Question: NYC apartment: use the the existing Direct TV mast/dish and coax?

Forgive the lack of expertise in my questions. I read as many of previous posts as I could, but am still a bit confused (I can wire up a lamp, and do basic/percussive maintenance on some appliances, but I am no electronics wizard).

Following up similar questions about using an unused direct tv dish or at least the mast to bolt an OTA antenna to.

Here's my tvfool report, based on an antenna on the wall inside my very-boxed in NYC apartment:

TV Fool

Here's my tvfool report, based on height of the unused Direct tv Dish on my roof:

TV Fool

I live in a back, 4th floor apartment in a 6 story building in Manhattan (N. UES), with no windows facing south, the direction where the majority of HD broadcast antennas are broadcasting from (currently 4 miles from me, eventually 7-8 miles from me).

I tried a low budget RCA flat multi HD antenna on multiple walls in the room with the DTV in it, and it picked up nothing.

Putting anyone's indoor/ outdoor antenna out my side/ west facing window is going to be a pita and as above, my window faces 90° from the direction that majority of NYCs antennas are coming from, and the window is well shaded from the open sky by adjacent buildings.

The good news is I still have my old direct tv dish mount up on our apt. buildings roof, and it is still wired back to the room I have my DTV in... The run is approximately 80'...if my guesstimating is off, can't be more than 100'. The unused dish / mast does face a 15-20 story building approx 75' away to the south, and course that building is between the old dish / mast and the broadcasters antennae, but at least the old dish is in the open air in the roof, as opposed to so heavily shielded as in the west window.

If I get a inexpensive powered antenna like

HDTV Indoor / Outdoor Antenna w/ Low Noise Amplifier -

where the power is boosted to the connector going into the back of my HDTV, and attach the antenna to the coax still on the old Dish mast, should this work? Do I need to make sure the Dish mast is still grounded, or does the power connector ground it?

Thanks so much in advance for any assistance. Very grateful to be off direct tv!
Last edited:
There are two questions I would have about your attempt at indoor reception. Did you scan for air, or antenna channels? Scanning for cable channels is a common mistake. Is the television newer than 2007? The building your in or surrounding buildings could certainly be blocking all signal. The only way to know if the roof top dish location will work is to try. The coax going to the dish should work fine. While I am not familiar with Direct TV hardware others have had trouble with in line multi-switches left from satellite installations not passing OTA signal. They need to be replaced with simple barrel connectors. There are probably better choices in low cost antennas to replace the dish. Here are a couple that come to mind.
AntennaCraft High-Band VHF/UHF Outdoor HDTV Antenna (HBU11) from Solid Signal
Stellar Labs VHF/UHF HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Yagi Antenna | 30-2440 (302440) | Stellar Labs
With near by buildings the problem is going to be finding out if there is actually enough signal at the antenna location. As strong as the signals are predicted to be by your TV fool report there should be.


Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
Do what Steve said first... and In have a few questions and suggestions.

First, is that RCA antenna you have amplified? If not, try connecting it to the coax on the dish mount, and point S/SE. See if there is a multiswitch in the line anywhere and replace it with a barrel connector (you can buy one at Radio Shack). Then scan for channels. You may want to try pointing to the NE also - there is a cluster of channels there that looks promising. Let us know how that turns out.

If that works, you will need an antenna that gets VHF as well as UHF. Flat panel antennas do not get VHF. I suggest the Stellar Labs 30-2440. The Antennacraft is a good second choice. DO NOT USE ANY AMPLIFIER! Your signals should be plenty strong, and there's a chance you could overload your tuner if you amplify.