[mythtv-users] HELP! In antenna hell!

Joseph Fry joe at thefrys.com
Thu Sep 30 16:31:00 UTC 2010

> Once analog TV was dead, two of the networks moved down to their
> original analog frequency: 5 & 13. I was able to get 13 OK with my UHF
> antenna but I could no longer get channel 5.

I had a similar problem with Channel 7 in Detroit.  Seeing as how it was the
only VHF channel I was interested in, I built an antenna tuned strictly for
that channel.

The problem with many VHF antennas (except the crazy long ones) is that they
cannot include elements for EVERY frequency, so they usually pick element
lengths that do well on more than one frequency... at the cost of maximum
gain on each of the channels.

I created a simple folded dipole antenna out of standard twinlead, and
balun, and a strip of wood following instructions found here:
http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/misc/dipole.html if it hadn't worked so well, I
might have remade it by bending aluminum or copper tubing... but it was
perfect so I just left it alone.

There are many tweaks you can make, such as adding reflectors and directors
to help add some directionality to your antenna, but you may not need them.
I saw pictures somewhere where someone created a simple antenna like this by
simply stapling the wires to the side of the house up under the laps in
their siding.  You honestly couldn't see the anteanna from the ground and he
eliminated one wall worth of signal loss.

Either way, for almost nothing you can build one and test to see if you get
any improvement.

One other thing to look out for is the combiner you are using.   While a
standard 3.5db splitter will work, there are better designed combiners
available.  And there is a huge variation in quality when it comes to
splitters/combiners; enough that I would try swapping yours before doing
anything else, it may be the cause of your issues.  Oh, and your baluns...
they can be pretty crappy as well!

Good luck!
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