I've decided to build but have a few questions.

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
A few months ago I cut the cord on Directv and came here for some help on what to do. You guys gave me some great advice and ideas on what to do, which I now understand a little better having read a lot online about it since then. I got slammed at work and at the same time had to deal with a pet emergency that drug on for a month and a half (he's fine now) so I ended up buying a leaf antenna to at least give me something until I could take the time to build one and figure out how and where to mount it. I get a decent amount with it but it's a pain because I have to move it constantly depending on what I'm trying to watch and I know there's plenty more I can pick up with a better antenna that can stay in one place.

TV Fool Here's my report with 15 ft of elevation as I plan on putting this in my attic for now. I may rebuild one depending on what I build now (if it's not weatherproof) and what I'm able to get with it being in my attic. I'll wait until next spring to mount one outside if that's what I end up deciding to do. Too damn cold to do it now.

So I have decided to try and build a hoverman since it seemed that was the popular vote when I posted a few months ago. That and a cm4221hd if I didn't want to build something myself. Some of the Hoverman builds seem pretty elaborate and if that's what would work best for me I'd probably opt for the cm4221hd since it would end up costing close to the same thing.


Techorator - A blog about tech and more: Homemade $20 super antenna out of paper and tape! This is what I'm thinking about doing. The post says that it's a great build to pick up signals from two directions which is exactly what I need.

My questions and concerns are
1. Is this set up sufficient for what I need or would something made from pvc piping and copper wire pull better signal?

2. I've noticed that there are different builds for the hoverman, and from what I can tell it pertains to the specs and layout of the copper wire or tape. Which one would I want to use or is it not that critical?

3. Am I on the right thought process here?

Thanks
Randy
 
#2
You have an great TV fool report, and one of the best cases for a bi-directional antenna I've seen. The potential problem I've heard mention of on the foam board tape hoverman is conductivity in the tape overlap joints from the glue acting as an insulator. Shouldn't be to hard to come up with a simple work around for that. The problem with attics is building materials used and surrounding objects. For bi-directional the simpler designs you have looked at with no reflectors is what you will need. You can all ways build for out doors with pvc and wire even if you never put it out. I can see where the foam board could change the velocity factor of the conductor in continuous contact with it degrading the performance of the antenna by lowering the resonant frequency some. I wouldn't worry about it much. Copper wire or tubing is best. Larger diameter broadens bandwidth. The original plans your link led to are from Nikiml's site and use 1/4 inch wire. I would use his dimensions. I've always found his site to be a bit confusing to navigate and comprehend, but there is a lot of good information there. Including conversion to inches for those of us who don't speak metric. I do think you are on the right track.
Steve
 
#3
I took a few minutes went back and read your earlier post. With VHF not needed you could simplify by using the dimensions you were referenced to in the earlier thread back in July, or the dimensions of the UHF only from Nikiml's site. In the real world you probably would not see a lot of difference in signal between the two. If you want to read on, and on there is a well know Canadian site that covers the subject in depth.
Steve
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
So these are the specs I should use then? Got this from the earlier thread.

http://i1240.photobucket.com/albums/gg499/dkreichen1968/SBGHDiagram.png

Is there any concern as to what type of screws or fasteners to use to attach the wire to the pvc? Like do they have to be a certain material like brass or stainless?

The main center support appears to be wood in the picture in the other post. I know that's fine if it's indoors, but since there is a chance that this will end up on my roof what's a good material to use for the center support? A 2 inch pvc pipe, or is square better? Like maybe some kind of composite 2x4?

Thanks!
Randy
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
I stopped at Lowes since I was close by to scope out what I had available to me for wire and how much I would have to buy. I can get either 4 or 6 gauge bare copper wire. A lot of what I've looked at seems like people tend to use 8 gauge. Is there a downside to going with a thicker gauge or is it the thicker the better?

I could also use copper line like you would use for a water line on a refrigerator but since that's hollow I would guess that its probably not as good.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#6
Randy,

Solid copper wire is very soft and over time, it can sag under its own weight. Copper tubing is stiffer, much like the bones in birds. Either way, copper is very expensive - I suggest you use aluminum grounding wire or aluminum tubing.

