To discone or not to discone...

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Lex_Michderxtx
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To discone or not to discone...

Post by Lex_Michderxtx »

I had an itch that I finally scratched and bought an SDR Play RSPdx (1kHz-2GHz, 1kHz-2GHz with bias-t and 1kHz-200MHz BNC) as an addition to the "shack". For the most part because I really liked the SDRUno software and it is just that little extra step beyond the regular RTL-SDR dongle.

Now I'm running this on a Diamond D130J which has a top of 1300MHz. Because I also have a Uniden SDS200E and I don't like pulling plugs all the time, I was thinking of getting an extra antenna that has just a little more range at the top; the Diamond D3000N (25-3000MHz).

You know what happens when you scratch itches, your eczema starts to flare up and you end up with all kinds of choices in ointments. Here in the Netherlands the scanner enthusiasts are spreading the rumors that I shouldn't bother with a discone and should just install a Diamond X50 or X6000 or something in between. It'll cover the same bands, just better (?) they tell me...

Why would Diamond bother making a special antenna if there's already something better? What would you guys recommend? Already on the roof (or somewhere in a box ready to be placed there in the future...): MLA30+ loop (0.5-30MHz), Sirio SD27 (26-28MHz), Diamond D130J (25-1300MHz) and an ADSB1090 Flightaware antenna. The Diamond D3000N (or X6000 if you really insist) wouldn't replace anything, it'll just be an extra antenna added to the mast. Thank you for your time!
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Andy
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Re: To discone or not to discone...

Post by Andy »

It's always a problem. After years of having a mast full of dedicated antennas, I had to slim things down. I re-arranged things so I could use my x-30 dual band amateur antenna on my receivers (including an RSP Duo) and was amazed at just how well it performed on the PMR bands. As for the world above 1GHz, it's tempting but pretty boring. There's an amateur band 1240 to 1300 MHz that occasionally wakes up with analogue ssb and FM, but 99% of the time it sits there almost empty. I haven't tried the x-30 on the band yet, as I've kept the old Comet yagi on the mast. I also put up a DAB dipole for listening to the Brazilian pirates who use the old analogue MilSats around 250 MHz. I can't understand a word, but it satisfied an itch just to receive them.
One of my latest eczema-baiting bands is 5.8 GHz, where there is occasional drone video activity. I saw one the other day going over the hills toward Huddersfield in Yorkshire, which is over the Pennines from here, and a few months ago I saw some excellent video from the Emley Moor area, also over the Pennines.
The things we do to keep our itches scratched is quite sad really, but I suppose it keeps us out of the pub.
BTW I've had two discones and wasn't particularly impressed with either of them. Sure they work passably well over a wide frequency range but mine didn't work as well as my old antennas at any frequency.
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Lex_Michderxtx
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Re: To discone or not to discone...

Post by Lex_Michderxtx »

where there is occasional drone video activity
Now you've gone and done it... This one is going to linger longer than I can stand it I'm afraid. Digressing!

So that's another nail in the coffin for the discone-boys. I never tried one of these Diamond Xs before. I did have a Sirio 827 up there a while ago, but got scared when it started to wiggle a bit much during a proper storm. I really enjoyed that thing, because it also got pretty good reception in the 4-7MHz range and it performed amazing when receiving DX. Wish I had a pair of hairy balls big enough to keep that up there. But that gives me confidence that an X6000 will not disappoint on the same frequencies as the discone.

And you are making a good point on the performance on PMR bands. I didn't really think about it, but what good is an antenna if it has all bands, but does them all below average. So that's again another nail. I already have a discone I can use to explore the big picture a little, no use in putting up another one of the same category. Why not pinpoint those other bands a little better. I think you may have made the most important point right there.

Now to digress again and spread some more rash; have you tried 'rtl_433' on Linux with an SDR yet? I get all kinds of domotics and TPMS in my neighborhood, blew my mind how much info people were screaming out from their devices. I also ordered an L-Band patch antenna from RTLSDR (1525-1660MHz) to receive Inmarsat and Iridium comms. Saw that on Youtube and couldn't control my urges. Price of copper wire has gone up again when I'm done with this. 250MHz and 5.8GHz added to the list...
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Lex_Michderxtx
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Re: To discone or not to discone...

Post by Lex_Michderxtx »

No one else has anything to add on the question if it is better to have a discone or not? Any comparisons perhaps?
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Re: To discone or not to discone...

Post by Lex_Michderxtx »

I'm an impatient man. I ordered an X50N to add to the mast, not a second discone or an X6000. The 23cm band wasn't worth 65 euros extra, especially when the 23cm band has almost no use in vertical position when just trying to RX. I also am going to upgrade the cable on the Diamond D130 to a proper Ecoflex 15+ so I'm not losing the higher stuff on the way down. Thanks for playing.
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Re: To discone or not to discone...

Post by ch25 »

X50 is OK unless you will listen outside amateur bands. It's just deaf.
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Re: To discone or not to discone...

Post by Lex_Michderxtx »

With my RSPdx I am able to test the X50 and D130 side by side, makes for a fun experiment. I ordered a few more cables so I can upgrade to more antenna's in the future. This way I can get an antenna for the band that sounds interesting on the discone at first.

You can never have too many antennas right? Stay clean!
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