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  #16  
Old 07-09-2012, 09:21 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Many times, you'll find old antennas, in like new condition, in attics of older homes. It was better than using set-top antennas, in poorer reception areas.
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  #17  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_tech View Post
This antenna is in use on my roof, pointed at a classical station about 110 miles distant.
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Originally Posted by Sandy G View Post
This area has some UNREAL DXing opportunities...
Living near hills and mountains as I do is very pretty, but it really limits the line-of-sight VHF/UHF (FM/TV) DXing possibilities.

The nearest I have got is, one time several years ago when NTSC stations were still on the air, I pointed my 3-element 14/21/28 MHz Yagi antenna (on a 55-foot tower) toward Sacramento and hooked it up to a TV to see what I would get. It pulled in their Channel 3 TV station with only a small amount of snow. I should hook it up again and see if I can get any out-of-area digital stations. Eventually I want to put up one of my bigger all-band TV antennas on that tower with a nice Channel Master 7777 preamp.
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  #18  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:16 PM
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RCA antennas

A friend just sent me this photo of a 1950 RCA service truck with what looks to be a stacked conical on roof. RCA truck 1950.jpg

Some more of the RCA antennas, a corner reflector from 1967 that performs very well.
This design was carried over for years afterward and is being sold by Digitenna.
RCA corner reflector1.jpgRCA corner reflector 2.jpg

This is the last of the real RCA-branded antennas, assumed to be made by Gavin in NJ. Some retain the signature green anodizing even after 35+ years! I would hate to see the haz-mat report on the site where these were made.
They sure do last as I still see many around. The main issue with these was the poor UHF response due to the " very notchy" trap that attempted to trap the out-of-phase UHF received by the VHF section behind it. RCA U-V trap.jpg Many a job re-used these as a VHF antenna and adding a separate corner reflector with amp on the mast.

Recently, I just had to experiment on digital using these designs and removed two of them from houses bought by Amish folks who were overjoyed that somebody wanted to remove this worldly symbol from thier chimney. This mid-size model performed only after isolating the UHF from the VHF and feeding them to an amp with separate U-V inputs (winegard AP2870) The curlicue-loaded VHF elements also set these apart. RCA 4G30.jpg

Last edited by DavGoodlin; 07-20-2012 at 03:27 PM. Reason: story correction
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  #19  
Old 07-20-2012, 11:56 PM
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I found this TV antenna up in my attic.
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2012, 08:43 AM
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That looks like a Finco. The UHF trap looks like it had some engineering behind its design. Small but I bet it works real well in Chicagoland!
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  #21  
Old 07-24-2012, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseljeep View Post
Many times, you'll find old antennas, in like new condition, in attics of older homes. It was better than using set-top antennas, in poorer reception areas.
The house I grew up in, which was built in the mid-'50s, had three attic-mounted television antennas -- one for VHF, one for UHF (for the living-room TV), and a third all-channel antenna for the set in my bedroom. All worked well in that area, which was 30+ miles from the Cleveland TV stations. The VHF antenna for the living-room TV was a 1950s-vintage conical type; the UHF one, if I remember correctly, was a 3- or 4-bay antenna with the screen behind (or in front of) the X-shaped elements. This was a necessity in the area in which my boyhood home was located, as the city was in a near-fringe area for Cleveland TV, in addition to having other reception problems related to the geography of the area. Set-top antennas worked in that area, but reception on certain stations (the PBS affiliate, for example, which was the worst) was often iffy at best, especially in color.
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  #22  
Old 08-03-2012, 09:35 AM
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Buffalo-Toronto Antenna Special

One area of which I am slightly intrigued is western NY. With access to Canadian stations (we only get AM DX from Canada this far south).

Check out this advertisement for a antenna retailer, selling "kits" direct to consumers.
I estimate this is from the early 1960's. The only UHF mentioned is channel 17, a PBS channel.
Notice that Hamilton is incorrectly shown west of Toronto.