Jim
 
#7
You have more questions than I have answers. 8 gauge will probably work for your purposes. Thicker sizes get difficult to work with and costly. Copper tubing is lighter weight can easily be soldered to, but can presents it own problems when bending. 1/4'' copper tubing has been used a lot by other antenna builders. Being hollow will not hurt the signal. If you use wood for support use pvc to insulate the elements from the wood. Building directly on wood is not a good idea, and can degrade performance. I'm not a metal worker. I've a lot to learn in that area. I do seal the outside of metal to metal joints with silicone. The specs in the link you posted will probably work fine.
I'm just a crazy antenna experimenter. Most of what I build is not built to last. When I build and test something I like then I try to rebuild it in a way that will last a few years. Building antennas is not for every one. It can often times be cheaper and a lot less frustrating to just buy the right antenna. In your case you could consider buying a UHF 4 bay or clearstream 2 and removing the reflector. I too live in an area where there is no good simple off the shelf one antenna solution.
On a personal note. My Dad has spent is whole life building and flying model airplanes. I've never understood that. I've spent most of my life stringing wires around and building antennas. He has never understood that.
Steve
 
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Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#9
Ok that's good to know. The copper wire wasn't too crazy since I could buy it by the foot and didn't have to get stuck with a whole roll of 300+ ft. I want to say the 4 gauge was around .98 a foot and the 6 gauge was around 1.08 a foot. However if it's not going to hold shape I can see that being an issue. I didn't check the price on the tubing but looking on their website it looks like I can get 20 feet of 1/4 inch tubing for around $15.

I don't mind at all throwing a few extra dollars at this if it's going to mean a better build. However, if aluminum is going to do the job just as good as copper and save me a few dollars at the same time, well hell I'm all for it. Only reason I say this is because every picture I see of a homebrew antenna appears to be made with copper, so I just assumed that was the way to go. I know very little about a lot of this and I totally trust your judgement. I'll look into where and how I can get the aluminum I would need, I assume lowes should have what I need.

Thanks a bunch!
Randy
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
That's the picture from the other post I was going off of. That appears to be copper, it's that bare wire or tubing?

I haven't gone into the store to look for aluminium but it seems like it's going to be a bit hard to find what I need of I go that route.
 
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#12
Man, you cwazy, cwazy antenna builders. Sounds like building antennas is harder than putting together laptops from parts on eBay. Whole heckova lot less money in it, too.

I'm glad somebody builds antennas. Somebody has to do it... I'm not going to do it... :bowdown:
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#13
That's the picture from the other post I was going off of. That appears to be copper, it's that bare wire or tubbing?

I haven't gone into the store to look for aluminium but it seems like it's going to be a bit hard to find what I need of I go that route.
It's quarter inch copper tubing. An ice maker install kit should give you enough tubing. I marked the lengths using the tubing cutter (just deep enough to make a line) and then did the 90 degree bends using a wall corner. Brass hardware (similar metals) and 1/2" PVC T's for the insulators. The clamps are small pieces of flattened copper tubing. I did one with copper wire once, which is still in the attic of my old house. I'd use tubing for outside since the wire would be easily deformed.
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#14
Ok I got everything today and I think I'm going to put it all together tomorrow.

The one thing I'm a little uncertain about is the balun. I went to Radio Shack and they didn't have anything that actually said balun on it so I grabbed the only thing that resembled one. It says it's an indoor/outdoor matching transformer, it also says that it connects a device with 300 ohm screw terminals to another device that has a 75 ohm coax connector. So this has to be what I need right?

When soldering to the tubing do I just solder the u shaped fittings or do I cut those off and strip the end of the wire and solder that?

Thanks a bunch
Randy
 
#15
Sounds like you found the right product. It should look similar to the photos and drawings you've seen on line. Baluns are getting a bit harder to find in local stores. The Radio Shack one should work. I would not solder the balun wires to the antenna, but would use the screws that hold the antenna element as the connection. Should you need to replace the balun a soldered connection could make the job more of a head ache. I use the screw to clamp the connectors tight then seal the joint with silicone. It helps keep the screws from loosening, helps seal out moisture, and prevent corrosion. I've never had trouble cutting the sealant to make repairs when needed. I'm certain there are some silicone adhesives that could be a problem, but the stuff I've used never has been. There are those who recommend soldering the balun connection.
Steve
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
Well I finally got it put together and so far I'm very pleased. The first scan I did was in the middle of my living room with then antenna on the floor and it "grabbed" less channels than the leaf (which is basically on my ceiling) did but the difference is that they all came in crystal clear. I get about the same amount that the leaf would actually display.

I moved the antenna up onto a table (three feet higher) and just that gave me really close to what the leaf actually scanned but they all come in without having to move the antenna around.

I can't wait to see what else I can grab once I put this in the attic or outside. There are a few channels that I'm a little surprised didn't show up in the scan, but I'm sure with a little tweaking before I actually mount this thing where it's going to stay will take care of that.

Thank you to everyone that chimed in on this thread and the other one from a few months back for any ideas, suggestions and opinions that you have given me.

Thanks
Randy
 
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