Indoor antenna not cutting it: how does this one look?
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Indoor antenna not cutting it: how does this one look?


This is a discussion on Indoor antenna not cutting it: how does this one look? within the DTV | HDTV Reception and Antenna Discussion forums, part of the Over-the-Air (Antenna TV) category.

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  1. #1
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    Indoor antenna not cutting it: how does this one look?

    I have what would seem like easy requirements given my location: TVFool.

    I'm specifically interested in the following stations, all of which are at 297*: KTVK (IND), KPHO (CBS), KAET (PBS), KSAZ (FOX), KPNX (NBC), and KNXV (ABC). The antenna will be connected to a SiliconDust HDHomerun Dual (ATSC) receiver feeding multiple HTPCs.

    Based on the tvfool data I've tried getting an RCA 1650 to pick up the channels I want, but I suspect that the chicken wire in the stucco walls is causing problems. However, even with the antenna behind a WNW-facing window I still get a lot of dropped audio and pixelation for several stations.

    So I'm looking at an outside eave location with almost clear LOS to the transmitters at 297*. I believe putting something like an RCA ANT751R at that spot (20' high) will provide better reception. Ideally I'd prefer to join the coax from the new antenna with a line that was previously run between the attic and a structured wiring cabinet. It's at this wiring cabinet where I'd connect the HDHomerun receiver to the antenna and to the home LAN.

    My questions:
    1) Is this a reasonable antenna for my needs, given my location? Too little? Too much?
    2) If I'm on the right track for the antenna, are there comparable alternatives I should look at?

    3) Is there a practical limit on the length of RG6 between the antenna and the receiver? Am I likely to need an amplifier in my ideal setup, in which there would be about 75' -80' of cable between the two, with one junction (a union - not a splitter)?
    4) If an amplifier is necessary, can it go at the end of the run just before the receiver? Or do I need to get it closer to the antenna?

    Thanks in advance for all your help!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by I8AZuk View Post
    I have what would seem like easy requirements given my location: TVFool.

    I'm specifically interested in the following stations, all of which are at 297*: KTVK (IND), KPHO (CBS), KAET (PBS), KSAZ (FOX), KPNX (NBC), and KNXV (ABC). The antenna will be connected to a SiliconDust HDHomerun Dual (ATSC) receiver feeding multiple HTPCs.

    Based on the tvfool data I've tried getting an RCA 1650 to pick up the channels I want, but I suspect that the chicken wire in the stucco walls is causing problems. However, even with the antenna behind a WNW-facing window I still get a lot of dropped audio and pixelation for several stations. At your range, the amplified indoor antenna may actually be too much. The digital cliff is actually at the TOP of the signal strength and too much signal causes drop-out and pixelation much like too little signal. You might need to go with a non-amplified type indoor antenna.

    So I'm looking at an outside eave location with almost clear LOS to the transmitters at 297*. I believe putting something like an RCA ANT751R at that spot (20' high) will provide better reception. Ideally I'd prefer to join the coax from the new antenna with a line that was previously run between the attic and a structured wiring cabinet. It's at this wiring cabinet where I'd connect the HDHomerun receiver to the antenna and to the home LAN.

    My questions:
    1) Is this a reasonable antenna for my needs, given my location? Too little? Too much? See above
    2) If I'm on the right track for the antenna, are there comparable alternatives I should look at? I will let some of the other guys suggest market antennae

    3) Is there a practical limit on the length of RG6 between the antenna and the receiver? At about 150 feet you MAY need a booster. Am I likely to need an amplifier in my ideal setup, in which there would be about 75' -80' of cable between the two, with one junction (a union - not a splitter)? Yo are NOT likely to need an amplifier.
    4) If an amplifier is necessary, can it go at the end of the run just before the receiver? Yes Or do I need to get it closer to the antenna? Closer to the antenna works best BUT the use of an amplifier shouldn't be assumed. Your location 19 miles from the transmitters should provide plenty of signal without amplificaton.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!
    God bless,
    Highdefjeff

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick response!

    You might need to go with a non-amplified type indoor antenna.
    I did unplug the amplifier from the wall to see if that improved things. Doing this allowed me to pick up KAET, which the receiver did not even detect when the amplifier was used. But now KPHO drops out...

