Question: 2 newbie antenna questions

Dukes909

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hello, I am new here and would like to see if anyone can help with some questions I have about my new DTV antenna!

I recently cancelled my DirecTV subscription, as I found myself paying more and more, nearly $100 a month and watching very few of the channels. I purchased an AppleTV to watch Netflix on (I was primarily watching DVD's before anyway). However, I did watch 1 or 2 programs on regular network TV, so I purchased an RCA ANT751. After being discouraged by some cheapee indoor models that I didn't get any channels on, I tried the 751 after reading rave reviews. It really does work! I now get about 20 channels (ok, some of them are triples - one station broadcasting over 3 channels) and I am in a rural, hilly area!

My questions:

1) According to tvfool, the channels I can get are split between mostly magnetic direction 345º and then the rest at 148º. Turning the antenna to as close to 345º as I can get it, I get Fox, ABC, CBS, ION (?), CW, 2 different PBS stations. Turning it to 148º I get 2 different NBC stations, FOX, PBS, and ABC. I would rather have the CBS (turned to 345º) according to tvfool.com I should be getting WMC-TV5 as well (NBC), it is at 341º - I don't get anything there. HOWEVER, when the antenna is turned to 148º I receive it!..it's one of the 2 NBC stations I mentioned. The other is located at 147º.

Why can't I pick it up when the antenna is turned to 345º? The only difference I see is that it is VHF while the rest are UHF.. but why would I receive it when the antenna is turned to 148º.

Oddly enough I get a choppy signal of the second NBC station (located at 148º) when I have the antenna turned to 345º! What is going on here?

2) I have an older VCR/DVD player that does not have an HDMI output, only coax and RCA type connectors. If I run the antenna coax to the DVD/VCR and then out to the TV, I lose about half of the channels. Is there a way to hook up the antenna to the DVD/VCR and not lose the signal on these channels? (I'd like to be able to record when I'm not home). If not, is there such a thing as a coax "switch" that I can use to change between the DVD/VCR and the antenna without having to swap cables to the TV?

Thanks for any help/guidance!
Cheers
Dukester
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Greetings Dukester welcome to the Forum ! :welcome:

It would be very helpful if you were to copy/paste the Link to your TVFool report in your next post here, where we could see the actual conditions of reception.

I don't have a lot of information on the ANT751, but, it isn't advertised as a Bi-Directional Antenna. Most antennas of that type, are designed with what is called Front/Back Rejection, which limits reception from the rear from little to a lot. Again, having the link to your Report, may reveal some reason for that.

Frequently, the length and condition of your Coaxial Cable, can cause station dropout because of loss of signal strength. But concerning your DVD/VCR, may I presume that it has a Digital Tuner in it, or are you just passing your Signals through it to your Digital TV via the Coaxial Cable ? Have you actually tried to record a program on your DVD/VCR yet, and successfully viewed it on your TV ?
The combination of the Coaxial Cable, and internal electronics of the Tuner of the DVD/VCR, could be reducing the signal strength, and causing those channels to drop out.

Concerning your Cable Routeing...

Yes, there is what is called an "A/B" Switch, where you can manually select the direction of signal, to one or the other of two separate receivers. And, those come in Manual and Remote Controlled operation. There is however another option.

This is called a "Splitter". This device separates the signal and delivers it to two different Receivers at the same time. It's possible that this option may be preferred, though it does cause some signal loss which would be greater than an A/B Switch. The Splitter is not expensive and looks like this...
.

.
Should you choose this option, the signals would be routed to your VCR/DVD and TV at the same time, and you then would select one of the A/V Sources on your TV, to view the DVD/VCR or Antenna directly. The DVD/VCR would be connected to the TV, via a separate A/V Cable, and I envision that routing to look like Item "B" in the following Diagram...
.

.
In the above Diagram in the Item "B" line, you will notice that there is a Converter installed, which should be disregarded, if your DVD/VCR has a Digital tuner. The use of a Splitter would be required, if you choose to watch one channel, while recording another.
 
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Dukes909

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Thank you for the comprehensive reply!

