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  #1  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:41 PM
kushiel kushiel is offline
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boosting my OTA digital signal reception

Hey guys! I own a TV with a built-in digital signal converter, and I've hooked up an antenna to it to get over-the-air HD. The thing is, my signal drops in and out and I've spent a fair bit of time maneuvering the antenna and even tried different ones. I'd like to try something to boost my reception.

The caveat is, I live in an apartment with no deck, so it has to be something inside, not outside.

I've heard about amplifiers, but I don't quite understand them, as they go into techy language about decibels and I just want to know what to buy and where to connect it, ha ha. Plus they're really expensive - around the $80 CAD mark.

Do I want an amplifier? Are there antennas with built-in amplifiers? Can someone recommend me something that is cheaper? Is there something else I'm overlooking? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:52 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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Originally Posted by kushiel View Post
Hey guys! I own a TV with a built-in digital signal converter, and I've hooked up an antenna to it to get over-the-air HD. The thing is, my signal drops in and out and I've spent a fair bit of time maneuvering the antenna and even tried different ones. I'd like to try something to boost my reception.

The caveat is, I live in an apartment with no deck, so it has to be something inside, not outside.

I've heard about amplifiers, but I don't quite understand them, as they go into techy language about decibels and I just want to know what to buy and where to connect it, ha ha. Plus they're really expensive - around the $80 CAD mark.

Do I want an amplifier? Are there antennas with built-in amplifiers? Can someone recommend me something that is cheaper? Is there something else I'm overlooking? Thanks!
An amplifier would probably help. You want something with adjustable decibel gain. Too strong and it distorts the signal, too weak and well it's too weak.

$80 CAD is way too much though. Usually they go for around $30. Check online.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:20 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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you need to find what real channels you need to know what type of antenna to use, VHF lo, VHF hi, UHF. goto

http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?opti...pper&Itemid=29

for information on signal strength and direction. with this information you can decide on an antenna.

too much signal can be as bad as too little signal for digital. also indoor antennas can get reflected signals which can cause a problem.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:30 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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What antenna have you hooked up? Something like rabbit ears would likely not be a very good choice. (If you are using rabbit ears, try making each arm about 15 inches long. That might work better for VHF high stations) Most stations, possibly all in your area, have moved out of the VHF low range, where the rabbit ears are a good choice. You most likely have a combination of UHF and VHF high.

You can check at antennaweb.org, johnpost's link, or let us know where you live (just the city or zip code should be close enough.)
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:22 AM
kushiel kushiel is offline
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Originally Posted by ZenBeam View Post
What antenna have you hooked up? Something like rabbit ears would likely not be a very good choice. (If you are using rabbit ears, try making each arm about 15 inches long. That might work better for VHF high stations) Most stations, possibly all in your area, have moved out of the VHF low range, where the rabbit ears are a good choice. You most likely have a combination of UHF and VHF high.

You can check at antennaweb.org, johnpost's link, or let us know where you live (just the city or zip code should be close enough.)
It's a 1-eared Samsung model that was advertised for getting OTA digital HD signals.

I'm in Canada, so I can't use the antennaweb site, but tvfool did work. Here's my report. (imgur link)

I have no UHF by the looks of it, only VHF high.

Last edited by kushiel; 05-01-2012 at 09:22 AM..
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2012, 09:28 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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There were instructions floating around the internet on hot to make a fairly good indoor digital TV antenna out of some wood (frame) and IIRC coat hangers and other wire, with reports that they work far better then rabbit ears.


If you have high speed non-capped internet you might consider a $50 Roku box or convert a computer to play on your TV to get a signal that way, it will be different shows then the channels you can get OTA and some may require subscriptions however.

Last edited by kanicbird; 05-01-2012 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:39 AM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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you should be able to get 4 channels with rod rabbit ears. you may need to adjust aiming three directions (or have 2 or 3 antennas selecting which one with a switch). being VHF HI you would want the rods in the shorter range of distance.

you have a strong signal so an amplifier would likely overload your tuner. you will get signal weakening because of being in a building though i don't think it would be too much.

digital can take half a minute to a minute to capture a signal so aiming is a slow process. you can't tell instantly like you could with older analog tv. i would use 2 (if you could get 8,9,13 on one antenna) or 3 aimed antennas and use a switch to select each one, it is very quick then.

most set top or indoor wall antennas advertised for HD signals are UHF antennas, where most of the channels are. you don't need a new antenna if the older one gets the signals in the range you want.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:41 AM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
There were instructions floating around the internet on hot to make a fairly good indoor digital TV antenna out of some wood (frame) and IIRC coat hangers and other wire, with reports that they work far better then rabbit ears.
if you are speaking of bow tie antennas those are for UHF. most were crap and used the wrong dimensions.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:07 AM
Munch Munch is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
There were instructions floating around the internet on hot to make a fairly good indoor digital TV antenna out of some wood (frame) and IIRC coat hangers and other wire, with reports that they work far better then rabbit ears.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
if you are speaking of bow tie antennas those are for UHF. most were crap and used the wrong dimensions.
I used these insructions a few years ago to great success. It's ugly as sin, but it's a far better antenna than my recently purchased Mohu Leaf.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:49 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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Originally Posted by Munch View Post
I used these insructions a few years ago to great success. It's ugly as sin, but it's a far better antenna than my recently purchased Mohu Leaf.
that is a UHF antenna, not needed in this discussion, though it might still get a strong VHF HI signal poorly.

antennas are an all depends thing. with a strong signal a paper clip is an antenna. getting all the strength from an antenna is where science and technique come in. its good that you did well with your homemade antenna. with the design i used, i was able to get some stations with it indoors at about 70 miles given good conditions.

some improvements over the antenna shown would be:

if you can solder large wire then use #10 or #12 AWG copper wire. solder the V element to the vertical backbone, still use screws to hold it in position.

having the vertical backbone (phase wires) close to the wood robs some of the signal (antennas are better electrically touching as little as they can). better to cut 4 small blocks of wood (same stuff as long piece of wood). put the small blocks where the screws are put in, the vertical backbone (phase wires) will mostly be away from the wood.

wood absorbs moisture and the antenna touching this will rob signal strength. putting thin plastic something between the antenna wire and the wood is better.

those V lengths are 14", better is 19".

the nodes (where the V attaches) are 5.75", better is 9".

the ends of the V is 3" better is 4 to 5.5".

where the vertical backbone (phase wires) cross there should keep a 1" or so distance between them.

Last edited by johnpost; 05-01-2012 at 01:50 PM..
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