Question: Antenna recommendation needed

#1
TV Fool

My old radio shack antenna has lost reception for most stations in the above "tvfool" location due to wind and tree limb damage to a number of elements. Also would like to replace my old channel master rotor and find a good external amp. Finally, would welcome referral to an experienced installer in Manassas, VA area. Any help on any or all of this issues would be welcome. Thanks.
 

Fringe Reception

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

Before your antenna was damaged, were you using it to receive digital TV stations? I ask, because if you were satisfied with your reception we should try to find a similar antenna that is already known to work from your location. Please tell us about its design or configuration compared to this example:
Channel Master CM3018 UHF/VHF/FM TV Antenna (CM-3018) from Solid Signal Antennas&sku=

The above antenna is designed to receive both UHF and VHF signals. On the TVFOOL report, are there channels you have been unable to receive that you would like to try to receive? Are you limited to 30 feet above ground level?

How old is your current CM rotor and why do you want to replace it? Many older rotors are mechanically superior to new rotors, because new ones use plastic rather than metal gears. If it must be replaced, Channel Master and Radio Shack have similar units that can be pre-programmed and controlled with a hand-held remote control from your chair.

Jim
 
#3
More on setup

Jim,
Thanks for your reply. I no longer know the Radio Shack # for my antenna, but the best I remember the specs are similar to the CM example you provided. Here is a picture:
radio shack.jpg

I have a Panansonic THC42FB attached, and sometimes attach an ATI TV Wonder USB tuner for recording to my laptop. I have been using it for DTV since Jan 2009. Until a few days ago, I was able to receive NBC (4.1-4.3), Fox (5.1), ABC (7.1-7.3), CBS (9.1-9.2), MyN (20.1), PBS (WETA 26.1-26.4, WHUT 32.1 and sometimes MPT 22.1-22.2 by moving antenna), Ind (WNVT 30-1-30.10), ION (66.1-66.3) and sometimes CW (50.1-50.3) by moving the antenna. Now I am getting only Fox, Ind WNVT and ION. If possible, I would like to improve reception for the CW and MPT.

I have been using a 10db Recoton amp before the surge protector and a 24db Magnavox distribution amp between the surge protector and TV/USB tuner, but wonder if I would have better results with an external amp, perhaps combined with a distribution amp.

My CM rotor is Model 9510a, and is about 18 years old. This is the third antenna I have had with this rotor. While the rotor is working, the control is balky and often out of sync. Is it possible to replace just the control to upgrade to a remote unit?

Again, thanks for the input.
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#4
Your antenna looks like the Radioshack VU-90. I had that antenna at one time. I also had the VU-190. There are similar models that look like that one in the RCA & Terk lineup. Looking at your TV Fool chart, I see you have a translator on digital channel 3. As long as that translator isn't important to you, then just get an antenna that's optimized for 7-51. Depending on the status of the other translators & LP stations that are still in analog for now, if those aren't important either, then getting an all channel antenna isn't necessary. If you want a similar antenna to what you're using now, then the Channelmaster CM3016 is about the closest to what you have. The RCA ANT3020X is also close to what you have, and probably made by Channelmaster as well.

If you want to go with a different brand, then Antennacraft & Winegard are the main brands to look at, & both brands are made in the USA. If you go with an Antennacraft, these are some models I might recommend:

VHF-Hi/UHF:
HBU33 & HBU44

If you want an all channel antenna, then for Antennacraf, here are a couple of recommendations:

C290 & 5884.

In the Winegard lineup, certain models are still available from the supplier, but some of these models are discontinued by Winegard themselves. I'll list the discontinued models separate.

Available from Winegard & suppliers:

VHF-HI/UHF: HD7697P & HD7694P. I'm however hesitant to recommend the 7694p, just because it has few VHF elements. For available all channel antennas, only the HD7084P is available from both Winegard & suppliers.

For Winegard antennas discontinued by Winegard, but may still be available from the suppler, these are some recommendations:

VHF-HI/UHF: HD7695P & HD7696P.

All channel antennas: HD7015, HD7080P, HD7082P.

I mainly went with solidsignal.com for the antennas (especially Winegard), because summitsource has few Winegard antennas left in stock, & they're substituting a lot of the discontinued Winegards for Antennacraft antennas. Some are still available from Winegard, but looks like summitsource is discontinuing the Winegard lineup from their online store after the current supply runs out.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#5
I have been using a 10db Recoton amp before the surge protector and a 24db Magnavox distribution amp between the surge protector and TV/USB tuner, but wonder if I would have better results with an external amp, perhaps combined with a distribution amp.
Old Stuff,

Whenever possible, I use high gain antennas to collect more 'signal strength' rather than trying to boost 'weak signals' with amplifiers. All amplifiers add their own 'noise' to signals and they also amplify 'noise' that arrives with the signals. How many outlets or rooms are you dividing the signals to?

My CM rotor is Model 9510a, and is about 18 years old. This is the third antenna I have had with this rotor. While the rotor is working, the control is balky and often out of sync. Is it possible to replace just the control to upgrade to a remote unit?
I have the same clocking issue with an older Radio Shack rotor and the only reason I haven't replaced it is because it hasn't failed in service! I have a CM "remote controlled" rotor that I plan to try this summer, but I can't speak about it yet.

Old Stuff, if you want to invest in more old stuff, you can buy new and reconditioned Alliance Rotors from Norm's Rotor Service and unlike any currently available 'new' residential-grade units, they have metal gears. I've used four of them over the years and I've never had a single failure. If you buy an Alliance Rotor, be sure to get the optional Thrust Support Bearing which carries the weight of the rotating mass.
Alliance and Genie antenna rotator and rotor control boxes

Jim
 
#6
Jim in Seattle & Dave73,
Thanks to both of you for your useful replies. My current antenna indeed looks very much like the Channel Master CM3016. I had a Channel Master before the Radio Shack, and found both of them to be fairly easily damaged. I am trying to decide between the AntennaCraft HBU44 and the Wineguard HD7697P, and am leaning toward the AntennaCraft due to both price (lower) and size (smaller). They both appear to be fairly sturdy, and wonder if there is any significant difference in durability.

On the issue of amplifiers, I assume both of these would be considered high-gain and perhaps I can forgo using one. However, this is a wooded area, and some of our VA trees are as all as those in your area, Jim. Should I find one necessary, can you recommend a good pre-amp style that would work well with one of these two antennas?

On the rotor issue, I found out that Channel Master does have an updated control that is supposed to work in place of my old, tired manual control , so I am considering that route.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#7
Old Stuff,

The Channel Master CM-7777 has a good reputation as a low-noise pre-amp, if you need to use one. I have trees galore here and I split signals 4-ways from several switched antennas without any amplifiers, including one channel 75 miles distant, thru trees, houses and at least one hillside.

Thank you for the interesting info on the replacement rotor control box. I checked my old Radio Shack unit against the current CM controller that came with a very similarly cased rotor motor, and they operate on different voltages. I'll go back and check again to get model numbers. It is possible the new control unit will operate the old motor and if so, I'm buying one!

Jim
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#8
With all the strong signals in your area you may want a pre-amp designed for high input signals such as an Antennacraft® 10G201. This happens to be the amp I use and it has worked well for me.
 
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