TV Fool  

Go Back   TV Fool > Over The Air Services > Help With Reception

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 25-Jan-2015, 11:28 PM   #1
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
Help with reception

Just made a DIY 4-bay bow tie antenna. First attempt with coat hangers, able to pull in one channel from my attic (KYW-TV). Second attempt with aluminum foil reflector and coat hangers resulted in picking up WPHL and WCAU, albeit very spotty and not consistent. Third attempt with 8ga. copper wire instead of coat hangers plus reflector resulted in same three channels, with better signal strength, but still not consistent on WCAU. I don't get WPVI, but I figure that's to be expected since it's VHF-Lo.

Here's my TV Fool results: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...2c15c895b49cf7

So, I already know I'm in a bind with reception. I'd like to keep the antenna in the attic (wood based, 1930s home). Not willing to go to an roof mounted high gain antenna unless needed. Trying to keep costs down.

From what I've gathered so far, I want to avoid an amp as much as possible. I'll most likely need one when I get to do distribution in my house. Based on what the TV Fool report has given me and my layout, I'd most likely want to focus on the Philadelphia stations. Ideally, I'd like to get WXTF, but I know given my distance, it's going to be a very long shot.

Questions: Should I give up the 4-bay bowtie and try a gray hoverman, or can it and go straight to a yagi? Looking for some better antenna advice on getting consistent signal. Do the bow ties need to be EXACTLY aligned horizontally? How much difference would a few millimeters make? Would anyone suggest an amp based on the results? Any other advise to look into?

Thanks!

Edit, I'll get pictures up ASAP.
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 3:14 AM   #2
Tim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Acworth, GA
Posts: 196
You don't have a very good signal report at all. Can you tell us exactly which stations are a "must have" for you (their 'real' channel number please)? That will let everyone make some good suggestions for you.

In my opinion, though, to get consistent reception you will have to go outside with an antenna because the signals are weak. Let's see what others think.
Tim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 5:34 AM   #3
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
Thanks Tim,

Here's the antenna variations: http://i.imgur.com/aW6ZFpZ.jpg, http://i.imgur.com/Yv79Tkc.jpg
Haven't made anything solid yet until I'm set.

Real Channel Must-Haves:
-6
-26 (Able to reach right now)
-34

I understand your concerns for consistent reception and going outdoor.
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 7:57 AM   #4
GroundUrMast
Moderator
 
GroundUrMast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,758
I have to echo the same concern about attic vs outdoor mounting. If you can not or will not consider outdoor mounting, you have little hope of reliable reception.

The signal from WPVI on real CH-6 would no doubt require a large deep fringe all channel antenna such as the Winegard HD7084P... Or a combination of cut to band antennas mounted outdoors, clear of nearby trees or buildings. Even then, you're starting with a barely double digit NM estimate which is very weak in the L_VHF band due to the added noise and interference at that frequency range.

I know of no popular DIY antenna designs that cover the L-VHF band but you can create your own design with the aid of software mentioned here: http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=1106
__________________
If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

(Please direct account activation inquiries to 'admin')
GroundUrMast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 4:10 PM   #5
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
From a theoretical standpoint, would building a channel specific antenna for 6 make more sense than going with an antenna like the Winegard?

At this point after seeing your post, it's probably going to be more practical to just buy the correct antenna instead of wasting weekends trying to tune. Are there many deep-band antennas similar to the Winegard? Debating if someone has an old rooftop antenna they don't use . Obviously that's far-fetched in guessing how deep it will go with range.

I guess the hard question to ask is, how bad do I want 6? If I settled for 34, 26 and 17, easy answer is go rooftop, and I'll struggle to get in the attic.
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 4:35 PM   #6
GroundUrMast
Moderator
 
GroundUrMast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,758
I like to build stuff... And it looks like you do as well. But there is a significant difference between a 2X4 and some leftover house wire vs. the materials required to make a much larger antenna that can survive an east coast winter environment.

You're right, the DIY antenna for real CH-6 would be impracticable in the sense that it could only be expected to give you a shot at one channel.

I'd try the Winegard HD7084P or an equivalent like the Antennacraft HD1850 because it would offer full coverage of the OTA spectrum.

A good quality preamp would be needed as well. For some time now, my default choice has been the RCA TVPRAMP1R. I see Antennas Direct has released a new preamp to the market... I have yet to test a sample of that preamp though.
__________________
If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

(Please direct account activation inquiries to 'admin')
GroundUrMast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 10:49 PM   #7
timgr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Medford MA USA
Posts: 371
How about this? http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antennacraft...item4ae3e2b461

Out of production.

