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An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life

Steven Eizenberg (KC7BYP) on December 16, 2016
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An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life

Hi, I am Steve KC7BYP. I had a problem with not enough gain from one of those "as seen on TV" indoor digital TV antennas. See the attached picture.

As you can see from the map, see attached picture that I am about 5 to 7 miles direct line of sight from the TV station towers on the hill. But the TV signal has to pass through the entire length of the building and all the apartments in the building to get to my room.

The complex doesn't allow any antennas other then Dish Network or Direct TV antennas on the roof. I can't even string an end feed long wire out my window to the nearest tree. I had to even get a special medical waiver note from my doctor to have my window air conditioner in my window. I do have a 10-meter vertical antenna sitting on a tripod on my balcony. -- Because the tripod isn't bolted to the balcony. The tripod is held down by 3 cinder blocks and #12 solid copper wire. Is why they don't make me take it down? I have about 60 feet of coax coming in the balcony door, down the hall way to my room.

Anyway, here is what I did about the TV signal strength problem. First, this whole project is held together with wire ties. The as seen on TV antenna is strapped to an aluminum rod, the rod is strapped to a corner post on one of the free standing shelves in my room so I can turn the antenna for best signal strength. That helped some. -- But not good enough.

I scratched my head and started thinking. How can I improve the signal strength of the antenna itself? I already tried a broadband RF antenna booster amp. That helped some.

I made out of a metal coat hanger a passive radiator or parasitic element in front of the indoor digital antenna. I made a home made 2-element Yagi antenna which did the trick. See the attached picture.

My flat screen TV has a built in signal strength meter. It has a red square for very bad signal, no picture or sound, then yellow, green and blue for best signal. I was ranging in the yellow, flashing green. Now I have solid blue across the board, all TV stations. Just by adding the 2nd element in front of the indoor TV antenna. -- That’s how a bit of basic Amateur Radio antenna knowledge applied here did the trick.

If anyone needs to build the 2nd element I can supply more detailed drawings and pictures.

Steve, kc7byp

Member Comments:
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An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by WJ4VA on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Pretty Sure they cant stop you from having an outdoor TV antenna, the same federal regulations that allow for the DISH antennas cover broadcast TV antennas. Nice job on the "yagi"
 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by AC7CW on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the article. Hams could take note of that kind of antenna and the described enhancement because it's great for remoting a station. Arguably there is a certain distance where it becomes more efficient to remote a station than to pay for coax.
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KAPT4560 on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent engineering in both thought and application. I learned a lot about antenna fundamentals from reading an old ARRL Antenna Handbook. The internet is a huge learning tool as well.
Fundamentals don't change much. Experimenting taught me a lot about reception characteristics and principles.
Yagi directors and reflectors become important in increasing antenna dB when up in the VHF/UHF ranges.
I usually stay under 30 mc on radio, so my needs are different.
I purchased one of those pancake antennas from a retail store for the XYL when TV went digital and was disappointed in the performance. A 2' piece of wire picked up the same number of stations. I took it back the next day.
I made my own folded dipole and put it in the attic similar to this one:
http://www.diytvantennas.com/index.php
I didn't believe that I needed a LNA to boost the signal and found that most active antenna circuits were pretty noisy.
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by N8FVJ on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
I have TV cable. But for ham radio my complex will not allow a dipole antenna despite a group of inline trees that span 140 feet and 25 feet away from my 2nd (top floor) apartment. What am I to do?

I built a helix wound 6 foot magnetic loop and placed that in my second floor storage space off of my balcony. It covers 80 thru 15 meters. I have a 10 meter 108' whip on my steel balcony railing & a six meter loop on a 8' pole mounted to the other side of balcony. Efficiency is down on 80 meters, but an amp easily makes up for it.
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KD6VXI on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
They cannot tell you that you are not allowed to have an over the air antenna.

It's called OTARD. It's federally mandated, HOA canNOT change it, and you can tell the retards in the office to kiss your bass.

Now, tell them you need a CREATE log array for TV.

But seriously. It's ILLEGAL for them to prohibit an over the air antenna if your inside and can't pick up.

