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Reviews Categories | Antennas: VHF/UHF+ Omnidirectional: verticals, mobile, etc | Radio Shack Discone Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack Discone
Radio Shack Discone Reviews: 43 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $59.99
Description: Item # 20-043
Our best! Omnidirectional, rugged stainless steel construction, wide 25-1300MHz receive coverage. Also for transmitting on 50, 144, 220, 440, 900 and 1296MHz Ham bands. Resonator and tunable whip for best 50MHz performance. About 44" high, overall. Fits mast up to 1" in diameter. Accepts PL-259 connector.
Product is in production.
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OBSERVER11 Rating: 1/5 Oct 22, 2003 11:28 Send this review to a friend
it is JUNK  Time owned: more than 12 months
it is JUNK ON A POLE. Yes, the discone is a good receiving antenna, and it will allow you to transmit on it too, but the RS antenna is so poorly made that it will not withstand outdoor installation for very long.

The elements are press fit onto studs, a weak link here.

The "6meter" portion is so narrow band that you will never get the SWR below 2:1 (ok, I know, this IS acceptable). The 6 meter portion was an afterthought since the skirt is too short for real 6 meter use.

I ended up taking it down and rebuilding with better hardware.
N4VNV Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2003 08:57 Send this review to a friend
It's great.....But  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the older model w/o six meter coverage on TX. It's been mounted in my attic for about 9 years. I've run 160 watts through it many, many times on 2M. It's never been a problem and does a better job than a 5/8 wave GP I had mounted outside. So, I love it! But come guys, putting up an o/s antenna without using a lock-tight type solution. You can't blame the antenna design for that.
WV2NY Rating: 4/5 Oct 22, 2003 06:45 Send this review to a friend
Need Work  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased this antenna. Their very simple to put together, one doesn't even need the directions. I got this antenna to use for 2/144/220 operations as well as double as an outdoor scanner antenna. While using it with 25 watts or less I received very good operating reports, but when I applied 50 watts to it, my reports went right down the tubes. This afternoon I went outside to get something from the garage and found one of the aerials lying on the ground after the windstorm from the night before. I must not have tightened one of the nuts very well, that's my fault. Next time I'll use locktight. Because of it's location it will be coming down next week and I'll be replacing it with something else before the winter winds start.

N9PEK Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2003 22:39 Send this review to a friend
Discone Skeptic Converted  Time owned: more than 12 months
Let's be practical here. You have $60 in your wallet. You need a quick and easy antenna solution on the cheap. You need to cover two bands (or more). Your rig pumps out 75 watts on VHF. You operate MARS so broadband is essential. What options do your have?

Whether running my Icom V-8000 VHF, or my dual-band portables, the RS Discone provides performance equal to or better than the Cushcraft Ringo it replaced for repeater use. On VHF FM simplex, the meter reading from regular stations was down no more than 3-5dB from the Ringo. Under normal conditions, I routinely work a VHF repeater located 43 miles away with full quieting using 10 watts. This from a low-buck, multi-band, zero-gain antenna mounted on 20' of el cheapo mast, bracketed to the eve of the house. SWR on 2m and .70cm is under 1.4 across both VHF and UHF bands.

I gave it a 5 because it offers an oustanding value. Show me something with more bang for the buck, and I'll buy it. It's not a 13B2 boomer, nor does it pretend to be one. It is a multi-band, broadband, unity gain, economical antenna solution with minimal wind loading, a multitude of mounting options, and with 5 minutes and a cordless drill/driver, it's down and ready for field-day operations.

Yes, the hollow elements are less substantial than I'd like to see. Nevertheless, during the warranty period, a quick trip to RS down the street, and I come home with a whole new antenna. No shipping. No down-time. No hassles.

After a year of using discone number one, I purchased a second discone for project use. The first discone was holding up so well, I simply left it up and used the apex/feedpoint of the new discone for my project antenna. (Project is a discone variant without 6m coverage, but providing 3dB gain on VHF and unity gain on other bands.)

It is a miracle antenna? Not really. Does it deliver on it's promises? In spades! If you have the budget and mounting options for a collinear stick or a Yagi and rotator, by all means do it. If not, you could do a lot worse than Radio Shack's discone. Besides, if you don't like it, you can always return it for a refund. Such a deal!

Happy hamming.

