Homemade Antenna? (1 Viewer)

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
I've been reading a lot about this coat hanger antenna said to be better than most store bought antennas. I have a huge antenna I bought a couple years ago, one that I was told I would need to receive my local channels & tried finding the best spot possible but 1 channel is all I get reliably. I live 50 miles south of Seattle but I'm unable to pick up the local channels. The only one I do get is 40 miles nw from me. I live in the sticks and there's a lot of hills all around me.

But I've been reading that this coat hanger antenna along with a few other home made antennas, out perform some of the best aerial antennas on the market.
Has anyone here heard about this or have had any experience with this?

Also, I've read that nearly all TV channels are now UHF, even if their allocated TV station number is in the VHF range, the actual frequency is in the UHF range now since the transition. My antenna picks up all kinds of bands & frequency.

Maybe simpler is better.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,032
Dorchester, TX.
Start off with TV Fool and find out what you need to receive your local broadcasters. If home made antennas were so easy and FOOL proof why would 50 year old companies still be in business?
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
Start off with TV Fool and find out what you need to receive your local broadcasters. If home made antennas were so easy and FOOL proof why would 50 year old companies still be in business?
I have been to that sight hundreds of times.
My chalk line strings constantly break at work rendering a chalk line that's been used 4 or 5 times useless. But I don't replace that string with the same string designed to break again 4 or 5 times later, but I do replace it with another kind of string that is about 1/8th the price & lasts 50 to 75 uses. But yet that string company is still in business after 84 years.

I guess the only way to really find out is to try this and see. This might take a few days or a week or two but I will probably post my results here when I'm done.

I was just wondering if anybody else has done this.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,032
Dorchester, TX.
I have been to that sight hundreds of times.
My chalk line strings constantly break at work rendering a chalk line that's been used 4 or 5 times useless. But I don't replace that string with the same string designed to break again 4 or 5 times later, but I do replace it with another kind of string that is about 1/8th the price & lasts 50 to 75 uses. But yet that string company is still in business after 84 years.

I guess the only way to really find out is to try this and see. This might take a few days or a week or two but I will probably post my results here when I'm done.

I was just wondering if anybody else has done this.
If you been to TVFOOL hundreds of times have you read it? It will tell you wether yout channels are broadcast on UHF or VHF. The 50 year reference was to Winegard and Channel Master which I see listed in your owned products. Maybe the Channel Master 3671 isn't the best antenna for your location Wa covers a large amount of territory. Homemade antennas depend a lot on the ability of the builder, seeing the CM3671A/B are fringe area antennas you might just be too far away for reliable reception. TV FOOL will give you a pretty good idea of what is possible but each case is different.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
283
34
Mankato, MN
Also, I've read that nearly all TV channels are now UHF, even if their allocated TV station number is in the VHF range, the actual frequency is in the UHF range now since the transition
you might want to verify that. While most of that is correct, stations that were in the 7-13 range in a lot of cases moved back to those frequencies (VHF Hi)

Checking the FCC these stations are on VHF HI in Seattle
KIRO 7 (CBS)
KCTS 9 (PBS)
KSTW 11 (CW)
KCPQ 13 (FOX)

all stations above are on their analog number. SO make sure the antenna can get both VHF & UHF
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
The 3 stations I really want are 45 miles north & broadcast in the UHF range even though they're known as 4, 5 and 7. The 1 channel I do get is broadcasted in the VHF range. There's a lot of hills between me & them and I think that has to be the problem. I'm not in a hole or anything, no tall building nearby, actually, no buildings period for at least 7 or 800 feet. The tree line starts at about 300 feet.

I know I'm in a difficult area & the antenna I have was recommended. All the cable was new when I bought the antenna & is supposed to be quad shielded. The cable doesn't touch any surfaces & is even fed through wire holders under the floor. The wire connects directly to the TV, there are no splitters or any other connections between the TV & the antenna. The balun is new, the second one in 3 years, since it was suggested once that my balun could be defective. My antenna is currently about 38 feet above the ground.

I've exhausted myself trying to figure this out. It seems to puzzle a lot of people since I've talked to people who are 70 & 80 miles from their TV stations & receive a solid signal, but in my case, it has to have something to do with the terrain I'm sure.

Anyway, this coat hanger antenna is said to be easy to build & receives signals 60 to 70 miles away with plenty of signal strength. I have the coat hangers, wire, drill, bolts, screws & soldering iron. It looks like it will cost me about $0.03 cents to build & that's for the electricity.

It would really be something if it did work, but I'm skeptical myself but it'll be a good learning experience either way.
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
you might want to verify that. While most of that is correct, stations that were in the 7-13 range in a lot of cases moved back to those frequencies (VHF Hi)

Checking the FCC these stations are on VHF HI in Seattle
KIRO 7 (CBS)
KCTS 9 (PBS)
KSTW 11 (CW)
KCPQ 13 (FOX)

all stations above are on their analog number. SO make sure the antenna can get both VHF & UHF

Sorry Iceberg, I didn't see your post until now.
I recently checked 4,5 & 7 & were reported to be in the UHF range.
Channel 13 did show to be in the VHF range.

I'll double check.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,577
114
Port Hope, ON Canada
The coat hanger antenna will only give good performance on UHF channels and should not be any better than what you have already. What would improve your reception, as I do not see it mentioned, is a good quality pre-amplifier like a Channel Master or Winegard. Be sure to look for very low noise factor, and stay away from any that do not give a noise factor rating.
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
The coat hanger antenna will only give good performance on UHF channels and should not be any better than what you have already. What would improve your reception, as I do not see it mentioned, is a good quality pre-amplifier like a Channel Master or Winegard. Be sure to look for very low noise factor, and stay away from any that do not give a noise factor rating.
I guess I could gamble on a pre-amp. I never gave it much thought.
 

hwm

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 29, 2008
298
0
North Central Idaho
I built one of the "Grey-Hoverman" coat-hanger antennas and tested it thoroughly on UHF and VHF. Performance was about the same on UHF as the classic Channel Master quad bowtie outdoor UHF antenna, a little better than the Channel Master on VHF. Much worse on VHF than an old Radio Shack Log Periodic 5 element VHF antenna.

