Need help with my antenna set-up and getting the channels I want

1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hey All,

I'm trying to set up my antenna to receive the stations on the list below. I'm more or less concerned with only CBS, NBC, CW, and ABC channels in HD.

The thing is those stations are 50 - 55 miles or so in Memphis Tennessee. With one of those stations (ABC) about 26 miles away in the opposite direction.




I need to know what kind of set-up do I need to be able to pull 50 mile stations in clearly. I also wanted something that would pull in an Omni-directional fashion as these stations are a few degrees off from each other and I really don't want to mess with a rotator if possible.

I currently have a Esky HG-981 antenna mounted on my roof about 30' or so from the ground. I'm wanting to direct the signal into a silicone HD Tuner on my network and watching my programming in media center (HTPC). That way I can take advantage of the dvr functions.

I'm totally lost on what I would need to make this happen (pull in the signals strongly), if I need to buy a beast of an antenna and get it higher in the air please let me know. I really want to make this work and I don't know what I need.

Thanks in advance
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#3
:welcome: 1971

NBC is on 'real' channel 5 and that may be a problem. Low band VHF channels are prone to interference from many sources including electric motors (like kitchen appliances) door bell transformers and even auto ignition systems. There are very few low band channels remaining in the Country and unfortunately, you have one. My advice is to use a large/long all-band yagi pointed around 128 degrees. I prefer using a 'powerful' antenna rather than relying on amplifers to boost signals received from 'lesser' antennas.

In my area there are no low band VHF stations so I hesitate to suggest a particular brand or model antenna because I have no experience with them since the digital transition. Other experts here (from across the Country) have better experiences. So for now, I defer to them.

Jim

PS For anyone interested, here is a website listing the few remaining low-band VHF channels.
http://www.qsl.net/wa5iyx/lovesavd.htm
 
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#4
I tend to agree with Jim. I was looking at this earlier today and was thinking of some slightly smaller, lower cost alternatives using two antennas that might work, but I was over looking WHBQ 13 Fox. Everything I was thinking of did involve full size elements for the low VHF channel 5, but I was not taking into account the high VHF gain that might be required to receive the Fox signal at 11.6 NM. WATN is listed as an ABC affiliate, and KAIT ABC that is possibly strong enough to be received off the back side of an all band antenna. With that said I would suggest a large all band antenna. Antennacraft still builds a good line of all band antennas. This is what I would suggest.
AntennaCraft RadioShack Heavy Duty VHF/UHF/FM/HDTV Antenna (HD1800) from Solid Signal
Aimed at about 130 degrees. Everything Jim said about Low band VHF interference is true, but it does get through trees, and hills better.
I'm am curious as to what channels you receive with the Esky.
Steve
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#5
I'll have to agree with Steve on this - I can't think of another antenna that will do what you need. Pretty sure it will pick up the ABC channel 8 off the back, as well as PBS 20. Your ESKY is not up to the task, if you can return it, do so. It's poorly made in China and designed for the wrong frequencies (It says it gets channels 1-69. Channels 52-69 have been gone for years. And there IS no "Channel 1" :) !)

I would suggest you order from Radio Shack. It's $10 cheaper than Solid Signal. Sure you'll pay tax, but it's less than the shipping from SS, and you can return it if need be.
 

1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
Thanks for the help everyone, I'm going to look into that antennacraft HD1800...the specs look good on it. I can actually pick up channel 24.1 with the esky antenna pretty clear in HD...but the other ones are non-existent for the most part.
 
#7
I'm surprised the Esky doesn't do a bit better then that. Those little junk antennas usually work better then what I would expect at least for a few days. Normally the rotor quits in a day or 2 then the whole antenna starts to fall apart in a month or two. I would also suspect amplifier, and power supply failure to be common.

Steve
 

1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
Hey guys, I got the antennacraft HD1800 from my local radio shack and installed yesterday afternoon. I'd have to say I'm impress....my HD homerun box pulled 40 stations...all are showing a strength of full green except channel 5.1 and 5.2 It's coming in, but it's iffy.

Which is weird because they are pretty close to the some of the good stations. I'm going to play around with that a bit, may some positioning but I am happy I did this
 
#9
It sounds like you are doing quite well with it. I would have to suspect your problems with channel five are probably from house hold electrical interference. Low band VHF frequencies are very prone to problems from household RFI. The list of possible sources could probably go on, and on. Micro-processors, florescent lights, LED lights, switch-mode power supplies to name just a few. When I lived on my own I didn't have any CFL lights that were noisy, but I know some of them where I currently live are terrible. You might find this thread interesting.
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...17-cant-lock-atsc-channel-7-tampa-bay-fl.html
While I know it's not about low band VHF it might give you some idea of the kind of things that can cause problems.
Your problem might not be from house hold or power line noise, but at low VHF it's the first thing I would suspect.
Steve
 
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1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
Thanks, I kind skimmed through that thread for a second and was thinking about something. My neighbor next door is an elderly man in his 90's that's into ham radios and such. He has the huge tower mounted in his back yard that "could" be something blocking the channel maybe?

It's weird because I get almost no signal for channel 5.1 but channels 13.1 and 3.1 have almost a full signal and if memory serves me correctly one of those stations is located on the same road and almost the same vicinity as channel 5.1. Even the coordinates are really close. Channel 5.1 is 132 degrees and Channel 13.1 is 134 degrees, can a few degrees make that much difference? Even moving the antenna doesn't really change anything.

I also have my antenna running down beside the meter box, because that's where the original wiring came in.

I'm still new to this world of antennas but I will def be more knowledgable when I am done lol
 

1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
According to this notice...WMC-HD (channel 5.1) is only broadcasting half power? Maybe that is my problem since they are 50+ miles away?

