Rate / Critique My Antenna Setup Please

MikeThompson

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Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This is my current antenna setup which I am satisfied with. I seem to receive well enough, but there is usually a fair bit of noise which can really impede listening. I'm just wondering if any antenna gurus can point out some glaring problems or have some pointers on how to improve my setup and / or reduce noise.

My primary goal is to get the maximum benefit but have little to no visible wires and equipment outside.

From my primary listening spot, my work bench. The speaker wire is alligator clipped to the external antenna of my TECSUN pl660.
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The wire then winds its way to the basement door frame:

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It then goes across the top of the frame

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Then it winds its way up an unused phone cable. I say unused because we no longer have a home phone, but is it possible I'm getting noise from that wire?
Or from the power outlet?

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Then along the eaves

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Round the side of the house

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It then goes across the peak of the house, then back down.

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All in, it is about 100ft in length.

Any pointers? Again I'm pretty happy with the performance but if I can tweak it to make it better I will.
 

scloyd

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Mike,
Great question.
Is your fascia, soffit and siding vinyl or aluminum? I wonder if aluminum siding causes any problems? My whole house is aluminum siding.
I'll be watching.
 

popnokick

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Your Tecsun PL660 has an External Antenna socket, and you should be plugging your external antenna into that rather than clipping it to the built-in telescoping whip. Regarding your speaker wire antenna: Basically, you've created an excellent system to pick up all of the RFI / EMI hash and radio noise that is found in the average home... including whatever may be running along your unused phone line. As scloyd notes, if you have aluminum siding it may be blocking the reception of desired signals as well. You have options (attic, mag loop, outside wire such as EFHW). The lead going from your ext antenna jack on the Tecsun should be shielded until the point it exits the house completely (or reaches the attic / crawlspace antenna or mag loop). Wire antennas outside the house.... say from a gable end out to a distant tree or other support... are nearly invisible. My significant other can't find mine unless I point it out to her when we're standing directly beneath it.
 

popnokick

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Yes - coaxial cable (same as I think you have in your EF-SWL installation described in another thread here).
 

K4EET

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Hi Mike,

Is the reluctance to have an external antenna reaching out in the backyard due to your significant other or due to a home owner's association? Just curious. At my QTH, it is my XYL that has to approve all antenna installations. LOL! :ROFLMAO:

73, Dave K4EET
 

GB46

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Mike,
Great question.
Is your fascia, soffit and siding vinyl or aluminum? I wonder if aluminum siding causes any problems? My whole house is aluminum siding.
I'll be watching.
That brings up an issue of mine: I live in an apartment building, and can't get an antenna outside. It's a wood-framed building, but the siding is stucco, which is held in place by something resembling chicken wire. I found that out when I saw some of it exposed at the bottom of an outside wall, where the stucco has worn off at the edges. I suppose this metal might be blocking a lot of signals, and possibly reflecting some of the building's own RFI back at me. Fortunately my apartment is on the top (3rd) floor, so at least the ceiling isn't lined with metal.
 

MDScanFan

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I will echo what others stated regarding using a shielded cable. Right now you are picking up noise from various sources. The run of wire from the radio to the outside and then vertical run to the soffit region is likely providing minimal reception benefit but is likely the biggest noise contributor. Running thin coax up to the soffit and then using an EFHW along the eave, into the attic, or out to some external support is your best bet. Again, what to try depends on the materials used for your siding, insulation, roof, etc. Putting some RF chokes on the coax may help too.
 

Spankymedic7

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Hi Mike,

Is the reluctance to have an external antenna reaching out in the backyard due to your significant other or due to a home owner's association? Just curious. At my QTH, it is my XYL that has to approve all antenna installations. LOL! :ROFLMAO:

73, Dave K4EET
Aahhh, you need permission from the XYL too? I thought I was the only one who needed that! :ROFLMAO::LOL:
 

K4EET

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Aahhh, you need permission from the XYL too? I thought I was the only one who needed that! :ROFLMAO::LOL:
When we got married, my "bachelor" house looked like the knights in shining armor. On the roof-top there was so much aluminum in my multitude of beam antennas it really glistened! So when we moved into a larger home three years later to house a rapidly expanding family :oops: (oh no) my wife took over all interior and exterior decorating. Go figure! :ROFLMAO:, She didn't think much of my techie style of decor...
 

MikeThompson

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Wow, thanks for all the responses and PMs guys! Yes, I know it isn't the best/perfect setup, but I set it up when I had my old radio and just wanted to get going. I was wondering what changes I could/should make. Turns out there are a few!

