COMPACtenna SCAN-III

devicelab

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I took a gamble and picked up the SCAN III version from HRO recently and I can report that it's performing quite well. I'm using it mostly in the 700/800 range but compared to my Laird Scanner antenna (18" versus 9" on the SCAN III) -- its performance is very impressive. One reason I had purchased this antenna was due to the parking garage at work. The Laird will hit low-hanging fruit at times and that gets rather annoying.

One thing that I noticed immediately was the SCAN III is able to receive our [850Mhz analog trunk] 2-levels down while inside the parking garage. The Laird goes silent almost immediately after entering. It also seems to perform well on Mil-Air. I was scanning 285-325 Mhz and managed to pick up an E6B that was 80 miles to the East @ 280.

So far it's a very impressive unit considering it's only 9" tall. I should mention that my configuration is ideal. It's mounted to an NMO in the center of my Durango's roof. That NMO connects to my BCD996P2.

My only nitpicks are the "Compactenna" logo at the base of the unit -- the text just looks cheesy. I'll probably cover it up with a piece of electrical tape. Also, as others have mentioned, the stealth factor goes out the window with this bad boy. Even with the Laird 18" whip it was quite stealthy.

So far I'll keep it on there. It sure beats the Laird 1/4 wave UHF 7" whip (460) which was my previous "low-height" option.

If anyone is interested I can post numbers from my AA-1400 RigXpert and/or my NanoVNA-F.
 

iMONITOR

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I haven't heard good things with regards to the quality. One user here on RR claimed his leaked and had water inside it. I don't think the NMO center connector would hold up over time if you installed/removed it very often. One light whack would snap that like a pretzel! The price seems high, $114.00. I think half of that would be plenty. Thanks for posting however.


83576
 

devicelab

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I don't think the NMO center connector would hold up over time if you installed/removed it very often.
Yes that was one of my other nitpicks. Getting it on was a bit tricky too. I wouldn't want to take this on/off very frequently. I'll have to get my vehicle washed here soon (too much pollen) but I'll definitely leave it installed as long as possible.

I'll find out about the leak test here as there's rain forecast this week. I did notice there was like jbweld or some epoxy on the screw at the base of the antenna.
 

prcguy

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Yes and yes please. I'm still very curious about the scanner version but I have at least two of every mobile scanner antenna made and don't really use any of them. Hey Dr. jack, if your listening can you contact me regarding an "industry discount" on a SCAN III? That will push me over the edge in getting one!

If anyone is interested I can post numbers from my AA-1400 RigXpert and/or my NanoVNA-F.
 

N9JIG

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I have the 2M/440 version of the antenna. It could very well be the exact same antenna for all I know.

The dual band antenna works fine on both VHF and UHF and seemed to work as well as my more common dual band Comet, Diamond etc center coil whips. When I connected it to the scanner it seemed to work well, not spectacular, but on par with the Comtelco and a straight VHF whip as well as ham dual banders.

I switched back to the whip as they were less obtrusive. As for the build quality I cannot say. I have not opened the antenna jacket, there seems to be no way to do so without destroying it.
 

vagrant

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I have used a Larsen tri-band for years, but reviewing the results from a RigExpert and or NanoVNA will probably help me decide one way or the other about trying the Scan III instead. I'm figuring the RX may be similar, but the Scan III may provide improved results in an urban environment due to design. Still, at twice the price of a Larsen, I am unsure of that valuation.
 

devicelab

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Here's the results from my NanoVNA-F (latest firmware) -- from 30 Mhz to 1 Ghz... almost completely flat -- under 2:1 SWR -- pretty interesting results.

 

devicelab

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Are you sure?
I didn't Photoshop this up dude. I have better things to do with my time... :p

And yes the NanoVNA-F has been calibrated from 30 Mhz to 1 Ghz.

My AA-1400 showed the same plot which is why I didn't bother posting its picture. I'll do another test later tonight when I have more time. I meant to test another antenna as well.
 

FreeBander

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I Have A Compactenna Scan-III and for me it's a excellent antenna.

I have many scanner and receiver antenna's and the only one I use with my SDS-200 is the Compactenna Scan-III

I'm not using it for mobile operation but on a NMO mag mount on a file cabinet.

Just a FYI on what's been working best for me and I'm happy with it.
 

prcguy

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That's really odd, I wonder if there is some resistor matching in the base? Not to waste your time but an ohm meter check across the base of the antenna or the coax connector would be interesting. With that low of an SWR from 30-1000MHz I bet it would show similar down through HF to almost DC.

I didn't Photoshop this up dude. I have better things to do with my time... :p

And yes the NanoVNA-F has been calibrated from 30 Mhz to 1 Ghz.

My AA-1400 showed the same plot which is why I didn't bother posting its picture. I'll do another test later tonight when I have more time. I meant to test another antenna as well.
 

devicelab

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With that low of an SWR from 30-1000MHz I bet it would show similar down through HF to almost DC.
No it started pretty high and then dropped quickly on the AA-1400 which was sweeping from DC to 1.4 ghz. Let me post that picture -- just realize that its screen is compressed.
 

KevinC

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That's really odd, I wonder if there is some resistor matching in the base? Not to waste your time but an ohm meter check across the base of the antenna or the coax connector would be interesting. With that low of an SWR from 30-1000MHz I bet it would show similar down through HF to almost DC.
My dummy load sweeps as good as that thing. :p
 

prcguy

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Not a lot of frequency reference to go by, but if you divide 700 in half to 350 then divide in half again for 125, it looks like the match is low a little below that then it goes up quickly. If the frequency scale is linear then it doesn't match the NANO. You will have to retest on the NANO or send me the antenna for testing. :)

RigXpert AA-1400:

 

devicelab

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If the frequency scale is linear then it doesn't match the NANO.
Nah this is normal for the AA-1400. If I use the software for it then it'll look similar to the NanoVNA output. One of the downsides running a full sweep. If I were to drop it down to a smaller range then it'd look different.

I'll do a couple of other tests later tonight. I'll use my 460 Mhz 1/4 wave whip as a baseline to make you happy. :p
 

prcguy

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I would be happier if you sent me the antenna but thanks for testing again.

Nah this is normal for the AA-1400. If I use the software for it then it'll look similar to the NanoVNA output. One of the downsides running a full sweep. If I were to drop it down to a smaller range then it'd look different.

I'll do a couple of other tests later tonight. I'll use my 460 Mhz 1/4 wave whip as a baseline to make you happy. :p
 

devicelab

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Okay I'll eat crow now. Sorry I forgot I had my splitter involved and grabbed the wrong coax. Don't sweep antennas while in a hurry! :p

SWR:



Return Loss:



Smith Chart:



Phase:

 
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