Best OTA HD Antenna - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-07-2010, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am completely lost when it comes to this subject...

We only watch occasional TV, just the main local channels. I'd hate to give the cable or satellite companies $50 a month just for that.

My zip code is 95747, the terrain is pretty flat, no tall buildings, about 30 miles max from the local broadcasting stations.

What would be a really good HD ota antenna, that would enable us to watch without those pesky signal interruptions? The smaller the better, because of the dumb-ass communist CC&Rs... But if it's big and good, I'll still get it and deal with the home owner's association later...

Thanks a bunch!!!

EDIT: I did go to that AntennaWeb site, plugged in my zipcode... It gave me some color coded "types??" which I don't know what to do with... It's becoming more evident that I'm in serious need of guidance, LOL...
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-07-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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Just based on your zip any old non amplified UHF loop with rabbit ears for PBS and ABC should work.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 01:43 AM
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I use the Terk TV5 indoor antenna. It picks up my PBS station from 30 miles away and the rest of my locals from 8 miles away. It works better than rabbit ears.

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post #4 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Would a db4 which is listed as UHF pick up the 2 green VHF channels in my area, PBS and ABC or would I need to look for a UHF/VHF antenna?
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 04:44 AM
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Go to tvfool.com and enter your address or exact latitude/longitude to get a table of detailed info about the stations near you (much more detailed than antennaweb). Paste the link here. Then people can give informed advice.

You may very well be able to use an indoor antenna to get all the stations you're interested in getting. But indoor reception is very much a matter of "your mileage may vary" because the way your house or apartment building is constructed can have a big effect. If it's stucco, you may be stuck!

And VHF stations are often harder to pick up indoors than UHF, which is the other way around from the analog days.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 12:34 PM
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If stucco, you may need an outdoor antenna for reliable reception, particularly PBS on VHF 9 (displays as 6-n), unless you can stick it in a window facing due South.

This small outdoor VHF UHF antenna, aimed South, should work well.

HOAs cannot restrict OTA antenna installs on your own private non-common property.
Print this out and give it to anyone who gives you static about it:
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 01:58 PM
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I am 15-64 miles to the TV towers, and most channels are at 36 miles away and LOS. I tried a newer Terk indoor amplified antenna, the CM 4221HD and the CM 4228HD antennas placed on the second story floor about 10 feet away from a window. The CM 4221HD and 4228HD were able pulled in twice as many channels as the Terk (55 vs 30 channels). The CM 4228HD is only better for channel 7, otherwise the CM 4221HD is equally good for my experiment.

So I would recommend a CM 4221HD because it is multi-directional. Although it is a bit big for indoor, it should serve you well, and you can always move it outdoor if you need better reception. If you do decided to get the CM 4221HD, you can do some simple modifications described here:
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=104837 especially relocating the balun.

Another possibly better antenna is the Kosmic SuperQuad described here:
http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv-...ay-bowtie.html

Good luck, and let us know your result.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much gentlemen, I sincerely appreciate your answers!

So since all the stations I am interested in are roughly between 34 and 54 miles away, should I look for an antenna with a minimum range of 60 miles just to be on the safe side?

Thanks again!
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 10:39 PM
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ddgtr-I'm 66 miles west of you and I'm pulling in 3,6,10,13,31,40 out of Sacto with rabbit ears. With a good omni you might be able to pull in some stations out of San Francisco, or more likely a directional on a rotator if possible.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddgtr View Post

Thank you very much gentlemen, I sincerely appreciate your answers!

So since all the stations I am interested in are roughly between 34 and 54 miles away, should I look for an antenna with a minimum range of 60 miles just to be on the safe side?

Never go by so-called "mileage" ratings for antennas. They are just arbitrary numbers picked by the manufacturer, and are meaningless because reception conditions vary so widely.

Example: MrLucky is using an antenna that is certainly not rated for 60+ mile reception.

If you have stucco-on-screen walls, you will likely need an outdoor antenna for reliable reception. Your TVFool shows strong signals at your location, so the small antenna I linked to should be plenty for your situation.
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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arxaw,

Thank you for clarifying that. Tons of info out there for us noobs, it's overwhelming... I am heading over to order one now...

Cheers
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-15-2010, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I ended up buying this: RCA ANT751.

It looks like I'm going to need somewhere close to 75 to 100 feet of cable. Which one is the best for this length and is the RG6 what I need? Type F?

Thanks.
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post #14 of 18 Old 06-21-2010, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I finally got the RCA ANT751 up on the roof. Pointing south, about 20 ft off the ground.

I works great! I can pull in all the local channels, plus a few others that I had no idea existed.

Thanks to all who helped and recommended this antenna!!
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-22-2010, 02:31 AM
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Congrats on getting your antenna working. OTA HD is the best source of HD available. I also clicked on your My Setup link and saw your awesome setup. Just don't drink to much of that brown liquid.

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post #16 of 18 Old 06-22-2010, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

Congrats on getting your antenna working. OTA HD is the best source of HD available. I also clicked on your My Setup link and saw your awesome setup. Just don't drink to much of that brown liquid.

Thanks Jedi! Haha, if there is one thing I can't stand that's a sloppy drunk!!'

It's great to be able to use OTA HD, the picture quality seems to be better than cable/sat plus it's such a relief to not get screwed by cable/sat companies any more... Every time I used one they managed to add extra charges in there and I'd have to spend hours on the phone trying to figure out what happened... All that for about 1 hour of tv we watch per day. Not worth it.

Regards
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post #17 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddgtr View Post

Thanks Jedi! Haha, if there is one thing I can't stand that's a sloppy drunk!!'

It's great to be able to use OTA HD, the picture quality seems to be better than cable/sat plus it's such a relief to not get screwed by cable/sat companies any more... Every time I used one they managed to add extra charges in there and I'd have to spend hours on the phone trying to figure out what happened... All that for about 1 hour of tv we watch per day. Not worth it.

Regards

I agree. I canceled my cable subscription two years ago when my cable bill hit $83. I've heard its gone up to $90 since. It went up and the wrong time. I was already frustrated with all the channels changing their identities and showing reality shows, 4 hours blocks of the same program, and more commercials than ever. I then bought an antenna and I was blown away by the picture quality. I already had a nice DVD collection. With OTA, DVDs, and online video I haven't missed anything I want to see. With DVDs I get to spend money on the programming I want to see and not a bunch of channels I don't watch.

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post #18 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddgtr View Post

Ok, so I finally got the RCA ANT751 up on the roof. Pointing south, about 20 ft off the ground.

I works great! I can pull in all the local channels, plus a few others that I had no idea existed...

Glad it worked for you
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