Some years ago (~2005-2009), when there was analog television on the air in Europe, I
wanted to see it and my best chance to see it was Madrid, Spain on channel E2
(48.250mhz). Madrid was a powerhouse. Unfortunately E2's video frequency is 7mhz lower than
our channel A2 (55.250) and you couldn't see it on any of our
televisions. I had heard about the D100 tuner made in the UK. It was a sensitive,
analog tuner that could tune anything and any video standard, so I bought one.
Well even though I did see the E2 video carrier from Spain TV (and Portugal TV on 49mhz) go up to S9 on a few occasions on the Icom R75 I was using, I never did catch European video on my TV. My best guess is that a US made TV antenna must lose gain rapidly once you go below 55mhz and I just never had the gain. I tried a dipole cut for 48mhz. That didn't work. One summer I built a three element yagi cut for 48mhz from plans on a ham website and aimed it at 60 degrees. No luck with that either. And then the European analog E2s began dropping like flies and converting to digital. I was too late. Then they were all gone. Here's a picture of a 48mhz dipole I built especially for chE2 (just ignore that dipole in the PVC pipe):
Next I used the D100 for South
American analog TV and it worked pretty well. The variable bandwidth
was a blessing. I could narrow the bandwidth to the point where signals
lost color but the upside was that I could see signals down at the
S4 level and a fair signal up around S6 or better. I've posted a bunch
of videos on my YouTube page just so you know I'm not making this up. You can get the URL by going over to my old site.
In my computer at the time I had a modified Sabrent analog PCI TV card with an SAA7130 chipset that I could put into free-run mode. I could disable the AGC, which meant that the really really weak signals could be seen. I could almost stop the picture from rolling by adjusting a VR on the board. I had bought the VR and modified the card thanks to emails and help from Hugh in Portugal. I also installed JB's (Jurgen's) free-run program on that computer. But then I changed computers in the summer of 2015 and the new computer was a low profile computer which had no PCI slot, so I couldn't use the card and I was dead in the water. I still have that PCI card, for what reason I don't know.
I have not given up on using my D100 for double hop analog DX. I may have found a setup that works for me. I'm taking the output of the D100 and feeding that into a RTL2832 820T dongle and using TV Sharp (tuned to 579.250 - channel 32 - or 573.250 - channel 31...whichever works better) to watch analog video. With TV Sharp tuned to either ch 31 or 32, I should be able to tune the D100 (which has manual tuning) and see something this coming summer when skip goes south to Central and South America since TV Sharp lets you turn off the AGC and put the tuner into free-run mode. The only problem I'll have is recording it because you can't do that with TV Sharp, and if you can't record DX on your computer you can't use dScaler to clean up the video. I may just have to record it with the phone. dScaler doesn't do a decent job of cleaning up video recorded on a phone. But this is better than nothing. We'll see how it works.
If there was just one thing I could change on the D100, it's the output frequency. The D100 outputs on UHF. Actually it outputs on many places on UHF and it's up to you to find the correct output channels. Generally speaking, the lower you can go down the UHF band and find an output frequency, the better you are because those output channels will be the strongest and most sensitive. There's only one problem and that's DTV. Even with the repacking you'll have DTV channels on ch36 and below. My last D100 outputed on ch 30 and 31. And WTIC-DT is on channel 31 and I think WTIC-31 was causing problems with the D100 sensitivity. With low VHF so empty, I really wish the D100 would output on either ch3 or ch4.
If you want to know more about this tuner, which by the way is still available, go over to my old site check out this page. For some reason that page is not listed in the archive, so this is the only way you'll ever know about it. The page contains valuable information on using a D100 tuner.
©2017 M. Bugaj no reprints without permission
Updated January 1, 2017