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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: 45 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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K4FMH Rating: 4/5 Feb 5, 2018 14:37 Send this review to a friend
Good solid Rx for VHF/UFH  Time owned: more than 12 months
I picked up this discone, my first, when Radio Shack was having a local liquidation sale. Got it for $16. I had purchased a Uniden BCD996XT scanner and wanted to get something to work well with that receiver as well as some SDRs that go up to >1gHz.

After reading a bit, I bought a Winegard HDTV preamplifier for $ covers 800 mhz which is the frequency range for my state's new integrated government system. Discones generally don't have much gain associated with their design.

I installed the preamp just below the RS Discone in my attice with a 2x4 pigtail screwed into a vertical brace. It's about 30' off the ground but under a foil-backed radiator shield.

After using it a month or so, I bought a Stridsberg V/UHF active multicoupler to feed this antenna up to four receivers. It's been a very good system for my ham shack. Can't beat the price for the RS discone on liquidation sale!!
VA7XQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2018 13:52 Send this review to a friend
It keeps on truckin'  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this RadShack discone mounted on my roof (approx 30' off the ground) for 17 years (!) and haven't touched it since. I have always had great receive coverage with it.

I just started using it to transmit on 2m with my new all band FT-991A. Last night I hit a repeater just east of Seattle from my QTH just east of Vancouver, BC. 150 miles with report of fully readable voice. The guy I was having the QSO with thought I was using some super beam.

I guess I'll leave it there for another 17 years and post another review in 2035.
N4YX Rating: 4/5 Mar 30, 2017 14:28 Send this review to a friend
Bought a 2nd  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had one for over 20 years and another for nearly 5 years. Let's face it ... it's a RS Discone! However, very good usage and performance for a modestly priced no gain antenna. This antenna can't be manhandled during assembly however. Elements are pretty easily damaged but once it's in the air surprisingly durable. Performance is really lacking on 6m. Reminder ... it's a Discone!
K4GHL Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2015 08:44 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had one of these since I was first licensed over 7 years ago. Mine is about 30 ft up a 40ft tower, and from my home I can regularly talk on the Ft. Jackson SC repeater in the mornings and evenings with it. I also can hit a repeater in eastern Tenn during the same time frame. Base unit is an FT-897 stock. I HIGHLY recommend this antenna for anyone. I do suggest loctite on the threads though. I've used it on 6, 2, 70cm without issues since day one!!
MDNITERDER Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2012 08:54 Send this review to a friend
Great Bang For the Buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this antenna for over 8+ years, I have had this mounted on a 25ft mast on top of my roof for several 3+ years, when I took it down and moved I made a PVC base for portable use and I have disassembled and reassembled this antenna over 100+ times

I have had no issues, even on a simple PVC mount 6ft of the ground I get decent reception for being 6ft of the ground

I agree the radials should be solid but I'm not worried about it. I feel I am capable of replacing them if I need to with solid stainless rod.

I have had this thing disassembled all the way down to the main radial mount unbolted and torn down.

I would buy another one for portable and one for a permanent mount on my roof.
W9LGH Rating: 4/5 Sep 15, 2011 20:42 Send this review to a friend
Good multiband VHF antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted a cost effective multiband VHF base antenna for the 6, 2 and 3/4 meter ham bands. As shipped, the unit resonates at around 127 MHz, so you have to trim the vertical radiator to get it up to 50.0 MHz. I straigntened out a old used coat hanger at first to get the correct wire length. That way I wouldn't regret cutting off too much length and over shooting the band with the actual element supplied. Soft steel also cuts easier than stainless. As shipped, the vertical element is approxmately 27 inches long. I had to trim off about 3 inched to get it to tune the 6 meter band. Tuning was done with a MFJ 469 HF/VHF antenna alalyser. Original tuning was done inside the house, then went outside to check it out at about 3 feet high. I cut the stainless steel element supplied a little longer than the coat hanger previously used and then raised the antenna onto a 10 foot high mast. It resonated at about 49.5 MHz. Cut off another 1/4 inch of wire and got it up to 50.2 MHz with a VSWR of 1.1:1. Checked the tuning over the 2 meter and 3/4 meter bands and got VSMR readings of 1.5:1 or better on both bands. Used Threadlocker fluid on all screws and nuts to keep fittings dry and tight. One nice thing about this product is that it is supplied with a few extra screws washers and nuts, in case you drop or otherwise lose some. Nice touch and user friendly. This is a nice antenna for checking out your multiband VHF/UHF radios and is advertised to work up to 1300 MHz.
KE4SWC Rating: 5/5 Sep 5, 2011 16:04 Send this review to a friend
good value  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the antenna for 12+ years and it would still be going if I hadn't destroyed it moving. I had it up about 30' and it was awesome scanner antenna.

