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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2016, 3:12 PM
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Default COMPACTenna V/U/7.800 review

COMPACtenna V.U.7/800 Antenna

Seems these antennas are a point of contention in some of the threads about them on here. I took a shot in the dark and spent the money and got one. I've been using it for a month before writing this review. I use it solely as a mobile rail band RX antenna (160-161 mHz) with one of my ICOMs. Yes, it looks weird and it requires a little experimentation to get it to suit your needs if you are SWR concerned. But once you get going, it works. There's no way around it.

The thing to remember with the COMPACTenna is it's much happier where there is a sharp drop in ground plane (the instructions that come with the antenna really stress this). I have mine on a mag mount on the right rear edge of the trunk lid of my Charger next to the spoiler. Right off the bat I was picking up an NS dispatcher base over 60 miles away from my driveway in a suburban neighborhood. I then checked the WX band receive and I was picking up all seven WX channels. Before with my roof mounted quarter wave I would get five at best under normal conditions and that would drop off significantly the closer I would get to the city. That doesn't happen with the COMPACTenna.

I work on the north side of a downtown area and I can hear locomotive antennas on full quieting at the yards on the other side of downtown. My radio would barely break squelch on those transmissions with the quarter wave.

I did do a quick test with a Bearcat scanner on 800 mHz. The big city uses an analog TRS and there is a digital P25 system in use by some the suburbs. Both came in crystal clear with no scratchiness or digital "burping" on the P25 system which sometimes happens with my normal BOS antenna. Quick test but I would venture to say the 800 mHz receive performance is just as good as what I was getting in the rail band.

In conclusion, as our vehicles become less friendly to mounting radio equipment, this antenna is pretty refreshing given its big performance in a small size and optimum performance with little ground plane. I will say a properly mounted/grounded 5/8 wave would outperform the COMPACTenna in the flatlands, at least on VHF. But nearly everywhere else the COMPACTenna wins.

4/5 stars (knocking off one for the pricetag)
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:37 AM
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Thanks for the review! I have been wondering about this antenna. Did you get the short version (commercial VHF) or the longer version for ham use?
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mharris View Post
Thanks for the review! I have been wondering about this antenna. Did you get the short version (commercial VHF) or the longer version for ham use?
You're welcome! I got the regular 11" version.
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Old 09-06-2016, 9:56 PM
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After about six months of use the antenna developed a water leak. It was replaced under warranty and was apparently a flaw of the original design. For that and other reasons Dr. Jack split the COMPACtenna V/U/7.800 line into two models: the 2M/220/440 and the VU78 (for commercial use). I received the VU78 (about 7" tall and slightly greater surface area than the original) since I was using it as a rail band (~161 mHz) scantenna. And unless I received a dud, its RX performance is nowhere near that of the original. I am now back to what I was using before -- a Motorola OEM 1/4 wave. FWIW, I purchased a new trunk mount since I was worried about water from the leak working its way down to the NMO mount.

I have another one of the original 11" COMPACtennas in use as a base using an NMO groundplane kit with the radials bent down as advised in the product literature. It is mounted in the attic so no need to worry about the leak issue. As a base I would still highly recommend it. It does magnificent, which confuses me as to why the refreshed design doesn't do as well.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:16 AM
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Is Universal Radio the only distributor of these antennas?
prcguy
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:15 AM
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Is Universal Radio the only distributor of these antennas?
prcguy
Radio Hospital in Lima does also.
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Old 11-29-2016, 8:07 PM
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Default SDRplay RSP1 and RSP2 Pro.

Hello.

I wish there was a COMPACTenna for the receivers that I mentioned in the title of my thread. Is there?

Thanks Sheldon.
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Old 11-30-2016, 2:02 PM
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I was considering purchasing the original longer version but after the review of its shorter replacement I'll pass.
prcguy

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Originally Posted by se View Post
Hello.

I wish there was a COMPACTenna for the receivers that I mentioned in the title of my thread. Is there?

