what is the best antenna for this location

Piggie

Super Moderator
#2
I would like to get an antenna that picks up long range, including the stations at 139 (104 to 170) and 333 degrees.
Here is the tvfool readout for this location. My current antenna looks approximately like this.

What might be a better or the best antenna for this location?

Thanks for all responses. :)
The stations around 104 should be easy to receive with about any antenna.

The ones at 170 that are possible are low power. KFLA-LP is probably strong enough you could pick it up.

Several of the stations at 140 would be possible also. The spread there is 66 degrees (between 104 and 170 degrees) and that is about the limit of most directional antennas. If you buy to big of antenna you would narrow the beam width enough you would probably have to turn it to go from the stations at 104 to 170.

But the stations at 333 are all behind a hill at 15 ft. Plus they farther away, but not that far (31 miles 1 edge is very doable).

However they are low enough signal at your house you have to turn your current antenna to receive them as you probably well know.

===

I would say, you probably already own an antenna that is well suited for your location.

But if the antenna has been up for a decade or more, you may need to do some routine maintenance. One thing to do is lower the antenna and inspect it for corrosion. If it looks really bad you may just need to replace it. If it's ok, then the next thing normally done is replace the balun (the thing that connects under the wingnuts on the antenna that allows a coax cable to be plugged into the antenna. Next you would want to replace any coax that was outside in the elements and might want to consider replacing all the coax. Be sure to use a high grade RG6 cable, quad shield being better and because it's more widely used often no more or cheaper than regular RG6. Also buy a name brand balun, such as Winegard or Channel Master. Most of us here like the Channel Master balun.

Do you have an amp at the antenna? If you don't know, is there something you plug into wall power you also plug in the coax from the antenna before it goes to any TV in house?

Also how many TVs do you have and about how far are they from your antenna.

If you were looking for one antenna to pick them all up without a rotator, it might be possible but it would be close and probably not receive consistently as many channels you would with something like you have with a rotator.
 
#3
Piggie, thanks for your response.

Yes, I have used an amplifier since the first couple of years.
The amp is a preamp located in the middle of the antenna, and plugged into the same tv strip.
I have not used a rotor.

I will definitely replace the coax. Can cat5 be used, or is that not for antennas?

I have one tv, located next to the fireplace. The coax is 25 to 30 feet.

If you were looking for one antenna to pick them all up without a rotator, it might be possible but it would be close and probably not receive consistently as many channels you would with something like you have with a rotator.
In that case I will gladly use a rotor.

- - - - -
History
I've used an antenna on the chimney here for the last 20 plus years. First with an old discarded antenna from a neighbor, which picked up 4 or 5 stations, some of them fuzzy. The addition of a RS amplifier improved this greatly to 9 stations. In addition, stations were being picked up from Mt. Wilson 140 miles away, which was quite encouraging. However, when I replaced the old falling apart antenna and twin lead with RG6 and a new one, the extra stations disappeared. All during this time the antenna was pointed SE with a guesstimate, which I had calculated from a map, and sighted to neighborhood landmarks from the roof.

The amplifier was replaced a few years ago, and I turned the antenna around to 333 degrees, again sighting to landmarks from the roof, with the help of the antennaweb map. Bingo, 19 stations! A few were duplicates, but reception was good, including PBS in either direction. The antenna is still pointed at ~333 degrees, but perhaps 139 would be better, with the help of the antennaweb map. With the advent of digital, a 1/2 dozen stations were lost. Some can be picked up with the converter off but not well. PBS never came in on the converter. The main 139 degree station did but since disappeared.
 
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Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#5
As far as PBS goes, you're probably going to have to wait. K16FC is still analog in San Luis Obispo. It's supposed to be converted to digital in the Spring. At that time, you'll likely gain 28-1 through 28-4.

- Trip
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#6
It's best to point at 333 and get the 100 to 170 stuff off the backside.

Do you have a mast mounted amplifier?

Im recommending the AntennaCraft 10G212.
 
#9
Summary
1a) The current antenna is well suited for this location;
b) replace the balun;
c) replace the antenna if badly corroded;
2) Replace all the coax with RG6 namebrand quadshield;
3) Use a rotor.

