Question: Need help selecting an antenna for changing elevation on a boat

capt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi folks,

I have a bit of an issue at a new marina. I've got a building blocking my line of site to a few towers. Usually my trusty bow tie antenna works when the tide is up but when is goes low I loose a few channels - usually while I'm in the middle of a show! I'd like to have something that could be powered via the TV and not an extra power connection. I could put it up on the mast but I'd rather not if possible. I was hoping someone could recommend an inexpensive antenna for me...
here is my tvfool location:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d5b946ecc056a2b

Thanks for any suggestions.
 
#3
:welcome: capt,

Heckova TV Fool report! Your link didn't work. This is better. :thumb: TV Fool

I have a bit of an issue at a new marina. I've got a building blocking my line of site to a few towers. Usually my trusty bow tie antenna works when the tide is up but when is goes low I loose a few channels - usually while I'm in the middle of a show! I'd like to have something that could be powered via the TV and not an extra power connection.
You don't need any power for the antenna on one TV unless you have at least 50 feet of coax. Debatable even then ...

I could put it up on the mast but I'd rather not if possible. I was hoping someone could recommend an inexpensive antenna for me...
So I guess you want the most powerful possible small antenna. I can't imagine a huge 8 bay or 110" Yagi would be easier than putting something on the mast. Here's one idea:
Stellar Labs VHF/UHF HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Yagi Antenna | 30-2440 (302440) | Stellar Labs

No amplifier. It packs more elements into a smaller space, so should be stronger than most bowties. When you are watching ABC, or one or two other stations, it needs to be pointed east. Most will come in better pointed north-west.

Rick
 

capt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
Well thanks for your responses. I am curious why my tvfool report didn't work (I just tried it and it is "no longer available"
If it didn't how were you able to get my location????
I can't imagine going from a simple bow tie antenna to that huge thing is really necessary. Are you serious??I can't put something like that on my boat I'd be laughed out of the marina. Seriously, how about those "leaf" or flat antennas?
 
#6
Here are the best compact multi-directional ideas I can quickly come up with.
Antennas Direct Clearstream Convertible Indoor/ Outdoor HDTV Television Antenna | C1C | Antennas Direct
If your into do it your self. I've had very good results with this small multi-directional antenna.
2 Bay Kit
UHF 2-Bay Bowtie - NO Reflector
http://cdn.avsforum.com/f/f6/f6301404_vbattach220643.jpeg
The second link is for dimensions and specification. The third link is just an example of creative mounting. These ideas may not solve your problems with changing elevation.
 

capt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Thanks for you response. As I have mentioned in both messages I posted in case you missed it
I am using a plain old BOW TIE ANTENNA like this: View attachment 3123 .
Reading the reviews on the one you mentioned it seems to be good but, I'm not sure because of what I have posted already:
CHANGING ELEVATION seems to be the biggest issue. I'm not sure if amplifying the signal would improve that situation or not?
 

capt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
Thanks - I think our messages crossed - I appreciate your suggestions. The one clearstream one looks less obtrusive. Again, I am concerned about the low tide factor along with the buildings. I really don't have any interest in collecting various antennas as most online ones aren't all that returnable. I was hoping I would get some advice about amplification being a factor. The old bow tie worked great when it was installed on top of a piling that didn't move and no building. I was spoiled picking up just about everything but I changed marinas and I can't do the same where I am now.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#9
:welcome: Capt,

I think mounting an antenna on your mast will not work because your boat rocks back and forth with the waves, especially if run up to the top of the pendulum (your mast). This is also why OTA digital reception is not possible in a moving automobile. The USA uses a form of signal modulation called 8VSB and it doesn't always work well when fixed antennas on a house move during a windstorm.

If you can mount a small antenna near your deck, you might be in luck and considering the signal potential in your area a 2-bay like a DB-2 should work for you. As others have said NO amplifiers.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#10
If you could mount an antenna on the dock / pier, I think that would be your best bet. Drop a length of coax to your boat when you dock, and detach when you leave. Make sure there is plenty of slack so it doesn't pull the cable loose, and put a "drip loop" in the line to keep water from following the cable into your vessel. I'm going to stick with my antenna recommendation, the Eagle Aspen. Point it Northeast, and you should get good reception even at 5 feet above the water line.

