Need advice: attic antenna


I need advice for an indoor attic antenna.

1. Attic is 20 feet from ground running mostly N-S direction. Asphalt shingles. Wood structure.

2. Will need to run drop from attic to TV in Master Bedroom. About ~10 foot drop.

3. Stations being broadcast from east, north and south.

4. There is power up there if I need it for a pre-amp.

5. Hoping to get stations up to 50 miles away (almost due south)

I'm kind of hoping that with a pre-amp I can pick up the stations to the south, and just have enough power left on the east side to pick up the stations out of lancaster about 25 miles away, (Maybe pointing towards 155 degrees or so) without overloading the signal. But I'm far from an expert.

This is what I'm looking at:

So what would you recommend? I'm guessing directional is the way to go, but being attic mounted, it won't really rotate that well. Plus there will be channel flipping. So waiting for a rotating antenna is a no go. Could I combine two antennas? One pointed east, another south?

Outdoor would be a possibility, but would look extremely out of place in my neighborhood. So I want to avoid it, if it all possible.
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Sadly, I have bad news on two fronts:

• An attic antenna simply will not provide reliable signals on any station below PBS affiliate WITF 33.1 in the TVFool list. Everything below WITF is simply too weak. Even at that, WITF may not be completely reliable regardless of antenna size or pre-amplifier gain. An asphalt-over-plywood roof attenuates signals by anywhere from 10-15 dB, which is subtracted from the figures in the "NM" (for Noise Margin) column. Antenna gain for the station in question then gets added back. Once (NM) minus (roof attenuation) plus (antenna gain) reaches zero, you have no reception; ideally, the lowest number you want is at least +6 dB.

• You would need height, height and more height, plus some mighty expensive imported antennas, to have any chance at all of pulling in the four Baltimore stations you want. Despite the otherwise reasonable distance, the ridges between you and those stations' towers are apparently too tall to allow for reception of those stations. You could easily spend thousands on a tower, antennas and related equipment and still not get those stations reliably.

Please understand that to get WJZ and the other Baltimore stations, it's the antenna -- not the pre-amp -- that needs to make up the 15- to 19-dB difference between the stations' predicted noise margins (- 8.4 dB to -12.9 dB) and the +6 dB you need for even a minimal shot at reliable reception. Nobody makes antennas sporting gain figures anywhere near that high.

If you still want to stick with attic mounts, I'd say you need two antennas -- a Winegard HD-7694, pointed toward the east-northeast, and a Winegard HD-7696, pointed toward the north. Instead of combining the antennas, consider running separate coax cables from each antenna down to a coaxial A/B switch at the TV (remote-controlled switches are available). A pre-amp isn't needed for one TV fed by less than 25 feet of cable with these antennas. This setup will yield six stations: NBC, Fox and CW from the 7694, and ABC, CBS and PBS from the 7696.
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Super Moderator
In my opinion there are several iffy channels for an attic antenna. While Don's suggestion is the best your could do in an attic, the same money would buy you a pole and a rotor with a 7696p outside. Look at as setting a new trend back to free TV in your neighborhood.