Antenna advice needed, Boulder Colorado

torrential

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi everyone. Lots of great info here but I still don't know which antenna to choose and I'd appreciate any guidance. Here is my TV Fool report:

TV Fool

Going outside: The TV is in the lowest level of the house and the opportunities to place an antenna anywhere indoors are limited so I'll pop a mast on the chimney. A five foot mast will give 30 feet of altitude which will provide the line of site expected in the TVFool report.

Thanks in advance.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
:welcome: torrential,

Good job on providing your TVFOOL results for us. You should be able to receive many stations free from your location and I certainly wish my area had as many potential channels to receive.

I suspect at 30 feet elevation above ground, any standard non-amplified antenna would receive lots of stations and to capture the UHF stations that are weaker or further away a 4-bay antenna such as a CM-HD4221 should work well for you. Although not specifically designed for VHF reception, channels 7 and 9 are probably a given and channel 6 has a good chance using a 4-bay.

I would mount the antenna on a rotor (rotator) to be able to point it at the three main 'antenna farms'. Use good quality black-jacketed RG-6 coax because it withstands UV radiation much better than colored coax and avoid making tight turns with your downlead.

If you intend to split the received signals to more than one TV set, you may have enough signal 'strength' as it is, or an antenna pre-amplifier or distribution amplifier may be necessary. Test your setup with one TV set connected before you attempt to split the signal. Keep us advised and good luck! :thumb:

Jim
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#3
Howdy neighbor,

If I was you, or if you were me, (i.e. had an interest in TBN, Ion, and Qubo) I'd use two antennas connected with a UVSJ (UHF, VHF, Separator, Joiner). An AntennaCraft Y-5-7-13 pointed at 167 degrees magnetic and a 2 bay, such as a Antennas Direct DB2 or an Aspen Eagle 2 bay, pointed at 119 degrees magnetic. Otherwise, if you're only interested in the major networks then a Channel Master CM 2016 or AntennaCraft HBU22 pointed at 167 degrees magnetic will do the trick.

Peace out,
Dan
 
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Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#5
One minor note that I'd like to make is that if you want KBDI, don't be too worried about pulling their VHF signal out of the noise. The station K11QJ on your list is a translator for KBDI and will mirror their lineup when it's converted to digital on channel 48.

- Trip
 

torrential

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Thanks for the fast and detailed responses!

Jim In Seattle - Thanks for the warm welcome and the advice on initial setup.

dkreichen1968 - Thank you for the neighborly salute and the multiple antenna suggestion. I'm favoring simplicity so it's going to be major networks only, at least to start.

Question for you (and others with similar concerns): This is a high wind area, with 50mph blows not uncommon and occasional gusts to 100mph, not to mention the thunderstorms. A basic mount installed properly seems like it should be sufficient, but are there any special considerations for setting up safely?

scandiskwindows9x - Thanks for the suggestion. My concern with a high gain antenna would be how best to manage gain between the strong signals from the core stations at 167° and the weaker signals from the more fringe stations.

Trip - Thanks for the good news about KBDI. I really like Rabbit Ears but a lot of this is new to me and I'd not had the chance to figure out the translator and repeater situation.

SWHouston - Thanks for the suggestions.

My next step (hopefully this weekend) is to mount a mast and run cable and ground wires then test using a little Ruckman fractal antenna I just built. For the sake of simplicity I'm leaning towards a single antenna aimed at 167° magnetic, probably the AntennaCraft HBU22 or ChannelMaster 2016. Any others come to mind now that I've narrowed the use case down to the single antenna farm with LOS at under 30 miles?
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Question for you (and others with similar concerns): This is a high wind area, with 50mph blows not uncommon and occasional gusts to 100mph, not to mention the thunderstorms. A basic mount installed properly seems like it should be sufficient, but are there any special considerations for setting up safely?
If you're in a high wind area, you should guy your antenna mast.

Grounding is also essential for lightning protection. Review the NEC guidelines and make sure any ground for your antenna is bonded to your service ground.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#9
Torrential,

You are the second person I know who has worked with fractal antennas and I hope you share your results with us. Its a fascinating concept. Is this the version you built?
How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap

One concern I have about the antennas' design is the 'exposed' balun: I built two different loop antennas with exposed baluns and neither antenna behaved quite right. I think the exposed balun was acting as an antenna and should have been enclosed in a grounded (to the coax shield) project box.

Jim
 
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torrential

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Torrential,

You are the second person I know who has worked with fractal antennas and I hope you share your results with us. Its a fascinating concept. Is this the version you built?
How to make a fractal antenna for HDTV / DTV plus more on the cheap

One concern I have about the antennas' design is the 'exposed' balun: I built two different loop antennas with exposed baluns and neither antenna behaved quite right. I think the exposed balun was acting as an antenna and should have been enclosed in a grounded (to the coax shield) project box.

Jim
Jim,

Yes, that's the one. I haven't gotten it working yet (need to acquire a proper balun and build a longer length of coax) but I will report in as soon as I can. I'm curious about the behavior too. There are quite a few reports of it functioning well as per the original design and there is one guy who upped the area by something like sixfold by evolving the fractals from stars to snowflakes. Too much bending for me!.

