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Howdy!

I'm pretty new to the OTA HDTV thing, but once upon a time I was an amateur radio operator and I'm looking at the antenna I have and I can see a few simple improvements that could be made.

First off, I have an 8 element bowtie with reflector model made by the company that shall not be named. (I've lurked enough to learn that much!)

First off the antenna combiner could probably be replaced with a higher quality component, a photo of which can be seen here: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=1010508&postcount=30

Next up would be replacing the cables from the antennas to the joined with good quality RG6.

Are there any other basic mods that can be done to get a bit of a boost? A pre-amp or the like?

I live in the Toronto area, and face away from the transmission towers, so everything I get is actually bounced off the building across the street, and I get pretty darn good reception all things considered.

I tells ya, it's kind of fun to be back into this. I used to make J-Pole antennas for my friends with 1/4" copper pipe back in the day. It's nice not to have to worry about SWR, etc.

Thanks in advance!
Todd.
 

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First be sure to read through the Reception Results thread for your part of the Toronto area to see exactly what works, such as preamps and the like. For your local reception requirements we can be of most help to you in the appropriate thread there.

Regarding mods to your antena, unfortunately there are no generic, works-every-time hardware hacks that function equally on all antennas of a certain type. Yes there are general concepts, as you can see across many such hardware hack threads: Hardware Hacks for Commercial OTA Antennas - see these links

But if you really are determined to see if your antenna can be optimized the first step is to take extremely precise measurements of your antenna for a diagram (PDF, jpeg, etc.) which you can then request that our eager cadre of l33t computer modeling gurus devote their mad skillz to analyzing. From that point it is usually fairly quick that some suggestions could come forward.

Until then, any hacks you try on that antenna should be only of the reversible kind! ;) Also beware of testing more than 1 hack at a time as the results can quickly get out of hand when too many variables are introduced.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you are really into the hardware hacking side of it all then you should really just build your own antenna based upon your exact needs, and be glad that you did. :)
 
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