Cut the cable, now looking for best cost effective solution using Dish mount and coax

poorbutrich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi all,
First thing first, thanks for the help. I recently "cut the cable" and discontinued my service with Dish. Now I am searching for an OTA solution that I can use to get quality reception. I have built a media center PC and am using it in my living room for internet based viewing, but would like to add OTA to it as well. I have a hauppauge (sp?) ATSC receiver so all I need is the antenna to complete the setup. Here is my TV Fool report TV Fool. Any suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#2
All of the local stations are strong to medium strength and UHF. I'm thinking a 4 bay bow-tie antenna (Channel Master CM-4221, Antennas Direct dB4e, etc.) pointed at 144 degrees magnetic would work well. A 2 bay, such as a Antennas Direct dB2 may work well also.

Does your dish mount have a good view to the southeast?
 
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poorbutrich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Thanks for the fast response. I believe I have a fairly clear view of the southwest. I will have to verify when I get home this evening. If you don't mind me asking, what is your opinion on something such as this antenna from RadioShack RadioShack Amplified Outdoor HDTV Antenna : HDTV Antennas | RadioShack.com? On another forum that I was browsing it mentioned this antenna and has great review, full UHF range, FM and is directional, but since they are all pretty much in one area, would this one suffice? Only reason I ask is it is a little more pleasing to the eye (which the wife will appreciate), is a little cheaper and I can pick it up locally versus shipping. Thoughts and comments are appreciated. Thanks again!
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#4
It may work for you, but any antenna that has a 20dB amplifier built in usually does so to cover up the fact that it doesn't have any real gain of its own. It certainly will "look better" than a four bay, and it may perform adequately, but I see it as a gamble... But, Radio Shack has a decent return policy.
 

poorbutrich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Thanks. I might have to check that one out. I plan on going through the line and removing any splitters or switches that I have between the mast and the tuner so it is as straight of a shot as possible. With the 20dB amp though I have another question. The user manual for that anntenna states that you should connect the amp after the 12ft supplied coax and then use a the preconnected output from the amp to run to the tuner. Obviously the 12 ft included isn't going to suffice for me, but with that being said, is there any downside to having the amp located by the tuner with a coax length of approximately 60 feet to the anntena? Also, while the user manual doesn't specifically state FM reception, the description on the site states it receives HD FM. Would a splitter (either before or after the pre-amp, I would guess after) running to an FM receiver on the same PC tuner work? Would there be significant degredation? Thanks again for sharing your wisdom.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#6
You want to put the power inserter between the antenna and any splitters you have in the system. Otherwise there shouldn't be enough added resistance between 12ft of cable and 60ft to not make the amp function. When you split the signal you lose approximately half, or 3.5-4 dB of signal. The FM radio band is in between the hi and low VHF TV bands, which is why VHF TV antennas work for FM radio also.
 

poorbutrich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
So since that antenna is for High VHF and UHF, it probably wouldn't work at those frequencies would it? Also, I took a look at my dish J-bar tonight. It is on the roof of my garage but I have a front-to-back split level so it is only about 10ft above ground. Also, I have a large tree at where I am estimating 144 degrees. From the horizon, the clear area is about 45-50 degrees up, so no where close to close to line of sight for the horizon. Do you think it is worth bothering with? I have a cheap indoor antenna now that I bought from a big box store and it picks up maybe 6 channels reliably and several others when it wants to (ample conditions). Thoughts? Thanks.....
 
#8
So since that antenna is for High VHF and UHF, it probably wouldn't work at those frequencies would it?
Probably not. I read one reviewer complaining he got no VHF at all, plus they don't say anything about FM in the ad, do they. :huh:

Also, I took a look at my dish J-bar tonight. It is on the roof of my garage but I have a front-to-back split level so it is only about 10ft above ground. Also, I have a large tree at where I am estimating 144 degrees. From the horizon, the clear area is about 45-50 degrees up, so no where close to close to line of sight for the horizon. Do you think it is worth bothering with?
Since all your signals are 1 edge signals to begin with, I think you'd be letting yourself in for some major headaches. It might work on Tuesdays and Thursdays... on a leap year ...

I have a cheap indoor antenna now that I bought from a big box store and it picks up maybe 6 channels reliably and several others when it wants to (ample conditions). Thoughts? Thanks.....
I'd join with dkr in encouraging you to get a 4 bay antenna or better. Get it as high as possible to clear that tree! Redo your TV Fool Report at 30' elevation to see how much difference that makes. Could be substantial, since you're pretty close to the transmitters, and something is blocking LOS (Line Of Sight).

Good Luck,
Rick
 

poorbutrich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#9
Probably not. I read one reviewer complaining he got no VHF at all, plus they don't say anything about FM in the ad, do they. :huh:
Yes, in the product summary it states "Receive HDTV, FM HD Radio, VHF and UHF signals" but in the User Guide itself it states that it is a hi-band VHF and UHF antenna.


Since all your signals are 1 edge signals to begin with, I think you'd be letting yourself in for some major headaches. It might work on Tuesdays and Thursdays... on a leap year ...
Actually, I went back and changed my TV Fool report TV Fool to a antenna height of 10 ft, since that is more accurate and out of the top 10 stations that I would like to receive reliably, only four are 1Edge and the others are 2Edge. From what I just read on meanings of 1Edge and 2Edge that would be a bad thing. Uhhg!