--Shane
KD6VXI
 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by K6AER on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
I hate to throw water on this ham radio parade but this is junk science at best. The antenna is a patch broad band amplifier antenna. Its design operation is to cover frequencies from 54-216 MHz and 477-806 MHz. The antenna is basically an amplified dummy load. Putting a director in front, at best would add a few dB at the resonate frequency of the director and would help one half of a 6 MHz channel depending on the frequency of the director. On other frequencies, the coat hanger director could lower the antenna efficiency and frequency response.

Just moving the antenna around for best signal will increase the gain of all the TV channels. I wish E-Ham had some technical review before these articles appear.
 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KD6VXI on December 16, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Couldn't edit, but not illegal. Against regulations.

--Shane
KD6VXI
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KC7BYP on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
If I understand correctly what Shane KD6VXI said. E-Ham can't edit articles (except for bad words, slander, racial overtones and so on). It is in E-Ham's rules and regulations. I speak from experience. I sit on the board that runs RadCon, the local Sci Fi/Fantasy convention.

Steve KC7BYP


K6AER wrote on December 16, 2016: I wish E-Ham had some technical review before these articles appear.


KD6VXI wrote on December 16, 2016: Couldn't edit, but not illegal. Against regulations.

--Shane
KD6VXI
 
K6AER  
by VE3CUI on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
"...I wish E-Ham had some technical review before these articles appear…"

…And MY wish…? That you, personally, might be so gracious & generous to all of us "…great unwashed masses" collected here by bestowing & blessing our collective with so much as even a single, small nugget of unquestionable technical perfection that might perfectly capture all of the astute & impeccable technical superiority that you so obviously hold sole & complete dominion over.

Come --- rescue us here from these repeated assaults of "…junk science at its best," and become the beacon of knowledge that we poor misguided souls (how ANY of us can even make QSOs is beyond me!) might follow into your promised land. It is, after all, Christmas time, a season for giving & sharing much more (hopefully) than your opinion alone…!
 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by K7AAT on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!


I wish people would pay attention to this. It renders the original poster's dilemma moot.

https://www.fcc.gov/media/over-air-reception-devices-rule

 
RE: K6AER  
by K6AER on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
VE3CUI,

I appreciate your poetic seething reply but you ignore the basic premise of my posting. The technical basis for the article is pure junk science. You have published three articles on E-Ham as I have posted many so you must understand it is important to get the technicals right.

Putting out a technical article that is just wrong does no one in the hobby any good. Many new hams believe if it is published it must be fact. What I am asking for is E-Ham technical review. You send an article into QST and they do a technical review before publishing. If it is not right they send it back for modification. I know not everyone is an electrical engineer and I have met many who without a degree have been talented and innovative engineers in radio design but most important their technicals were correct.

This is the same rubbish as giving every on the soccer team a trophy wither they won or lost. Ham radio first is a technical hobby above all other aspects. If you are presenting a technical article it must have some basis of fact in the science.
 
RE: K6AER  
by W1RKW on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
the OP offered a quick and dirty solution to a crappy signal. It worked for him and might work for others. The OP experimented. Isn't that the point of this hobby and service?
 
K6AER  
by VE3CUI on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Nothing personal, but your constant criticism of most everything that anyone & everyone might post here reminds me a lot of an old interview I once heard with Buzz Aldrin…

He had just returned from his successful Apollo mission to the moon, & had occasion to speak to his father for the first time since getting back to earth: expecting the usual proud & hearty, "…Congratulations son, well done!" from dear old Dad, the old man, instead, berated poor Buzz with words to the effect of, "Why couldn't YOU have been first to step out onto the moon…? Second place is for losers…!"

No wonder the poor guy had such a subsequent bad time with alcohol & depression in his lifetime.

Why not just take one step back, & CELEBRATE what someone may have accomplished, for a change…? To you, maybe, what the writer completed may well be mere fortuitous application of voodoo science: but to him it was a moment of personal pride that he wished to celebrate by unselfishly taking the time to sit down & documenting his feat by putting it all into printed word format, & posting it, here. Is there some sort of great personal delight to be derived in deflating these persons' pride so…?

