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Old 2012-02-01, 11:10 AM   #16
mrvanwinkles
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I do not have any major ATTIC antenna setups in use yet.

Neither at the house in Kingston, nor at the flop house in Ottawa.

But I have been up in the attic in Kingston doing some experiments for FM radio reception - which might give similar indications for VHF TV signals.

Just went up into the Attic with a half decent, portable battery power FM radio with a rod antenna - and moved the radio and antenna around and tried the rod antenna in different places, heights and orientations. Trying to tune in some weaker FM stations, from different places, who's location and approximate distance I know.

Trying to find the "hot spots" in the attic seems to be very important. Just like with other indoor antenna setups.

So what I learned in that particular ATTIC in the Kingston house, was that the best reception of weaker, furthur FM stations happened, generally, with the rod antenna HORIZONTAL / parallel to the floor beams, and elevated about ONE (1) foot above the attic floor beams.

Horizontal seemed to give some directionality and null out some noise and interference from other stations.

Right directly on top of Attic floor beams - no good.

As I went higher than around 1 Ft above the floor beams, getting closer to the peak of the attic, the signal slowly got weaker.

Now it would be natural for someone to just try to lay or mount a YAGI or Dipole right on the floor of the attic - but that does not seem to work so well.

Then, on two sides of the Attic - we have vertical walls of brick.

Placing the antenna, horizontal right near the vertical wall, about ONE (1) foot up from the floor beams, for signals coming from those directions - seemed to work best.

If the signal had to go through a slanted / shingled part of the roof, it worked best again - about ONE (1) foot off the floor beams, but this time in the CENTER of the ATTIC. Not attached near or on the angled roof beams, but instead, centered in the Attic and hanging in open air in the middle of the Attic, about a foot off the floor.

It is interesting that another member noticed the same thing in his ATTIC.
Raising his home made, 3-Element, ch 6 yagi - up a little from the ATTIC floor beams - helped him receive RF CH 6 Digital (Global in Ottawa) alot better.
(seems to have gotten rid of / greatly reduced digital pixelation every 10 seconds when he had it near the attic floor beams - they think this was due to possible impulse noise from the house / and/or wiring near the attic floor beams - and the antenna being placed right on top / very close to it. )

For now, I am just doing some simple experiments with simple rod antenna or dipoles for now in the attics - but the results are very interesting.

Different attics may work differently ... you just have to experiment and try to find the "hot spots" for the signals of interest.

Metal siding on the eaves and gables of the roof are horrible for signals, and you have to try and stay away from those.

Years ago I got scraps lengths of 3/4 or 5/8 plywood and screwed them down on the Attic beams for the length of the ATTIC, in the middle where the peak is and where the roof is tallest. That made moving around up there much easier and safer. (don't want to fall through between the attic beams).

It seems like many people do ATTIC installs - for many good reasons.

So this thread should become interesting.

P.S. I know there are may other examples of ATTIC installs in various threads scattered around in the OTA part of the FORUM. All very interesting setups.
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Old 2012-02-01, 11:18 AM   #17
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By the way ... Marbles 00

Your attic setup(s) and web site describing and showing everything - I find that really great and interesting ...

A great example of what can be achieved in the ATTIC.

A great learning example for all ...

Thanks.
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Old 2012-02-01, 11:20 AM   #18
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Having the best reception of FM when the antenna is horizontal is not too surprising, as most FM stations broadcast primarily horizontally polarized signals. When you orient a rod antenna horizontally, it's reception pattern will be similar to a dipole - far less sensitivity along the axis of the rod (if the rod is oriented N-S, then very little reception from either direction.) Scattering within the attic will fill in reception somewhat.
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Old 2012-02-01, 01:04 PM   #19
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Default All in one direction!

I installed a DBGH and a VHF Loop in my attic. My antennas are pointed directly at the Buffalo area with Toronto 30 degree's left and Hamilton 30 degree's right. My house is above my neighbors in the direction of Buffalo as well there is complete symmetry in the attic in the direction of Buffalo. I don't know if that helps but it can't hurt.

