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post #1 of 31 Old 02-01-2008, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I am awaiting the delivery of my first HDTV this coming week, and I am planning on hooking up an antenna to get OTA HDTV. According to antennaweb, I should get all the locals fine (yellow), but there are several green/red/blue stations that I would like to get, and I would prefer to not have to install an outdoor antenna (plus I don't know about neighborhood covenants I may not be allowed to!).

Anyway, I have a rectangular house with a long, straight roof line and an open attic, and I was wondering if there are any suggestions out there for DIY antennas (antennae?) that I could install in (or even all over) my attic, or perhaps running the length of the roof peak line (30-35 feet, straight line). I have seen the infamous youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw) for making a shorter antenna, but could this theory be multiplied to make a much larger, even-more-effective one? Or could several of those be joined with a diplexer? And what about VHF (my understanding is that the video is a UHF-only antenna)?

I wouldn't be opposed to stringing wire around up there quite a bit (if the overall cost remained less than a store-bought attic antenna of equivalent reception ability). Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-01-2008, 07:18 PM
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See discussion thread at:
http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9613

Not all digital broadcasts are in UHF. If you add your zip code, someone would probably look your local area up or explain how you would find out.

It's not uncommon for people to put commercial antennas in their attic.
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post #3 of 31 Old 02-02-2008, 01:52 PM
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The more posts I read the more amazed at how many, many people are told by their neighborhood and neighbors what they can and cannot do on their property. Why does anyone live in such restrictive places???

Was going to share inexpensive way I built our first 22 ft outdoor antenna and how it picks up great reception up to 100 miles away but, sorry, never mind.
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post #4 of 31 Old 02-02-2008, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imjay View Post

The more posts I read the more amazed at how many, many people are told by their neighborhood and neighbors what they can and cannot do on their property. Why does anyone live in such restrictive places???

Actually, according to the FCC, HOA's are not even allowed to have a rule that restricts reasonable antennas. So, the OP can put up a "reasonable" antenna wherever he choses on his house.

"As directed by Congress in Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Device Rule concerning governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on viewers' ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites ("DBS"), multichannel multipoint distribution (wireless cable) providers ("MMDS"), and television broadcast stations ("TVBS").

The rule is cited as 47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000 and has been in effect since October 14, 1996. It prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas. The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal."

Enjoying crystal clear TV for free.

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html
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post #5 of 31 Old 02-02-2008, 04:02 PM
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If you only need a few channels, you can build your own Yagi antenna:
http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/misc/dipole.html
Folded Dipole + Reflector + one or more Directors.

It is fairly narrowband and hence is only optimized to receive either one lo-band (CH2-6),
three adjacent hi-band VHF (CH7-13) or 5-10 adjacent UHF channels.
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post #6 of 31 Old 02-02-2008, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smpowell View Post

See discussion thread at:
http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9613

You must be kidding. Just spend $30-40 and be done with it.

'Better Living Through Modern, Expensive, Electronic Devices'

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post #7 of 31 Old 02-03-2008, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post

I am awaiting the delivery of my first HDTV this coming week, and I am planning on hooking up an antenna to get OTA HDTV. According to antennaweb, I should get all the locals fine (yellow), but there are several green/red/blue stations that I would like to get, and I would prefer to not have to install an outdoor antenna (plus I don't know about neighborhood covenants I may not be allowed to!).

Anyway, I have a rectangular house with a long, straight roof line and an open attic, and I was wondering if there are any suggestions out there for DIY antennas (antennae?) that I could install in (or even all over) my attic, or perhaps running the length of the roof peak line (30-35 feet, straight line). I have seen the infamous youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw) for making a shorter antenna, but could this theory be multiplied to make a much larger, even-more-effective one? Or could several of those be joined with a diplexer? And what about VHF (my understanding is that the video is a UHF-only antenna)?

I wouldn't be opposed to stringing wire around up there quite a bit (if the overall cost remained less than a store-bought attic antenna of equivalent reception ability). Any advice is appreciated.

