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Old 26-Jan-2011, 9:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Talking DIY Antenna Reception Help in SF Bay Area.

Hi, found TV Fool yesterday and boy what a find.
I built a diy antenna from following along with this video....

Here's my home location info

Once the antenna was finished, I climed up on my roof, and mounted it up on top of my old DISH dish, just kind of jutting out of the stand, not mounting it with the dish behind it. The antenna does not have shielding on it (yet?), but it is pointing directly to the N NW (towards Sutro in SF).The coaxial cable running from it goes down the side of the house, into the basement and then up to the living room (I'd guess 40 to 50 feet of cable). I then plugged it into my new Tivo Premier and had it scan. Channel 36 (and it's 4 channels) showed up, nothing else.

Fast forward to last night, unplugged antenna, then plugged it into Tivo with 5 foot coaxial cable (this is inside the living room of course) and ran a scan. 30 new channels found, and boy was I excited. I started browsing and was dissapointed to find out that I don't speak Korean, Farsi, Spanish, or Chineese. I did manage to get 5 channels of PBS, along with the random other foreign HD broadcasts, but no NBC, CBS, ABC, Channel 2 etc. Then I thought of an amplifier. Went to Radio Shack and they want $40 for them.

I've only got one HD TV, so the signal isn't split. I do have a splitter about 10 feet from the Tivo box, so that another room could get reception (installed years ago, but unused)

Is an amplifier what I need?
Should I get a better one than a Radio Shack version?
Do you think I should be putting a shield on my antenna.
Do I need to toss out my diy antenna and buy a professional one?

According to the charts that I've viewed on this site, I should be mostly in the green zones.
My house is in San Mateo, on the top of a hill, rear of house facing east over the SF Bay.

I'll gladly give more info if needed.
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Old 26-Jan-2011, 10:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,773
DIY antennas are viable... YMMV. I have two home-built antennas in service, one is a 4-bay with reflector screen in my attic receiving two stations 60+ miles north of me... so yes they can work.

Your description makes me wonder if there are any satellite diplexers or switches in the coax from your roof. You can reuse RG-6/Quad if it's not damaged or wet inside, but most satellite distribution components will not pass OTA frequencies.

The 4-bay design in the YouTube video is not going to provide much on channel 7 KGO (ABC) or channel 12 KNTV (NBC).

Because you have a 2 edge path looking at the SF towers, I would recommend a mid-size H-VHF/UHF like the Antennacraft HBU-33 (That will give you the ability to receive OTA channel 7 and up). It would be interesting to see how high you need to go to see over the hill closest to you (You can re-run your TVF report at different elevations). I suspect that higher will be measurably better.

If you are not going to split the signal, you should not need an amplifier. If you do split in the future and loose a station or two you could add a high-input preamp like a Winegard HDP-269... But don't expect an amplifier to fix the wrong choice or placement of the antenna.
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.)

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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 26-Jan-2011 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 26-Jan-2011, 11:50 PM   #3
John Candle
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,697
Tv Antennas and Reception

Read and understand this about Real Digital Tv Channels and Virtual Digital Tv Channels . . If one side of the home made UHF antenna is directed at about 300 degrees magnetic compass the antenna will be receiving of 2 directions , 319 and 82 magnetic compass that will get you most of the channels. No satellite diplexers or splitters.

Last edited by John Candle; 27-Jan-2011 at 8:24 PM.
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Old 27-Jan-2011, 3:30 PM   #4
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Thanks, I'll read it and I'll check to see if there are any diplexers or switches (I don't think that there are). I'll also look into the H-VHF/UHF antenna after I get paid again. Also noted "..don't expect an amplifier to fix the wrong choice or placement of the antenna."
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diy, sf bay area, tivo premier

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