Infrastructure as antenna

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by SolarFun, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. SolarFun

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    I'm ready to abandon my cable provider and install a TV antenna in hopes of getting free (almost) HD reception. I live on the sixth floor of a high rise building in Ottawa, Canada and the condo rules prohibit exterior antennas. A friend suggested using either the building plumbing or the ground circuit of our electrical service for an antenna. I remember using a hot water system for an FM antenna about 50 years ago and I had to attach a resister (I think) to my antenna wire so as to avoid stray current entering my radio. I'm loath to try anything until I get some advice about protecting my electronics from whatever current my be present on the pipes or the ground circuit. Any advice?
  2. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    In general infrastructure makes really crappy antennas, but who knows with a little magical thinking and a stroke of luck, good things might happen. You could start with a folded dipole made of 300 Ω Twin-lead. Works for FM radio and it might work for TV as well.
  3. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Does your condo face the broadcast station antenna? How far away is it? You might be able get reception with a good indoor antenna since you are on the sixth floor. If you have a spare room or crawl space you might be able to use an outdoor type antenna.
  4. JohnInTX


    Jun 26, 2012
    My sister-in-law in a ground floor townhouse stuck one of these between two books on a shelf and gets great reception. It depends on your distance from the transmitter site.

    BTW: You can order a similar one on line if you are not near a Costco.
  5. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    Exactly. HDTV antennas can be small compared to VHF antennas. And you don't have to put your antenna outside. I can get reasonable reception with the little dipole (shown in the attached photo) placed next to the TV, and I am 15 miles from the closest transmitter.

    If you need more gain, do a search for "coathanger HD antenna".
  6. Audioguru


    Dec 20, 2007
    TV transmissions in Canada are all digital UHF today. Does your TV decode digital TV?
    Look at the small antennas in Google Images.
    You can use one of those inexpensive antennas indoors (but it ain't pretty).
  7. kevinmaloe

    New Member

    Oct 31, 2012
    Works for FM radio and it might work for TV as well.[​IMG]
  8. Audioguru


    Dec 20, 2007
    Your image does not work.

    FM uses VHF. Old fashioned analog TV also mostly used VHF.
    But modern digital TV uses only UHF which is different and uses smaller antennas.
  9. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
    What materials are in your dwelling walls; concrete or wood sticks and paper ?

    I use indoors a Shakespeare 2020 antenna on top of a bookshelf. Can be found cheap at used boat stuff stores.