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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Stevens

Police Scanners for Home and Personal Use: Part Two

Car Use and Set-Up In our last post, we detailed everything you’d need to set up a basic radio and its accessories to hear what’s going on in both Police and EMS services. You can find that post here:

For those of you shuddering in horror, thinking about the giant CB Whip Antennas like those in Smoky and the Bandit, I’m happy to share with you another example of tech’s improvement over the years. Good car antennas have come a long way, both tech-wise and appearance-wise: they work well and have gotten a lot smaller. There are a ton of options out there, but in this case, I’d recommend this package from Nagoya: This antenna is nice because it comes with the adapter needed to attach your radio to the antenna, specifically an SMA Female Adapter. This adapter is essential because most antennas use a PL-259 Female Connector, while the BaoFeng (the radio mentioned in Part One) uses an SMA Male Connector for its antenna connectors. For this reason, you’ll need that SMA Female Adapter that comes with that package from Nagoya. Buying a package that comes with this specific adapter saves you from having to look for one, but if—for whatever reason—you need one later on, you’ll now know what specific connectors to look for.

This photo shows all the different ends required to hook up a BaoFeng to a PL-259 Antenna with the SMA Female Adapter.

You’ll see in the following photos that installing the antenna is simple.

Here, the antenna mounts on the roof of your car. The position doesn’t matter much. What does matter is that you allow enough length to get your connection cable to where you want your radio.

To protect the cable, tuck it into your vehicle’s molding and place it in spots where it will be protected from damage.

The same goes for the placement of the radio. You want it where you can both hear it well while not getting tangled up in cables and breaking anything.

The radio will work just like normal, but now, with the antenna, it will effectively work from your car, probably where you’ll need it the most. You’ll also be less likely to have good internet connections in your car, limiting your access to services like Broadcastify. Part Three of this series will get into using the radios while on foot. There might be a Part Four of this series, and, depending on length, and later part that will get into Skywarn, repeaters, along with local channels you can monitor for information.

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