Inside antenna or outdoor antenna re-using directv gear (minus dish)

MattTacoma

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi All,

I am new to the forum and plan on finally cutting the cord. I am ditching directv in the next few weeks and am prepping to have my TV's set up with an antenna signal to get the local channels, and roku for streaming. My big issue is deciding what antenna to get.

I was looking at getting a FL5500A winegard flatwave antenna for each tv. But after playing around with an old radio fm antenna, I find that right behind my tv reception isn't so great. I rigged a coaxial to it, and played around with many locations in the room and even outside. It seems outside gets in the most channels. I have trouble getting 7.1 and 7.2, which I picked up in one attempt barely. I'm guessing an amplified antenna such as the flatwave would do much better than what I was using to test. I was getting about 9-15 channels with it behind the TV. And up to 24 channels when I had it outside. I mostly care about Fox (13) King5 (5) and Kiro(7), for football of course. I can get Fox almost everytime. King5 about 50% of the time, and I got kiro7 once.

I was also wondering about removing the directv dish, installing a UHF/VHF antenna in its place. But I'm not certain what all I would need to do. The antenna is located on the North-North-East of my house. I would prefer a non amplified antenna that can get as many channels as possible (I've heard about line amplifiers, how much, how hard are those to put in the mix?). Most stations are about 27-31 miles from me. Also, what type of splitter would I need to replace the directv splitter? Other than the dish and splitter, I shouldn't need to replace any other parts of the directv gear right? This setup would need to be split to 2, maybe 3 tvs.


Here is my exact location on TVFool.

What are your suggestions for me?
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#2
The fact that you were able to get KIRO on a radio FM antenna at all is extremely promising. KIRO is on real channel 39, which is a long way removed from the FM band (which is in between high and low VHF). A good option may be an Antennas Direct Clearstream C2V. You're in luck on having the dish on the north side of the house since that is the direction that most of the TV channels are coming from. There is right about a 90 degree spread between receivable channels and both UHF and high VHF stations. Looks like a compass heading of 356 degrees would give you the most channels.

If you don't care about TBN, it may work better to use separate UHF and VHF antennas. The UHF antenna could split the difference between 1 degree and 40 degrees (20 degrees magnetic) and the VHF antenna could split the difference between 311 and 6 degrees (338 degrees magnetic). 4 bay bow tie for UHF and an Antennas Direct C5 or an Antennacraft Y5-7-13 for VHF. You would need a UVSJ for the Y5-7-13.

Edit: Since KCPQ is as strong as it is the C2V pointed at 6 degrees magnetic may still be the best compact solution.
 
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MattTacoma

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Thanks for the quick reply. I would prefer to do with just 1 antenna. The C2V looks nice and within the budget. What kind of splitter do I need to get? Will any 1in 2 out work, and will I need an amplifier?

The cable from antenna to splitter is about 15-20' long, and the two cables from splitter to each tv is about 20' and 30'. all cable should be RG6.

Thanks again in advance!

Also, will the directv dish base work, or will I need to get creative in mounting the C2V to the existing directv hardware?
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#4
:welcome: Matt, you are my neighbor, half an hour to my south.

Regarding KIRO-7 (39) I suggest you raise your (any) outdoor antenna six inches at a time until the signal is solid. An additional two or three or six feet above ground level may be all it takes to capture KIRO from their primary transmitter.

If you still can't establish a dependable CBS, here's good news: KIRO is translator-happy in our region! Translators are secondary transmitters that broadcast the same programing on different channels from different locations.

Please understand the TVFOOL report you posted is theoretical and has not been proven in the real world, so all three of these offerings may or may not work for you. As an example, I use the Silverdale Translator for my KIRO because its signal is more dependable than the primary (39) transmitter. I am LOS to K26IC-D. Also be aware, sometimes black magic and pixie dust are needed in the OTA reception world.

KIRO offers Tacoma three other possibilities as follow.

K47LG-D on real channel 47 from Vashon Island:



K26IC-D on real channel 26 from Silverdale:



And finally, K49IX-D from Puyallup (new to me, so I don't have the coverage image captured):

REC Broadcast Query | REC Networks

Best of luck and please keep us posted about your results.

Jim
 
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MattTacoma

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Hello neighbor! Thanks for the info and tip. I should be getting my C2V early next week. Really looking forward to getting it set up and will post my results once its up. Found out my buddy at work went the same route and cut the cord. He's about 1-2 miles NE of me, and he's able to pull up all of the channels I primarily care about. Hoping I'll have the same results once I get the antenna adjusted in the right direction.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Thanks for the quick reply. I would prefer to do with just 1 antenna. The C2V looks nice and within the budget. What kind of splitter do I need to get? Will any 1in 2 out work, and will I need an amplifier?

Also, will the directv dish base work, or will I need to get creative in mounting the C2V to the existing directv hardware?
In theory you shouldn't need an amplifier. The splitter needs to be designed for terrestrial TV frequencies (52-700 MHz). I believe that many terrestrial/cable TV splitters are designed for 5-1000 MHz, which will work. MrPogi regularly post about using a chain link fence connector to downsize DirecTV mounts for mounting terrestrial antennas.
 