The TVFool report for my location is here:

TV Fool

The VCR does not have a digital tuner. It's a little bit older model (no HDMI connections), so the signal from antenna goes straight to the TV via coax. Have not tried recording on VCR.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#4
After reviewing your TVfool, I have to recommend upgrading your antenna. For WMC (RF channel 5) you need an antenna built to receive low VHF (RF channels 2-6). At minimum you would need a Winegard HD7000R (But, it may not work given that you are in a fringe area.) I'd recommend going with at least a Winegard HD7015 or equivalent. The other option would be to get an AntennaCraft Y5-2-6 and combo it with the ANT751 using a Separator/Combiner HLSJ.
 
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SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Dukester,

You're definitely going to have to re-think your system a bit. I'm really disappointed, that the RCA ANT751 doesn't have the Front-Rear Rejection that most antennas of that type have. It just may cause complications, but, we'll try to work through that. Beyond a possible change in that area, we'll be recommending additional components, where you can get the best reception and performance out of your system as possible.

Now, you need to bear with us a little here...
There are several VERY qualified people on this forum, ALL of which I respect, consider them my friends, and "WE" work as a Team, to help people out. So, I'm going to start this discussion with them, and not (at this time) be too simple about it. When we come to a conclusion, we'll start giving you references to the parts we're talking about, and you can go from there. So here goes.

Dan (dkreichen1968), I'm for a second antenna, but, I'd be more likely to go with a HD7082P, just to reach out a little better, set on his 347° magnetic, leaving the ANT751 on 144° magnetic. Given how weak it is, I'm not sure if I would ask Dukester to return it, and get something with better F/B.

Now, given that, I'd use a Winegard CC7870 to put those two together, THEN, immediately into an AntennaCraft 10G212, and adjust the gain for best reception. I do see that Ch36 PBS, but I don't' think it will bother, since it's out of the way by 100°

Now, his Coax into the house, then a Eagle Aspin P7002 Splitter, right ahead of his equipment, and a single Coax from it, directly into his "F" on the TV.

On the other side of the splitter...
Dukester is definitely going to have to get a Converter, to utilize his DVD/VCR, and use a set of A/V Cables, to input that to his TV. I haven't had a chance to look up current availability on those "WITH A VCR TIMER", but remember these being acceptable...

VCR Timer:
Zinwell, ZAT-970A:
DTVPAL, Plus:
Dish Network, TR-40CRA

Pogi, you seem to know where stuff like this currently at, or can you recommend an update on this list.
Jim/anyone else have any ideas ?

So, Dukester, let us discuss my plan, and we'll get back to you shortly.

 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#6
:welcome: Dukes909,

I see your TVFOOL report is based at 24 feet above ground level. I am wondering what you have for an antenna mast/support and if you can go any higher. Sometimes a change in height up or down by a foot or two can really work wonders. A real concern I have about low-band VHF antennas is their physical size and in many installations the mast should have guy wires.

I wonder if the UHF channels to your NNW and SSE could be received with a stationary CM-4221 mounted without its' reflector screen, say 5-10 feet above the low-band VHF antenna? Here's a photo of a similar setup I did for a customer who lives south of Seattle: it shows a CM-4221 with its' screen mounted above a high-band VHF Yagi. This photo was taken during testing, before guy wires were added to stabilize the setup (below the Yagi)..



A low-band VHF antenna will be about three times the size of the high-band Yagi in the photo, so it will try to become a kite in a windstorm. However, a 4221 with its' screen removed would have little wind resistance and height is usually king for distant reception.

Jim
 

Dukes909

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Right now all I'm using is the mast/mount from the old DirecTV antennae which sits directly near the peak of the roof. It fits the 751 perfectly. Are you saying I'd need a real long pole type mast?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
Dukes909,

Since your TVFOOL report is based at 24 feet above ground level, just how high are the ceilings in your "single story home"? As I wrote before, antenna height is usually king. A 'J-Pole' mount will likely not be adequate in your situation, no matter what type of antenna you choose for free OTA.

Jim
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Dukester,

You must have a very highly peaked roof to get 24' ! But, as Jim said, that J-Pipe Mast is not tall enough to accommodate two antennas, they need at least a 4' spacing between them, and you'd need a little more, to try the up/down adjustments Jim suggested before. I'd think about a Tripod type mount, with enough mast to have some Guying to help support the weight.
 

