OTA TV antennas, anyone?

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ampulman

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I recently acquired a HD TV set but am not currently subscribing to a HD tier of cable service.

Wanted to try my hand at receiving over-the-air digital TV. Put together a very simple 'binder clip' antenna (Binder Clip HDTV antenna part 1 - YouTube) which works fairly well. It easily delivers a great picture in 1080i (where available). Have also used rabbit ears.

You can see by its design, that it is a UHF antenna. I have several VHF stations, one of which, I haven't been able to pick up. Currently looking (on the Net) at several designs.

TV is in 2nd floor office. Might eventually put antenna in attic.

Was wondering if others have tinkered with OTA TV.

Amp
 

krokus

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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.973 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

I have built the HDTV antenna, featured in a PopComm article, a couple years ago. It works decently, but is a UHF antenna, as well.
 

W2NJS

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Some people, dishonest people I should say, will tell the non-techies that an HDTV antenna is different from an NTSC antenna, which of course it is not. TV antennas work better or worse depending on their design and your distance from the transmitter, just like any other RF receiving device. If you're lucky enough to live within local range of a transmitter where you have several thousand microvolts of signal hitting your house then a piece of wire on the TV set will work work fine. If the signal is weaker then the old TV antanna on your roof or chimney may work fine. If you're far from the transmitter then you're into the world of high-gain TV antennas, rotators, etc., but that should be a last resort after you've checked the first two options. A friend of mine who lived on the Delaware shore once told me that his HD reception from South Jersey and Philly was great due to the over-water signal path, but his Baltimore/DC reception was marginal, owing to the signal path being all over land.
 

gmclam

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OTA DTV in the USA

There isn't anything special in a digital TV antenna vs. antennas for analog TV.
This statement is totally true. There is one little catch with OTA digital TV in the USA -- the channel number being used by a station is often NOT the same as the channel they are broadcasting on. For example, my channel 3 (which used to be VHF) actually broadcasts on channel 35 (UHF).

The best thing to do is go to this website and put in your zipcode. It will show you what direction to point your antenna as well as what channels they are on.
 

Zagadka

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the old TV antanna on your roof or chimney may work fine
I can second that. I recently got a little TV and hooked it up to an elderly outdoor TV antenna I mounted in the attic. I receive 19 channels clearly, several from over 50 miles away. Of course, you don't get to build anything but it darn sure works. YMMV
 

ampulman

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Thanks for your comments

To all that responded, thanks.

In my reading, I have come across most of the information you posted.

Basically, I'm doing this as a diversion (I'm retired). So far, I've been able to log 38 stations, one about 50 miles away. Most of the stations are of no interest, but came across a program with WWII action on an oddball channel.

I like being able to watch locally carried sporting events in full HD and full screen.

Thanks again.

Amp
 
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gmclam

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Antennas: scanner vs TV

My ST2 antenna makes a good TV antenna. I hook it up to my HDTV when it is raining, since my dish network goes out.
The one typical difference between a scanner antenna and TV antenna is polarity. Public safety signals are generally vertically polarized while broadcast TV signals are generally horizontally polarized.

Another is directivity. Scanner antennas are generally omni-directional while TV antennas are directional. So if you don't have signals coming in from other directions, and the desired signal is relatively strong, an ST2 will work ok. If you get some digital breakup, a weak signal, or want to get even more signals to your TV; a directional antenna will work better. And that applies to scanners too .. some people listen to UHF trunked systems that are not nearby, and a vertically polarized directional antenna could make something (more) listenable.
 

oft

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The one typical difference between a scanner antenna and TV antenna is polarity. Public safety signals are generally vertically polarized while broadcast TV signals are generally horizontally polarized.

Another is directivity. Scanner antennas are generally omni-directional while TV antennas are directional. So if you don't have signals coming in from other directions, and the desired signal is relatively strong, an ST2 will work ok. If you get some digital breakup, a weak signal, or want to get even more signals to your TV; a directional antenna will work better. And that applies to scanners too .. some people listen to UHF trunked systems that are not nearby, and a vertically polarized directional antenna could make something (more) listenable.
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Thanks for that information about the polarity, I may have to try turning my homemade OTA HDTV antennas 90° and remove the back reflectors and see how this does to scanner reception. The UHF tv band 14-83 runs from 470MHz to 890 MHz so I will have to try this in reference to the 700 MHz and 800 MHz.

But in reference to the original post. I have built many of the 'youtube' antennas from the fractals, the DB4, the Grey Hoverman and found in my particular environment, the DB4 worked very well for me. and when Hurricane Irene came, the DB4 and my battery-powered HDTV worked when I lost power.
 
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