Question: Antenna shopping



can someone give me some advice on buying the correct antenna for my house? My plan is to put it in my attic and feed the whole house with the coax from the cable i had. any thoughts on that would be appreciated.

TV Fool

Fringe Reception

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Staff member

You have a promising antenna survey but stations you (likely) can receive are all over the map, which may complicate their reception. This is assuming you do not have a metal roof, metal siding or foil-backed insulation in your attic. Anything metalic including HVAC ducting and steel chimney pipeing can become unpredictable signal reflectors (or blockers) which can ruin HDTV signal reception.

I would try a 4-bay UHF antenna like a Channel Master 4221-HD pointed around 355 degrees (North) and hope for additional channel reception from your south from its 'backside'. If you can find an original style Channel Master 4221 (perhaps on Craigslist) its reflector screen can be removed which allows bi-directional reception. You may receive WMUR-9 (ABC) or you may not, as neither of these antennas are designed to receive high-band VHF, but WCVB-20 is also an ABC affiliate which could be a substitute.

Outdoor antenna installations are far more sucessful than most attic antenna installations, so consider mounting an antenna outdoors. Chimney mounting setups and wall brackets are readily available (cheap) from Radio Shack and other vendors.

If you mount it outdoors use black-jacketed RG-6 coaxial cable, not other colors: black survives ultra violet light exposure (the sun) far longer than 'designer' color coax. If you have any existing signal splitters they may not be compatable with free TV reception.

While you are sorting out your antenna setup it would be best to feed only one TV set with NO splitters in the coaxial feedline while you are testing (aiming your antenna). Before deciding on a permanent place to mount the antenna, try it at several different locations in your attic. Often, moving an antenna a few feet to the side or a foor higher (or lower) or on the opposite end of a building can make a world of difference in OTA reception.

Sorry to say, every time you move your antenna you will have to make the TV 'scan for additional channels' because until they are detected, your TV doesn't know to look for them on its own. You may have to rescan dozens of times to find missing channels.

Before you jump on my antenna recommendations, let's see what others here suggest. Good luck!

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Depending on the trees in the way, I'd suggest aiming at Boston with an 8-bay antenna. The two VHF stations to the north will likely come in just fine off the back of an antenna such as the DB8 or 4228HD.

Boston's stations will give you the widest assortment of programming.