Quick & dirty troposcatter TV reception: pt 1

Without spending a cent, one can receive fortuitous distant television broadcasts with existing equipment. Obviously more sophisticated equipment makes the task easier but that shouldn’t be a limiting factor.

This blogger has heard the excuse so many times, ‘I would love to put up a dedicated antenna but I cannot’. Get passionate and creative. Get inspired and achievements come easy. One enthusiast has even home brewed a highly effective antenna from disused antenna pieces.

WIN Sunshine Coast

ABC Sunshine Coast

Southern Cross 10 Sunshine Coast

SBS Sunshine Coast

BTQ7 Translator Sunshine Coast

Any old antenna. The one used to receive the above footage was for the wrong frequencies (i.e. a rooftop 15 element FM yagi). Being able to pointing it roughly towards the direction of the broadcast site is mandatory. Even better there might be a UHF antenna lying in the shed. Ask neighbours and relatives for assistance. If an existing or borrowed antenna is not an option, as a last resort, buy one delivered from $50.

Who needs a recorder? These videos were recorded on a Nokia E71 mobile phone.

Any non-muting television. A Sharp television manufactured in Malaysia in the 1990s was used above. These Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) sets will probably last forever! Being able to receive weak signals on a television without the TV tuner automatic muting (‘the blue screen’) is mandatory.

Bob Copeman of Melbourne, a long distance television enthusiast explains:

Always use televisions and radios with manual tuning, automatic search tuning usually misses the good signals… Never use equipment containing a mute. This will block most DX signals. Mutes are used on most expensive televisions, videos and hifi equipment, so the cheaper the better, unless one can obtain a good piece of equipment and have the mute switched off. A mute appears on television as a silent screen, either black or blue, when on a blank channel.

In theory, a high quality in-line signal preamplifier may offset or minimize the muting effect of a television receiver as the threshold level of a signal is lifted. Because a preamplifier might cost approximately $80 it may be simpler to spend that money on a secondhand television without muting.

This post has been divided into two entries to improve loading speed on slower connections, because embedded Flash video hogs resources like Clive & Gina do.

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