Total Newbie Updates quest to get a rooftop antenna

Grumbles

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hey guys, just thought I would give everyone an update to my thread (here http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...total-newbie-looking-get-rooftop-antenna.html). I ended up going with Don's suggestion of a 2 antenna solution. I picked up an old channel master (the model replaced by 4221hd) and an antenna craft Y5-7-13. I have been trying to decide what sort of mount and how to go about it, decided on the rooftop tripod. I have been hesitant to install everything (don't even have mast or tripod yet) because I was nervous and I finally broke down and decided to call a local antenna supplier/installer to see what it would cost me to get it installed if I already had the equipment. Turns out, it is only 35 bucks an hour to get it put in. He is going to provide tripod and mast (I may go around this weekend to see if I can find a cheap mast-- it seems like they are either 8 bucks or 30 with no clear difference from what I can tell), I am guessing another 60-70 bucks on this stuff. At this point, seems like a nobrainer-- the installation through the roof and drilling coax into the house etc is something I don't wnat to mess up. Seems to me installation isn't the place to skimp... Anyway, he will be in on Tuesday-- I will let you know how it all turns out!
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#2
I still like eave mounting with the pole going all the way to the ground. Unless the antenna (not in your case) is so light it can be just mounting on a short mast to the eave.

Tripods can get them higher in the air.

I will be waiting with bait on my breath..... Good luck! :)
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#4
Hey Grumbles, if you dont't mind, would you please ask the installer if the antenna business is up lately?

I think a lot of us would like to know.

Thanks.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#5
I can tell you that if you ordered wholesale from Winegard right now, there is a 3 month delay in delivery. The only reason we are able to buy antennas right now are the big box internet houses have huge stocks of them.

How busy antenna installers are though is interesting. So many of the antennas from my perspective are being sold to DYI types.
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#6
Hey Grumbles, if you dont't mind, would you please ask the installer if the antenna business is up lately?

I think a lot of us would like to know.

Thanks.
I can tell you that if you ordered wholesale from Winegard right now, there is a 3 month delay in delivery. The only reason we are able to buy antennas right now are the big box internet houses have huge stocks of them.

How busy antenna installers are though is interesting. So many of the antennas from my perspective are being sold to DYI types.
We had a antenna installer visiting the forum a few months back, albeit a rude one, but he had claimed that business was very slow. Not sure if it was a result of the economy or his mannerisms though.
 

Grumbles

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Hey Grumbles, if you dont't mind, would you please ask the installer if the antenna business is up lately?

I think a lot of us would like to know.

Thanks.
I did ask him, and he said that they had been pretty busy. I am not sure if that is there is big business for installation, or if he is just one of the few people doing them. All in all, it took FOREVER for it to get put up. Original appointment was a week ago last Tuesday, but it was raining. Pushed back a day to Wednesday, he had others in front of me in line. Yadayadyada, it got put up on Tuesday of this week. As I said before, I had him selling me the mast and tripod; came in on the high side-- ~$75. Not too much more than anticipated. Here is where it gets interesting.

I had asked him, what does it cost for installation and how long should it take. He said $35 an hour, and should take about an hour. What he meant was, it is $35 per MAN hour-- 2 guys equals $75 an hour-- and by "about an hour" meant, 2 and a half hours. He only charged me for 2 even, but still it was 140 instead of 35ish. On top of that, when he mounted it he didn't take off the reflector screen and he pointed it in the direction of Fox (opposite of the other 4 stations)... To be fair, my wife gave him my instructions and she wasn't clear on what I had wanted. But, this meant that I have the 2 antennas mounted about 8 inches from each other with the screen on facing the wrong direction! :duh: Needless to say, that it was "iffy" on Tuesday night and my wife was ... ************ED that it cost about about a hundred more than she was thinking it was going to cost.

Anyway, I called him back yesterday, explained why I wanted to reflector off (to get both directions to get all the channels) and was clear that i needed him to come back. He ended up dropping by yesterday, took the screen off, but did not put any more distance between the two antennas. End result, sitting between 90-100% for ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and PBS. NBC is sitting around 60%, but not cracking up.

Definitely, would do some of the steps differently to reduce cost if I were doing it again, but I am very happy with the signal strength and picture quality at this point. Now, just wait until winter when the weather gets horrible and we will see..

Thanks for all the help guys, made things much easier for me. :drinks:
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#8
Sorry to hear that the installer turned out to be a dud... and a very expensive one, at that. For what he charged, perhaps you might wish to consider insisting that he return a second time and put proper distance between the antennas. In this case, it's a minimum of three feet. Maybe that'll make him do a better job for the next guy!
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#9
Thanks for the heads up, Grumbles.

Yes $75 for a mast mount hardware down here too. A friend of mine just had DirecTV dish installed.

If you have any trees about, your reception should improve after the leaves fall this winter.
 

