Considering where we live, we're probably lucky to have good reception, even though we're only 45 miles away in mountainous terrain.
Like many folks here, I've been building antennas:
First one was the popular coat hanger/cat whiskers. Only tested indoors, it didn't receive anything until I added a tin foil reflector. Then I got one flaky channel. Not much, but more than I expected. It was also huge and ugly.
Second antenna was a small Yagi (I always thought it was Yagi. Now I'm seeing Yaqi?). PCB Antenna Specification Data
Indoors, nothing. Outdoors, several channels from the top of a 5-foot step ladder.
Then I built myself a 47-inch dipole. While I was looking for a vintage VHF amplifier I have, I stumbled onto a pair of Radio Shack telescoping whip antennas. From the top of the ladder and without the amplifier, the TV stored more than 20 channels. After enclosing the assembly in PVC, I mounted this to the remnants of a satellite dish mount. After adjusting the position and height, I got Channel 2.1 (RF: 27) through 50.1 (RF: 45) and everything in between (11 channels). My Samsung TV only tells me relative signal strength, but I recorded 5 to 7 bars, with VHF being the strongest. I'm still amazed at how broad the bandwidth is for such a simple thing, but it was a bugger to get aimed correctly. It may be broadband, but it must have a knife-edge for beam width. While I was reading and studying, and playing with calculators, I kept bumping in to folded-dipoles. That's when the bell rang and the light went on...
Now focused on folded-dipoles, I've built three or four. The wire diameter isn't critical. I used 12 AWG solid aluminum electric fence wire, 26 AWG magnet solid wire, 14 AWG solid copper, and (my favorite) 18 AWG stranded hook-up wire, The wire-to-wire spacing isn't critical either. I built a couple on the outside of the PVC using it as a former. Then I started using a 7/8" dowel as a former so I could stuff it inside the PVC.
I don't even remember now where I got the numbers or which calculator(s) I used, but the first was too long so I cut it in half. Then it was too short so I made another somewhere between the two. Then I started cutting it down in half-inch increments. Ultimately, I ended up with a 21.5-inch folded-dipole, totally enclosed in PVC, on top of a 6-inch pipe nipple, mounted to the dish mast with a couple of hose clamps. It still gets Channels 2.1 through 50.1 at 8 to 10 bars. Without an amplifier. It actually gets more than 30 channels, but I don't speak the language(s).
Anyway, I'm posting this because I'm hoping to pique someone Else's curiosity about these and built one for themselves. I'd like to know if others get similar performance. It only takes about ten minutes to construct (if you're slow) and you can test it from the top of a short step ladder.
10 minutes to build
< $2 in parts
< 24L x 1.25W x 2H (without the pipe nipple)
Very good signal without an amplifier
Wide band and wide beam
This is what's up today. Maybe I should put a little effort into wire management.