• Signal booster?

  • Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.
Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by erievalley
I use a Bearcat BC 560 XLT scanner and am looking for a signal booster that Scanner World used to sell that increased the scanners range. I have one I bought from them about 8-9 years ago, but don't seem to be able to locate it on their web site now. It works quite well and I would like to locate another one for my home scanner. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The only # I can find on the booster is BC 004. Thanks for any available info.....Jerry. :(
  by jmp883
I have a signal amp from GRE that sits on top of my BC780. 4 scanners are coupled to it and it works like a dream. This particular unit seems to be out of production but they still offer a unit intended for hand-helds, no reason why you can't use it on a base radio. Go to:


There is a base unit available from a different manufacturer:


It's been voiced on this forum that these devices do more harm than good to your listening and that you are wasting your money by buying one. I don't buy that at all. I live in northeastern NJ, about 40 miles outside of NYC and before I got that amp all I could hear was my local pd/fd, maybe one or two surrounding towns, and nothing beyond about a 10-15 mile radius. And that was with an omni-directional scanner antenna mounted on a 15-foot mast on top of my house. Using the back-of-set antenna was only marginally better. I was told by the salesman who sold me the amp that I was wasting my money, several of my 'radio buff' friends said I was wasting my money, but, lo and behold, after hooking it up I now hear most everything in the northern half of the state. I also hear a good portion of southern NY. Still using the same roof-mounted antenna as before.

Don't get me wrong, they don't always do this good. A buddy of mine bought one and it made almost no difference. His reception was marginal to begin with, the amp only slightly helped.

Well, now that I've rambled on forever, let me say that I hope the amp works for you the way it has worked for me.

Joe P :-D
Long Live The EL

  by erievalley
Thanks for the info. I also have found these little devices work well in my area, especially out in the field in areas with weak signals. Thanks again....Jerry.

  by Ken W2KB
The amplifiers will often make matters worse if used in an area with a high radio frequency environment, such as a city or very close to a transmitting facility. 40 miles out, like cited above is where they can work well. Particularly if the preamplifier has at least as good or better noise figure (essentially sensitivity) as the scanner receiver and a reasonable amount of gain (amplification.)

Now, based on my 35 years of ham radio experience, including weak signal work, I would highly recommend products from this manufacturer:


Get the one covering 160-170 with the best (lowest) noise figure and highest gain you can afford. Model P160VDG is my recommendation.

Note that I have no relationship with this vendor beyond being a very satisfied customer and knowing of many others using their products, who do weak signal operations.

  by videobruce
Looks as those might be a good solution IF:

you DON'T live near a area with hight RF levels and,
it is mounted near the antenna (indoors) and,
you have a long downlead.

  by Ken W2KB
I think they will also sell the amplifiers with an enclosure for outdoor mounting. If not, it would be easy to devise a means to weatherproof the amp.