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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Omnidirectional: verticals, mobile, etc | Austin Ferret Base Scanner Antenna Help

Reviews Summary for Austin Ferret Base Scanner Antenna
Austin Ferret Base Scanner Antenna Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $259.00
Description: 25-1500MHz Vertical Base Scanner Antenna
Product is in production.
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MONITORNUT Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2015 10:58 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Antenna! You get what you pay for  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Ferret is designed as a multiband antenna not a broadband design, this makes all the difference. The Ferret is tuned to numerous bands across the spectrum and can be used to transmit with as well. Use great coax with low loss and N connector on one end, if you don't you just wasted your investment

I've used this great antenna at various west coast locations, from San Diego, CA to Vancouver, BC for over 20 years, nothing compares, period.

Save time and money by making the investment, that is if your serious about monitoring, its the difference in hearing that very distant signal.

Find the right place to install it as you may find moving it just a short distance makes a night and day difference.

The Ferret is the best antenna investment you can make in this great hobby. I am not affiliated with Austin Antenna Co., just appreciate a quality product that will perform as I expect and never need to buy another antenna again, this won't blow away in bad WX, very very well built!
KI6DYR Rating: 3/5 Nov 21, 2009 15:28 Send this review to a friend
Just OKAY  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I operate a professional scanner monitoring service and have used nearly every antenna out there. From my mountaintop location at 6,400 feet overlooking all of southern California the Ferret does not perform any better than a discone.

I feed 12 scanners or commercial receivers to the internet from just this location and many more from 8 other locations in our group. Because of scanner frontend overload I deliberately insert 20dB or more of attenuation to knock down the intermod, so the tests are equal. Even without any attenuation for testing the performance using an A/B switch test method shows no difference to a discone.

The Ferret is currently at our central Los Angeles, California remote location (all scanners are remote controlled,) the Ferret performs sub-par on 30-50MHz. CHP still uses lowband and the Ferret's electrical length cannot match a full size 1/2 wave coaxial antenna ( tuned for 40MHz. Apples and oranges? Yes. Although the antenna is unity gain one should expect a tuned 1/2 wave to do better than this.

More importantly, trying to reach Austin is an exercise in futility. They do not answer the telephone; they do not reply to emails. They do not reply to FAXes.

Currently selling for $299 plus large box UPS shipping I feel that this antenna is not worth the price. The only saving face is that as a tuned antenna it tends to knock down out-of-band signals.
K0SHL Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2009 11:09 Send this review to a friend
Best I've owned, highly recommend!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the last 35 years I've owned and tried just about every good base antenna that's been on the market. I haven't wasted my time on anything flimsy or any "gimmicks" - I've only used good, solid antennas. A little less than 18 months ago I ordered, direct from Austin Antenna, the Austin Ferret antenna. I'd done a lot of research on it, talked to a number of people and, of course, read the reviews here, before putting in my order. I also ordered one for a school district I do some consulting for which also needed a good antenna. 3 days later the antennas arrived! I had both of them installed the following week.
With antennas, just like my scanners and amateur radios, I wait at least a year before making any kind of recommendations. I've learned that it really does take that long to make a true judgement about a piece of equipment, good or bad (unless it completely quits working two times or more before the end of the first year).
This antenna really is the best antenna I've ever used. Here in St. Louis we run the full gamut on frequencies when monitoring! Our Highway Patrol is low band, our City PD is Apco 25 Digital 800, and between County PD and the hundred or so municipalities, you have all the frequencies inbetween. The Ferret has NO PROBLEM picking up most everything! Plus, St. Louis isn't small and even many of the outlying areas come in clearly. Some of the counties, outside of St Louis, can be heard quite well - often their cars too, which is nice, considering our locations isn't in a particularly high area. I wonder what we'd be able to hear if we were located a couple of hundred feet higher?!
So, I definitely rate this antenna a strong 5. It well deserves it! After more than 12 months, making it through some extremely severe storms over the last year (the remnants of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ike which hit us very hard!) and our usual Spring/Summer severe weather - it's working just as well as the day it was installed. I most highly recommend it!
N2VU Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2009 07:44 Send this review to a friend
Nothing better - get one!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Never underestimate the value of a resonant antenna NEVER! Antennas are reciprocal and you get what you give in that with an antenna like the Austin Ferret, you get incredible sensitivity on the bands your listening to with you scanner. I would equate the Ferret to being something like the Steppir Antenna of scanning but without the motors. The center of all the praise of the Steppir line is that the antennas tune/resonate to whatever frequency youre on which not only gives you a great SWR but also greatly improves radio sensitivity. The relevance to the Ferret is that because it is resonant on the bands noted in the product info, you hear signals that you dont hear with even the best of disc cones! The Ferret is a well constructed, 8 vertical that seems to suck up signals not noise! Note that all of them require that you use superior N connectors rather than PL-259s. It is an amazing antenna, surpassing anything Ive ever used. I feel that its worthy of mentioning coax. Dont undermine any effort of an outdoor antenna with high-loss, crappy cable. Again, you get what you pay for! I use Times Microwave LMR-600-UF, sure its more expensive than RG-8 or RG-213 but then how much do you want to hear, especially with the losses inherent at UHF frequencies. If this is your hobby or your work, unleash its potential with this antenna and some great feed-line!!
AG4WI Rating: 5/5 Aug 8, 2006 08:31 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned lots of antenna the last 40 years and if you don't want to put up 7 or 8 antenna to cover all the bands you like to listen to then the Austin Ferret Base antenna is the best one i have ever had. It works very good from 25mhz. thru 1300mhz. The Spector also works good for a base or Moble antenna. I don't know of any antenna that i would replace it with!
N2DY Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2006 07:58 Send this review to a friend
Wow Indeed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Ferret is a great scanner antenna with excellent capabilities over a very broad range of frequencies. I compared it to my previous favorite, my Diamond discone antenna and the Ferret was better on just about any frequency. The antennas were at the same height above ground and fed with the same low loss cable. I was shocked as to how much better the Ferret was. I would have expected a 3 to 6 DB or so improvement, given that the Ferret is just a series of dipoles, but the improvement was much greater. Austin has centered the various dipoles on popular frequency ranges and so perhaps this accounts for the improvement over the discone.

