Austin Ferret scanner antenna

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russellmaher

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Some of the members here are aware that I'm a fan of the Austin antenna line since I have made several posts regarding the Spectra for mobile scanner use, and have made recommendations to some who asked how good it is.

I have also stated on here that I purchased both the Spectra and the Ferret when I went to the Austin factory in New Hampshire back in 2007, but never got the Ferret up and working because we sold our house and moved into an apartment. Of course the use of outdoor antennas was prohibited by the management....so the Ferret sat in the corner doing nothing but collecting dust.

Fast forward to our new digs - a townhouse on the other side of town - but the twist is that now, even though I cannot put up an external antenna, I have a deck at the back of the place for a gas grill, several chairs and maybe a location for the antenna I've waited a long seven years to get some use out of. But what can I come up with for the antenna that I can't attach to the building?? And am I trusting enough to leave it out on the deck overnight and maybe find it gone in the morning?

And here my friends is the solution to my problem. I found a cast iron base at a flag store that I could attach the Ferret to. It has a hole with a thumb screw to tighten against the aluminum pipe that mounts at the base of the Ferret, and is just heavy enough to hold the antenna firmly and securely. So now, I can use the antenna during the day when I take my 396T out to the deck and then bring it back inside and not have to worry about it taking a walk when I'm not there. See photos of my mounting device below.

Now to my review of the Austin Ferret antenna. I am so very pleased at the terrific job it does with my 396T and the systems and departments that I monitor. I have read many posts on these forums regarding the Austin antenna line - some pro, some con - but I am convinced that since I put this unit outside on the deck that's only 5 feet above ground, my reception has gone crazy. For example: I am getting good reception of the MA State Police system in Western MA, excellent coverage of CT State Police (troops H, W, C, F, K, B, I) and the conventional systems as distant as Northampton MA, to the North and Portland CT to the South. Of course the Police and Fire Departments that are local to me are also coming in loud and clear. Oh yes....I'm a very happy scannist - is that a word?

In conclusion, I want to say that some have posted their negative results, or impressions about these Austin antennas and that may come from their higher price points. You can surely find multiband antennas for a lot less money, but my experience has just proven to me that the Ferret and Spectra are awesome units and I wouldn't hesitate to give either one a big thumbs up. But, this is my opinion, for whatever it's worth.

BTW, its been hinted around here, that a BCD436HP may be under the tree this year and if Mrs. Claus comes through....we will see how that performs at my location.

Regards,

Russell

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prcguy

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Congratulations on getting the antenna in service. I would like to hear how it performs compared to something else, preferably an antenna that most can relate to like a RS Discone. I can send you one for testing if your willing to do a comparison.
prcguy
 

russellmaher

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I'm willing to do a comparison of the discone vs ferret as long as you know that it's going to be a very un - scientific test. I can only go by the number of bars showing on the scanner and the audio as my ears hear it. Let me know what type of discone you are sending me and how you're going to handle the shipping to me and back to you. Remember that the Ferret terminates in a female F connection and the 396t is an SMA or BNC adapter. I can handle either. I ran a RS DISCONE back in2003 or 2004 with a Pro -2051, so I know it is a fine antenna, so this will be interesting. Give me details please.

Russell.
 

prcguy

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I'll pay shipping to you and it would be nice if you paid back to me, but if not that's ok. Do you do any VHF lo that requires the top whip on the Discone? Otherwise send me an address and I can probably get it out tomorrow.
prcguy

I'm willing to do a comparison of the discone vs ferret as long as you know that it's going to be a very un - scientific test. I can only go by the number of bars showing on the scanner and the audio as my ears hear it. Let me know what type of discone you are sending me and how you're going to handle the shipping to me and back to you. Remember that the Ferret terminates in a female F connection and the 396t is an SMA or BNC adapter. I can handle either. I ran a RS DISCONE back in2003 or 2004 with a Pro -2051, so I know it is a fine antenna, so this will be interesting. Give me details please.

Russell.
 

rrbum

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Looking forward to reading the outcome of this experiment. Sometimes things don't work out like they should on paper. I just replaced a $35 radio shack "sputnik" with a $140 DPD omni-x and found that the difference on frequencies of interest to me is nowhere what I expected to see. I got burnt buying this antenna and should have listened to my instincts when researching this design. The high cost of the ferret always turned me off, but I now realize that if something really does work than it is worth paying for.
 

prcguy

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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I have the RS Discone with 18" LMR240 pigtail ending in a female N and adapters to F, SO-239 and BNC. Just waiting for the word to ship.
prcguy


Looking forward to reading the outcome of this experiment. Sometimes things don't work out like they should on paper. I just replaced a $35 radio shack "sputnik" with a $140 DPD omni-x and found that the difference on frequencies of interest to me is nowhere what I expected to see. I got burnt buying this antenna and should have listened to my instincts when researching this design. The high cost of the ferret always turned me off, but I now realize that if something really does work than it is worth paying for.
 

rrbum

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Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
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I just replaced a $35 radio shack "sputnik" with a $140 DPD omni-x and found that the difference on frequencies of interest to me is nowhere what I expected to see. I got burnt buying this antenna and should have listened to my instincts when researching this design.
I want to take a minute and clarify the above statement I made. After reading my post it sounds like I am bad-mouthing the omni-x antenna. I did not intend to come off this way and cannot edit my post. The "problem" I am having is that the new antenna is overloading my radio with signal/noise. I live in a very high RF area and should have known better than to expect any wideband antenna to perform well.

Excuse me for going off topic.
 
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