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Scout 40
Automatic frequency counter

Scout is an automatic frequency counter for frequencies between 10 and 1400 MHz, developed and marketed by Optoelectronic, Inc. in Boca Raton (Florida, USA). The device automatically locks to a near-field signal that is 15 dB stronger than the current noise level and stores it in memory. The current Scout 40 is based on the original design of the Scout that was released in 1991.
 
The device measures just 85 x 66 x 30 mm and weight 250 grams. It is powered by internal rechargable NiCd batteries that can be charged with an external 9 - 12V DC power source.

Despite the limited number of controls, it has many features such as optical indicator, acoustic indicator, vibrator, variable gate timing, 400 memory positions, etc. It also features reaction tuning, allowing an AOR-8000 or ICOM CI-5 compatible receiver to be tuned automatically to the frequency detected by the Scout, using a serial data cable connected to the data socket.
  
Optoelectronics Scout 40

The first Scout model was developed in 1991 and was covered by US Patent 5,471,402 [1]. It can be used to measure frequencies manually, but can also detect intermittend transmissions in the vicinity of the device, and register their frequencies automatically in its 400 position memory. In addition, it has a built-in 16-segment field strength indicator, that can be used as a bug tracer.

The device and its firmware have been improved and enhanced several times over the years, but the exterior has remained the same. The device is still available today (2017) as the Scout 40. The device is well built and provides many hours of trouble-free operation on a single battery charge.
 
Optoelectronics Scout 40 Scout 40 control panel Optoelectronics Scout 40 Using the Scout 40 with an ICOM IC-R10 receiver Using the Scout 40 with an AOR AR-8000 receiver Scout 40 with antenna
Features
  • 400 memory positions
  • Records up to 255 hits per memory position
  • Automatic hit recording
  • Digital auto-filter and auto-capture
  • Custom LCD display
  • 16-segment bargraph signal strength indicator
  • Acoustic feedback
  • Vibrator feedback
  • Internal rechargable NiCd batteries
  • Download memory into PC
  • Reaction Tuning (with selected receivers)
Operation
Despite the fact that the Scout 40 has only three slide switches and one push-button, it is packed with features, most of which can be difficult to grasp, despite the clear text printed on the front panel. Without access to the original instructions, some features may never be found.


The function of the switches during normal operation are shown in black. The function of the switches during the start-up phase of the device are shown in blue. Finally, the function of the push-button when switching the device OFF, are shown in red. This is further explained below.
 
Power up modes
The Scout 40 has several methods of warning the operator when a valid signal is detected. The position of the switches and the button when switching it ON, determine the mode of operation. In addition, the position of the second slide switch when switching ON, determines whether the backlight of the LCD display will be enabled or not. It is automatically disabled when not needed.



 
Communication mode
The unit support the ICOM CI-5 and the AOR AR-8000 communications protocol. The last selected protocol is always remembered when the device is switched OFF. Sliding down the third slide switch immediately after turning the unit ON, selects the alternative protocol:



 
Operation
Once the unit has been switched ON, the buttons have the following functions:



 
Reaction tuning
The Scout has a serial interface that is available on the 2.5 mm jack socket at the top. This interface can be used for the reaction tuning feature, and allows a supported receiver to be tuned directly to the captured frequency. Scout has two protocols for this: CI-5 and AR-8000.
 
CI-5 protocol
  • IC-R10
    ICOM
  • IC-R7000
    ICOM
  • IC-R7100
    ICOM
  • IC-R8500
    ICOM
  • IC-R9000
    ICOM
  • IC-R9500
    ICOM
  • PRO-2005/2006
    Radio Shack 1
  • PRO-2035/2042
    Radio Shack 2
  • R11
    Optoelectronics
  • ProCom
    Optoelectronics
  1. With OS-456/Lite installed.
  2. With OS-535 installed.

AR-8000 protocol
  • AR-8000 1
  • AR-8200
  1. With optional SAC-8000 cable.

Specifications
  • Frequency
    10 MHz - 1.4 GHz
  • Impedance
    50Ω
  • Sensitivity
    < 5mV at 300 - 900 MHz
  • Max. input
    +15dBm, 50 mW
  • Display
    10-digit custom LCD
  • Timebase
    10 MHz (± 1ppm)
  • RF strength
    16 segments (approx. 3dB per segment)
  • Battery
    4-cell AA 650 mAh NiCd, 6 hour life
  • Power
    9 - 12V DC, 250 mA
Documentation
  1. Scout User Manual
    Optoelectronics, Inc. 2008.

References
  1. William P. Owen, U.S. Patent 5,471,402
    31 May 1991, published 28 November 1995.

Further information

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Crypto Museum. Created: Saturday 20 May 2017. Last changed: Sunday, 21 May 2017 - 19:17 CET.
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