SECURITY

Best Scanner Antenna – Diamond D3000N Discone – Why I Bought It

The Diamond D3000N is considered one of the best scanner antennas
image: my Diamond D3000N up on the pole

Just a quick post here about my new, and what I believe to be the best scanner antenna. It is the Diamond D3000N. Diamond is considered to be one of the best (among several) VHF/UHF antenna manufacturers. They are located in Japan.

I’ll touch upon the preparedness aspect of having a scanner towards the end of this post.

Why I like the Diamond D3000N and why it’s the best scanner antenna

>> Diamond Original D3000N Super Discone Antenna
(view on amzn)

Quality. Ultra wide-band discone (omni-directional). This antenna covers a huge range of frequencies from 25 Mhz all the way to 3 Ghz! Seriously, that’s ultra wide. There is A LOT of ‘stuff’ going on within the many FCC frequency allocations within this range!

After installing and connecting it, I was very surprised how much more that I could pick up (and further away) than what I was using before.

Most antennas are purposely designed to function well at a specific frequency or narrow range. This makes good sense for specific types of communications where that’s all you’re doing (using a specific type of radio for comms on a specific frequency band). But for a scanner, you want a wide band antenna because scanners can scan a very wide range of frequencies! I won’t get further into the tech, but that’s the short explanation of “why a scanner antenna”.

I did my research before choosing this antenna. Evidently it is the “go to” antenna for scanners. It’s not cheap. But you know what they say, “You get what you pay for”.

It should last for many, many years without a problem out in the weather elements. Stainless steel. The build quality was quite apparent when I assembled it.

I assembled it in the shop:

Here’s a close up picture of the stainless steel construction of the Diamond brand scanner antenna:

In case someone comes across this on an internet search, here is the manual sheet that came with the antenna. I scanned it. Maybe this will help someone who is curious. Assembly instructions and a bit more specific information about transmit frequencies (yes you can transmit on some bands with good SWR).

Diamond D3000N Assembly Instructions Manual

A Scanner For Preparedness

First of all, I just like radios – and antennas. They’re fun. It just is – for me… Maybe because my dad was a Ham operator and I’ve been around this tech since a child.

With that said, there are several reasons why it’s good preparedness – though I “get it” that most people aren’t particular interested in this tech gadget. For those who are, well, a scanner is a tremendous resource for gathering information about what’s going on out there in your region.

Police. Fire. EMS. Business. Marine radio. Consumer 2-way radio. Aircraft. Civilian. Military. There’s lots of communications in there.

It is a hobby all by itself. But it can also reveal ‘the pulse’ of what’s going on in your area. Police. That activity is good to know.

Bear in mind that most police comms are digital. You need a scanner that can decode these signals. In my rural location, most police comms are using digital ‘P25’. Although I can hear some police communications analog. All EMS and Fire in my area are analog. Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a tutorial.

Actually, right now I’m using a VHF/UHF transceiver as my scanner. I’m itching to get a specific scanner, but the one I would love to get is expensive. Maybe some day…

By the way, I use RadioReference.com as a great resource to find frequencies to monitor (the “go to” resource for this type of info).

Do any of you have a scanner? Which one?

Similar Posts

Get notified when new comments are posted
Notify of
CHOOSE AN ALIAS NAME
Affirm you're human... not a Bot


[ Read: COMMENT POLICY ]
[ Visit: Open-Forum for Off-Topic-conversation ]
59 Comments
Sort by Oldest First
Sort by Newest First Sort by Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The scanner must drive you nuts sometimes with continual messages – kind of like CB when it seemed like everyone was jumping on? Yes, I know it has an off switch, but maybe your unit can be tuned to specific frequencies, perhaps the most important to you. Just a question from an ignorant radio/scanner guy.

KEN

If I can ask, what scanner do you presently use and what one are you hoping to get someday?

Currently running the SDS200 as benchtop. Yes, it is expensive, but expandable, and it works extremely well. Like you mentioned Ken, you get what you pay for and it is a nice unit.

Currently running the bearcat 885 in the truck and it has that feature. Works well, but the 885 doesnt do well with trunking. 200 would be great.

WT,
thanks for the input on the SDS200 as it’s good to hear reviews from actual users instead of some online “review” that may have been bought.

The GRE PSR-600 that I use is currently marketed by Whistler as the WS1065 for around $250. It includes P25 (public safety digital) and is capable of scanning trunked systems, though programming of those is a bit involved (“object oriented”). It’s capable of a lot more than I use it for.

When picking a scanner make sure it is capable of scanning P25 digital trunk systems. Otherwise you are just wasting money. Uniden/Bearcat make some good scanners that will scan P25 digital truck systems.

