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Thread: TV DXing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    East Moline IL
    Posts
    16

    Default TV DXing

    What equipment would I need to be able to TV DX? Would an indoor wall mounted (It's a rectangle antenna that says MaxEnergy and can stick to the wall) antenna work or would I need something better? Is there any cheap or even free alternatives that would work better than what I have or no? Also, is there any place that can detect when tropo for TV stations is active (I've seen a few places that look like they can detect when tropo is active but could be wrong)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    359

    Default

    Here's the website most of us use to detect and watch the development of tropo. http://aprs.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/

    DXer and WTFDA member William Hepburn provides a daily tropo forecast here. http://www.dxinfocentre.com/ This site also provides the link to another site which maps E-skip (Es). Both are quite handy helpers.

    As for equipment, it really depends on your LOCATION as to what you could expect with an indoor antenna vs. outdoor antenna. Outdoors is much better if you can do that at your location. If that is not an option, some DXers must make the best of it with the best antenna that will fit indoors or possibly outdoors on a patio/balcony. Some locations can provide good DX with antennas literally sitting on the ground while other locations require huge antennas/preamps/tall towers just to get out 100 miles. Good luck in finding your best options.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    East Moline IL
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by indysteve View Post
    Here's the website most of us use to detect and watch the development of tropo. http://aprs.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/

    DXer and WTFDA member William Hepburn provides a daily tropo forecast here. http://www.dxinfocentre.com/ This site also provides the link to another site which maps E-skip (Es). Both are quite handy helpers.

    As for equipment, it really depends on your LOCATION as to what you could expect with an indoor antenna vs. outdoor antenna. Outdoors is much better if you can do that at your location. If that is not an option, some DXers must make the best of it with the best antenna that will fit indoors or possibly outdoors on a patio/balcony. Some locations can provide good DX with antennas literally sitting on the ground while other locations require huge antennas/preamps/tall towers just to get out 100 miles. Good luck in finding your best options.

    Ok, thanks for your help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    Posts
    4,403

    Default

    "Flat" antennas like this tend to be very ineffective on the VHF channels. (I work for a station that broadcasts on physical channel 10. More than 90% of reception complaints we receive stem from the use of flat antennas.)

    I would consider a set of rabbit ears. They're not quite as cheap as the MaxEnergy (I see it selling for $6.98 at Menards!) but they're pretty close.

    An outdoor antenna is always best. The old-fashioned designs with the numerous crosspieces. The more crosspieces (elements) the better. Of course, these are more expensive & there may be aesthetic concerns. If you can't get away with installing one outdoors, consider putting one in the attic. Some DXers have even put small "outdoor" antennas in the room with their equipment.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Thunderstorm, KY
    Posts
    1,761

    Default

    You can still have fun...

    http://forums.wtfda.org/showthread.p...New-DX-Antenna

    ... with less than ideal antennas.

    73, Ed NN2E
    Owner / Operator - Murphy's Law Test Site & Thunderstorm Proving Grounds
    "You Might Be a Redneck If...
    Your TV is on 24/7.
    Your TV has been permanently on for over a decade.
    The only time your TV is off is during a power outage.
    Your TV gets 512 channels, but you go outside to use the bathroom.
    Your new TV is sitting on top of your old TV.
    Your TV costs more than all of your other furniture.
    Your deer-stand has a TV antenna on it.
    Your cable provider has no idea that you exist."
    Jeff Foxworthy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Akron Ohio
    Posts
    640

    Default

    Let's be real... what some locations barely receive with a massive 15' long yagi antenna, other locations (like where Ed lives) can receive at the same distance using a paper clip. That's just how tropo works, especially when you're dealing with UHF signals that have a hard time penetrating any terrain. Tropo comes in all varieties, but most of the time you need a low-noise location that's unobstructed by terrain. Flat Midwest is ideal, or on a hilltop... maybe just slightly down the side of the hill to block signals coming from the non-desired direction. And the stronger your locals are, the worse this can be for DX. Personally, I've invested in some channel filters that attenuate my local blowtorches that are only ONE mile away.

    I would not use an indoor antenna. In my opinion, if your DXing, getting the antenna outside alone will drastically improve reception. But then again, my home has aluminum siding, and that basically kills off everything.

    I have had a hard time with receiving any long-haul UHF tropo at home. So I've used a 4-bay antenna in a better location, and I've doubled my number of DTV logs by doing so. Driving 10 miles away to a better location has been successful.

    Here's the tropo probability map too. As you can see, the most number of ducts occurs over eastern Illinois and a few spots next to the Gulf of Mexico. If you're trying to DX tropo in Utah, then find another hobby.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
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    I'd like to share one observation about terrain and the potential issues it can cause. I live in an area of SW Missouri that is referred to as the Ozark Highlands. Constant rolling hills, heavily wooded with oak and walnut trees. Both are hardwoods. People talk about trees being an enemy to DTV signals, and if that's the case, the hardwoods are the worst of the enemies, as researchers have found the hardwoods *eat* DTV signals (so I imagine the dBm in FM signals probably comes down also but that's analog). BUT before we even think about the trees, the rolling hills are the biggest culprit in disrupting the development of tropo conditions. The numerous valleys in the hills create eddies of air (pockets) that are sinking and rising, which can cause the upper atmosphere to be very unstable. This contributes to the t-storm activity that occurs during the Winter to Spring struggle in the Midwest.

    The ONLY time this area ever gets substantial tropo activity is when a High pressure ridge develops or moves into the area and winds totally calm. This allows for tropo to develop. I used to live in Colorado north of Denver and I had more success with tropo ducts there than I do here in Missouri, due to terrain issues. If you look at the map Andrew posted, it would appear Colorado is less prone to benefiting from tropo conditions. But as I say, its the terrain issues. Colorado east of the mountains is the High Plains region, meaning totally flat and very few trees. There were several times I received Omaha TV stations @ just under 500 miles. I had to be aware of what the High pressure systems were doing across the Plains states, because tropo doesn't occur as often in the drier climate.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

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