GETTING STARTED WITH OVER-THE-AIR TV - The FAQ's

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#61
Fellas, let me explain my thinking here. Just to remind, here's the Report for drmcnutt where you don't have to chase back through this thread to reference it. TV Fool. drmcnutt has 5 channels at his 252° heading. Those being 2 VHF-hi and 3 UHF, and they're only 21 miles away. There is VHF-lo on his chart, but, it's WAY off from him, and I'm not even going to consider them. At this point, he needs a Combination VHFhi/UHF Antenna, and it better be high gain, because I'm thinking that he's just too close to the stations to use a Pre-Amp. In Jim's post, he questioned the reliability of reception, I agree, but, I think everybody should have OTA even if it's not so good, and even if it's on a separate Cable from whatever other service they may have. So my recommendation at this point is...keep it simple, and let's see what happens. By that I mean, just one (roof) Antenna, there's always the option to expand to a second Antenna, or other signal boosting IF drmcnutt thinks this is going to work ok for him. My first choice was the Antennas Direct C5 ClearStream 5 High Gain Digital VHF TV Antenna (ClearStream5) from Solid Signal). A VHF-hi & UHF, 60+ miles range, I have the gain a 5+ VHF and 14+ UHF. Now, there's one other feature about it, it has a monster beamwidth of about 70° in the UHF band, which if directed carefully (like at 283° Magnetic), MAY negate the need to add a second antenna to pick up the two additional ION and CW channels. Also, it's not so large, where drmcnutt may be able to use the mounting post that he previously used for his Sat Dish (repositioned if necessary). I'm just trying to be as conservative as I can, just in case this falls on it's face, where drmcnutt won't have spent a bundle on a fluke. So Fellas, if you got a better idea, or other choice for THE Antenna, let's hear it.
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#62
Only problem with beamwidth is that its to -3dB signal strength, quality can range from quite good to horrendous, and if there is reflections within that beam of similar strength then it becomes even harder again, no matter how we stack it up theres going to be risk involved (there always is!).

One of the benefits of a professional installer is that they can try multiple antennas and combinations without outlaying for each antenna and can see signal strengths and quality measurements on the roof at the time of install (or signal survey). May be worth considering in this case. Given that all the signals are also diffracted, hunting for the sweet spot (or sweet spots- as there are multiple transmitter headings, the llikelyhood that it may be impossible to co-locate the antennas within a single sweet spot increases somewhat) could be difficult. Hell, very occasionally i cant colocate antennas for the one site because UHF and VHf diffract differently, again a meter here is worth its weight in gold.
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#63
I agree, a Professional Installer is not a bad idea, considering how difficult this particular situation is. So, it depends on how much $ drmcnutt wants to spend to get this done.
 

drmcnutt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#64
drmcnutt, Are you really going to be happy, having only 5 to 7 channels to watch ? That's a vast difference from the Sat Package you're used to viewing.
Between Netflix and Hulu and a host of other streaming we don't miss too much. If I could get the broadcast networks on board so we have live TV it would be just about perfect. After paying for the equipment I have about $20 a month out to cover these streaming options. Better than $120 for sure.
 

drmcnutt

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#66
Fellas, let me explain my thinking here. Just to remind, here's the Report for drmcnutt where you don't have to chase back through this thread to reference it. TV Fool. drmcnutt has 5 channels at his 252° heading. Those being 2 VHF-hi and 3 UHF, and they're only 21 miles away. There is VHF-lo on his chart, but, it's WAY off from him, and I'm not even going to consider them. At this point, he needs a Combination VHFhi/UHF Antenna, and it better be high gain, because I'm thinking that he's just too close to the stations to use a Pre-Amp. In Jim's post, he questioned the reliability of reception, I agree, but, I think everybody should have OTA even if it's not so good, and even if it's on a separate Cable from whatever other service they may have. So my recommendation at this point is...keep it simple, and let's see what happens. By that I mean, just one (roof) Antenna, there's always the option to expand to a second Antenna, or other signal boosting IF drmcnutt thinks this is going to work ok for him. My first choice was the Antennas Direct C5 ClearStream 5 High Gain Digital VHF TV Antenna (ClearStream5) from Solid Signal). A VHF-hi & UHF, 60+ miles range, I have the gain a 5+ VHF and 14+ UHF. Now, there's one other feature about it, it has a monster beamwidth of about 70° in the UHF band, which if directed carefully (like at 283° Magnetic), MAY negate the need to add a second antenna to pick up the two additional ION and CW channels. Also, it's not so large, where drmcnutt may be able to use the mounting post that he previously used for his Sat Dish (repositioned if necessary). I'm just trying to be as conservative as I can, just in case this falls on it's face, where drmcnutt won't have spent a bundle on a fluke. So Fellas, if you got a better idea, or other choice for THE Antenna, let's hear it.
Thanks again guys. I appreciate the discussion and recommendations. I would totally go for looking into getting a professional installer. Are there good resources for this? Is it somewhere along the lines of contacting a TV repair place for a referral or can I make arrangement through a big box store? I suppose contacting a site like Solid Signal may have some information on this. At this point, (since we are having the coldest week here in NEPA) I am probably looking to do this this spring/summer. So I have some time to plan.