I get all stations except MyTV and ION, MyTV sometimes but ION rarely so I don't count on them. WGRZ is the only station that gives me trouble a times but that was expected since I am over a hundred miles away and it is known to be difficult. In the dead of winter WGRZ can be finicky along with WKBW causing some trouble.

The loop antenna is used for channel 3 (CKVR), 9 (CFTO), and 11 (CHCH). I was surprised that I get CKVR since it is at a bad angel to my loop antenna. Channel 3 and 11 are weaker but seem to be reliable.

All in all I have 20 very reliable stations.... dropped Rogers cable two months ago and couldn't be happier. I think OTA is for a select group of people, those who don't watch a lot of specialty stations.

Couldn't be happier!

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Old 2012-02-01, 01:15 PM   #20
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Thanks for the compliment. It was a project that spanned the last couple of years (well since before the last winter Olympics).

It most likely would have been better to raise the VHF-Loops up, but at the time, I was more "gun-ho" at just getting a signal, than to optimize it. Now that I have solid signals for the frequencies that I wanted to acquire...mounting it anymore is less of a priority.

One day I may go back up and mount them, and maybe try and aim the one VHF-Loop in attempts to get WNGS RF7.
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Old 2012-02-03, 01:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Just went up into the Attic with a half decent, portable battery power FM radio with a rod antenna - and moved the radio and antenna around and tried the rod antenna in different places, heights and orientations. Trying to tune in some weaker FM stations, from different places, who's location and approximate distance I know.
If you can buy, beg, borrow or get a Sencore (they pop up on ebay occasionally), much of the guesswork with an attic install can be eliminated. What was once a matter of trail and error to find the optimal location became almost a precise science by looking at the spectrum scan while moving the antenna about -- high and flat is what's desired and I what I got in just a few minutes.

Here's mine (the downward slope on KTVT-11 was before I tweaked the trimcaps on the JoinTenna):

http://www.rabbitears.info/specan/re_nelson/

...and, by way of contrast, a few from Trip Ericson's location at the University of Virginia where there were some reception challenges:

http://www.rabbitears.info/specan/uva/
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Old 2012-02-03, 06:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
as most FM stations broadcast primarily horizontally polarized signals.
Dave,

In the US, circular polarization is the standard method for FM radio. That's why a vertical whip on an auto works.


I have to echo re_nelson's comments about having a handheld spectrum analyzer. Handier than a shirt pocket!

PS89
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Old 2012-02-03, 08:11 AM   #23
Dave Loudin
 
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Yep, I was off on that one. I even was picturing the typical crossed dipole antenna when I clicked the submit button.

I've been using the front part (after DTV started, needed the whole thing for analog) of a Radio Shack VU-120 in my attic for over 10 years. I first used some strings nailed to the rafters, but now I'm just using bungee cords to keep it off the "floor" and level to just tipping up a little.

TVFool report here. I get all the full-power DC stations at 45 miles and 2-edge. Baltimore stations come in evenings during the summer.
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Old 2012-02-03, 08:59 AM   #24
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Well YES (!) Thanks.

If you've got a portable spectrum analyser (like a "SENCOR" unit) to work with, well ... then you can go into much more detail ( & tweaking ).

I did search on the net and had a look at the "SENCOR" unit you mentioned.

By "high and flat" you mean the pattern shown on the spectrum analyser.

i.e. as strong a signal you can find (high), but flat across the ( 6 MHZ wide ) bandwidth of the TV channel(s) of interest.

Yes ... you can only do as good work - as the tools you have to work with.
(and also the skills and knowledge and experience you have to operate them)

So thanks for the tips guys ...

But remember also that alot of the members on the FORUM - are not so highly technical. So keeping things really practical and easy helps too.