Your Tecsun PL660 has an External Antenna socket, and you should be plugging your external antenna into that rather than clipping it to the built-in telescoping whip
The lead going from your ext antenna jack on the Tecsun should be shielded until the point it exits the house completely (or reaches the attic / crawlspace antenna or mag loop)
I will echo what others stated regarding using a shielded cable
Yes - coaxial cable
I've read that a coaxial cable attached to a separate antenna is a better option than just a wire, but my TECSUN has a "headphone style" jack. I'm guessing there is some sort of adapter out there?

Running thin coax up to the soffit and then using an EFHW along the eave, into the attic, or out to some external support is your best bet
I think I hear what you're saying, its not so much a problem the wire is under the eaves, but that it comes inside the house and around.

reluctance to have an external antenna reaching out in the backyard due to your significant other or due to a home owner's association?
no HOA here, but I'd like to keep everything as tidy as I can.
 

WA8ZTZ

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Yes, there is a 1/8" tip/sleeve adapter (Universal Radio #1619), so run coax and plug it into the antenna jack.
If that siding/soffit material is aluminum it will shield the antenna wire.
 
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MikeThompson

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Yes, there is a 1/8" tip/sleeve adapter (Universal Radio #1619), so run coax and plug it into the antenna jack.
If that siding/soffit material is aluminum it will shield the antenna wire.
The siding is vinyl so no issues there. I'm looking for a local vendor (at least in Canada) that sells that adapter.

I've done some more reading this past while and come to the conclusion I obviously need a coax. Looking around my bits and bobs box I have several lengths of coax, but they are for cable tv, not for antennas (didn't know there was a difference).

Is this coax properly shielded for my purpose? (Although I think I might need more than 10ft)


I am also curious about grounding my receiver and seeing if that makes a difference. However my TECSUN doesn't have a grounding port. Can they not be grounded?
 

MDScanFan

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Any coax will work for your situation. Typical cable TV coax (RG6) or other cheap coax such as RG58 would work fine. For reception purposes the type of coax really only makes a difference at higher frequencies of VHF and above. I would select something based on what you have on hand or based on price.

Regarding grounding, you could try to ground the outer braid of the coax where it meets the radio.

. I've done some more reading this past while and come to the conclusion I obviously need a coax. Looking around my bits and bobs box I have several lengths of coax, but they are for cable tv, not for antennas (didn't know there was a difference).

Is this coax properly shielded for my purpose? (Although I think I might need more than 10ft)

I am also curious about grounding my receiver and seeing if that makes a difference. However my TECSUN doesn't have a grounding port. Can they not be grounded?
 

krokus

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Use something similar to this, to connect into the external antenna jack. This has an SO-239 (aka female UHF), but they are available with about every type of connector you could want.

 

MikeThompson

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Ok, so some updates.

I found a coaxial adapter so I can attach a shielded coax to my receiver. I am also fairly sure I found a semi-direct way to route a coax from my work bench up into my attic.

So I have been doing some reading and watching some videos, but I thought I would check with the braintrust here first. When looking up a balun, I am finding two different ones used for antennas. I don't know which is best for my application.

One type is like this:


The other is like this:



So from everything I've been able to understand from various sources, I've come up with a few options for my antenna, but don't know if it is appropriate/correct/hilariously wrong. Which one is best, or is there a hybrid? The coax is question would be maybe 60 odd feet. I haven't measured exactly.

Plan A - My wire antenna is attached to one end of the two pronged balun pictured above, with it terminating on a ceramic insulator attached to a roof beam.

Plan B - Much the same but one end of the antenna connects with the other prong end of the balun.

Plan C - I use the second type of balun pictured, with a ground on one end, and the wire on the other.

Then there is the whole idea of an RF Choke, I'm not sure if that would be overkill or not.

Thanks for reading this long post!
 

K4EET

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@MikeThompson, the one to use for your application is the white balun. It goes in the MIDDLE of two equal lengths of wire on either side; neither of which is grounded. That is called a DIPOLE antenna. The 50 ohm coax cable terminated in a PL-259 connector attaches to the SO-239 connector on the bottom of the balun. Since you are not transmitting, you may be able to get away with a cheaper balun. Let all of us take a look. Also, you may or may not want a dipole antenna. Does your receiver have an antenna tuner (matching network) built-in to it?

Let's see what the other folks have to say before you buy anything.

73, Dave K4EET
 

K4EET

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@MikeThompson, take a look at this webpage to better understand what a BALUN is:


Whether you would like to build one yourself to save a few bucks is up to you. The actual kit is here:


I see that it is €26.00 including VAT from the Netherlands. There might be other choices.

73, Dave K4EET
 
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