In the article we show the easiest way to set a scanner for mobile use and some of the latest antenna products.
Using a scanner when mobile brings a whole lot of benefits to your listening hobby, due to the short range of most signals that the typical scanner enthusiast listens to traveling around will often bring in new transmissions that can not be picked up from your home base. Driving to a high spot will increase the line of sight range of everything that your scanner will receive and flooding your radio with a whole new source of conversations for you to listen to.
Running a scanner inside any vehicle using its own helical antenna is never going to produce good results as the metal body will restrict a lot of weaker signals and the scanner will be prone to many types of interference generated by the many electric and electronic systems that modern vehicle use.
Fitting an effective mobile antenna on the outside of the vehicle will cut out much of this interference and give better results on the signals received. Depending on how flexible you want your scanner antenna installation to be there are a number of cost effective options for using your scanner mobile.
Magnetic Mounted Antennas
Mag mount antennasare one of the quickest and most flexible ways of putting an antenna on your vehicle, simply place the antenna onto the metal bodywork and run the wire into the vehicle before connecting it to your scanner. When choosing this type of antenna make sure that the coax wire between antenna and scanner is a good quality thin type as this will make it a lot easier to run through the vehicle than the standard thicker coax and will prevent any damaged or pinching to the coax which could cause a short in the antenna and completely stop any chance you have of receiving anything at all.
A typical setup using a mag mount will have the coax entering the vehicle either through an open window or if possible can sometimes be run into the boot before feeding it to the dashboard and plugged into your scanner. The added bonus of using a mag mount is the ability to remove the antenna when not in use or to switch it to another vehicle easily and quickly.
A possible flaw with the mag mount is the strength of the magnet, some manufactures will try to save money by using a weak magnet when producing this type of antenna. Its not going to be a problem for you if you are driving around the city at slower speeds but once you hit the open road and start to pick up speed cheap magnets will fail. Glancing in the rear mirror and seeing your new antenna bouncing along the road behind you is never a good thing. Always check online reviews from people who have already used the product to give you warning signs of problems with any antenna you buy.
Glass Mounted Antennas
Glass mounted antennas are another solution for setting your scanner up in your vehicle, this system is not as flexible as the mag mounts because once it is fitted there isn’t really an option to move it as the glue on the antenna is a one shot deal and is unlikely to stick properly if moved.
You can buy an additional substitute tube of this type of glue if you must move the antenna.
Not having to find a route to bring the coax cable into the vehicle is a major advantage with the glass antenna although if you want it fitted high up any window you will have to deal with a hanging wire. This can be made tidy by running it around (or inside the trim), across the top of the dash and into you shiny scanner.
When fitted the antenna make sure that you have the two blocks lined up correctly as too much misalignment will degrade the performance dramatically.
When fitting any radio always cut the coax to length trying to leave as little of it as possible lying around because for every extra bit of coax you are losing signal power and increasing the chance of picking up interference.