Buffalo Antenna.pdf

I also have one from Reading, PA for a Finco "area special" had a 3-6-10 broadband for Philly with an "8-bar" little Yagi antenna so you did not need a rotor just to get the one other VHF channel 8 clear, from the other direction.
This was a rather pedestrian setup getting just the three networks (two are NBC), lacking equipment to get the elusive three Philly UHFs that went on the air in 1965.
For that, Barbey Electronics sold the Finco 4-bay bowtie or JFD 4-bay bowtie (stacked co-linear arrays & vertically-oriented screens). You could always tell the JFD because it had the bowtie halves closed, not cut and heart-shaped. The corner reflectors seemed more suited to open areas with fewer tree obstacles, providing less wavefront capture, but slightly higher gain.

Last edited by DavGoodlin; 08-03-2012 at 09:46 AM. Reason: JFD
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  #23  
Old 08-03-2012, 10:19 PM
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I cleaned out a TV shop in Delaware and he had a pair of NOS antennas in the attic, I think Channel Master, that were made just for just low-band VHF as I recall. He said the state prison had ordered them for some reason but never had them installed. I went as far as emailing a small local cable company to see if they would take them but, hearing nothing, they were still in the attic when the place was razed. I did find a good home for a NOS CM UHF, one of those huge ones, probably irritated the UPS guy having to deal with that box.
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2012, 11:02 AM
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Channel master made the best UHF antenna, the Parascope model 4251, discontinued for the reason you state, a royal pain to handle. ( Finco also had one) If there's any signal, these will grab it. Here is a link of a dedicated fan - no affiliation of course.
http://www.rocketroberts.com/cm4251/cm4251.htm


I spotted one on the rear roof of a local high-end audio-video dealer near work a few years ago. I kept bugging the guy to sell it to me since he quit using it for his showroom. One day, I noticed the place closed and for sale, lots of red ink so I was told. Kept my eye on it and when a local Sign company bought the building, I made my move. The guy was thrilled to get it off his roof! I showed up alone with ladder and truck and removed everything including a CM 0068 amp and rotator, patching holes of course.. Now its on my shop garage, just above the roof. It probably takes an olympian feat to put one on a tower.
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  #25  
Old 08-09-2012, 01:46 AM
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Thank you for those notes and the link, Dave. I used to think those were the coolest antennas to see when I was a kid. My brothers and I thought they were for some sort of "secret", closed-circuit or other special TV signals. In recent years, I have picked up a couple of parabolic grill-type antennas used for MDS or MMDS TV signals, the ones near 2400 MHz. They are smaller though, 3 or 4 feet diameter.
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  #26  
Old 08-09-2012, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisW6ATV View Post
Thank you for those notes and the link, Dave. I used to think those were the coolest antennas to see when I was a kid. My brothers and I thought they were for some sort of "secret", closed-circuit or other special TV signals. In recent years, I have picked up a couple of parabolic grill-type antennas used for MDS or MMDS TV signals, the ones near 2400 MHz. They are smaller though, 3 or 4 feet diameter.
I saw those MMDS jobs all over Cleveland when I was there 20 years ago. That format was used where cable had not been yet installed, I think.
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  #27  
Old 08-09-2012, 09:42 PM
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The Baltimore & DC markets had what they called "Super TV" with movies starting every night at 8pm. I would tune in to the scrambled signal (on WNUV-54) quite often as a novelty. Sometimes you could almost sorta see something! My father had a hunting buddy that subscribed. One night we all went over there for a party, to see some mob movie. I don't know what it was but there were so many "F-bombs" that my sisters and I had to stay in the back of the house. It didn't matter much because the reception was so poor that they never did make it through the whole thing. I wish I had the TV they owned, a very late Philco-Ford console.
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  #28  
Old 08-09-2012, 10:19 PM
snelson903 snelson903 is offline
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Originally Posted by bandersen View Post
I found this TV antenna up in my attic.
im guilty of that , i did that at my shop i owned, the building was about 30 feet tall and real close to the rail road im talking about 50 feet away ,everytime a train went by it seemed every 25 min if the ant was out side i would get ghosting or alot of interference, i guess depending what was on the rail car, one saturday i was working down there got sike of it i new its got to be all reflective wave issue i mean train one big steal moveing wall with gaps in it, so i went and stuck it up in the attic ,had someone watching tv until it was almost perfect ,you wouldnt beleave the postion i put it to be perfect.
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  #29  
Old 08-09-2012, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bgadow View Post
The Baltimore & DC markets had what they called "Super TV" with movies starting every night at 8pm. I would tune in to the scrambled signal (on WNUV-54) quite often as a novelty. Sometimes you could almost sorta see something! My father had a hunting buddy that subscribed. One night we all went over there for a party, to see some mob movie. I don't know what it was but there were so many "F-bombs" that my sisters and I had to stay in the back of the house. It didn't matter much because the reception was so poor that they never did make it through the whole thing. I wish I had the TV they owned, a very late Philco-Ford console.
"F-bombs"? I thought the FCC had rules about using that sort of language on television, even in the 1980s when "subscription" TV was popular and a couple decades before the flap involving a national talk-show host that resulted in the FCC really putting the brakes on indecent language on radio and TV. How on earth were you able to hear those words if the signal in your area was scrambled?

