Friday, March 19, 2010

Product Test
Ferret 8 Band Base Antenna

By Jonathan Higgins

Spring is just around the corner, what better time to get a new antenna for your home or office.

The Product: Ferret 8 Band Base Antenna

Last September, my dad and I installed the Austin Ferret 8 Band Antenna at my home in Attleboro, Massachusetts. After about 2 hours, my new antenna was up and running. For this project we used 50’ LMR-400 Coax cable, 2’ wall mount bracket, 4 port multi coupler, two 3 foot jumper cables, and, two 50 RG-58 coax with BNC.


When mounting an antenna outside make sure your clear of any power lines, and never install antenna by yourself. Try to find the best route for the coax cable, make sure you measure the route and only allow a little extra. Rule of thumb, higher the antenna the shorter the coax is always the best.

We had to get a 2’ wall mount bracket two clear the roof overhang. Once the bracket was secured to the side of the house we then installed the antenna to the post using U-bolt brackets. After drilling 1 inch hole into the side of the house we ran the LMR-400 Coax into the 4 port multi coupler in my hobby room. In my hobby room I have Uniden BCD996T and the classic Uniden BC780XLT, hook up both scanner to the multi coupler via the 3’ foot jumpers. The remaining two ports were used for scanners in the living room and master bedroom connected via the two 50’ RG-58 Coax cable.

Reception Test

In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, most of the public safety is using VHF High Band or UHF. I was amazed by the reception. I was able to pick up UHF systems for 15 to 30 miles away without a problem, and as for the VHF, about 30+ miles away. In Massachusetts, the State Police are on an analog 800MHz trunking system. I was able to pick up the local site with ease and neighboring sites up to 20 miles away. I found that the height of the Ferret really brings in the VHF Low Band without a problem.

If you’re a Railroad buff like me, this is the antenna for you. Being in Attleboro along the Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor there is a lot of active on AAR Channel 54 160.9200 Mhz. With this antenna I’m able hear more of the communications between the dispatch and train, since most railroad systems are line of sight without a repeater a great antenna is key.


With almost 20 years of experience, I have to say this is one of the best roof top antennas I have ever used. If you decide on the Austin Ferret, make sure you get high quality coax cable like the LMR-400. The coax cable is just as important as the antenna to get the ultimate performance.

Details about the Ferret…

All band omnidirectional antenna covering the following bands - 30-50/88-108/121/146/150-174/225-400/806-896/1.2 Ghz. The Ferret is in-case in 8 foot fiberglass tube protecting all of the elements for the eight bands

Recommend Coax for the Austin Ferret:
The LMR-400 is the best coax on the market for roof top antenna installations
LMR-400 Coax Cable, 25', N Male to BNC Male
LMR-400 Coax Cable, 50', N Male to BNC Male
LMR-400 Coax Cable, 75', N Male to BNC Male
LMR-400 Coax Cable, 100', N Male to BNC Male

Austin Antenna, a locally based company right here in New England, has been in business for the last 25 years. We carry the full Austin Antenna scanner product line; the Ferret, the Condor and the Spectra.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Product Test
Uniden 4" External Speaker

By Jonathan Higgins

The Product: Uniden 4" External Speakers

Do you have your eyes set on new base/mobile scanner? If you’re installing any base/mobile scanner in your car, trunk, home or office, please check out the Uniden 4” External Speaker. I have tried many speakers in my almost 20 years in this hobby and I have found this speaker to be one of the best. The speaker is black with Uniden's signature paw print embossed on the speaker's metal grill. Included in the box is the adjustable mounting bracket along with a 10 ft cold with a 1/8 (3.5mm) mono plug. You can expect high quality sound to be transmitted from this heavy duty external speaker.

Product Specs:
  • Speaker: 4" Plastic Cone
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Maximum Power: 12 Watts
  • Wire: 10 ft. cord
  • Plug Type: 1/8" (3.5mm Plug)
  • Frequency Response: 500Hz-5KHz
  • Includes ratchet type mounting bracket & hardware
  • Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Scanner 101 - Installing the GPS Receiver for Uniden BC346XT and BCD396XT

    What is GPS Scanning?
    Once you have the scanner programmed, this feature will allow for preset scanning, making it easier and safer for you to monitor a specific area while you’re driving. The scanner, along with the GPS Receiver, will turn on and off each programmed group as you travel. How is this done? The ARCXT software allows you to set up a center point's latitude and longitude for each group. Let’s say your home town is in group one, you can find the center point by simply entering your zip code in the software. You can set the scanning range anywhere from 0.5 to 100+ mile(s). As you approach X mile(s) of that center point, the group will become unlocked. GPS Programming will also work with trunking systems. If you set up the trunking systems with multiple sites, you can set up each site with a center point and range.

    Parts needed for this project:
    Scanner – BC346XT or BCD396XT
    Uniden 4’ Serial Cable (included in the scanner box)
    Mini Gender Changer
    Null Modem
    GPS Receiver

    Once you have these features follow the step-by-step instruction below:

    Step 1:
    Plug the “Uniden 4’ Serial Cable “mini plug” into the scanner

    Step 2: Plug the other end of the Serial cable into the “Mini Gender Changer”

    Step 3:
    Plug the Mini Gender Changer into the Null Modem

    Step 4: Plug the Null Modem into the Serial end on the GPS Receiver

    Step 5:
    Plug in the Cigarette Lighter on the GPS Receiver into a available DC power outlet in your car.

    Step 6: Place magnetic GPS Antenna on a flat surface on the trunk or vehicle’s roof.

    Step 7: Power up the scanner (It may take several minutes to process the GPS info in the scanner)