Question: I need sme help getting a antenna rig set up.

Techguy98

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I currently have Dish and am paying more than i'd like to. Would I be able to get a few channels via ota digital antenna? I am mainly concerned about NBC and CBS. I currently am running 3 TV's through dish. one HD flatscreen, one large SD CRT style tv, and a small panasonic crt. the last two are both hooked to the same reciever, if i change the channel on one tv they both change and are always on the same channel. I am also looking into a HTPC and am currently in the process of buildind one. I should be able to view the content/channels from the antenna with a digital TV tuner card and windows media center right?

I have a TV fool report for my area.
TV Fool


What kind of antenna do i need to get decent reception? How high am I going to need to put the antenna? Will I need any additional hardware?

Thanks,

Techguy98
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
:welcome: techguy

Sorry to say your report suggests you are very unlikely to receive free OTA. If you are game, try a 4-Bay UHF antenna and try it at a variety of heights to 'sniff the vapors'. I receive one vapor-signal here and it took a bunch of work including building a channel-specific antenna to receive that one channel. Photos are in my albums here. Good luck and please keep us advised on your progress.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#3
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it, Jim. H's not asking for a lot of channels, just a connection to the outside world! k32hi-d at 356 degrees is carrying CBS, NBC, and MeTV. At around 145 degrees we have KLKN 8 carrying ABC, Grit, and Escape. KOLN10 carries both CBS and NBC. KSNB 4 is listed on TV fool as FOX - but wikipedia and Rabbitears.info list it as NBC, MeTV and MyNetwork. So really we don't need it, it's VHF-lo and really weak.

But it's a "Go big or go home" situation for sure. So here's what I would try. An Antennacraft Y10-7-13 VHF Yagi Antenna pointed to 145 degrees, and an Antennacraft MXU59 or Antennas Direct 91XG pointed to 356 degrees, joined with a RCA TVPRAMP1R Preamplifier. I would put up the MXU-59/91XG up first and see what you get. Then add the amp, if needed. If it makes you happy getting just NBC, CBS, and METV, stop there.

Add the the Y10-7-13 (it's about $50) if you want to add abc, GRIT, AND ESCAPE networks. No guarantee on this channel, however. It's a weak 2 edge signal.

You can buy the amp and Antennas Direct 91xg on Amazon. You can get Antennacraft antennas at Radio Shack. You'll have to order them online, though. Most stores don't carry them in stock.

Another thing you may want to consider is a FTA (Free To Air) satellite system. It will get you a lot of channels, and you can set up a system for about $100-$200. PBS has multiple HD feeds on AMC 21. Here's a list of free English channels: http://www.ftalist.com/english.php . And yes, you can set it up yourself, I did it: http://cachefreetv.blogspot.com/2013/07/using-fta-satellite-to-get-free-tv.html
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
A few words to the OP: While it may seem like a lot of money to set up an antenna and possibly a FTA satellite dish, it's a "pay once" deal, and it can be done in stages. DirecTV has to be costing you more than $70 a month. For under $200 you can get both antennas and the amp. That gets you most of the major networks. For another $100-$200, you can get PBS on FTA dish. The only major network you'll miss is Fox, and for that your only solution would be HULU.

Now you're spending at least $800 a year for pay TV. After you've spent less than $400 for everything, you'll be putting $400 in your pocket in the first year alone, and at least $800 every year after that.
 

Techguy98

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
MrPogi,

How likely is it that if I set up the Antennacraft MXU47 at 356 degrees that I will get NBC and CBS? My area is very hilly, and I live in a very low spot for the area. Will that effect the likelihood that I would get those channels? If the hills and lower location don't adversely effect my chances too much I might just give this a go. If I can get NBC and CBS I'll be ready to drop dish.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#6
KHAS was shut down by Gray after they acquired it earlier this year. They moved NBC to KSNB. You need a higher gain 2-13 (VHF all channel) antenna pointed toward 70 degrees magnetic and an Antennacraft MXU47 or other high gain UHF antenna pointed in at 40 degrees magnetic for PBS. You can combine them using a UVSJ. According to Rabbitears.info there is no Fox affiliate that is receivable.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#7
The Antennacraft MXU59 would be a better choice for the UHF channels. It has more gain than the MXU47 and is, according to some, just about equal to the 91XG in receiving signals.
 
#8
That is a very sad looking TV fool report. My thoughts on antennas when I looked at this were about the same as MrPogi's. Before I posted on it I thought not everyone is an antenna enthusiast that would be willing to chase weak signals with patience and determination. As best I could tell K32HI-D should be on the air, and is a KLON translator, but being one who lives in an area of disappearing translators I wouldn't bet on it. Translators don't pay the bills for the broadcasters cable company advertising, and retransmission fees do, or at least that is the way it appears to work in the area where I live.
I don't see anything at 70 degrees magnetic. I think the mileage and direction got crossed up there. I would try for a direct shot at KLON and KLKN using a Y10-7-13 aimed at about 145 degrees. While I like the idea of using a large 2-13 (VHF all channel) no one currently builds one. I had difficulty determining if the KSNB signal on channel 4 is on the air as best I could tell it's probably not.
I do like the fta satellite idea. I've been there and done that in the past. I still have two 8' dishes set up on some property that I would like to some day return to if circumstances in my life ever permit it.
Steve
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
Thanks for all the input, guys! Sorry I meant the MXU 59, not the MXU 47. The MXU-47 doesn't have enough gain.
I agree this is a tough situation. But I think that it is doable. As long as the OP can get the right antenna in a good location, either channel 32 or 10+8 should get him signal. About the long-term presence of k32HI-d, it seems to be on air now, according to RabbitEars.Info . It is on channel 32, and may be targeted by the FCC. But perhaps in such a rural area the FCC may let it continue, or bump it down to 31 or lower. It is worth a try as it will get both CBS and NBC as well as MeTV. Even if it were to go dark, it would be a few years, and a MXU59 would easy to sell on craigs list or eBay. This transmitter is the best bet for solid reception of CBS and ABC with a NM of 9.4.

