Antennaweb vs. TV Fool

What site do you believe in the most?

  • AntennaWeb

    Votes: 1 4.0%
  • TV Fool

    Votes: 24 96.0%

  • Total voters
    25

Yes616

The Mod Squad
#1
What do you beleive the most? Antennaweb says I am out of luck with anything. TV Fool shows a few things I get but way too much information.

If you vote TV Fool, please tell about the weakest station you can receive regularly. Not just once in a while. Also, post the NM(dB) rating for that channel for your location.
 

CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#3
Yeah, I give TVFool the upperhand not only because it seemed to be more accurate for me, but it's independant of NAB and the electronics industry.
 

Yes616

The Mod Squad
#6
In theory, if you can get those below zero NM(dB) readings a little above zero on a regular basis, then that will in fact be regularly receivable.

If your NM reading on TV Fool is -10NM, if you have an antenna that gives you around 12db gain on that channel, you can be pretty sure it will work well on a regular basis. Of course a low noise amp must be considered if used.

I'd like to see what piggie has to say on this.

I admit, I know my Dish satellite stuff but I am considering adding a OTA antenna soon. Just as a test, I bought a $40 indoor antenna and have it on a window sill. An RCA model ANT-1450. This shows me stuff that antennaweb says I could never get. I get a few things, but not all of the time.

Don't forget to vote then discuss your readings. TV Fool vs. what you really get!
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
TVFool hands down. I have found too many mistakes in AntennaWeb. TVFool you can send updates to Andy Lee where AntennaWeb is immutable.

TVFool has a lot more than just the best radar plot and except mini spreadsheet for a location.

He also has google earth plots of stations transmitted signal, terrain maps.

There is FMFool that is greatly under used to see if that high band station that is a problem could be the 2nd harmonic of a near by FM station, Or if you are FM nut to look up how much antenna you need for a distant FM station.

To me it's like comparing a symphony that is a constantly improving work in progress to something from the days of when no one had a clue how to run the transition.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#11
TVFool, even if it presents a serious information overload: Who's going to spend a four- or even five-digit sum for the privilege of saying they get reliable reception of a station at a -25 dB NM?

Yes, AntennaWeb is highly conservative, but it should have been a great idea in that, with better industry participation, people could have used it to make intelligent antenna selections without having to become geeks. Alas, it suffered from poor execution thanks to spotty implementation of its pie-chart color codes.

Look online: Vendors such as Summit Source, Solid Signal and Warren Electronics include the chart or at least mention the zone on each product, but Stark doesn't. Winegard, AntennaCraft and Terk (of all companies!) publicize color codes for most or all outdoor models. OTOH, Channel Master doesn't use the chart, referring instead to the CEA designations underlying the colors, from "small multi-directional" to "large directional."

Radio Shack, a popular equipment supplier (Just look up and behold the number of VU-90s that still grace roofs and chimneys around the nation, 25 years after cable TV became commonplace!), doesn't mention color codes or CEA antenna designations at all. I've also noticed that the boxes containing the RCA all-channel antennas sold by our local Lowe's stores carry neither charts nor designations.

All of this was contrary to CEA's goal, which IIRC was uniform labeling in advertising and on product containers. I believe AntennaWeb would have been a better (if still very basic) tool if vendors and manufacturers had not wandered off in many different directions.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#12
TVFool, even if it presents a serious information overload: Who's going to spend a four- or even five-digit sum for the privilege of saying they get reliable reception of a station at a -25 dB NM?

Yes, AntennaWeb is highly conservative, but it should have been a great idea in that, with better industry participation, people could have used it to make intelligent antenna selections without having to become geeks. Alas, it suffered from poor execution thanks to spotty implementation of its pie-chart color codes.

Look online: Vendors such as Summit Source, Solid Signal and Warren Electronics include the chart or at least mention the zone on each product, but Stark doesn't. Winegard, AntennaCraft and Terk (of all companies!) publicize color codes for most or all outdoor models. OTOH, Channel Master doesn't use the chart, referring instead to the CEA designations underlying the colors, from "small multi-directional" to "large directional."

Radio Shack, a popular equipment supplier (Just look up and behold the number of VU-90s that still grace roofs and chimneys around the nation, 25 years after cable TV became commonplace!), doesn't mention color codes or CEA antenna designations at all. I've also noticed that the boxes containing the RCA all-channel antennas sold by our local Lowe's stores carry neither charts nor designations.