Construction is quite good. I was delighted to find that the fiberglas antenna radome has a dark gray crinkle finish. This is perfect for blending in with the oak and maple trees that surround my house. You have to go out of your way to spot the antenna up on the roof. I wish more manufacturers would do that. Using a bright white radome just attracts unwanted neighborly attention.

Great job Austin. I am glad that I picked one up. It's a bit expensive but, as an avid scanner listener, it is worth every penny to me.
N2GQL Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2006 12:48 Send this review to a friend
Best I've Found  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I installed the Austin Ferret Base Scanner Antenna over the weekend, and all I can say is, "WOW!". I've have owned numerous scanner antennas, dating back to the mid-1970s, and have never had one as sensitive as this. Austin did their homework on this one.

The Ferret is a multiband design, as opposed to a broadband design and that is what appears to make the difference. Rather than attempting to build an antenna that broadly covers the whole spectrum from 25-1300 Mhz (such as a discone)with little or no gain, they have designed an antenna that actually is tuned to numerous bands across the spectrum that are of particular interest to scanner listeners. By doing so, they have created an antenna that does the job.

At my home QTH near Philadelphia, I am now able to receive signals from the New York, Baltimore, and Harrisburg areas that I have never heard before. Even some of the NYC subway surface repeaters are listenable, as is the NYFD.

As a rail enthusiast I was impressed by how well the antenna receives signals in the 161 mHz band. I am also now able to hear mobiles and portables from our county's low band fire radios, as well as those from surrounding counties. Our local 800 mHz trunked systems are likewise strong and clear, with the exception of Philadelphia's city system, which is next to impossible to hear outside the city limits using any radio/antenna combination.

The Austin Ferret is probably the best antenna investment I have ever made for scanning. I bought it based on my positive experience with their mobile antenna, the Spectra, which I have been using for the past year in my car. I would recommend the Ferret highly.

And a comment to the previous reviewer: yes, the tuned nature of the multiband antenna does indeed tend to reduce noise. Another positive for the Ferret.
KA3NXN Rating: 5/5 Mar 22, 2006 18:27 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Performance!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had discones and various other types of scanner antennas, but this is the best I have ever had. Our local public services are all over the spectrum. From 40MHz all the way to 800MHz. 40MHz is especially hard to monitor because the fire department uses their portables and these low power units with rubber ducks do not propagate very well. This antenna made a world of difference. I can now copy the portables across the county. The new 800 system is now full scale, and for some reason the intermod that I was getting on VHF is almost gone. Can an antenna do this?

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