Need help with antenna selection

jerryshap

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I'm new to the forum. I recently stopped my satellite service and want to receive local broadcasts. I've had difficulty finding objective help. Everyone has something they're selling. I live in Grants Pass (rural southern) Oregon. I have two TVs with digital tuners. I have been told I should get a stationary multi-directional outdoor antenna, a rotary outdoor, a stationary outdoor pointed NE, and have even been told a "good" indoor should work fine. I've also been told stationary multi-directional antennas don't work. This has been ridiculously difficult. Online reviews of antennas don't seem to help either. Every antenna I've looked at has had a range of reviews from great to terrible. I am planning on using the coax that is already installed from my satellite dish. I will install myself and am a technical person. I would welcome any assistance.
 
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nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#2
Ive taken the liberty of making you a TVFool report. Which is a little more complex than the Antennaweb one. From what I can see you should have quite a few stations.

TV Fool

It would probably be best to edit your original post ant remove the link to your antennaweb report given it states your home address.

Ill check out the stations listed and write up a little report for you shortly :).

Ive made the assumption that the antenna would be roof mounted at 20ft. Let me know if this is incorrect. Most of your stations are also Northeast, so you need to mount the antenna with a view towards that direction (ie. your own roof not in the way)

Let me know if there are any must-have stations (or ones you would really like!).


Edit: This could take a while, apparently you live in retransmitter city! :p
 
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nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#3
Okay, so after wading through retransmitter hell...

It looks like you best bet is to aim roughly midway between 19 and 34 degrees magnetic. You will need two antennas, a 4bay bowtie for the UHF stations, and a small-mid sized VHF high & low combination antenna for the remainders pointed at 7degs magn. These two antennas can then be diplexed into a single cable. You will also need a pre-amp (for both VHF and UHF if you have multiple outlets) The US guys can make appropriate recommendations for those.

Station Listing: (HD underlined, VHF Low/VHF High station, UHF station)
K20DT - No information (probably 3ABN [from KBLN] given how many other retransmitters they have in this area).
KOBI - NBC, Accuweather
KSYS - PBS, World, Create (and possibly PBS Encore)
KDRV - ABC, ABC (SD)
K15BP - retransmits KDRV
K25JW - CBS, CW (retransmits KTVL)
K44JB - Fox, Me-TV
(retransmits KMVU)

You may need to try multiple spots on the roof before mounting. The CBS and Fox transmitters will be the hardest to get, but they likely wont be impossible.


Others may have different ideas :)

 
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#5
:welcome: jerryshap!

I'm new to the forum. I recently stopped my satellite service and want to receive local broadcasts. I've had difficulty finding objective help. Everyone has something they're selling. I live in Grants Pass (rural southern) Oregon. I have two TVs with digital tuners. I have been told I should get a stationary multi-directional outdoor antenna, a rotary outdoor, a stationary outdoor pointed NE, and have even been told a "good" indoor should work fine.
I'm not sure they're trying to sell you anything. Honestly, all of those ideas are pretty good, depending on how many of the stations in your TVFool report you want or need. The term "multi-directional" is pretty meaningless. I guess they're saying you should look at an n-Bay antenna instead of a highly directional Yagi or whatever. Rotors work, but they put a crimp in the modern art of channel surfing. Usually multiple antennas joined together in one way or another can substitute. Finally, a good indoor (not one of the "omnidirectional" preamped plastic scams) woud probably work, IF you'd be happy with the top 7 stations in your TVF report (the ones "in the green"), and IF you can find a sweet spot inside your building.

I've also been told stationary multi-directional antennas don't work.
That person might be talking about one of those "omnidirectional" indoor antennas I mentioned. It's easy to get confused. They do work -- but they're hardly ever the best solution.

This has been ridiculously difficult.
I understand. Once upon a time there were professional antenna installers all over the U.S., with an intimate knowledge of what worked in their area. Today, the market is so fractured there's no easy solution, unless you live close to a big city where anything will work.

Online reviews of antennas don't seem to help either. Every antenna I've looked at has had a range of reviews from great to terrible.
And they're usually all honest reviews. Any antenna that works in one location will suck dead dogs in another. There's no "one size fits all" antenna.

