Looking Rooftop Setup Suggestions

Flacco7

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
Hi Folks,

I would appreciate any suggestions on antenna model & setup for my given signal area. Here is my profile from TV Fool:

TV Fool

I'm trying to pull WHP-DT (CBS from Harrisburg) to pick up Ravens games + piece together an ABC, NBC & FOX station.

Also, my apartment bldg is an old high school and the landlord gave me the ok to use the roof. What would I use as a ground? Wire all the way to the ground? Could I drill into the large abondoned brick chimneys up there?

Any help would be welcomed - Don't know the first thing about this stuff!
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#2
:welcome:

It's a good thing your landlord gave permission for use of the roof, because you're going to need it: The signals you seek aren't very strong, so every additional foot of height you can get will help.

I would recommend a Winegard HD-7696P antenna and a Channel Master 7777 pre-amp. Point this antenna at 255 degrees true (i.e., if you know where due west is and call it "9 o'clock," 255* would be "8:30;" if you aim using a compass, use due west because of magnetic deflection), and you should be able to receive the following stations without having to spring for an antenna rotator:

• 8.1 WGAL (NBC)
• 43.1 WPMT (Fox)
• 27.1 WHTM (ABC)
• 21.1 WHP (CBS)
• 15.1 WLYH (CW)

You also have a shot at 33.1 WITF (PBS), at least part of the time.

To mount the antenna, you'd probably be best off getting a tripod mount and weighing down the legs with heavy objects so that the antenna doesn't tip over or fly off the roof. That way, you won't have to drill holes through the roof. The antenna mast is usually sold separately from the mount.

For answers to other questions and to get a good idea of what you're up against, have a look at Erecting a TV antenna, a fairly comprehensive online guide. (It gets pretty involved. You can safely skip over the stuff that's hard to understand and still get plenty of benefit from it.) Installing an antenna shouldn't be too difficult if you're at all handy with tools, wiring, carpentry, metal work, etc.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#3
A better roof mount if you can afford it is
VMP FRM-125 Non-Penetrating Roof Mount - 60" Mast with 1.25" OD (FRM-125) | FRM-125 [VMP]

It has about enough mast to just mount to the top of it.

You could build a wooden frame for a tripod Winegard SW 0010 3 Foot Tripod Mount for Off-Air Antenna (SW-0010) | SW-0010 [Winegard] so again no holes in the roof, so you could put cement blocks in your frame. Then use a 5 ft mast in it. Channel Master CM1607 Super Mast 5ft Galvinized Mast (CM1607) | CM1607 [Channel Master]
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#4
• 8.1 WGAL (NBC)
• 43.1 WPMT (Fox)
• 27.1 WHTM (ABC)
• 21.1 WHP (CBS)
• 15.1 WLYH (CW)
I was about to type all this out, but I was distracted from it by 30 Rock and Parks and Recreations. But I have learned to refresh before posting!

I wonder if one of us is going to do all this if we should post. Working on it?
 
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Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#5
I was about to type all this out, but I was distracted from it by 30 Rock and Parks and Recreations. But I have learned to refresh before posting!

I wonder if one of us is going to do all this if we should post. Working on it?
Dunno how many times I've written something up, polished it, previewed it... and then tossed it out as redundant because you posted pretty much the same info a few minutes earlier. That time of night I'm either cooking, or waiting, for dinner. Tonight was waiting, which usually happens at the computer (which I don't mix with TV watching, non-multitasker than I am). Anyway, I'm cool with catch-as-catch-can if you are... :mad:)

Besides, your methods of securing the mount without roof damage were far and away better than mine.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#6
Dunno how many times I've written something up, polished it, previewed it... and then tossed it out as redundant because you posted pretty much the same info a few minutes earlier. That time of night I'm either cooking, or waiting, for dinner. Tonight was waiting, which usually happens at the computer (which I don't mix with TV watching, non-multitasker than I am). Anyway, I'm cool with catch-as-catch-can if you are... :mad:)

Besides, your methods of securing the mount without roof damage were far and away better than mine.
It does bother me, because I knew and know good and well I have done it to you! At least this time I looked over his TVFool then refreshed before I typed it out!

I won't get even slightly upset on a catch as catch can, but I think I will post before I take the time. Piggie is working on it. Being a mod, I can erase things. You should be able to also up to some time limit. So it would be easy to over write a working on it post.

I have never liked tripods unless you do penetrate the roof with bolts. They are good for 10 ft of mast when really bolted into rafters. What I like but they are hard to find these days are a swivel mount, that one can only mount on a peak of a roof. You can attach a push up pole to it and go 50 ft above the roof with guy wires, but it's a three man job, and you have to have a ladder on the peak of the roof to push it up! But you can get 60 ft in the air that way a lot cheaper than a tower and with the heavier guy wire, they stay there. We used to do them around Gainesville back in the 70's when we only had ABC and PBS local. You really needed height as the closest other stations were 65 miles away (except the WESH Ch2 Blow Torch that will live in infamy in my mind at least, 100KW at 500m). But back in those days, 3 of us could charge $100 and three of us could pay the rent for the month in a day's work.

But one thing about those cement block things, not sure what else to call them. But I would be scared to go over 5 ft off the roof. 10 maybe if you could put up some guy wires, even light weight ones. 10 ft would be so much better to get 2 wavelengths off the roof for high band.

I have 2 tripods I use to set up new antennas before mounting on the house, etc. I take 3 cement blocks and put a leg inside the hole in the block, with the block over the foot on the tripod. It won't hold up in 20 knot wind, but it keeps it from accidentally tipping over working on it.

What I really need to do is buy a new 2 meter SSB rig. I miss doing that. It's fun to actually do 2 way conversations on high band. 222 MHz if better propagation but there just are not many people on the band. Another fun band is 10meter SSB. There is a LOT of E-skip on that band we never ever seen even on lowband TV or FM. 10 meters is still high enough freq to build a 2 element quad or even a 2 element yagi. It used to be easy to buy them from CBers and cut them down to 10 meters. Not that many people are into CB at all any more.
 

JakesDTVBlog

DTVUSAForum Member, , , Webmaster of: Jake's DTV B
#7
For grounding, I'd definitely use wire all the way down. If you can find any evidence of a lightning rod having been up there (which is a possibility on an older building), those big heavy-gauge ground wires kick butt. We used one at my great-grandmother's house when I was a kid. I helped Grandpa install that setup and lightning never bothered it, despite the fact that the house was out in the open atop a large hill.
 
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