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Reviews Categories | Direction Finding equipment | VK3YNG VHF Foxhunt Sniffer Mk 4 Help

Reviews Summary for VK3YNG VHF Foxhunt Sniffer Mk 4
VK3YNG VHF Foxhunt Sniffer Mk 4 Reviews: 10 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $180
Description: The VK3YNG Foxhunt Sniffer is a specially designed synthesised VHF direction finding receiver covering 120MHz and 144MHz bands. The receiver is designed for quickly finding the direction of beacons or hidden transmitters. Anything from distant weak signals to very close "sniffing" of transmitters running many watts of output power can be pin pointed accurately without suffering "overload" problems that plague other designs. Full auto-ranging operation allows the operator to quickly and intuitively locate the source of a signal without twiddling knobs or watching meters. The operator is freed to concentrate on more important things such as negotiating terrain or reading maps.
Product is in production.
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K8TB Rating: 5/5 Nov 27, 2015 11:13 Send this review to a friend
Also very good for RFI..  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been Fox hunting for decades. I've tried everything. The doppler units are great for their own reasons, but the old triangulation method works best, especially if the transmitter is in the woods. with a pair of lightweight headphones, and a 3 element beam, I can zero in on a signal, check for polarization shift, step sideways ten feet to check for multipath, in about 15 seconds. My wife, K8AJ, says I look "cute" when I do that along side the road. I've won many hunts with this unit, including towns I've never been in.

But, lately I've used it in several hunts that do not have a real transmitter attached. This unit can "smell" out the wretched RFI that is bothering so many of us. My friend had a horrible signal bothering legitimate signals on 2 meters, and in 5 minutes, I was pointing to the SW corner of his neighbors basement, where we found florescent fixtures that had worked DCCC with their grunge box transmitter "ballast". Normally, low band power line RFI doesn't make it to 2 meters, but I have found it with this box.

Keep in mind that even with a miracle box like this, you need time and experience to find your source. Please, please, never ever guess where the fox is, or who or what is causing the interference. Practice, practice practice.

And lastly, setup one or two of the Byonics Micro-transmitters (15 milliwatts) in the area around your next swap fest or field day, and hand this box and an antenna to the kids. They catch on real quick and the look on their face when they find the box is priceless. (Make the tx time 30 seconds, 30 seconds off).

Very cool box, just wish it had the public safety band (150-160) in it to help out central dispatch
WO9B Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2015 11:49 Send this review to a friend
Top Flight Product and Service  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
If you are into DF'ing, this is the 2 mtr gear you will need. Read any of the reviews, they are all spot on. Well, let me tell you about the guy behind the gear and the kind of Gold Star Customer Service he provides.

I did the usual buy the sniffer and attach it to the tape measure yagi. Well, being new to the sport, my expectations weren't "developed". My unit had a ton of sensitivity issues. It just wasn't great and I was not happy. I wrote it off as me being the problem.

6 months after the purchase, I had double checked my build, checked and rechecked all the device settings and found nothing. I decided it was time for ET to Call Home and sent a note to Bryan, VK3YNG and ask for help. He insisted that I return it so he could look it over. He stayed in touch with me the whole time via email. This was really cool.

Bryan could find nothing wrong with the unit, but decided to send me a brand new replacement. Well upon return, the problem persisted and yet there he was, totally supportive. He continued to work with me trouble shooting the problem.

Short version is that I had used some junk cable in the yagi and that was the source of the problem The cable looked good and was similar in size and construction ot RG-58, but it was off just enough to cause connector issues. This whole thing was on me!!

Bryan's Reaction: So glad you found the problem, now go have some fun. You've earned it. I'm going to take his advice. I've got to get me some of those Foxes!!

Buy this product. You can not go wrong.
AB2M Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2009 20:00 Send this review to a friend
Excellent, especially for ELT/constant carrier  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Been using the MK4 to DF ELTs with Civil Air Patrol and it's phenomenal. Very easy to determine bearing and ignore reflections. Paired with the (now discontinued) Diamond MAY-1000 portable beam and finding ELTs is like shooting fish in a barrel.
AH6RH Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2008 15:41 Send this review to a friend
Superb  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I agree with everything written in terms of size, sensitivity, auto-ranging attenuation, and eyes-free operation.

The unit is small, fitting into the palm of your hands. A good 2 or 3 el beam, the MK4 sniffer, and you're off and running.

Allow two weeks for shipping and clearance from customs.
VK4IPE Rating: 5/5 Nov 21, 2007 23:15 Send this review to a friend
First ever Foxhunt & we Win!!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Our two local clubs have an annual foxhunt competition & I decided to have a go this year as I have never tried foxhunting before. I didnít have time to construct a sniffer so decided to purchase a MK 4 due to the glowing reports on how good they work. I made up a tape measure antenna (WB2HOL Design) with all the parts from my local Bunnings DIY store (cost about $20). The XYL (VK4LIZ) & I therefore decided to give it a try just using the handheld sniffer.
I found the MK4 so easy to use if itís set for the basic modes. We tracked the fox and were the first to find it!!! Over 30 minutes later the normal winners of the foxhunt turned up & was amazed on the fact that we had found it with just an handheld sniffer (they were both using rotatable beams on there cars as well as a handheld sniffer!!!). Therefore what more can I say!! First foxhunt that we had undertaken & we win with lots of time before the next one arrived. I must also say thanks to Bryan VK3YNG who manufactures the unit, I e-mailed him on the Sunday night asking if there was any chance of getting one to me by the following weekend for the foxhunt, I transferred the money on the Monday & had it delivered on the Wednesday. I couldnít have asked for better service. I therefore recommend this unit not just for the experienced foxhunter but also novices like the XYL & me.