I am planning on using the coax that is already installed from my satellite dish. I will install myself and am a technical person. I would welcome any assistance.
I think you will get the help you need here, and get good reception, probably with one or two outdoor antennas. Please be a little more patient, and answer any questions about which stations are important to you. :thumb:

Rick
 
#6
Thanks so much for your input. I removed the antennaweb link that showed my address. Two antennas? Geez. What about multi=band motorized?
Jerry, we cross posted. I wrote that magnum opus before I saw nbound's second post and your reply. So I guessed that two antennas might be a good solution before wading through all the transmitters the way our Aussie expert does. Two antennas often work well in trouble spots. You could always start with one antenna, then when you find you want more stations, add the second antenna and splice together.

Rotors require some maintenance and could break in the middle of winter, plus people nowadays don't have the patience to wait between remote clicks.

R.
 
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nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#7
Thanks so much for your input. I removed the antennaweb link that showed my address. Two antennas? Geez. What about multi=band motorized?
Two antennas is a better solution than motorised, where you will be replacing the plastic-geared rotor long before anything else.

Even a large multi-band antenna will not beat the 4-bay bowtie for beamwidth or gain.

The VHF low/high combination antenna should be pointed at 7degrees as that is where the VHF stations are coming from.

You can use a very cheap device called a diplexer to combine the two antennas (or use a twin input pre-amp if you can find one).
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#8
You could always start with one antenna, then when you find you want more stations, add the second antenna and splice together.
This is true, if you wanted you could use the bowtie antenna first and see what else comes in (there is a few local repeaters for various stations that may come in off the side). Out of the 6 I have mentioned in the report though you would get CBS, CW, Fox, Me-TV and the "mystery station", but you might also get a few of the LOS local retransmitters from Grants Pass as well (listing on post below).

If you want you can even experiment with different headings, or even try a rotor. Its always fun to experiment! :)

To know exactly what you will get for certain... theres only one way... and thats to put the antenna up and see what comes in. You may find a UHF antenna provides more than enough channels for what you want. (No matter what system design you use, you will probably get other channels from other headings unexpectedly)

The report I provide is what my initial expectation for the final outcome for the job would be if hypothetically I was heading there to do it myself. It may change onsite when it becomes apparent that the prediction tools (and thats all they really are), are proven wrong.
 
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nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#9
Heres a listing of the close local stations:

KBLN - Better Life TV (3ABN - religious)
K49JE - rebroadcasts KOBI (NBC, etc.)
K04EY - rebroadcasts KOBI (NBC, etc.)
K19HS - rebroadcasts KSYS (PBS, etc.)
K47GI - rebroadcasts KBLN (3ABN - religious)
K22FC - rebroadcasts KBLN (3ABN - religious)

If ABC doesnt mean that much to you, or you want to try the UHF only option you may be able to come up with a comprimise heading between the UHF channels I suggested and these ones (or use a rotor).
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
Two antennas is a better solution than motorised, where you will be replacing the plastic-geared rotor long before anything else.

Even a large multi-band antenna will not beat the 4-bay bowtie for beamwidth or gain.

The VHF low/high combination antenna should be pointed at 7degrees as that is where the VHF stations are coming from.

You can use a very cheap device called a diplexer to combine the two antennas (or use a twin input pre-amp if you can find one).
Jerryshap,

If you want to avoid using an antenna rotor, the above would be my solution: a 4-bay pointed (generally) to the east and a high-band Yagi pointed around 7 degrees. You might get double-duty from the 4-bay if you removed the reflector screen, allowing UHF signals to be received from the west. An old-version Channel Master 4221 can be altered this way in a few minutes.

To combine any UHF antenna with a High-band VHF Yagi, don't use a diplexer or splitter: you need a UVSJ (UHF-VHF Signal Joiner) because it will isolate any competing signals received on both antennas. Example, if a UHF antenna happens to receive the same VHF signal as the Yagi, a UVSJ will block it so it doesn't interfere with the similar (main) signal received by the Yagi.

On a different note, I've spent several weekends in Grants Pass attending West Coast sportscar conventions. Its a beautiful area and the Rogue River tour-dinner is always a treat.

