Long-range reception in Ferndale, WA

#1
Hello all, first-time poster here,

First off, here is my TV Fool Analysis: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=e2cbc56fc495fa

I am starting to explore the option and possibility of trying to get free OTA HDTV. I have not purchased any equipment or antennas yet, because I'm not sure if it's possible.

I would like to receive all of the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX at least), but in the TV Fool report it says they are all about 85 miles away and are highlighted gray. Here is a Google Maps terrain view, and it looks like most of the shot is over water or fairly flat land (http://tinyurl.com/gljafdd , start point is approximate for privacy).

My question is, is it possible to receive these networks consistently and reliably? I have no problem purchasing equipment, or building equipment if needed (I'm fairly skilled with building electronics). I live in an neighborhood with an HOA, so I can't have one of those monstrous 20' antennas on top of my house, but I am open to anything reasonable. I believe my roof peak is between 25' - 35' off the ground if that matters. There are no trees in the neighborhood

Hopefully that's enough info to get the convo started. Let me know if I missed anything.

Thanks!
-Jason
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
:welcome: moosefaceahoy / Jason!

The good news is Federal Law trumps HOA restrictions, so they cannot stop you from installing an outdoor TV antenna and local building code (probably) allows you to go up (at least) 12 feet above your roof.

Your antenna survey is resolved at 5 feet above ground level so in light of the above information please rerun the survey at the maximum height above ground level where you could mount an antenna. Currently, none of the Seattle (Network) stations appear on your report @ 172 degrees.

I live within one mile of most of the transmitters you want to receive and 75 miles from KVOS-12 (35) in the San Juan Islands which I receive well. FOX-13 (in HD) is located east of Bremerton on Gold Mountain across Elliot Bay from Seattle (186 degrees from you) AND from a repeater on Capitol Hill @ 170 degrees from you (in SD).

We're looking forward to seeing a revised antenna survey.

Jim and the DTVUSA Forum Staff
 
#3
So, here's the good news: Everything on your TV Fool report is UHF. That means no need for large elements to collect signal.

Here's the bad news: If raising your antenna up to the attic or roof doesn't give you much more in the way of signal strength, you will need a large antenna.

I think Jim once recommended I pick up a 16-bay antenna for my house in the mountains (link included for illustration). I've never seen one offered for sale, but I've read about home-built 32 bay antennas, although as the linked page illustrates, it's not necessarily a better option to keep going bigger and bigger. Placement of the antenna is often just as important as its reception capability. Sometimes moving it 2 feet to the left or a foot up or down improves reception drastically. It takes patience and luck.
 
#4
Hello Jim,

Thank you for your reply. Here is my updated survey placed at 40'. That is approximately 5-8' above the top peak of my house: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=e2cb8cf9d0b3cf.

It is good to hear that I should be able to place an antenna on my house without any legal ramifications. I would like to try to respect the HOA (and neighbors) as closely as possible, but I also don't mind putting an antenna up, as long as it's not too intrusive looking.

Hi ATL,

I haven't seen those type of antennas before, but I like the profile of them (for HOA/neighbor sake). I'm still very much a noobie when it comes to this OTA stuff, I need to do more research! You mention raising the antenna to the attic or roof. Can you place the antenna inside your attic? Is there much difference placing an antenna in your attic vs outside on the roof for reception sake?

Edit: Also, I'm not sure if it matters, but it gets quite windy here fairly regularly.

Thank you again!
-Jason
 
Last edited:

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#5
Jason,

Thanks for the updated report but is not at all promising because there aren't any vapors coming from your south to work with. You said you are good at building electronics, so how about fabricating a special antenna mounting bracket? My idea is to use a Channel Master HD-4221 4-Bay or a Channel Master HD-4228 8-Bay and remove the reflector screen. It is easily removed (wing nuts) but the screen has the antenna mounting bracket. In a pinch, two radiator clamps would secure the driven portion of the antenna it to a mast and I have done this with the 4-Bay version but I think you will have to fabricate a new mount it you choose the higher-gain 8-Bay antenna.