Not to defend something where I have no expertise but one would think if balun placement could affect the performance significantly either Ruckman or somebody else would have noticed and mentioned it. We'll see.
 

torrential

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
Ruckman results:

Figuring it would be a just a test to help with antenna selection, verify the RG6 connections were OK, and that my TV's tuner was working, I taped the toy-like Ruckman antenna to the top of the chimney. I couldn't find any of our hiking compasses so I used the iPhone's compass app, which varies by what seems to be 40° or more if you even think about metal. I fired up the TV, ran the channel scan, and...nothing. Not one channel. Zero. Zip.

I double checked and googled all morning and finally found a reference "with some Panny's you may have to scan three or more times..."

28 channels, 27 with flawless reception. The one exception is a PBS station with a translator within five miles. This result is fantastic. I did just an OK job assembling the Ruckman as specified, set it as high as I could without a mast and pointed it in the general direction of the nearest major antenna farm. I used new, high quality cable and connectors. This antenna might be enough, although of course it would need to be properly mounted.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#13
Thanks for the report! I have to agree that the iPhone compass app (or maybe the compass itself?) really is a piece of garbage and useless. I have a couple of silva compasses I keep around. Luckily I learned to use them way back when I was a boy scout, lol.
 

scandiskwindows9x

Moderator of DTV Latino
#14
interesting, i wonder if here would works that antenna well here i have not sucessful with indoors antennas, rabbit ears antennas, and i want to have a backup indoor or outdoor antenna for winter when be here lightnings , here is not unusual the lightnings and well been three cases that have pulverized houses by a lightning strike.

well the compasses of iphones and the nice for free downloables compass of Android market are not quite exacts, i did the test the past Monday with a compass application of android and a real compass and the readings were differents, one pointed to NE and the phone compass slightly pointing to 30° NE

maybe the lack of exactitude is because have to bear with the metal inside of the devices in this case the phone metallic pieces.

best regards
Francisco
 
#15
Hey Dan,
Liked reading the advice to torrential, may help me too. I'm moving to Boulder soon and ditching Directv. I'm mostly interested in the major networks since I get most stuff TV over the internet. My HOA doesn't allow rooftop antennas so I'm thinking an attic mount in my 2 story house is the next best thing. I have an asphalt shingle roof over plywood and there are tops of small trees in the line of sight. My tvfool isn't quite as good as torrential's:

TV Fool

Do you think a CM2016 or AC HBU22 is a good choice for me, or should I go with something bigger or amplified. The lava 2605 and 2805 seem pretty highly rated.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#16
:welcome: tvaddict7,

I'm pleased to inform you Federal Law trumps your Home Owners Association's restrictions on outdoor antennas, so you are not limited to locating your antenna in your attic. In light of this, you may want to rerun your TVFOOL survey taking advantage of added antenna height. Please check the following Federal Government link: FCC Fact Sheet on Placement of Antennas

Jim
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#17
Hey Dan,
Do you think a CM2016 or AC HBU22 is a good choice for me, or should I go with something bigger or amplified. The lava 2605 and 2805 seem pretty highly rated.
The CM 2016 would work great for an outside mount. Like Jim said, those HOA restrictions have been invalid since 1996. The CM 2016 is small, and for that matter less intrusive than a satellite dish. If you do decide to go with an attic mount the HBU22, which has a longer boom should work better than the CM 2016. You have good signal strength from Lookout moutain where the transmitters for the main network stations are located. (Heading of 170 degrees magnetic) I would stay away from the lava antennas. They are Chinese imports that were designed for the frequencies the Chinese use for TV rather than the ones we use in the US. You want to buy an antenna made by or for a US company for US TV frequencies.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#18
The CM 2016 would work great for an outside mount. Like Jim said, those HOA restrictions have been invalid since 1996. The CM 2016 is small, and for that matter less intrusive than a satellite dish. If you do decide to go with an attic mount the HBU22, which has a longer boom should work better than the CM 2016. You have good signal strength from Lookout moutain where the transmitters for the main network stations are located. (Heading of 170 degrees magnetic) I would stay away from the lava antennas. They are Chinese imports that were designed for the frequencies the Chinese use for TV rather than the ones we use in the US. You want to buy an antenna made by or for a US company for US TV frequencies.
bought an hbu33....getting 13 or so channels...compass isnt the greatest, but it agrees with my phone ;) ... can't pull in kcnc at all...and also not getting 27-28 channels and my tvfool looks alot like the OP...probably 20-25 feet above ground, attached to chimney...should i take it back to RS and instead build a fractal?

Phil
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#20
Hi Phil,

I'm not sure what is going on. Based on your TVfool the HBU-33 should give you plenty of signal. Let's start with the basics. Is the small end of the antenna pointed south? Is the cabling new? How long is the cable run? One TV, or do you have the signal split to multiple TVs?

Thanks,
Dan
 
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