Question: Need Indoor Antenna Suggestions, please.


Hi all. First, thanks for the tons of great info here in these forums. I have read a number of reviews and while some of the tech talk is a bit beyond me, the discussions have helped a great deal. At least now I feel I know enough to ask the right question. I am trying to improve the stability of our signals for local channels and am looking for a good indoor antenna.

First, our location and TVFool info: TV Fool

I only care about picking up the local PBS/ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox, all of which are listed >50 NM(db). Most of those signals lie at 65-72 deg, except PBS, which is at 21 deg.

We have an hdtv hooked up to a media-pc (win7 with an ATI TV Wonder HDTV tuner). I have the Y-shaped floppy wire antenna (whatever it's called) that came with the tuner and an old RadioShack amplified indoor antenna that seems to be very well reviewed (cat no 15-1880).

Ok, so using the wire antenna that came with the tuner (which I presume is crap) we get all the basic channels, but they tend to be unstable. A little bad weather and abc or nbc cut in and out. Olympics coverage (nbc) was so-so, but Oscars coverage (abc) was horrible. So, we tried the RadioShack 1880 we have and wow, the signals got MUCH worse across all the channels. We lost a ton of channels and what we had was terribly unstable. Using the info from TVFool and AntennaWeb, with a good digital compass, we tried a number of different orientations and gain settings on the built-in amplifier, but honestly nothing was even remotely as good as just the plain cheap wire. Lower gain seems to produce a better signal than higher gain, but turning the amp off completely kills the signals. Meanwhile, if I use that plain wire, it does a much better job than the RS-1880. In fact, it seemed like playing with the 1880 that the signal for one channel could be fair, but then if I turned up the amp just a little, it would drop to terrible. If I could lock in a couple channels, I lost all the others, etc.

So, now we are trying to figure out two things: 1. Why the 1880 produces such terrible results for us, and, 2. What antenna should we buy to help really lock in those channels. It seems we are in a great location for the channels we want to receive, so maybe we need an unamplified plain antenna? Anyway, whatever it is, we want a solution we can install and forget about it (no fiddling with it every time we change channels) and that will cost us under $50. I was looking at the DB2 and the FV-HD30, as I think I could mount either in the window behind a heavy curtain, about 7' above ground level, (esp. the FV), but maybe they are overkill?

Any advice is much appreciated. I would blame the tuner card, but the almost-good reception with the plain wire gives me hope.


Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Welcome, great informative question,

1.) The RS 1880's amplifier is being overloaded by the strong signals. That is why it is doing poorly. When you turn off the amplifier, the amplifier circuitry acts as a signal attenuator so its even worse.

2.) Regular Rabbit Ears and Loop would work well ....and probably be a better overall solution because of that Ch. 8 VHF High ABC and Ch. 10 NBC.

What building materials does your home consist of? Brick, Stucco, Wood Fram and Vinyl Siding? How about the roof too?


Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
You have stations at all 4 cardinal points more or less.

Perhaps one of the vintage antennas that have dual loops would be best for you. Check one example out here.


Thanks for the feedback. I had a suspicion the amplifier was overloading the tuner card. Our house is brick, 1940s construction I think, with the cheap asphalt/tar shingling roofing. It's a rental so we are obligated to indoor antennas / stuff we can mount inside. However the room with the TV has four 6 foot x 3 foot windows. Would the rabbit ears and loop be better than something like the FV-HD30 in our situation?


Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
Are the windows all facing one direction? Which directions are the windows facing?

A Rabbit Ears and Loop would be better than the Winegard FreeVision.

However that brick is a problem. You can overcome brick by getting in a window, however you have transmissions from multiple directions.


Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
You dont have to extend the Rabbit Ears out all the way either. Extend the rabbit ears out 15" per side, inline with the loop, and positioned horizontal to the ground, aimed perpendicular to the windows.

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Thanks for all the help and advice. I will see about grabbing some cable to move the wire antenna to the window and what that does. If that doesn't solve it, I can nab an RCA ANT111 for free, so will try that.

I'll report back on how things turn out.

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