K.I.S.S. – When Good Enough is Perfect

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Today’s podcast episode is all about the KISS Principle.

Everybody has a different way or thought process on how things should be done.




If you are just getting started with the hobby, or you have been in a hobby for a very long time and trying to learn about something new or trying to clean up something you have done, you can get lost in the woods.

Today’s podcast gives you permission to take a step back and come at your setup from a different perspective.

What you need to know:

  • Radio scanning is a hobby we need to permit ourselves to do to our best abilities or on time restrictions. We have to deal with fitting it in after work or a quick weekend project before taking the kids or the family out somewhere.
  • You should not put off a project just because you can’t do it perfectly right now. Do what you can and build upon it at a later date.
  • This is a radio hobby. Enjoy it, and learn from what you’ve done and feel free to accept any mistakes as a way of learning about the hobby.
  • If you are going to put up an antenna:
    • You should ground it, but the world won’t end if you don’t do it right away.
    • At a bare minimum, I recommend sinking a ground rod running from the ground rod to the antenna’s mast and seeing what the instructions say for your antenna.
    • You can always go back and ground things after putting the antenna up.
  • Splitting atennas:
    • The best way to split antenna and get into multiple scanners is to use a multi-coupler.
    • TV splitter is not so great because you take a loss on every port, but they still get the job done if you are willing to take the loss.
    • Y splitters are not so great because you can change the impedance, but if it works for you right now, then do what works for you right now.
  • Coax:
    • LMR 400 is a low loss 50-ohm coax cable. It works well on high frequencies and in high frequencies that don’t have 50 Ohms of impedance loss.
    • RG6 will get you up and running at a fraction of the price of LMR 400, but it’s got 75 Ohm of impedance.
    • If using RG-6 gets your antenna to your radio right now, go for it. You can always upgrade the coax at a later date or when you can afford to do so.
  • External Antennas:
    • The way we are using our scanners is changing with technology because many of these trunk radio systems are built for 97% or better or equivalent portable used by public safety.
    • If you are already receiving what you want to hear with great reception, you may not need an external antenna at this time.
  • Building scan lists on a new radio:
    • Whenever you are setting up a new scanner for the first time, and you want to test out something, just put in a system, a site, and a wild card to see if we can hear anything on the trunk system. This way, at least we know that the setup is fine.
    • Once you have got the trunk system receiving and following a system, you can start adding talk groups.
  • Additionally:
    • It never hurts to buy a radio and sell it. Find out what you like and upgrade if you want.  If you need to sell a radio to afford the new radio, then go for it!
    • If one radio is good enough for you, stick with the one radio.
    • You can have multiple radio as you grow into the hobby.
    • You will learn what you need as you invest more time into scanning.
    • Maybe you’re not going to buy the best thing out of the box because it’s too much money for you, but you can find something else that will fit the bill.
    • You can buy software-defined radios that lets you do HF, sideband, AM, and FM


Are you looking for your first scanner radio?

Download our new e-guide, “5 Thinks You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Scanner”.   This free PDF is about 30 pages long and has 5 things you should look for, plus a few extra bonus items to make sure you make an educated purchase.

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