Questions
Is there anything better than RG6, such as cat5 cable?
Is replacement of the balun something I can do from the roof?
The antenna and preamp are ~10 years old. What is the lifespan of an amp?
What kind of a rotor would be good?

Thanks for all responses. :)
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#10
Is there anything better than RG6, such as cat5 cable?
No. Cat-5 is an 8-conductor cable; you'd have a difficult time at best trying to adapt the F-connectors used everywhere else, from antenna to tuner, to a cable like that. For another thing, it lacks the outer shielding that combats interference from electrical sources and non-TV signals. RG-11 and RG-59 coax may also be used. RG-6 gets recommended the most because it loses much less signal than RG-59 while costing much less than RG-11, making it ideal for just about all residential OTA DTV applications.

Is replacement of the balun something I can do from the roof?
Yes. It's attached to the two terminals on the antenna. Also known as a coax transformer, it adapts the coax cable to the terminals. Coax can't be directly connected to an antenna that isn't already fitted with a coax F-connector.

The antenna and preamp are ~10 years old. What is the lifespan of an amp?
It's really hard to say. It might last another decade or longer... or you might need to take the antenna down to replace it a month after you maintain the antenna and replace the cable and balun. It's worth replacing if you dread the prospect of having to go up on the roof a second time so quickly.

What kind of a rotor would be good?
Channel Master 9521a, with thrust bearing, gets the most frequent nods for residential TV work. Heavier-duty rotors are available from makers catering to amateur radio operators (aka "hams").
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#11
Rotor recommendations...

I recommend you look for a Channel Master Colorotor 9510A or a RadioShack 1225A or 1225B aka Archerotor....both made in the USA. They are almost always available on eBay. If not one should come up within a month. Expect to pay $40 to $60 for one. And get one with rotor control box (or else you will have to get one of those additionally). The newer Channel Master 9521A is made in China.

Or an Alliance U-100 or U-110, also made in USA.

There is also the CDE (or CDR or HyGain) TR-4 / AR-40 / TR-2....which are nice and US made as well.

But my favorite is the little Gemini Orbit 360 (OR360 OR-360) also made in USA.



Rotors are fun. Another solution would be to get an A/B switch and another antenna. Point one at 333 and another at 104 to 170, split the difference.
 
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Piggie

Super Moderator
#12
Well something went wrong. I had an answer, but it came up my security token was invalid. I could not hit back and recover my post.

I have to go to bed now and really not in the mood after that to type all that again tonight.

Maybe I will be in a better mood tomorrow. Dang, 20 minutes answering someone and bingo, good bye post.

argggggggggggggggggg

Basically I said buy a 7694P antenna if you want the channels 7-13 as well at 14-51, otherwise buy a HD9022. Both antennas either come with a new balun or don't need one.

Get a HDP-269 preamp, and use a rotor, EV has good suggestions. To bad you can't just buy a good rotor made in the USA anymore.

I suggest instead of making your own coax, unless you have a compression tool and good at it just buy them pre cut.

Solid Signal Custom Cable Lengths RG6 Quad Shielded with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors (SSCBLQ) - Solid Signal - SSCBLQ - - customer cables foot cable ft cable cut DGCBL DGCBL-1 DGCBL-2 DGCBL-3 DGCBL-4 DGCBL-5 DGCBL-6 DGCBL-7 DGCBL-8 DGCBL-9 D

You probably need two 5 feet pieces and one from the amp to inside.
you can get pr
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#14
I would ditch that amplifier....and replace it with something much better. You should be able to lower your noise floor by about 8 dB by doing so. Which in overly simplified (and technically wrong) terms, is like an 8 dB gain incrase from your antenna. The 1108 has noise figures into the 10 dB range.

I recommend the AntennaCraft 10G212, which has partially variable gain knob and FM Trap switch on/off, at the power supply box. Plus variable 20 dB to 30 dB gain on UHF/VHF.

For some reason you cant link FMFools like TVFools. I dont know why.
 
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#16
Thanks for all the feedback so far. I have a few more questions.

1) Rotor: The main channels are in almost opposite directions, at 333 and 139 degrees. I have been able to pick up in both directions well previously, including after the transition with no rotor. Since then 3.1 and 3.2 (139 degrees) have disappeared. I think this might be more due to noise than direction? as other stations like 38.1 .2 .3 (also 140 degrees) fragment and get no signal occasionally, and at most times have a perfect picture. When I happened to pick up Los Angeles (111 degrees) ~15 years ago, both 333 and 139 degrees came in well too. So I am wondering if noise is the main issue and if I would be fine with no rotor, as I would rather not have a rotor if possible.

