Which antenna and pre-amp? (Benicia, CA) - review my TVFool results plz?

jbrams

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
We just moved to Benicia, California and are looking to get an antenna mounted on our roof because the indoor reception is miserable.

Here's a link to our TV Fool report

My current antenna is a two bow tie sale item from Radio Shack (bow ties are not wires but solid pieces of metal that look like bow ties - not sure that's the same). With this antenna mounted on stand in my backyard facing South I get several channels, mostly with very limited power signals.

I am not sure if I will need a pre-amp (like the Channel Master 7777).

There are channels to our North East (Sacramento area) and to our South (San Francisco area) - there is a tall hill the the East so the San Francisco channels are the most likely suspects for reception.

There are 3 VHF channels (so I would need a UHF and VHF capable antenna as two of the three are major network channels):
KGO-TV (7.1)
KNTV-TV (11.1)
KTVJ-LP (36.1)

Of the remaining channels, our priority and major network channels are:
Priority channels:2.1 (Fox), 5.1 (CBS), 7.1 (ABC), 9.1 (PBS), 11.1 (NBC), 44.1 (CW)
Lower priority: 4.1 (KRON), 20.1 (KOFY), and 36.1

Of those, channel 45 (44.1 - the CW) and 12 (11.1 - NBC) are the lowest signal strength at 0.4dB.

I would like to get a pannel/bow-tie type antenna but I understand that it wouldn't likely pick the three VHF channels. That leaves me with the Antennacraft HBU or Winegard HD769xP family of antennas.

They come in various sizes and I'd like to use the smallest version possible to avoid troubling the neighbors. Therefore, I'm hoping the HD7694P (with it's 65" boom) will be sufficient ... the 7695 is 90", the 7697 is 131".

The current plan (open to suggestion!!!):
Chimney mount on a 5' mast the
Winegard HD7694P
channel master 7777
pre-amp (or something different like the Winegard AP-8700 U/V?)

Does that seem like it would cut it?
What other parts would I need to buy (grounding parts/wire? more?)
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#2
The Convential Wisdom would be a VHF Low/VHF High/UHF Combo Yagi....like the Winegard 7082p or the Channel Master 3671.

However I think the Channel Master 4228HD and the Kosmic Superquad would do you well.

Add an AntennaCraft 10G212 Amplifier.

Point it South.


If you would like to get the stuff at 70 degrees, then you will need either a rotor or another antenna with the same configuration on an A/B switch.
 
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Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#3
:welcome:

Let's tackle the easy part of this first: The CM 7777 pre-amplifier is the better bet. Minimizing pre-amp noise becomes increasingly essential as signals get weaker, and you're looking to get a high number of weak signals (as if you didn't already know that!). While the AP-8700 is a quality product, the 7777 is the low-noise winner among fairly inexpensive pre-amps; you'd need to spend three times as much on an imported amplifier to get a significantly lower noise figure.

You'll need a larger antenna than an HD-7694 if you want interruption-free reception of the San Francisco network affiliates and KTVJ-LP 36.1, for two reasons:

• Size matters. As a very general rule, the bigger/longer the antenna, the more gain it offers. That "signal strength" of 0.4 dB you cited is actually an inverse measurement called noise margin. A zero noise margin is the theoretical point at which TV reception drops off the famed "digital cliff." In practice, reliable reception calls for a minimum of 10 dB over noise margin -- particularly where you're behind two ridges (those "2-edge" notations) with respect to the S.F. signals. That means every station in the TVFool list from KPIX 5.1 (CBS) on down can be considered "marginal." Antenna gain is added to the noise margin; the higher the gain, the larger the safety cushion for handling adverse weather/atmospheric conditions. A 10-dB-gain antenna such as the HD-7694 won't offer you much of a safety cushion; you'd be better off with a 12- to 13-dB model such as an HD-7696 or HD-7697. BUT:

• The 769x- and HBU-series antennas are designed to receive channels 7-69. Despite its display channel, 36.1, KTVJ actually broadcasts on channel 4. While a 7-69 antenna could receive its signal at least some of the time, reliability would be an issue at others. So, Winegard's HD-7082 or HD-7084 antennas, built for channel 2-69, would be better choices. (They're the same antennas as the 7696 and 7697, but with the wider rear elements needed for channels 2-6. The equivalent 2-69 AntennaCraft models can't be recommended because they're more expensive than the 708x-series models, they offer less gain and they're not as durable.)

