Question: New guy looking to cut the cord-what do I need?

#1
Hi everyone-I jumped the gun a little and posted some questions about getting started in another subforum and got some good answers from n2rj and Fringe Reception, but I figured I would post the checklist from the sticky in this forum:

What is your primary objective (check the line applicable) :
I want as many as I can reasonably get

Main Assembly:
What kind of Terrestrial Antenna do you presently have:
None

Is the Antenna to be/or installed:
On top of your TV (same Room), Attic, Rooftop or Pole:
Pole mounted on chimney

If in Attic, Roof or outside separate Mast/Pole:
How high above ground is your Antenna installed/proposed:
30 ft

Do you have an Antenna Rotator:
None

Are you presently using a Pre-Amplifier:
None

Interior:
How many linear Cable feet is it between your Antenna and the most far TV:

80 ft

How many TV sets will be/are presently being used, on this system:
3

How many Splitters are in use in your system:
None

Are you using a Distribution Amplifier:
None

Additional Information:
Are you/do you plan to integrate Cable or Satellite Services with this system:

Possibly internet at some point

Is there anything else you would like to provide concerning construction, obstructions or geographical issues?
I am located 48 miles west of NYC TV transmitters, but there is a 400' high ridge 3 miles to the east that is directly in the path of the signal. There are also tall (60' +) trees in this area.

Here is my TV Fool report:
TV Fool

I have two TVs in the house currently and will be adding a third once our basement is finished. Right now I'm wasting about $130 a month on Dish Network. I'm hoping to be able to receive NYC TV from my location despite the challenging terrain but have no clue where to start as far as hardware. I am doing a lot of searching and reading but I'm having a tough time with the terminology. UHF/VHF, Pre-amp, etc...are pretty much greek to me right now, but I'll figure it out eventually. Basically if someone can give me a rundown of the hardware I need (antenna(s), cable, pre-amp (if applicable), tuner boxes (these are TVs from the early 2000s), etc...) to get started that would be great. Two suggestions I've gotten so far are the Winegard YA1713 and the 91XG from Antennas Direct.
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
Badfish,

Your questions will be reviewed over the next few days when the volunteer experts on this Forum stop by. This is a 3-day weekend. Please be patient.

Jim
 
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#3
Badfish,

Your questions will be reviewed over the next few days when the volunteer experts on this Forum stop by. This is a 3-day weekend. Please be patient.

Jim
Oh no rush, I just didn't realize until after my original post that there was a standard format for these types of questions so I thought it would be a good idea to fill it out in order to give a more complete picture of what I want to do. Please feel free to delete/move/combine the other thread, whatever you think is best. Sorry for initially bucking protocol and thanks for the info thus far :D
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#4
While I know you want NYC you may need to settle for Philly. Much more receivable signals. The only issue there is that you would need an all band (channel 2-51 VHF low, VHF high, and UHF) antenna since the ABC affiliate is on channel 6. More later, I've got to go now.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#5
Yep. I'm going to go out on a limb here after reading the details.

I'm not sure of an antenna yet, but it's got to be a pretty beefy all channel antenna. I'd go with a rotor since you want as many channels as possible, and a CM 7777 preamp as well since you're splitting to 3 TV sets.

We'll toss the choices for an antenna around here for the next few days and give you some suggestions.
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#6
BFish,

Pogi makes a very good point concerning the Rotator, but...

Just to get things going for you, I'd suggest just getting that AC 91XG up on the pole and pointed toward your Magnetic 215° azimuth and see how things looked. From that starting point, you can always add another Vhf Antenna, Rotator or Amp if it's necessary.

Or...
You could get something like an AntennaCraft HD1200 if you just wanted to use a single Antenna.
 
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#7
BFish,

Pogi makes a very good point concerning the Rotator, but...

Just to get things going for you, I'd suggest just getting that AC 91XG up on the pole and pointed toward your Magnetic 215° azimuth and see how things looked. From that starting point, you can always add another Vhf Antenna, Rotator or Amp if it's necessary.

Or...
You could get something like an AntennaCraft HD1200 if you just wanted to use a single Antenna.
Thanks-I've been reading voraciously over the weekend and am starting to grasp the concepts of the different frequencies, etc... It seems that between NY and Philadelphia, the stations are really all over the map, so multiple antennas or an "all-in-one" would be the way to go in terms of being able to have the largest selection. Is there any advantage to multiple antennas over one that does UHF/VHF High and Low? If I may make an analogy, I think of it in terms of an "all-in-one" screwdriver. It does a lot of different things reasonably well, but when it comes to something specialized (a certain size star bit that the "all-in-one" doesn't come with) only the right tool for the job will do. But maybe that's not the case with antennas? Another member mentioned that I would want a "death ray," meaning the highest gain antenna I could buy. Since I want to at least TRY to get NYC TV and since Philadelphia isn't exactly going to be a cakewalk (46 miles to the Philly transmitters, albeit much more favorable topopgraphy than NYC), should I just go with the most powerful antenna I can buy and see how that works without a pre-amp to start? As far as a pre-amp, if I do need one to tune into NYC/Philly TV, what about the handful of stations that are only about 25-30 miles away? They are the local NJ PBS affiliates so we would watch them from time to time, I would just worry about overloading the pre-amp/tuner since they're so close? Thanks again for all of the help and suggestions thus far-this an interesting challenge to undertake and I'm learning a lot.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
Is there any advantage to multiple antennas over one that does UHF/VHF High and Low?
the advantage to separate VHF and UHF antennas is that you could point them in different directions. Most combo antennas are just that: A UHF and a VHF antenna combined on one boom.