Why spend the cash? It's so easy... See this site
http://uhfhdtvantenna.blogspot.com/
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post12788845

OK, I'M BACK
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post #8 of 31 Old 02-03-2008, 08:22 AM
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pjpjpjpj, there's more to it than simply "stringing wire around" and bigger isn't neccessarily better. There are some measurements that need to be followed fairly close, but it's not rocket science and building the antennas referenced (the 2-bay and 4-bay) are well within the abilities of most individuals. They can pretty much be built with very common tools and a very small amount of hardware. I got the most information from the Lumenlab link, but it is rather long and takes off on a few tangents...the first few pages have the basic information in the and message #228 found on this page gives the specific measurements of the Channel Master 4221 which is the basic model for the diy antenna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wireman134 View Post

Why spend the cash? It's so easy... See this site
http://uhfhdtvantenna.blogspot.com/
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post12788845

I hear ya, Wireman134.

I think in some situations it's an economic issue...when you can definitely build a *very* good antenna for less than $10 *if* you have to buy the screws, washers, and balun...wood and coathangers can be had for nothing but I do like copper wire. Though copper prices have increased drastically you still may be able to find the meager amount needed at a construction site that a builder will give you. Other times I thinks it's an issue of "I want to try that!" mentality.

My daughter is still enjoying the 4-bay I built her...I built it out of rustic wood and bare copper wire...it's used indoors and she likes the "atmosphere" that it gives off (plus the fact that it works quiet well!). A friend in Ohio just finished a 4-bay and so far is very pleased with it's performance and will probably still see even better reception with it once he gets it into the attic.

I just rigged up an old Dell CRT monitor and a Samsung TS360 satellite receiver at work (recycled hi-def...I oughta get a tax credit for it!!! ). I need more than a set of rabbit ears for it, so...yelp, I'm gonna built a 2, maybe 4-bay for it and see how it goes. I'm going for a very lightweight version using copper wire soldered at the joints using a mapp torch (rather than screws and washers) and attach this to a very lightweight piece of wood with zipties.

Ok, so maybe I could buy an antenna and be done with it...but, tinkering is fun, too, and the old ham in me tends to leak out once in a while.

Ed

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...and haven't seen *my* bailout, yet!!!!
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post #9 of 31 Old 02-03-2008, 08:39 AM
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Has anyone tried to build a bow-tie for upper VHF reception? Is it even doable, if the ~3x size requirements can be overcome?
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post #10 of 31 Old 02-03-2008, 10:17 AM
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You know, you can buy a complete doghouse at the hardware of pet store, or you can draw and build one yourself. Guess which is more satisfying and fun? Many guys (I should say "people" or "folks", but let's face it, it's 95% guys) like to see what they can fabricate. It's the caveman gene...
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post #11 of 31 Old 02-03-2008, 03:18 PM
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Bow ties are used for VHF transmission, so there's no reason (aside from finding a place to put the thing) you couldn't use them for reception as well.

It's amazing how good an antenna you can get using scrap material. I built a biquad (romex, coax, cardboard, aluminum foil) which was able to get two middle-distance stations (one at a time, the antenna had to be tuned), and a facsimile of the center of a PR-4400 (balun, tape, cardboard, aluminum foil, shoebox, staples) which got both without tuning.

For real use I use a CM4221, the others are just for fun.
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-03-2008, 05:41 PM
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I am just happy I had a long co-ax cable lying around for tonights game. It picked up Fox and the local NBC as well. So I get them two local HD currently. Hopefully they will be piping down Dish soon so I do not have to buy an antennae for the local ABC and CBS stations. Worked to get the game though....
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-04-2008, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyromark View Post

You know, you can buy a complete doghouse at the hardware of pet store, or you can draw and build one yourself. Guess which is more satisfying and fun? Many guys (I should say "people" or "folks", but let's face it, it's 95% guys) like to see what they can fabricate. It's the caveman gene...

Exactly why I want to do it myself, tyromark.

