Hoping for Indoor Antenna Suggestions from one of the most experienced communities...

Larholl

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
I’ve been researching for some time and I seem to come up with different recommendations depending on the source, but I was delighted to stumble upon your forum and was hoping for recommendations for an indoor TV antenna? My intention is to replace the inadequate antenna that came with my HDTV Wonder TV Tuner PC Card that I currently stream though the house. Living in a Condo I am unfortunately limited to an indoor antenna after checking with the owners and receiving a no-go on installing anything outdoors. Any and all tips and input would be so greatly appreciated :) Here is my TV fool info: TV Fool
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
In regards to installing outdoors, if you are renting you may be able to put it on a balcony / patio area. In fact, you may place it in any spot that is not considered "Common" area (ie, shared rooftops) The owners may have issues with a placement that requires holes through the walls, so you may want to get creative about that issue. Please give us details on your arrangement at the residence so we can advise. See the OTARD (Over The Air Reception Devices) regulations HERE: FCC Fact Sheet on Placement of Antennas Another option may be inside a window facing your transmitters.

Now as to the antenna, if you MUST remain indoors with it: I believe your main issue will be where to place it.

Some questions for you..

What are you getting NOW with your HD wonder antenna?

What is the construction of your building?

First floor / second floor?

Is there a place where you can put a larger antenna inside the building, where it would be out of the way?

Your TVfool doesn't look too bad, although I think you may have some difficulty with getting an ABC affiliate.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
I was thinking something along these lines, Jim. Maybe a 2 bay would work - if it can be hidden, or the poster could call it "ART" and display it!
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#5
If you have an existing satellite dish on your residence (which seems to be standard situation for most rentals) and it is in a suitable location for OTA reception (north side of the building would be ideal in your situation) you can just replace the dish with a small antenna and use the existing cabling. The landlord can't say anything both according to federal law and from precedent (they allowed the dish in the same location.) and the new antenna will automatically meet the NEC's grounding requirement (if the dish was professionally installed).

With that said, have you tried a simple unamplified rabbit ear loop to start. That can be useful for finding the best antenna type & location. Looks like you have high VHF in your area, so you will do best with a VHF/UHF combo rather than UHF only.
 
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Larholl

DTVUSA Rookie
#6
The grabbit ears was very funny :) with a pair of needlnose I could have at my current bow tie antenna lol. Seriously though, If I am to understand you all correctly it sounds as though I will likely be dissapointed with any attempts to get better signal indoors, and technically I guess this makes sense. I was thinking perhaps in my rear patio area mounted on the wood privacy fence might be possible. I am guessing I will likely have to poke through the wall using an installer bit as if I was going to install a cable run to route the coax to the outside unit (might be a midnight job lol) so that being said, which would you recommend for outdoors :)
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#7
Larholl,

Either a 2-bay or 4-bay (I really like the old style/discontinued Channel Master 4221 and 4228) screen antenna could be mounted flat against your fence, but I noticed the majority of your potentially available channels are either north or south of you and the screen would likely block one or the other direction. An option, would be to remove the screen, thus making it a dual-directional array. I'm not sure what that would do to the impedence of the antenna, however.

Another option would be a Kosmic SuperQuad 4-bay (screen-type), which are built and sold by Forum member Escape Velocity. His antenna is intended to be 'fine-tuned' and they work very well. Its basically an upscaled/modernized CM-4221. http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...9-kosmic-antennas-superquad-4-bay-bowtie.html

Another option would be to use a Hoverman antenna, again, mounted flat against your fence: there is a photo of a 16-bay version in my photo albums here: Jim In Seattle's Album: Other Antennas - Not Yet Tested Unlike the title, I tried the Hoverman this summer and its an excellent antenna, but not in the high-power RF "soup" I live in.

Regarding coax, there is a special flat coax 'jumper' that is specifically designed to go in a window frame or under a door, to avoid drilling holes. DIRECTV Flat Flexible Coaxial Cable RG6 White 8" F to F Jumper 3 GHz High Frequency Eagle Aspen Digital RV Camper Portable Satellite Dish TV Antenna Under Door or Window Coax Cable Adapter, Part # 8FC-300LX-8: Oak Entertainment Centers and Home Offic

Jim
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
Jim,
I did notice his TVfool is similar to mine, towers north and south. I wish I could suggest my U75r, but its not very, ummm stealthy, is it? I do like the idea of the 4 bay without the reflector, though. It would be very stealthy and shouldn't affect the reception that much. I would try it with the screen first, trying both directions and see how that goes. Coincidentally, for my next project I want to clone that old 4221!

Escape Velocity's 4 bay has great reviews, you can't go wrong with that one, IMHO.

I did find what appears to be the original 4221 for sale here: http://www.idealtruevalue.com/servlet/the-136106/Detail - it says they have 103 "on hand"! I would call to confirm it IS the old one, myself.

I'm loving that flat jumper, too. Pretty stealthy right there. I'll have to remember that for my bag - o - tricks!

Larholl-

Could we get a little more info about your house (stucco and some other materials are bad), and what channels if any do you get now? I am going to tentatively suggest a 4 bay on a mast that can clear your fence, perhaps you could attach it to the fence, or use the old "pipe in a bucket of cement" to mount it on. That gives you the option of moving it to find any "sweet spots" and I would get that flat jumper and 2 rg6 cables of the right length and run it to the computer, and see how that works out.