Jim
 

jerryshap

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Thanks for the great info! Hoping to receive NBC, ABC, CBS,, Fox, and PBS. Willing to let go of some in order to reduce setup cost and time. Once I know the type of antenna I need, how do I approach selecting one? The prices are all over the board. I didn't see any comparative reviews here. I sense that specific brand recommendations are frowned upon in this forum.
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#12
We generally leave it upto the individual to come up with their own price/quality tradeoff point (multiple antennas are usually recommended by multiple users as examples). Performance wise there isnt too much between them. The guys here can still make you a few recommendations if you would like.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#14
Jerryshap,

Check above ... I did suggest an old-style Channel Master 4221. :becky:

It is possible a 2-bay UHF antenna would be adequate for you, if you could locate it higher than 20 feet in the air. I found a Clearstream-2 on the Medford-Ashland Craigslist and the asking price is $29.00. Long Range HDTV Antenna

Jim
 
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jerryshap

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#15
Thank you. I did see this CL post B4 and looked at reviews on Amazon. Some of the reviews were pretty bad. If I buy used I won't be able to return. I'm really surprised I can't find a local expert I could pay to help me. Oh well, I'll keep at it. Next I'm calling the local stations to see if they have recommendations. They might have vested interest in my success.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#16
Jerryshap,

In my opinion, the old-style Channel Master 4221 was a benchmark success that other antennas are finally improving upon. It was designed to receive channels up to 14-69, but channels 52-69 are long gone and this American built (bulletproof) antenna has been discontinued for many years.

The one advantage of this antenna MAY have for your situation, is the reflector screen is easily removed (and reinstalled) so it can become a true two-directional antenna, receiving channels from your east AND from your west, rather than from only one direction.

I use one for the majority of my received channels. Here is a photo of one, side-mounted on a condo.

Jim

PS In the process of establishing dependable FREE HDTV here, I've bought and sold over a dozen antennas on Craigslist. I buy, test, evaluate keep them or I re-sell them on Craigslist. Compared to a cable bill, testing antennas has been dirt cheap and when I re-sell them, I include my results and opinion based on the buyers' antenna survey: if I doubt an antenna I have offered for sale will work for someone, I won't sell it to them.

 
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#17
Recommendations or brands to avoid, anything that would help narrow the field a bit. Thanks!
I can't find the old CM-4221 Fringe recommends anywhere on Amazon, eBay or Google Shopping. I think the reason he doesn't mention the updated 4221HD is that manufacturing was moved to China, and construction quality went south (south-east?). I have a 4221HD and found the quality issues were cosmetic in my case, which aren't too important for an outdoor installation.

There is SO much scamming going on in the antenna business that I would avoid any manufacturer that doesn't have an established reputation. I searched for over an hour and could only find six 4-bay antennas available in the U.S. from what I would call established manufacturers:
U4000 a.k.a. U-4000 -- Antennacraft
G1483 (available only on summitsource.com) -- Antennacraft
DB4e -- Antennas Direct
ClearStream 4 -- Antennas Direct
CM-4221HD -- Channel Master
HD 4400 (discontinued, but 2 for $ale on eBay) -- Winegard

The G1483 is the great "Hoverman" design, but the rod reflectors fall off if you blow on them. If you choose this one to install outdoors you'll need to DIY something to stabilize.

I invite other members to add to this list, or criticize any antennas I've listed.

Rick
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#18
The new Antennas Direct 4 and 8 bay antennas are also made in China, but the samples I've seen are all good build quality. So I would add the Antennas Direct DB4 and DB4e to that list, Rick. (The reflectors on the DB4e could also be easily removed by drilling out the rivets and reassembling with nuts and bolts.)
 
#19
G1483 (available only on summitsource.com) -- Antennacraft
Quoting myself again.

I should have mentioned there are three different antennas labeled G1483 on Summit Source. The one I'm thinking about -- comparable to a 4 bay bowtie -- I think they call a 2 bay. The site is apparantly down right now, or I'd provide a link.

I'm not recommending this antenna, or any 4 bay over any other.

Rick

[Edit: This post is all wrong; just ignore it. What they call the 4 bay G1483 is the correct one -- comparable to a 4 bay bowtie. There are definitely different ways of counting the bays on this design. Easy to get confused.]
 
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#20
The new Antennas Direct 4 and 8 bay antennas are also made in China, but the samples I've seen are all good build quality. So I would add the Antennas Direct DB4 and DB4e to that list, Rick. (The reflectors on the DB4e could also be easily removed by drilling out the rivets and reassembling with nuts and bolts.)
Got the DB4e, Mr. Pogi. I left off the DB4 cause I couldn't find it anywhere a couple days ago. If any turn up, they'll probably be more expensive than the e version -- supply and demand, ugh.
 
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