[kwlug-disc] Home made indoor TV Antenna

Paul Gallaway paul at gallaway.ca
Thu May 1 22:15:08 EDT 2014

First, I'm not an expert on antenna's, preamps, amps, grounding or
otherwise. Just a typical DIY'er/nerd who's done the research and my
best on for my own installation to /try/ to get my antenna installed
properly and to only have to do it once (crosses fingers) and who also
happens to run linux and lurk on the list. That said, I am happy to
share my experience and knowledge with a group of people with similar
goals/interests (my antenna started as a quest to ditch Rogers as
well!). My only regret is having followed the thread and not posting
until now. Better late than never I suppose!

On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 3:42 PM, CrankyOldBugger
<crankyoldbugger at gmail.com> wrote:
> So let me ask a question.. what's the deal with signal amplifiers on
> antennas?

The ones you see on the antenna or at the top of the mast are
generally preamps. They are meant to overcome losses from cable runs.
Preamps are generally recommended in this area as we are considered
fringe for Toronto and deep fringe for Buffalo. Preamplifiers can't
increase signal that isn't there, but they help prevent further
degradation and can be the difference between receiving a viable
signal at the antenna and getting a viable signal in your living room.
Some people in this area have issues with CKCO and overloading preamps
but I'm not using a rotor and not pointed toward CKCO (although
thinking about it now, this may be why CHCH is flaky for me). The one
on the Philips antenna linked to previously is an amplifier (as
described in Philips literature). Amplifiers are used when you have no
signal for tuning after using a splitter. You could probably power
your three drops from the output on a preamp but you need to use a
splitter that doesn't block the DC voltage for your preamp power
inserter (pretty sure they exist). You probably also want to make sure
the cable drops are RG6 (probably not an issue with a satellite
install). I had this when I moved into my house. I had no fewer than 6
drops (from a Rogers installer) running lines on the outside of the
house and through the brick into bedrooms, kitchen, basement bathroom
- and I only owned one TV. I pulled them all, plugged the holes inside
and out and kept the one drop that became my cable internet drop near
the demarcation.

On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM, John Johnson <jvj at golden.net> wrote:
> * I have not looked for these in recent years, but lightning protection components on antenna cabling are mounted outdoors before the cabling enters the building. These components provide a bypass, or path to ground, for lightning induced surge voltages so that these surge voltages are reduced at the antenna terminals of the equipment inside the building.

You ground everything. The antenna, the mast and the shielding on the
RG6 cable before it goes in the house. A surge protector doesn't hurt

On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 5:08 PM, Khalid Baheyeldin <kb at 2bits.com> wrote:
> Which area are you in (closest intersection)?

Opposite end of town, Lexington and Bridge.

> I was getting them all before I put in the mast,

Here's where you can drive yourself crazy. Are you sure that putting
it on the mast was the problem? Or was it a change in tropospheric
conditions or another weather phenomenon?

> Your DB8 + CM7777 are just getting two more from Toronto: Omni 1 (channel 40) and 2 (Ch 47). I do see a weak signal for them, as well as 32 from Buffalo (WLNO), but not enough for the TV to tune any of those three channels.

I get CITY too.

Conversely, I look at your results and wonder what else you could get
with a higher position, a better antenna, and/or a preamp - I think
the glass half full / half empty analogy applies here, just not sure
who has the half empty glass :)

Just keep in mind that what you get now may not be what you always
get. Some channels may improve, others may drop out seasonally or even
through the day. I'd be curious what changes you see from now through
next winter.

> This tells me the Philips is a good antenna, for $90 total price (no separate pre-amp), and a great antenna for $50 when its on sale.

No doubt, we all have our own budgets, our goals, and as they say on
the MythTV list, it's only TV. There are diminishing returns and every
location is a little different. Are the OMNI channels really that
worth it to you? Certainly not to me. City? Getting a little more
interested. Stable recordings on MythTV? Well, that's more of a must
for me. My install was closer to $300 for antenna, preamp, mast,
tripod, RG6, grounding materials, etc. Paid off by my cancelled basic
cable bill in about 10 months.I did the labour myself as well. I
bought the DB8 in 2009 and it sat in my basement for two years so by
the time I got around to installing it really only felt like I was
spending $200. There's always competing interests around the house,
and $300 could easily go into groceries.

My goal with my setup was to be able to get PBS (NOVA, Sesame Street,
others). That's the one channel we still miss from basic cable. I have
three power lines in my line of site and mature trees all around -
doesn't look like it's possible for me right now. Maybe if I get that
50' tower... Although the emerald ash borer decimating the trees in my
neighbourhood might help me out as well shortly. I keep meaning to see
about re-aiming, or getting something like a DB4e to put on my base to
point to Hamilton so I can target Toronto directly with the DB8
instead of pointing between Hamilton and Toronto. There is always more
to do.


all good things, all in good time...

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