Well, I'm a good 20 miles away from Jax Intl. and the terrain here is flat, no hills whatsoever. There are many other smaller airports nearby as well but they are not controlled.
There is also a plethora of navy bases surrounding me, some busier than others. For example, I live only about 5 or so miles away from NAS Jax in which there is activity pretty much everyday. Just last night after heavy rain past thru, around 9 pm, there were two Hornets circling around in and out of the thick cloud cover. But what we mostly see are P-3 Orions and S-3 Vikings training, everyday. An occassional commercial jet comes thru which is always cool, sometimes a 747 or MD-11. Even the President lands here when he visits. I'm originally from N.J. very close to TEB and I miss seeing the endless string of planes coming in and making their turn for Newark.
Anyway, I've never heard military comms since I don't have a scanner capable of that but would a handheld with that band pick up tower and the jets at that range?? Recently they put a Super Target store right next to the base, so I can sit in the parking lot which is only about 100 or so yards from the runway, if that. I would imagine at that distance you would get you clear reception. But what I'm really trying to figure out is...is it worth it for me to purchase a handheld with a better-than-factory-supplied antenna or should I stick it out until I can find a way to have an external antenna for my base scanner??