My Antenna Systems

There are a lot of good things being transmitted these days - some of it intentionally, and some of it is not. Though I've had the luxury to post about what someone in Welland or Niagara can receive this will be the first and with all hope complete source of information about what to use to receive those signals in the Niagara Region.

1) Television Antenna System:

Toronto/Hamilton:

Antra Antenna for Toronto ATSCThe first of two antennas for television and radio is the AT-YG18 antenna from Antra. This unit is directed at Toronto to receive more of the weaker channels coming from the CN Tower.
The official name of the antenna is the AT-YG18, it is a Yagi-Uda style antenna with a simple frame and stripped down connector. You will actually have to strip the end of a piece of coax yourself and fit the wire to the first terminal and the shield to the second terminal. But it is worth it to reduce the number of cuts in the line.

Buffalo/Batavia:

Antra Antenna for Buffalo ATSCThis is the secondary antenna, though directed toward Buffalo there is very little difficulty getting reception. The amazing part is the reception of the ION and Qubo stations from Batavia, which were not available with our previous antenna.
The model is called the AT-YG14, and in retrospect as affordable as this model is it is weaker then the AT-YG18. As with its larger counterpart you will have to manually insert the cables and screw down the clamps with a Philips (+) head screwdriver.

HDTV Amplifier:

Antra Antenna Amplifier for Niagara ATSCThe last and MOST IMPORTANT part of the ATSC antenna system is the pre-amplifier. In order to keep a strong signal moving down from the roof-mount to our central utilities zone this was necessary. More powerful and affordable than solutions available at vendors like the Source at the Seaway Mall the Antra PAU-18 Pre-Amplifier is ESSENTIAL.
In fact the only time the amplifier wasn't necessary was when we had only a two foot long cable to our receiver. and it was not a viable option to have the large antenna in the middle of our living room only receiving stations from the United States.

2) HAM Radio Antennas (HF, VHF, and UHF)

Clarification: these antennas are in use for listening - I am licensed as a HAM Radio operator but there isn't much I've wanted to transmit as of 2010.

I have abandoned listening to HF until I can get more information about tuning, connections, and reducing the antenna footprint.

VHF Communications:

The VHF antenna is large and often generates conversation with the neighbours because of how it looks. Some conversations deal with things SETI would be interested in, but mostly it is a commentary on its length and colour.
This model was a deal, received as part of an inventory clearout I got mine just before the 2009 HAMFest and swap meet operated by NPARC in Niagara. It is the 18-4020B operating at 150-153 Mhz before it was radically augmented to reach the 2 Meter (144-148 Mhz) Band. It is still not ready for transmitting but with some corrective tuning it has helped on the receiving end of VHF signals.

UHF Communications:

Midland 18-4003 from NPARCThe UHF antenna is a really tiny version of the VHF unit, from the same company. Originally a marine radio antenna it was refit for UHF HAM Radio use.
The model is no longer in production, known as a Midland 18-4003 its Operating frequencies were originally 450-512 Mhz though it has been augmented to reach the 420-450 Mhz (70 centimeter) HAM Band.
Somebody once told me it looked like a satellite with the trailing fins. Of course anyone that is familiar with radio history would be advised to teach such a friend that old style satellites like "Sputnik" looked like that because it was a giant antenna. All modern satellites use some type of antenna, and most of them also sport solar panels - if it is a no-brainer up there then it should typically be the same on the ground.