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Scanner Antenna Ultimate Guide

Scanner Antenna Ultimate Guide

Scanner Antenna Ultimate Guide

How high should a scanner antenna be?

Many authorities on antenna design and installation recommend the antenna should be at least half a wavelength high. This can be relatively easy for frequencies say, above 15 MHz or so, but for lower frequencies with longer wavelengths this is less likely to be the case.

“Yagi” antennas like this one are easier to mount and have high gain for their size, but their frequency range is somewhat limited.

Bet you didn't know that less than 5% of all police scanner sales include an antenna. Police scanners always come with a stock "rubber duck" antenna that receives about 30 miles of range (which can vary greatly depending on your local topography) . So, as much as we want to sell you an antenna, most users do not need one. Well, okay. But how do you decide?

We recommend buying your police scanner and trying it out. If you're not getting the frequencies you anticipated, read this article coaching you through the process of buying an antenna for your police scanner or Chat with an expert now.

Still need an antenna? Great! This Guide covers:

Police Scanner Antenna Basics

Before buying an antenna you will want to make sure you are not getting too strong of a signal causing ‘signal overload’ or ‘attenuation’. This happens sometimes in metro areas if you’re too close to a tower. You can simply change the settings on your scanner to fix this. Most police scanners have either a SMA female or BNC female connector type. You’ll want to make sure your antenna has the correct connector type or buy an adapter.  

Typically, the bigger the antenna, the better the reception.
The higher you put your antenna (pitch of roof or top of vehicle) the better the reception.
Scanner signals work on line-of-sight, not satellites, so anything from a tree to a hill can inhibit signal.
Like all things police scanner related, you need to determine what you want to listen to and what bands those frequencies broadcast on. If you want to monitor everything (police, fire, EMS, local businesses, etc.) then you should choose ‘wide band’ antenna.
If you only want to monitor something specific such as trunked frequencies, then you should buy an antenna that is optimized for 800 MHz, or whatever specific bands you want to monitor. This is by far the most important consideration when buying an antenna for your police scanner.

How to Buy a Home Police Scanner Antenna

Step 1 - Choose Home Scanner Antenna Bands

What bands do you want to monitor on your police scanner?
  • Wide Band
  • 25-50 MHz - Low Band
  • 137-144 MHz - US Military
  • 148-174 MHz - VHF
  • 156-158 MHz - Marine
  • 160-161 MHz - Marine
  • 450-470 MHz - UHF Business
  • 800 MHz - Trunked 

Step 2 - Scanner Antenna Home Mount Location 

  • Indoor - Attic/garage/basement
  • Outdoor - Roof/side of home/yard/garage 

Step 3 - Home Scanner Antenna Type

There are 3 primary types of scanner antennas for your home:

Home Scanner Antenna Type

  • Discone antennas are best for wideband monitoring 30-1300MHz and are the most common antenna type.
  • Dipole antennas are for single or narrow band use. Yagi antennas are for single or narrow band use.

Step 4 - Home Scanner Antenna Installation

Before installing your antenna you’ll want to connect it to your scanner to check reception. This will also help you choose an antenna location and make sure it works the way you want it to. Depending on your home, we suggest testing this in at least 3 areas:

  • Inside (where you will actually listen from) - You may not need to put your antenna on the roof at all.
  • Attic - May work well enough to avoid installing on roof.
  • Roof - Bring scanner and antenna on roof and test a few areas (side of home, pitch of roof, etc.) to determine best location.

 scanner antenna,  "Yagi” antennas

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