One home-built UHF antenna that I built does impress me, it uses star shaped fractal elemants. It outperforms every other indoor UHF antenna I have tried. Try a google search for "fractal TV antenna"

Bottom line is that no antenna will pull in a signal that is blocked by terrain. I can get three stations reliably at my home in a small valley with two antennas on the rooftop and a good pre-amp feeding into RG-6 cable. If I drive 1/3 mile to the top of a nearby hill, I can get over a dozen stations with a small hand-held antenna and a portable digital TV.
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
I bought my antenna about 2 years ago & I really think I bought the wrong one. I haven't had much time to build the "internet antenna" but I did talk to Radio Shack & they showed me the one I should have gotten. It looks like a Grey-Hoverman. It looks nothing like what I currently have. They also said I could try it & see if it works & if not, I could return it as long as I don't destroy the packaging or damage the antenna. That might be the way to go. My concern is I was going to use 10 gauge copper wire for the whiskers---it has to be better than aluminum.
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
Interesting.
I didn't have enough 10 gauge copper so I stripped some 12 gauge indoor house wire.

Not thinking it would really work, I grabbed a piece of 1X3X2' long cedar this afternoon & built my home made antenna in about an hour & a half. The whole thing is about 2 feet long & about 17 inches wide. The foot print is about the same area as my all in one printer.

I fastened it to another piece of cedar that was 10 feet long & leaned it up against the bird bath in the front yard & now I can get the ION channels which are 44 miles from my house.

I realize location can be the key but it's amazing this thing even works. Compared to my huge Channel Master that sits 38' off the ground, I am amazed.
 

Mike_H

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
770
5
Twin Cities, MN
Finally took a picture of my home made antenna. Used some wood, pvc, and rabbit fence with aluminum wire from the hardware store. I used plans for the dimensions found here:
Index of /~mclapp/Antennas/4baystuff

Antenna is about 30 miles from the transmitter, and in the basement pointing out a sliding glass door at a deck and more houses and trees. I have a Radio Shack signal booster plugged in to the output of the antenna, and get high 80's to mid 90's on the UHF channels, and mid to high 70's for the VHF channels. Don't have any real signal issues until it falls below 70. Without the signal booster I loose about 4 points on the scale.

I'm sure I can hit 100 on some UHF channels if I aimed just for them, but current direction just gets all of them reasonable. The VHF channels are the challenge with this design. It used to be just the whiskers, but when the move of some channels to VHF, I had to add the reflector in the back to pick them up.

If I would just put it on the upper floor and outside, it would get them all at 100.




the link above is a folder of a guy that posted or posts on avsforum and he and others did analysis of the designs. The one I made is really good for UHF, but needed the reflector for VHF. The folder above has some tips for both along with the reflector idea.
 

NotTy

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 5, 2010
368
0
Wa
So the reflector is for VHF reception?

What's the difference between using aluminum wire or 12 gauge copper house wire?

I now have my homemade antenna leaning against the house to get the ION channels & the big antenna is used to pick up 1 UHF channel. But my big antenna will pick up the ION channels real good but then I can't get channel 13 (UHF) because of the location. When I use a splitter, then my homemade antenna looses nearly all the signal so I either watch ION on W1 or switch antennas which is kind of a pain.

Your antenna looks so much cleaner than mine. I know mine will short out with the first rain we get but I don't want to put too much effort into this unless it's really going to work.

So my next question was going to be about the reflector as I was going to use a flat board with tin foil as shown on the one on internet that I copied from. But that seems like it would cause problems.

Anyway, thanks for that link.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,577
114
Port Hope, ON Canada
The reflector increases the signals from the front side and blocks the signals from the back. It is only UHF, but if you have some strong VHF signals you may also receive them.
Aluminum and copper wire are very simular in their performance. See this thread for discussion on materials to use.
Best Metals for Antennas: Performance, Soldering, Welding, Bending, Working - Digital Forum

A very large reflector and changing the size of the whiskers and spacing can help in picking up the VHF-Hi channels.
 
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Mike_H

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
770
5
Twin Cities, MN
Without the reflector, the VHF signals were not strong enough to be picked up by the whiskers which were optimized for UHF frequencies. You don't want any solid reflector because of two things.
#1 wind loading is terrible if it will be outside.
#2 it doesn't appreciably assist at the frequencies we are talking about.

AVSforum has a good thread on making your own antenna. Some folks with actual equipment to plot antenna patterns did some testing and at the time I built this (2 or 3 years ago) this design was one of the best. If I had this mounted at a higher elevation, I wouldn't need one so big.

It is important to have the wiskers and the mess boxes very straight, and square. Any deviation creates losses in the antenna. The spacing of the whiskers and the mesh is also important. From what I recall, the further back the reflector can be from the main element, the higher the gain.

Long term I have a proper antenna that I need to mount in the rafters of my garage and have someone run the coax down into my utility room for distribution.

Copper vs Aluminum. I seem to recall that the gain, if any from copper wire was minimal. At the frequencies we are talking only the surface of the wire is involved. Copper certainly costs a lot more.

In that link that Larry posted, they discuss mclapp. The link I posted was to mclapps' files.
 
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