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Thread: Making my scanner antenna, out of a old cb antenna

  1. #1

    Default Making my scanner antenna, out of a old cb antenna

    I have a handheld Uniden Bearcat scanner, not sure of the model. Right now I'm using a extendable antenna I got from Radio Shack, it works good as long as the trains are within a few miles of Columbus. What I want to do is make one of my old, magnetic mount CB antennas into a scanner antenna. The antenna I have has a 2' whip with tuning rings at the base of the whip, and I want "stick" it on the roof of my deck. What would I need to do to make this work? The other idea I had is to put the Radio Shack antenna on a cord and put it outside somewhere. Good idea or bad? I would love to get a purpose made antenna but they are all out of my price range.

  2. Default

    I can ask a ham radio guy I work with on Monday.

    Tom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    MP 6.7, Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,304

    Default

    A ham base station antenna is close enough to the railroad band to work better than a CB antenna ever will. A decent one can be had for about $50.

    You can also build your own J-pole type antenna out of copper water pipe. They're really easy to build in an afternoon and work very well for a quick and dirty antenna. Here's a link to a site that calculates the dimensions of the different elements of the antenna. http://www.hamuniverse.com/jpole.html
    Dale Skyllingstad
    KE7CEU
    Tacoma, WA

    MP 6.7 - Nelson Bennett on the BNSF Seattle Sub

    Canon 7D, 20D, 10-22 F/3.5-4.5, 24-70 F/2.8L, 70-200 F/2.8L IS

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks guys for the replies. I made a j-pole antenna this morning. After reading threw that page I found that I had just about everything I needed stashed away in the garage. I built it for less then $10, had to go buy an adaptor for the scanner and some copper fittings. This antenna works great, it's mounted on the roof of my deck, from the ground to the roof is 10' and the antenna is on post that is 5' tall. I have been listening to UP's dispatchers in Omaha, about 90 miles away, they come in clear as day, either the antenna is working really good, or there is a repeater near by.

    I have heard the train crews say "going to road channel" then they are gone. What is the "road channel"?

  5. #5

    Default

    The switched from yard channel to mainline channel(road channel)
    Quote Originally Posted by pimpz26 View Post
    Thanks guys for the replies. I made a j-pole antenna this morning. After reading threw that page I found that I had just about everything I needed stashed away in the garage. I built it for less then $10, had to go buy an adaptor for the scanner and some copper fittings. This antenna works great, it's mounted on the roof of my deck, from the ground to the roof is 10' and the antenna is on post that is 5' tall. I have been listening to UP's dispatchers in Omaha, about 90 miles away, they come in clear as day, either the antenna is working really good, or there is a repeater near by.

    I have heard the train crews say "going to road channel" then they are gone. What is the "road channel"?
    Maintenance In The Way, NW division.

  6. #6

    Default

    Once again, thanks for the info. There is alot of "talk" on 161.490.

    Can I paint the antenna? I don't care for the raw copper color, if not I'll just wait for it to weather like the lightening rod on the garage.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    MP 6.7, Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,304

    Default

    Paint that does not contain any metal should be fine. While you're painting, mask off the connector or contact point so the paint doesn't get on it and create a bad connection.
    Dale Skyllingstad
    KE7CEU
    Tacoma, WA

    MP 6.7 - Nelson Bennett on the BNSF Seattle Sub

    Canon 7D, 20D, 10-22 F/3.5-4.5, 24-70 F/2.8L, 70-200 F/2.8L IS

  8. Smile

    My son and I built a couple J-Poles (one for each house) and we both like them very much. I also made a portable version to string up in a tree if I park somewhere for a while.

    One huge advantage I see is that the antenna is totally grounded if you mount it on a well-grounded metal pole, just like a folded dipole.


  9. #9

    Default

    I put liquid electrical tape on the wire connections. I don't know how well it will work. I'm thinking that when it gets warmer outside, I'll take the antenna down and solder (SP?) the connections then reaply the liquide electrical tape.

    Mount the antenna on a metal pole? I mounted it on a 2"x2" piece of lumber, it seem to be working pretty good. I'm sure the metal roof over my deck is helping out with reseption.

    The paint I'm planning on using is the really cheap, like $1 a can, flat black from wally world. That should be non metalic.

  10. Smile

    Grounding the bottom part of the antenna won't affect reception, but it is absolutely necessary for lightning protection. If you don't ground it, you risk getting equipment-frying and fire-starting currents brought into your house by your lead-in wire in case of a lightning strike. This can happen even if the visible lightning strike is a few hundred feet away, say, on the next house or a nearby tree.

    If you have a good lightning rod (one with a good ground connection) nearby, you can connect a wire from the bottom of your j-pole to the ground wire between the lighning rod and the ground stake. Even better, connect it directly to the ground stake. Your new wire should be the same size as the ground wire for your lightning rod.


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