Are All Discones The Same ?

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BYPASS999

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Im looking to install a outdoor antenna, Ive looked at these 3.

Scanner Master WBD-40

Radio Shack 20-043

Diamond D130 J

They all look the same. Are they ? Big price differance. And are they any good ?.

Any feedback would be great, Thanks.
 

hydrolocked

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all 3 will be widebanded and not have much (if any) gain. I've used the R$ antenna with some sucess - it's better than nothing.
 

Turbo68

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I use 3 Icom-AH7000 with excellent results on vhf/uhf but u do pay a lot more for this antenna but u get 50 feet of thick low loss cable and 2 N type connectors & also have other discones Comet-DS3000/Diamond-D130/Diamond-D150 and they are all at the same height with Belden-9913 low loss cable but they do not even come close to the Icom when it comes to performance.

Regards Lino.
ALINCO-DJX2000
AOR-3000/AOR-3000A/AOR-8200MK3
ETON-E5 HF PORTABLE
GRE-PSR500
ICOM-R3/ICOM-R5/ICOM-R20/ICOM-PCR1000/ICOM-PCR1500/ICOM-R2500/ICOM-R9500/ICOM-92AD D-STAR
JRC NRD-545
RADIO SHACK-PRO97
REALISTIC-PRO2035
UNIDEN-245/UNIDEN-396/UNIDEN-780/UNIDEN-396
YAESU-VX7R/YAESU-FT8800R/YAESU-VR500/YAESU-VR5000
 

N1SQB

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Diamond D 130J

I helped a friend of mine install one about 8 years ago on his top of his house. It is coming down this year because he is getting married and moving out of the area. The antenna has been trouble free and has all its radials in tact, despite him living near the windy shoreline. On the other hand, I have used a ratshack version and well, lets just say I will never buy another antenna from them again. Very cheap construction in comparison to the Diamond.

Manny
 

BYPASS999

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I can understand that one may be better built than another, But if they all have the same dimensions how can one receive better than the others ? Im still learning here, Thanks.
 

N1SQB

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I can understand that one may be better built than another, But if they all have the same dimensions how can one receive better than the others ? Im still learning here, Thanks.
Antennas are not an exact science altogether. Yes, build has a LOT to do with reception but that is not the only thing. You can get 2 exact same antennas with the same coax and everything and still have different results. Different locations can produce different results too. I experienced this with a few antennas I was putting up in my previous home. On the right side of the roof the reception was awful. on the left side of the house, where there were no power lines,trees, for example, the reception was much better. Now if I had 2 separate brand discone antennas I was putting up, it would appear that one was better than the other although both are designed the same. Get my point? there are many variables.

Manny
 

BYPASS999

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Very interesting. So two antennas that look the same, on the same mast, with the same coax can perform differant. I never knew that, Thank you. Now i just have to figure out if a discone is the right antenna for my needs. I listen to all the bands. 100s 400s and 800s mainly. Theres more to picking out a antenns than i thought. But one thing i do know is SAFTY FIRST.
 

scansomd

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I will second this opinion. I have owned the Rat Shack Discone and (now) the Diamond Discone. Spend a few extra $$ and get the Diamond. It is hands down a better quality product than the Rat Shack. If, on the other hand, you intend for the antenna to live out its life in the attic, away from the elements, the Rat Shack antenna should work just fine.


I helped a friend of mine install one about 8 years ago on his top of his house. It is coming down this year because he is getting married and moving out of the area. The antenna has been trouble free and has all its radials in tact, despite him living near the windy shoreline. On the other hand, I have used a ratshack version and well, lets just say I will never buy another antenna from them again. Very cheap construction in comparison to the Diamond.

Manny
 

WayneH

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I've been doing some research lately on discones and most of the ones out there - mentioned above - are going to perform about the same. The number of skirt elements is the same - you want as many as possible - but outside of that the construction is basically the same. Also, the cable that comes with the Icom is over-hyped. I wouldn't use it for anything over 10', anything above UHF is going to suffer unless you use decent thick conductor stuff. I believe a lot of problems people have with 800MHz and up is because of their setup and not necessarily the antenna. Also, go for one with an N connector. N connectors have shown better performance starting around UHF and definitely at higher frequencies. You won't find PL-259/SO-239 connectors on commercial 800/900 gear.

