Enter the Flea Market HDTV Antenna

Our local flea market. 77 flea market, has several vendors selling homemade HDTV antennas that are constructed from PVC pipe, and electrical flex conduit.The sell anywhere from $8-12 and of course the final price is negotiable. There are three versions being sold, a dipole, a loop and a “double loop”. I bought a dipole and the loop just to play around with thinking I could debunk them as any viable antennas for this application as I had already tried some store bought amplified antennas with little success.Here is what they look like:

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I bought both for $14 and both came with a 8ft length of coax with a pretty decent set of connectors done with good workmanship. I took these home and connected to my TV and started a channel search. First up was the loop up about 7 feet. To my complete surprise It captured 30 stations including the ABC and CBS stations!  The dipole was a little worse but comparable to the amplified antennas I had previously tried. Given this unexpected performance, I decided to look into how these antennas go together.

Essentially the dipole is two lengths of wire cut for the 800Mhz range and connected to a 300 Ohm to 75Ohm transformer. The loop is similar with a length of wire looped and connected to a transformer.Here is what one half of the dipole looks like:

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I can say the workmanship is good with a solid crimp to the wire element. Clearly the wire element configuration doesn’t make much sense.  When this is jammed into the PVC pipe the ends will short together and yet, there are likely some case where the wires may not short. It seems that it would have made more sense to just use a simple length of wire.

 

 

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