    I don't know how much this play into it, but my house would be in the shadow of the house across the street as far as the transmitters go. On any given night, I can see the lights on all the transmission towers from most places on our property. But when looking out any of our west-facing windows, all I see is the neighbor's tile roof and stucco walls. Could this be enough to weaken the signal inside my house? Or am I over-estimating the ability of a single structure to affect the broadcast signal so close to the transmitters?

    FWIW, that eave location that I mentioned in the original post is one of the few places on our house where I can see the towers directly.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by I8AZuk View Post
    when looking out any of our west-facing windows, all I see is the neighbor's tile roof and stucco walls.
    Assuming all your cables are high quality RG-6, and securely connected, I think you may have put your finger on the problem.

    Simple test: Use your best/newest cable connecting the RCA 1650 to a single small TV, to confirm there's still a problem. Then put the TV on a dolly and wheel the whole thing to a spot where you can see the transmitters. Reception should be great. You have such a strong array of signals, almost any antenna is going to work.

    The RCA ANT751R looks like a very good choice for your location! Plenty of strong signals, including one VHF channel, all coming from one direction -- except for K23BY, 82 degrees away, which might not be a biggie for you.

    Rick

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by I8AZuk View Post
    Thanks for the quick response! ... I did unplug the amplifier from the wall to see if that improved things. Doing this allowed me to pick up KAET, which the receiver did not even detect when the amplifier was used. But now KPHO drops out...
    18AZuk!

    When you unplugged the 'amplifier' from your wall, it turned instantly into a signal blocker ... something like a backed up sewer where nothing passes ---except --- in your (rare) particular area some signals are still passing through to you. An unplugged amplifier usually kills signal reception completely!

    I strongly suggest you totally bypass (get rid of) the amplifier from your coaxial wiring and report back to us after it is removed from the circuit. You can use a double-female 'F' fitting for about one dollar at Radio Shack to 'electrically bypass' it. Photo below.

    Once the "dead" amp is removed, please report back with a new report. So far, so good!

    Jim

    Last edited by Fringe Reception; 12-14-2012 at 09:02 PM.
    highdefjeff likes this.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fringe Reception View Post
    When you unplugged the 'amplifier' from your wall, it turned instantly into a signal blocker ... something like a backed up sewer where nothing passes ---except --- in your (rare) particular area some signals are still passing through to you. An unplugged amplifier usually kills signal reception completely!
    Jim, usually that's true, but the ANT1650 has a removable amplifier. They even suggest plugging / unplugging the amp for selected stations in the manual.

    But I agree. Just to be sure, bypass the amp. Get rid of it. Stomp on it!! They just put it in there to confuse people.

    Rick

  7. #7
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    Thanks again everyone for your input. I removed the amplifier from the picture completely and tied the output of the antenna directly to my HDHomerun tuner. All the channels I want come in great, with a strong signal and high signal quality. Except for the local Fox station, KSAZ. I've tried a few different indoor locations and this channel is problematic at all of them.

    After the holidays I'll test the indoor antenna at the outdoor location where I'd be putting the ANT751R. If I can pick up all the channels there, then I'll just go ahead and order one of the 751s and move forward with that plan.

    Thanks again for your help!
    highdefjeff and Rickideemus like this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by I8AZuk View Post
    All the channels I want come in great, with a strong signal and high signal quality. Except for the local Fox station, KSAZ. I've tried a few different indoor locations and this channel is problematic at all of them.
    I looked at your TVFool report again, and noticed THREE of the stations you want are VHF. Don't know why I thought it was only 1. So then I looked at reviews for the 1650 and notice several people mention problems with VHF reception. The fact that RCA advertizes 18 dB gain for VHF is misleading. That's amplifier gain, which is not the same as antenna gain. And, as you've found, amplifier gain is often insufficient to make up for amplifier noise.

    VHF reception is kind of tricky. You have two VHF stations coming in strong now, and one problem station -- RF12. It reminds me of my situation, where I can pull in channel 10, which is lower power and lower RF than CBS RF12, which I NEVER get with my 4221HD (considered a UHF antenna, but can sometimes pull in strong VHF).

    So the upshot is, your 1650 is probably spotty on VHF, and there's a good chance the ANT751R will do the job even if you leave it indoors -- in fact, even if the 1650 does NOT improve when you move it to a line-of-sight location. You could try the ANT751R indoors first, if it's a major hassle putting it outside.

    The ANT751R still looks like a good choice. Sorry I missed two of the VHF stations in your lineup, and good luck!

    Rick

 

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