Question: Help Choosing an Antenna TV FOOL Link Included (SW PA)

donk69

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
Hi,

I'm in the process of cutting the cord as most of you are and I would like some help with choosing an antenna. I have a 40 foot tower that I will be mounting the antenna on. I was also going to purchase a rotor.

The only VHF channel I'm interested in getting is 13.

I'm about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA.

Here is the link to my TV Fool Report: TV Fool

Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
You will need a UHF/VHF combo antenna pointed to the cluster of stations at about 330 degrees (NW). All the networks are there in the yellow zone, and PBS 13 looks pretty strong. I believe the Stellar Labs UHF/VHF 30-2440 will work for you. If you want something with a little more VHF gain, the Antennacraft HBU-44 would be a good choice. Since your signals are 2-edge, not line of sight (LOS) I recommend experimenting with the antenna height before mounting permanently to locate a "sweet spot".

Normally, I would tell you that you don't need a rotor, but since you have a tower, though, I would install one because it's a PITA to have to climb a tower if you need to aim it. Also, if you should ever need a pre-amp, consider that if the amp fails, you will get no signal at all... and you'll have to climb the tower to fix it. You should only need an amp if you have a very long coax cable run or are splitting to several TV sets.
 
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kincer

DTVUSA Rookie
#3
I'm about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh and I get 2,4,6,8,11,13,16,19,22,53,61,65,and 66 with a homemade Grey-Hoverman all excellent signal going to three TVs. I have it mounted in my attic with a reflector,preamp, and a amplified splitter. Just a thought if you didn't want to climb a tower.
 

donk69

DTVUSA Rookie
#4
I don't have an attic space to put an antenna but I could mount it on the eave of the house. I started to build a double bay grey hoverman a few weeks ago but couldn't figure out what to use to hook the elements together. I've seen some that use pvc. I was going to try to use aluminum but that's not cheap.
Kincer do you have any pics of your antenna? I live south of Pittsburgh in Connellsville.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#6
A Hoverman is NOT designed for VHF frequencies. Channel 13 is VHF-hi (RF). A quick look at Pittsburgh TV reveals that all the channels donk69 gets are UHF- the channels he is listing as channels 2-13 are virtual channels, not the actual RF channels.

The Stellar Labs UHF/VHF 30-2440 is only $30, snaps together in minutes, and is designed for VHF/UHF reception.
 
#7
You have a good assortment of major network signals at about 330 degrees. You will need a high VHF/UHF antenna. On the low cost compact side the Stellar Labs 30-2440 has been getting good over all reviews.
Stellar Labs VHF/UHF HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Yagi Antenna | 30-2440 (302440) | Stellar Labs
Antennacraft HBU series 33 or larger are good dual band antennas.
As are the Winegard HD769xx series.
Generally the larger the antenna the more gain and directivity it will have.
While it has been a few years since I have worked with any new products traditionally Winegard antennas were of better build quality.
The currently available TV antenna rotors are not known for there reliability or aiming accuracy. Ham rotors are expensive. Some TV tuners are not very rotor friendly. Most but not all TV tuners do have the ability to add new channels without doing a full channel scan. Often times this feature is not documented in the owners manual. In the last two years I've worked with eight different TVs and converter boxes, and have only came across one that knowing the real channel numbers I couldn't find away to add channels. I'm sometimes a bit slow to post. I started this last night. I've have agreed with MrPogi's suggestions. I build antennas for the fun of it. I am an antenna hobbyist, but I'm well aware that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for home brew antennas. I don't suggest that just because my latest build worked great in my situation that it is the right antenna for everyone in all locations. Being an antenna nut I have often built antennas for the fun of it that I know are totally wrong for my location, but might work great somewhere else. Home brew antennas require time, building skills, money, or an adequate junk collection, and some serious study if you want to get good results.
Steve
 

kincer

DTVUSA Rookie
#8
I get all those channels, yes the Hoverman is designed for UHF but it picks up the VHF as well for me. It cost me about $75 including the preamp and amplified splitter. If I was only running one TV then my cost would have been around $12 dollars, quite a bargain in my opinion for free TV. My signal for channel 13 is %80.
 
#9
The newer Gray-Hoverman variations with top hat NARODs. Work very good on both VHF, and UHF. The original Gray-Hoverman antenna is a UHF antenna and presents an impedance mismatch into 300 ohms at VHF frequencies that can cause problems with ATSC signals. VERY HIGH VOLTAGE STANDING WAVE RATIO on a feed line can significantly degrade the digital waveform as signals bounce up and down a long coax. A preamp should help in this respect. I can easily receive all VHF and UHF signals in my area with a simple hour glass UHF loop antenna 11.5"X11.5" but I could never recommend the use of that antenna for reception of VHF signals. I would encourage anyone who wishes to pursue the construction of a dual band Gray-Hoverman antenna, or one of the higher gain models to spend some time exploring this site.
nikiml's Antenna pages - GH with tilt hat NARODs for UHF/VHF-hi
I'm currently using a home brew variation of a Mclapp 2 bay UHF antenna that works great at my current location in a predominately VHF television market, but when I do antenna work in areas less than 3 miles from here an antenna better suited to VHF reception is often times needed. At my current location the best antenna I know of that I could build for the present signal conditions would be a Gray-Hoverman with NARODs and no reflector. The best antenna I have ever used at this location is the 10x9.5 Mclapp 4 bay with no reflector. Bi-directional is needed in my area.
From-4nec2 Antenna Sims by holl_ands
mclapp's M4 (10.0x9.5) 4-Bay - NO Refl.
UHF Raw Gain = 9.0-12.3 dBi and SWR (300-ohms) under 3.5.
Hi-VHF Raw Gain = 3.5 dBi and SWR (300-ohms) under 3.2.
I would not recommend the same antennas that can be used at my location in other areas less than 2 miles from here. There is no one size fits all simple do it your self antenna.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#10
Yes, I've built and bought UHF antennas that did get VHF-hi. But if I NEED to get VHF-hi, I will choose one designed for VHF-hi. If I had to build one for this situation, it would be a Gray-Hoverman with NARODs.
 
#11
With NARODs, correctly built reflector, and designed to withstand out door use. Not every attic built will allow penetration of television signals, and all of them do attenuate signal some.
 

donk69

DTVUSA Rookie
#12
Thanks for all the help. I'm going to try the Stellar Labs 30-2440 since it is relatively cheap. If it doesn't work out for me I may try the bigger Antennacraft HBU-44.
 
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