Newbie needs antenna help

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi, I live in Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411, which is just west of West Palm Beach in southeast Florida. I live in a residential area with mostly single story one family homes. I have a hip roof on my house and I was wondering if it is feasible to install an antenna in my attic and if so, what would you recommend?

Also, what would your recommendations be for an outside antenna? I went to the link for TV Fool and this is the link TV Fool for the results. I am sorry it is so long, but I do not know how to condense it ;ole others I have seen. Thanks. Rob
 
#2
First I want to say you have a great TV Fool report that shows a lot of possibilities to work with. The one problem I see is not all of the strong signals from major networks are from the same direction. They are in all most opposite directions. That can be easier to work with then having them off the side. The fast simple out of the box answer would be an Antennas Direct C2V installed with out the UHF reflector. It is my understanding that the newer production ones can easily be assembled with out the UHF reflector.
With that said there are probably much lower cost solutions, as all antennas have some response off of the back and sides, and the signals in your area are predicted to be very strong. They are a mix of high VHF, and UHF signals some UHF antennas have little to no response to VHF signals.

On an attic installation a lot will depend upon building materials the building is made of. I suggest testing for signal in the attic with a $10 antenna in the attic before investing more on an attic installation.
Amazon.com: RCA Indoor FM and HDTV Antenna: Electronics
It might be all you need.
With very strong predicted signals avoid anything amplified.
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
Thanks Steve and Dan for your replies and suggestions.

Dan, I think I will build your antenna design and see how it works. It seems pretty straight forward. Thanks.
 
#6
Your signals are predicted to be strong enough that the simple loop-dipole may indeed be all the antenna that is needed. Keep in mind that nearby trees, or buildings in the direction of desired signals will greatly attenuate the signals from their predicted strength.
In my first reply I suggested a widely available high priced easy to put together solution. I do not often suggest home brew antennas, mostly because everyone is looking for an off the shelf plug and play antenna.
I personally would suggest a home brew or commercial 4 bay with no reflector at your location.
I actually do not understand why everyone builds a 4 bay as their first home brew antenna project often times using the wrong dimensions, and very poor building materials. A well built correctly designed 2 bay will out preform a poorly built incorrectly designed 4 bay, and is a lot simpler to build. The loop dipole is also very simple to build.
Rather then writing more about home built antennas. I want to encourage you to get started find out what kind of signal is there. That is why I suggested the simple rabbit ear loop as a starting point.
Let us know how it works. While we can't solve every reception problem we will try our best to help.
Steve
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Thanks Dan for not patenting it, at least yet.

Steve, thanks for you input. I decided to build the antenna because the design looked simple to build and I estimated the cost at about $20. I am going to buy the rabbit ear loop you suggested, but I need a couple more things in my cart to get free shipping.

This is all new to me. What is a 4 bay antenna? My cousin, who lives about 4 miles to the northwest of me has a Lava HD-2605 antenna that he likes and recommended it to me. It looked very flimsy and cheaply made and I was afraid to touch it fearing I would break it. Hence, my search for an antenna. Looking at photos of Dan's antenna, it looked more rugged than the Lava. So again, that is my reason for building one.
 
#9
You are correct about the Lava antenna while they sometimes work for a short period of time no one here is likely to recommend the Lava or any of the other similar antennas. Even the RCA rabbit ear antenna I posted the link to is not know to be well built, but I still recommend them as a basic low cost indoor antenna for areas where one or more of the major broadcast signals are being transmitted on VHF channels.
The 4 bay antenna is a very well known widely used UHF antenna design that when properly designed and built has some VHF response. Some commercial 4 bay antennas have little to no VHF response since they are designed to receive only UHF channels. Here is an example of a low cost commercial 4 bay designed for UHF real channels 14-51.
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/produ...27.0czCl7fSQamjILoiAH9mgA.0&utm_referrer=http
Here is a photo of the back side of a home built 4 bay with no reflector that I used for by-directional VHF/UHF reception at my location. DSCF0192.jpg
I see Dan posted while I was still searching.
Steve
 
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robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
First, I would like to thank you Dan for your design and your help, and you too Steve for your help.

I completed building the loop-dipole antenna a short time ago. I wasn't prepared to mount it outside and it was getting dark, so I decided to mount it in my attic. I pulled down my stairs and at the top of the stairs I have stuff stored there, so I decided to attach it to the easiest truss I could reach. I used a wire tie to secure it. The trusses run pretty much north and south and since I was curious to test it I just mounted it without using a compass.

I then auto tuned the stations on my tv and to my surprise I was able to receive 57 stations. I have 21 main stations with the rest being substations. Eleven of the stations and substations are in Spanish.

Station # on TV - Call Letters - Network - Signal Strength

5.1 - WPTV - Local NBC - 92-94%
12.1 - WPEC-HD - Local CBS - 94%
25.1 - WPBF-HD - Local ABC - 75%
29.1 - WFLX - Local FOX - 98-100%
34.1 - WTVX-HD - Local CW - 81%
42.1 - WXEL - Local PBS - 100%
42.2 - CREATE - Local PBS - 98-100%
67.1 - ION - 100%
69.3 - Get TV - 80%

I'm sorry for the looks, I aligned the columns when writing my post, but when I posted it, everything changed.

I must say, I am impressed with the results, especially for just throwing it up and not really aiming it. I would like improve some of the signals, especially ABC, but I really don't want to move this antenna because of the results for 3 of the 4 major networks, along with a few of the other stations. I think my local ABC station's tower is to the east of me.

