Antenna saga

As part of the ongoing antenna saga, the weekend before last I acquired some coax from Bunnings (I thought 20m would be plenty – wrong! Just enough), and a mast. I mounted the mast on the facia and strung the coax up in the roofspace, and left it at that.

This weekend it rained cats and dogs Saturday and I was out of the house until mid-afternoon Sunday, so I wasn’t left with much time to finish the job before sunset Sunday. But, like a fairly well oiled machine I managed to disconnect the antenna, loosen all the bolts that needed loosening, cut it down, fold it up, drag it to the manhole, try putting it through, pull it back out again, fold it up better, put it through the manhole, drag it outside and up to the roof, mount it (very cool that the mounting bolts were still hanging on the antenna even though it had originally been hung in the roof space), realise there wasn’t a hope in hell I was going to hook up the coax with the antenna floating out in the air like that, dismount it, hook up the coax (noticing of course how easy it is to slice through the braiding when slicing through the plastic sheath and having to do it again), discover that the weather sheild for the connector was knackered and ‘repaired’ it with a metre of electrical tape, remount it, discover the mounting bracket was on back-to-front, remount it, tighten up all the bolts, tape down the coax to the mast and return to ground level just as the sun set.

A very tidy piece of work, which only required me to attach the other end of the coax to the splitter and away we’d go. My figuring was, hook what we’ve got into the splitter and I’d see how the picture was and make adjustments later; worst case scenario was that our TV reception for a week would consist of bunny ears. Except the modern coax differs from what’s already in the house in two ways: firstly, it’s aluminium shielded instead of copper; secondly it’s smaller and thus the mounting clamp in the splitter wouldn’t actually grip the de-sheathed coax. I ended up creating a solid mechanical connection by restoring the sheath on the top half of the coax.

Testing revealed a miraculously improved analogue picture quality, including rock-solid SBS reception and Channel 31 visibility. Some negative ghosting was evident, and the Channel 31 picture could improve a little more, so perhaps there will be some fine tuning of the direction next weekend utilising the advanced technolgoy of our radio phone. The splitter doesn’t seem to be detracting too greatly from the signal, so it could be staying. I ought to get some 75 ohm resisters ‘tho. I think there are only two active leads from the four-way splitter.

Signal strength reported by the HDTV cards on all channels has improved to the 95-98% range.