I figure the money put into this will pay for itself in savings from the internet. Thanks for helping me do my homework on this.
 
#67
If you can mount an antenna at least 5 feet above the roof, the HBU-44 or better yet the HBU-55 should get you the 5 stations from Wilkes-Barre reliably. The terrain blockage is a bit of a concern, but the mountaintop transmitters are all sending out decent power levels in your direction. You may not need that much antenna, but I like to go at least one size larger as TV Fool is not always accurate.
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#68
Thanks again guys. I appreciate the discussion and recommendations. I would totally go for looking into getting a professional installer. Are there good resources for this? Is it somewhere along the lines of contacting a TV repair place for a referral or can I make arrangement through a big box store? I suppose contacting a site like Solid Signal may have some information on this. At this point, (since we are having the coldest week here in NEPA) I am probably looking to do this this spring/summer. So I have some time to plan.

I figure the money put into this will pay for itself in savings from the internet. Thanks for helping me do my homework on this.
Over here they are listed in the phone book by the dozen, most electronics retailers have subcontractors who install for them aswell. Some TV repair places may also have technicians that do OTA installs (but over here antenna techs are usuall dedicated to the comms side of things, not the nitty gritty of componentry [though that is where I started out]). Failing all that it can never hurt to google "antenna installation <city name>"
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#69
One other issue I have dealt with is the direction of all of the signals you want to receive. Many receivers only allow channels to be entered by performing a scan, and do not allow manual entry of channels. If you have signals available from multiple directions, this issue can cause problems, especially if you have a directional antenna, which most reliable ones are.

If you have not already purchased a digital TV, you may want to find out if the model you have, or want to purchase allows the addition of channels not found by the scan function. I get by this by using multiple antennas and an A/B switch. I watch the scan function as it lists channels during the scan ,and use the A/B switch to change antennas so my channel list will show every channel I can receive.

If you use a rotor, this will not work, and most rotors won't respond fast enough to keep up with the channel scan. Has anyone else had to deal with this issue, and if so what solutions did you come up with?
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#70
I cant beleive there is issues with that there, every TV here (with very few exceptions) will manual tune. Whats the benefit of having manual tune where most sites are colocated, and rotors + antenna switches are mythical beasts; very little. Yet where you need it most, its lacking

Yep everything from a 7" portable, to a 70" LED-LCD, will manual tune. From XingJingQuanChing to Panasonic/Sony/LG/Samsung.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#71
... Many receivers only allow channels to be entered by performing a scan, and do not allow manual entry of channels. If you have signals available from multiple directions, this issue can cause problems ...

If you have not already purchased a digital TV, you may want to find out if the model you have, or want to purchase allows the addition of channels not found by the scan function. ...

... Has anyone else had to deal with this issue, and if so what solutions did you come up with?
Fox,

I have seen two distinct differences in tuners regarding how they 'establish' receivable channels. My 7" Haier cannot "add" channels to its saved memory: consequently, if I change antennas I have to perform a rescan that wipes its memory of the pre-existing found channels.

However, my 40" Sony, my Channel Master 7000 and 7000-PAL both allow "Scan for additional (new) Channels" and they add 'new' channels to their memories.

It makes good sense for a new TV buyer to verify their unit can 'add' new stations.

Jim
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#72
I cant beleive there is issues with that there, every TV here (with very few exceptions) will manual tune. Whats the benefit of having manual tune where most sites are colocated, and rotors + antenna switches are mythical beasts; very little. Yet where you need it most, its lacking

Yep everything from a 7" portable, to a 70" LED-LCD, will manual tune. From XingJingQuanChing to Panasonic/Sony/LG/Samsung.
This is a real problem that truly does exist. I have two LCD models that do not allow the manual addition of channels. I have a cheap Curtis 19", and an Emerson 19" with built in DVD player, and neither of them allow manual channel additions. I also have a Haier 7 inch portable TV, likely the same one Jim mentions that I use for remote antenna testing, and it also does not allow manual channel additions.

I bought the Curtis 19" model simply because it works on 12volts, and can be used in the field for antenna testing. Most transmitters in my market are co-located, but there are two that are not, and are 180 degrees away from the rest of the transmitters, as is the case in many TV markets around the country. This is a real problem, and some prior research is needed by those who live in markets where signals are located in different locations. An antenna switch solved this problem for me, and that is why I posted it. I don't just get on here and write to be wasting time. I posted this information simply because it is a real issue for a lot of areas around the country, and I was trying to help people avoid this issue, which I have encountered many times in the past.

Rotors, antenna switches, are NOT mythical beasts. They exist for a reason, and one of them can be solved by using the suggestions I posted if you have access to more than one antenna, and not everyone has the models of TV sets you suggest..I know I don't.

