How to Improve an FM and VHF Signal- Entertainment/ Recreation : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I want to improve my radio (and t.v. I suppose- never actually hooked one up) signal. to do this I will have to run some wire down a hill.

Does anyone know if I have to get the antenna to the highest level of the 2 hills that make the valley, or can I hope to get at least an additional station by getting the antenna to the top of the first hill?

-- Rick in SW West Virginia (, April 07, 2002


Antenna work best when there is nothing between them and the sending unit. Radio and T.V. waves do not bend or follow contures.

-- mitch hearn (, April 07, 2002.

Rick, How far is it to the top of the hill? Two issues to be concerned with. One is getting a good antenna pointing in the correct direction. Many tv and radio stations may not have transmitters at the same location as the studio so you need to figure out where the transmitter is and point the antenna that direction.

Second issue is signal loss. You have signal loss due to distance from the transmitter antenna to your receiving antenna and signal loss from your antenna down your cable to your tv(or radio). Depending on how far out you are, you will need a good high gain antenna, most likely a pre-amp at the antenna. Then for every 100ft of cable comming to the house you need another preamp.

You might want to just get a good high gain antenna and preamp and try the antenna mounted on top your home before dragging it up the hill. Bring a TV out near the antenna and then rotate the antenna. See where the best picture/radio signal is. You can also call the radio engineer of the station your interested in and ask about the coverage contours. See if your even in his coverage area.

-- Gary (, April 08, 2002.

We don't watch much tV - don't have cable, etc. we only get 1 channel. and we live in a valley. but when we moved our tv from our 1st floor to our 2nd we got an additional channel! And when my younger brothers come to visit - they use aluminum foil on the vcr/tv connection cable to get several more channels (i don't bother with the aluminum foil, as we really don't watch much anyway!) ;)

-- heather (, April 08, 2002.

foil on the conector?, interesting,

we get the local public tv, and occasionaly the other public tv network, but htey always have the same thing on..... on really lucky days we get 1 more, kind of fuzzy, but the sound is good... would love to have just 1 local station for the news, but no such luck

-- Beth Van Stiphout (, April 08, 2002.

Your chance of sucess will depend on the signal strength at the top of the hill.

If the distance to the top of the hill is significant I shudder to think how much a suitable cable would cost but it may be practical to use an open wire line consisting of two wires about 6" apart. The wire and insulated supports used for electric fence would be OK. Then you can put the aerial at the top of the hill and probably put a pre amp up there too.

If the signal strength is really strong at the hill top but you are shaded down in the valley a passive repeater may be effective. Such a device consists of two antennas, one antenna is pointed towards the transmitter site while the other is pointed down the hill towards you house. Just connect the two antennas together and the signal from one will be re-radiated by the other. Plenty of people will tell you this won't work and I can't gauranteee it will but I can assure you it might!

-- john hill (, April 08, 2002.


Thank you all for your thoughts.

Are the preamps electrified, and if so, are there DC ones available?

We currently have no electricity.

-- Rick in SW West Virginia (, April 08, 2002.

The pre-amps are 120V electric and can be purchased at Radio Shack. I purchased one that is intended for cable TV but works with rabbit- ears just fine.

If you search an electronic forum you may find someone who has designed a DC pre-amp. However, it may take an eletronic wizard to build it for you on a circuit board. I have degree in Electrical Engineering and know it can be done. We did it in lab many years ago.

-- BossNass (, April 08, 2002.

Power to the preamp may not be a problem, I believe the one we have is about 9volts DC which is powered by a transformer plug pack. Have a look at some for sale, if it has a wall transformer then read the lable on the transformer and that should tell you what the preamp needs.

-- john hill (, April 09, 2002.

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