Build DIY indoor antenna rotor? Arduino? Pi?

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by MuseChaser, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    I'm pretty good at following directions, but not so great at inventing. Here's my setup, followed by what I'd like to do.

    Two years ago, I built a Hoverman antenna for over-the-air TV. I live in a fringe reception area, but have a very tall three story house. The antenna is indoors up at the highest part of the house which is a catwalk above an open loft living area, probably 50' above ground level. That feeds an antenna amplifier, then runs through a 75' cable snaked through my walls to an amplified splitter in the basement ceiling, where it branches out to feed the TV tuner in my basement theater setup and a television in our bedroom. It works GREAT.. NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, PBS, and a bunch of subfeeds, totally 27 crystal clear channels.

    The catch? On some days, I have my choice between NBC OR all of the others, based upon where the antenna is pointing, simply because of the distances, angles, hills, and atmospheric conditions involved. Adjusting the antenna direction for a given program can require three or four trips up and down four flights of stairs and a ladder to the loft to get it right. Keeps me in shape... but sometimes the commercial breaks aren't long enough... ;)

    The Hoverman antenna is very light... just made out of two specific lengths of bent 8g copper ground wire and a balun. I doubt it weights even one pound. It is indoors, do there's no wind or sturdy structure needed.

    I'm a fairly apt end-user, have built quite a few Pi devics, but I don't know anything about coding. I can cut and paste, tweak, and use Putty to ssh into the various Pi systems I have running, but don't really understand the code behind it.. just following directions others have given me.

    I also have a bunch of R/C transmitters, receivers, and servos, but I don't know if the range would be good enough from the basement to the upper reaches of the loft, and there's be the issue of having to keep lithium batteries charged for the receiver at least for it to be convenient.

    How hard would it be to design and build a wifi-controllable rotor based upon an Arduino (no experience at all with those.. just have heard of them) or Pi? Any tips, thoughts, or... been there/done that/here's the parts list and instructions? (WHICH WOULD BE AWESOME).

    Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.
     
  2. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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  3. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the response. That device would be like using a Unimog to haul a chihuahua. Was hoping to cobble something together with parts on hand, a cheapo Pi/arduino, and maybe a hobby motor or servo. The antenna is flat and is about 3' tall, 1' wide, and weighs about as much as a single piece of cardboard that size.
     
  4. flyingbrit

    flyingbrit Pre-takeoff checklist

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    An alternative to a rotor is to use two antennas pointing in different directions. Couple them together using a splitter in reverse. This may or may not work depending on how bad multi path is at your location.
     
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  5. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    I did mess around with that when I first put the system up, but didn't get good results. Maybe I'll give it another try. Would certainly be the simplest solution!
     
  6. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Or two antennas with a remote switch? (maybe Arduino based?)
     
  7. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I'd get a rc sailboat or robotics servo and go from there.
     
  8. cessna182b

    cessna182b Line Up and Wait

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    Why reinvent the wheel? I bought one of these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/QFX-ANT-10...143506&hash=item547980db00:g:Zk8AAOSw6WJd0FXX

    It worked amazingly well - and includes a rotor. Dirt cheap, too. Mine finally quit after several years out in the weather - but inside it should last almost forever. The only downside is that it is not pretty.
    But if it's out of sight, its out of mind.

    I have a situation where I receive signals from two directions like you. My solution was to buy two of these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Televes-Di...045271?hash=item2165df2b97:g:9doAAOSwAPpdxgU5 They are outside, mounted on a mast clamped to a steel pipe drain vent on my roof. I run separate feedlines to a coaxial switch for choosing between them.
    Note that I have the "MIX" model that includes a dipole for VHF channel reception (in addition to UHF). The Televes antenna looks a lot better than the Yagi types.

    Also available are non-directional antennas (often used on RVs). However, they are usually more expensive. I have not tried any of those.

    Dave
     
  9. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    It's certainly cheap enough! If the included rotor is wired, it wouldn't help me much... running the cable from the antenna down to the basement viewing area was a HUGE arduous job and I'm not real keen on doing it again. Is it controlled remotely AND wirelessly? Also, I did a lot of research before building the Hoverman... which was stupid simple... and attractive enough that it looks kind of like a piece of abstract sculpture. It's not out of sight when we're upstairs, and a commercial antenna would look pretty lame. Of course, for $27, if I could just cannibalize the rotor portion (assuming it's wireless) it'd be worth it.