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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First I want to say... You guys rock! I'm not electronics geeky, so a lot of it make my head hurt, but I just think it's so cool you're using data to make design decisions.

The TV towers I'm shooting for are all less than 25 miles from me and all are clustered together. It's pretty flat here in Oklahoma and no tall buildings or hills between me and the towers, typically just single story houses and trees, so I won't need something beefy. Antennaweb says I need a small multidirectional antenna. So what I'd like to do is use the element design for the Gray-hoverman and make something seriously simple and cheap for inside use. Either that or the biquad or the stealth Hawk design. It would be mounted about 8 foot up on a wall on the tower side of the house with that wall and a garage door between it and the outside.

If I used good quality speaker wire (copper I think) and taped it to something flat (preferably plastic) in the correct configuration for the antenna:
1) Can I make the dimensions smaller while maintaining the aspect ratio without serious degradation of performance?
2) Will the unstripped speaker wire seriously degrade its performance?
3) Would a reflector help significantly with performance?

There are 8 UHF and 3 VHF (13.1, 9.1 & 5.1) channels, so I'd like to be able to pick up both UHF and VHF channels.

Which design should work better?

Thanks,
Betty
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cool. That's very helpful. I'll try the full sized single bay GH with stripped solid house wire and see how it does first. I'm almost tempted to do pvc or lumber so I can make a stable base for it but I think I'll do rigid plastic first since I have that (a big rubbermaid lid) and clear packing tape laying around. Tho I do have a pvc T I could drill instead of taping it. and I could attach that to a board I have laying around and use the rubbermaid lid lined with foil as the reflector. If I did that I'd use a screw and washer to hook the balun to the elements right?

I bought two types of baluns (I hope that's the right word!), one with the screws for wires and one with the little Y connectors. When using the stripped house wire, what's the best way to connect the balun to the antenna element if I don't do a wood or pvc base? Can I use speaker wire and electrical tape since I don't currently have a soldering iron? The GH plan image I have places the two bent wires about 3 inches apart.

The tvfool google map says my north wall is indeed pointing north. the fireplace wall is pointing more north east tho. Looks like a 30 degree angle. I have a large fireplace mantle, so I do have some leeway on how it's oriented, tho the central air unit may be in the way since I need to point it N and a little W. If I do end up having to climb up in the attic (ick), can I run the cable down into my existing cable distribution center in the closet? Would this be able to provide a decent signal to two rooms? Then hook it in via a dvd player to be able to route the audio to my receiver and the tv signal to the tv?

I'm really hacked at our local cable company. I was paying $80 a month and the only way to cut that down was to remove groups of channels. So that's left me with 24 channels that cost around $40 a month. given I can get quite a few of those OTA (at higher quality), I see no reason to pay them anything. especially since I can buy a Roku box to get netflix for less than $10 a month to fill in the movie aspect and also get pandora.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I dunno if I can or not and I don't particularly want to get up there and see. LOL

I think what I have is a likely a splitter in the hall closet to distribute the coax to each room from back when the house was built. It's pretty close to the attic access ladder, so I don't think it should be a huge deal to run the cable to the box. The whole goal was to do this for cheap, so the only thing I've purchased so far is the balun. Thanks for the tip on the preamp.

I really appreciate your advice. :)

So is the solid house wire fairly easy to shape?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That was an experience. lol
I made a very very ghetto GH. Only thing I ended up buying was the balun.
I ended up using some wire I had for my electric fence.
Didn't feel like digging out the drill and listening to my daughter complain about having to hold the wire while I straightened it, so I just straightened it by hand.
Got it bent pretty close to shape using a shoe box top for the 90 degree angles.
Used foam board insulation I had laying around and a little electrical tape on the top and bottom to hold the elements in place.
(I'm pretty convinced at this point I'm geometrically "challenged" because I had the darndest time getting it situated on the foam board.)
Connected it using speaker wire and taped that.
Sat it on the Mantle pointed slightly NW.
Ran the speaker wire and screwed it on the balun.
Then after trying to get the tv to scan the channels rather unsuccessfully, I finally broke down and read the manual and it's working! :D
The picture quality is just downright amazing!
I haven't counted the channels or looked to see if I'm picking up the VHF channels yet.

Tried hooking up the receiver using the analog audio out from the tv and the sound is horrible.
I'm guessing that means I need to buy a digital audio cable?
and hope that my way old receiver's dolby is compatible with the newer tv?

