Here is the latest update on KLAX:
Yesterday I received a scanner from Rob, so last night I went out to the store to try a few things. I hooked everything up and the results were not appreciably different from my Radio Shack scanner. The sound is ok, but there is definitely a fair amount of static in the background of most transmissions. Listening to this right out of the scanner is not so bad, but in my experience, when you have that level of noise, the compression artifacts will make the feed sound pretty lousy. I wandered around the store, plugging the scanner in to various outlets (while hooked up to the whip), and the results were pretty uniform.
On the plus side, I brought in the PC that I had set up, and powered it up next to the scanners. It did not add to the noise, unlike the laptop I was using before, which made things unlistenable.
I tried a few things antenna-wise. First I tried my twinlead J-Pole. This antenna simply doesn't work well. I switched to the small telescoping whip we currently use on our Radio Shack scanner, and it worked better than the J-Pole (though still not great). Obviously I did something wrong when I made that thing.
I brought my homemade ground-plane antenna with me, but unfortunately the main element broke off when I put it in the car, so I was not able to try it out (well, actually I did try it, but the result was the equivalent of no antenna, which was not unexpected). Incidentally, as I was heading out the door with the ground-plane antenna, my wife made it quite clear that she did not want that thing in the store. Aside from the fact that she runs the store, so she does get to make such decisions, she really is right in that we do not have any place to put it - even if it does work well. Last time I tried it with the Radio Shack, it wasn't much better than the whip.
So here is the bottom line. I can try feeding what I am able to receive, but I don't think it will sound nearly as good as what Rob was getting. Of course, something is better than nothing, so we can go forward and see how everyone likes what they hear. I am starting to believe that our store may as well be a faraday cage. The windows are all covered with metallic film, and the walls are red brick (likely with rebar embedded inside). If anyone can recommend an antenna that can be easily hidden, but can pull in the signals better than what we have now, then I'd love to hear about it. I guess I am really surprised at how little difference my two homemade antennas made compared to the whip. Now that I know where Rob lives, I am really surprised that he had such a great sounding feed when I am probably 2 miles closer to the airport, and can't get it to sound nearly as good.
Any antenna advice is welcome.
Your KBUR Feeder