Roger VK4IPE & Celia VK4LIZ
KA7OEI Rating: 5/5 Jul 23, 2007 10:09 Send this review to a friend
Well thought-out  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this for more than a year and it has worked extremely well - both for finding hidden transmitters as well as wideband 2 meter QRM. In the latter case, the choice of several filters software filters (and having AM detection available) was invaluable in helping identify the source of the noise - which seems to have been a malfunctioning switching power supply that was wiping out most of 2 meters at a friend's QTH.

The current versions have been improved such that they will run down to 2.25 volts or so (1.125 volts/cell) without degradation, and then all the way down to about 2 volts before auto shutoff with only minimal performance degradation: Previous versions had limited run-time with AA alkalines and lithium AA's were recommended. I'm still on my original pair of alkaline AA's despite lots of hours of use.

As others have said, sensitivity is extremely good (usable audible S-meter readings were obtainable down below -130dBm in my testing) - but it is still able to get you to within a foot or two of the antenna of a multi-watt transmitter with its outstanding built-in attenuation.

Clearly, this unit is the result of a lot of experience, forethought, and refinement!

KF7GD Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2005 17:48 Send this review to a friend
Best ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
The best sniffer around!

I really enjoy mine and use it every hunt.

It does everything you need and does it well.

Good job thanks.
K2GW Rating: 5/5 Oct 25, 2004 08:58 Send this review to a friend
VHF Gold Standard  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This receiver when mounted on a WB2HOL tape measure beam is the current gold standard for VHF-DF. The previous reviews give all of the details. Super sensitivity with automatic 9 levels of attenuation allows DF'ing a one watt signal from five miles away down to 1 foot! And I still had a couple more levels of attenuation available.

The selectable ability to hear the signal strength indicator (a varying tone) in one ear while listening to the actual signal in the other allowed me to quickly locate individual stations participating in a roundtable on a repeater input. This obviously would be of great value in a "bananna hunt"

It's not cheap, but well worth the money if you're a serious DF'er. Even folks with dopplers have to get out of the car at the end. This receiver is unmatched for locating a camouflaged transmitter in the woods.

So the next time you see photos of champion DF'ers in international competitions look for the little blue boxes on the antennas.

All we need now is a US distributor to make it simpler to get here.


Gary, K2GW

WB6BYU Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2004 17:53 Send this review to a friend
A great DF receiver for 2m and ELT hunts!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This receiver takes some getting used to, but the features and abilities make it unmatched for a DF receiver.

Frequency range is 120 - 123 and 143 - 150 MHz to cover both 2m and ELTs. The receiver has automatic attenuation in 15dB steps, with a numeric readout telling you the current step. This gives an immediate indication of how strong the signal is. Once you find the delay setting that works best for your hunting style, the receiver automatically adjusts the gain for you and all you have to do it take bearings.

The receiver has 3 modes: AM, FM, and audio S
meter (variable tone frequency with signal strength - what the Aussies call "Whoopee mode".)
With stereo headphones, you get the strength tone in one ear and the modulation in the other. There
is also a built-in small speaker - good for demos,
or as a backup in case your headphone cable snags
on a branch and self-destructs.

The receiver has a BNC fitting - the user has to supply a suitable beam antenna. (The WB2HOL tape measure beam is a good start.) There are 6 memories for your favorite frequencies: direct freqency entry is great for known transmitters, but does not allow for tuning the band to find the desired signal.

It's great to have ELT coverage in the same unit. However I find I have to set the attenuation level manually for ELT signals because the varying power output seems to confuse the range-setting logic. This may just be one of the other settings that needs to be changed.

With a sensitive pair of headphones I usually run the unit at minimum volume. At this setting the signal strength tone is considerably weaker than the demodulated audio, though this is not a problem at higher audio levels. There is a light sensor to adjust the brightness of the range indicator - I put a piece of black tape over the
sensor so it always runs at low illumination to reduce battery current.

The receiver runs on two AA cells, and Bryan VK3YNG has done some great work to document the expected life of different battery types (on his web site.) In summary, use good quality Alkaline cells, or, better yet, Lithium cells. The receiver does not work with rechargable cells (the output voltage is too low) and there is no provision for an external power source.

This receiver makes it easy to take bearings without having to adjust the receiver gain or attenuation for the signal strength. But do get some practice before using the more advanced features on an actual hunt - I still get confused when setting the attenuation levels manually and often end up on the wrong frequency by mistake! The automatic attenuation steps can be a bit confusing when the signal suddenly gets weaker (though there is a tone announcement to tell you that it changed.)

It won't win hunts all by itself, but it makes it easier to do better - especially on foot in the woods where one has to pay constant attention to footing and avoiding obsticles instead of operating the receiver.
WM5R Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2003 11:54 Send this review to a friend
Hot new two meter ARDF receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As a brand new owner of the VK3YNG VHF Foxhunt Sniffer Mk 4, I am really looking forward to hunting with this receiver. I love the blue front panel!

I purchased mine from Bryan using PayPal, which is probably the easiest way to get the money to Australia, but Bryan also takes wire transfers and Western Union - email him for details.

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