of cable. I was also looking at the TrainTenna Blade indoor antenna as posted above and was wondering if anyone had any luck with that type? I read edM's post and was left scratching my head. Little over my level ,(i'm more of the get this and put it here type). I do know that I was looking to stay with a scanner and not switch over to a ham radio. Also, I don't know if I'm going to need to get a newer scanner capable of narrowband. I have attempted to put the new channels in my scanner and even though my scanner isn't narrowband capable I still hear between both the old and the converted nb channels. Any help would be great...
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