First post - home made TV antenna - don't laugh!

#21
humor me.
When you get a chance, try a 290 & then a 355 aim & see what happens
@ 290: 51 is weaker, the rest are good

@ 355: 13 is a little weaker, 23 & 51 are much weaker, but viewable.

I didn't get any additional channels, or even 55 on any of the other directions I tried.

My first attempt to correct my problem before moving the balun was to raise the antenna 4' to about 32'. Now, with the signal so strong on all the channels, I wonder if I should put it back down the the orignal height, as it would be a little more stable. But then I'd be a little lower compared to the trees. I have 3 guy wires, but they are pretty low on the mast, I'm not likely to go to the trouble of raising them unless it becomes a definite problem.
 

KrissB

DTVUSA Member
#22
Some thoughts I'd try or want to change if this was atop a roof for me. Also, jealous of your ability to put a homemade antenna up, my landlord didn't like my homemade antenna, or how it might possibly look after I made it suitable for rooftop! lol

These are just suggestions, don't break yourself for my thoughts! :\

1. As cost is an issue, I'd probably purchase a 100 foot RG-6 Quad shield to ensure there is no connection issues.

2. I read on this site before: RTV Gasket sealer on all connection points (this will help ensure a longer life of your hard work). Or maybe duct-tape (camouflage, or black in color) to give your electrical tape scenario more life?

3. You can amplify, or pre-amp a homemade antenna (this would only be suggested as a test if things get crazy again). Amplifiers could confuse your situation.

Question for others to maybe help, OP has a pretty decent picture of where his setup is. Would anyone else consider moving it down a bit to hope to hit that "sweet spot"?

I don't intend for this to sound like a bashing, I apologize if my post comes off that way!

Hello neighbor, I'm in the Western NY area. :D
KrissB
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#23
@ 290: 51 is weaker, the rest are good

My first attempt to correct my problem before moving the balun was to raise the antenna 4' to about 32'.
Now, with the signal so strong on all the channels ...
Weaker? Stronger? BS. Your signal meter is not a signal strength meter, it is a signal quality meter.

If your antenna works for you when it is (literally) lying on the front yard grass AND if your signal quality is high enough for your tuner to decipher it, that is a sweet spot to permanently locate your antenna. Nuts, eh?

Receiving free digital TV may require a dash of pixie dust from time to time.

Jim
 
#24
Weaker? Stronger? BS. Your signal meter is not a signal strength meter, it is a signal quality meter.


Jim
As I gather, but besides the good reception now, it's all I have to quantify things. Manufacturers can get very creative with their terminology.

... Also, jealous of your ability to put a homemade antenna up, my landlord didn't like my homemade antenna, or how it might possibly look after I made it suitable for rooftop! lol

Question for others to maybe help, OP has a pretty decent picture of where his setup is. Would anyone else consider moving it down a bit to hope to hit that "sweet spot"?

I don't intend for this to sound like a bashing, I apologize if my post comes off that way!

Hello neighbor, I'm in the Western NY area. :D
KrissB
Some people have no real sense of what "looks good"!

Yes, electrical tape was my friend through all of this, and I did end up lowering the antenna, total height from the peak of the roof now is about 5 feet. I also like the lower profile because my house has been struck twice by lightning in its lifetime, seemingly attracted to those giant pine trees at the end. The last time, about 6 years ago, the TV and my entire stereo system were fried. Fortunately, my homeowner's ins. covered everything.
 
#25
Thanks, everyone! Still great reception this morning...I hope I'm not being premature, but moving the balun seems to have solved the problem.
That's my bet. I also think if you get a reflector and point the antenna right at 55.1 (RF50), at would come in fine.

I wouldn't mess with an amplifier unless you want to split to multiple TVs or you have at least 40 feet of coax. You have all the tools now to experiment with different setups. If you have any specific questions, don't be shy!

Kriss, great to see you again! Don't be such a stranger. :cheers:

R.
 
#26
My Magnavox converter box has an "antenna signal meter." I look at it sometimes and it is informative, in a sense.

Some channels will show 60 to 80 or above, seemingly all the time. I know I can watch those without fear they will drop out. Even if it gets foggy or cloudy i can count on watching those.

