Question: Need antenna suggestions.

U

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#1
Hi. I am looking for some assistance with which type/brand antenna to buy. I am between Milwaukee and Chicago and I don't know if there's any benefit in trying to get both markets aside from maybe sports, but I guess if it makes sense I'd like to try and get the Chicago stations. Getting the Chicago market for more options come NFL season is probably enough reason for me to try to get them.

Here are some details that might be useful.

Here are my tvfool stats - TV Fool (I think I did that right, if there's something else I can do that would be more helpful please let me know.

My house is a one story ranch that does have an attic although I'm not sure if that's an option as I've only been in it once and don't remember if there would be someplace I could mount an antenna, I imagine there probably is though I'd like to avoid this option if possible.

I currently have Directv so I could use the existing co-ax and mount an antenna that would be someplace in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 feet off the ground.

Ideally I would like an indoor antenna but if I would certainly grab more stations that make sense to grab, one on the roof is fine.

Thanks
Randy
 
#2
Hey Randy!

I live a few miles south of you in Kenowhere. We live in a great area for OTA TV! :thumb: My TVFR is the reverse of yours, with Chicago coming in stronger than Milwaukee, despite the distance. Can't beat the ol' Sears Tower.

So "Tim," who lives a few blocks from me, built a Hoverman with no reflector and planted it on his roof. That might be your best bet. He gets everything from Chicago and Milwaukee, and even the occasional tropo from Indiana and Michigan. Or you could buy a CM-4221HD and leave off the refector.

If you're stuck indoors like I am, it's a crap shoot. Assuming the ranch house is free of major obstructions, you might want to try a two antenna / two tuner setup like mine...
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...7244-combining-two-unlike-antennas-kicks.html (post #33)

See, the problem in our area is so many good stations coming from opposite directions. Yet, we're just far enough away that one of those "omnidirectional" ripoffs won't cut it.

Rick
 
#4
Sweller, two things:
- He has almost no VHF to worry about. Channel 10 PBS, but he can get better PBS (MHO), loud and clear on 36 (RF 35).
- I doubt he has to worry about a HOA out on the ranch.
- $50 is nothing compared to a year of cable bills. Might as well go for the gusto!

All right, three things. :flypig:

Rick
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
So I assume then that a leaf, amped or not, will not get me everything on my report?

Also I should have noted that I have two tv's that I'd like to get signal to, on opposite ends of my house of course. They both currently have line running to them from directv but I don't know how long or exactly where it splits. If it's not too expensive I have no problems dedicating an antenna to each but I think doing a dual antenna setup for each is probably a little much. However, if I don't put an antenna in the bedroom it's really not a huge deal. I'll most likely have a roku set up in there at least.

So is the consensus that I should try and build a folded dipole or a Hoverman or go with some sort of dual antenna setup? All three are probably feasible. I feel comfortable enough that I should be able to build something even without looking into it much as long as there are some decently detailed directions someplace and a place I can get parts close by.

Also there might be a duplicate post coming through because I registered to (hopefully) avoid the wait until it posts. I tried to find if registering would avoid the wait but couldn't find it anyplace in the faq.

Thanks again!
Randy
 

sweller

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Sweller, two things:
- He has almost no VHF to worry about. Channel 10 PBS, but he can get better PBS (MHO), loud and clear on 36 (RF 35).
- I doubt he has to worry about a HOA out on the ranch.
- $50 is nothing compared to a year of cable bills. Might as well go for the gusto!

All right, three things. :flypig:

Rick
No argument here, Rick. I guess in my exuberance over my little gem, I erred when I assumed everyone here was a DIYer.

An intriguing thing about it is the broadband performance. Where dipoles (rabbit ears) are best for VHF (I bet you knew that). FOLDED dipoles are actually better suited to UHF. And they're easy to tune to a specific center frequency.