Challenge yourself: resist the temptation, for once, of burying some poor future author with blankets & reams of "…why it should not / could not / won't" accomplish his original goals, and instead, detail the reasons as to why, exactly, it DOES work, and how it may actually have solved the writer's original problem so. THAT exercise will be a far & away purer & more truer application of science vs. "...good luck," than to simply ease back into the first available arm chair, and pontificating to the masses like some Dr. Phil clone, delighting in the sound of one's own voice...

 
RE: K6AER  
by KC7BYP on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
K6AER You must be someone on my family tree since you call my work junk. That's what my mother and my sisters told me all the time before I stop talking to them. I guess there is always a rotten apple in every barrel. And this is the 3rd time I ran across one when I post here. Thanks to you and your kind. I am not going to post here ever again.

To K6AER, 1st you said "I wish E-Ham had some technical review before these articles appear." Then you go on to say "I appreciate your poetic seething reply but you ignore the basic premise of my posting. The technical basis for the article is pure junk science. You have published three articles on E-Ham as I have posted many so you must understand it is important to get the technicals right.

Putting out a technical article that is just wrong does no one in the hobby any good. Many new hams believe if it is published it must be fact. What I am asking for is E-Ham technical review. You send an article into QST and they do a technical review before publishing. If it is not right they send it back for modification. I know not everyone is an electrical engineer and I have met many who without a degree have been talented and innovative engineers in radio design but most important their technicals were correct.

This is the same rubbish as giving every on the soccer team a trophy wither they won or lost. Ham radio first is a technical hobby above all other aspects. If you are presenting a technical article it must have some basis of fact in the science. "
 
RE: K6AER  
by K6AER on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
I can not change the junk science on which your article is based.

Your director would only work on about 3 MHz of band width at a specific frequency. Way to fractional for broadband gain improvement of the terrestrial TV spectrum.

Those who say there was a signal improvement is antidotal. On any given day the signal path can change 20 dB with out moving the antenna.

Please read the ARRL antenna handbook for starters to understand what affects parasitic directors do to antenna gain.
 
RE: K6AER  
by K6CRC on December 17, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article and a clever solution!
 
RE: K6AER  
by KJ4DGE on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
First to the author of this article. Do not be swayed by negative mouthing of a lone person among the many who appreciated your time and effort. I for one want to see more articles from folks like you who want to put the "fun" back in the hobby, its infectious :)
 
RE: K6AER  
by ND8M on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
K6AER,

While I certainly agree with your claims that antenna theory doesn't support the OPs design, what difference does it make? He was faced with a problem, he experimented and found a solution that works. If it works, it works. Sure, maybe it's a total fluke, but again, it worked.

It reminds me of all the people who trash G5RV antennas. Sure, we know all the modeling data that says they are terrible, but tens of thousands of people have made millions of contacts with them. To me, I'm much more impressed with making a contact than with having the best performing antenna on paper.

Make use what you have, or "improvise, adapt, and overcome" as they were fond of saying in the service.
 
RE: K6AER  
by K6AER on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
The owner of Force 12 antennas put a 100 watt light bulb on his deck and connected his 100 watt transceiver to the light bulb. Over a span of several months he worked 22 countries on CW. The light bulb antenna never made it into the product line but it did work DX. Maybe if he had used a flood light he could have used a rotor.

Antidotal is not science.
 
RE: K6AER  
by K7AAT on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!

So a light bulb worked? That in itself would make for a very interesting article. It seems to me that some here are under the delusion that this forum is only for discussion of scientific merit.

 
RE: K6AER  
by W5TTW on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
"...reminds me a lot of an old interview I once heard with Buzz Aldrin… He had just returned from his successful Apollo mission to the moon, & had occasion to speak to his father for the first time since getting back to earth: expecting the usual proud & hearty, "…Congratulations son, well done!" from dear old Dad, the old man, instead, berated poor Buzz with words to the effect of, "Why couldn't YOU have been first to step out onto the moon…? Second place is for losers…!"


"Sorry, pop. I guess Neil had a better dad."
 
RE: K6AER  
by K8QV on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
As long as we're correcting everyone's errors, it's "Anecdotal," not "Antidotal."

If only this website would proofread and edit all posts for grammar and spelling!
 
