On a hill, but have trees?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 113 Old 02-27-2010, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello, I live way up on a hill, but am surrounded by fir trees averaging around 50' tall. I would like to buy an HDTV antenna, but am worried about it being a total waste of time because of the trees on my property.

I went to "Antenna web" and typed in my address to see what staions were available. When it asked me "Are there any buildings, steeples, towers, or other structures taller than four stories within four blocks of your location, airports within two miles of your location, and/or many nearby trees over 30 feet tall?" I answered yes.

Anyway, it shows that I can get FOX (which is cool) and would need a Medium Directional Antenna. The other channel that it says I could get is TBN, and that I need a Medium Directional Antenna with pre-amp.

Does living on a hill work to my advantage even though I have trees? Or is it pretty much a wash?

Also, if it recommends a Medium Directional Antenna, would a large directional antenna be even better? What about climbing to the top of one of my trees, and installing the antenna up there?? Would that be too much cable to run?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 06:20 AM
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A much more accurate site than antennaweb is TVFool. Enter your complete address and post a link to the results page back in this thread. Your address will not display anywhere on the results page.
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post #3 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 06:53 AM
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According to theory, the very best site for a terrestrial receive antenna is just below the peak of a hill.

Trees probably won't preclude you from getting a signal, but might attenuate it enough that you'd need a bigger antenna. Try for a fairly clear path (between you and the transmitters), and avoid shooting through trees while having open space to the sides, which would lead to more severe multipath (due to the primary/direct signal being attenuated by the trees, with the off-axis reflected signals being less attenuated).

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post #4 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

A much more accurate site than antennaweb is TVFool. Enter your complete address and post a link to the results page back in this thread. Your address will not display anywhere on the results page.

Ok, done, but does this take into consideration trees on my property and surrounding property??
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...b7c8f6a1144828
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post #5 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 07:35 AM
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It looks like you have even taller hills between you and the transmitters. You will need an outdoor VHF +UHF antenna and probably a preamp to get any stations shown on that TVFool results.

Did you enter an estimated antenna height when you input your address?
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post #6 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

It looks like you have even taller hills between you and the transmitters. You will need an outdoor VHF +UHF antenna and probably a preamp to get any stations shown on that TVFool results.

Did you enter an estimated antenna height when you input your address?

Yes we have taller surrounding hills as well. And yes, I put down 10' as my antenna height since it would be mounted on the garage roof. I do know that years ago we could get FOX with a set of indoor rabbit ears up here. We then got satellite and never messed with antennas again.
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post #7 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 08:03 AM
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Since your terrain is very hilly, the mapping tool might be a more accurate predictor. With it, after entering your address, you can drag the red map indicator directly over your house (satellite view), then enter your antenna height below the map. Next, click "Make Radar Plot."

Play with the height settings, to see if a taller antenna mast would increase the numbers in the "NM" column.
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post #8 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I tried the mapping tool, and typed in 50' for antenna height. Basically simulating having the antenna at the top of one of the trees. The only difference it made was changing channel 14 from red to green. Fox was already green with my 10' antenna height. All the other channels that were originally red, stayed red.
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post #9 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 09:31 AM
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If you did the elevation using the mapping option, the only stations of interest you may expect to reliably receive are probably FOX & PBS.

You would need a VHF+UHF antenna designed for fringe reception, and probably a low noise high gain VHF+UHF preamp.

Both the hills and trees may lower chances of reliable reception.
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post #10 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keizer View Post

I tried the mapping tool, and typed in 50' for antenna height. Basically simulating having the antenna at the top of one of the trees. The only difference it made was changing channel 14 from red to green. Fox was already green with my 10' antenna height. All the other channels that were originally red, stayed red.

I wouldn't bother looking at a treetop mount for your antenna. The amount of swaying that takes place at the top of a pine tree is enough that you'd have a hard time locking onto a signal consistently, if you ever get a signal to begin with.
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post #11 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstarling82 View Post

I wouldn't bother looking at a treetop mount for your antenna. The amount of swaying that takes place at the top of a pine tree is enough that you'd have a hard time locking onto a signal consistently, if you ever get a signal to begin with.

I think Keizer meant his antenna would be roof or tower-mounted but even with the tops of the pines.
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post #12 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

If you did the elevation using the mapping option, the only stations of interest you may expect to reliably receive are probably FOX & PBS.

You would need a VHF+UHF antenna designed for fringe reception, and probably a low noise high gain VHF+UHF preamp.

Both the hills and trees may lower chances of reliable reception.

Even if I just got FOX, that would be great. We would like to at least get local news which we don't currently have right now.
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post #13 of 113 Old 02-28-2010, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJay View Post

I think Keizer meant his antenna would be roof or tower-mounted but even with the tops of the pines.

Actually no, I was considering climbing to the top of one of my trees and mounting it up there. jstarling82 makes a good point about not going this route.
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post #14 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keizer View Post

Even if I just got FOX, that would be great. We would like to at least get local news which we don't currently have right now.

If you're satisfied in just getting the two FOX channels (one is local weather), an inexpensive VHF highband antenna should suffice. Or this VHF-HI+UHF antenna that has more gain for channel 13, plus respectable UHF gain.
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post #15 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Guys, I went out to my shop and built this DIY antenna just for a test to see if I could pick up anything.
http://www.tvantennaplans.com/

I didn't connect it to my new HDTV, but instead connected it to an old CRT TV that I had in my shop. I couldn't get a single channel to come in. I was up in the loft of my shop doing the test, and even opened the window and put the antenna outside. It was basically about 16' off the ground but was blocked by the gable end of my shop.