There was a subscription-TV station in Cleveland in the '80s, WCLQ-TV channel 61 (now WQHS Univision 61) that carried standard programming during the day, until about eight p.m., and subscription TV at night, all night. For the subscription service, the station had connections with a company that made decoders for the station's STV signal which it leased to interested subscribers for a monthly fee, and even special antennas cut specifically for the channel 61 frequency range. I saw at least one of those in my old neighborhood at least into the 1990s, long after STV folded in the Cleveland area.

The subscription TV service went off the air some time in the late '80s, and the local affiliate in Cleveland became WQHS-TV, an affiliate of the Home Shopping Network. This lasted a few years (I don't remember exactly how long), then HSN (now QVC) went to cable and WQHS became (and is to this day) a Spanish-language Univision affiliate. Digital channel 61.1 nowadays, of course. I believe Detroit's WXON-TV channel 20 also had a subscription-TV service called "ON" TV, which may have lasted as long as the Cleveland affiliate did.

I'm not sure what happened to channel 20 after that, although I think it became a MyTV affiliate and changed its callsign to WMYD (My [TV] Detroit). During its WXON-TV days, and before I got cable, I used to be able to get the station in suburban Cleveland in the summers, along with most other Detroit stations -- including WGPR-TV 62 (now CBS affiliate WWJ-TV). I still get Detroit stations on an indoor DTV antenna, but since I now live (and have lived since 1999) within a mile of the south shore of Lake Erie I'm not surprised.
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  #30  
Old 08-12-2012, 02:42 AM
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Jeff, Bryan mentioned that he was at a house where they were subscribing to the service; that is how/why they could hear the audio.

Apparently many cities had similar services around the same time period (roughly 1979 to 1985). In Chicago, it was on channel 44 and called OnTV (plus their later partner Sportsvision on channel 60). A competitor, Spectravision, was on channel 66 with a different scrambling scheme.

In that time period, I, umm, did some "bad behavior". In fact, for a while I had the circuit to decode the OnTV audio (swear words and all!) memorized down to every component. It used an LM565 PLL chip, a transistor, and a few other capacitors and resistors to decode the audio from a 31 kHz or 60 kHz subcarrier. You had to tap the TV's audio detector before any de-emphasis components eliminated the subcarrier from the baseband audio. A cheap-and-dirty but useable way of decoding the video was to put a J.W. Miller 6333 coil in series with the video detector and tune it to eliminate the 15.75 kHz sine wave that scrambled the video. A DPDT switch completed the modification to the TV (to select normal or scrambled).
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