@Canons900 — Your situation is very similar to mine, except I’m south of Philadelphia and a little further away. I added a (very simple) second antenna in my attic specifically to receive channel 6. To do this I made a folded-dipole antenna out of old-fashioned 300-ohm twin lead wire. (See this web site: http://users.wfu.edu/matthews/misc/dipole.html ) For channel 6 reception, the frequency is 82 to 88 MHz, midpoint around 85 MHz. To make a half-wave dipole you’d need a 66 inch length of twin-lead wire, with the output coming out of the middle of the wire. (See the website for details.) I bought a 300 ohm to 75 ohm balun transformer from Amazon and attached it directly to the center of the dipole, and use that as the VHF input to an RCA mixing amplifier. This has worked well for me with the dipole antenna and the UHF antenna in my attic. I hope this helps…
I had no idea this was possible. I will give this a shot, but I have to say, I have never done anything like this before. Sorry to say, I have never soldered anything or done something like this.
I am going to give this a try because ABC in Philly has become my white whale. I am determined that I want to bring this channel into my home.
I could just Vue and watch on demand, but to me this defeats the purpose of getting the antenna. I want all the locals so I can record the few shows I watch on abc, modern family, the Goldberg, shark tank, 20/20, etc.
I’ll buy the beer and food if you wanted to help me build one of these…lol.
I am planning on getting solar panels, how would I mount this outside at that point?
It’s pretty simple to make one, I’d be happy to lend a hand. I think I have a couple of Balun transformers hanging around, leftovers from my adventures… The folded dipole is exactly like to those FM antennas they include with fancy stereo receivers, but the length tunes it for TV channel 6. I have two in my attic, one tuned for channel 6 and another tuned for channel 2.
These things are floppy, like a piece of string. It’s difficult to imagine how to mount one outside, and then they’d also need to be bird, water, and cold resistant too. And solar panels blocking the south side of your attic would definitely wreck your reception from an indoor attic antenna.
I’m sorry to say that receiving low-band VHF television requires putting a long (half-wave-ish length) receiving element up, and it would need to be outside your house if you’re blocked by solar panels. A channel 2 tuned element will be about 8 feet long. This is why old-fashioned television antennas were so big. (And why the new little ones don’t work very well…) You don’t need a lot of directional gain, but the long radio-wavelengths for VHF are a killer.
If you’re going to resort to an outside antenna, then maybe a full-size outdoor antenna is a better choice. Something like an Xtreme Signal HD8200XL, or Channel Master CM3020. These beasts are about 9 feet wide by 11 feet long…
It’s really funny that there are a lot of these complicated 10-element Yagi antennas around, but none of the old big ones that had two to four elements that looked like a box-kite. In your situation you (and I) need the length to receive low-band vhf, but not the complexity and directional gain of a 10 or 15 element Yagi…
Circular antennas are very much like a folded dipole, but the problem is that the antenna impedance is a function of the shape of the antenna. (Yes, I’m an electrical engineer.) If you REALLY want to bend or solder copper tubing to make an antenna, here’s a site to visit: http://www.changpuak.ch/electronics/Dipole_folded.php This is a calculator that computes the dimensions for a 300 ohm impedance folded dipole, made out of copper tubing. Again, the frequency you want is 85 MHz for channel 6. I think the calculator asks for about half inch diameter tubing with about a 7.5 inch spacing between the two straight sections, with an overall length of about 54 inches… This will match perfectly with a common 300-ohm to 75-ohm balun transformer. (The reason you care about the antenna impedance is that the mismatch of impedance will translate into a loss of signal. Sort of defeats the purpose of building a perfectly tuned antenna.) So, yes, the diameter of the conductor and the spacing matter. The round antennas will work okay, but in this case a folded dipole will work better for about the same amount of work.
Oh, and someone asked about mixing amplifiers earlier… I went on the cheap side and used an RCA TVPRAMP1R that I bought from Amazon for about $25…
The thread at DigitalHome referred to above has simple to follow instructions to quickly and easily build an inexpensive loop. See especially the cardboard box version with aluminum foil reflector.
The one I built following those plans gives me 100% signal quality on channel 8 and 90% for channel 11 (I am 30 miles from the broadcast towers). Used 6 gauge copper wire from Home Depot 64 inches long bent into a 23 inch diameter loop.
@Canons900 — Just a bit of warning (I’m sounding like a curmudgeon now), the circular antenna designs I’ve seen here are for “high-VHF” channels… Just FYI, channel 7 is NOT next to channel 6 in the frequency spectrum, there’s a big gap. Channel 6 is at 85 MHz, and channel 7 is about 176 MHz. (Channels 2 = 56 MHz through 6 = 85 MHz US are very close together, and are the "low-VHF channels.)
All of the circular designs I’ve seen mentioned here are designed to receive high-VHF channels. If you want to receive low-VHF effectively, the circular antenna will need to be about twice as large to give you a good signal on channel 6. As I mentioned, the problem with most small commercial antennas is that they aren’t big enough to pull in low-VHF television signals very effectively. It should be about one full wavelength around the perimeter of the loop. (That’s something like 132 inches for channel 6. About double the length of the original twin-lead folded dipole antenna I mentioned, since that’s just a squashed loop antenna…)