Dukes909

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
More questions!

-How high does the antenna need to be (minimum)?
-How tall of a mast can I put on the roof before its better to go to a single ground based pole?
-If I do install a ground based pole, how far away (how much coax) can I run before the signal is loss due to the disrance?
-Also, you're recommending 2 antennas. Is a rotor on an antenna not a good thing anymore?


Thanks again!
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Roof Mount:
You could go with a Roof Mount plus 10 ft of mast, then do some Guy Wires.

Minimum Height:
Hard to say, Jim mentioned doing a couple feet adjustment up and down, to find the best reception.

How high on Roof:

I had a 45' Mast with Guys on top of a previous house, so it depends on how you want to do it. I think that a Ground Based Mast may be a more stable but, you may want to run a second set of Guy wires given it's going to be rather tall. Something around 45-50' "could" help your reception.
Check this out at 50' for you:
TV Fool

Length of Coax
:
The general rule is you'd need an Amp if you went over 100 Ft, but it's more according to signal strength and distance to the transmitters. I was recommending an Amp for your system, and that was just on your TVF Report, without any influence from length. So, I think you need to count on an Amp.

2 Ant/Rotator:
Rotators are good, but count on another $150 or so added to the installation. One shortcoming with a Rotator is, that unless you have a Receiver or Converter which has the software for controlling the Rotator, you will only be able to do a scan and memorize in one direction only. If you rotate it, you will loose your up/down channel selection and have to enter the channels manually.

With 2 stationary mounted Antennas, it's a set it and forget it, and your Receiver will memorize "ALL" the channels that both antennas see. Shortcoming here is, getting them set right at the height you need them at. That'd be a long way up there, and it does take a bit of "tweaking" to get both set correctly.

Type of Antenna:
Let's not settle on that just yet, we all seem to have had different opinions about that, so don't decide just yet. Please understand that all of the Antennas that have been recommended will work, it's just that "which" one might work better. And, now that you're talking about a Rotator, I might change my mind again. :dizzy:

PS:
I'm looking forward to hearing any comments from the Guys on the comparison of the two TVFool reports !
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#15
Dukes909,

It is hard to predict how much height you will need but generally, the higher the better. If your home has a metal roof, it will act as an unpredictable signal reflector so you need to be well above it. Even foil-backed insulation in your roof can be a problem.

I use telescopic masts bolted to the side of my house on wall brackets but I added lengths of steel pipe sitting on the concrete below the masts to support the actual weight of the masts and antennas. My longest coaxial cable run is about 115 feet, split 4-ways around my house and I use no pre-amplifiers or amplifiers. I am using new, RG-6 coax which is preferred to RG-59 because it has about one-half of the signal loss over distances.

I am a real believer in antenna rotors and I am currently using a programable Channel Master unit here on one of my masts. Most people are unwilling to deal with a rotor but they sure work for me. My concern is currently available antenna rotors have plastic gears whereas earlier units had metal gears. I highly doubt a "modern" rotor could handle a low-band VHF antenna: the plastic gears will fail very quickly.

The last light-duty / home consumer rotors that had metal gears were the Alliance U-100 and U-110 They are long out of production, however, they are still available here! Alliance and Genie antenna rotator and rotor control boxes

The reason I suggested using two antennas is because you are trying to capture a low-band VHF channel and the required antenna for that channel will be a poor excuse for receiving your UHF channels.

Jim
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#16
Roof Mount ... One shortcoming with a Rotator is, that unless you have a Receiver or Converter which has the software for controlling the Rotator, you will only be able to do a scan and memorize in one direction only. If you rotate it, you will loose your up/down channel selection and have to enter the channels manually.
With 2 stationary mounted Antennas, it's a set it and forget it, and your Receiver will memorize "ALL" the channels that both antennas see. ...
SWHouston is correct about (potentially) having to rescan for channels when you change antenna directions, but that applies to only some receivers.

