Discone Antenna for HF Receive and full 2 Meter operation…

Not too long after becoming a HAM, (Amateur Radio Operator with Technician license), back in 2004 – I “discovered” my old Radio Shack Discone antenna that I had been using for very wide-band reception on virtually all bands with a scanner, was also an excellent transmit/receive antenna on UHF, (2m), and worked pretty well on VHF, (70 cm), which I was then licensed to be active on. It worked well indeed to communicate with other Hams all over San Diego County and beyond, via local area repeaters – I particularly enjoyed the OTAY repeaters back then.

My old Buddy, Clif, was also a Ham and we kind of inspired each other to pursue the Hobby, even regularly checking in on some of the local area scheduled “networks”.  Since he lived in the next town over, we were tickled to find that we could communicate “Simplex” between his house and mine and would do so kind of routinely – deciding that would be a good thing if we had a power outage bad enough for local cell towers to go down, (as they did on 9/11/2001 in NYC).

Although I was fully retired by that time, Clif was still  working and kind of a “Road Warrior” at that, so our QSOs (chats) became fewer and farther between – also there was a terrible rash of intentional interference going on with the primary OTAY repeater that didn’t seem to be being addressed.  Feeling my blood pressure rise with each negative experience, I grew farther and farther away from Amateur Radio operation – eventually quitting all together after Clif moved to Louisiana.

I was away from Ham until last year, 2015, and in the interim the old antenna had been taken down prior to a solar panel installation project, and was accidentally damaged – 2 broken radials.  Heidi was bugging me pretty hard to get back into it last summer.  Fortunately, I was able to locate a new Discone of the same model down in the South part of the County, and used parts from it to effect repairs on the old one.

After repairing and reinstalling - put two velcro ties coming down the little mast to keep the co-ax from "flapping" in the wind.

After repairing and reinstalling – put two velcro ties coming down the little mast to keep the coax from “flapping” in the wind.

Located my old ICOM V-8000 2 meter mobile radio, hooked it up to a power supply, connected the co-ax and was back in “business”.  Spent the next couple of months doing a lot of listening to local repeaters and re-programming the old radio to handle some new repeaters that had come into operation over the last 10 years or so.  Everything worked *really* well, and it turned out only the old antenna needed any repair.  (Needless to say, I was elated to learn that “Mr. Smith” had finally been dealt with in the interim and was long gone from the airwaves).  I found myself gravitating to the Lyons Peak repeater and the El Cajon repeater – enjoying the “flavor” of conversation on both.  Bottom line, I was enjoying Amateur Radio again – even more than ever before.

On the occasion of my birthday in 2015, (turning 70), I decided it was time to get serious and go to work on upgrading my Amateur Radio License to General – and in the process, expand my privileges on down into the HF arena as that was a kind of an original “dream” back in 2004.  As a “motivator”, my birthday present was an ICOM IC-718 HF Radio from Ham Radio Outlet – now all I had to do was go get licensed to actually *use* it. 🙂

Powered up for receive testing, connected to the old Discone antenna, and it worked quite well. Note: Mike unplugged - not yet licensed to transmit.

Powered up for receive testing, connected to the old Discone antenna, and it worked quite well. Note: Mike unplugged – not yet licensed to transmit.

There are a *lot* better radios than the IC-718 on the market, but for a *lot* more money.  After a lot of research and conversation I decided it was simply the best “bang for the buck” for my first HF radio, even though it lacks digital and FM modes.  Later on, I should be able to sell it, and put that money toward an upgrade – but it will serve well in the mean time.

The very next month, when Hurricane “Patricia” came ashore just south of Puerta Vallarta, Mexico – I was listening to their newly activated emergency network for a short while. (All Mexican language naturally).  Listened to several other conversations before calling it a night.  By this time I was totally “hooked” and got very serious about studying for my General License – (read “off to the races”). 😀

Heidi had already helped me clean out our smallest bedroom in the back of the house, and we started setting up a “Ham Shack” back there.  I continued to study, and in the mean time made several good contacts on 2 meter repeaters who had great recommendations and were all for my rapid progression into the rest of Amateur Radio Operations.  Two operators, a man and wife, were particularly helpful and, well, just plain “nice”.  It turned out both were licensed as Amateur “Extras”, and Volunteer Examiners.  We were tickled to discover they were members of the ARCEC (Amateur Radio Club of El Cajon), which holds its meetings about a mile from our home – and which both of us wound up eventually joining.

This entry was posted by dave on Sunday, May 8th, 2016 at 10:20 pm and is filed under Amateur Radio, General Ham Stuff . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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