I'd aim southwest to receive KVOS-12 (35): it offers three channels, MeTV, Movies! and H&I. KBCB-19 is the Shopping Network and K23IC-D is a translator for the Clover Park (Tacoma based) PBS station that provides their PBS feed, NHK World (Japan) and MHZ which has revolving world newscasts, etc. You might be able to capture CHEK-49 (6) from Canada. Per above, with the reflector screen removed, it becomes a bi-directional antenna and might capture CHNU-47 and CFEG-19 from your northwest. I'd try it first with the screen and again, without the screen. You mentioned you live in a windy area and with the reflector screens removed, both of these antennas have very little wind resistance. The same applies to Hoverman design antennas with their screens removed (per ATL's suggestion). I think that's your best bet for free OTA, but others may chime in with options. Please keep us posted on your results.

Jim
 
#6
Hey Jim,

That's too bad to hear that the outlook is grim. The expenses for OTA equipment most likely won't be approved by my better half if we can't get the major networks. We were looking to cut the cord completely and use OTA for live sports events, and some shows she watches occasionally.

Someday I may get a cheap antenna to play around with to try to pick up KVOS. If I do, I'll let you guys know. :)

Thank you for your time and input, I greatly appreciate it!

-Jason
 

Fringe Reception

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

Here's a way to keep your cost down: I just checked your local area Craigslist but currently there aren't any appropriate antennas for sale near you -- but they appear pretty often. I've bought and sold a dozen or more on CL. Do not buy any of the Chinese Junk 'wonder antennas' which are always offered for sale. Also, top tubing for chain link fences are galvanized and make cheap antenna masts.

Jim
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#8
Jason,

Here's a way to keep your cost down: I just checked your local area Craigslist but currently there aren't any appropriate antennas for sale near you -- but they appear pretty often. I've bought and sold a dozen or more on CL. Do not buy any of the Chinese Junk 'wonder antennas' which are always offered for sale. Also, top tubing for chain link fences are galvanized and make cheap antenna masts.

Jim
 
#9
moosefaceahoy,

If she's looking for major network programming, most of that is offered through Hulu and is available the next day after it airs. Some isn't (Supergirl comes to mind), but a majority of shows are. If you can get reasonably high-speed internet (12Mbps+ reliably), then you can use Hulu to stream programming.

If you want live sports, I'm afraid you might be stuck with cable if you want regular TV broadcasts, however there are some interesting options coming from Sony through its Playstation, as well as Sling TV. Both are streaming services. I currently use Sling TV to get ESPN as well as a number of cable channels. You can spend as little as $20 with no contract, or you can be like me and get several add-ons. They have three base packages: Blue (ESPN and about 20 channels) for $20 per month; Orange (Fox Sports and about 25 channels) for $25, or both combined for $40, with about 25 channels over-and-above the 20-or-so sports and sports alternate channels. If you want ESPNews, ESPN-U, etc., plus Outdoor Life and a couple of other sports networks, it's $5 per month. I also get my local Fox and Univision affiliates (which, thanks to my OTA antenna, I never watch unless I'm in bed with the iPad).

I use Sling at home for college football, The Walking Dead, South Park, HGTV, History Channel, and both packages now come with NFL Network. That's a lot of "premium" content for about the "introductory price" of a basic cable or satellite package in most markets.
 
#10
Hey ATL,

Yes, the problem is live sports events, most importantly football. I think I need to get FOX in order to get all our local games. I've looked quite a bit at Sling, but I haven't tried it out yet. HSI isn't a problem, we currently have 30Mb/10Mb. We also have basic cable through our provider for only $10/mo, so it's not that bad, I just don't want to pay them $10/mo. :)

Do you know if you get most football games with Sling?

Thanks again,
-Jason
 
#11
If you're getting cable for $10/mo, Sling probably isn't your best option. Sling is for people who pay $40-$60 for internet, and then have to pay another $90 for a cable package with 200+ channels to get the specific channels they want.

I do get most of the college football games I want with Sling, although my selection of NFL games is still limited. I'm an out-of-home-market NFL fan, so most of what I want to watch are only available on NFL Sunday Ticket. With the addition of NFL network I will get a couple of additional games each year. College football on all the ESPN networks is what makes it really attractive. The "Blue" package and the combined package both come with ESPN and ESPN2, and with the Sports Extra for $5, I get ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, beIN SPORTS, and Compus Insiders, plus Outside Television, Motors TV, and Univision Deportes.
 
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