Looks like he has more than one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antennacraft...item4ae3efc3df
timgr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-Jan-2015, 11:58 PM   #8
GroundUrMast
Moderator
 
GroundUrMast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,758
The Y1026 would be a candidate... Certainly worth considering if you're building a premium system of cut to band antennas, which in this case is far from overkill.

Still, to chase the Phily market signals, all the antennas would point in the same direction. I'd carefully weigh the cost of shipping an ebay purchase vs a single all channel that might be available locally.

It looks as if the second link is for an H-VHF Y10713, not another Y1026.
__________________
If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

(Please direct account activation inquiries to 'admin')
GroundUrMast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-Jan-2015, 8:25 PM   #9
timgr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Medford MA USA
Posts: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
...

It looks as if the second link is for an H-VHF Y10713, not another Y1026.
Oops. Search found it for me, but I read right past the model number.

Using the calculations in the link above, couldn't you stretch a Y10713? Seems like the main difference would be the longer boom length, which tunes it to lower frequencies. You'd have to buy a 12' stick of aluminum tubing and do a little drilling and bolting, but the parts of a complete yagi antenna are otherwise all there.
timgr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-Jan-2015, 3:33 AM   #10
GroundUrMast
Moderator
 
GroundUrMast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,758
Not only does boom length change but so does element length and spacing. I'd have to generate a design to see if the dimensions of a 'cut to channel' antenna design for real CH-6 has enough overlapping element spacing to justify such an extreme mod...

If I was in need of a high gain L-VHF Yagi, I'd expect to build from scratch. But still, you propose an idea that has enough merit to make me file it in in the back of my head in case the need comes along.
GroundUrMast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-Jan-2015, 4:01 PM   #11
signals unlimited
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: south-central PA.
Posts: 453
PA. DTV reception

I have several installations using the Y5713 in area receiving real channel 6 quite well with even less signal than showing on your report for Channel 6. One of these installs is in Frackville. I would give it a shot, on the roof with a pre-amp.
signals unlimited is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-Jan-2015, 6:11 PM   #12
GroundUrMast
Moderator
 
GroundUrMast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,758
Quote:
Originally Posted by signals unlimited View Post
I have several installations using the Y5713 in area receiving real channel 6 quite well with even less signal than showing on your report for Channel 6. One of these installs is in Frackville. I would give it a shot, on the roof with a pre-amp.
That reminds me of several occasions where a preamp located as close to the antenna as possible (the shortest coax jumper that was practical) appeared to isolate the high VSWR from the down-lead. This is one of those possible exceptions to the generalization that a preamps' job is to deal with loss on the downstream side. There's almost always an exception to a given 'rule'.
__________________
If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

(Please direct account activation inquiries to 'admin')
GroundUrMast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-Jan-2015, 6:51 PM   #13
Tower Guy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Delmar, NY
Posts: 1,164
Consider a cheap CS600 available at some Radio Shacks. The gain looks low for WPVI, but the database does not use the STA power of 64.9 KW of circular polarization that WPVI is actually running. One trick for WPVI is that the antenna may be placed with the elements vertical or even tilted to pick up a good signal
Tower Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-Jan-2015, 6:31 PM   #14
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by signals unlimited View Post
I have several installations using the Y5713 in area receiving real channel 6 quite well with even less signal than showing on your report for Channel 6. One of these installs is in Frackville. I would give it a shot, on the roof with a pre-amp.
Knowing how much further Frackville is, that is very impressive! Also compared to the CS600, the Y5713 is a few bucks cheaper.

So from what I'm gathering (Comparing this situation versus the Winegard HD7084P and Antennacraft HD1850 that would in theory cover all), I may just end up with two antennas on the roof. One for 6, and the other possible VHF channels on the fringe plus pre-amp. Another to cover the UHF bands, assuming there is something more affordable that will cover that range. $24 for an antenna is much more cost-effective than DIY at that price point.

Last edited by MadMennonite; 29-Jan-2015 at 6:40 PM.
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6-Jun-2016, 5:13 PM   #15
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
An update!

I'm reviving my old thread, figure it's easier this way versus creating a new thread since the end game is still the same.