But, do get back to us on those questions I had before you plunk down your hard earned cash.
 
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n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Another popular method to avoid drilling holes is to use a window pass through panel. Popular among ham radio operators it is basically a piece of plexiglass the width of the window with a barrel F connector in it.

Something similar to this: MFJ-4602 Antenna Feedthrough Panel Product Reviews

The downside is that it can let some heat escape, but if you seal up your window properly you can minimize your losses.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#10
Ryan,
Great suggestion! I was concerned about the loss from rg6 --> flat jumper --> back to rg6, but this solves that problem.

About the heat loss, making one out of a 2x4 or 2x3 cut to size, some weatherstrip all around, a hole drilled, pass a single rg6 thru and sealed with silicone: almost no loss of heat, no loss of signal, and your cost is a heckuva lot less than MSRP: $59.95!!!

A coat of paint to match your window frame would be a nice touch, too. and still only a few bucks.

One note: this won't work in anything but a single /double hung window, not in a sliding door or window.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
Larholl-

Doh! I shoulda thought of this first! Is your condo wired for cable, and is the cable on? If its wired for cable, and the cable is not being used, you can disconnect the feed from the cable company, and run your antenna in there. If you have working cable, perhaps just for internet, see if you can pull a second cable through where the cable comes into the house.

No cable? Call the cable co and order basic cable, they'll install, you cancel, and use the cable. I know of no landlord who has ever denied cable companies permission to drill a hole for cable. (landlords view cable as "good" and satellite and antennas as "bad")

One of these options (installed wiring, or Jims / Ryan's suggestions) will get your cable through the wall without you needing to drill it yourself.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#12
If you have an existing satellite dish on your residence (which seems to be standard situation for most rentals) and it is in a suitable location for OTA reception (north side of the building would be ideal in your situation) you can just replace the dish with a small antenna and use the existing cabling. The landlord can't say anything both according to federal law and from precedent (they allowed the dish in the same location.) and the new antenna will automatically meet the NEC's grounding requirement (if the dish was professionally installed).

With that said, have you tried a simple unamplified rabbit ear loop to start. That can be useful for finding the best antenna type & location. Looks like you have high VHF in your area, so you will do best with a VHF/UHF combo rather than UHF only.
I wouldn't be too sure about it meeting the grounding requirements. The directv installer I had was a hack, he ran #12 (!) copper PAST my breaker box and grounded to my furnace. Dumbass. I'm surprised he didn't hook to the 3 ft of copper water pipe that turns to pex before entering my slab. Double check that, always!

There's only one important VHF hi, an ABC, and there's another ABC in the UHF band, too, albeit in the opposite direction from most of the others. I have no problem with my channel 8 on my home made 2-bay, btw, and its about 30 degrees off from where my antenna is pointing.
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#13
I wouldn't be too sure about it meeting the grounding requirements. The directv installer I had was a hack, he ran #12 (!) copper PAST my breaker box and grounded to my furnace. Dumbass. I'm surprised he didn't hook to the 3 ft of copper water pipe that turns to pex before entering my slab. Double check that, always!
I'd think they would get themselves in trouble for that type of stuff. After all, they are professionals... right? Isn't there some sort of liability issues? On the duplex next to me the cable company came in, grounded their system, but cut the ground for the wireless cable antenna on the roof (which is still installed). One cable installer told me it was SOP for installers to hack the equipment of a competing service.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14
"Professional" is a guy named Manuel who completely ignored my precise written instructions (I was at work, wife at home) and placed the dish oppisite where common sense and I told him to do it, so he didn't have to run more rg6. It was on the north end of the house.. how are you supposed to clear the snow off that? Plus, my roof has a 45 degree slope. Winters were unpredictable.

DirecTV refused to move it. "It works, doesn't it?"

I let the contract run out, and never looked back.
 
#15
An Amplified Indoor Double Diamond UHF TV Antenna

Hi Folks,

I live in Winston-Salem, NC. The UHF DTV transmitters in this area include: WXII (NBC) and WUNL (PBS) which are about 25 mile to the North, and WCWG (CW), WXLV (ABC), WFMY (CBS), WMYV (MYTV), WGHP (FOX), and WLXI (TCT) which are about 35 miles to the South East. I built a modest cost amplified indoor antenna that reliably pulls in all of these stations. I suspect that most of the prime time shows carried on the major networks are pretty much the same all over the country.

If you must see every sports event, perhaps you better stick with a cable or satelite subscription. One of my neighbors has this sort of service and pays about $150 per month. My monthy cost for the "Over The Air" channels noted above is ZERO. My one time cost to build this antenna was a little less than $75 including the pre-amp.

This summer, I built another verision of the antenna which hopefully looks a little better than my first effort. You just gotta make it look pretty for your wife. LOL!

One of my friends wanted me to document my progress. So, I did and posted the results (a write up of six parts, complete with pictures) on the web. If you are interested. Go to Yahoo, open up the "Groups" section and search for "AntennaModelingExperiments". That should take you to the right place. Under the "Files" section, open up the "Double Diamond UHF TV Antenna" folder. You should see the 6 PDF files detailing the fabrication from the beginning to the end.

Good Luck,
DTV Student
 
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