Is this test any kind of indication of what I might expect if I get a better store bought antenna? I just wanted to experiment before forking out the cash.

Thanks!
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post #16 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keizer View Post


I didn't connect it to my new HDTV, but instead connected it to an old CRT TV that I had in my shop.

Don't forget you will need a digital converter box for the CRT.
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post #17 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't forget you will need a digital converter box for the CRT.

Ok, well that explains the issue then. I guess I should just try it out on my new HDTV.

Thanks for the explanation!!
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post #18 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I brought my home made antenna into the house and connected it to my HDTV. I had the TV do a scan for channels, and sure enough, it brought up the two HD channels that we discussed earlier. I had to move the antenna around a few times, but got a perfectly stable picture and sound.



And my rinky dink antenna!


I'm just wondering how many more channels I might get with a real antenna and preamp? It seems like if I was able to get these channels with the antenna in my house, then a real antenna outside properly installed should do better.
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post #19 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I moved the antenna over by one of the windows and re-scanned for channels. I picked up five more channels for a total of seven. I'm now getting channels 20.1 thru 20.5 along with the two FOX channels.
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post #20 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 06:12 PM
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Consider linking the balun an equal distance between the middle two bays for added performance.
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post #21 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jstarling82 View Post

Consider linking the balun an equal distance between the middle two bays for added performance.

How does that make a difference? I'm just curious is all. What you suggest was actually how the instructions showed to do it. I was being lazy and didn't want to add two more screws.
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post #22 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:06 PM
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That antenna isn't sized the best for weak signals. It's noted to be a good performer in urban areas where the signals are strong but it's sized wrong for best gain. Go here http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweather.com/and click on the drawings link, I have posted some pdf drawings with better dimensions as well as some other tips and info.
The site is still under construction but it has a lot of the info that I have posted on the DIY UHF antenna thread.
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post #23 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:08 PM
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By placing the balun in the middle, you get phased performance out of all the whisker elements. Currently, your whiskers are out of phase and suppressing reception efficiency.

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post #24 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclapp View Post

That antenna isn't sized the best for weak signals. It's noted to be a good performer in urban areas where the signals are strong but it's sized wrong for best gain. Go here http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweather.com/and click on the drawings link, I have posted some pdf drawings with better dimensions as well as some other tips and info.
The site is still under construction but it has a lot of the info that I have posted on the DIY UHF antenna thread.

The antenna was just a test to see if I could get good reception. Looks like I can. Thanks for the link though. Maybe I should just build my own antenna instead of buy one. I live on five acres, so I could build a huge antenna if need be without offending anyone.
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post #25 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstarling82 View Post

Consider linking the balun an equal distance between the middle two bays for added performance.

Exactly. Add two screws where the red dots are in the pic below and move the balun to that point.

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post #26 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Exactly. Add two screws where the red dots are in the pic below and move the balun to that point.


Ok, got it done, however, I had a perfect pic already, so I guess I won't notice much difference. It's funny, I just have this antenna tucked away in the corner by the window and get great reception on all seven channels I listed.
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post #27 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keizer View Post

Ok, got it done, however, I had a perfect pic already, so I guess I won't notice much difference. It's funny, I just have this antenna tucked away in the corner by the window and get great reception on all seven channels I listed.

All you need is a signal strong enough for the DTV tuner to lock onto. Stronger signal won't improve the sharpness or colors of the video. However, a stronger signal will give you extra insurance against losing the lock in otherwise borderline reception conditions. When the tuner loses the lock on the signal, it can freeze or break up and audio may be lost.
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post #28 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mclapp View Post

Go here http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweather.com/

I watched the Youtube video on your web site. Why are the store bought antennas so large, yet the DIY antennas are smaller and claim better performance? Why would anyone even buy an antenna over building your own?

Isn't larger better since you're trying to grab a signal? If so, why not take the measurements of the DIY antenna, and triple the size? I know space can be a concern, but if it wasn't, would making it even larger be better?

What is the purpose of the wire mesh background on this guys DIY antenna??
http://www.satelliteguys.us/attachme...1&d=1197934330
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post #29 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 09:06 PM
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Don't be fooled the DIY antennas are bigger, the ones I directed you to are bigger than the same style commercial antenna, a CM4221 uses 8" whiskers and an 8" vertical spacing between them and the DIY ones I directed you to use 9" to 10 " whiskers and 8 1/2" to 9 1/2" vertical spacings. A stock 4221 reflector screen is about 24" wide and the one I recommend is 36" wide.

The wire mesh in the link you provided is the reflector screen, that mesh has smaller holes than needed and will increase the wind loading a lot for really no gain but will work very good. 1"X2" screen or even 2"x4" wire fence makes a great reflector with less wind load.
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post #30 of 113 Old 03-01-2010, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclapp View Post

The wire mesh in the link you provided is the reflector screen, that mesh has smaller holes than needed and will increase the wind loading a lot for really no gain but will work very good. 1"X2" screen or even 2"x4" wire fence makes a great reflector with less wind load.

Ok, what is the reflector doing? What's its purpose above and beyond the wire whiskers? Is it trapping the signal so it bounces back to the whiskers for a stronger signal? Not letting the signal escape?
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