New member - question about connecting to antenna

#1
Hello everyone and thanks for reading my post. I recently moved into a house in rural MD that has approx a 40 tower with antenna mounted on it. It has two twisted pair of cables coming down from it: one pair is a black and white cable, the other is a four pair with black, red, green and white. The ends of both cables I found inside are not connected to anything and have the bare wires exposed on the end. I'm looking for an cheap way to connect to this system and get free had tv. Picture attached. Any advice is appreciated. I have some basic electronic and antenna knowledge (Air Force).
 

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#2
All I can really tell from the photo is you have one of the best UHF antennas that has ever been built. A Channel Master 4251.
Channel Master 4251 Tribute Page
Below that is a broken VHF antenna. How it was or is wired is impossible to tell from the photo. It looks like there could be an amplifier involved if that is the case it must be powered and working, or it will likely block all signal. What you have told us about the wiring is not of much help. Is there a rotor up there? I can't really tell much from the photo. You have some great parts to work with making it work could be a real challenge.
Go to tv fool get a signal report to find out what signals might be available.
https://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29
Post the report back here and we might be able to offer some advice. I don't think any one here can offer wiring advice based on a brief description of someones left over, broken wiring mess, with missing parts. With more information we might be able to help.
Steve
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#3
Awesome 4251! It looks like you will need new coax cables. The colored wires coming down appear to be for a rotor. You may be able to use the bottom VHF antenna even if it has a few broken elements.

You will have to climb the tower or have someone else climb it. Are you up to it? Get back to us with your TVfool report.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#4
:welcome: Air Force guy,

Lucky you! Your 4251 is a rare find and hasn't been available in decades. As said above, we look forward to your TVFOOL survey and other photos of the existing setup. We can tell you what it will take to get the antenna back into service and don't be surprised if you receive dependible channels from 100 miles away as well as distant channels that "skip in" from time to time from other States, much like CB or Ham radio. I'm green with envy!

The VHF antenna may be repairable, depending on the level of corrosion and the two antennas can be combined on a single coaxial cable. We look forward to work with you.

Jim
 
#5
Additional info...

Here is the link to my report

TV Fool

Attached is a picture of the wires. I will have to talk with the landlord about getting it fixed. I have climbed plenty on antenna towers in the Air Force, but never one this small, and without the proper gear.
 

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#7
The TVfool report is there. There are no strong signals. The need for a large VHF/UHF antenna system and rotor is quite apparent. On a single aim best try would probably be toward DC south east. Others may have different Ideas. I don't know how MrPogi missed your TVfool report. The need for a good high band VHF antenna is definitely there.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#8
Air Force guy,

Without question, your antenna survey is the second worst I've seen. On the positive side, whoever setup your antennas must have known exactly what they were doing. They couldn't have chosen a better UHF antenna and the VHF antenna may have been the best in its day as well.

If you replace the coaxial cables and baluns, plus a new UVSJ (antenna signal joiner) the works may come alive again. Regarding the antenna rotator (rotor) do you have the control box? If not, when you climb the tower please collect any information you can about the motor for us including pictures if possible.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
Air Force guy,

Without question, your antenna survey is the second worst I've seen. On the positive side, whoever setup your antennas must have known exactly what they were doing. They couldn't have chosen a better UHF antenna and the VHF antenna may have been the best in its day as well.

If you replace the coaxial cables and baluns, plus a new UVSJ (antenna signal joiner) the works may come alive again. Regarding the antenna rotator (rotor) do you have the control box? If not, when you climb the tower please collect any information you can about the motor for us including pictures if possible.

Jim
I don't know how I missed that TVfool link. Maybe overwhelmed by the large photo in the post...

What Jim said. Your TVfool isn't all that bad, considering the monster antennas you have, but it does need a rotor. Chances are the rotor installed is better than any consumer grade rotor on the market today, so I would really try to get a replacement controller rather than buying a new rotor/controller combo. Find out what pre-amp brand/model is up there, too. It also is probably a better unit than what you can buy for a decent price today. Can you locate wher the cables came into the house? If you can trace the cables, you may find the power injector for the pre-amp.

Your problem seems to be more terrain than distance, but I'll bet you could get all the first 6 channels on your TVfool at a minimum. I also hope you have a "Scan add" or "manual add" channel function on your TV, because you will have to scan in channels for each direction.
 
