Need help choosing/ setting up antenna in rural town

onwisconsin

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#21
Thanks again for the advice! :) All other members of the household are habitual streamers and think I've gone crazy with this antenna business. The HBU-55 and the ANT-800 are gonna have to do for the foreseeable future.

If WKBT (rf 8) can be caught with any stability, I will be happy to leave WCCO (rf 32) alone for the winter. Receiving CBS programming is all that matters this late in the season, what side of the river it comes from is secondary.

Side note: WHWC- PBS (rf 27) comes in at 85% on the TV's meter with the current setup.

[HR][/HR]
Does anyone have some good (but affordable) rotor suggestions?
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#22
Thanks again for the advice! :) All other members of the household are habitual streamers and think I've gone crazy with this antenna business. The HBU-55 and the ANT-800 are gonna have to do for the foreseeable future.

If WKBT (rf 8) can be caught with any stability, I will be happy to leave WCCO (rf 32) alone for the winter. Receiving CBS programming is all that matters this late in the season, what side of the river it comes from is secondary.

Side note: WHWC- PBS (rf 27) comes in at 85% on the TV's meter with the current setup.

[HR][/HR]
Does anyone have some good (but affordable) rotor suggestions?
So lets see how those people who think you have "gone crazy" feel about it the next time their internet goes out! When disasters strike, cell phone and internet service are often the first things that go dark.

About a rotor, I don't know of any consumer grade rotors that I would recommend. As far as I know, they all have nylon/plastic gears that tend to fail over time. If you can find an older one with metal gears at a garage sale or otherwise, that would be my choice. Other than that, a rotor built for HAM radio would be my choice, although they are quite pricey. You may want to consult Fringe Reception on this topic.
 

onwisconsin

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#24
UPDATE IV: I recently replaced the HBU-55's OEM balun with a Channel Master CM 94444. Everything seems to be coming with slightly more strength, however KARE 11 (rf 11) is now next to impossible to get, but the other two VHF signals (rf 8 & 9) are fine. Any ideas on what is happening?

One more thing, WEUX (rf 49) is being received at 60% signal quality but is still choppy as heck. Where as KMSP (rf 9) is coming in at 35-45% and has a very stable picture. What could be causing the issue with WEUX?
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#25
Signal quality is not the same as signal strength. I suspect that WEUX has a weak, but high quality signal.
 

onwisconsin

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#26
Update V: Here is what I receive now that winter has kicked in early.

By Nielson DMA, in no particular order (not including diginets):

Eau Claire- La Crosse
(Technically my "home" market area.):

WHWC- PBS (rf 27): Stable no matter what, not weather affected. (I frequently use this channel to make sure everything is hooked up right and working.)

WQOW- ABC & The CW (rf 15): Stable when aimed at and can be caught off the backside when temp is above 50°F.

WEUX- FOX (rf 49): Stable when aimed at, however seems to be subject to multi-path. (WEUX had ghosting issues back in the analog era.) Can be caught off the backside (not stably) when it is above 25-30°F.

WEAU- NBC (rf 38): Stable when aimed in the general direction of the tower, not weather affected.

WKBT- CBS (rf 8): Normally stable during the overnight- morning period(s). It can sometimes be caught during the mid-day and evening, as well.

[HR][/HR]
Minneapolis- Saint Paul (The more stations from this market, the better. IMHO):

KARE- NBC (rf 11): Mostly stable but it is very directional, can be affected by wind.

KMSP- FOX (rf 9): Stable when aimed in the general direction of the tower, not usually weather affected.

WCCO- CBS (rf 32): Can be stable below 30°F, subject to random, complete drop outs (w/ little or no pixelation). Also tends be receivable whenever there is a weather front coming out of W to NW.

KSTP- ABC (rf 35): Can be stable below 40°F, subject to random, complete drop outs (w/ some pixelation). Also tends be receivable whenever there is a weather front coming out of W to NW. PSIP info is usually picked up whenever its below 50°F, but no A/V.

KSTC- Ind. (rf 45): Usually a pixelated mess when received, always below 40°F. Also tends be receivable whenever there is a weather front coming out of W to NW.

KTCA- PBS (rf 34): Hardest to receive station out the Twin Cities. Comes in only when it wants too.

KTCI- tpt (rf 23): Second hardest station to receive. Comes in only when it wants too.

WFTC- MyTV (& FOX 9 simul.) (rf 29): Usually a pixelated mess when received, always below 40°F. Also tends be receivable whenever there is a weather front coming out of W to NW.

