When I did the communications upgrades to my truck, I was originally going to order the antennas and mounts from Tessco, but I found that The Antenna Farm in Montana had the best price on the IC-F5061, and also carried the antennas and mounts. I must first say that there was a notice on the Antenna Farm web site that they had moved to a new location a few days before I placed my order. I waited to place my order until the web site stated that things were shipping normally.
When I placed my order, I added in the “notes” field that I would like tracking numbers sent to me as soon as they were available, as I had requested UPS shipping. I received an initial order confirmation. After waiting a few days, I had received neither a confirmation that my card was charged nor a tracking number. The order status on their web site was still listed as “processing”. I called back four days after placing my order, and it took five calls over two days to get anything other than an answering machine. When I finally got through to John (the owner and, as far as I can tell, sole employee), the voice quality of their phone line was so poor I could hardly communicate. I got enough of his end of the conversation to understand that I should email him, which I did (for the second or third time). In the email, I stated that I was having the equipment installed, so I really needed to know when it would arrive in order to schedule an installation.
I placed the order early on a Monday morning. After numerous attempts to make contact, and no change in the “processing” status on the web site, I finally got an email back on Thursday afternoon stating that some of the antenna mounts were out of stock, and part of the order would be drop shipped from the distributor, and should be there the next day. Still no mention of a tracking number, which I had requested numerous times. I’ve done quite a bit of selling on Ebay, and know how easy it is to provide a customer with this information. He also stated that the high frequency antenna mount for the WiFI antenna was out of stock at the distributor as well, so he had them make up a more expensive one at no extra cost.
The drop ship box arrived the next day, Friday. It contained the two antennas (I ordered the WiFi antenna directly from L-Com) and two antenna mounts – *one* of the Antenex MB8X’s, and the high frequency mount for the WiFi antenna. The WiFi NMO mount was definitelty not the one I ordered. I know John incurred extra cost in having them custom add a connector, but it didn’t look like any NMO mount I had ever seen (it appeared to accept a pin in the center, as opposed to having a flat disc to make contact).
The next week, on Tuesday, the Icom radio arrived. It was as ordered, but the second Antenex MB8X was nowhere to be found. I did finally receive a tracking number about 24 hours prior to delivery.
Two weeks after I placed my order (with three day UPS shipping), Ken managed to fit me in early in the morning. I told him about the missing third antenna mount, and he agreed to use one from his stock. Much to my dismay, when he dropped off the truck, I learned that *neither* of the antenna mounts that arrived were true NMO mounts, and thus they were both useless.
Overall, I’m horribly disappointed with The Antenna Farm. The lack of communication is appalling, regardless of whether they’re having telephone problems or not (and I find it hard to believe that this guy doesn’t have a cell phone, or can’t setup something VoIP-based). The online feedback on order status is nonexistent, and I might as well have had it shipped USPS, because I only got one tracking number and that was a mere day before delivery. One of three antenna mounts was never received (though John did refund me the cost) and the other two were not as specified. He clearly has no idea how to deal with someone who actually has a timeframe – perhaps normal for someone who does most of his business with hams and not public safety (I guess that’s my fault for choosing a bad vendor). When he found out that there would be delays in fulfilling my order, John should have contacted me and asked me how I wanted to proceed. The bulk of my order was drop shipped from Tessco, who I’ve done business with before and would have been more than happy to order direct from.
The programming kit for the F5061 that I ordered from The Antenna Farm, which was listed as “you buy the cable, we throw in the software”, arrived as a loose cable in the radio box and a home-burned CD, without even any writing on it to say what it was, with a simple zip file of the installer. I don’t know what Icom’s licensing agreement is, but I doubt they’d be happy about this, as the software isn’t available on their web site.
To top it all off, I was told by my installer that he stopped buying from The Antenna Farm a few years ago due to endless problems.