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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2012, 6:10 PM
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Default Low band

Dont try to use it on low band. It will make your scanner deaf!!
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Old 03-12-2012, 8:18 PM
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Not so in my installation. I did cut the top whip to improve the lo band performance somewhat, but the key to this antenna is the ground - if you're using a trunk lip mount, make sure it's making a good contact with bare metal. I was told this many years ago when I managed to talk to an Austin engineer.

My main low band reception is on 39 mhz, where Md. State Police still uses a simplex-based system. I have had little trouble hearing base units from quite a distance away (even some occasional E skip). Now mind you, you can't get away from the fact that it's only 2 foot or so high, so you can only expect so much from such a small antenna. But deaf it definitely is NOT

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Old 03-13-2012, 9:53 AM
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I agree with ka3jjz. The Spectra's low band performance may not be the greatest, but it is passable.

My low band monitoring is minimal so it's not that big a deal for me, but I do receive the MA State Police on their low band freq (42.46) here in CT....so it doesn't make you scanner deaf. Not totally, anyway.

Russell
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Old 03-27-2012, 6:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray smith View Post
Dont try to use it on low band. It will make your scanner deaf!!
Seriously. Mine kicks arse on 46 MHz. Maybe your antenna is busted!
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Old 03-30-2012, 4:57 PM
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I have no complaints about how well mine works on VHF low. With all the loading coils, etc. on the Spectra, there's no way I'd mess with it by clipping or removing one of the whip sections.

Not really any VHF-low band stuff around me to use as a reference on a regular basis, but during a band opening, my Spectra easily pulls-in DX from NY, MO, MD, etc. so while most of that is due to propagation & not the antenna, the Spectra is far from being 'deaf' on 30-88MHz.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:21 PM
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What happened to the price of this antenna? I bought a couple just a few years ago, and I'm certain I paid closer to $75. It lists at HRO now for almost twice that.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:43 AM
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The Austin Spectra is very narrow on VHF lo band and its factory tuned to around 33MHz. If you do a lot of receiving higher than that you will really improve reception by tuning the antenna to frequency.

From some testing I've done the stock antenna tuned to 33MHz degrades about 15dB at 42MHz and around 20dB at 46MHz. That's a lot of loss and tuning to those specific freqs will really perk the antenna up.
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Old 04-15-2012, 7:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wm8s View Post
What happened to the price of this antenna? I bought a couple just a few years ago, and I'm certain I paid closer to $75. It lists at HRO now for almost twice that.
I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that...I wonder if that includes the home mounting kit as well, because the other anntenas, the Condor and Ferret, are the same price. I do know Austin was bought out...but doubling the price is not going to help sales.
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Old 04-17-2012, 3:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N2MWE View Post
I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that...I wonder if that includes the home mounting kit as well, because the other anntenas, the Condor and Ferret, are the same price. I do know Austin was bought out...but doubling the price is not going to help sales.
I must have missed the news about Austin being bought out....can you elaborate?

Last time I visited the plant, Barbara Austin was still the owner and running the place.

Please advise....Thanks,

Russell
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Old 04-17-2012, 7:29 PM
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Last time I went to Connecticut, late last year, I was informed there was a shortage of Austin Antennas because the company had changed hands. When was the last time you went there?
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Old 04-18-2012, 1:13 PM
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Oops! I think you beat me on this one since my last visit to them was in the fall of '08.

I now see that the Austin page at rfwiz has them claiming to be a wholly owned subsidiary of World Wireless Communications, Inc., but it doesn't say how long it's been this way.

I've got to hunt around here to find the phone number and maybe give them a call to find out when this event took place, and also to say thanks for the great antennas they produce. Mine is still going strong to this day.

Thanks for the heads up....

Russell
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:12 AM
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I had the spectra, and the low band reception was fine...not so hot on the 800mhz stuff though.

I gave it up for the "modified" RS Mag mount....so far that has worked best for me across all bands, civil and military.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:33 AM
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I have to concur. I have had the Spectra on my Titan for 4.5 years. I am taking it off this evening to get ready for the new vehicle, and mounting the scanner and antenna will be first priority. I love this antenna.
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Old 04-19-2012, 2:38 PM
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What puzzles me about the Spectra is the mixed reviews that we get from other members on here. Some get poor reception on low band, others get lousy reception on 800 mHz, and some say it just won't pick up aircraft. I don't get it....mine covers all of the above. They all can't have a bad unit, can they?

Russell
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Old 08-13-2012, 7:41 PM
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Cool Austin spectra rocks

I listen to all bands ...42 MHz to 858mhz.. This unit works best on the roof with a good ground plane. The unit is made with such great detail and quality and marksmanship. The base spring is rigid and the base is anodized knurled black machined brass. I could imagine anyone making a better antenna ...you get what you paid for when it comes to quality.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:19 PM
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How do you fine tune the antenna for better reception ?
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Old 10-08-2012, 3:42 PM
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Maybe someone can chime in and respond to the fine tune question, but when I got mine home, I put it together with the NMO trunk lip mount and attached it to the car, threaded the coax through the trunk into the cabin up to the dashboard, and BNC hookup to 396T. End of story. It works like a charm and I have no regrets. I'm getting terrific coverage on all the bands I monitor VHF Low and High, UHF, 800 Trunking. I am a happy guy.

Russell
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Old 03-07-2014, 4:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyhetzel View Post
........The base spring is rigid ........

They must have specially made one for you that was, the one I have has a cheap piece of very thin curved metal barely soldered to the center conductor. Lost it's springiness the first time I installed it and took it off, and I didn't even crank it down hard. Guess I am going to have to solder something more "durable" onto what was the contact. Ho hum....
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Old 03-09-2014, 5:39 PM
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I have used the Austin Sprectra antenna for 16 years. Trunk lid motorola mount. I had used mobile scanner antennas by Antenna Specialest, Radio Shack and others but the Spectra with the tuneable tip for low band has worked the best. Yes pricey but for 16 years, its a minor costs per year. Good stainless steel, no rust, coax has held up. The signals received appear to stay up for a longer time. Low band is not a big deal now, but in the 70's thru early 2000's, low band was the system of most highway patrols. On 800 mhz, I used it to monitor all the companies 800 mhz trunking sites, all over the eastern and southern states. Never failed to acquire good reception. If you were looking for a first scanner mobile antenna, get the Sprectra and it will be your last antenna. For my HT's, I use ther Condor. Same good results. Oh, you sample other antennas, or play with home brew stuff, but I always return to the Austin products.
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Old 04-22-2014, 8:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyhetzel View Post
The base spring is rigid
It feels rigid out of the box, but once you get it mounted to a solid surface it feels nice. I've bent mine at a 50+ degree angle before hitting trees and the antenna is no worse for wear.

Yah, I was originally sticker shocked by the price of these things, but with some research the decision process was simple.
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