Author Topic: Some Initial tips please  (Read 7887 times)

Offline Karl

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Some Initial tips please
« on: November 04, 2004, 02:17:53 PM »
I found this site last week and having been obsurdly addicted to watching planes come and go at airports, it's a real treat to hear all the traffic.

I have a scanner (RS Pro 43), an old computer laying around, and a wireless access to broadband internet.

I think I will need to hook an outdoor antenna up to be able to recieve good reception from the traffic in Kansas City.

Any ideas, forewarnings you could give would be great.


Karl

Offline dave

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Re: Some Initial tips please
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2004, 03:10:21 PM »
Quote from: Karl
I found this site last week and having been obsurdly addicted to watching planes come and go at airports, it's a real treat to hear all the traffic.

I have a scanner (RS Pro 43), an old computer laying around, and a wireless access to broadband internet.

I think I will need to hook an outdoor antenna up to be able to recieve good reception from the traffic in Kansas City.

Any ideas, forewarnings you could give would be great.


Karl-

First, it's always a good move to have an outdoor antenna.  Indoor antennas, unless placed high and away from computers and monitors, are trouble.  Your success will depend on your straight distance from KC and the terrain between your house and KC.  If you're higher than the average surrounding terrain, so much the better.  But you have to try it to see how it works out.

Dave

Offline Karl

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Some Initial tips please
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2004, 04:19:34 PM »
I think I have some basic premise down. As far as coax goes, I have a couple spools of RG-6. It's the same size used by Time Warner Cable. Is that the proper stuff.

On the issue of scanners.... I have had the pro43 right next to a Motorola hand held when I was moving around town. I noticed the scanner didn't recieve very well compared to the Motorola. I assumed it was the difference between $200 electronics and $2,000 elcetronics. Am I near the ball? Which scanners out there might be better? I tend to run accross them from time to time. If I know what to look for it may be worth it for the better reception.

Thanks,
Karl

Offline dave

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Some Initial tips please
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2004, 04:52:00 PM »
Quote from: Karl
I think I have some basic premise down. As far as coax goes, I have a couple spools of RG-6. It's the same size used by Time Warner Cable. Is that the proper stuff.

On the issue of scanners.... I have had the pro43 right next to a Motorola hand held when I was moving around town. I noticed the scanner didn't recieve very well compared to the Motorola. I assumed it was the difference between $200 electronics and $2,000 elcetronics. Am I near the ball? Which scanners out there might be better? I tend to run accross them from time to time. If I know what to look for it may be worth it for the better reception.

Thanks,


RG-6 is fine.  Scanners typically look for a 50 or 75 ohm input, and RG-6 has reasonable loss characteristics, especially if your run is less than 100 feet.  Remember, for every 3dB loss in the cable you're losing *half* of your signal power!  So it does matter when you're trying to receive weak signals.

The Motorola has much better front-end filters.  Scanners are broadband by nature, since they cover a wide frequency range.  Because of that, the scanner is more prone to desensitization, a phenonmenon you can't necessarily hear all the time.  The Motorola could also have been more sensitive and/or had a better antenna.  But rubber-duck antennas are universally poor, even though some are better than others.

You can still do well with a scanner.   There is sufficient sensitivity there.  One device that can improve airband reception is a front-end bandpass filter, such as this one:

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/filters/0880.html

If you're really serious you can get one of these:

http://www.dci.ca/html_commercial/photo_bandpass_vhf-4.htm

though they're not cheap.  I have one of these at the Boston receiving site due to paging, two-way, and broadcast radio (FM band) interference.

-dave