This may sound like an odd question but the coaxial cable shown on the instructions & sold at big A. Are these cables the same as the coaxial you would have purchased for TV reception? I have several new coaxial cables, only difference they are covered in a white sheathing.

I might add, for receive only, you can get by with short runs of different ohms coax. Some loss, but not a lot. Way better to have an outside antenna. A huge difference. Poor people have poor ways. That’s me.

Ken
Thank you, figured we had it on hand & if it worked–great. OK not so great but I still have it in case we require it. 😏🤗

Ken,
As the phony general in the Dirty Dozen once said, “very pretty colonel, but can they fight?” Looks like an awesome antenna. As ya noted, most LEO, FD, EMS, etc radio is going digital. I hate that. I’m guessing you’ll get great service from this antenna. That’s a WIDE range. I think we’re going to need all the info/radio/ whatever we can get.

I don’t own a scanner, other than what you’re doing. All those years, having to listen to it, kinda burnt me out on it. I’d better get in gear with it though. Who knows what all the agencies will end up with? I’d imagine, whatever they have that will work. Might get a little strange in the near future.

Where does that stand on sending signals?

Very nice,that looks like tip top quality.150 bucks?? That sounds very reasonable to me.

Lucky you,very cool!!

freddie,
If ya check out the fine print, 2 meter, 6 meter, 70cm, 23 cm for xmit. It would work for your baofeng, if that’s what you’re asking (2m and 70cm). I’d expect a huge improvement over the smaller antenna. Good luck.

Darn nice,thanks Plainsmedic.

Sooooo, this cannot be used for UHF, VHF TV….?

I have a Yaesu Ft-736R vhf/uhf transceiver that I scan with but I also use a Bearcat BC60 hand held scanner that I can take with me. The Bearcat has a BNC antenna connector but I bought a BNC to PL259 jumper so I can connect it to my Comet uhf/vhf vertical on a 30’ pole and get great reception. I hope to upgrade to another held held scanner soon.

Should read…I hope to upgrade to a digital hand held soon.

Would be interested in hearing if anyone used an RTL-SDR with this antenna and how it performed

ToCor – I run a couple different SDR receivers, including an RTL-SDR configured for NOAA weather satellite images @ 138 MHz. The discone works well with SDR, recognizing that smaller ones like this Diamond will be increasingly “deaf” at lower frequencies. It doesn’t work well for weather satellites whizzing overhead (versus geostationary ones) because, like most vertical dipoles, its radiation pattern is omnidirectional toward the horizon, but pretty deaf overhead. I use a homebrew quadrifilar helix for these satellites because it’s essentially omnidirectional both vertically and horizontally.

Very timely discussion considering potential outcomes of this election. Even then, communication and awareness of emergency responders activities is of great importance during a crisis, whether man made or natural.

My close friend and I were celebrating a peaceful Christmas when the post-Scotch after dinner discussion turned to SHTF communications. We live in the rural Ozarks and can depend on each other to protect and assist each other’s families; however, if power is down or coms are blacked out for any reason, we both decided we should be able to contact the other for assistance.

Initially, we looked at GMRS based walkie-talkies; however, their purported 35 mile range appears to be wishful thinking.

We have decided on hand held HAM units, which necessitates taking the FCC test and obtaining a license. That would make us newbies to the HAM world, yet it appears to be a viable option with the requisite study and education of the rules and etiquette.

HAM units combined with a scanner and antenna(s) looks like a good setup.

Oz,
An excellent choice, in my opinion. You can do a LOT with the tech license. Especially from a mountain top. Ken’s antenna looks awesome. Likely is awesome for his intended use. There are many types and kinds of antenna for whatever you’re looking to accomplish. Most antennae can be homebrewed (home-made), very effectively. Ken’s antenna is accomplishing many many things, with one antenna. You can specialize if you’re looking to accomplish a specific goal. Ham radio has your answer, somewhere within it’s huge scope. Good luck

I have one of these on a Grecom PSR-600 scanner. Perfect match. Diamond makes good antennas. As kind of an antenna junkie, myself, the discone is a bit magical. Of course, there’s solid science behind the design, but the frequency range is still kind of amazing with.

Keep in mind that there are no real free lunches when it comes to antennas. This little bit of metal isn’t going to perform like a big one when it comes to the lower frequencies (longer wavelengths). It’s effectively a vertical dipole from the ham 2m band (144-148 MHz) on up and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for transmit above 144 MHz. Below that, the radio might be happy with the impedance (match), but electrically efficiency drops off quickly.

MtnPrepper,
Thanks for your input. You obviously have knowledge and skills. Try to simplify your info, please. I can grasp what you’re saying, but the newbies out there may be intimidated. I know I was, when I started. How would you go about helping someone get started? Please remember, the newbies and wanna-be folks, are overwhelmed. Even the lingo is new. Several folks on here are trying to get the tech license. Hey, ya gotta start somewhere, right?

