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TV Antenna as an SDR Antenna?


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Okay, so I was browsing a store website, and I found a $25 GIANT T.V. antenna. Here it is. As you can see, it has a frequency range of 47-862MHz. I am pretty new to the whole SDR thing, but I see no reason this wouldn't work. Can I point this straight up to receive from the NOAA satellite? How much is a gain of 10-13DB? What is the gain of the little tiny antenna that comes with the USB SDR?

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That would be a start but the dongle will pull in 24MHz to 1766MHz so you'll not boost the full range that you can pull in. Of course you'll still get channels in the range of the dongle since I can pull in 27MHz CB stuff with the stock antenna but if I had an actual CB antenna I'd bet that I'd pull those signals in much clearer. It all depends on what you want to listen to and how much you have to spend. Heck, a lot of folks even make their own antennas. I saw a show on Amateur Logic where a guy used an old metal measuring tape and some pvc to make an antenna.

I have some speaker wire rigged up as an antenna and I also have a power antenna that I bought for my AM/FM stereo system that I use. If you get the F to Male Coax cable adapter then you can use any antenna that you can connect with a coax cable to your dongle.

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My old ham Technician's license text shows a Clark band antenna ( probably 12 feet across ) to pick up satellite transmissions from Skylab and Apollo missions.

I expect it won't be too long until SDR's get applied to decoding dish network or direct tv ( K band antennas, I believe ) ( which is illegal in the US, but legal in Canada, since the satt signal from Direct TV is illegal in Canada: that is, the signal is illegal, because Direct TV doesn't have licenses to broadcast into Canada. There is nothing illegal about decoding a direct tv stream in Canada. Many of my friends do, with full diplomatic immunity. ).

In any case, this is only speculation on my part, and the standard disclaimer of me advocating people respecting the laws in their respective jurisdictions applies.

I should also comment as I have commented elsewhere, that in the interests of safety, if you are using an outdoor antenna, don't leave it unattended and connected. Be mindful of things like lightning storms and k volts or Megavolts flying down your antenna line and into your dongle and computer. A direct hit from lightning is very impressive. I have a neighbour whose house was hit, and UPS, computer, all fried. The warranty of protection on the UPS explicitly excludes lightning strikes, any fires they may cause, etc.. So, just because you have a UPS, don't think you are protected 100% against lightning and please be careful with outdoor antennas.

And yes, by all means, have fun as well!

-Fuzzy Bunny

Edited by fuzzy_bunny
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My old ham Technician's license text shows a Clark band antenna ( probably 12 feet across ) to pick up satellite transmissions from Skylab and Apollo missions.

I expect it won't be too long until SDR's get applied to decoding dish network or direct tv ( K band antennas, I believe ) ( which is illegal in the US, but legal in Canada, since the satt signal from Direct TV is illegal in Canada: that is, the signal is illegal, because Direct TV doesn't have licenses to broadcast into Canada. There is nothing illegal about decoding a direct tv stream in Canada. Many of my friends do, with full diplomatic immunity. ).

In any case, this is only speculation on my part, and the standard disclaimer of me advocating people respecting the laws in their respective jurisdictions applies.

I should also comment as I have commented elsewhere, that in the interests of safety, if you are using an outdoor antenna, don't leave it unattended and connected. Be mindful of things like lightning storms and k volts or Megavolts flying down your antenna line and into your dongle and computer. A direct hit from lightning is very impressive. I have a neighbour whose house was hit, and UPS, computer, all fried. The warranty of protection on the UPS explicitly excludes lightning strikes, any fires they may cause, etc.. So, just because you have a UPS, don't think you are protected 100% against lightning and please be careful with outdoor antennas.

And yes, by all means, have fun as well!

-Fuzzy Bunny

Thanks! I'm learning a lot on this forum!

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Yeah for this type of transmission, it's not about antenna gain - Ideally you'll need a quadrifilar helix , because it is circularly polarised and has a good 360 degree reception (yes and virtually no gain) or a turnstile antenna. This will outperform a high gain antenna due to it not being so directional.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, so I was browsing a store website, and I found a $25 GIANT T.V. antenna. Here it is. As you can see, it has a frequency range of 47-862MHz. I am pretty new to the whole SDR thing, but I see no reason this wouldn't work. Can I point this straight up to receive from the NOAA satellite? How much is a gain of 10-13DB? What is the gain of the little tiny antenna that comes with the USB SDR?

The stock dongle antenna is whats called a "Unity Gain" antenna.

If you do not have a specific target frequency or band you can use a TV antenna or better yet a Discone scanner antenna.

For NOAA LEO APT on 137 MHz you need a Right Hand Circular Polarized Quadrifillar Helix Antenna or a Cross Dipole Antenna.

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