I have a clearstream2 antenna from antennasdirect at my house mounted on the roof. Living in Harrisburg, I'm in a somewhat convenient location to receive OTA signals. I aim the antenna west towards charlotte, and I end up having the backend of my antenna pick up signals from greensboro. Which is nice during football season: I get extra games when Charlotte is restricted to showing only the Panthers. Here's the tvfool link for my house
, showing relatively easy aiming decisions.
Over the weekend, I built a DIY antenna at my friends house in Huntersville. They have somewhat harder aiming decisions
, as the south cluster of towers is about 90 degrees from the west towers. For me, those two clusters almost line up - so aiming is pretty trivial. I anticipated the 90 degree seperation to be a very tricky issue for them. Additionally, I mounted it in their attic rather than on the roof as a first step. I expected to pick up some, but not all of the channels. Step two was going to be two combined antennas, each aimed at one of the major clusters. Step 3 was roof mounting. Steps 2 and 3 turned out to be unnecessary, I think mostly due to the antenna I chose.
The design I chose for the antenna is a single bay gray hoverman
. It took a little fishing around in the attic to find the right location, but this is an impressively performing antenna. At my house, I have to have a distribution amplifier in order to ensure strong enough signal will get through to all the rooms that I send the signal. At my friends house, a simple splitter was sufficient, even though he's going through roughly the same amount of RG6 cable, while trying to get signal through roofing materials.
I got the best results aiming the antenna at the cluster of towers in Stanley (mostly west). If I aimed south towards the university towers, I could pick up 14-1, but then lost 55-1 and 3-1 & 36-1 were squirrely. Pointed west, I gave up 14-1, but got consistent picture on all the other channels and managed to pick up a few stations from greensboro.
Results: (Primary Channel & Signal Strength - as reported by TiVo)
3-1, 77% (cbs charlotte)
8-1, 34% (fox greensboro)
9-1, 53% (abc charlotte)
18-1, 48% (fox charlotte)
20-1, 51% (cw greensboro)
36-1, 91% (nbc charlotte)
42-1, 45% (pbs charlotte)
45-1, 46% (abc greensboro)
55-1, 93% (my charlotte)
58-1, 93% (pbs charlotte
64-1, 55% (waxn charlotte)
If I had to do it all over again at my house, I'd give the gray hoverman a shot in my attic before purchasing the more expensive commercial antenna. All-in that antenna cost about $20 to build compared to the $100 antenna that I have. The two most expensive parts where the $7 worth of 8 gauge solid copper wire for the elements and the $6 300ohm - 75ohm balun.
Anyway, I had to tell someone. My friends are not nerdy enough to appreciate the challenge their location created. Thanks!