A tip for excellent mobile reception
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TOPIC: A tip for excellent mobile reception

A tip for excellent mobile reception 06 Oct 2012 10:42 #10309

  • popmacc
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I have a Home Patrol that I have connected to a Chinese HDTV antenna in my vehicle. It is not ideal for the full range of frequencies a HP-1 can receive, however overall the reception is exceptional. The unit is designed to amplify 40-890 MHz, and does not do so well with some bands, including aircraft frequencies [does not amplify AM]. Still, I have been surprised to find that with this antenna, I have been able to consistently receive both analog and digital public safety channels within a 25-mile radius, even more in less densely-populated areas. In fact, when using my scanner with an attached GPS unit, I regularly keep Signal Attenuation turned on, so that scanning reception is limited to the agencies that are truly in my vicinity.

I can easily tune noise-free communications from Suffolk County, NY including Port Jefferson, while I am in Wallingford, CT, a distance of about 37 miles across Long Island Sound. For me, perhaps the best feature of this antenna is that it could be discretely installed on almost any vehicle without changing its aesthetic--it looks like a stock unit. I would be very wary of try to enter a car wash with this, but otherwise the included adhesive makes a firm bond to the car exterior. The included cable is a little short, but I have seen an SMA Female to Male RG174 for less than $5.00 on Amazon, and elsewhere, or you could use a Female to Female SMA adapter + an SMA Male to SMA Right Angle Male (RG174) 50 Ohm Coaxial Cable Assembly from places like cablesondemand.com --either way, I would suggest that you purchase a right angle adapter for the radio connection as well as for any audio connection in the car.


Perhaps the nicest part is that this is all very inexpensive. I have attached a screen print from the site I purchased this from. Please let me know if this setup works as well for you. [I may post in "Antennas" and "On the Road"]
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Last Edit: 12 May 2013 13:34 by popmacc.

Re: A tip for excellent mobile reception 11 May 2013 11:46 #11668

  • TooLate
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Ohh so close. The link states this unit is now discontinued. Have a new pickup, don't want to drill holes and this was going to be the answer. What other options might be possible. I had the suggestion to try the GPS/Satellite antenna 'pod' as a possibility. But, aren't the frequency bands too far apart to be workable? Would any vertical mag mount 'TV' band increase the receive range or just the one you cited here?

Appreciate the help. Purchase of the radio is dependent on ability to discretely mount an unassuming antenna.
TL

Re: A tip for excellent mobile reception 11 May 2013 20:23 #11673

  • LEP
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Police 'undercover' vehicles generally have two-way disquise antennas that are not obvious as communication antennas. If you know anyone at your local two-way radio shop they can probably point you toward one, possibly even supply and/install it on your truck. I always have my mobile antennas installed by my local MOT shop but any brand of shop can handle this for you and they have the right tools and know-how to route the cables.

Re: A tip for excellent mobile reception 12 May 2013 12:26 #11675

  • popmacc
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Thank you for replying--this is the kind of niche topic that one doesn't get to talk about much, if at all. I think that LEP has an interesting tip. It could work well. Still the thing to keep in mind about undercover/discrete antenna installations is that public safety radios tend to operate on a handful of channels within a very narrow range of frequencies. Thus the corresponding antenna can be optimized for that band without regard for how it may affect other bands. By contrast, a person monitoring via a scanner would more than likely like the flexibility for reception across a wide range of bands.

In other words, this solution would be great for the new pickup truck, so long as the channels are within the same band. However frequencies dictate antenna size, so that low frequencies work best with physically larger antennas and higher frquencies better with smaller antennas--you probably know that this has to do with the physical size of the radio waves. In any case, a receiving antenna that offers fair reception across the spectrum that a HP can receive is very different that one optimized for a specific agency.
Last Edit: 13 May 2013 07:21 by popmacc.

Re: A tip for excellent mobile reception 12 May 2013 12:56 #11676

  • TooLate
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Hey, Thanks for the reply.
Since we're a small rural community, no CB shops (with real technicians), no 2-way (commercial) businesses, even RS Is out now, finding shops for little 'riggable' parts is limited to Lowes, Home Depot etc nuts & bolts departments...even toyed with plumbing/electrical depts. (And, I have begun to formulate a plan but was trying to avoid the 'project' theme in favor of the 'Git 'er done').

The truck is a new left-over 2012 F 150 so I want the installations to look 'sanitary' AND as discrete as possible utilizing the construction opportunities provided by FMC...a channel here, a crease there, a grommet somewhere else etc. and magnets scratch. e.g. I found a simple horn bracket that will slip into a channel formed by a dbl wall weld seam in the front corners outside surface of the bed (in the gap between bed & cab). It appears to slide into the gap securely enough to provide ground and with a little grinding/shaping and bending, a 3/8* antenna stud will mount vertically along the rear corner of the cab. (yes, I know reception/transmission if cb is less efficient). But, no drilling is required on the truck, that is. And, it's not skip-shooting application...just a few miles up/down the highway.

Since the tonneau cover and bed rail protection interfere, stake hole/trunk lip, tool box (none) mounts/attachments are out. Even considered breaking out of the no drill mode and mounting an additional stock am/fm antenna directly opposed to the stock antenna but on the drivers side...as Ford Parts stated, just don't think the various antenna studs (scanner whips) will fit the threading pattern and finding adapters sends me back to no shops problems. Checking with larger city biz are mostly 'usual/customary' apps and they're too busy for a 'McGiver' type. And their parts are all behind the counter or I could get some ideas browsing.

Since the vehicles are more and more aerodynamic, mirror arms/brackets etc are no longer available to use and the hood/fender space is minimal. So, the gps antenna module type would be a good alternative for the HomePatrol...if one would cover the right bands. Do you or anyone here know if merely having any conductive receiving antenna (gps/satellite radio) will work with the HP...better than the onboard popup? If so, that may be my solution.

And of course, our agencies range from the Lo 40-50mHz to the high and trunked 700-900mHz bands...specific tuning is pretty well out.

Sorry for the dissertation. Thanks for your help...still thinkin about the possibilities.
TL
Last Edit: 12 May 2013 13:01 by TooLate.

Re: A tip for excellent mobile reception 12 May 2013 13:31 #11677

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No problem. I found something that I think will work for you at the site I mentioned before. Look for "Product ID: 370386161" . Wth free shipping is less than 20 bucks if you go with free but slooooow shipping. Worth a shot at that price, I think. As I mentioned before, the HDTV frequencies comes quite close to the desired bands, and even though I know that this is not the intended purpose for these antennas, they work! Additionally though, the model i pointed out is available with an SMA connector like the HP has. This is key because the SMA is not very common and many of the readily found antennas at specialty dealers, such as ScannerWorld, or ScannerMaster require adapters for this receiver. I avoid adapters; the radio communications we listen to are both mobile and relatively weak, so any signal attenuation is usually a problem.

I should point out that this all got started because I added a HDTV tuner to my car. It came with a magnet mount antenna that like the HP used SMA. Even though the antenna that I got with the TV tuner is only about six inches high, it got me thinking that I would like to improve the reception of the HP, which I was using in the car with its original antenna. Anyway, since it seemed i would have to use a splitter I sought an antenna which either some dB's of gain to overcome the loss. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it all worked really well. I suspect that since HDTV is digital, part of the reason that this works for me is that there are many digital trunked systems in my area and while there is an improvement on analog systems compared to having the antenna inside the vehicle, the setup seems really good with digital systems. And isn't everything going digital?

I said "they" work above because the HP reception is better even when using the magnet mount, un-amplfied antenna that came with the mobile HDTV kit.
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