I think you're wasting your time if you mount it to the boat. The rocking is going to cause the signal to fade. As Jim stated, you aren't going to get dependable reception on a moving vessel anyway.
 

capt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Thanks for your reply Fringe Reception.
I agree about the pendulum affect with an antenna on the mast. FYI while my boat, when docked, doesn't move all that much I am able to maintain most green channels with the bow tie on the back deck which is about 8 - 10 feet off the water level. In fact I did have it up a bit higher in the past but don't recall the reception being any better/worse but it was exposed to the wind and moved around so I sometimes had to reposition it. It was also becoming rusty and the connector got messed up. I later brought it down to an protected enclosure and rewired the connecter. I know I get more channels than the tv fool lists but haven't mapped them out cause I don't want to retype it all. (can't copy and paste from an image) I appreciate everyones time and suggestions. MrPogi, not to appear ungrateful - you might consider reading peoples posts twice for clarity before your reply.

BTW, for anyone reading this, speaking from my own actual experience, I've had an LG HDTV with the built in NTSC tuner for over 10 years. During that time I've been in three different SFBay area marinas - only one did I have the bow tie on the piling but I have always received quality reception for most all channels - all with an antenna that cost me less than 5 dollars! If I could find another new one - with the coax connector I'd buy it in a second.
 
#12
Well thanks for your responses. I am curious why my tvfool report didn't work (I just tried it and it is "no longer available"
The trick is to try it before you put up your post, capt!

If it didn't how were you able to get my location????
I simply fixed the link. There was a space in it. Spaces aren't allowed in hypertext links.

I can't imagine going from a simple bow tie antenna to that huge thing is really necessary. Are you serious??
I went out of my way to find something small for you. 43 inches -- huge for an antenna? Are you serious?? :daffy:

I can't put something like that on my boat I'd be laughed out of the marina. Seriously, how about those "leaf" or flat antennas?
For UHF, they're about the same as a dipole/loop, except for the convenience of taping them to a window. For VHF, the dipole you have should beat a Leaf or flat plastic antenna every time.

One dipole/loop is pretty much the same as the next, unless there's a physical problem with the one you have now. But that would typically cause problems on all the stations. Finding your old magic model might be a dead end. However, if you're determined to try, you can still get dipole/loops for under $5 on eBay, or at Wally's world for about $10.

All the top experts on this site have told you an amplifier will not help you. You should believe them. An amplifier does NOT improve the signal coming from an antenna. It only helps overcome noise added by long cable runs and splits to multiple receivers. The Eagle Aspen mentioned by MrPogi is another alternative. It's not considered a VHF antenna at all, but with such strong signals, it could work.

Rick
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#13
I get strong VHF channels with the Eagle Aspen. Eliminating the need for VHF allows a smaller antenna.
He has really strong signals and also doesn't have many VHF channels to speak of.
 

capt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#14
Rickideemus,

>>The trick is to try it before you put up your post, capt!

I did try it - that is probably how the extra space got in unfortunately. I've seen others links that were just the word "tvfool" and not the whole ugly url so I wasn't paying attention to see the space.

>>I went out of my way to find something small for you. 43 inches -- huge for an antenna? Are you serious?? :daffy:

Sorry but yes, I am serious. No offense but going from something less than 1/3 the size is quite a significant increase. In terms of home antennas maybe not but again, this is for a boat. I think another concern was the first review speculates that it wouldn't hold up in wind, they were putting it 30 feet up a mast and the simple fact that every seagull in a miles radius would probably be roosting on it and leaving calling cards below.

Most boats use 360 degree disc shaped omnidirectional antennas - but anything with the word "marine" attached to it usually has about a 300% markup - just google marine hdtv antenna and you'll see what I mean.

>>For UHF, they're about the same as a dipole/loop, except for the convenience of taping them to a window. For VHF, the dipole you have should beat a Leaf or flat plastic antenna every time.

O.K. thanks for that tidbit.

>>One dipole/loop is pretty much the same as the next, unless there's a physical problem with the one you have now. But that would typically cause problems on all the stations. Finding your old magic model might be a dead end. However, if you're determined to try, you can still get dipole/loops for under $5 on eBay, or at Wally's world for about $10.

Maybe it is my connector/connections/cable and it messes up only with movement? I had a good signal tonight and made a list at high tide and I got 82 channels! - many are foreign language stations and some dupes sd and hd, home shopping, tv guide, etc but I'm lucky enough to get multiple PBS stations and the regular networks +. I'll try again at the next low tide to compare. I suspect the issue may be something other than elevation - maybe movement and or a short/open in my cable?

