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What are some portable devices I could use for testing antennas? I like to do antenna testing outside up on a big hill behind me that has access to power but no internet. Normally I bring an LG monitor/tv that has an atsc tuner and plug the antenna into it to see signal strengths, but it's awkward and not very portable for moving up/down the hill. Next time I'm going to bring an hdhomerun and an old router, and check the signals on my phone with the Signal GH ios app: https://genhelp.com/apps/signalgh.html. Maybe an unnecessarily complex setup, but I can at least carry all those devices in a small bag while also carrying the antenna at the same time. What are some other methods?
 

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I use my iphone, running a vnc client app (there are plenty vnc client apps for android phones also), to view my laptop's desktop which is in the house. The laptop has a USB ATSC tuner connected to it, using one feed of the main antenna system, I can control the laptop from the phone, so I have an indication of strength dBm and SNR of any channel I tune to, while I'm up on the roof fiddling. I use updateDVB on the laptop to do the spectrum scan and tuning, updateDVB scans the entire spectrum up to 700 MHz in about 3 seconds, while the laptop runs a vnc server so that the phone can view and control the "desktop" running it's vnc client. When I am at someone else's house this works good too. Just pack the laptop
and a tuner in my bag, jump on their wifi and I am setup quickly, just like i was at my my own house.
Actually, I use the same setup for tweaking my satellite antennas. So it serves double duty.

here is a screenshot I saved from my phone, with my laptop in the living room, the laptop is remotely viewing the raspberry pi with the tuner plugged in to it in the basement.
and the iphone is remotely viewing the laptop.
 

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I like to do antenna testing outside up on a big hill behind me that has access to power but no internet.
you don't need internet to setup a small private wifi / ethernet network up on the hill, just take an old used 2GHz router and plug it in, so connected devices can all be on the same "network". The router itself doesn't need internet just to divvy out ip addresses and let connected devices talk to each other via wifi or ethernet.
searching ebay there are plenty of older linksys WRT54G routers floating around for $10 or less that could be repurposed for something like this.
here is a link to the raspberrypi image (operating system) that we use, that is all setup ready to go.
https://rickcaylor.websitetoolbox.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1310801140&postcount=1045&forum=106995

The problem with the hdhomerun devices for this purpose is that the strength indication tops out at 100% way too early to be of much use.
100% strength on an hdhomerun is 0 dBmv or -48.8 dBm. So any and all signals stronger than that will read the same 100%. So the
question becomes how much stronger than -48.8 dBm are they? you would have no clue, but that can be very important information to have.
Once upon a time they made a professional version that didn't have this handicap / limitation, but it was priced well outside the range of the consumer market.
 

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Nice, that's an awesome setup. All my testing on the hill is done from the ground, so all the gadgets can be close by. I do have a win7 laptop but it randomly crashes so I don't trust it (would be nice to have another tuner attached to my desktop pc though, might have to grab one of those hauppauge usb tuners). These tests aren't supposed to be super scientific, they're just for personal use to see how the antennas handle a few of the harder-to-get stations before I put the antenna up. Thanks, that vnc stuff really caught my attention, so I got one of those apps working and can now control my desktop with my phone. It'll really come in handy for dxing from bed in the wee hours while in/out of sleep, and also for tinkering on the tower/roof.
 

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Frank_Zappa has a 950Q he isn't using, see if he'll send it to ya...
I never did take him up on his offer, so he might still have it layin around.
U could then use the hauppauge signal monitor app on ur PC with it,
then remotely view that on ur phone up on the hill.

https://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/3085447-post315.html
 

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Thanks for the heads-up, I think I'll grab one of the new versions on amazon one day though. Unfortunately the hill is too far to run a cable down to my desktop and for my phone to remain on the network (there's no internet on the phone), but I do have an old router that I can use up on the hill. That updateDVB program looks really cool, still gotta get linux one of these years.
 

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@orbot, if you want the 950Q I'd be happy to mail it to you.

There are OTG tuners available on ebay, basically it's a tuner that plugs into your charge port (micro USB) on your phone/tablet, if your phone/tablet has OTG capability, they are cheap ~$30 delivered and you can hook your antenna into it. I don't know what the software looks like or what the performance is like so take this recommendation with a large grain of salt.

