How to Make a Coaxial Scanner Antenna

Written by mark spowart
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How to Make a Coaxial Scanner Antenna
Base scanners can scan radio frequencies of local Fire Brigades. (fire brigade vehicle image by Jim Parkin from

Scanners, both portable and base models, will scan various police, fire and emergency services radio frequencies that you program. Portable scanners have an antenna built into them. Base scanners may be able to pick up the frequencies with a small external antenna. They will receive many more transmissions if you install an antenna outside. Depending on where you live and the type of dwelling you live in, a house or an apartment, there may be restrictions on installing larger vertical antennas. You can use coaxial cable to fashion an antenna that will enhance your base scanner's reception.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Length of coaxial cable
  • PL259 coaxial cable connector
  • Electrician's tape
  • White tape

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  1. 1

    Measure the distance from your scanner to the outside location where you will install your coaxial antennl. Add 10 feet to the number you get for this distance. If it is 20 feet from your scanner to where you want to start your antenna, add 10 feet for a total of 30 feet of coaxial cable.

  2. 2

    Attach a PL259 coaxial cable connector to the end of the cable that will attach to your base scanner.

  3. 3

    Use electrician's tape to tape off the other end of the coaxial cable.

  4. 4

    Measure 10 feet from the taped off end of the cable, and identify the measurement by taping a piece of white or coloured tape to the cable.

  5. 5

    Measure six inches in from the taped end of the coaxial cable and strip off the cable insulation back to the 10 foot mark where the white tape is located.

  6. 6

    Secure the exposed part of the coaxial cable to the side of your house, up the side of a chimney or to a tall tree in your backyard.

  7. 7

    Run the remaining coaxial cable back to your scanner, connect the cable to the "Antenna" threaded port on the back of the scanner and your coaxial cable antenna is ready to be used.

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