#7
While terrestrial/cable TV splitters will work. Direct TV splitters are often times multi switches and will need to be replaced with correct splitters for OTA TV. I've no personal experience. I have read where others have had problems when trying to use satellite TV splitters for OTA TV.
Steve
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Satellite signals are broadcast at frequencies above 1000 MHz, and I think they often design the hardware to filter out the lower frequencies. That is why you want a splitter designed for frequencies under 1000MHz. Again, TV frequencies are between 52 and 700 MHz.
 
#9
You have to distinguish between a splitter for satellites and satellite multi-switches. They are very different devices internally.

The satellite splitters rated for up to 2.2 GHz will work fine for OTA signals although the DC PASS feature will not work for OTA gear.

Multi-switches MUST be removed and replaced.
 

MattTacoma

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
Here is a (an ebay link, only one I could find with a picture that could be blown up) link of the directv piece I have. Looks like I could use this? It's rated 2-2150MHz, 4-way SWM splitter.

What is the DC PASS feature?

Tracking says I'll have the antenna this Friday, so hopefully I'll be able to get it set up and post some results soon.

Thanks again for the info everyone! Great idea on the chain link fence connector.
 

MattTacoma

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
Came home and was surprised to see my antenna had already arrived! I'll be holding off on actually installing it on the roof until my contract is up with directv and I cancel them in the next two weeks. But I set it up in the living room and was able to get 36 channels in, just about all of them came in perfect. I was also able to get Kiro in now without any issue. I'm looking forward to getting this set up on the roof. Thanks for everyone's advice!!
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#15
I'm probably answering this wrong (if I am wrong, can you tell me how to check that?), this is all new stuff to me, I'm more of a computer guy :) . I'm getting KIRO-DT on channel 7.1 and KIRO-SD on 7.2 and both say DTV Air.
Jim is looking for the RF channel. KIRO is being broadcast on one of three real radio frequency channels in your area. All will show up as 7.1 and 7.2 on your TV. Some TV tuners will actually tell you which real channel it is on, but many won't. Expect to get more than one copy when you put the antenna on the roof. Use the one with the best signal.
 
#16
That can be a problem with some tv's. There are some that do not display real channel numbers anywhere. If the Samsung I use displays real channel numbers I've never found it. I can manually enter the real channel number and it will land on the virtual channel if it is active or search for a signal there when looking for a weak signal. I seen some that only display real channel numbers when in a manual add channel menu. I've worked with tv's and converter boxes that have no way to manually enter a channel that has not been scanned into memory. Very poorly designed stuff. Almost like the whole system has been designed to keep people as confused as possible. By adjusting antenna aim you should be able to determine the direction a signal is coming from that could help.
Steve
 
#17
I can manually enter the real channel number and it will land on the virtual channel if it is active or search for a signal there when looking for a weak signal.
That's my TV. Only time you see the real channel is for a split second after you enter it manually. And if there's already a virtual channel mapped to that number, you can forget it. No way to tune in the real channel with that number -- unless you're smart enough to disconnect the antenna, do a flush scan, then reconnect and enter everything by hand, one channel at a time.

I don't have any translators to worry about, but there are real/virtual # conflicts between Chicago and Milwaukee to my south and north. So it was a problem before I got a second antenna and converter dedicated to Chicago.

Almost like the whole system has been designed to keep people as confused as possible.
It would absolutely infuriate me not to know what real channel I'm watching. I'm not going to have any machines doing stuff behind my back in my own apartment!! You'll never know the lengths I went to to find a way to turn OFF the Alps touch pad on my computer. It's not that I needed it turned off. I needed it ON. It's purely that they made it impossible for the average user to turn it off without turning off the computer, or attaching a USB mouse. Completely unacceptable. If I hadn't found a software solution for this, I would have thrown the damned computer out my second floor window onto the concrete below!!!

Rick
 

MattTacoma

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
My Samsung doesn't readily display the real channel number. I'll have to play around with it and see if I can't figure out how to get it to display, trying the real channel number and see what it changes to, or I'll try to figure out how to do 1 channel at a time. The antenna was pointed mostly north, a few degrees east, I'd say about 5-10degrees magnetic.

Funny guy Rick :). I'm the same way when it comes to computers. Actually got in a big argument with one of our developers because his application makes no sense and when I ask him questions I feel like I'm talking to Obama without his teleprompter.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#19
Matt,

Try to dig deeper into the options offered. Even my $35 Haier has the ability to collect the "same" signals from multiple channels. Any 'duplicated channels' will appear with the actual RF channel.

As an example, my 7.1-7.2 comes from the Bremerton Translator on real channel 26 mapped as 7.1, 7.2, but 39.1 and 39.2 (from the primary transmitter) are also available to me displayed as 39.1, 39.2.

Jim
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#20
My Dynex TV will display multiples by displaying the first channel scanned as the virtual channel and the second channel scanned as the real channel (ie. RF 30 as 5-1,5-2 and RF 42 as 42-1,42-2) despite them having the same data stream. Other TVs will report them as two sets of 5-1, 5-2. It depends on the manufacture for the TV. My Digital Stream converter box shows both the virtual and real channels in the "channel edit screen." Again, it depends on the manufacture. My Vizio TV's don't tell me squat, but they have great picture quality and tuner sensitivity for a low price.
 
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