2) Refector: How much does a reflector help in a single direction? Would removing it help to pick up both directions?

3) TV fool shows the same stations and strengths regardless of putting 10 or 30 feet as the height. This does not sound right, as there must be higher houses between me and the transmitters. Would a couple of additional feet make a difference, regardless the tv fool report?

4) I like the current antenna, except it is big, a bit heavy and cumbersome. If a smaller lighter antenna would pick up as well then that would be attractive. Most people seem to be using the bowtie antennas now. Might one of those compare with the range that I'm getting with this one? Also could I use one with no reflector?

5) I saw somewhere that an FM trap needs to be prior to the preamp, as otherwise the noise already becomes a factor. Is this the case and, if so, what would be a good FM trap to put in front of the preamp? I am wondering about this as sometimes an otherwise consistently good picture will have periods of time where it fragments. I wonder if this is due to either cell or fm frequency noise.

6) If I keep this antenna, would it help to cut down some of the longer elements? Thanks.
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#17
Your local FM transmissions shouldnt be too much of a problem, especially with an FM Trap integrated into your amplifier.

1. You can try it without a rotor first. It isnt too much more difficult to add a rotor later if what you get isnt satisfactory. I think you will do well with a fixed position antenna pointed at 333 off the backside, especially if you use an amplifier as well.

2. You almost definitely need reflectors if you are attempting 333.

3. Hard to tell. You would have to experiment, on site (as always). TVFool is a great tool, but its not the be all and end all of local reception variablity.

4. Yes, a bowtie would be excellent. You might lose 7,8, and 9 though. Although 7 & 8 are very doable with the right Bowtie antenna off the backside even with the reflector on(which is recommended), and you might even pick up 9. Trial & Error is the only way to know for sure.

5. Most good amplifiers have FM Traps (often switchable on/off) integrated into them. That is the best route to go, since you need to replace that awful amplifier you have.

6. Not really, and it would take a lot of experimentation with no gaurantee of improvement, and 100% guarantee of negative impact at some point. But I think there are better antennas to try.


EV's Antenna Recommendations in no particular order

AntennaCraft G1483 Vertically Stacked "8 Bay" Hoverman
Channel Master 4228A 8 Bay
Channel Master 4228HD 8 Bay
Kosmic Antennas SuperQuad 4 Bay

with an

AntennaCraft 10G212 Mast Mount Amplifier...

pointed at

333 degrees.

All of these have high gain on UHF plus some pretty respectable gain on VHF High. Its not yet established which has the best gain on VHF High, however the 2 Channel Masters and Kosmic SuperQuad are definitely better than the AntennaCraft G1483 by a good margin. TBallister will be doing a 3 way test with a spectrum analyzer soon, so we will have a much better idea.

Hope that helps...
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#18
One thing I forgot to mention, is that the AntennaCraft Vertical Stack "8 Bay" G1483 Hoverman has a lower Front to Back ratio than all of the others across most of the UHF spectrum. Quite a bit lower at the high end and on the extreme lower end.

So that may be the way to go...and that is why its on the short list. Especially if you dont value 7,8, & 9 highly. It will give you better gain from the rear stations 104 to 170.
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#19
If you order the Vertical Stack "8 Bay" AC G1483 Hoverman from Summit Source (which has the last of the supply of these discontinued antennas) I recommend that you request that the 50 ft of coax that comes with it ship in a different box. It will shift around in shipping and damage the antenna. Further, it doesnt ship with a balun, so you could request that they ditch the coax (especially if they charge you for the seperate shipping) and throw in some Channel Master outdoor baluns, which are the best available.

I deal with Summit Source on a regular basis and have been pleased with their service.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#20
PS - There is also a "16 Bay" version of the G1483, which is 4 of them tied together vertically and horizontally....if you are feeling it! Though it runs into the law of dimishing returns...and I think the Vertical Stack "8 Bay" will do you well....especially with the 10G212 amplifier.

Here is a short thread with lots of links to pics and specs of G1483 Hoverman versions.
 
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