Finally revisiting the OTA TV project at home after being lent a Clearstream 2V to try out a month ago

The TV Fool report in the base post is still accurate, but I feel the height is more near the 35/40 foot mark (assumed from 2 story home, with attic above, and with basement being ground level on rear of property)

So, I was pleasantly surprised by my results with the 2V. I was expecting squat because I know I would need some help being in a primarily 2Edge area. This is the summary from my attic:
KYW - 3.1,2
WPHL - 17.1,2,3,4
WCAU - 10.1,2(3 with preamp)
WTXF - 29.1,2,4
WYBE - 35.1,2,3,4,5
WWSI-TV - 62.3(1,2 with preamp)
WTVE - 51.1,2
WUVP - 65.1,2,3,4
WPPX - 61.1,2,3,4,5,6
WGTW - 48.1,2
WPSG - 57.1,2
WBPH - 60.1 (Picked up with the CM3106, see below)
WFMZ was able to be picked up on the 2V as well, but very finicky.

The way my attic is, positioning is king. By moving the antenna back into the open and away from brick and more through shingle, I got the best results. I got roughly 32 channels with the 2V. I gave that back to my coworker who lent it, and picked up a Channel Master CM3016 (Advantage 45) on an Amazon Warehouse deal on a suggestion from a Reddit /r/OTA commenter. That fits in my attic, just makes it fun to dig for anything in that section of the attic when you need to grab something.

I was able to pull 37-42 channels with the CM3016 at best. I picked up an FM Trap (super cheap) from Radio Shack, and also picked up an RCA TVPRAMP1R (thanks GroundUrMast) to test results. I have a 10kw tower less than a mile from my house, and a 28kw tower 14ish miles away (see attached FM Fool image) among other things. The FM Trap didn't help a ton, as the signal attenuated a few of the weaker channels, and it did not help pull in WPVI. The RCA preamp helped pull in more sub channels (getting the really super weak Philly channels), bringing my total to around 50-52; still no WPVI (not shocked).

So, I'm debating trying a different antenna of a similar size, or trying a folded dipole cut to Ch 6 and running a duplexer or combine in to the RCA Preamp (seen from rabbit73's posts). As stated in a simple form before, roof mounting is difficult in my situation as the cleanest way to the roof and chimney requires scaffolding or an uber-long ladder from the back or front of my home, the ground on the side is on a slant. If I am destined to roof mount, I will most likely hire out.

Any suggestions on other affordable antennas to try out? Is the dipole a great idea?
Attached Images
File Type: png Radar-FM.png (99.5 KB, 548 views)
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9-Jun-2016, 1:40 AM   #16
rabbit73
Retired A/V Tech
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.E. VA
Posts: 2,550
Thanks for the update and keeping it on the same thread.

I think you are doing very well with your attic antenna, and a preamp does help.
Quote:
Is the dipole a great idea?
A folded dipole for Ch 6 is a good idea, but I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble because your CM3016 covers VHF-Low. CM states the VHF gain as 7.9 dB, but they do not say what it is for Ch 6.

The next step up in a DIY antenna for Ch 6 would be a 3 element beam using aluminum tubing or wire (use good insulators at the ends of the wires).



I designed the antenna for mpcary at AVS who was also trying to get WPVI, but I don't know if he ever got it.
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/25-hdt...illy-area.html

I did a new tvfool report based on an estimate of your location because WPVI has increased their power since your old report. Other people have also had trouble with WPVI because the noise level from electrical interference on VHF-Low is higher than on VHF-high.
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e2cb1496657ecf

You can see that WPVI is now at the top of the list but it is still a weak signal. If you do have a high noise level you might be able to track it down with an AM portable radio for the broadcast band tuned to a vacant frequency at the 550 low end or the 1600 high end. An FM portable wouldn't work well, but a radio that tunes the aircraft band would work because that is AM. You can also use your car radio, which is what MikeBear did:
One channel issue, high VHF
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=15701

Thanks for doing your FM report. It shows WRFY-FM that is about 67 dB stronger than WPVI. It is probably strong enough to overload a tuner or a preamp, but if you use an FM filter it will make WPVI weaker. The only solution I can think of is a custom notch filter designed to attenuate WRFY-FM without harming WPVI. Winegard used to make a tunable FM filter, the FT7600, but it is discontinued.