RE: K6AER  
by K6AER on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Damn autocorrect. My minor was math.
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by AA7LX on December 18, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting Article! Thank You for taking time to write and let the Amateur Radio community know what you accomplished. '73 George AA7LX
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by W8LV on December 19, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Well done. Now that you're at it, the coax ITSELF (short the shield to the centre conductor) coming from the receiver and not actually electrically connected to either a TV dish or conventional antenna or a TV for that matter, might be used as a ham antenna...(Or using an old dish antenna as the OTARD "prop" on the far end) You can work it against quarter wave radials spread out around your apartment. Or make it an end fed, keeping it QRP to prevent overload in all cases, and especially if going the end fed route. Have fun!

 
RE: K6AER  
by W8LV on December 19, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
"This is the same rubbish as giving every on the soccer team a trophy wither they won or lost. Ham radio first is a technical hobby above all other aspects."

Au Contraire! This isn't Commercial Radio, it's Amateur Radio! And ESPECIALLY when it comes to antennas, there's LOTS of reasons that an antenna works well in one location, but not in another: Multiple couplings with local conductors, reflections from adjacent buildings, and the like.

Amateur Radio is about getting things to WORK, in your local situation, with materials you have on hand, at whatever level YOU are at. Sure, with a larger knowledge base and more expensive materials, or a combination thereof, there might be a dozen other solutions, some better, some worse.

The well off ham might build an entire QTH that would better suit reception and transmission. But on a limited income, using what is at hand to solve a particular problem? That works too. And the "Trophy" is the solution AND the Quest to arrive at one.

I get local TV reception here just through the long runs of low quality coax cable that dish ran through the house! Most likely because I can look out my window and see the tower for channel 53. So we get 53.1, 53.2, and 53.3 just because of our LOCAL conditions. Not because leaky crappy third rate coax makes a good antenna. But it WORKS.

 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by K5END on December 21, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Ahem, the word you want is "anecdotal."

Antidotal? There's some irony in there somewhere.

Have a nice day.

 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KB6QXM on December 23, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
To our author on this article. The example that you showed us, do you know what type of antenna is enclosed in the plastic case? It is a loop dipole. The article is pretty simplistic and non-technical.

The little external "urban" antennas are pretty much a scam, but if you are an "urban" dweller living in a HOA/CC&R community, you are pretty much out of luck for OTA signals and REAL antennas. The real answer is a narrow beamwidth log-perodic with a low noise floor (<1db) amplifier and low-loss coax. Maximizing your OTA is a real hobby TV-FM DX. In this world of almost purely digital transmissions, the "cliff effect" is alive and well. Not like the previous analog days.

To the author, if you are not an urban dweller, you may want to consider looking into the TV-FM DX hobby where there is real engineering that goes into an optimum setup.

Not simple "radio shack window mounted antennas and noisy broadband amplifiers"

There are many of these type of video hobbies such as TVRO and FTA (unfortunately dying hobbies) 21st century is now streaming (Streaming devices and video media streaming servers)

73 from the Silicon Valley, the center of the universe for technology!
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KK3OQ on December 28, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
I recently got a 50" TV for my garage on a Black Friday sale great price! What I didn't know was it was a TV that was made more or less as a monitor for a home entertainment system and did not include a "tuner".

Anyone know were or how I can add a tuner to the TV on the cheap?

If not then I guess I would recommend checking the specs on those black Friday specials, hihi
 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KK3OQ on December 28, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
That's the internet for ya' a Cuisinart
 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by K7CHO on December 30, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Might be worth swapping it with one in the house that you use a cable/sat receiver with?

 
RE: An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KM6EBW on January 1, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Being a new operator, I enjoyed the give and take of this discussion as a learning exercise. Even though it seems to have gotten a little heated, I hope no one drops out of sharing their comments and experiences...technical or not, it's good to hear from all the family members.
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by KB2NAT on January 10, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoy little articles like this. Doubtless my EE professors might have done it differently, but the non-ham wouldn't have done anything but perhaps complain. Another example of the use of antenna theory is when the in-house dish tv transmitter wouldn't reach through the walls to the back bedroom. I doubled the length of its 4" antenna and altered the polarization to horizontal and never had any problem thereafter. I looked good to my wife and that ain't bad.
 
An Example of Amateur Radio Used In Every Day Life  
by 4Z4DR on January 14, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Does using a cast iron skillet as a reflector to improve the reception of a little DVB-T antenna count?
 
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