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get a scanner get one big *** antena man
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I have the Radio Shack ProScan 94. It has nice features and covers a wide range frequencies ... except the antenna it comes with is worthless for the aviation band. I bought a $10 telescoping antenna, which improved things some, but its still can't compare to the reception of most handheld transceivers.
Its the antenna's fault. I hooked it up to the hangar-mounted antenna at an FBO and it worked like a champ ... but isn't very portable that way.