Question: Worth it for my location?

#1
My question, is it even worth it to try and install an antenna? Everyone I talk to in town tells me I'm crazy to even try as there hasn't been reception here for a few years.

When I do a search on the fcc's reception maps it tells me there is weak signal from 70 miles away and no signal from 50 miles away. On antennaweb.org, I'm told "There are no stations predicted to serve this location." Not too encouraging...

I live in an apt building, 3rd floor. Town is made up of single story buildings and lots of tall trees, nothing but farmland between me and the towers. Zip code 53818.

The way my apt balcony is oriented, I will have to try and aim toward the weaker 50mi tower. My apt building is between me and the stronger 70mi tower.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
:welcome: thatdecade,

I ran a generic antenna survey based on your zip code at 30 feet above ground level and the results are not terrific, but it may be possible for you to receive a few channels. Click the following link for the result:
TV Fool

To continue, we need to work from an exact location (either by address or GPS coordinance) and the maximum possible antenna height you could mount an antenna above the ground. It would be best if your antenna was above your rooftop.

Here is the link to the same website for you to run your own antenna survey. Please post the resulting URL here for us to look at. The website will automatically conceal your personal information: TV Fool

Good luck!

Jim
 
#3
Thanks for the link and the welcome. I'm slightly discouraged. Updated survey link with my proper location and 32 feet: TV Fool
I ran again with a 45 foot height (above rooftop) and was slightly better, still not ideal: TV Fool

My target station of FOX is listed under the "extreme measures" category.
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#4
thatdecade,

I really have my doubts about you being able to receive WMSN-FOX. Even if you used an antenna pre-amplifier and/or a line amplifier, there has to be a signal to amplify and there isn't much there. FOX is 'real' channel 49 which means a very high-gain Yagi antenna specifically designed for that channel would be my choice.

If you are handy and have the tools required to build your own, it doesn't cost very much to build an antenna. Here are two photos of a high-gain Yagi I built specifically for channel 48, which is almost identical to what I suggest you try. It is 55" long, has 11 elements and produces 12.0 dBd gain.



As you see, this is a very small antenna which may be to your advantage: it weighs very little, it presents light wind-loading and it could be combined with one or three more identical antennas to provide even more directional gain.

On the other hand, combined or 'stacked' antennas rarely beat antenna height, so I'm suggesting as little as 5 more feet of antenna height might work better.

The same antenna might capture KGAN-51 CBS, WISC-50 CBS, and/or KPXR-47 ION.

Jim

*Note: The Blonder-Tongue balun has been replaced with a (designed length) coaxial balun.
 
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#5
Thanks Jim that's a Good idea, a frequency specific yagi. I do have some limited experience in antenna design, so I'll give it a shot. Just have to brush up on my antenna theory.
 
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Fringe Reception

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

Here is an online Yagi-Builder calculator that will do most of the math work for you:
Martin E. Meserve - K7MEM - VHF/UHF Yagi Antenna Design

Here is a list of television channel frequencies:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?TITLE=47&PART=73&SECTION=603&YEAR=2002&TYPE=TEXT

I used 3/4" square aluminum tubing for the boom, 1/4" solid round aluminum stock for the driven element, 0.145" solid aluminum rod for the other elements (I happened to have it) and a 'U' bolt from Radio Shack.

On a different page at the Yagi Design website it will calculate how to make your own (more efficient) coaxial balun, or you could use one from Radio Shack, Home Depot or Solid Signal dot com.

Take a look in my photo albums here on the Forum for additional pictures of my home-brew antennas for construction ideas.

Jim
 
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