So what's the best way to deal with no longer having a scrollable cable company tv show times/list?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
of the stations listed as indoor or attic (with NM(db)>0)
I'm getting 3 of 8 analog stations (one of those I'm not getting is expected.. wrong direction).
I'm getting 10 of 13 digital stations, tho one was quite pixilated.
It's not picking up ION tv and that's one I want darnit. NM(db)=45.3 and it's in the right direction. Do you think rescanning the channels again would help? I'm going to have to rescan each time I dink around with how the antenna is aimed?

I'm also getting 8 stations not on the list that have #.2 or higher in the channel number. Those are digital right? What's up with that?

Do you think it would be worth it to break down and get the house wire? or figure out a way to mount the elements on something and use foil on the foam as a reflector? I really don't want to do either, but if you think it will help significantly I will. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Cool. thanks!

I'll get some pics before I mess around with it some more.
It is truely ghetto. lol

Would the old timey flat 2 strand antenna wire work as well as coax?
(I *may* have some in the garage if the daughter hasn't thrown it away). if I do have that, is it ok to put the balun on the tv end? or should it go on the antenna end?

I'm going to have to scheme on some screws to use the other balun with coax. I suppose I could just use a couple of screws and washers to compress the Y connectors against the wire. hmmm or see if I can manage to screw the inside V's to a board. I really did have quite a time getting the elements shaped right and in the correct orientation with each other yesterday. but I suppose that should help keeping it in the correct shape if I can manage to get the screws in the correct places. roflmao

I could run it into the front entry way to where it'd only have the front wall to go thru. I think there's enough room above the front door. What kinda loss do you get by lengthening the cabling? I think I only have two coax cables laying around. one is short and one is long.

Any ideas on dealing with the audio quality when cabling the TV to my audio receiver? I was picking up a great local channel last nite with various local artists and it sure would have been nice to get that coming out of the stereo and my big cerwin vega speakers and the other surround sound speakers. I'm not going to be totally happy until I figure out how to do that. Must have good sound! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
The wire fell off the foam board last nite so no pics of that mess.

Here it is rebuilt. lol





It's not very sturdy.
This time I used an old aquarium undergravel filter plate I had in the closet and hunted down enough screws and washers to attach the elements.
That's held up with a clamp from a clamplight attached to some PVC and set on top of a paper towel holder for the base.
Used the balun and coax this time.
I'd bet it's the most ghetta GH on the planet. lol
But it works!

I'm getting ION now.

I'm getting 2 of 8 analog channels and 9 digital plus 2 pixilated out of 13 on the list.
plus 13 digital channels not on the list, tho 5 are in spanish and 1 is pixilated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
39 CBS is not coming in from the txfool listing. It looked like an analog signal yesterday and isn't showing up at all today. tvfool says it's digital. I'm not sure I believe them.

9.1 and 9.2 are on the zap2it listings for OTA but don't appear to be on the tvfool listings. Both are CBS. Neither was coming in yesterday. 9.2 was strong enough to pick up via the channel scan, but not strong enough to even get a pixilated picture.

I noticed in the pic that I forgot to move the top left screw down when I moved the rest down to get the middle screws to hold. So I fixed that. Didn't seem to help. Moved the antenna as far away from the central air unit (the north wall to the left of the mantle) as I could get it and rescanned and 9.2 is strong now! For the digital channels I looked at, signal strength via the tv menu all were up close to 90%. I haven't been thru all yet since the last rescan to see what's what.

I may try putting it on top of the cabinet in the kitchen. That would get me another foot up, further away from the central air unit and with a wall parallel to N to aim with. and given it's so ghetto, out of sight. :D
I could probably set up a reflector up there with the foam board and foil as well given I could wedge it between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. I'm assuming that would need to be parallel to the flat plane of the elements.

Man, there are lots of spanish and religeous channels here. and spanish religeous channels. lol I'm going to have to figure out how to remove those from the list. It's difficult at the moment as my all in one remote doesn't have an OK button mapped, so I'm having to access the tv menu via the buttons on the tv and can't seem to get out of the edit channels mode to save the changes. Good ol Murphy is alive and well here. :rolleyes:

Regardless, I think it's amazing that the GH design works this well given how unperfect mine is.
 
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