You may want to consider a fixed 8 bay bowtie antenna pointed south for your UHF channels, and a VHF antenna at about 90 degrees to get your VHFs - note how you have a cluster of VHFs there. A bowtie antenna has a wide beam that could probably sweep up most of your UHF channels. You could put up the UHF first, then add the VHF later.
 
#9
the advantage to separate VHF and UHF antennas is that you could point them in different directions. Most combo antennas are just that: A UHF and a VHF antenna combined on one boom.

You may want to consider a fixed 8 bay bowtie antenna pointed south for your UHF channels, and a VHF antenna at about 90 degrees to get your VHFs - note how you have a cluster of VHFs there. A bowtie antenna has a wide beam that could probably sweep up most of your UHF channels. You could put up the UHF first, then add the VHF later.
Got it-the bowties seem cheap enough so maybe if I don't do it right away I could still add one later if I left enough space on the mast. How far apart would they need to be? Also-I thought I'd mention that just this morning I noticed an antenna mounted on the neighbor's house two doors down pointed east (towards NYC). If I catch them outside this week I'll ask if they're using it and what they're getting in terms of channels.
 
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SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#10
BFish,

You're certainly thinking correctly here, but I'll add one thing...

When you refer to "the most powerful" Antenna (a combination VHF/UHF)...
Power equates to size, and those Combos can be very long (8' or more).
So, a consideration is room, do you have it, and that means in height or width.

If you go with two antennas, then you need some height, most separate their antennas by 4' or so.
And if it's up on a Mast, you may have to use Guy Wires to stabilize the assembly. If you go with a single large antenna and Rotator, then there may still be a need for Guys, plus the horizontal room needed to turn the Antenna. That's called "Turning Radius", and usually listed in the Antenna specs.

Ha, so what I'm doing is inserting yet another set of factors you must consider.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
Also-I thought I'd mention that just this morning I noticed an antenna mounted on the neighbor's house two doors down pointed east (towards NYC). If I catch them outside this week I'll ask if they're using it and what they're getting in terms of channels.
this is one of the BEST ways to find out what you can expect.
 
#12
BFish,

You're certainly thinking correctly here, but I'll add one thing...

When you refer to "the most powerful" Antenna (a combination VHF/UHF)...
Power equates to size, and those Combos can be very long (8' or more).
So, a consideration is room, do you have it, and that means in height or width.
I should. Just browsing around I see that the Winegard HD8200U is 14' long and 9' wide. I have a simple gable roof which the chimney the top of the masonry chimney clears by 3'. The only other obstruction up there is the chimney for the wood furnace (Stainless Steel Class A fixed to the side of the house) but since the antenna will be mounted at least 8' above the top of the masonry chimney that won't cause any issues. Honestly the biggest obstacle I see is my wife :D I think I better get the thing up on the roof and installed before she sees it, because looking at a 14' x 9' antenna on the ground might freak her out a little bit.

this is one of the BEST ways to find out what you can expect.
We'll see-I will say this: It's mounted rather low on the roof (maybe 3' above the peak) and the house (a few doors down) sits about 10' lower than my house due to the contour of the land. The antenna itself is not overly large either. Given what I know now about TV transmissions, antennas, etc...I would think that reception would be poor since it's pointed east toward the tougher stations to get, but who knows?
 
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SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#13
More information concerning a Rotator (if you are headed in that direction)

They basically make two types...
One that has it's own Power Supply Cable, and...
The other, who's power is supplied through the Coaxial Cable, shared with the Signal Reception.

Here's a Drawing which shows a Rotator Setup, though shown in the Attic...
.

.
I think in your case, snubbing the Rotor down and as close to the top of your Chimney would be most stable, letting the "upper" mast stick up.

Also note:
Use the Green and Violet wires for separate signal and power, and...
Use the Violet and Red for same Cable signal/power.

A suggestion on the Masting...
Ok, use heavy (Schedule 40) pipe below the Rotator, but...
Use standard steel Mast Tube above it. It's strong enough but lighter
that'll keep the total weight above the Rotator down as much as possible.
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#14
what about the handful of stations that are only about 25-30 miles away? They are the local NJ PBS affiliates so we would watch them from time to time, I would just worry about overloading the pre-amp/tuner since they're so close?
Even though they are relatively close they don't show up as strong on your TVfool. Probably because of obstructions. I don't think you will need to worry about overloading an amp. I do have to tell you that I've pulled in 15 kw low power stations from 48 miles away that don't even show up on my tvfool with a relatively small antenna. Until your able to do some real world experimenting there is no way to know for sure what you can get. You might want to build a simple 2 bay or a Single Bay Gray-Hoverman Antenna and do some signal "sniffing." That of course works better if you have a portable TV you can get up on the roof or where ever. Or, you can run some cable down to the ground where you can see.

It also helps if your TV or converter box has a signal strength meter on it. The most useful one I've seen is on a RCA DTA800 converter box. My 37" Vizio doesn't have one at all. Digital Stream converter boxes aren't bad, but the signal meter on the Magnavox converter boxes is completely worthless for aiming an antenna. One thing that OTA TV drastically lacks right now are knowledgable installation professionals with good tools. Or even good, reasonably priced, and readily available tools.
 
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