What are realistic expectations if I cut the cord? Bellevue, WA


TV Fool Report:

Hello all. I am interested in cutting the cable and setting up an OTA antenna, but I wanted to scope if this is a reasonable task for me to undertake given my location. I find the vast amount of options overwhelming and my common sense tells me to temper my expectations. I live in Bellevue, WA surrounded by trees and in the shadow of a small hill.

Structure: One story home
Preferred location: Attic
Realistic location: Chimney, so long as it isn't huge (wife won't go for a 10' antenna)
- If a 10' antenna is what I need, I'd rather know than get something that won't work well.

Primary Goal: Major networks in HD, PBS, & CW
Pipe-dream goal: KVOS

TV Setup:
TVs: 1x2011 panasonic w/built-in tuner
Splitters: 1 (so I can use existing wires into house)
Cable length: no clue.
Other: Suggestions for a good DVR?

Bottom line questions:
1: Can I reasonably expect to get clear consistent HD signal of networks/pbs/cw with the right setup?
2: What is that setup?
3: Is this actually a DIY project, or does anyone know a good installer in the area? I'm handy, but if paying someone will get me a better & consistent signal.

Thank you for any help/advice! I'm excited by this idea, but I'm nervous of investing time and money to get static.

Have a good day.

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
:welcome: CPyay!

Hi, neighbor! Forget about using an attic antenna or ever receiving KVOS-12 (35) unless you establish a very high antenna tower. In your location antenna height may be critical -- can you go 5 or 10 feet higher (outdoors)? Even a foot or two change in elevation can make a big difference.

Can you put an antenna outdoors higher than 20 feet above ground?

Jim (Seattle)
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Hello to you too neighbor!

Thank you for your help Jim. I expected that would be the answer for both the attic and station.

I don't really know how high I can go to be honest. I based my original 20' on an eyeball estimate of a single story home + chimney.

I can't imagine I wouldn't be able to add 5' with a pole. I doubt I could do a 10' mast on top of the chimney without some objection though.

In case it helps, the tvfool report at 25' looks like this:

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member

I would try a VHF-high band / UHF band combination Yagi such as a Winegard HD7694P aimed west to receive the Seattle and Capitol Hill transmitters. Do to the design of Yagi antennas, you might get lucky and capture stations from your ESE (Tiger Mountain) as well.

You said there might be an objection to putting an antenna outdoors which suggests you may live in an area with an HOA. However, Federal Law trumps Home Owners Association rules and allow you to install one outdoor antenna. Here is a link to the FCC page that explains (scroll down): https://www.fcc.gov/media/over-air-reception-devices-rule

Good luck and please keep us posted.



Excellent! Thank you Jim.

The objection I mentioned is actually my wife. Thankfully I don't have any HOA headaches. I've talked her into being open to an antenna on the roof, but she will need more convincing to go to one of the 110" antennas. If only the FCC had something to help me with that conversation. :)

The Winegard HD7694P looks like a great option. I'm excited to get one ordered and hopefully be free from cable. Are my hopes realistic to be able to consistently get the networks, or is that only realistic with a larger antenna (if I need to convince the wife, I'll find a way)?

Have a good day!

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member

I checked on our local Craigslist and there is a 4-Bay 'screen-type' UHF antenna for sale in Samammish for thirty bucks: make an offer. Although not intended for high-band VHF reception, it might capture channels 9 and 11 and should grab the UHF channels to your West. You could buy it and test it, and if it doesn't do the job for you put it back on Craigslist for sale. I've bought and sold about a dozen antennas there, so there is a small market.



PS This antennas' design blocks signals from its back-side, so odds are the stations to your ESE will not be received when this antenna is aimed West.
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Hi Jim,

Sorry for reviving a long-dead post. I wanted to come back and thank you and give you initial results. Work got crazy and I finally had a chance this last weekend to setup the 4-bay antenna.

The results were better than I expected. I receive most of the major networks (NBC being the exception) and their substations. The odd part is that I get the best signal from the networks pointing the antenna in almost the opposite direction (for example, I get ABC/KOMO and CBS/KIRO by pointing the antenna towards Cougar mountain – around 140 degrees when the towers are at 279). The signal strength jumps all over the place according to my tv’s internal ‘signal strength’ measurements, but the picture is consistent.

I’m first going to try moving the antenna to a new location on the roof this weekend. Assuming that doesn’t work, I’ll order the Winegard you suggested.

Thank you!

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
Welcome back, CPyay!

Please keep in mind that your TV set's onboard signal meter does not measure signal strength, even if the screen says it does: it measures signal quality as in the relative error count in a stream of digital information. A perfect stream of data, no matter how weak or strong the signal may be, will indicate 100. Low numbers do not indicate low signal strength, they indicate a damaged data stream that is confusing your tuner.

Like you, I also have had problems receiving KING-5 (48) and I discovered my first solution by accident: instead of aiming my antenna toward the QA Tower, I aimed it toward downtown Seattle and captured a clean signal reflection off of a skyscraper. The signal is 45 degrees off-axis, so what you are experiencing is not unheard of. I must add, that clean signal is present within a very narrow 16" height window about 12 feet above my roof: if the antenna is higher or lower, my TV does not 'see' the signal and I get a black screen (in fact, there's plenty of signal but its confused data).

Yes, per your last sentence: move your antenna up-down-right-left-forward-backwards and rescan every time you move it. Keep a scanning record so you know where the antenna captured specific channels in case you lose some in different antenna locations. It is time consuming but worth the effort.

Good luck and please keep us posted!

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