Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Two antennae?

When I was younger, we had an antenna at the house. I was the one designated to go turn the antenna before my parents bought a rotor to turn it.

If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, I'll try to explain. At the top of the antenna pole was a motor to which was connected a short pole that contained the actual antenna. And running from the motor down to the TV was a power cord that attached to a controller that determined which way to point the antenna.

If it was set correctly, setting the controller to north pointed the antenna north. If it was moved to the east, the motor would turn and the antenna would point to the east. And it went the full 360° of the compass, pointing the antenna where you wanted it.

And, if you aren't sure why that would be needed, well, that was because we were one of many many families that could pick up TV from multiple cities, or at least, from multiple directions. For some nearer the big cities, there may be an antenna on one side of town and another on the other side of town. Or one of a bunch of other reasons why you would want to point the antenna to a different direction.

For us, it was Savannah in one direction and Jacksonville in another direction. We could pick up the stations from both, if the antenna was pointed that way.

Before we got an controller and rotor, I was the one designated to go outside and physically turn the pole to point to Savannah or Jacksonville.

Today, it may not be quite as easy. First of all, my antenna pole isn't as tall as the one my parents had. Next, the digital signals don't really pick up from Jacksonville as clearly as the old analog signals did. And part of that is because I'm in a slightly different terrain from where my parents' house was.

I don't know if I want to try to pick up stations from a location other than Savannah. I'm close enough to pick some up, from the charts I've seen, so it may be something I want to do. But if I do decide that, I don't want to turn the antenna. Rather, an option might be to put up a second antenna and combine the signals.

Here's the thing. That can lead to interference between the signals and make the channels unwatchable. How do you deal with that? Well, you can get antennae that are designed to do just that. Tablo had an article on their Website that covered that very topic a few days ago:

When you live in between two cities, or in places where local Over-the-Air TV broadcast towers are oddly distributed, your antenna needs may be a bit different than most.

Even 'omnidirectional' TV antennas can really only pick up stations from about a 40-degree spread. So if you're in a similar situation to Tom, you have two decent options: a TV antenna with poseable 'elements' or two directional antennas and a combiner accessory.

The articles goes on to mention a specific antenna sold for that purpose. It may be something that I look into, although I'm not sure I want to replace my current, works quite well, expensive antenna.

However, if you are thinking about putting up an antenna array that picks up stations from different directions, you should at least research if something like that is feasible.

If you are able to put up an antenna, or add an antenna to gain extra stations, you will probably be quite happy with the additional choices these offer to supplement your Streaming Life.

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