W8OB Rating: 4/5 Apr 23, 2003 07:17 Send this review to a friend
good for what it is  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had one of these antenna's up for about 4-5 years now. Assembly is a no-brainer and uses a excellant mast mount clamp system. Most of the hour install time was due to the touchy tuning of the loading coil for 50 mhz transmit, but once set its pretty stable. Operation on all the ham freq's its designed for is pretty good, it is not a super gain antenna but then again its not designed to be. I had no problem accessing distance repeaters when I used it on 2m and 440.
Mine has been installed at 40 feet and gone through some nasty wind storms and has been the perching ground for several larger birds and it still looks like it came from the box nice and shiny yet. I have had no problems with the aluminum rods breaking. The only thing keeping this from getting a 5 rating is I think its overpriced for what it is. Using the antenna for scanning it works excellant and I am able to receive public service transmissions from several counties and occasionally some from the other side of the state.
KC0ORP Rating: 2/5 Apr 22, 2003 23:44 Send this review to a friend
Buy it used. OK Scanner Reciever  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This antenna should be bought used, if possible.
The radials will bend or break with the slightest shock, leaving you with a bad radiation pattern.

Good general recieve, but no gain, as noted, on xmit. Best performance was noted on 70 cm, suprisingly.

Even my RS magmounts work better on xmit.

K6TKO Rating: 4/5 Feb 15, 2003 11:30 Send this review to a friend
Good  Time owned: more than 12 months
This antenna has been on my roof for about 3 years and works well as it was designed to.No gain, full vhf/uhf coverage. It tx's fine on these ham bands. No gain=no gain. no broken promises.
After 3 years the hardware is in almost new condition here in sunny califonia.
AB0UK Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2003 23:12 Send this review to a friend
A Good Antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
My Radio Shack discone antenna has been up over 12 months and not a hint of trouble. It has done everything I wanted. It is used for 2 meters and 70 centimeters. VSWR is about 1.5:1 on both bands and easily handles 50 watts. Normally I run about 10 watts. It easily hits repeaters 20 miles away. Three rigs have been connected to it and it has never missed a beat. I wish other equipment that I have or had including antennas we as trouble free as this antenna.


Jim, AB0UK
W4TME Rating: 3/5 Feb 13, 2003 18:26 Send this review to a friend
It is what it is....  Time owned: more than 12 months
Letís remember that this is primarily a scanner (receiving) antenna. This was my first "real" antenna I bought in my pre-Technician days to listen to local traffic on my scanner. I found the construction of the antenna to be of average quality (hollow radials, crimped on connectors, etc.) and the documentation adequate. For use with a scanner, it did real well with the exception of the radials breaking off (large birds kept perching on my radials). The effect I saw from "radial drop" was a change in the antenna's impedance.

Once I earned my Technician ticket, I used this antenna as my first 2m transmitting antenna. I got a VHF/UHF tuner to help with the SWR issues. worked, but the efficiency was lousy. I now know that using a broadband antenna; you are going to have to live with a lot of compromises. I hurriedly replaced it with a Force12 Ruby270 for my 2M & 70 cm rig. I moved the discone antenna to my attic and use it exclusively with my scanner. This solved my bird induced "radial drop" problem. If you use this antenna for its intended purpose and don't have any weather or wildlife related issues, it will do a good job for you. I agree with the previous reviewer, that for approximately the same money, the Diamond discone is much better built and probably a better value in the long run.

N9FG Rating: 2/5 Feb 13, 2003 13:12 Send this review to a friend
It's falling apart....  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I put the discone 3 feet out on the side of a tower, about 30 feet in the air. I fed it with Belden 9913F. However, it's been up there for about 9 months now, and is starting to fall apart.

The antenna does a fair job on receiving VHF/UHF signals. (Don't expect too much from this antenna given it's broadband nature and lack of any gain.) Anyway, it is able to reliably copy VHF/UHF signals up to 50 miles away.

The main problem with the antenna began this winter. The radial tubes are crimped onto stainless steel screws which screw into the radial mount. The hazards of winter (icing, wind, etc.) have caused 3 of the radials to break-off at the crimp--leaving the screw still in it's mount. [I've inspected the radials and have found that they were not able to withstand the stress of icing/wind and subsequently started to fail at the weakest point of the crimp.]

I can't detect any degredation in performance with 3 less radials, but suspect it will drop
drastically as I begin to find more stuck in the ground below the tower....

I bought a new Diamond D-130 discone at a recent hamfest. The Diamond has solid radial rods that slide into the radial mount. They are not hollow like the Radio Shack Discone--have no crimp,are nice and heavy, and mount with two allen hex screws on each radial. Considering the D-130 was the same price as the Radio Shack, it is a much better buy.... Now I'll have to wait for spring to switch antennas.
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