There are three other problems that might affect your reception of WPVI. The terrain profile shows that you are behind a hill for the WPVI signal:



You are in a dead zone for the WPVI signal. Red is a weak signal; no color is even weaker:



and it looks like some tall trees might be in the signal path; trees kill TV signals:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Channel 6 Yagi.jpg (78.9 KB, 1570 views)
File Type: jpg MadMennoniteTVFp2WPVI.JPG (103.1 KB, 1293 views)
File Type: jpg MadMennoniteTVFcovWPVI.JPG (106.7 KB, 1306 views)
File Type: jpg MadMennoniteTVFtrees.JPG (124.2 KB, 1236 views)
__________________
If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
Lord Kelvin, 1883
http://www.megalithia.com/elect/aeri...ttpoorman.html

Last edited by rabbit73; 9-Jun-2016 at 3:58 PM.
rabbit73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9-Jun-2016, 4:15 PM   #17
rabbit73
Retired A/V Tech
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.E. VA
Posts: 2,550
The NEC does not require that the coax for an attic antenna be connected to a grounding block connected to the house electrical system ground, but in cases where there is strong interference from local signals (like FM), it might be a good idea. When the coax is not grounded a strong signal can get directly into the TV cabinet and make any filters less effective.

If the antenna is outside, the coax shield should be grounded with a grounding block that is connected to the house electrical system ground with 10 gauge copper wire for electrical safety and to reject interference. For further compliance with the electrical code (NEC), the mast should also be grounded in a similar manner to drain any buildup of static charge, but the system will not survive a direct strike.

__________________
If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
Lord Kelvin, 1883
http://www.megalithia.com/elect/aeri...ttpoorman.html

Last edited by rabbit73; 9-Jun-2016 at 4:18 PM.
rabbit73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9-Jun-2016, 6:00 PM   #18
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
Wow, thanks for all the additional material!

Before I attempt the DIY Ch 6 antenna, I'll look into the noise issues you linked to. Very practical steps to take about choking noise. I'll start with my car, and then also I have an old boombox from the 80s that does AM/FM w/ rotary dial that I could try with as well.

The one thing that comes to mind is the chest freezer in the basement. It's actually next to where the coax lines deposit into my distribution closet. Either way, looks like some experimentation. I have two grounds, one to earth, one to the water pipe. Due to the ease of access, would it be sensible to ground to the water pipe where my panel is also grounded to, or should I just head straight for the earth ground?

Quote:
The next step up in a DIY antenna for Ch 6 would be a 3 element beam using aluminum tubing or wire (use good insulators at the ends of the wires).
Since I've never gone this route yet, I am a bit ignorant here. If I understand correctly, if I'm using wire for the antenna, insulate the ends of all wires?

The other question with the antenna is, does wire/tubing thickness matter with the spacing? I have some 300 ohm twin lead ordered, so I would start there, but something tells me I'd have to move up to beefier materials if I end up this route.

There are some trees in the path, for sure. I am in the black hole as the Langley report shows. The satellite image is right in the ballpark of where I am.

Edit to add: I'll also experiment with turning off the FM trap on the RCA Preamp and attaching the Radio Shack FM Trap inline with the preamp to see if that makes a difference too. I noticed on one of your linked threads that the Radio Shack trap tends to work best for not attenuating Ch 6 too much.

Last edited by MadMennonite; 9-Jun-2016 at 7:11 PM.
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9-Jun-2016, 11:37 PM   #19
rabbit73
Retired A/V Tech
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.E. VA
Posts: 2,550
Quote:
Due to the ease of access, would it be sensible to ground to the water pipe where my panel is also grounded to
Yes, that would be best place, but be sure not to disconnect the panel ground even for moment when connecting your ground.
Quote:
If I understand correctly, if I'm using wire for the antenna, insulate the ends of all wires?
Yes, the ends of halfwave elements, be they the driven element, director, or reflector, are high impedance points that must be well insulated from the supports to reduce losses.
Quote:
I have some 300 ohm twin lead ordered, so I would start there, but something tells me I'd have to move up to beefier materials if I end up this route.
You can use 300 ohm twin lead for the driven element.

http://users.wfu.edu/matthews/misc/dipole.html
__________________
If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
Lord Kelvin, 1883
http://www.megalithia.com/elect/aeri...ttpoorman.html

Last edited by rabbit73; 9-Jun-2016 at 11:42 PM.
rabbit73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-Jun-2016, 2:59 AM   #20
MadMennonite
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 8
Just a quick update, able to ground the coax line. No difference, not able to pick up WPVI, but it's also a very humid night, so I'll try again over the next few days when I can.

Didn't get to play too much with AM interference either, will continue to investigate. Next week I'll get some time to make the dipole.
MadMennonite is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
antenna, bowtie, diy, reception

Go Back   TV Fool > Over The Air Services > Help With Reception


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT. The time now is 3:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright © TV Fool, LLC