You'll also need a RG-6 coaxial cable, a chimney mount, mast, grounding wire, coax grounding block, and a grounding rod. Check local local home centers or electronics stores as shipping these heavy/bulky items tends to be very costly.

Finally, concerning "the neighbors:" You have a right to erect an outdoor antenna on property you own that's big enough to receive "acceptable-quality signals." This is covered in the FCC's Over The Air Reception Devices rule. There's simply no way smaller antennas than these will provide near-glitch-free reception at your location.

PS: Thanks for doing your "homework" first. You've done a lot of studying before seeking advice, and it shows.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#4
I think absolute power levels (on an amplifier) will be beneficial to jbrams (especially on VHF). So I recommend the AntennaCraft 10G212 amplifier over the Channel Master 7777.
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#5
Note, you only have one VHF Low and its your strongest station. I think that a 7-69 antenna will do you fine.

So that makes the Choice between the N-Bays (CM 4228HD & Kosmic SuperQuad) or the Combo Yagis (Winegard 76** series or AntennaCraft HBU series).

The 2 N-Bays listed there have pretty respectable gain on VHF High, only slightly less than the big Winegard 76** series antennas....and are considerably smaller, if HOA or neighbors become a concern. The Kosmic SuperQuad is the smallest and it also has slightly superior gain on UHF to the 8 Bay CM 4228HD...and near equal gain on VHF High.
 

jbrams

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
Note, you only have one VHF Low and its your strongest station. I think that a 7-69 antenna will do you fine.
I am very interested in using a "bow tie" type antenna out of consideration for neighbors' views (though no HOA or other limits). I thought I would not be able to because there are three VHF channels which, I've been told, a "bow tie" antenna would not receive.

However, I have been able to pick up channel 4 with my current "bow tie" antenna which I got from Radio Shack) just sitting on a chair in my back yard. I'm sure the much more substantial 4228HD would be able to pick it up consistently especially from a better placement (chimney mount = extra 20' up).

I was resigned to getting an non-bowtie type antenna (like the HD769X series) but would much rather get a bow tie type like the Channel Master 4228HD, Tune-a-tenna, or another similar antenna.

I had not heard of the Tune-a-tenna / kosmic superquad, very interesting. Basically only available on eBay for $70 after shipping from what I see ... is that right?

I initially was considering a Clearstream4 C4 antenna which seems very well reviewed and would be an acceptable choice ... except for channel 4 (display 36.1 - which is not a priority channel for me regardless). Would that be sufficient or is something along the lines (and size) of the Channel Master 4228HD a much better choice? (I'm guessing the 4228 will be the answer, but it doesn't hurt to ask right?)

I have seen some reviews and comments that the "HD" version of the 4228 is inferior to the non-HD model ... are you aware of any truth to those claims/comments? The most details I could locate were here on HDTVPrimer. That would actually seem better for my situation as the gain on the lower spectrum channels is higher than the old 4228HD, right?

Summary of the suggestions that should be everything I need to be in action (with the risk of not picking up channel 4 (36.1):
Antenna:
Pre-Amp:
Various parts:
~30' of RG-6 coaxial cable ($15 at Ace)​
Chimney mount ($15 at Ace)​
5' mast ($15 at Ace)​
grounding wire ($10?)​
grounding rod ($??)​
coax grounding block ($??)​

Total: $190 give or take

Does that sound right? Am I missing anything or should I just order and get it over with?
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#7
The ClearStream 4 does not have the VHF High gain that the Channel Master 4228HD and the Kosmic SuperQuad have (also the AntennaCraft U 8000). So those antennas are better for you.

Yes, I am the maker and the seller of the Kosmic SuperQuad, it ships for $70, and is better made than the Chinese made Channel Master 4228HD....and avoids the harness problems. The SuperQuad is built with materials and design similar to the old discontinued American Made Channel Master 4228A. Performance between the Channel Master 4228HD and old discontinued 4228A is very similar....any mystery concerning that will be dispelled in a spectrum analyzer A/B test with the CM 4228HD, CM 4228A, and Kosmic SuperQuad coming up in the next month or so at AntennaHacks.com.

Furthermore, I really think that the AntennaCraft 10G212 amplifier is better for your situation (over the Channel Master 7777) and its also cheaper.

A fellow in Olympia just emailed me, stating that the Kosmic SuperQuad was a better performer and better built than the Channel Master 4228HD that it replaced.

I realize that Channel Master has the name recognition and lots more information on it as they are one of the longtime big antenna brands in the US. However, I dont think you would be disappointed in the Kosmic SuperQuad if you gave it a shot.

Either one is a very good choice for your needs and wants.


