Congratulations on passing your ham test. I made my first crystal set when I was 8 and have been a ham since the early 1950s; it has given me a lot of pleasure. I'm a W4, ex-W2, ex-DL4.
Originally Posted by Trip
I'll be quite honest, the UHFs are so strong here that I doubt I need a separate UHF antenna.
I agree. You should first try just the VHF antenna optimized for CH11 in the best "hot spot" that you can find. If you could borrow a TV signal level meter (SLM) it would help you find that spot. Sencore says you need to keep the digital signal level between -15dBmV and +15dBmV:http://www.sencore.com/uploads/files...veGoodHDTV.pdf
I have used my old NTSC SLM to measure a marginal signal that I have (13.1 on RF41) that is too weak for a lock but I can still get a reading of about -27dBmV. It has an audio feature: an NTSC video carrier is a buzzing sound; the digital signals sound like white noise:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1084674
I tried to use my CM7777 preamp to bring it up to lock, but it didn't help:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...6&postcount=90
I also don't know how much weight duct tape would bear.
Many people have used a floor-to-ceiling spring loaded pole (like for a pole lamp) to safely support an antenna---no tape, no screws, no nails, no holes.
I'm not quite sure what my roommate would say about an antenna duct taped to the ceiling.
Your roommate might be more tolerant of your antenna experiments if your roommate derived some benefit from them.
My wife tolerates aluminum tubing around the apartment that I use for HF antenna experiments because she would rather have me play with antennas than play with other women. She has encouraged me to do UHF bowtie antenna experiments to be able to receive digital TV when the cable is out and to receive news bulletins during a power failure or weather emergency.
I know that you said that you couldn't have an outdoor antenna, but would it be possible to make a temporary set-up of an outdoor antenna for CH11 to see if you could get a lock on it? If you could measure the CH11 signal level outside, you would know if it is even possible to do what you want. If you can't borrow a signal level meter, and you have enough signal for a lock, you could at least use an attenuator (as in the Kelvin link below) to see how much margin you had before dropout.
My FM reception makes me think FMs aren't much of a concern. I have a really hard time decoding WVTW 88.5's digital radio signal here, and that's a B1-class signal on Carter's Mountain.
Outside, yeah, the FMs are pretty vicious. But 95.1 is the only one that's not on Carter's and I have a hill blocking me from it that really cuts it down, and the rest on Carter's other than 8 kW WWWV are all power limited due to their height and don't overpower me in my room. Outside, definitely, but not in here.
I borrowed the UVA club's VP's HT for the week and find that this room is terrible. It can't hear much of anything in here. Where signals come to die?
Your remarks remind me of my situation. When I retired I bought an ICOM 735 and set-up an indoor folded dipole for 15 meters. I was trying to have a CW QSO with a JA, but it was't going very well. I thought that something was wrong with my receiver; it wasn't very sensitive and I was getting low S-meter readings. I then set-up a second identical antenna outside with an A-B switch. Wow! What a difference! After a lot of investigation I discovered that the problem was the aluminum foil vapor barrier on the insulation in the outer walls. I was living in a shielded enclosure; can you say Faraday cage?
The aluminum foil also makes it difficult to use a cell phone inside. It also affects TV reception. We have been able to use a battery operated 5" B&W analog TV inside to receive news bulletins during a power failure, but it's no go for digital. I was able to get permission from the landlord (If it looks "nice" and is not obvious from the steet) and built an enclosure for an outside antenna:Attachment 125095Attachment 125096
Some of the signal is lost (about 40%) on its way through the holes in the decorative block wall, but there is still enough left to get the latest local emergency news bulletins on channels 3.1 and 10.1, which is important to me and my wife.
The optimum location for the antenna was determined by measurements with a signal level meter, because sometimes the best location is counterintuitive. In this case, higher was not better.
When I made measurements with the antenna in front of and then behind the block wall I found that the wall causes a loss of about 2 dB on UHF. The loss for VHF channel 13 is about 5 dB and for channel 10 about 7 dB. It seems that the holes in the blocks are acting like a high pass filter! The readings for 10 and 13 were made with the above 4-bay Channel Master 3021/4221 UHF antenna. I plan to repeat it with a channel 13 antenna, because digital channel 13.1, which is now on UHF channel 41, will move to VHF 13 on February 17, 2009.
Do you have a window that faces the transmitter? I don't, and wasn't able to get a lock on any channel with an antenna in the window because it's 90 degrees off from the ideal direction. Some people can't even use a window if it has low-e glass, which will block RF. We have had several reports of the problem on this forum. One student couldn't figure out why he couldn't get a signal inside his dorm window, but he could outside:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1064806
I know that this post is pretty long but old hams help new hams, that's the tradition.