Question: my HDTV antenna VS

blinky1004

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
ok here is my tv fool TV Fool

i have had a Lava HDTV antenna with a cheap rotor and a poor excuse of some kind of rotator control/preamp.. i get 66 channels total in my channel search from my digital converter which is some "craig" brand i got with the coupon from DTV website in 2009. a couple questions,
im afraid to get a new antenna but i KNOW this ebay special i have had does NOT receive 150 mile range as they claim, i mean its plastic, only 5 plastic/metallic bowtie-like elements, and its only maybe 20 inches long. but i get total 66 channels which includes the 25-1, -2, -3 and thats only facing 350 degrees almost due north with a yagi, you know. but im getting ready to order something like a MXU59 or an 8 bay bowtie panel style. i see so many reviews on these things. could i actually achieve more than what i get now with a real antenna instead of this lava junk antenna? im a ham radio operator and i know about yagi beams, in comparison, this lava versus the MXU59, the lava should not even work at all based on its design. the mxu59 should be incredible, but it doesnt always mean bigger is better, the elements are calculated in size by frequency. but cmon, this thing is plastic. it did justice for the year and a half that i had it, but i want to know what an 8 bay with a 29db preamp, the kind that uses one piece on the mast and one behind the tv and plugs in. also a programmable rotator and the dual tuner DVR for over the air with the electronic program guide where you can schedule a week in advance and record many hours of TV. and would a better digital converter grab more channels, or is it al in the antenna, again im using a 19 dollar converter box. thanks for any and all help, im going nuts here please help me out.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Does the LAVA get all 66 channels pointed in one direction, or do you have to rotate it to get those? Are you getting all the major networks, or are you missing any? What stations are you getting now?

My observation right off is that your two closest NBC affiliates are both on high VHF (WESH 2.1 on RF11 and WPTV 5.1 on RF12) so you will need to have a high VHF antenna to get one of those. Do you receive WESH 2.1 now? The reason I bring it up is the MXU59 won't pick up either of those stations. I also notice that you have two recievable broadcast tower groups 180 degrees apart from each other, so with the right antenna, you may be able to get all those stations without a rotor.

No, no antenna really has a 150 mile range (the curvature of the earth tends to get in the way) 70 miles tends to be about the limit depending on terrain.
 

blinky1004

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
No i dont get 2.1 or 5.1 at all, usually i get most of the channels south of me on the backside of my lava, and i get those 66 channels only facing fixed almost due north, if 0 degrees was north, this is facing 335-340 degrees. not moving the rotor doesnt work. i really want to homebrew a 16 bay bowtie panel style, i want to make two 8 bays but vertical, instead of 4x4 side by side, maybe 8 bay verticle and another 8 bay vertical probably one on top of the other or side by side, but to start, a 8 bay db8 bowtie. that HAS to be better than this crappy LAVA right? or is this antnenna really what its cracked up to be. i know its not a 150 mile range, but if im getting this many stations, why does everyone get 4 bay or 8 bay antennas to lose some channels, instead of this lava. the price sure competes with the 8 bays or mxu59. thanks for any help.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#4
:welcome: Blinky1004,

You have a great TVFOOL survey and you should be able to receive even more channels by using a better antenna. Your 'Lava' antenna isn't even designed for North or South American Television reception: it is designed for Chinese television frequencies.

Per your TVFOOL report @ 45 feet above ground level, I bet a DB-2e or certainly a DB-4e would kick it into your recycle can, but you will have to add a real antenna rotor to your setup.

Jim
 

blinky1004

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
ok, thats sounds good. i am an amateur radio operator, and always make my own antennas, have made a couple of 12 element vhf yagis and such. wire dipoles and delta loops. my question is, i am confident i can construct my own db8, in fact i already started. now do you think if i went to specs exactly and made my own, would it perform as a commercial one would. i mean, what would be the difference other than machine cut materials? i am unsure about making two db8 antennas and putting them together, i read for days and i guess i need a splitter/combiner not a standard 2 way splitter. and the lines connecting the two to the combiner must be exact for it to work, should i stack over head or side by side for optimal gain? could i make one with 7 inch whiskers and one with 10 inch whiskers and put THEM together for a vhf/uhf combo? do you know of a number of which i could use that would be in the "middle maybe an 8 1/2" whiskers to cover both bands? i also plan on using solid 8 gauge copper wire rather than coathangers, should be better conductor right? would a high priced digital converter get me even MORE channels than this "18" dollar craig government coupon model? of course combined with my 16 bay antenna? thank you so much for your input
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#7
I figure you're going to want to combine your UHF antenna (4 bay, 8 bay, 16 bay) with a high band VHF antenna like an Antennas Direct C5 or Antennacraft Y5-7-13 or Y10-7-13 to get WESH 2.1 on RF channel 11. Or, you could build your own channel cut yagi. That is unless you get NBC now (which it doesn't look like based on your TVfool). You would then use a UHF VHF Splitter Joiner (UVSJ) to connect it to your UHF antenna. The C5 comes with a UVSJ.
 

blinky1004

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
Well this is great news. I still await the answer to the digital converter box. Will a 65 dollar one get me more channels than my 18 dollar craig brand?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#9
Blinky,

I have tried several different Converter Boxes and I have come to the same conclusion others have made: the Channel Master CM-7000 is one of the best, if not the very best. It is made in Bulgaria rather than China, it has a steel case rather than plastic and it has 'F', S-video and component outputs. This tuner receives some stations with fewer break-ups than my Sony Bravia. To be fair, it only has to deal with SDTV whereas the Sony is HD.

The variety of outputs can be handy, allowing you to connect a second output directly to another unit such as a VCR or a second TV set without using a splitter. It's TV guide is awful and especially useless on a small TV, but its overall performance makes up for it.

Jim
 
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