I want to hook up OTA TV.Can I use my old Direct TV dish for an antenna?
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I want to hook up OTA TV.Can I use my old Direct TV dish for an antenna?


This is a discussion on I want to hook up OTA TV.Can I use my old Direct TV dish for an antenna? within the DTV | HDTV Chat forums, part of the Over-the-Air (Antenna TV) category.

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  1. #1
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    I want to hook up OTA TV.Can I use my old Direct TV dish for an antenna?

    I cancelled my DirectTV, but the satellite dish is still installed. I have a 2007 TV set so can I use the satellite dish for an antenna?

  2. #2
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    The dish itself is useless for television frequencies, but the mount and cabling can be easily converted for OTA TV use. The type of antenna needed will be determined by your location, the stations that are available, and the real RF channels the stations broadcast on. (Since the digital transition the real channel and the TV display channel aren't always the same.) Real channels 2-13 are VHF channels, and real channels 14-69 are UHF channels. The best tool for finding out that information is TV Fool . If you post the URL for your report in this forum we can help you with antenna recommendations. TVfool will hide your address info. Antennas can be quite inexpensive, especially if you can use the existing cabling and mount. It depends on how far you are from the stations and the terrain between you and the transmitters.

  3. #3
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    Has anyone tried a clip-on antenna for their dish?



    I'm not sure if it's as good as a regular outdoor antenna, but it's cheaper and less time consuming to mount if you already have a dish.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron62 View Post
    Has anyone tried a clip-on antenna for their dish?



    I'm not sure if it's as good as a regular outdoor antenna, but it's cheaper and less time consuming to mount if you already have a dish.
    They are only rated for high signal strength areas, and just looking at it I'd say it would be prone to multi-path problems. If you're already up working on the dish, and you're not using the dish for satellite, it only takes about 5 seconds to pull it and replace it with an actual TV antenna, which will run circles around the clip on.

  5. #5
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    Using a clip on antenna you better be within eyeball sight of the transmitter as Dish direction may not be optimal for OTA TV direction.


    Cutthecable
    Last edited by Cutthecable; 02-21-2011 at 01:36 PM. Reason: spelling error

  6. #6
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    Looking for antenna help. Thanks!

    Hi guys, I found this thread and am hoping you can help me out. I'm in the process of buying a house, but am thinking I might wait a few years before hooking up cable or satellite. Currently, there is dish network dish mounted on the roof, and I would like to replace that with a good quality antenna and tie it into the existing coaxel cable that is fed to the garage from the different rooms in the house. Is there an antenna on the market that could use the same mounting bracket as the satellite dish? Obviously, I would like to avoid drilling more holes into the roof. Also, is it possible to split the signal 4 ways once in the garage? Or worst case, could I just add a signal amplifier? Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you in advance!!

  7. #7
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    Hi CPete,

    You can definitely use most small to medium sized antennas with the old dish mount. Just unbolt the top part of the dish and leave the mount and pipe. The coax is also reusable provided that it is still in good condition. The connectors are exactly the same.

    Splitting 4 ways should be no problem. A signal amp should not be necessary if the signal is strong enough, just use a four way splitter. However if you are using a signal amp, I would recommend a mast head amp to get the signal amplified up at the antenna before the losses in the cable. Something like a Channel Master 7777 or similar.

    But try without the amp first. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    And oh yeah, welcome to the forum!
    Ryan, N2RJ

    Extra class certified antenna NUT

  8. #8
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    You can use TV Fool to find out:

    Which broadcasters are transmitting locally?
    How far are the transmitters from me?
    Which direction should I point my antenna?
    How strong are the signals in my area?
    What analog and digital channels are available?

    Your antenna will work best if it is located with a clear line to the broadcast stations. If you post the URL for your TVfool report here (the address info will be hidden), we can help you with antenna suggestions, etc.

    Dan
    Last edited by dkreichen1968; 04-07-2011 at 06:49 AM.

