Question: Indoor antenna help: San Francisco

hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Greetings,

I'm hoping someone can help me choose an indoor antenna.

Here is the link to my TVFool report.

Omnidirectional, or directional (and resigning myself to frequently adjusting the antenna?).

Should I go with an amplified antenna or not?

Thanks in advance for any help and advice provided.
 

Fringe Reception

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

You have an exceptionally good antenna survey and I'm guessing you are less than three miles away from Mount Sutro. DO NOT choose any amplified antenna or add any amplifiers to any antenna because it will likely overload the front end of your tuner and kill any chance of reception. You are in a unique location where (seriously) a paper clip inserted in the antenna socket of your TV might capture a bunch of channels. So, let's go for even more.

Traditional NON AMPLIFIED 'Rabbit Ears' with a UHF Loop might be all it takes to capture many of the channels transmitting from your north AND from your south. Indoor antennas also receive reflections from your fridge, washer and dryer, etc, so you will have to hunt for the best antenna location. Also, building materials (brick VS wood siding) can greatly attenuate or stop signals from reaching your TV.

If you can install an outdoor antenna on your deck or fence or anywhere outside, you can (usually) avoid these problems.

Other techs here will chime in, so stand by for their opinions. Best of luck, in your fabulous OTA location!

Jim
 

hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Jim, thanks for the quick reply!

:I'm guessing you are less than three miles away from Mount Sutro.
Wow, you're good! It's just under 3 miles.

I'll talk to my landlord about an outside antenna. He can be a little weird/fussy about things like that. In the mean time I'll keep looking at antennas.

So, would something like a leaf antenna (Muho or Winegard) would be overkill?

I was also looking at this Winegard FreeVision FV-30BB, thinking I could use it outdoors or in.

Thanks again for the help,
Dave
 
#4
I would first try rabbit ears, and a bit of coax extension so you can move them around looking for best signal location. The Winegard flat wave would be a better choice than the leaf. The leaf has very poor VHF response and you have two VHF signals. The FV-30BB would be a good choice as would the Winegard HD-1080.
Winegard HD-1080 2-Bay Bowtie UHF and High Band VHF TV Antenna (HD-1080) from Solid Signal
Another choice worth mentioning if you can get an antenna outside.
AntennaCraft High-Band VHF/UHF Outdoor HDTV Antenna (HBU11) from Solid Signal
Avoid amplifiers at your location.
Steve
 

hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Steve,

Thanks for the advice and suggestions.

Still waiting to hear from my landlord re: an outside antenna. I'm going to borrow an old Jensen TV610 rabbit ear antenna from a buddy of mine. We'll see how that goes.

Dave
 

hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
So I tried it with the rabbit ears (made sure I was scanning for antenna). The results were good, not great. 41 Channels overall, but a number of them were very spotty in terms of reception. Audio dropping out, and the picture breaking up, or freezing.

I have 6 feet of coaxial cable, and tried adjusting/moving the antenna. With some channels it was very effective, with others, not so much. I'm thinking this may be some of the interference Jim warned me about.

I think if my landlord gives me the go ahead, I'm going to try an outdoor antenna, either on the side of the building, or the roof, rather than running the antenna to another room.

Again, the results are not bad, if fact, pretty good, but I think it could be better.

Thanks again for the help. I'll let you know how it goes.

Dave
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
Do you have a window or balcony/porch that faces either NNW or South? Try placing your antenna in one of those locations, if possible. Also, do you have any access to an attic?
 
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hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#9
Back porch facing South, balcony facing North, no attic access. Luckily, my building extends further towards the street (North) than my neighbor, so NW isn't blocked by them.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#10
A balcony facing North may be a good solution. The FCC's OTARD regulations state that you may place an antenna in any area that you have "Exclusive use" without having to get permission. That means a balcony as long as it's not shared. And the antenna can be any size that is required to get reception. You may not get NBC or IonTV, they are both to the south. But NBC shows are available online free (delayed) with a computer. I would get a Stellar Labs UHF/VHF 30-2440 Stellar Labs VHF/UHF HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Yagi Antenna | 30-2440 (302440) | Stellar Labs and set it up on the balcony pointing NNW and see what you get. If you're happy with it, put it on a mast set in a 5 gallon bucket of gravel or cement.

South doesn't look as promising. Signals are weaker.

Another option is that if there is an unused satellite dish on the roof, you could take the dish off and mount your antenna there. This would require permission, but as it is already there the landlord may be agreeable to that plan.
 
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hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
I spoke to my landlord, and he's fine with a balcony antenna, but not the roof. I think he's afraid I'll go up there and fall off or something. I didn't feel like pressing the matter.

So fine, a balcony antenna it is. I'm going to start pricing some models.

MrPogi: I actually get NBC okay, even with the rabbit ears, but the ION channels are indeed a no-go.
The Stellar Labs antenna looks pretty sweet, but I think it may be a bit large for my balcony. I would like to try and keep it under 3' (if possible).

I'm going to look around Solid Signals site and see what I can find. Thinking about the Winegard HD-1080 that Steve suggested.

Thanks again for the suggestions! Feel free to leave any other advice.

Dave
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#12
The Stellar labs antenna is just over 3 feet - they aren't really that big.

When you find something you like, check in with us for our opinions.
 

hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
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#14
Those are all good antennas. I would question the use of the HDB4X in an area where high VHF is needed. While your signals are strong enough that they should be received on just about any antenna. Reception of high VHF signals on a UHF antenna is very unpredictable. Until more is known about the VHF response of that antenna I would be hesitant to recommend it in an area where VHF reception is needed.
The HD 1080 or FV-HD30 might be a good choices. What gain the HD 1080 has on VHF is off the back side. I've never suggested those antennas to anyone before, but I've seldom seen predicted signal levels that high. Here is link to a long thread on the subject of those two antennas.
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...cussion/16920-freevision-fv-hd30-antenna.html
The VHF response of the small yagi type antennas suggested will be directional, but there should still be enough reception off the back if you don't have some sort of local blockage in the opposite direction. The Stellar Labs 30-2440 was used with success in as a bi-directional antenna in this thread. I know it's another long read.
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...enna-baltimore-md-washington-dc-channels.html
Getting the antenna outside might should make a big difference. I admire you for testing, and trying. You are getting a good idea of what to expect. Far too many seem to not be willing to even try anything as simple and cheap as rabbit ears.
Out of necessity, and curiosity all of my antenna work the last two years has been home built. In your situation I'd probably build and try a Mclapp 2 bay with no reflector. I know from experience adding a reflector to improve UHF will screw up what VHF response the antenna has.
2 Bay Kit
I seldom suggest home built as I know not everyone has the time, patience, tools, parts or skills to go that route. I've at times found myself to be quite lacking in the needed parts, and skills to put things together right.
Steve
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#15
The landlord said he'd prefer something that didn't protrude too far from the (small) balcony.
Of course he would. But as a matter of law, you can put any size antenna you want there.

I think an Antennacraft AC9 might work for you. You can get it on Amazon or at Radio Shack. It's a small 30" all-channel antenna that should get you everything in the green on your radar plot around 338 degrees.
 

hannun

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
Haven't had much time to think about this in the past few days, but, based on what I've read, I think I'm going to give the Winegard HD-1080 a shot.

I'll get 30 days to test it, and return it if I decide to.

Jim, Steve, and MrPogi, thanks so much for the help. I'll let you know how it goes.
 
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