Grumbles

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
Sorry to hear that the installer turned out to be a dud... and a very expensive one, at that. For what he charged, perhaps you might wish to consider insisting that he return a second time and put proper distance between the antennas. In this case, it's a minimum of three feet. Maybe that'll make him do a better job for the next guy!
I may just do that myself; frankly I just don't want to deal with the hassle. The tripod and wiring was what I was hoping to avoid. At this point, he has the mast with the bay antenna mounted on the side and the yagi on the very top. I am thinking that I may be able to get more distance if I unhook the bay antenna, move the yagi down and then use the alternate mount setup (using the bay antenna mast as an extension of the actual mast-- if that makes sense). It may not be the full 3 feet, but should be at least 2. Only issue would be whether or not there is enough coax between the 2 to make the additional space.

looking at my fool, is there any reason why all the stations should be getting very strong signals except for NBC? Is the issue that it isn't pointing in the right direction to get a strong NBC signal?
TV Fool

Also, Don, if you don't mind reviewing, what is the reason for the spacing between the two antennas? I know that there is some interference, but if all the other stations are at 90-100%, would that show the interference isn't an issue?
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#11
Minimum spacing prevents the antennas from interacting with each other in ways that impact reception, usually not for the better. Spacing is a function of the wavelength of the lowest receivable channel. In your case, that's channel 13, which has a midpoint wavelength of 56 inches. Proper spacing on a single mast is between one-half of a wavelength and a full wavelength. So, ideal spacing for your market is more than 28 inches, but less than 56 inches. Two feet would be OK, too, if that's the only practical solution available.

You've got an excellent idea for moving the antennas around. Your description points out yet another error the guy committed: The UHF bay antenna belongs above the VHF Yagi, anyway! Now I understand why you'd rather just get it done yourself. As for the coax wiring, you can extend cable(s) if need be with a barrel connector, available at Radio Shack and hardware stores for a couple of bucks each:



Doing this won't degrade reception noticeably. Just be sure to seal the splice against the elements to keep moisture out.

As for the signal strength on NBC: It's the farthest north of the northwest group of stations, but it's not a significant difference on a reflector-less 4-bay. Raising the 4-bay to the top of the mast may help. Even if it doesn't, the difference between a 60-percent signal level and a 100-percent level isn't as big as it sounds as long as the 60-percent signal never drops out.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#12
You could swing the UHF antenna a bit more North Westish, but you have to concern yourself with the Fox 14 at 100 degrees as well. So it will be a tradeoff between those 2 stations.

I wonder if the installers hunted for a hot spot?

Probably not since they put the VHF over the UHF and improperly spaced.
 

Grumbles

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
As for the signal strength on NBC: It's the farthest north of the northwest group of stations, but it's not a significant difference on a reflector-less 4-bay. Raising the 4-bay to the top of the mast may help. Even if it doesn't, the difference between a 60-percent signal level and a 100-percent level isn't as big as it sounds as long as the 60-percent signal never drops out.
Gotcha on the level difference, really i could care less what the number is if the reception would quit dropping off... So, is there usually a clear solution on preventing drops?

I will have to go up tomorrow and see what I can do with it, I hope I can do the adjustments with a minimal amount of disassembly...
 

Grumbles

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#14
You could swing the UHF antenna a bit more North Westish, but you have to concern yourself with the Fox 14 at 100 degrees as well. So it will be a tradeoff between those 2 stations.

I wonder if the installers hunted for a hot spot?

Probably not since they put the VHF over the UHF and improperly spaced.
If I were to adjust it, I would have to just split the difference between fox and nbc to get the best of both I suppose...
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#15
Gotcha on the level difference, really i could care less what the number is if the reception would quit dropping off... So, is there usually a clear solution on preventing drops?
Proper spacing and verifying the aim should help. Putting the UHF antenna on top would add a few feet; greater height usually improves reception of UHF stations like that one.

EV's suggestion is a good one: A northwest/southeast orientation will probably be the sweet spot for the UHF antenna. That's 15 degrees of arc to the north of where the VHF Yagi should be pointing. To be sure, though, bring a cell phone (or a cordless with intercom feature) when you go up to the roof to do the final aiming; have your better half or one of your older kids sit in front of the TV; and call them. Tune in to the NBC station since it seems to be your toughest "get." Each time you make a fine adjustment, back away at least 10 feet (so that your presence doesn't influence the antennas, for better or worse), and then have your "reporter" read the signal-level meter. You're finished aiming once you've obtained the highest meter level possible for NBC. If dropouts start cropping up on other channels, don't be afraid to move the UHF antenna up and down the mast slightly. Mere inches can sometimes make a huge difference!
 

Grumbles

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
Went up on Sunday and messed around with everything. Moved the bay antenna on top, moved the yagi down. At this point, I am just hoping it all stays together... The only "problem" was the gasket that covers the cable connection on the bay antenna wasn't totally tight, but it was mostly covered... I hope it stays weather proof enough-- if I get too worried I will get a tall friend who can get a better reach on it to mess with it... The yagi has no weather protection at all at this point, so that is another concern. But anyway, the good news...

After moving things around and re-aiming, I was able to get NBC into the 70s/occasional 80s. Fox is hovering around 88, so that is fine. All the other stations are mid-to-high nineties. At this point, besides the weather seal issues, it all looks good.

Btw-I have to say that getting back onto the ladder from the roof by blindly backing up and feeling around for the ladder with your foot is somewhat terrifying... That said, everyone made it out in one piece...
 

Similar threads

Top