In Randy's OP I read "ranch" as a style rather than a locale? :embarrassed: In either case, I'm not proposing this as a "stealth" antenna in particular. I've started calling it the Almost Antenna...

It's almost free.
It's almost indestructible.
It's almost weather-proof.
For my needs, it's almost ... perfect!

I only wish I lived where Randy lives so I could see what this thing can really do.

Randy: Build one on cardboard! Heck, build two. If they work, pocket the difference.

Ok. I'll get off my soapbox now. Cheers-n-beers, everyone!
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
In Randy's OP I read "ranch" as a style rather than a locale?
You are correct, I was making that the style of my house is a ranch. I live in a small older sub division but my street is elevated from most of the rest of the area and I have decently clean sight in both directions if that even matters.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#10
If you do want WMVS I'd think that a Channel Master CM-3010 pointed at the stations at 173 magnetic would work well. Overwise a homebuilt weather proof Gray-Hoverman pointed in the same direction would pull in just about anything out there.



 
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#12
So I assume then that a leaf, amped or not, will not get me everything on my report?
Well, NOTHING is going to get you EVERYTHING on the report. :eyes: A good antenna will get you everything in the green, and probably everything yellow too. Even lower! You're going to wind up with 25+ stations = 60+ channels and subchannels. Let's not get piggish... :mad:)

The leaf might be a good choice for someone living within Milwaukee, or within Chicago. If you stuck one to a north facing window, you would probably get most of the green from Milwaukee.

Also I should have noted that I have two tv's that I'd like to get signal to, on opposite ends of my house of course. They both currently have line running to them from directv but I don't know how long or exactly where it splits. If it's not too expensive I have no problems dedicating an antenna to each but I think doing a dual antenna setup for each is probably a little much. However, if I don't put an antenna in the bedroom it's really not a huge deal. I'll most likely have a roku set up in there at least.
IIRC, Tim has his Hoverman connected to three TVs. I don't think he even uses a pre-amplifier. He was very happy with the results.

So is the consensus that I should try and build a folded dipole or a Hoverman or go with some sort of dual antenna setup? All three are probably feasible. I feel comfortable enough that I should be able to build something even without looking into it much as long as there are some decently detailed directions someplace and a place I can get parts close by.
The dipole was a shot from left field, honestly. A dipole is considered a kind of "baseline" antenna, used for comparison. (Antennas are often rated in dBd, which means decibels greater than a dipole.) Sweller had a lot of fun with his, but dkr and Fringe Reception are professional, world renowned experts. You're getting some high powered advice here! :cheers:

I'm voting for the Hoverman, installed outside on the roof, with no reflector to catch the signals 180 apart. You have a decent chance of catching VHF channel 10 with that too, since you're closer to Milwaukee than I am. If not, and it's huge deal, you could add a VHF dipole cut to size. That can be combined easily with a VHF/UHF combiner, so it's not daunting.

I would try it first without an amplifier. A very good (i.e. expensive) pre-amp MIGHT help a little, since you're splitting, but it would have to be connected outside, so it would be the first thing to break. You will probably be fine without it.

You can find instructions plastered all over the internet.
The Gray-Hoverman Antenna For UHF Television Reception - Digital Home Canada
(Keep clicking Next. There's more, and more, and more ...)

Or look at this one:
Gray Hoverman Antenna build

Or just google: Hoverman DIY, and if you run into any snags, dkr knows all about that. He also knows how to use the directTV coax for your antenna.

Rick
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#13
The main thing with weather proofing is to use plastic (I used PVC Tees) insulators (rather than wood, which absorbs moisture) and use like metals (I used copper tubing and brass bolts and washers). Main reason for the Gray-Hoverman is that it is a higher gain antenna that can be easily used without a reflector to pull in signals from both directions. Most commercial antennas are directional, but in a situation like yours a bi-directional antenna will pull in more stations.
 

Thequass

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#14
Thanks so much for the info everyone.

I do have one more question before I think about and decide what I want to do, I have about a month to figure things so I have a little time on my side.