Others seem to bounce around a lot and be very variable. CBS channel 5 now has showed me everything from only 20, to 40. Then bounced over 60, then back down to 45. It is good most of the time, but not really reliable. Sometimes drops out all together. Once I watched the show 60-Minutes for the first 45 minutes, on CBS then it just dropped out and I saw none of the last 15 minutes of it.

So, in other words, this "meter", for what it's worth does give some insight, at least as far as showing which are the best, most reliably received stations, imo.
 
#27
Once I watched the show 60-Minutes for the first 45 minutes, on CBS then it just dropped out and I saw none of the last 15 minutes of it.

So, in other words, this "meter", for what it's worth does give some insight, at least as far as showing which are the best, most reliably received stations, imo.
This is what was happening to me, sometimes every station would be unwatchable all at once because of the dropouts. I don't think I'll need it, but I have that old antenna I found in my attic. If needed, I could replace that long set of arms.

---

And thanks, everyone, for all the assistance and Welcome's!
 
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#28
After living with this for a couple weeks, I'm pretty pleased with my reception.

However, I still do have intermittent problems only with Channel 17, which is PBS and often my go-to station. It seems to have the trouble when the wind is blowing. The leaves are almost all off the trees now.

I was wondering if it would help with that channel to add a reflector to the back of the antenna, and if so, does anyone have some good resources I can refer to?

Also, in looking around, I see that many of the designs have arms that are 7" long, mine are 9" long. I don't know if that has any bearing on things.
 
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#29
The 9" per side is better for current broadcast frequencies. I've used 9.5"with 9"spacing, and 10"x9.5" on the 4 bay antennas I've built and gotten good result on both UHF and VHF. Adding a reflector should help your PBS signal but will make your antenna more directional. Requiring re-aiming and possibly loss of other signals. Too narrow of a reflector can really mess up any VHF signals that you might have. I have had that experience. Here is a link to the best simple advice page on the subject that I know of:Reflectors for DIY Antennas
Some of the other information I'm familiar with can get a bit complicated.
Steve
 
#31
One thing I'm having trouble figuring out is how far behind the whiskers to place a reflector....

Also can't figure out why Channel 17 gives so much more trouble when all the transmitters of stations I want are very close to each other, angle and distance. Last night, with a little wind, 17 was almost unwatchable while all the others had very strong signals. Frustrating.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#32
My Magnavox converter box has an "antenna signal meter." I look at it sometimes and it is informative, in a sense.

Some channels will show 60 to 80 or above, seemingly all the time. I know I can watch those without fear they will drop out. Even if it gets foggy or cloudy i can count on watching those.

Others seem to bounce around a lot and be very variable. CBS channel 5 now has showed me everything from only 20, to 40. Then bounced over 60, then back down to 45. It is good most of the time, but not really reliable. Sometimes drops out all together. Once I watched the show 60-Minutes for the first 45 minutes, on CBS then it just dropped out and I saw none of the last 15 minutes of it.

So, in other words, this "meter", for what it's worth does give some insight, at least as far as showing which are the best, most reliably received stations, imo.
But it's not a signal strength meter! And the meter on the Magnavox converter box seams like the least useful one I've ever used. It takes such a long time to respond, and it fluctuates erratically. Absolutely worthless for trying to point an antenna. The best one for pointing antennas I've used is the one on the RCA DTA800B1. The HDhomerun network tuner and some higher end TV's actually have a strength reading, but I've never used them.
 
#33
I notice after I posted that link that it says nothing about reflector to bow tie spacing. I was just looking for something simple that I knew how to find. Any where from 4" to 6" should work. Keep in mind it is the horizontal parts of the reflector that do the work. In a grid type reflector the vertical wires have very little effect on signal. Horizontal rods are all that is needed. There is a lot of research out there on this subject I've tried to give some short simple answers.
Steve
 
#35
It is difficult to find good information. It takes time to sort through all the misleading information and out right internet scam stuff. Reading forums can help. I had a good basic back ground in antenna design and signal propagation theory in early 2012 when the need for a simple no cost TV antenna came into my life. I put that knowledge to use and had a working antenna in short order. From there I turned to the internet what I found was a mess of misinformation, and a bit of good information. I knew that in a primarily VHF market where I live that the easy to find coat hanger antenna design would not work. From there it's taken some time to learn about what does work. Loops, dipoles, and yagis I knew about. The Broad bandwidth bow tie antennas were a whole new world. All of us keep learning.
Steve
 
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