Thanks Sheldon.
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Old 11-30-2016, 2:14 PM
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This is the first I have heard of this antenna. It is amazing. The design seems to have overcome some laws of physics.

"The patented design uses the the latest science to provide revolutionary performance in NLOS (Non-Line-Of-Sight) obstructed environments such as behind buildings, in garages, behind other vehicles and in valleys."
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Old 11-30-2016, 2:42 PM
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well the COMPACtenna V.U.7/800 has been discontinued, they did away with the 144-164, 380-520 and 696-870 MHz. now it's 144-148, 219-225 and 420-450 MHz. Too bad would have liked to try for 700mhz Phase 2 monitoring.
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Old 11-30-2016, 3:40 PM
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Hi.

Is there one that covers 1 khz through to 2 Ghz?

Sheldon.
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Old 11-30-2016, 8:06 PM
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You don't need an antenna to receive 1KHz.
prcguy

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Hi.

Is there one that covers 1 khz through to 2 Ghz?

Sheldon.
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Old 11-30-2016, 9:02 PM
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Huh?
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Old 11-30-2016, 9:06 PM
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Quote:
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Huh?
Seems some confuse sound and radio waves-doesn't it? (and you did not)
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Old 11-30-2016, 9:20 PM
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I was talking radio waves.

Sheldon.
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Old 11-30-2016, 10:02 PM
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There are antennas that are rated from maybe 10KHz to 2GHZ but the antenna that is the topic of this thread is not one of those. If you had a receiver that could tune 1KHz to 10KHz you would not find much there to hear.
prcguy

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I was talking radio waves.

Sheldon.
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Old 11-30-2016, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by station92116 View Post
well the COMPACtenna V.U.7/800 has been discontinued, they did away with the 144-164, 380-520 and 696-870 MHz. now it's 144-148, 219-225 and 420-450 MHz. Too bad would have liked to try for 700mhz Phase 2 monitoring.
You might want to give Radio Hospital in Lima, Ohio a call. Through them my original one was replaced under warranty. They may have the original in stock or its replacement for the commercial bands the VU78. Universal being a ham radio shop won't stock commercial stuff.

Last edited by cbehr91; 12-01-2016 at 12:06 AM..
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Old 12-01-2016, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
I was considering purchasing the original longer version but after the review of its shorter replacement I'll pass.
prcguy
Seems for whatever reason it likes a mount rated to 1 GHz. IIRC the product literature states this. I switched from an NMO mount with UHF to one with BNC (all Larsen branded). That along with carefully bending down the metal tab that contacts with the NMO mount cleared up some of the issues I was having.
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Old 12-01-2016, 1:17 AM
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Quote:
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I was talking radio waves.

Sheldon.
I understood but misunderstood (as did another) one of the responses. But the later comment prcguy is correct, there is little below 10 kHz. The Russian Alpha navigation system uses 10-14 KHz. (The similar US Omega system shut down years ago.) Mainly for submerged submarine communications, the French navy sometimes uses 16.0 kHz and Norway uses 16.4 kHz for its navy. Above that there are Chinese, French, Indian, Israeli, Pakistan (new), Russian, UK, S Korean, and USA activity before one gets to 30 KHz. Below 10 kHz, there has been experimental activity around 9.6 kHz and the Russians and reportedly the Israelis operate below 100 Hz for deep submarines (the US system in ME/WI has been dismantled). While transmit antennas for VLF and below are very large, receive antennas can be small - an E-field probe for VLF can be as small as several inches and works very well (I use one) and often is designed for 10kHz to 30 MHz; they work extremely well when properly positioned proving old times wrong who believe good receive antenna for those frequencies need to be large. One could design something similar to them to be wider banded and go higher in frequency but it would not be optimal and not have much market.
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Old 12-01-2016, 9:14 PM
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Ok then what brand of indoor antenna would be best suited for the SDRplay RSP-2 Pro?

Sheldon.
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