One Orbit Closer

I received my Arrow antenna today. It is trivial to assemble and seems really well designed and built.

Knowing I would be using two radios to achieve duplex operation, I ordered it without a duplexer. However, I failed to order any BNC cabling with it and I don’t have any BNC connectors to make the necessary cabling, so, I packed it down into it’s handy portable bag, ordered what I will need and began the next stage of waiting.

And Sputnik Was His Name-O

I received my MFJ-1866 discone antenna. Assembly was trivial, basically screw all the elements into the right holes, short ones on top, long ones on bottom. It looks as much like Goddard’s early work as an antenna.

I mused that it looked like Sputnik and my wife has already called it Sputnik (as in, “Are you going to move Sputnik out of the bedroom?”

Sputnik it is.

I did screw up my order, though. I had toyed back and forth with what coax I was ordering and ended up with the unintended product in my cart in the end. I ordered a 50′ jumper of 400MAX, which is awesome cable, but it’s 1/2″ diameter stuff and I had intended to get much thinner RG-8X as there will be a 6-8 foot bit of it showing… INSIDE THE HOUSE! It’s not like I’ll never have a use for the 400MAX, so I’m conflicted on whether to jump through the returns hoops, but delays delays delays. I *may* have some RG-58 laying about already, leftovers from a trapped dipole antenna project I started at the old house. There is a box in the storage container that says “ANT TRAPS” that has been misinterpreted by more than one person.

I did connect the discone with a short cable to the SDRdx. Even sitting on the floor in the spare bedroom, it improved reception over the Comet SMA ducky that was used before and I was able to pick up a few 70cm repeaters. Receiving on 2M was a problem, though.


Note the terrible birdies. The receiver and antenna are just a few cubits from my LAN gear, most notably a Cisco PoE switch powering a few Polycom phones. As that is my day job and I work from home, they must remain. However, my personal laptop kinda lives in that room for now and it was the easiest (read: least nanny state) to install the software on. All this will get better when it is moved away from that cluster.

Fun fact, the screen capture above is from my phone, running the Android version of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop, connected to the laptop running SDRuno. Mouse operations are a little weird, but it otherwise works just fine.

Long term, I’m thinking the discone may go into the attic, with the *thin* coax coming down into the kitchen; we have a DirecTV coax coming down in an unobtrusive corner. Then I can kinda shoehorn a little VHF/UHF/SWL station in that corner where we have a PC or two, using the SDR and my FTM-100DR with an antenna switch. RDP lets me work it from largely anywhere else. I can also play with putting the FTM-100 on WIRES-X at that time. The trouble with evil plans is that they just keep comin’.

My Arrow antenna has not shipped yet. The order confirmation said “Your order is estimated to ship within five business days. Orders usually ship within two business days.” Today is the evening of 7th business day, not even counting the day I ordred, so it’s late, but probably not late enough for me to reasonably complain. :/