All of this was contrary to CEA's goal, which IIRC was uniform labeling in advertising and on product containers. I believe AntennaWeb would have been a better (if still very basic) tool if vendors and manufacturers had not wandered off in many different directions.
Well said Don. Don't you think the conservativeness of Antennaweb causes people to overspend on antennas?
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#13
Don't you think the conservativeness of Antennaweb causes people to overspend on antennas?
Anything remains possible at all times. However, the cost of peripherals adds up quickly, regardless of antenna choice. It's also far easier to get seriously ripped off by buying into hype (Hel-LOW!! Can you hear me, oh makers of Clearstreams and clip-ons and sticks?) than it is by choosing a model that offers good value for the money, even if the antenna might be overkill for a given situation.
 

Eureka

DTVUSA Member
#15
If you vote TV Fool, please tell about the weakest station you can receive regularly. Not just once in a while. Also, post the NM(dB) rating for that channel for your location.
In my hilly fringe area, neither one seems too accurate. However, I prefer the info TVFool gives.

TVFool shows KFSM as the weakest of my channels. It is one of my strongest.
KFSM RF 18 NM=(-12.4dB)
I get all of the stations on the TVFool chart below, except the ones with red Xs next to the call sign, using a CM4228 (US made) antenna & 7777 preamp. The 4228's screen has been removed so I don't need to use the rotor.


Google Earth overlays also show KFSM as being weak at my house.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#16
Doesnt TVfool have Green, Yellow, Red, Blue, and Violet as well, so you dont have to delve into the numbers if you dont want to?
Yep.

In my hilly fringe area, neither one seems too accurate. However, I prefer the info TVFool gives.
Coordinates tend to work better than street addresses in mountainous or rural areas. From those distances I'd guess your location is rural as well as hilly, so plugging in Lat and Lon is very likely to produce a more accurate report.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#17
Yep.

Coordinates tend to work better than street addresses in mountainous or rural areas. From those distances I'd guess your location is rural as well as hilly, so plugging in Lat and Lon is very likely to produce a more accurate report.
I helped a guy in AR on this board there the difference between his address and where he put the antenna (granted he put it on hill behind his house) was totally day and night.

I can say if Andy has one short coming in TVFool, it's the address to coordinate conversion. And bet doughnuts it's not the algorithm, but the errors in the address data base of which he has no control.

I can't remember the example to sight but all of them where in hilly terrain where using coordinates worked much better.

Plus one thing you can't see with terrain maps is near field knife edge that is common on UHF, so Eureka's experience doesn't surprise me.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#18
I believe AntennaWeb would have been a better (if still very basic) tool if vendors and manufacturers had not wandered off in many different directions.
This is part of what I meant when I called Antenna web part of the failed attempt at educating the public.

Many people and agencies were involved, not just inept and greed by the FCC, and the NAB (I still don't understand why the NAB let down their members), but also the antenna manufacturers.

I guess I could say Andy tried to rise above the mess with something independent.

Can you even imagine if we didn't have Andy's website? I can't. With Antenna Web I could say maybe this antenna would work and probably why they are conservative. But amps? I would tell people go buy an amp, if it makes it worse, take it out and sell it on Craigslist.

Before TVFool, the best way to get anywhere near as close as his information as was to show up and do a site survey in person.

I would dare to say that between TVFool and being able to look up stations on RabbitEars, I could not have helped even half the people I answered questions for in the last 6 months.
 

Eureka

DTVUSA Member
#19
Don_M, yes, the coordinates seemed to be relatively more accurate than my rural address. The rural address showed no reception.

...one thing you can't see with terrain maps is near field knife edge that is common on UHF.
This is very true. But I'm on a hilltop.

But I've also seen DTV work fine at the base of a hill, where analog was a complete mess of snow or multipath. And both antennaweb & tvfool showed NO reception at all. However, finding a UHF hot spot was much easier than finding one for VHF!
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#20
Antenna Web is not acurate !!

I have a big problem with Antenna Web, as its data base, or the routines that generate the data is flawed badly. I have a direct line of sight to a 4,000 foot mountain where the majority of the transmitters are located in this market. When doing a search for my specific address, the transmitter for our station is not listed as even existing, much less being receivable. If I use my zip code only, it is then listed as receivable.

I e-mailed the moderator and told her about this issue, and even had a few phone conversations with her about why that transmitter did not show up in a address specific search. She said that the algorithms used to generate the data did have an "Acceptable" inaccuracy rate, and they were aware of it, but it was in the "Acceptable" range as far as they were concerned.

I was told that they would look into it, but to this day, my specific address still does not show our transmitter in a search, but a general search using zip code only shows the data. I find that very strange, since I can stand on my roof when the leaves are gone and see the transmitter towers only about 18 to 20 miles away.

Here is a link to another type of antenna search that lists any type of FCC registered tower site, Cell Phone site, and many other types of licensed transmitters near your home or residence.

AntennaSearch - Search for Cell Towers, Cell Reception, Hidden Antennas and more.
 
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