Need help with antenna ideas

freetvforme

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hello,

I am looking for some assistance with OTA antenna ideas. I previously had cable TV in my house hooked up to 7 TV outlets via a couple of splitters. In the analog days, a couple of the TVs were a little snowy because of the splits but still acceptable to view. When digital came along and we had to use the converters from the cable company, we dropped down to 3 TVs since that is all that came with our cable package.

After cutting the cable a year or so ago, I have been using stand alone rabbit ear antennas from old analog TVs. I also tried plugging in a set of rabbit ears into the cable jack where it enters my house to try and feed the whole house using the old cable wiring network. I have a split-level house which means it has several levels separated by a half flights of stairs. The cable entry point in my house is on the ground level near a basement window which is where I placed the antenna. That works somewhat on some of the TVs but unreliable on others. On windy or rainy days I don't get all the channels or they are pixelated to the point you can't watch.

I can't really mount an antenna on my roof or outside of the house due to neighborhood restrictions. Mounting an antenna in my attic would be difficult due to access points and cable routing not to mention it is more work than I want to invest.

My plan is to do one of two things.

1. I would like to get a better antenna and mount it in my basement window (inside) and connect that to the cable inlet to serve the whole house. This location is on the west side of my house which is the direction of signals in my area. The window is about 2 feet from the ground. I found the Eagle Aspen Dtv2Buhf for 21.00 which seems to have pretty good reviews. (I'm looking to spend as little as possible and this seemed like an inexpensive option to try.) Do you think this antenna would provide that much better reception to work in this situation?

2. Buy better stand alone indoor antennas for each TV in the house. (I tried the 10.00 rabbit ear variety at MegaMart and it wasn't any better than my old analog rabbit ears... probably not as good.) There are some I have seen in the 20-30 dollar range that have various Star Wars looking plastic pieces along with rabbit ears or some type of metal ring. Some also have dial adjusters. (A relative has one from Radio Shack that looks like a triangle with a big circle in the middle along with rabbit ears and it works pretty well.) This option would be fairly costly setting up several TVs and more importantly, they are not very attractive.

Here is the link to my TVFool location: TV Fool

What are your thoughts on these two ideas. I am welcome to any others that you may have as well. Thank you for your help.
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#2
The Eagle Aspen antenna would be a good choice for your area, since you're in a UHF only market, & you're rather close to the towers. If you're in an HOA community, they can not stop you from mounting an antenna outdoors. Since you're only looking at 1 antenna, & needs to be pointed to the west, then you should try to find a spot outdoors to mount the antenna. You might not have to mount it high at all, unless you have lots of trees or buildings in the way. If you decide to have it indoors, then that room must have a window that faces west to get the best results. Even then, it's possible reception can go bad by running something in front of the antenna that gives off any type of RF signal. Don't use a pre-amp on the antenna. You can use a distribution amp if the cables are long.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
I can't really mount an antenna on my roof or outside of the house due to neighborhood restrictions.
You can have an antenna. If you own your home, your "neighborhood restrictions" mean NOTHING. FCC Regulations trump any local government or petty HOA restrictions.

Here's the FCC's summary of their rules:
In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules for Over-the-Air-Reception Devices (“OTARD” rules). The OTARD rules protect a property owner or tenant’s right to install, maintain or use an antenna to receive video programming from direct broadcast satellites (DBS), broadband radio services (formerly referred to as multichannel multipoint distribution services or MMDS) and television broadcast stations (TVBS). However, there are exceptions to the OTARD rules, including provisions for safety and preservation of historic areas.

The FCC later amended the OTARD rules to apply to rental property where the renter has exclusive use of an area, and to customer-end antennas that receive and transmit fixed wireless signals.
Please read the whole summary here: Installing Consumer-Owned Antennas and Satellite Dishes | FCC.gov
 

freetvforme

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Thanks for the responses....

I didn't realize there was an FCC rule I could use to argue with the HOA. On the other hand, I really don't want to deal with the HOA or neighbors and I really don't want to go to the trouble to mount an antenna outside anyway. I was really hoping that my option #1 (mounting an Eagle Aspen in my basement ground level window) would work good enough as it would be the quickest and least expensive. I guess I will give it a try and then go from there. I will post back my results after I get it hooked up.