  9. #9
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    Ryan & Dan - Thanks alot for the help! I didn't expect see replies this quickly...

    Here is my info from TV Fool: TV Fool

    Is there a specific antenna I could buy online that you would recommend for the application noted above? I'd rather get something good to start with and spend a little more, versus buying something cheap and having to replace it due to bad reception. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Ryan - if I did have to go with an amp - is the one you mentioned waterproof if I had to mount it on the roof? Also, what is the most common way of getting power up there?

    Also - last question. Looking at the info from TV Fool - I'm assuming I would want to point the antenna basically NE, correct?

    Thanks again for the help guys!

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    CPete,

    Your TVFOOL report is based on 10 feet above the ground, so if you mount an antenna on the existing mast on the roof, it will very likely 'see' even stronger signals. If you aim it slightly to the left of the "cluster" of channel signals, you can probably capture channel 40 as well. I'd try a combination VHF-UHF Yagi antenna. Be sure to use good quality RG-6 coax and waterproof the fitting. Good luck and please keep us posted.

    Jim

    PS I wish my TVFOOL was so promising.

  11. #11
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    Jim, Thanks for the information. I appreciate it. Could you recommend a specific antenna on the channel masters website? Also, if I need to add an amplifier, does anybody make one that is 100% weather-proof interms of having the amp and power supply both outside in the elements? In my question to Ryan above, I didn't realize the power supply is intended to be mounted indoors. With my current setup, it would be much easier to mount the power supply outside if at all possible.

    Thanks again!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPete View Post
    Is there a specific antenna I could buy online that you would recommend for the application noted above? I'd rather get something good to start with and spend a little more, versus buying something cheap and having to replace it due to bad reception. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Ryan - if I did have to go with an amp - is the one you mentioned waterproof if I had to mount it on the roof? Also, what is the most common way of getting power up there?

    Also - last question. Looking at the info from TV Fool - I'm assuming I would want to point the antenna basically NE, correct?
    You have one VHF station (Fox 9). Everything else is UHF. Your VHF station is quite strong which means it may come in fine on a UHF antenna. Many people in your situation are able to use a 2 or 4 bay bow tie UHF antenna like those made by Antennas Direct or Channel Master. If you use a combo antenna a RCA ANT751 1080 HDTV Outdoor Digital Antenna UHF/VHF may be a good choice. You have strong signals, so I don't think you will need an amp. In fact, that strong of signals can damage the amp.

    Yes, your main cluster of stations is to the north east. But, as Jim pointed out your Ion station (Ion, Ion Life, Qubo) is sligthly to the north west. That is one reason to consider a 2 or 4 bay bow tie since they are less directional. The more bays the stronger the antenna, so since you plan on splitting the signal 4 ways a 4 bay may be better.

    Channel Master 4 bay

    Antennas Direct 4 bay

    If you can find one, a Radio Shack U-75R would probably work great in your situation. I have a friend in a similar situation (including the VHF station) who easily drives 4 tuners with it, and it will mount to your j-pipe.
    Last edited by dkreichen1968; 04-07-2011 at 08:57 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPete View Post
    Jim, Thanks for the information. I appreciate it. Could you recommend a specific antenna on the channel masters website? Also, if I need to add an amplifier, does anybody make one that is 100% weather-proof interms of having the amp and power supply both outside in the elements? In my question to Ryan above, I didn't realize the power supply is intended to be mounted indoors. With my current setup, it would be much easier to mount the power supply outside if at all possible.

    Thanks again!
    The problem is that you would need a weatherproof AC outlet outside.

    Virtually no amplifier comes with a weatherproof power supply. This is because weatherproofing adds costs and they don't want the liability of AC powered equipment in a wet location. But if you truly want to mount it outdoors you can get a weatherproof box and mount the power supply in it.

    However, it might just be easier to put the amp inside and run a coax cable to a power inserter outside (before the 4 way splitter), or use a 4 way splitter that has a DC pass through port.