WUCW- The CW (rf 22): Can be stable below 35-40°F, subject to random, complete drop outs (w/ some pixelation). Also tends be receivable whenever there is a weather front coming out of W to NW. PSIP info is usually picked up whenever its below 55-60°F, but no A/V.

[HR][/HR]
That about sums it up at this point and it took a while to complete this exhaustive list. :)

What do you all out there think? Any salient points or thoughts based off this list?
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#27
The only tips I can give you are to try a different TV, if you own one. It's possible that a TV with a better tuner may work better. If the signal varies in the wind, it may be that the antenna is moving in the wind. Make sure it is secure and add guy wires if possible. And while the RCA preamp is good, it's not necessarily the best. You may want to look into another preamp. Dan (dkreiken) knows of a company that makes some very low noise pre amps.

But for now it looks like you should just settle in for the winter and wait for the spring thaw.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#28
Bill is referring to Kitztech amps. I used a KT-100VG for several years until it failed. I replaced it with a KT-200, but I didn't get the results I wanted, and I'm actually getting better results from an Antennacraft 10G201. I don't know why.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#30
:welcome: onwisconsin

What are you currently using for an antenna and where is it located? What are your current results?

I don't see any reason for an 8-Bay antenna with a hinge to allow it to point two different directions: when that is done, it cuts the ability of the antenna to capture signals in half and in your location, you need plenty of signal gain.

I think I'd try a Channel Master HD-4228 8-Bay aimed NW and if possible, higher than 13 feet above ground level. If VHF channels 9 and 11 are problematic you can add (combine) a high-band VHF-specific antenna at a later date.

Jim
 
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onwisconsin

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#31
:welcome: onwisconsin

What are you currently using for an antenna and where is it located? What are your current results and what is an LTE filter?

I don't see any reason for an 8-Bay antenna with a hinge to allow it to point two different directions: when that is done, it cuts the ability of the antenna to capture signals in half and in your location, you need plenty of signal gain.

I think I'd try a Channel Master HD-4228 8-Bay aimed NW and if possible, higher than 13 feet above ground level. If VHF channels 9 and 11 are problematic you can add (combine) a high-band VHF-specific antenna at a later date.
Thanks for the response! :)

I ended up buying the expensive DB8E and combined it with the existing (circa 2014) HBU-55 using the UHF/VHF ports on a RCA TVPREAMP1R. The results have been quite dispiriting with the DB8, signals from MSP seemed to come in better the HBU. That antenna is now VHF only and lower down and 9 and 11 are intermittent vs mostly stable before. The only thing improved by the DB8 is WEAU (rf 38) can now be caught off the backside. Otherwise, it feels like that piece of metal has been a total waste of $140. /rant

The antennas are mounted on a metal conduit pole about 16-17 ft up in the backyard with the DB8E on top and the HBU-55 three'ish feet below that, the line coming from the DB is connected to a CM LTE filter then to the UHF port on the preamp. The line from the HBU is fed directly to the VHF hookup. From there a 75 ft quad-shield coax carries the signals to a CM 4-port distribution amp and on to three TVs throughout the house. This system is connected by 100% RG-6 coax cabling with either compression or factory connectors and was first installed in 2014.

RF 15, 27, 38 (!), and 49 are LOS-like and mostly stable, despite TV Fool's insistence to the contrary. RF 9 & 11 used to be nearly the same way as well. Buying the DB8E was an attempt to get CBS via WCCO (RF 32) but as noted above that has been less then successful. The lack of CBS reception has been a consistent thorn in the side for the last few years.

The goal for the setup was/ is to get all 5 primary broadcast networks.

Any and all further assistance would be much appreciated. :)

P.S. I wouldn't mind getting into custom and home built cut-to-band stuff, but not until after the spectrum auction is over.
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#32
onwisconson,

Did you 'hunt' for the best location to mount your antennas or are they mounted at a convenient location? Often, better signals can be found a few feet to the left or right, or on the opposite end or side of a structure. As an example, I have antenna masts located on the opposite ends of my home because I cannot capture all of the channels at a single location and they are received from four different directions. As mentioned before, additional antenna height above ground level should help.

Have you tried your setup using a basic 4-way splitter rather than the distribution amplifier? All amps add 'noise' to digital signals and clean low-signal level data always beat noisy high-strength data which can confuse digital tuners.

I receive a channel from 75 miles distance on a coax run of about 115 feet using no pre-amplifiers, no distribution amplifiers, split 4-ways around my home and the signal is dependable. A friend who is a Broadcast Engineer tested my setup using his $3,000.00 Sadelco commercial meter and the signal waveform is almost perfect, but its strength was almost too low for the meter to detect and way below what he thought was necessary for a TV to detect and decipher.

Jim
 

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