Portable(ish) discone antenna?

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Kazzaw
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Location: South West/East QLD

Portable(ish) discone antenna?

Post by Kazzaw »

Hi all,

I'm toying with the idea of getting a portable discone antenna setup for scanning (or network mapping) in certain areas... I have a few questions as want to make sure what im running through my head will function in reality

I was going to buy a discone antenna ($1-200), and work out some way to mount it onto a 6m aluminium flag pole (i likely won't use at 6m, but would be nice if it could). From there, I would like to split the signal to all my SDRs/scanners (all my receivers are SMA female connectors).

Any ideas if this will work, and if so what I could use to split my signal between 3-6 radio receivers? Setup will be RX only

Thanks
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X-Firey
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Location: Melbourne S/E

Re: Portable(ish) discone antenna?

Post by X-Firey »

I don't see why it won't work. Experimenting is part of the fun of the hobby.

The mounting hardware that would come with the discone would probably be suitable for attaching it to the mast/pole.
As for splitting the signal between multiple radios you could look at TV splitters or VHF/UHF distribution amplifiers to over come any loss. You can purchase these items at Bunnings, splitters $15 - 20 and 8 port distribution amp $80 - 90.
These amps work quite well and are not as expensive as other brands, Stridsberg and the like.
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railscan
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Re: Portable(ish) discone antenna?

Post by railscan »

Some advice from experience. Most discones on the market today are not discones in the true sense of the design. The original discone was designed during WW2 to enable ground to talk to aircraft aloft using the VHF airband and the new UHF airband. The discones bandwidth of 100-300 MHz was ideal for this.

Now into modern times. A lot of the commercial products today have an added vertical whip atop the disc. Some say to lower the frequency response to 50 MHz, others suggest it is to transmit on the 2M and 7CM ham bands. Neither frankly hold water. The bottom line is once you alter or modify the discone from its original design it ceases to be a discone instead becoming some sort of dipole.

Apart from the fact the discone is a cumbersome design and not ideal for mobile/field work, it really is not the best for scanning in the higher bands, yes it will work but then so will a coat hanger and it will be a lot cheaper besides.

My suggestion is to look at the bands you will be scanning the most. In Australia it tends to be the VHF highband and UHF bands. So either go for a dual band antenna of some description or a series of band specific dipoles that can be swapped easily.

My $2.50 worth...
Vkfour
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Re: Portable(ish) discone antenna?

Post by Vkfour »

Good suggestion railscan.
Kazzaw
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:31 pm
Location: South West/East QLD

Re: Portable(ish) discone antenna?

Post by Kazzaw »

Thanks for the suggestion

I currently use a bunch of Nagoya antennas, so maybe it's easier to stick a bunch of them up a 6m pole with some variant of 3D printed attachment.

I did wonder whether the discones sold online do have any benefit or improvement for receiving, but I'd say my current issue is just getting the height.
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