Attached is my antenna listing. I am mostly concerned about getting VHF channels 5, 9, 12, and 19, and UHF channels 38, 48, and 64 (all basically the same direction and yellow, so hopefully not a problem). But I would also like to shoot for some of the Dayton/Springfield stations, which (though basically the same direction) are the opposite direction, blue, and are a mix of VHF and UHF.

I have a two story house with an attic, and I am pretty much at the top of a hill, located in north-central greater Cincinnati (45241).

So my question is, if I want my equipment indoors (attic or otherwise), and I am trying to avoid a rotor (I would rather have multiple antennas than a rotor), and I am willing to buy it OR make it... what would any of you suggest (and if your answer is "you won't get the blue with an attic antenna", so be it).
LL
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-04-2008, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post

Exactly why I want to do it myself, tyromark.

Attached is my antenna listing. I am mostly concerned about getting VHF channels 5, 9, 12, and 19, and UHF channels 38, 48, and 64 (all basically the same direction and yellow, so hopefully not a problem). But I would also like to shoot for some of the Dayton/Springfield stations, which (though basically the same direction) are the opposite direction, blue, and are a mix of VHF and UHF.

Looks to me like all of these should be attainable with something like a 4-bay bowtie...DIY, CM4221, DB4, etc.,. A minimal setup would give you all the major networks.

I'm curious about something...are you shooting for the analog or the digital channels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post

I have a two story house with an attic, and I am pretty much at the top of a hill, located in north-central greater Cincinnati (45241).

Does your house have a metal roof? Stucco? Metal insulation in the attic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post

So my question is, if I want my equipment indoors (attic or otherwise), and I am trying to avoid a rotor (I would rather have multiple antennas than a rotor), and I am willing to buy it OR make it... what would any of you suggest (and if your answer is "you won't get the blue with an attic antenna", so be it).

What have you got against a rotor? They certainly make life more simple.

If you're wanting to try fishing for some distant station then you'll probably want to go with an 8-bay bowtie or a large corner reflector like the XG91 In this situation it would definitely be to your benefit to have two antennas...the 4-bay for the locals and an 8-bay w/pre-amp for the distant "blue" stations. The 8-bay w/pre-amp would cause problems for the close-by stations.

Shoot. Build yourself a 4-bay, stick it in the attic and see how it works. That'll tell ya volumes about your situation....just do a good build.

Best wishes,
Ed

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...and haven't seen *my* bailout, yet!!!!
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-05-2008, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpjpjpj View Post

Exactly why I want to do it myself, tyromark.

Attached is my antenna listing. I am mostly concerned about getting VHF channels 5, 9, 12, and 19, and UHF channels 38, 48, and 64 (all basically the same direction and yellow, so hopefully not a problem). But I would also like to shoot for some of the Dayton/Springfield stations, which (though basically the same direction) are the opposite direction, blue, and are a mix of VHF and UHF.

I have a two story house with an attic, and I am pretty much at the top of a hill, located in north-central greater Cincinnati (45241).

So my question is, if I want my equipment indoors (attic or otherwise), and I am trying to avoid a rotor (I would rather have multiple antennas than a rotor), and I am willing to buy it OR make it... what would any of you suggest (and if your answer is "you won't get the blue with an attic antenna", so be it).

Most of the network DTV broadcasts are duplicated from Dayton and Cincinnati so direct a 4 bay bow tie toward 215*. Build it with 8 1/2" bow tie elements with a larger reflector of say 36"X22" to help with the VHF channels. Being 10 miles from transmitters you should get those VHF high band broadcasts. These antennas are sort of multi directional and pull in signals from 90 degrees regularly.
Analog is going away in one year so the DT channels are what you want

OK, I'M BACK
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post #16 of 31 Old 02-06-2008, 09:10 AM
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I know it's a weird place to post this, but I need help.

I went over to lumenlab to check out the DIY antennas. I registered and everything, but never received the validation email. The one contact I found over there comes back as an undeliverable email address. I've tried everything I can think of even registering a new account with a different email and still a no go. Without validation you can't look at any of the linked pics.

