you said you have a scanner and it works good for spoting what kind is it, where did you get it and what was the price, and how easy is it to use to pick up flights, does it pick up other things when you trying to liston to one thing. See im thinking of getting one i just want to know if its worth it. anyone else with a scanner please tell about it.
You ask a lot of questions!!
I don’t know where you live, but I assume U.S. since you are getting interesting in the site. I’m an amateur radio operator, and I actually prefer scanning more than anything these days. I’m inclined to recommend Radio Shack scanners, however, several companies make scanners, Uniden being the other dominate player. Most of the RS units I’ve had worked better and received better than the Unidens. If you’re only looking to listen to Airband communication, then you can get into a handheld unit for a inexpensive price. If you’re also interested in police, fire, and other similar comms, then you really need a digital scanner and they’re very expensive (e.g., 450+ USD), as the digital trunking is a new technology and older analogue scanners won’t even pick them up.
If your interest is Airband only, then a non-trunking scanner is what you want.
I bought a cheap scanner and a cheap antennae from Radio Shack, all for under $100. Remember it is all line-of-sight, so that has a lot to do with what you pick up. I get EWR approach, plane only, from approach to final approach, but no controllers. In my dorm room, though, which looks over the Lehigh Valley and ABE, I have line of sight to ABE, so I get ground, tower, and approach, both plane and tower.
My strongest bit of advice is to not go all out with a fancy scanner, you can do fine with a cheap one, but MAKE SURE IT HAS THE AIRBAND FREQUENCIES! Not all scanners do. Also, the antennae makes the scanner and determines how well your reception is, and those standard black rubber ones are horrible.
Not all “rubber duck” antennas are junk. They actually sell some with some very decent gain, but it’s important to remember that a wideband receiver is susceptible to intermodulation more so than narrowband or single channel business radios. Also, antennas are tuned for specific bands and a lot of wideband handhelds (HTs) can’t include an extremely broadband antenna without making it long and full of coils. I have an Icom IC-T7H amateur radio, a handheld 2m/70cm, with out of band receive, including the civil airband. The default antenna works extremely well for aircraft IMO. Compared to the other HTs or scanners I have, it runs circles around them.
The best option is an outdoor antenna of some kind, but it must be tuned for the airband or very close to it. I have a couple mobile antennas that are for 2m and they don’t work any better than the duck for aircraft since they’re tuned specifically for 2m. Also, make sure it has some gain. A 1/2 wave or 5/8’s is the best. A 1/4 wave is almost worthless and nets 0 DB in most cases (unity gain). Some antenna companies claim 1 or 2 DB with certain 1/4 wave configurations, but I’m not sure how accurate that is.
The best thing is height. Get it up high and the gain will make little difference. If it’s high enough a 1/4 unity gain antenna will work fine and provide the best overall signal radius. If it’s low and obstructed, then something with gain might be looked at.
Now we see from the [locked] “Scanners” thread how quickly Mark, Daniel, and Karl scan these topics!! (I think that’s great responsiveness!)
If I’m not mistaken, Radio Shack’s scanner are made by Uniden.
I bought my scanner - 100 channel, 11 band scanner by Unidern for about $100 about 5-6 years ago. It was half price because it was a refurbished model. I haven’t had any problems with it. Check www.uniden.com
I believe the later Radio Shack scanners are manufactured by GRE.
Yeah, some are made by Uniden, but right now they’re GRE.
Wow thanks for all this information i really didnt think i was going to get much help this is just great.
Does anyone have an opinion on the MayCom AR-108?
Thanks! and congratulations on your awesome site.
Monica, there is a lengthy review of the MayCom AR-108 here:
Note that, by now, the review is 6 1/2 years old.
A brief page of specs is here:
Thank you for the link on the MayCom 108-AR. It was very thorough and informative!
You’re welcome, Monica. Welcome to FlightAware and to the world of scanning.