Amplified TV antenna worth DIY ?

Thread Starter

skunky

Joined May 5, 2006
9
Hi, I 've been playing around with my rabbit ear antenna and the distortion is getting me nuts as the construction of a new condo beside my condo is going on recently. I have done some research and I think active types that are amplified would work better. The best amplified one I've found is 30dB. I am wondering if this is worth DIY and perhaps I can tweek it a bit to higher than 30dB. But how difficult is it to DIY ? Considering I am living in a big city where lots of highrises might block/interfere the signal, do TV antennas even work at all ? or will I better off to just hook up a cable provider ?

I'm also curious about "Clearvue" 's A/C circuit antenna, does anyone have any comment ? I don't wanna spend a leg or an arm to get one but there seems to be hundred kinds of amplified TV antenna on ebay. Does anyone know which one or what I should be looking specifically ?



Thanks.
 

Gadget

Joined Jan 10, 2006
613
Rabbit ears are a waste of time. Amplifiers can sometimes slightly improve S/N ratio, but their main use is to Overcome losses in the cabling and distribution system, NOT to magically supply a signal that the antenna can't pick up in the first place.
Most "Magic" antenna systems are gimmicks designed to part you from your hard earned cash. Nothing much beats the ol' standard 1/2 wave folded dipole with a reflector and a few directors, tuned to the frequencies you want to receive (Yagi or even Log) mounted outside, up high.
With any receiving system it is Very important to get the correct antenna and place it in the best spot. If there is a long cable run, or signal splitting then a masthead, or distribution amplifier will be of benefit. If the correct antenna, pointing in the correct direction with a minimum of in-line obsticles still doesn't do the job, then cable or satellite may well be the most cost effective solution.
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,571
Are you getting multple reflection's from taller building's,that what we call ghost. Is this somthing new,if the tall building's surround you. You are ready for cable.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,839
The heart of a receiver is the antenna. Ghosting is caused by receiving several signals from the same source going different paths, in this case the condo is a big reflector. The way to fight this is an extremely directional antenna, to pick one path over the others. Amplifying can help, but without the antenna it is a waste, or worse, you are amplifying a flawed signal, which makes it worse.

If you decide to go the antenna path, put it on a pole (you probably don't need altitude) with a rotor to allow you to pick the best signal path. No guarantees, but it would probably work, and you could avoid monthly fees for a large one time price.
 

Audioguru

Joined Dec 20, 2007
11,251
An amplifier will just be seriously overloaded by the strong local signals and their reflections. Then you will have every station interfereing with every other station and every ghost added and also amplified.
 

gee_emm

Joined Jan 16, 2008
34
Theyre are going to do away with analog signals I think in Feb '09. You'll have to get a box to convert "rabbit ear" signals by that time anyway. Maybe just do that now, see if it helps before you get cable.
 

thingmaker3

Joined May 16, 2005
5,073
The February 2009 date applies to the US only. Canada will cut-over in August of 2011.

The converter boxes are easily purchased in the US, (the Federal Giver-ment will even help pay for the thing) but have not been so readily available elsewhere.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,839
If I'm not mistaken ghosting will disappear as a problem with the new digital format. The antenna setup will work fine for the new as well as the old broadcast standards. The main 3 issues are directionality, gain, and the rotor, I have to agree there is a good chance that an amp will be unnecessary.
 

thingmaker3

Joined May 16, 2005
5,073
US residents get two coupons per household, courtesy of our giverment. $80 to offset the increased cost of Judge Judy's re-runs. I don't watch TV, so I hope someone else really appreciates my tax dollars at work for them.
 
Top