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#10
more info and pictures

Well I was looking around the attic, and made a discovery..two coax cables coming in from the antenna and a UHF and VHF pre amplifiers, along with a rats nest of disconnected cables and splitters that used to feed the different rooms of the house. My landlord said he thinks he still has the control box to the rotor. So it seems I have all the right parts, it just needs assembled...?
 

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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
You have separate UHF and VHF pre-amps - if you look half way down this page: Channel Master 4251 Tribute Page you can see a system that looks very similar.

Robert Eder's 4251/3617B "Dream" outfit Robert Eder of Iowa has what many would consider to be a dream setup. A Channel Master 4251 Parabolic UHF and a Channel Master 3617B VHF antenna on a tower! The 3617B is the largest all channel VHF antenna made by Channel Master. Robert reports getting HD reception from stations over 90 miles away with this rig. Below a list of the gear in Robert's installation:

  • Channel Master Model 4251 UHF 7ft Para-Scope
  • Channel Master Double Boom Model 3617B VHF
  • Channel Master Super Titan 2 mast mounted preamplifiers Model 7475 UHF
  • Channel Master Super Titan 2 mast mounted preamplifiers Model 7476 VHF/FM
  • Blonder Tongue MUVB-56 Distribution Amplifier
  • Ham II Rotor
  • 35 FT Tower with top 10ft pole double walled
  • 7.5 FT C-Band system with 4dtv
I would try hooking everything up and see what happens. But I would run just ONE coax to one TV, bypassing the "rats nest". Lets hope you can get your hands on the rotor controller, too!

This looks like fun!
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#12
Regarding the Channel Master 4251 antenna, I've seen the tribute page before but never really looked at the antenna in detail until now. Strange how the driven elements actually Face the reflector elements which means that the bow ties (driven elements) pick up all the signal from the reflectors instead of the airwaves. The bow ties themselves have a smaller reflector to block them from picking up signals from over the air. Just seems odd that no other antenna functions that way but by all reports, the CM 4251 was the best UHF antenna ever.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#13
Regarding the Channel Master 4251 antenna, I've seen the tribute page before but never really looked at the antenna in detail until now. Strange how the driven elements actually Face the reflector elements which means that the bow ties (driven elements) pick up all the signal from the reflectors instead of the airwaves. The bow ties themselves have a smaller reflector to block them from picking up signals from over the air. Just seems odd that no other antenna functions that way but by all reports, the CM 4251 was the best UHF antenna ever.
Tim,

I understand what 'you think you are seeing' but a Yagi antenna works the same way, without the blocking grid-element which would kill reception. On a Yagi, the driven element receives signals from the reflector as well as 'echos' from every director element and four 'echos' are less than 10 'echos'. Consequently, a long Yagi collects more signal than a short Yagi.

The real difference is the grid element in front of the driven elements on a 4251 that blocks direct and some side signal reception: the intent of a parabolic dish antenna is to have only the dish itself (reflector) return received signals to a specific focal point, which is the driven element.

You cannot see a 'blocking' element on a Dish TV antenna's driven element (collector) but I assure you directly received signals are blocked by a grounded barrior at the front edge of the pickup.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14
When you're driving around, check out radio stations - they often use these type of antennas. Here's our local "Radio Ranch"
41°40′30″N 111°56′6″W - Google Maps.jpg
These big guys it the photo here are very expensive commercial units.

Parabolic antennas function more like radio telescopes or optical telescopes. The dish itself is only a collector, reflecting light or radio waves to a collector at the focal point. In an optical telescope, an eyepiece, film, or CCD is placed at the focus. On parabolic UHF antennas the collector is often bowtie elements. The reflectors are large, complex and expensive. That's why nobody makes them for consumers anymore. There is also very little demand for them, they were largely used in the rural midwest.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#15
I'm positive the way I described it is correct and the Channel Master brochure shows just what I was talking about...

Snap 2014-07-08 at 19.05.36.jpg

The bow ties are facing away from the transmitting tower in order to capture their received signal from the paraboic reflector and pictures on the CM 4251 tribute site bare that out.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#16
I'm positive the way I described it is correct and the Channel Master brochure shows just what I was talking about...

View attachment 3265

The bow ties are facing away from the transmitting tower in order to capture their received signal from the paraboic reflector and pictures on the CM 4251 tribute site bare that out.
Correct.
 
O

OBXDXer

Guest
#18
The VHF antenna is a Delhi/Wade VIP307SR. I use one of those. Along with the 4251 it's the top of the line. The owner must have been a DX enthusiast.
 
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