Surecom SF401 Plus Frequency Counter VS. Fumei Frequency Counter

“Frequency counters are test instruments used in many applications associated with radio frequency engineering to measure the frequency of signals very accurately”

We ALWAYS have to test our equipment before we put it to real world use. I 100% believe in this. So I have two new frequency counter. These were to be part of my SIGINT kit I was putting together. The use of frequency counter in a SIGINT team is to find frequencies in use close to us. It basically works like a scanner but there is no volume just a frequency, strength of that signal and some of them will give you the CTC/DCS tones.

I set both of these up on my truck tailgate. I was using the MURS frequency 151.820. I turned both on, stepped back one step, and keyed the mic. The Fumie immediately picked up the signal. The Surecom nothing…. I stepped closer to the Surecom and….. nothing. I ended up having to move the antenna of my HT to about 2 to 3 inches away from the antenna of the Surecom to finally pick it up. I went through the sensitivity settings and adjusted them and still nothing. So I hooked up my magnet mount antenna thats on top my truck to the Surecom. I was at the tailgate still and keyed the mic…… nothing. I had to move the HT all the way to the truck antenna with the mic keyed to get the Surecom to pickup the signal. I put a CTC into the radio and keyed the mic right next to the antenna and the Surecom did decode that so thats a plus.

Back to the Fumie. It picked my signal with stock antenna to about 10 yds away. I hooked the truck antenna up to the Fumie and it picked me up about 25 yds away. I put a CTC tone in the radio and it wouldn’t decode it. If you had a digital scanner also it should give you the code after you captured the frequency and put it in the scanner. The Fumie will not hold after it captures a frequency so you have to be watching the whole time. It has a hold feature but I cannot get it to work. I had to video it with my phone to know if it was picking me up.

My final thoughts on both these are I personally don’t feel they are worth the money. I can tell you right now that the Surecom is COMPLETELY worthless the way it worked during my evaluation. Maybe I have one of the settings off but I don’t think I did. The Fumie is much more usable in the SIGINT world I think as long as you just stare at it the whole time. You definitely need a better higher antenna on the Fumie. They both feel like cheap toys to me also. They could easily be damaged in the field.

One final note. Where I work we use analog radios constantly. All day long for our whole shift with multiple crews and people using radios. I took both of these devices with me to work with me. I use work as a testing ground also. The Surecom acted exactly as described above. The Fumie would pick up my crews frequency but would not pickup other crews signals.

When it comes to testing scanners and monitoring equipment with analog radios I have a pretty good testing ground at my place of employment and I ALWAYS do my first tests there.

Where I go during my shift I get to test the monitoring equipment against DMR radios on UHF.

I hope this give you an idea of my evaluation environment.

These are my thoughts. If anyone has had different experiences with these let me know I would like to hear it.

8 thoughts on “Surecom SF401 Plus Frequency Counter VS. Fumei Frequency Counter

  1. I had the same issues with the sure com. Not quite as bad as yours I at least was able to pick up a radio in a small room. I didnt have to put it within three inches LOL 🙂 I believe sparks31 or Ticom recommends an optoelectronics. I haven’t been able to break down and spend the money they wont for one as they aren’t cheap. But I have a feeling you get what you pay for and that it would actually work. Unlike the Surecom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the info. I will check the Optoelectronics out. Word of advice. Read what Sparks writes but don’t give him any $$$ for anything. He has a bad habits of ripping people off. He also has a bad habit of starting blogs then deleting them and hiding from the people he ripped off then starting another one after he thinks people have forgotten. He ripped off my friend with his online magazine he never fulfilled

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s really sad that people in the Patriot community take advantage of others, it was such a big decision for me to decide to get into training and I can’t imagine taking advantage of a customer like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The surecom is really built for checking 2 way radio frequencies from “in the room” distances. So using it to surveil the electromagnetic spectrum is a little outside it’s design envelope. Though I have had luck using a similar Anysecu (Chinesium) unit paired with a directional antenna to locate signals a little farther out it’s still not a realistic tool for the task.

    The Alinco DJ-X11’s frequency counter works considerably better with the right antenna, and is still within a reasonable price range.

    This thing looks awesome and advertises a detection range of 1/4 mile. A directional antenna with some gain would extend that along with baking in the direction finding.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I made an inquiry to the folks at Optoelectronics about capabilities. I’m sure a directional antenna would at least maximize the range if not extend it, but you are not going to be picking up signals from a half a mile away. Here’s what they said:

    “All of our products are nearfield instruments so depending on the strength of the target signal the pickup distance varies. Have you used a frequency counter before? Typical pickup distance for the Scout and a 5 watt radio in a normal RF environment would be around 150 feet. For a 1 watt radio it is about 50 feet.
    […] Just want to make sure you know the distance limitations as compared to a regular radio receiver. ”

    Liked by 1 person

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