Anyway if anyone is a member or knows of a good email for some of their mods, I'd appreciate some help.

I'm using the same user name over there; girdnerg

Thanks,
Rob
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post #17 of 31 Old 02-06-2008, 10:50 AM
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girdnerg, I did the same thing yesterday, except that I got a little further than you. It allowed me to register, and I got the validation email. I clicked to make it active, and then when I tried to go in and look at pics, it still wouldn't allow me to.

I've gone back today, on my work computer, to see if it just took some time, but no dice. It's frustrating.
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post #18 of 31 Old 02-06-2008, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackelroy View Post

girdnerg, I did the same thing yesterday, except that I got a little further than you. It allowed me to register, and I got the validation email. I clicked to make it active, and then when I tried to go in and look at pics, it still wouldn't allow me to.

I've gone back today, on my work computer, to see if it just took some time, but no dice. It's frustrating.

There might be a membership required. I can log in, maybe you have to post a question. Can't view pictures also...

OK, I'M BACK
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post #19 of 31 Old 02-07-2008, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help everyone - the TV arrived this morning, so I am anxiously waiting to get home from work and hook it up.

Last night I built a 4-bay bowtie antenna ("DB4" type), without even adding a reflector (I was in a hurry - took me about an hour). I will hook it up tonight and see how it does, just leaning against the wall behind my TV armoire. When I finished it last night, I hooked it to the analog antenna input on my current TV, and was able to get channels 9 (ABC) and 12 (CBS) crystal clear, with the antenna leaning against the front of the armoire. Channel 5 (NBC) was pretty snowy. But I figure, if those things are designed to be "centered" around the mid-range frequencies (30s or 40s), then the ability to pick up analog channel 5 at all should be a promising indicator, right? Most of my digital channels are in the low- to mid-30s.

I'll give it a shot and report back. If it is disappointing, I will deconstruct and add the reflector... and after that, move the whole thing to the attic (although I may need an amp).

Hey, in case I need an amp, here's a question: since the whole thing would be an indoor set-up, could I just use one of those plug-in units (from "back in the day") that was used when splitting your cable TV to a bunch of different sets? I think I still have one of those in storage from my college days (4 bedroom apt plus living room - it had 1 "in" and 5 "outs"). And if that would work, would there be any issues if I did not have TVs hooked to every "out", but only one or two of them?

For you guys at the end of this thread: coincidentally, I registered successfully with Lumenlab the other day myself... no problem... maybe you just had a glitch. Good luck!
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-07-2008, 12:29 PM
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Just curious as to how far apart you spaced your bowties at the center? I'm attaching a pic of one I built, and I spaced them 5 3/4 inches apart, based on the youtube DIY instructions. Basically, what I created was that antenna, but with a reflector made of cage wire.

However, I saw another similar antenna build on a blog, and that one had the bowties spaced 7 inches apart at the center. I'm curious if one way is better than the other.

What I have seems to work ok in my living room. I'm going to put it in the attic tonight so I can catch LOST in HD.

My TV doesn't have a signal strength meter, which is kind of a bummer.

Anyone have thoughts on the spacing issue?
LL
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post #21 of 31 Old 02-08-2008, 07:59 PM
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@ mackelroy

I've tinkered with the DB4/CM4221 copy and here is what worked best for me.
Note: I'm deep fringe so minor changes drastically effect reception. If you are close to the towers, tweaks probably will make little difference.

1. Copper wire works better than coat hanger
2. 8.5" spacing between the center of the bowties.
3. Bowtie ends spread 5" apart, not 3".

Attic installs are more about finding the right "spot" than anything else.
Good luck!
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post #22 of 31 Old 02-17-2009, 02:40 PM
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Does that antenna on the youtube video really work?

I was thinking of building one but don't want to waste my time if it does not work. I am in a similar position, 2 story house, vaulted ceilings with attic. I am not sure how long the run is but it is probably a fair distance 50-60 feet from across the attic and to the bottom floor.