Unless you don't want to spend the money (Thousands) on the built to last discones like Kreco, Antennas Systems or Sirio just pick what you get the best deal on and put the money toward quality coax (LMR-400 or better).
 

scansomd

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I've been doing some research lately on discones and most of the ones out there - mentioned above - are going to perform about the same. The number of skirt elements is the same - you want as many as possible - but outside of that the construction is basically the same.
Greetings Wayne.

I may agree with you on the performance - but not with regards to the construction. The Rat Shack Discone is not even close to the same quality of construction as compared to the Diamond antenna.
 

N1SQB

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I concur!

While contruction is not going to get you better performance in and of itself, the rat shack discone is short of being called scrap aluminum. If you hold a D130 J and a radio shack model, you WILL feel a difference. I do agree that a good antenna with cheap coax is worthless. It's like getting a brand new car and puting old used tires on it. I have always been a fan of LMR cable. Particularly, the LMR 400 UF (Ultra Flexible).
Put 50 feeet or so of that with an N connector on a Diamond D130J on top of your roof or a pole and you have one hell of a set up.

Manny
 

Hooligan

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Keep in mind that by nature, a discone is going to be broad-banded & omni-directional, but not really have any dB gain to it. It's a good 'starter' antenna, but it is important to use very low-loss coax & ideally get the version with an 'N' connector.

Ideally, you'll have a general-purpose scanner scanning all over the VHF & UHF spectrum using the discone, but then you'll have a directional antenna like a log-periodic or yagi, or an omnidirectional antenna with some gain to it hooked up to a communications receiver that you can use for monitoring distant/weak stuff.

Also keep in mind when you see people raving about how great a discone is that it might be the first time they've had a 'base' antenna on the roof of their home, so of course it's going to be "great" compared to something just sticking out of the back of the radio, inside a home, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a discone is the best choice of base antenna.


Tim
 

BYPASS999

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I want to thank everyone for responding. After reading all your replys ive reconsidered. After spending over $ 500 to update my scanner to a BCD 996 T and runing LMR 400, up to my mast, i think id be crazy to top it off with a discone. So now im looking at the DPD 118-1000 LP. If i face the back to the west, where there is nothing to hear anyway, i think ill do ok. as long as it picks up from 8 o'clock to 4 o'clock. I very rich man once told me " I dont mind spending my money, as long as i only have to spend it once" If i go with the discone i think ill always wish i had spent the extra $80. I think you guys saved me from doing a stupid thing. Thanks.
 

WayneH

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Just to follow-up, I meant construction along the lines as they are designed and not necessarily material used, which you've all been correct about. Sorry for the confusion.
 

Hooligan

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So now im looking at the DPD 118-1000 LP. If i face the back to the west, where there is nothing to hear anyway, i think ill do ok. as long as it picks up from 8 o'clock to 4 o'clock. I very rich man once told me " I dont mind spending my money, as long as i only have to spend it once" If i go with the discone i think ill always wish i had spent the extra $80. I think you guys saved me from doing a stupid thing. Thanks.

I'd go with the Create Industries RLPA that Wayne mentioned & not the DPD product.

Two reasons:

1. I've had & used the Create Industries model in the past, so I have first-hand experience with it.
2. The DPD business web page was absolutely HORRIBLE last time I looked at it (which was about 3 or 4 months ago). It made a lot of claims without backing them up with specifications. I'd be happy to rant on it if someone wants to make a separate post.


It's not necessarily a stupid thing to have a discone antenna, it just depends on the resources (radios, roof-top space & attitude of family/neighbors/landlord).

Back when I had that Create Industries rotatable log periodic antenna antenna up, it was hooked up to an Icom R-7100 communications receiver, which was a great radio, but not a great 'scanner.' So I also had a good discone antenna up on the roof, & that was hooked up to a great scanner.

The scanner/discone setup was used for general purpose scanning & searching, while the R-7100 & RLPA were used for targeting certain locations/frequencies & minor RDF'ing. Using about 30' of Belden 9913 coax, late at night with the RLPA pointed in the right direction, I could hear analog cellular towers located around 35 air-miles away, 200 milliwatt VHF 'body-bugs' located about 2 miles away, & some TV & FM broadcast stations 150+ miles away (further of course during ducting/skip).