I'd join with dkr in encouraging you to get a 4 bay antenna or better. Get it as high as possible to clear that tree! Redo your TV Fool Report at 30' elevation to see how much difference that makes. Could be substantial, since you're pretty close to the transmitters, and something is blocking LOS (Line Of Sight).
I am afraid I probably won't be able to get it any higher than my Dish rig is now. I am a disabled vet and have had two strokes so balance and climbing around on the roof aren't really an option. That is one of the reasons I was wanting to go with the smaller Radio Shack antenna versus a larger 4 bay, as well as the curb appeal of course. I will look around and see what I can find as a 4 Bay antenna and go from there. Looking at my latest TV Fool report, do you think a 4 bay alone would suffice or will I need a pre-amp as well?

Thanks again!
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#10
With a 4-bay antenna you shouldn't need a preamp. The NBC station (KSHB) is showing a noise margin (NM) of 29.1 dB on TVfool. Add 10 dB of gain from a good 4 bay and that makes 39.1 dB of signal at the antenna, which should be adequate to drive multiple TVs over some long cable runs before you even need to start thinking about an amp.
 

poorbutrich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Thanks. So, my next question is....How much are these trees likely to hose my signal with either the RadioShack version previous posted or a good 4 bay? I have posted a couple of cropped pictures of the house, one which is zoomed in to show the current location of my dish satelite and the other is zoomed out to show the trees behind me. The house is pointing pretty much true north, so 144 degrees would be around the trees or the small clearing between there canopies. Once again, any and all advice is greatly appreciated. House1.jpg House2.jpg
 
#12
Yes, in the product summary it states "Receive HDTV, FM HD Radio, VHF and UHF signals" but in the User Guide itself it states that it is a hi-band VHF and UHF antenna.
K, I missed the FM reference. Still, those little plastic amplified antennas are very weak on VHF. I have one that also gets good reviews at the OEM site (Monoprice), and it is pretty good on UHF. But rabbit ears work better in the VHF range,

Actually, I went back and changed my TV Fool report TV Fool to a antenna height of 10 ft, since that is more accurate and out of the top 10 stations that I would like to receive reliably, only four are 1Edge and the others are 2Edge. From what I just read on meanings of 1Edge and 2Edge that would be a bad thing. Uhhg!
Yes, which is why I'm concerned about that tree. That TVF form isn't taking your tree into account. With any moisture in the leaves, it'll add one or more "edges." Ideally what you want is LOS (Line Of Sight) in that column.

I am afraid I probably won't be able to get it any higher than my Dish rig is now. I am a disabled vet and have had two strokes so balance and climbing around on the roof aren't really an option. That is one of the reasons I was wanting to go with the smaller Radio Shack antenna versus a larger 4 bay, as well as the curb appeal of course. I will look around and see what I can find as a 4 Bay antenna and go from there. Looking at my latest TV Fool report, do you think a 4 bay alone would suffice or will I need a pre-amp as well?
A 4-bay with no pre-amp is much better than a piece of plastic with a pre-amp. In fact, in most cases amplification does more harm than good! (It adds noise to the system, then amplifies it's own noise. Then all that noise hits the amplifier already built into the TV.)

I'm sorry to hear about your physical problems, and thank you for your service to our country. :hail: :usa2:

Rick
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#13
At least they seem to be evergreens. There won't be changes in the seasons, and they should be less prone to wind, but they will drop the signal strength. You should still have enough signal strength with the 4 bay to make up for the trees.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14
Those satellite installers always take the easy out. That's not even the best location for a satellite dish, and not good at all for OTA TV. You would be shooting through your entire house!

It should be fairly easy and inexpensive to find someone willing to move the dish to the rooftop, point the antenna to 144 degrees, and drop some coax to the current dish location and connect the coax together, then seal the holes left in the roof at the original location. A competent handyman could do it for about $100.

I too would suggest a 4 bay antenna. It's not as obtrusive as you would think, and Radio Shack sells one, Antennacraft U4000 4-Bay UHF Antenna : UHF Antennas | RadioShack.com - call ahead, they probably don't have it in stock. I have also used a 4 bay antenna for FM. I know, it's not designed for it, it's not the best, but it works better than an indoor FM antenna. Just don't use an Antennas Direct DB4e if you want FM - their baluns are designed to pass only UHF.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#15
Bill,

Since we are looking at the house from the north, southeast would be to the left. I originally got my directions mixed up. The antenna can shoot from the current satellite dish location between the houses. Of course, higher would be better. You are correct that 4 bay antennas are probably not any less aesthetically pleasing than a satellite dish.

One of my good friends is a satellite dish installer, so be carefull what you say. ;)

Dan
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#16
Yea, I'm confused. Sorry.

As far as satellite installers, they range from bad to good. What I've seen is a lot of "cheapest and easiest" installs - one of them my own. I could not be home for the install, so I left specific written instructions with my wife to install as far south on the house as possible. He did the exact opposite - on the North side, making it impossible to clear snow off it, and worse yet, my roof has a 45 degree slope, and so is the angle of the dish. When it got over a foot deep, I would lose signal. All to avoid running 50 foot of coax!

When I called DirecTV, they refused to move it because I could watch TV NOW - in the summer. As soon as my contract was up, I cancelled and never looked back.
 

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