But it's calling it channel 52?? Even though TV fool and silicone HD are calling it channel 5.1

On February 8th, 2002, WMC-TV became the first Memphis station to broadcast its programming in the new digital television format. This is just another first in a long list of groundbreaking achievements in Mid-South broadcasting. In fact, the broadcasts are on a whole new station, WMC-HD, channel 52. We've prepared this guide to help answer many of your questions about what this means and how you can enjoy the future of television now!

Where can I see WMC-HD? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Information on WMC-DT 5 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#12
That information is old - during the digital transition period (pre-2009) some stations continued their analog broadcasts on their original channel (5 in this case), while at the same time broadcasting digital on a second channel (It appears it was channel 52 for WMC).

I think your neighbor may be part of the problem, but the biggest problem is that 5 is VHF-lo. VHF-lo frequencies are affected by noise a lot more than VHF-hi (channel 13 is VHF-hi) and UHF. I would first check your home for sources of radio noise. Unplug things one at a time and note how it affects your reception of channel 5. If you still can't discover a noise source, I would then approach your neighbor. If you do it in a friendly manner he could be very helpful. Ham radio operators tend to be knowledgeable and helpful. After all, you are both doing the same thing: using antennas to communicate. It should be noted also that ham radio should only cause problems when the transmitter is turned on. It may also be that something else in your neighborhood is putting out a lot of EMI.
 
#13
I would first check your own house for sources of stray noise. Shut off everything not needed to receive the signal. It can be tricky to find and track down RF noise sources. The thread I referenced to does a pretty good job of covering the subject. I just reread it. The only recent thought I've had that I might add is one of those radios that are now useless built to receive NTSC audio might be useful. While I don't really know my thought is one should be able to recognize the sound of an ATSC signal and tune away from it and hear the interference source keeping in mind an ATSC signal is 6 MHz wide. One of the lamps where I currently reside has a 3 way CFL bulb that is a terrible noise generator.
The HD1800 has a half power beam width of 65 degrees on low VHF aiming shouldn't be real critical on channel 5. Channel 5 is 2Edge signal antenna placement and height up, or down could make a difference not an easy thing to do with that large of an antenna. Keep in mind the low band gain of the antenna is quite a bit less the high VHF, or UHF gain.
When I was active in amateur radio keeping my own transmissions out of the TV and other appliances was a lot easier to solve than keeping the noise from other appliances out of the radios.
Steve
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14

1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#15
hey guys, I have been loving my new antenna set up. I've since added a HTPC server running mediabrowser and rokus. I ended up buying a simple.tv tuner box to interface with my antenna since they have a roku channel. Can't wait until that comes in.

Still having issues with channel 5, I called the station and I can't remember all the details but the engineer said it was on a different frequency than the others (UHF or VHF) forgive me as I can't remember all the details.

I could somewhat get it in at some times...so I know it's out there lol. He mentioned "height" so I am thinking about relocating my antenna higher up somehow. I currently have it mounted on the side of my home at it's peak about 30-35 feet high.

Since I am 60 miles or so away from channel 5's towers he mentioned the higher up the better. Maybe 50 feet in the air??

Are there any sources for a good antenna tower that won't break the bank that will get me higher up? I figure I could pour a slab for stability and bolt the tower to it. I don't want to spend crazy money but I am unfamiliar with these things...

Thanks in advance
 
#16
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1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
ugh...I didn't know they made several types in that price range at radioshack. Didn't realize I got the wrong one.

What's the difference? I know the one I got say optimized for channels 7-69. .

Short of getting the other antenna is there a work around this? Do you think doubling the height will improve the reception?

I cut the cable/ satellite cord, but having to get the other antenna after paying over $100 for this one and $40-50 for the first one isn't making this very cost effective if I keep throwing money at this lol.
 
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1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
Ok...so channel 5 is on the low-V band and seems to be the only one like that in my list. If I get the tower and antenna higher up, what other things would I need to do to make sure that it's coming in clearly?

remember I'm new to this so be gentle...as soon as I click submit here I'm getting on google to do some research
 

1971camaroguy

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#19
Would something like this work in conjunction with the antenna I have?

AntennaCraft Lowband VHF Yagi TV Antenna Channels 2-6(Y5-2-6) from Solid Signal

I would stack it about 8 feet higher than the one I have on the same tower...so it would be essentially 58 feet or so in the air

I live on the outside edge of town limits in the "country" area. My neighbored in front of me has a horse and the older gentleman to the side of me has a huge ham radio tower....so it's not like I'm doing this in a high populated residential area. I'm on a acre size land
 
#20
I just about wanted to start ignoring your posts when I saw the photo of the antenna. Everyone here tried to make it clear that if you wanted to receive a low VHF real channel 5 signal that it would require a large antenna with low band VHF capability. Even then with the higher noise levels present at the lower frequency, and the signal not being line of sight it could be trouble some.
Yes the 5Y-2-6 would be a good choice for reception of channel 5. You will also need a HLSJ in order to correctly combine the signals. The HLSJ is a low demand item which will increase the likely hood of getting the wrong part. I see that it is listed as a ten pack, and a clearance item on the Solid Signal site.
Blonder Tongue Band Separator/Combiner VHF 10 Pack (ZHLSJ) from Solid Signal
No one wants to put up an antenna that is larger, or more complicated then what is needed, or spend more money then what is necessary in order to receive an acceptable signal. If I would have thought a HBU 55, or even a HBU 11 was the right antenna needed for your location I would have suggested it.
Three of us posting on this thread have also made mention that house hold electrical noise can be a real problem when low band VHF reception is needed, and the reduction of such noise might be necessary.
Steve
 

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