For 2m, I worked repeaters 60mi away on 10w with decent SWR. When I finish getting my station set back up, I may purchase another as a quick back-up antenna.

One of the few things Rat Shack still sells that is worth a crap for the amateur market.
N5VJA Rating: 4/5 Mar 3, 2010 05:38 Send this review to a friend
Four Hurricanes, One broken radial, Works Great!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Florida can be hard on an antenna. It has been through four hurricanes over the nine years that I've had it. One radial did break off but it still works Great on 2 meter and 440 and as a scanner antenna!
CLEBOT Rating: 5/5 Sep 19, 2008 08:43 Send this review to a friend
Radio Shack Discone - 1, Hurricane Ike - 0.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Chalk up another victory for my cheap Radio Shack discone! During the 8 year course of ownership of this antenna, it has survived tropical storms and hurricanes in Florida, blizzards and 'noreasters in Rhode Island and most recently my little discone acheived another victory; surviving a direct hit from Hurricane Ike. I live in Conroe, TX, which saw the eye of Ike pass overhead. We only just now got power restored (7 days after landfall).
The antenna performed flawlessly. I used it to listen to local hams, SKYWARN, NOAA and even hooked it to my T.V. to watch the news on generator power.
The price of this antenna is such that if it did suffer damage, it is not too expensive to replace.
However, again, replacement is not necessary.
Take a look at the damage that Texas received and then consider that this antenna made it through unscathed. I have it mounted about 10' above my roof line.
I would definitely buy another when (or if!) the time comes that I need to replace it.
VE3MPY Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2007 07:26 Send this review to a friend
Great To Have  Time owned: more than 12 months
When you buy an antenna for just 59.99 like people say, you don't expect much. This antenna is wonderful in its performance. I have had for about 7 years and since I got a beam I decided to compare between the 2. Testing this antenna for 2 days in comparison with my Cushcraft A148-10S 10 elements Yagi, here are some of the results that I've got:

At 2PM using the disconne antenna from RS with 5 watts I could trigger a repeater at 91 miles from my shack (straight path). While using the Cushcraft I did with 4 watts. The signal strength on the beam was S-2 and S-5 with the pre-amp. With the discone the signal strength was 1 and with pre-amp were 4.

At 8PM on the same day, the same power was used but the signal got stronger to a S-5 and with the beam S-6. On a good day of propagation I had it with 9+20 and 9+30 with the beam.

The day after, the propagation was very good and I was able to trigger a repeater at 240miles from my shack (YES 240 MILES) using 50W. The beam was not pointing at it, so I could not test using the beam.

The discone antenna is at 30FT as oppose to the beam which is at 25FT and I am using 40FT of coax RG-213. The antenna is a little fragile I agree with the other, so what I suggest is to change the ground radial with stainless steel rods or aluminum and make threads on the ends, only if you lost your radials. And before screwing into the base insert some crazy glue or lock-tight. I guarantee that you will have no problems.

If you are planning to buy one donít change the radial just put crazy glue and you will be ok. Some of my radials broke and I only had 2 mm of thread left so I used crazy glue and had it up at about 40 ft. the antenna stayed all winter up during frost and I didnít loose any radials.

Since I plan to install now at 60FT I will change the radials to stainless and insert crazy clue or lock-tight so I donít have to worry about until I take it down.

Good luck.

PS: If changing radials make sure you have an SWR meter. You may need to trim a bit the radials, use the meter to optimize the SWR.
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