Thanks for the help.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#6
Yes, try it, but remember you can mount it as high up the wall as you like.

Let us know how it works.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#7
freetvforme,

You are allowed to have an outdoor TV antenna AND you can mount it discretely, so it won't bother your neighbors. Here is a Channel Master 4221 mounted on the side of a unit, between units, and it is well under the roofline. Before permanently mounting any antenna, be sure to test its location (walk it around) and then decide where to mount it.

Jim

 

freetvforme

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
Jim,

That is a good looking mount. I guess I could do something like that on my 2nd story deck if my basement window idea doesn't pan out. I'm really just trying to get all the channels I get now but want to improve the drop outs that I get on a couple of channels and on others in bad weather.


MrPogi,

My original plan was to mountthe antenna in the inside of the basement window which is at the high point of the basement wall from the inside. From the outside, the antenna will only be a couple of feet from ground level. My neighbor's house (2 story) sits about 15 feet to the west of this window. The window is near the north end of the house so will at least have some line of sight towards the signals from some of the towers. I will post back with my results after I get the antenna.

Thanks for your input.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
The Eagle Aspen Dtv2Buhf should give decent results, I have installed a lot of them for apartment dwellers on patios and decks. Try it with a straight cable to one TV first - you may need an amp if you plan on driving more than one TV. Keep your cable runs as short as possible to minimize signal loss, too.
 

freetvforme

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
Update: I tried the Eagle Aspen with the basement window idea (trying to feed several TVs using the old cable line) and it didn't work very well. I hooked up some rabbit ears trying to do the same thing and the results were similar. I tried the Eagle Aspen it in my living room direct to a TV and it was about the same as a 20.00 indoor set. I didn't want to add an amp or install outside so I decided to just put rabbit ears on all TVs and forget it. I returned the Eagle Aspen. (Even though it was only 21.00, I didn't think it was built very well.)

Thanks for the help.
 

Jim5506

DTVUSA Member
#11
Anywhere near the basement is the absolute worst (well, maybe not absolute) place to put an antenna. The ground is a very heavy attenuator of RF signals and though signals do travel along the ground, a house a small hill or almost any other obstacle can kill signal strength.

At least put it in the attic, assuming you don't have aluminum siding or concrete or some other RF killing material there.

There is much more signal up high than down low.

Get it up as high as possible.
 

freetvforme

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
Anywhere near the basement is the absolute worst (well, maybe not absolute) place to put an antenna. The ground is a very heavy attenuator of RF signals and though signals do travel along the ground, a house a small hill or almost any other obstacle can kill signal strength.

At least put it in the attic, assuming you don't have aluminum siding or concrete or some other RF killing material there.

There is much more signal up high than down low.

Get it up as high as possible.
Yea, I realize what you are saying is true. I just thought I might get away using the old cable lines and having the antenna mounted inside and still get the local channels since the broadcast sites are not all that far from me. I was hoping to avoid the rabbit ears. Since I am not planning to live in this house forever, I just didn't want to invest the time or money to do it right. I guess I will go with rabbit ears for a couple of years until we decide to move.
 
#13
Yea, I realize what you are saying is true. I just thought I might get away using the old cable lines and having the antenna mounted inside and still get the local channels since the broadcast sites are not all that far from me. I was hoping to avoid the rabbit ears. Since I am not planning to live in this house forever, I just didn't want to invest the time or money to do it right. I guess I will go with rabbit ears for a couple of years until we decide to move.
Man, with that TVFR you probably COULD get by with an indoor setup, but you have to stop thinking "rabbit ears" and "basement"!? Get a real antenna and put it as high as you can get it, close to a window indoors. I would try the Stellar Labs 30-2425 from MCM:
Stellar Labs HDTV/DTV/UHF Outdoor Television Antenna | 30-2425 (302425) | Stellar Labs

After assembly, you can probably put it back in the box it shipped in. Two years is a long time to go without decent reception.

Rick
 

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