If i were to opt not to build an antenna and just buy one, is there a specific suggestion on which to look at or maybe a few to look at that would work out good based on my report? Keeping in mind that I don't really care all that much if I split it to both tv's. If I can great if not no big deal.
 
#16
Thanks so much for the info everyone.

I do have one more question before I think about and decide what I want to do, I have about a month to figure things so I have a little time on my side.

If i were to opt not to build an antenna and just buy one, is there a specific suggestion on which to look at or maybe a few to look at that would work out good based on my report? Keeping in mind that I don't really care all that much if I split it to both tv's. If I can great if not no big deal.
Since no one else jumped in, I guess all the experts agree 100% with my original suggestion of a CM-4221HD sans reflector. :applause: You might also want to look at one of these to save a few bucks:
Stellar Labs HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Bowtie Television Antenna | 30-2425 (302425) | Stellar Labs

Stellar Labs is a new player on the block, but Sears has picked them up now. MCM has best prices by far. Only thing I don't know is whether the reflector screws on, or if you'll have to saw it off to get Chicago and Milwaukee. (Someday Kenosha and Racine will merge -- Chiwaukee! :becky:)

Rick
 
#17
"Stellar Labs" is nothing but a marketing name for a line of antennas purchased from a Chinese company, Qiaohua. They're usually knock-offs or clones or mash-ups of existing products from other companies. You can find the same brand name on other Chinese-made accessories and equipment.

Sears didn't pick them up, someone is just selling them on Sears' Marketplace. You can also by the Orca/Lava/Quantum junk there as well as quality stuff made by Winegard, Antenancraft, Antennas Direct, and others.

MCM isn't the only place selling them, Solid Signal is carrying them as is Digiwave and others under their own brand names.
 
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#18
"Stellar Labs" is nothing but a marketing name for a line of antennas purchased from a Chinese company, Qiaohua. They're usually knock-offs or clones or mash-ups of existing products from other companies. You can find the same brand name on other Chinese-made accessories and equipment.
I was aware that the antennas are not unique to that brand, as you can see from this thread in May: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv-reception-antenna-discussion/49197-antenna-testers-wanted.html

While it's true that Qiaohua has two factories in China, and lists some outdoor antennas very similar to the Stellar Labs brand, when I put "Stellar Labs" AND Qiaohua into Google, I get exactly two pages in response, and both are posts from one ProjectSHO89! Can you give any further evidence as to who knocked off whom, other than your word as a gentleman? After all Qiaohua is located in China, and we know the Chinese have a novel attitude toward patent and copyright.

I sent an email to the tech department at MCM Electronics asking them to clarify, and they responded, in part, as follows:

MCM Electronics said:
Stellar Labs is actually a house brand of MCM Electronics. The product range includes a broad assortment of RF, A/V, prosound, wire and cable products, manufactured by many different OEM’s globally. The identities of those OEM’s are confidential ... the OEM that we use for outdoor antennas has their own engineering team and does a considerable amount of their own research. I am certain they manufacture products for a number of other companies, and likely do contract work for other manufacturers. They likely also have items sub contracted from other manufacturers. That being the case, often times you see multiple OEM’s supplying what seems to be the exact same product.
At any rate, I don't believe it's fair to paint MCM or Stellar Labs with the same broad brush as Lava et al. After all, practically every "quality stuff" antenna manufacturer, with the possible exception of Winegard, has OEM partners in China. Certainly the fact that Solid Signal also "picked up" some of these antennas under their Xtreme brand name, constitutes an endorsement. They even produced several videos showing how to assemble their Xtreme antennas -- which look very well made IMHO, as do the much less expensive MCM Stellar models compared to the oft-recommended CM-4221HD, and 4228HD, which we know have been made in China for the last few years.
[video=youtube_share;OGfgmtHv3LA]http://youtu.be/OGfgmtHv3LA[/video]

Rick
 
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