Since RF4 is out of the picture, then the Y10-7-13 is a good choice. It could get ABC, NBC and CBS, but the NM there is between 3 and 6, rather low. However, some stations on the VHF are looking to move to UHF, so there's no guarantee they will stay on VHF.

Another antenna possibility... Get an HBU-55. It's powerful and does both VHF-hi and UHF. OP could point it to K32hi-d, or aim to 147 degrees, and use whatever works best. This solution provides a bit of insurance - no matter what frequency stations move to, you have an antenna that can receive it. (Except VHF-lo, an unlikely possibility)


I don't hold out a lot of hope for PBS 19. It has a negative NM, that's why I suggested FTA satellite. PBS can be had on a one meter dish for fairly cheap - about $100. The other networks would require at least a 6 foot dish, and thats something most people don't want to deal with. Even then, I am not aware of a satellite feed for FOX. But if the OP has decent high speed internet, perhaps a $50 Roku and The PBS Roku channel is a good solution. Still no Fox, however, unless you pay for Hulu+. But with HULU+ on Roku, there is no Simpsons, but it's on Hulu for free, but only on a computer! There is also a Fox TV channel for Roku, but you can only use it if you already pay for TV!

It's complicated...
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#10
One thing about that part of Nebraska is there are very few hills. The VHF propagation should be pretty good, I think that is part of the reason there are so many VHF stations out there.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
One thing about that part of Nebraska is there are very few hills. The VHF propagation should be pretty good, I think that is part of the reason there are so many VHF stations out there.
Good point. But there is no excuse for VHF-lo!

Well, maybe. VHF-lo was preferred during the analog era. Capable of reaching further, it was common in isolated areas. I think a lot of these stations retained their VHF allocations so that people didn't have to replace their VHF antennas, many of them very large and a lot of those on big towers.
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#12
And, these were rural stations that didn't have a lot of money for new equipment. Their pre-transition digital transmitters tended to be low-power UHF, and then they "flash cut" the main transmitter to digital at the transition. In my parents case, they would have never been able to receive a full power UHF station from North Platte (50 miles and multiple edges), but KNOP (rf2) comes in fine.

After the incentive auction I think we will probably see a lot more low-VHF, especially for LPs and translators.
 

Techguy98

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
I am assuming a preamp would be needed for this setup? Do you guys recommend any specific model of preamp? I am thinking on going with the HBU-55 antenna aimed at K32hi-d first, then at 145 degrees if k32hi-d doesn't work out. Is there anything else I should need to know going into this project? Tips? Pointers?

thanks,
Techguy98
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14
I think that your plan is a good one. I would try with and without the amp, but I do believe that you will need a pre-amp. I have used the RCA TVPRAMP1R Preamplifier many times. Works good and the price is right.

I also suggest moving the antenna around to try and locate a "sweet spot" before mounting permanently. Edge signals are fussy about your antenna location, a few feet can make all the difference.
 
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Techguy98

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#15
Do I need any special antenna mast for my HBU-55? Or can I get any mast and it will fit the antenna? What else will I need for mounting that won't come with the antena?

thanks,
Techguy98
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#16
... Their pre-transition digital transmitters tended to be low-power UHF, and then they "flash cut" the main transmitter to digital at the transition.

After the incentive auction I think we will probably see a lot more low-VHF, especially for LPs and translators.
Dan,

Please explain what 'flash cut' means to our Forum readers.

I agree, we are apt to see 'some' more low-band VHF TV as the FCC sells (rather than leases) frequencies. According to a November 23 article in the Seattle Times: Airwaves auction passes $34 billion.

Jim
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#17
When I say "flash cut", I mean quickly switching an existing transmitter from the old AM/FM NTSC broadcast system to the 8VSB ATSC digital broadcast system. I don't know what was all entailed in the process, but there were stations that did it, and that it was less expensive than buying the equipment to change channels (from low VHF to high VHF or UHF) which requires new broadcast antennas.
 

Techguy98

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
I now have the HBU-55 set up with the preamp. My tv tells me that "digital channel signal strength is low". I do have the preamp powered and hooked up. Antenna is in an upstairs room inside. What can I do to remedy this problem.
 
#19
At your location you will be doing good to get any signal at all with the antenna inside. You are sniffing around for some pretty weak for some pretty weak signals. It's probably going to take some time, patience, and careful outdoor site selection to have a chance of making this work. TV signals don't always arrive in the location that is the most convenient place to put the antenna.
Did you get any signal at all even a sign of a digital signal starting to lock? Channels found on a scan. A TV tuner that will do manual entry of real channels as listed on TV fool can be of help. Many will some will not.
Steve
 

NyGregg

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#20
I bought a DB4 antenna online and got a mast from Radioshack and 50 foot of coax. I put a rotator on because I have other cities that are considered fringe or no reception to me. I now get over 30 channels OTA. I think you will be surprised how many stations you can receive if you get the antenna up and properly aimed at the transmitters you want.
My setup is saving me over $1200 a year of Dish charges and pretty much anything you can’t receive via OTA nowadays is available for free streaming off the internet.
 
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