PS - You will almost Certainly pick up Channel 4 with either one of these antennas combined with an amplifier.

PPS - The HDTVprimer is a great site, but take those computer modeling gain numbers with a grain of salt. Modeling software doesnt always pan out to real world performance and its also only as good as the model maker (the input data). Im not poo pooing the site, its a great highly informative with vast amounts of quality information. Its just that some of the modeling is known to be off....Winegard YA 1713, Winegard HD 8800, and Channel Master 4228HD....so take it with a grain of salt.

AntennaHacks T. Ballister tested the Channel Master 4228HD and it is almost the equal of the Winegard 7698p on VHF High. You can see that here....scroll down to post #34....these are real world results not computer models.
 

jbrams

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#9
Yes, I am the maker and the seller of the Kosmic SuperQuad, it ships for $70
Ah! I didn't realize I was dealing with the source until after I posted and saw your username for the Kosmic SuperQuad post on the forum.

Furthermore, I really think that the AntennaCraft 10G212 amplifier is better for your situation (over the Channel Master 7777) and its also cheaper.
Sounds good to me - keeping this cheap is the priority!
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#11
I usually keep 2 going at a time. Another one will be listed in a couple of hours.

A listing will always be available, so when you are ready to purchase.

Search Kosmic Antenna.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#12
Note: The gain curve shown for the Kosmic SuperQuad on VHF is low balled. Its performance is near the CM 4228HD on VHF High. The Spectrum Analyzer test coming up will verify shortly.

Ill give you a money back guarantee that you will be satisfied with the SuperQuad for you location when used with an AntennaCraft 10G212 amplifier.
 

jbrams

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
I think absolute power levels (on an amplifier) will be beneficial to jbrams (especially on VHF). So I recommend the AntennaCraft 10G212 amplifier over the Channel Master 7777.
So I ordered one of EscapeVelocity's Kosmic superQuad antennas on ebay!

But now I need to decide on which pre-amp to buy. From the comments earlier, it seems to be between:
AntennaCraft 10G212 ($35 shipped from solidsignal)
Channel Master 7777 ($55 shipped)
Winegard AP-8700 U/V Pre Amplifier ($36 shipped from Amazon)

The AntennaCraft is cheaper and has better "absolute power levels" though possibly more "noise" relative to the Channel Master.

Why should I get one or the other (other than price)?

Thanks!
 

jbrams

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#15
Almost there ... are these all the remaining part I'll need to get started?
  1. RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors (20 Foot Cable Length) - from antenna to amplifier
  2. RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors (20 Foot Cable Length) - from amplifier to TV
  3. Single Grounding Block - One RG-6 Cable
  4. Winegard TB 0005 5 Ft. Swedged Antenna Mast (TB-0005)
  5. Channel Master CM 9067 Y-Type Chimney Mount (CM9067)
  6. grounding wire ($10?) - will any copper wire do? Recommendations?
  7. grounding rod ($??) - necessary? Where to buy? How/where to mount?
Thanks for your help again and again - just trying to finalize now that I've settled on the antenna (Kosmic SuperQuad ) and amp (AntennaCraft 10G212).
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#16
This is from Ken Nist's HDTVPrimer site...Antenna Basics



Furthermore the amplifier is mast mounted. So you will need like 3 to 6 ft of RG6 from the antenna balun to the amplifier mounted on the mast. Then to the amplifier power supply, then to the TV. Im not sure how the grounding block fits into the system. Hopefully someone else will comment on that.

Grounding wire can be jacketed or more commonly bare copper or aluminum wire. Usually one solid strand is preferred, not braided. 6 to 8 gauge.
If you leave the Red Line wire out, you will have a system that millions of others have, and a long time standard.

Grounding rods are easily found at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. In the electrical department on the isle with the wire and right next to the EMT galvanized steel conduit. Copper clad steel 8 ft pole, right at the end there. Not expensive.

Looks like you are executing a well thought out plan!
 
#18
@jbrahms

I just moved to Benicia and now I need an external antennae. I think I would like to imitate your set up. May I ask who installed your antennae on the roof?
 
G

Guest

Guest
#19
Benicia information sought.... any feedback from Jbrams or agdesilva on how it worked and any changes you might have made....? Live West K so I anticipate a tall mount...
any help or information would be GREATLY appreciated!.... Thanks Escape Velocity for the forum
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#20
How did it work for Benicia

I am down on West K and am looking to do the same.... did it work fairly well? Thanks for the info in advance and will look forward to your reply.
 
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