I have been getting into software defined radio via RTLSDR and found the stock antennas woeful for reception and picked up a tonne of noise from my LCD and laptop - though it's hardly surprising.  So to improve the situation and spend as little as possible I decided to make a discone antenna.  After some research I happened upon VE3SQB's site and a neat discone design program for Windows.  As a compromise between frequency and unwieldyness I settled on 130MHz as the lower bound.  Discones are inherently wideband and I expect the antenna to be useful for reception in the 60MHz to 1700MHz band the E4000 tuner can work with.

Photos and hand written notes on the build are here.


The ingredients, all from Bunnings are:

  • 1m of40mm PVC pipe (my lust for PVC in making antennas is unabated)
  • 2.5mm galvanised tie wire
  • A 40mm endcap
  • Some masonite packer
  • 1.5cm brass washers
  • Stripped solid core ethernet cable

From Middy's Electrical Wholesaler I bought:

  • 20m RG6 quadshield coax cable
  • A bunch of F crimp type connectors (just crimped them with my pliers)
  • F to TV/Belling-Lee adapter

With no test gear I have no idea what the true parameters of the antenna are.  All I can say that it has massively improved the reception on my EzyTV dongle for VHF and UHF transmissions in conjuction with placing the antenna in the far end of my backyard.  I can also see distant ADS-B blips in HDSDR which I will get around to tuning into on GNURadio.

So go forth and make your own discone!