[kwlug-disc] Home made indoor TV Antenna

Paul Gallaway paul at gallaway.ca
Mon May 12 21:00:57 EDT 2014

I only see two of them regularly (CN and Paris). Perhaps the one in
Owen Sound? Tropo is weird.

Location is the name of the game. An installer might be able to tell
you what you could get if he/she has the measurement tools and
neighbourhood experience but you raise an interesting point. Research
Electronics might make more sales if people were able to take some
loaner equipment home and just see what they can (or cannot) get. Even
if they only used a dedicated DB4e or DB8 and preamp that they loan
out based on a deposit for the replacement cost. Not sure if the
CM7777 is still the best one. I know they changed the design to have a
combined UHF and VHF conector which some people found unfavourable.
Not sure if there were other technical differences, I just know I have
the old model. It might just be that some areas like KW still have
some VHF-Hi stations that could benefit from a dedicated VHF antenna
which would now require a separate combiner. I think CKCO is the only
VHF-Hi station left that I could hope to receive as the others have
now moved post digital transition (CIII Paris ch17 virt6, CHCH
Hamilton ch15 virt11).

The unpredictability can be the hardest part of OTA. CHCH was solid
for me the first summer and I only see it from time to time since,
even though it is now in UHF and no longer a VHF-Hi (it's just
virtually on channel 11 and the move to UHF should have improved
reliability and removed the potential for CKCO
interference/preamp-loading). I still let some things record but it's
maybe 1 in 20 recordings that's OK so I tend to not create new
schedules on that channel. There might be others I can get from
time-to-time but given the nature of MythTV, I just don't add any
channels that can't be consistently retrieved (other than CHCH). Even
then, weather can wreak havoc on prime-time but my reception problems
are usually minimal. My antenna drop connects directly to my HTPC.
I've never bothered pursuing additional drops or distribution because
anything, including live TV, can be accessed from my LAN anywhere
there's a ethernet port (currently pretty much any room in the house
but I only have one other HTPC) or any wireless location if the
promises of 802.11ac are to be believed - whenever I make that leap.

For my install I made my own coax cables that I cut to the required
length (with some extra feet at the inside drop). I bought a Zenith
branded kit of connectors and compression tool and a standard coax
wire stripper from Sayal. My wire (also Zenith branded, I think) seems
a touch to heavy for the connectors I can get from Research
Electronics and I have to really work at it to get them on usually
resulting in sore fingers (I think the RG6 I'm using is advertised as
'quad' shielded - whatever that's worth). My reading over at
DigitalHome.ca has lead me to believe that length of the cable matters
if there's no preamp, and with a preamp you want to keep it to 100' or
less if possible. As you have a DC voltage injector and amplifier it's
probably not so much an issue for you and less to be gained with a
shorter cable. Anyway, nothing special needed for weather proofing
wires beyond the compression connectors, I'm told, but my control test
is only 2 years in the making. If they go, hopefully it's mid-July,
and not mid-January ;) In contrast, I had a poor experience during my
front yard test. I borrowed a 50' cable from a friend that had
manufactured ends and had never been used. The fitting slipped right
off leaving the end screwed to my antenna and the wire and coax core
on the ground. The other benefit of putting your own ends on is you
can get away with a much smaller hole to pull the wire through.


all good things, all in good time...

More information about the kwlug-disc mailing list