    But from your TV Fool all this may be moot since you have good signals.
    Ryan, N2RJ

    Extra class certified antenna NUT

  14. #14
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    The mast (J-pipe) on a dish antenna is a bit larger than most clamps that are on many antennas. (The radio Shack is one for sure.)


    Go to Lowe's in the chain link fence section, and get one of the joiners above. (about $2) Slip it in the J-pole to the line, and secure with sheet metal screws. You can mount your antenna on the remaining "stub". Or, you can use a section of the same top rail to build an antenna on, and slip it on the stub. Secure it with a sheet metal screw.

    As for the antenna, I would go with a 4 bay. It should work fine for 4 tuners. A 2 bay would work, but you'd have to put a distribution amp in at the splitters - so I always opt for the simpler, no power solution. If you're handy, you could clone this antenna:


    EV doesn't sell them anymore AFIK, but somewhere in this thread Kosmic Antennas: SuperQuad 4 Bay Bowtie are instructions and BOM to make it yourself. I build a couple of them a month, and they kick ass.
    Last edited by MrPogi; 04-07-2011 at 11:06 AM.
    n2rj likes this.

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    Yeah, unfortunately building my own antenna probably isn't the best idea - especially considering how inexpensive they are. The "joiner" idea above is a good idea. I'll definitely do that if I need a quick fix. Here is one more question. Lets say I buy this: 4-bay HDTV/UHF Digital Outdoor TV Antenna-Channel Master CM 4221HD (CM4221HD)

    I'm assuming I would need some kind of a mast as well, right? Or would that be included with the antenna in the box? I'd like to make one purchase online for everything I would need. The Channel Master website seems pretty good. Could one of you guys help me with a list of accessories I would need? Thanks again!

  16. #16
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    CPete,

    As Mr Pogi mentioned above, tubing used for chain link fences works great as an antenna mast and its inexpensive. You could use a 5' section plugged into your 'J' mount, if its mounted in an area where there isn't too much wind exposure. I say that because the larger the antenna, the more it (potentially) becomes a kite. Receiving OTA can be a black art and you may have to raise or lower your antenna a foot or two to capture certain stations, so having a 5 foot mast gives you some flexibility to do that, if it proves to be necessary.

    Check the existing coax carefully along its entire outdoor run to be sure no one (the installer) has not kinked it or damaged it in any other way. If you find damage, the outdoor portion may have to be replaced and if so, use black (not white) RG-6.

    Most antennas do not have a built-in balun, so you will need one 300 ohm to 75 ohm balun. I use liquid silicone RTV (room temperature vulcanizing silicone rubber) to waterproof my coaxial fittings. I suggest using Scotch brand black electrical tape, not an off-brand, to secure the coax to the mast: I prefer tape over wire-ties because of the real chance of pinching or kinking the coax when using wire ties.

    Good luck!

    Jim

  17. #17
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    The question would be, is the current dish j-pipe in a good location, and does it hook into the cabling you described in the garage? If so, you can use the joiner MrPogi talked about and mount the antenna on the j-pipe, hook the satellite cable to the antenna, and replace any satellite splitters with normal cable/ota splitters. I'd make sure to check the signal by hooking up the TV in the garage before I split it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim In Seattle View Post
    Most antennas do not have a built-in balun, so you will need one 300 ohm to 75 ohm balun.
    The Channel Master antenna does have a built-in balun, so if you get it you won't need to buy a separate balun.
    Last edited by dkreichen1968; 04-08-2011 at 07:54 AM.

  19. #19
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    Yea, I had to move my DirecTV J-pole. They put it in the worst spot on the house, even for satellite: north end of the roof, as low as possible. I had to move it 20 feet to get it to the top with a good shot at the towers.

    If you have to move it, get some new bolts. Put the original bolts back in the holes and put some sealer on. Make sure you use plenty of roofing sealer in the new location. Also, try to find a spot where there is a stud underneath for at least one of the bolts. New roofs are chipboard, not much strength there.

  20. #20
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