>>All the top experts on this site have told you an amplifier will not help you. You should believe them. An amplifier does NOT improve the signal coming from an antenna. It only helps overcome noise added by long cable runs and splits to multiple receivers.

I do now. A little explanation as to why helped confirm that, and the fact my posts were read which I wasn't to sure about.

Again, thanks very much for your help, suggestions and explanations. I know everyones time is valuable and I do really appreciate you sharing yours with me (and others) as well as your knowledge it is most appreciated.

I think I'm leaning towards ordering the Eagle Aspen MrPogi suggested. The reviews are good but I am wondering if the reflector part has to be there or if it could be removed? It looks to be about the same thing RF Steve posted and is essentially a beefed up double bow tie. It also doesn't appear to be as good of a landing pad for seagulls ;-) if you ever had to clean up bird droppings from a white fiberglass surface you'd know what I mean.

Thanks again folks.
 
#15
No offense but going from something less than 1/3 the size is quite a significant increase.
So I guess your simple bowtie is just a 1-bay. Those are pretty uncommon. Sorry to say, the link to your bowtie was also broken, and I couldn't fix it.

In terms of home antennas maybe not but again, this is for a boat. I think another concern was the first review speculates that it wouldn't hold up in wind, they were putting it 30 feet up a mast and the simple fact that every seagull in a miles radius would probably be roosting on it and leaving calling cards below.
But you said you didn't want it on a mast, right? Just to be clear, the tri-boom I mentioned has over 16 times the UHF reception power of a 1-bay bowtie, at any given location. (Just another way of saying the gain is more than 12 dB greater ... long story ... logarithmic scale ...) I'm not trying to push the tri-boom on you, just trying to be clear so you can make an intelligent decision.

Most boats use 360 degree disc shaped omnidirectional antennas - but anything with the word "marine" attached to it usually has about a 300% markup - just google marine hdtv antenna and you'll see what I mean.
I'm very aware. Doing what most people do is usually a mistake when it comes to antennas. The misleading advertising is so off the charts that nobody knows what the $^%! they're doing! Omnidirectional antennas are normally a ripoff in the first place.

>>For UHF, they're about the same as a dipole/loop, except for the convenience of taping them to a window. For VHF, the dipole you have should beat a Leaf or flat plastic antenna every time.

O.K. thanks for that tidbit.
Sorry, I was confused. I was thinking you had a dipole/loop, but you have a bowtie. The Leaf is a miniature 2-bay bowtie in a vinyl skirt. Might be marginally better than a 1-bay bowtie on VHF as well as UHF. (Don't get me wrong -- I'm not recommending the Leaf. That's against my religion. :alien:)

Again, thanks very much for your help, suggestions and explanations. I know everyones time is valuable and I do really appreciate you sharing yours with me (and others) as well as your knowledge it is most appreciated.
You're welcome

I think I'm leaning towards ordering the Eagle Aspen MrPogi suggested. The reviews are good but I am wondering if the reflector part has to be there or if it could be removed?
Sounds good. I'm not sure if the reflector comes off or if you have to saw it off. I think I'd try it first with the reflector on, though. Maybe MrPogi has some thoughts on it.

It looks to be about the same thing RF Steve posted and is essentially a beefed up double bow tie. It also doesn't appear to be as good of a landing pad for seagulls ;-) if you ever had to clean up bird droppings from a white fiberglass surface you'd know what I mean.
I think I'll take a pass on that one. :becky:

Rick
 

DW-77

DTVUSA Member
#16
I can only agree to what has been said before:
- You won't need an amplifier. The signals shown in your TVFool report are very strong; with such incoming signals an amp would do more harm than good.
- You won't need a large antenna, either. The Eagle Aspen would work fine, and so would pretty much any 2 bay bow tie, or a Clear Stream 2 or even a single CS. Gain is not an issue in your case; orientation may make a difference (see below). I would be inclined towards recommending the Clear Stream (1 or 2), due to the extra wide beam.
- It may be a good idea to install the antenna on the dock - this way you reduce movement. Attaching the mast to a pillar that does not move at all would be even better.

Best orientation would depend on the type of antenna you choose. The TVFool report shows a couple of co-channel conflicts at your location; the most likely to bother you is on channel 28. No big loss though, compared to the "boat-load" of stations you have there.

Good luck.
 
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