I realize that right now, you just have one scanner --and a very good one it is-- it'll work fine for most local stuff no matter what direction the antenna is pointed in, but there will also be some weak to moderate signals that you could hear with a discone but will miss with the RLPA because it'll be pointed the wrong way, and you can't constantly be swinging it around back & forth like it's a RADAR antenna.

So please do look into the Create Industries RLPAs, and while an RLPA will be a great antenna for you, they're best employed in conjunction with a good omnidirectional antenna, unless you live on the moon & just want to pick up stuff from Earth (or vice versa).


Hoolie
 

prcguy

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I have not used any DPD products, so I can't comment on those. I have use CREATE log periodic antennas and can say you are much better off getting a log periodic from KMA antennas, The gain specs are so inflated on the CREATE antennas I'm surprised they don't float off your roof. The KMA Rover covers 88-1300MHz with about 3dB more gain (twice the boom length) than the 105-1300MHz CREATE and it cost less. The KMA 4113 covers 41-1300MHz compared to the CREATE 50-1300MHz version and again the boom length and element count is more on the KMA. When installing the larger KMA antenna on my roof I accidentally dropped it from about 35ft and it just bounced without sustaining any damage. A CREATE would have exploded with all those plastic element insulators. I personally have a KMA Rover mounted above a KMA 4113 on my tower for the last 12 years and they just keep on working, no plastic insulators to crack and weaken from baking in the sun. Like DPD products, KMA antennas are designed and built in the US.
prcguy
I'd go with the Create Industries RLPA that Wayne mentioned & not the DPD product.

Two reasons:

1. I've had & used the Create Industries model in the past, so I have first-hand experience with it.
2. The DPD business web page was absolutely HORRIBLE last time I looked at it (which was about 3 or 4 months ago). It made a lot of claims without backing them up with specifications. I'd be happy to rant on it if someone wants to make a separate post.


It's not necessarily a stupid thing to have a discone antenna, it just depends on the resources (radios, roof-top space & attitude of family/neighbors/landlord).

Back when I had that Create Industries rotatable log periodic antenna antenna up, it was hooked up to an Icom R-7100 communications receiver, which was a great radio, but not a great 'scanner.' So I also had a good discone antenna up on the roof, & that was hooked up to a great scanner.

The scanner/discone setup was used for general purpose scanning & searching, while the R-7100 & RLPA were used for targeting certain locations/frequencies & minor RDF'ing. Using about 30' of Belden 9913 coax, late at night with the RLPA pointed in the right direction, I could hear analog cellular towers located around 35 air-miles away, 200 milliwatt VHF 'body-bugs' located about 2 miles away, & some TV & FM broadcast stations 150+ miles away (further of course during ducting/skip).

I realize that right now, you just have one scanner --and a very good one it is-- it'll work fine for most local stuff no matter what direction the antenna is pointed in, but there will also be some weak to moderate signals that you could hear with a discone but will miss with the RLPA because it'll be pointed the wrong way, and you can't constantly be swinging it around back & forth like it's a RADAR antenna.

So please do look into the Create Industries RLPAs, and while an RLPA will be a great antenna for you, they're best employed in conjunction with a good omnidirectional antenna, unless you live on the moon & just want to pick up stuff from Earth (or vice versa).


Hoolie
 

WayneH

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The gain specs are so inflated on the CREATE antennas I'm surprised they don't float off your roof. The KMA Rover covers 88-1300MHz with about 3dB more gain (twice the boom length) than the 105-1300MHz CREATE and it cost less. The KMA 4113 covers 41-1300MHz compared to the CREATE 50-1300MHz version and again the boom length and element count is more on the KMA.
Link Looks interesting. I'll have to check it out.
 

Grog

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The gain specs are so inflated on the CREATE antennas I'm surprised they don't float off your roof.

I'll have to remember that quote the next time someone talks about how much better the comet/diamond/other ham brand antennas are than a larsen/antennex/maxrad antenna of similar construction :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
 
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