My channels range from 7 through 56 in my area (Austin TX). I would like to be able to split the signal to 2 HTPCs, each with dual ATSC tuners.

Not sure what I would need to make this all work.

Thoughts?

Regards.
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post #23 of 31 Old 02-17-2009, 02:57 PM
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There is a long thread about building your own antenna. The title is misleading "How to build an UHF antenna" but the one I build and have in my attic works great on 7 and above.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post15842433

PS
Someone already posted this, but to repeat: It is illegal by federal law for an origination like a town, home owner association, and condo association to ban a normal outdoor tv antenna as long as it is on your own property.
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post #24 of 31 Old 02-17-2009, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack View Post

Does that antenna on the youtube video really work?

I was thinking of building one but don't want to waste my time if it does not work. I am in a similar position, 2 story house, vaulted ceilings with attic. I am not sure how long the run is but it is probably a fair distance 50-60 feet from across the attic and to the bottom floor.

My channels range from 7 through 56 in my area (Austin TX). I would like to be able to split the signal to 2 HTPCs, each with dual ATSC tuners.

Not sure what I would need to make this all work.

Thoughts?


there are active forums

How to build a UHF antenna

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=798265

How to build an indoor VHF antenna

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1024739
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post #25 of 31 Old 02-17-2009, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post

there are active forums

How to build a UHF antenna

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=798265

How to build an indoor VHF antenna

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1024739

My ch 7 through 57 antenna from info I got at: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=798265

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post #26 of 31 Old 02-18-2009, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post

there are active forums

How to build a UHF antenna

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=798265

How to build an indoor VHF antenna

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1024739

Wow, long threads.

I am a newbie at this stuff so it is going to take some time to work through all that.

Lot's of new terms here that I am not familiar with...guess I just need to do some reading.

Regards.
Java

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post #27 of 31 Old 02-18-2009, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Java Jack View Post

Wow, long threads.

I am a newbie at this stuff so it is going to take some time to work through all that.

Lot's of new terms here that I am not familiar with...guess I just need to do some reading.

Many people are building mclapp's 4 bay bowtie antenna. Their are at least 3 versions which are very similar. You should also read the different ways people have constructed them. You can build them with and without a reflector. I build one without a reflector because I needed bi-direction.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post13920561
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post13951915
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14530588
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-18-2009, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeySoft View Post

Many people are building mclapp's 4 bay bowtie antenna. Their are at least 3 versions which are very similar. You should also read the different ways people have constructed them. You can build them with and without a reflector. I build one without a reflector because I needed bi-direction.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post13920561
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post13951915
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14530588

So, how far away can these things pick up signals from? I am only 15 miles from downtown austin so I don't think that will be an issue, however I am about 70 miles from San Antonio and it would be great if I could tune in those stations as well, though that is strictly a bonus if it works.

Regards.
Java

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post #29 of 31 Old 02-18-2009, 11:18 PM
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Consider building a Gray Hoverman TV antenna:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/ota/superantenna/index.htm

Some folks think it looks difficult to make when in fact its quite easy and the performance is terrific.
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post #30 of 31 Old 02-20-2009, 06:12 PM
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1. High vhf bowtie: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1034799
esp. mclapp post #15

2. "I am only 15 miles from downtown austin so I don't think that will be an issue, however I am about 70 miles from San Antonio" 15 miles no problem as far as distance is concerned, but there could be problems posed by buildings and other factors. 70 miles gets more questionable; I would try it and see. A diy 4bay bowtie worked for me at 50 miles over flat terrain with no tall buildings, but trees sometimes caused problems.

3. imjay:"Was going to share inexpensive way I built our first 22 ft outdoor antenna and how it picks up great reception up to 100 miles away but, sorry, never mind." That is the spirit of the web! And I think I'll knock on some neighbors' doors just to ask them if they need anything and then tell them that I can't help.
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