My Sony Bravia adds channels and saves them, as do my Channel Master CM-7000 converter box and Channel Master DVR. However, my Haier AC/DC/battery portable TV must be rescanned every time the antenna is switched or the same antenna pointed to a different direction/different station that was not detected on the prior scan: in the process, that TV wipes its own memory.

Jim
 

Dukes909

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
Ok, based on this info I think I'll forget about a rotator.

Are there any guides to installing a telescopic mast, and the antenna on the mast? I have large overhangs on my house (like 16") so the 8" brackets I saw on the website aforementioned won't work. Are there larger ones?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#18
Dukes909,

I don't know what the seller (link above) gets for his Alliance rotors, but mine have worked for me without complaint over 40 years. You might find one on Craigslist or eBay as well.

Here's one viewer's answer to your question: below are photos of an 'eve-mount' antenna setup I saw on Craigslist. The ad said it was designed by a Boeing Engineer. I'm not sure what the rectangular block at gutter level does, but a simple 'U' bolt would work as well. The base would not have to be hinged although it would be convienient. As long as the 'clamps' between telescopic mast sections are above gutter height, you could use a 20 foot thru 50 foot telescopic mast with a similar setup. Guy wires are important and can be installed either below your lowest antenna or just below your rotor.

If you use a 40 foot or 50 foot mast, you should have two sets of guy wires. In all installations, about 6 feet of mast will be under gutter level to allow the mast section clamps to be easily accessed at about 4 feet height above roof level. Assuming you use a 40 foot mast, the actual top of the mast will total about 31 feet, as there is a one foot overlap (or loss) of tubing at each section: 40-3=37 37-6=31 feet. A 50 foot mast in actuality will get you about 40 feet, when mounted to the side of a building.

If a second set of guy wires is not used on 40 and 50 foot masts, in high winds the base of the mast remains stationary as does the point where the (highest) guy wires are attached, however, the middle of the mast can oscillate like a Hula Dancer. I hope this gives you some more ideas.

Jim

* PS I do not like the way the coaxial cable is run in the first photo. Those tight turns can kill coax.

*PPS The antenna shown is a Low/High band VHF/UHF combination antenna and it might be exactly what you need. Note the length of the long elements compared to the short elements on the boom (ignore the UHF portion at the front of the antenna). Go back to the antenna setup photo I posted above and you will see a Low Band VHF antenna is quite large.





 
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Dukes909

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#19
This forum is great! I love learning about this stuff. So this was from a Craigslist ad? Where would I find the parts and pieces for a setup like this? I don't see anything like it on the Solidsignal site. What do the guy wires attach to? Stakes in the ground? Sorry, I know so very little about this and am trying my best to do it right without either burning my house down or putting a hole in the roof at the first spring breeze.

Regards
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#20
Duckster,

There are quite a few manuals/instruction guides available, but here's one from SSig...
http://manuals.solidsignal.com/AntInstallGuide.pdf

I'm not sure if they included the Anchor Points, but here's a Dwg that may help...
.

.
I do like that custom Eave Bracket that Jim posted, but there are several other types which may work for you, take a look at these pages...
TV Antennas & Supplies**** -****Mounting Supplies - Shop at SolidSignal.com - Page 1
It's possible there may be a Wall Mount or something that will work for you there.

The item you ask about, which the Guy Wires tie to is called an "Execution".
I couldn't find a link or picture of one, but they are basically large washers, with three/or more holes drilled around the circumference.
Those come in 1/4" increments, which start about 1 1/4" and go up from there. A Standard Telescopic Mast would probably
have two or more on it, sized according to the circumference of the section of mast there were supporting.
Mounting points for these are at 25' and 50' shown on the drawing above. A reasonable spacing is every 20'.
Be sure to slip them on the Mast, before you attach the Antenna ! :doh:

NOTE:
I'm not sure that you understand the way a Wall Mount attaches.
It doesn't matter how deep your overhang is, the Wall Mount attaches directly to the Fascia Board. That's where the Gutter attaches
if you have Gutter. The way you compensate for the overhang, is just stand the Mast out away from your house, where it is Vertical.
Using a Wall Mount, usually/may eliminate one Execution from the Mast.
 
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