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Old 11-22-2014, 08:01 AM   #1
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TV antenna made from coat hangers, it works!

Wishing we had added a TV antenna to our build sheet, I did some internet research. I made the attached TV antenna using a YouTube video with stuff I had around the house. We are camping at Buck Hall about 20 miles north of Charleston SC. We can watch CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and 3 PBS stations plus others in HD. We tried it at home (about 40 miles north of Boston) before leaving and it worked as well as my roof antenna.

Maureen
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:06 AM   #2
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Hope the picture comes out this time
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:07 AM   #3
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The picture is sideways. The board is resting on the front storage box.
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:42 AM   #4
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I fixed the sideways picture for you.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:37 AM   #5
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Interesting setup. I imagine the antenna part of any purchased one would be actually quite simple.

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I fixed the sideways picture for you.
Sure, way to go. Before I read your post I was turning my head sideways thinking that it seemed fine the right way up to me. It's early, give me a break.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:42 AM   #6
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We did that back in the 50's, also aluminum foil was also used.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:59 AM   #7
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We did that back in the 50's, also aluminum foil was also used.
It does work good, for sure. We were camped out with friends for a birthday party when the Stanley Cup playoffs were on 10 years back. We brought a TV to watch, and the only way to get reception was to run wires in the trees, with tinfoil wrapped around them. It was raining, so we were sitting under tarps around the fire watching.

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Old 11-22-2014, 10:11 AM   #8
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Camping with a skid-steer. That is very Albertan.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:03 AM   #9
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Camping with a skid-steer. That is very Albertan.
We have a Texas version of that: camping with a Bobcat.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:06 AM   #10
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Camping with a skid-steer. That is very Albertan.
It was at my friends property. He was doing some work with it beforehand. Makes a great redneck TV stand, eh?
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:18 AM   #11
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It was at my friends property. He was doing some work with it beforehand. Makes a great redneck TV stand, eh?
Whew! Glad that was clarified. I was thinking that camping in Alberta requires something like that for a tow vehicle.
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:27 PM   #12
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Wishing we had added a TV antenna to our build sheet, I did some internet research. I made the attached TV antenna using a YouTube video with stuff I had around the house.
Maureen
Some friends and I got into a little "who can make the best OTA" a few years ago. It started with the well known "shoe box antenna" and grew from there. The results were so amazing it made converts out of us. Especially me, since I live in a canyon without any direct line of sight to any TV transmitters.

I made and used on my boat the exact same antenna. In the end I use a 4 bay unit for the trailer and an 8 bay one for home. For the trailer I put it on a pole and turn it to the required direction. I usually check "TV fool" to get the direction to point the antenna.

Pictured is the commercial version of the antenna.

Ron
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:06 PM   #13
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Great work on the antennas. I note that the ones shown in detail are for UHF channels; many stations are in the VHF band, so they need longer antenna elements... the antenna needed varies by location. In the Edmonton area, we have two English-language stations in UHF, but the other two are in VHF.

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Camping with a skid-steer. That is very Albertan.
I agree! After I moved here, I wondered why I had never seen so many of these things before.

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We have a Texas version of that: camping with a Bobcat.
That's the Alberta version, too - Bobcat, and even Cat and John Deere, are much more common brands of skid-steer loader around here than Mustang.

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Whew! Glad that was clarified. I was thinking that camping in Alberta requires something like that for a tow vehicle.
About the only outdoor thing I haven't seen anyone try to do with a skid-steer is towing. They have dually diesel pickups for that!
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:30 PM   #14
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In the US, most stations have moved to the UHF sprectum. The ones that are still on VHF are high band (above the FM frequencies) since the phone companies, among others, have taken over the low VHF frequencies, so even short antenna radials may produce an acceptable signal. I have a Yagi "Digital" antenna (I know, there is no such thing as a digital antenna, it is all RF but that is what they call it) that the longest radials are less than 3' long.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:07 PM   #15
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In the US, most stations have moved to the UHF sprectum. The ones that are still on VHF are high band (above the FM frequencies)...
Possibly the same here - both the VHF stations in the Edmonton area are in VHF-Hi... but the top of that band (channel 13) is less than half the frequency (so more than twice the wavelength) of the lowest UHF TV channel, so an antenna optimized for the UHF stations would not be good. Given the marginal signal available in many camping locations, expectations should be kept low...