Just so you know a little about my background, and not to toot my own horn, but I have many years experience as an Amateur Radio Operator, as well as many more years as a TV Broadcast engineer, so I really do know what I am talking about on this topic. I have designed a superior TV receive antenna that covers all TV Bands in a 24 X 18 inch package, and have traveled many miles in my state testing my antenna in different areas, as well as testing it in New York City, so the information I post is real and accurate. My antenna is super directional, and rotating it just an inch or so can change the signal strength almost one full dB, and that is a three fold loss in signal strength, so rotors may be required in your area.

Maybe some day you will be using one of my antennas at your house !!!!!!!!!!!
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#73
Sorry, FOX TV, you've probably missed it, especially if you dont post often, Im not located in the US, Im down in Australia.

What Im saying is from an aussie perspective; that is:

1. In Australia 95-99+% of TVs can manual tune. (XingJingQuanChing* to Panasonic/Sony/LG/Samsung).
2. We exclusively with VERY VERY VERY VERY few exceptions use colocated sites for all TV services. So there's little point for manual tuning (speed, maybe skipping services that are coming in off the back of the antenna, not much else).
3. Rotors and Antenna switches ARE mythical beasts here. You honestly can't get them, they just arent used. Again, even less point for manual tuning here.
4. It seems silly in the US where manual tuning is needed most, its lacking

Or all in all, seems like lazy manufacturers up there.


*Made up name to cover the billion or so chinese knock-off brands


PS. If you ever market your antenna down here, make sure it can also be mounted vertically, we like polarisations all kind of ways down here :p :)
 
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FOX TV

Contributor
#74
Sorry, FOX TV, you've probably missed it, especially if you dont post often, Im not located in the US, Im down in Australia.

What Im saying is from an aussie perspective; that is:

1. In Australia 95-99+% of TVs can manual tune. (XingJingQuanChing* to Panasonic/Sony/LG/Samsung).
2. We exclusively with VERY VERY VERY VERY few exceptions use colocated sites for all TV services. So there's little point for manual tuning (speed, maybe skipping services that are coming in off the back of the antenna, not much else).
3. Rotors and Antenna switches ARE mythical beasts here. You honestly can't get them, they just arent used. Again, even less point for manual tuning here.
4. It seems silly in the US where manual tuning is needed most, its lacking

Or all in all, seems like lazy manufacturers up there.


*Made up name to cover the billion or so chinese knock-off brands


PS. If you ever market your antenna down here, make sure it can also be mounted vertically, we like polarisations all kind of ways down here :p :)
OK, Thanks for the correction, and for pointing out that I did not view all of the previous posts. Polarization has changed quite a bit since the digital conversion in the U.S. Most all analog transmit antennas used here in the past were horizontal polarity. It has been discovered during testing that adding a little power in the vertical plain, or in some cases using circular polarization can help make digital reception more reliable. A lot of broadcasters have installed circular antennas, or dual polarity antennas to help make reception more reliable.

Another aspect that can effect this is multi path reflections, as the signals polarity can be altered due to those reflections. My antenna is capable of receiving circular or dual polarity, and since I had the knowledge that circular or dual polarity signals would be broadcast, this issue was taken into consideration when i designed my antenna. One of the most popular UHF antennas sold over here will not receive any signals when it is oriented in the opposite plain from its designed polarity, as when it was designed very early in the digital conversion era, circular or dual polarity was just beginning to be utilized here.

This antenna is also not capable of receiving any VHF signals at all, and again this is due to its design being conceived very early in the digital conversion era when the intent was to make UHF the only TV band used. Broadcasters here assumed that VHF would still provide lower transmitter operating costs as was the case with analog, and is not completely accurate as time has shown, and the VHF bands are much more prone to noise interference, and are less reliable for digital signals.

Some of the former VHF broadcasters lobbied (BEGGED) the FCC to allow them to go back to VHF, and some of them paid a high cost for this poor decision, This also in my opinion, opened the door for the FCC to view VHF as viable for digital broadcasting, when real world experience shows that to be incorrect, and now all broadcasters will pay again due to this with the impending channel re-packing that is going to happen, even in the face of great resistance from current broadcasters. The broadband industry has much more influence, and many more lobbying dollars available to them to complete their buying off (OR THE THEFT OF) the UHF TV band.

The noise issue is also one of the reasons that the broadband Robber Barons over here intend to capture (STEAL) the entire UHF band for themselves through congressional lobbying and by relying on the lack of engineering and technical information and knowledge that our elected officials lack, but that is an entirely different topic in itself.
 

summerski

DTVUSA Member
#75
Update: The CM3020 has been set free and the results are phenomenal!!!! It was nearly 60 degrees in NY yesterday so I busted out the eve bracket and mounted the 3020 on the roof and the reception is insane compared to in the attic. More channels and all are pretty much 100% signal strength.

Tomorrow will be a good test as we are expecting gusts to 30 and there will be a lot of swaying trees it the signal path. Fingers are crossed.

Just want to thank EVERYONE who offered help here. Especially SWHouston.

Cheers,

William

HDAntenna.jpg
 
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summerski

DTVUSA Member
#78
I reckon I'll clip the wide elements if need be but it'll take another Sandy to "sail away".....

No static at all, what antenna would you recommend for an eve mount given my proximity to NYC?

Thanks,

Will
 
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nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#80
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