( Are you guys in the field? Broadcast Techs? RF techs? Work in the industry? Engs? )
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Old 2012-02-03, 12:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
By "high and flat" you mean the pattern shown on the spectrum analyser.
i.e. as strong a signal you can find (high), but flat across the (6 MHZ wide) bandwidth of the TV channel(s) of interest.
Yes...that's the goal. A strong signal alone isn't sufficient. Valleys in the spectrum are undesired. It should like a mesa ideally,

Quote:
( Are you guys in the field? Broadcast Techs? RF techs? Work in the industry? Engs? )
I was in radio for over 35 years -- mostly in the programming end with some engineering. I had zero interest in television ("radio with pictures" as I called it) until the digital transition of June 2009 in the US. The historic nature of the change intrigued me to the extent that my near-dormant engineering interests were revived. So, unlike others, my fascination with DTV is relatively new, approaching merely three years.
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Old 2012-02-05, 07:54 PM   #26
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I just recently finished my attic setup. In Kanata North, with a CM 7777 + CM 4228HD pointed towards Herbert Corners + DYI folded dipole yagi pointer towards Camp Fortune I am able to reliably get all the local channels. The DIY yagi is constructed based on this design: http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/misc/dipole.html. I used a wooden frame and added a reflector and director made of the thickest copper wire I could find.

Key to getting VHF channel 6 with the DIY yagi was to position it as high as possible, away from the electrical wires on the attic floor. I used all wooden materials from Home depot to mount the UHF antenna. The yagi is above and behind the UHF antenna and is held in place with some scrap alarm wire. Here is a pic of the setup.

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Old 2012-02-06, 11:07 AM   #27
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I have an antenna farm too in the attic. I have one DBGH and 3 Channel cut Yagi all home made. The 3 Yagi are Channel 11, 12 and 21. I needed those channels to pull specific stations. Those Yagi also get channels below the designed channel, but I rapidly loose gain, but I don't care as long as the designed channel gets in.

So the DBGH is paired to the Yagi ch11 using a UVSJ and the remaining two Yagi ch12 and ch21 are paired too using a UVSJ. Eash two bank are powered using a CPA19 preamp and two down-lead goes to the basement where the power inserter are. The two leads are then feed to two 2way splitter then feed to 4 tuners in my server. Each bank has two tuner, I couldn't mix the signal of the two bank because the signal of some stations was coming from the two bank at the same time causing signal problem.

The two Yagis ch12 and ch21 are to get stations in Montreal where I am 1Edge with those stations. The Ch12 measures 12' long while the ch21 is about 5' long. The signal is good and stable with some glitching here and there, sometimes when a car passes on the side of the house where the antenna are pointing I get a little glitch, but this is more than decent enough.

The server is running MP-TVServer along with 4TheRecord. MP-TVServer takes care of the tuning and 4TheRecord takes care of the scheduling. Each TV have its PC with MediaPortal installed. I can see TV Guide supplied from the 4TheRecord pulled from Shedules Direct. The tuners I am using are one PCIe Hauppauge HVR-2250 (dual tuner), one Hauppauge USB HVR-950Q and one KWorld USB UB435-Q. I'm looking for an other used HVR-2250 to replace the two USB tuner. They work just fine, but it makes a mess behind the server... Those USB tuner can't be installed directly in the USB port side by side, they takes too much place, I have to use a usb extension, you see the picture. While the PCIe only require the RG6 connected directly to it, without the need of a splitter. It also has an FM tuner, the other two USB tuner don't.
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Old 2012-02-06, 01:03 PM   #28
roger1818
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May I suggest that people provide the following info when reporting their results so that we can better compare results:
  • TVFool results
  • List of channels they are able to receive along with signal strength/reliability.
  • Type of roof and/or siding.
  • Equipment used (antenna, preamp, etc)
  • approx. direction antenna is pointing.
Any other thoughts?
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Old 2012-02-06, 05:01 PM   #29
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Quote:
• List of channels they are able to receive
Yes, but the real RF channel numbers not the virtual ones.
.
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Old 2012-02-06, 09:15 PM   #30
roger1818
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^^^or call sign so that you can compare to the TVFool report.
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