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I have a Yagi "Digital" antenna (I know, there is no such thing as a digital antenna, it is all RF but that is what they call it) that the longest radials are less than 3' long.
3 inches, not 3 feet, right?

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... the phone companies, among others, have taken over the low VHF frequencies...
Are you sure? The wireless / mobile phone companies have been sold space in the 700 MHz band which was previously used for the upper UHF channels; the 54 to 88 MHz band of VHF-Lo would be useless for handheld mobile phones, and seems unlikely for any other consumer network (although it can work well in some cases for vehicle-mounted mobile radio equipment for emergency services agencies or other workers).

If anyone ever wants a sample of how complex a regulatory agency's life can be, check out the United States Frequency Allocation Chart.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:23 PM   #16
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Given the marginal signal available in many camping locations, expectations should be kept low...

[/URL].
My expectations are resonably low but then again, a couple of weeks ago, at Whidbey Island I was pulling in several Seattle stations. Didn't really expect that as the distance was getting up there and I don't have an amplfier.

We get perfect HD from our OTA. Because we want a couple of programs on networks not available on the antenna we still have cable What surprises friends is when I switch back and forth between the two. The OTA signal is better than the cable. Just got to find how to get the missing stuff on-line so I can finally cut the cable.

Ron
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:54 PM   #17
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My expectations are resonably low but then again, a couple of weeks ago, at Whidbey Island I was pulling in several Seattle stations. Didn't really expect that as the distance was getting up there and I don't have an amplfier.

We get perfect HD from our OTA. Because we want a couple of programs on networks not available on the antenna we still have cable What surprises friends is when I switch back and forth between the two. The OTA signal is better than the cable. Just got to find how to get the missing stuff on-line so I can finally cut the cable.

Ron
If you have enough data maybe a Roku? We use it quite a bit. Lots of channels, although admittedly some of them are niche channels.
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:27 AM   #18
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My expectations are resonably low but then again, a couple of weeks ago, at Whidbey Island I was pulling in several Seattle stations.
According to the Wikipedia list, there are 14 broadcast stations in the Seattle/Tacoma area... and 12 of them are in the UHF band for which many antennas are suited.

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We get perfect HD from our OTA. Because we want a couple of programs on networks not available on the antenna we still have cable What surprises friends is when I switch back and forth between the two. The OTA signal is better than the cable.
Cable went digital long ago, and direct-to-home satellite has always been digital, but either may be only 720 resolution to save bandwidth. The channels allocated for broadcast are wide enough for 1080 resolution.

Our normal service is satellite, but I've tried over-the-air since the digital transition (which was later in Canada than in the U.S.), and it's great... when not breaking up.
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:36 AM   #19
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Haven't used Roku and Netflix content, for Canadians, is finally getting better. Not as much selection as the US but better than it was at first. So cable's days are numbered.

Brian, it was my understanding that cable service compresses the feed. I know they're both digital but while the cable signal is very good the OTA picture seems a tiny bit better. Maybe I'm biased.

This is my set-up for the trailer. A 4 bay antenna on an aluminum tube that fits into a socket on my bike rack.

Ron
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Old 11-23-2014, 03:15 AM   #20
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Brian, it was my understanding that cable service compresses the feed. I know they're both digital but while the cable signal is very good the OTA picture seems a tiny bit better.
I agree - the carrier (cable, satellite, IP TV) can certainly step down resolution (from 1080 to 720) and/or compress the data to fit the signal into a narrower channel; the over-the-air broadcasters apparently don't need to.
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