It'll really come in handy for dxing from bed in the wee hours while in/out of sleep
Spoken like a true dxer!
 

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I used TeamViewer remote access app on both the computer (windows) and smartphone (Android). I place the laptop's webcam in front of my TV. TV is on diagnostic menu. I can view the live TV stream on the smartphone when I am at the antenna site in the attic.
 

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A USB tuner, such as the 950Q, and a laptop would be ideal. Nothing extra needed.

I do have a win7 laptop but it randomly crashes so I don't trust it
Reinstalling Win7 may fix the crashes. Back up important data first.
Depending on the laptop, it may be able to upgrade it to Win10 for free. https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/#ftag=TRC-03-10aab5g Be sure to make a disk image before attempting this.
Another option would be installing Linux. It has drivers for the 950Q but there will be a learning curve to get it working with software. LinuxTV.org
 

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My offer stands to anyone wanting to try the 950Q, bear in mind it's obsolete and it's tuner will probably not be as sensitive as tv's made in the last 3-4 years....at least that's my experience after rigorous testing.

It's a neat gadget with some cool features/software but it didn't come close to matching my tv tuner's performance
 

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That seems to be true of PC based TV tuners in general. It may not be only due to the tuners themselves but also due to them being connected to a PC, a device that generates a lot of RF noise. Even the HDHomeRun tuners seem to have noise issues, I suspect due to being connected to a LAN.

I saw a similar effect with early devices that had digital circuitry and displays. They were a lot less sensitive than analog devices due to the internal noise being generated. Sometimes the noise would noticeably leak into the RF and audio circuitry. Modern devices seem to have much better isolation between the tuner sections and the rest of the internal circuitry. TVs have more opportunity for internal shielding than PC tuners so there is less interference leaking into the tuner sections.
 

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Thanks for the offer Zank, I'll grab one of the new versions off amazon one day if I do get one, so if someone else wants it. I've got an iphone and I noticed the OTG tuners seem to be all for android eh? cuivreux, that's the vnc app I got the other day, used it in LAN-only mode so it doesn't use internet and it seemed to work great for controlling my desktop with my phone. ExDilbert, I did a bit of troubleshooting on the laptop a few years ago and there were lots of memory errors, so removed one ram stick and the crashes were much less frequent but I was only using half the ram it came with. Went to the Crucial website to buy compatible ram as an upgrade but couldn't get the new ram to work with the laptop so I pretty much gave up and don't use it much. It could probably handle a quick antenna test though.
 

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That seems to be true of PC based TV tuners in general. It may not be only due to the tuners themselves but also due to them being connected to a PC, a device that generates a lot of RF noise. Even the HDHomeRun tuners seem to have noise issues, I suspect due to being connected to a LAN.
Note true here, let's see some data.. Oh wait, you gave up on OTA reception and got rid of all your antennas, so how would you ever be in any position to advise a guy on anything reception wise? Just sayin...

I receive the same signals on the following tuners as all my TVs, I have 8 drops that feed various areas of the house.

hauppauge 950q
hauppauge 955q
hauppauge wintv dual hd
hauppauge areo-m
hdhomerun3

Some tvs in the house, Couple LGs 1 older and 1 newer, Samsung, and some off brands.
At any given time, not a one seems to outperform any other device. Certainly not significantly.

Personally, if i were experiencing any such issue, because I have so many different devices, I would be investigating my antenna system, and all components within, from antenna, preamp, downlead feeder, any downstream splitting, and all the associated cabling. Because the theory and practice says that any variation from one device to the next can easily be minimized with proper design and implementation.
 

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Unless the laws of physics have changed, past experience still holds true. I can't say a lot about the latest PC TV tuners. I saw significant differences between some older WinTV products, a HDHR3 and a HDHR4. The WinTV products were junk but that was 10 years ago. The HDHR3 and HDHR4 had significant differences in the channels they received from the same antenna. The biggest issue on all was overloading and noise, lots of noise, especially on VHF. One of the biggest sources was PCs. Florescent lamps and small appliances with motors were other major sources. Then there are the overhead power lines just a few feet away. Some of the noise was intermittent. Never did track that down.

Don't know your location but I doubt there are many that present the combination of reception issues encountered here. I don't have the ability or resources to put up a tall tower so reception issues cannot be resolved easily, if at all.
 
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