You already realize the benefits of ham. I do as well. My focus has been 2m ssb because that’s what I/we need. I don’t have a lot of knowledge beyond that. Any continued input from you, will be greatly appreciated. Please use the KISS principle. You know, Keep It Simple Stupid, for all the new folks, me included. Maybe give homebrew advice on simple antennae. Mountains vs Plains vs in-between. I’m thinking the time is short.

Plainsmedic – Had to chuckle a bit because I saw your earlier note about 2m SSB last night and was going to going to give it a big “thumbs up” (in words), but thought it might take a bit more explanation than I was set to give. Didn’t think this post about the antenna (v. SDR further on) was that technical.

In the off-chance that anyone stumbles across this thread in the future, I’ll elaborate on perhaps the more obscure parts of my comment for folks new to radio, whether they’re planning on a ham license, scanning for situational awareness, or maybe shortwave listeners (SWLs). <more>

Regarding match and impedance, all radios, whether simply a receiver or capable of transmitting and receiving (transceiver), expect an antenna that provides a certain amount of resistance to keep their inner electronics happy and balanced. In dealing with radio frequency (RF) energy, we refer to that resistance as impedance because it’s a bit more complex than the simple resistance that common DC or AC electrical circuits face.

Most radios that we’re likely to deal with are looking for an antenna that provides a 50 ohm impedance. Receivers can deal pretty well with mismatched antennas – those with an impedance far from 50 ohms. Antennas, whether homebrew or commercial, have a sweet range of frequencies (bandwidth) where they present a reasonable match back to the radio. Beyond that sweet range, a receiver is less sensitive to signals, but it doesn’t really know that’s because of a mismatched antenna or just a weaker signal. <more>

A transmitter, on the other hand, isn’t happy with a mismatch and will automatically reduce output power to keep from frying itself or will, well, fry itself. If you’ve ever seen a stereo receiver for music overheat when 4 ohm speakers are used when 8 ohm are expected or daisy-chained them together, you’ve seen a similar effect.

The discone is cool because it presents a reasonable match to the radio – receiver or transceiver – across a really wide range of frequencies. That makes it great for scanners where you might want to listen to a wide variety of frequencies, but the match also makes it suitable for transmitting in certain swaths of frequencies (bands). The electrical details are beyond me, but effectively the “cone” part of the disc-cone – the parts (“elements”) angling downward – balance the horizontal elements arranged in a circle (“disc”) progressively across a wide frequency range so that it, electrically, provides that reasonable match to the radio. Some have a whip out the top to add a band or make the antenna a better match for transmitting. <more>

I’ve never tried to make a discone, but see at least one DIY video on YouTube. Wikipedia has a good page on the antenna, too. Simpler antennas suit my needs when I’m homebrewing. The most basic is a dipole. Homebrewing antennas probably deserves an MSB article its own, if it doesn’t already exist in the archives.

No surprise, I consider communications, including two-way, absolutely fundamental to personal preparedness. Survival and what we now call prepping were of interest here long before I became interested in radio. To some extent, it’s what led me there (lots more to that story).

Amateur radio training materials are priceless. Once you get past the rules & regulations pain, the Technician-class materials are very useful and open up a wide world of comm options. Highly recommended for all.

One more note on the effects of geography on radio (mtn v. plains v. etc.): Radio waves above, say, 100 MHz are basically for line-of-sight communications … and a little beyond. They bounce a little bit and bend a little bit at higher frequencies, but “line-of-sight” is a practical rule-of-thumb in that realm. Mountains put a dead stop on those radio waves, but also provide a natural (!) means of getting antennas higher to provide more distant horizons (remember: line-of-sightish). Hams around the country provide “repeaters” free to use that retransmit a signal, expanding range. Around here, those are often on mountains and might provide means for a portable to talk to another 50 miles away.

Here in a mountain valley, I can put a ham 2 meter (144-148 MHz) antenna on a tower 100′ above the house and it isn’t going to improve my coverage much in most directions. I’m mountain-limited, if you will. Out in the flats, moving that antenna from the fence pole up 20′, 30′, or further can really improve coverage. Raising antennas higher for communications in the line-of-sight realm is generally the biggest and cheapest route to better coverage.

MtnPrepper,
Thanks for your input. Well said. I know when I started, I knew nothing!!!! There are some good folks on this website. Most would be greatly helped, in their preparedness, by ham radio. Me, I just stumbled around the internet until I found the info I needed. Not a good way to do it. This virus has made things even harder.

If I may, would you consider an article on this topic? You write in concise terms. Easily understandable to those who choose to learn. Thanks again.