I was wondering what options are available to me. Would building another loop-dipole antenna and pointing it east and west (can I even do that?) help or do I need to do something else? Thanks.
 
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#11
The WPBF ABC signal is being transmitted on real channel 16 which your TV Fool report shows at 339 degrees just a bit west of true North. You might need to experiment with aiming and placement. Trying to combine two antenna is most often a recipe for more problems then you want to get into. At 75% signal are you having trouble with the ABC signal dropping? If not I wouldn't mess with it.
Steve
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
I tried moving the antenna and improved the WPBF ABC signal, but I lost a few other channels. I tried to put it back to where it was, but now I still can't get the channels I lost back the way they were. I wish I left well enough alone. I will try adjusting it again another day. Thanks again Steve for your help. Rob
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
I am going to mount the antenna outside to see the difference in the number of channels and signal quality. I have read that all outdoor antennas must be grounded. How do I do that with this loop-dipole antenna? Thanks. Rob
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#15
Thanks Steve for the information about grounding.

My cousin, who lives about 5 miles from me also built a loop-dipole antenna with good success too. He was wondering things:

1.) Would an amplifier improve signal strength for the stations he currently gets?

2.) Would it allow him to receive more channels as well?

3.) Would using a slightly larger diameter copper improve signal strength?

Thanks. Rob
 
#16
Avoid amplifiers you have some very strong nearby signals which can and will cause amplifier overload. While an amplifier can be very useful, and sometimes necessary tool in some situations. They should be looked at as a last resort as they more often create problems then solve them. For better reception you simply need a better antenna for your situation.
I've recently had this conversation. Do not change the dimensions from Dan's original design. If you wish to build a better antenna for your situation start over with a different proven design, or you could do like Dan did and add a separate UHF antenna coupled to the loop dipole using a UVSJ.
Looking at your TV Fool the signals down out of the green the ones in yellow should be receivable, but you are likely to need an antenna with some gain on both high VHF and UHF which means it won't be small.
The photo is of my current home built 2 bay. I know how I got the photo in there, but then I couldn't remove it.
Steve
 

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#17
Avoid amplifiers you have some very strong nearby signals which can and will cause amplifier overload. While an amplifier can be very useful, and sometimes necessary tool in some situations. They should be looked at as a last resort as they more often create problems then solve them. For better reception you simply need a better antenna for your situation.
I've recently had this conversation. Do not change the dimensions from Dan's original design. If you wish to build a better antenna for your situation start over with a different proven design, or you could do like Dan did and add a separate UHF antenna coupled to the loop dipole using a UVSJ.
Looking at your TV Fool the signals down out of the green the ones in yellow should be receivable, but you are likely to need an antenna with some gain on both high VHF and UHF which means it won't be small.
Steve
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
Steve, thanks for your time and help. I really appreciate it.

I am ready for my next challenge. May I have a list of parts needed for your design and how to assemble it or is there a link for it?

How important is the distance between the upper and lower antenna?

What is the diameter of the pole your antenna is mounted too?

Thanks. Rob
 
#19
I meant to just answer your questions, but then I got carried away, and when I try to delete and shorten the post the photo remained so I felt the need to offer some explanation as to what it is. I agreed with Dan in a location with signals as strong as what you have the loop-dipole should be all the antenna that is needed.
At my location I have a mix of strong high VHF signals, and moderate UHF signals coming from almost opposite directions. While I have used small directional antennas here in the past this time around I had to be totally home built out of what ever scraps, and junk I could find. I've built and tested a lot of simple antennas. The loop-dipole when I had one built to original dimensions was very strong on the VHF channels, but a bit weaker then a simple 2 bay on UHF. I had played with some simple 2 bay antennas for quite some time they are weak on VHF but stronger on UHF. The UHF signals in my part of the country are from very low powered translators over 20 miles away. The VHF signals are very strong. I often use a small temporary 2 bay antenna to test for signal at various locations when I have need to. I've always built to the M2 Mclapp dimensions.
2 Bay Kit
A very good page to read if you are thinking about trying a 2 bay. One of the other 2 bay information sites I wanted to reference is currently down. I feel the UHF 2 bay antenna is an often over looked antenna that can work in a lot of situations. The draw back to the 2 bay is the poor high VHF performance which can become non existent if you try to add a reflector to make the antenna a directional UHF antenna.
In a situation like yours with both high VHF, and UHF signals coming from opposite directions by far the simplest home built solution would be a Mclapp, or Kosmic SuperQuad 4 bay with no reflector.
To take another look at what I'm currently using, and some comments.
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/antenna-r-d/52692-simple-compact-antenna.html
Just because this little antenna has worked great for me at my location for over 2 years doesn't mean that I think it's a great design. It only means that it works great for me at my location.
TV Fool
Steve
 

robrpb

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#20
Let me say, that Dan's loop-dipole antenna works great. There are a few stations in the Miami area to my south that both I and my cousin would like to get. One being Decades on 4.2. My cousin can get it, but it is a weak signal, I can't get it at all. My cousin has his loop-dipole antenna mounted about 30-35 in the air. Therefore, I will be mounting my loop-dipole antenna outside maybe 15-20 feet high.

I moved my antenna outside and mounted it a couple feet above the lowest part of my hip roof (about 10 feet) on the south side of my house and to my surprise I got fewer channels than when it was mounted inside in my attic. When I moved the antenna back into my attic I was able to receive more channels. In the attic the antenna was mounted maybe only 2-3 feet higher than outside showing me, at least in my case, how the impact of even a couple feet of height is for an antenna, even for where I live in a flat terrain like Florida. Rob
 
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