Our community, Wausau and Marathon County, Wisconsin is in the process of converting their analog radio system over to a narrow band digital radio system. Marathon County has about 130,000 residents and covers an area about the size of the state of Connecticut, so this is no small task. The new system has several microwave links and simulcast transmit and receive sites to effectively cover the area. Unfortunately a slew of technical issues is causing the transition to take longer than necessary and driving up the costs.
But this post isn’t about the technical difficulty of the new radio system, but instead illustrating the fact that when the new system goes on the air, my primary antenna I use for scanning, a KB9VBR J-Pole Scanner antenna will still work with the narrowband digital frequencies. Instead of moving to an 800MHz trunked system, the county is still using their existing VHF frequency allocations. I’ll still be able to use the same antenna and feedline, but I’ll have to upgrade to a P25 digital capable scanner.
Antennas are antennas, regardless if they are receiving an analog or digital signal. So the antenna you buy today to monitor analog frequencies will work tomorrow when they transition to narrow band and digital communication modes. As long as they stay in the same frequency range that the antenna is tuned for, the antenna will still work.