Jeannette, PA: Antenna advice - I'm at the bottom of a hill. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I used to get about 8 analog channels, now 1 or 2 digital depending on conditions.

I see two choices:
  1. Big TV mast.
  2. Putting repeater antenna on the hilltop which is a forest.
  3. Become King and have things done my way.

With a big mast, even with lightning arresting provisions, the thought of running that cable into my electronics is troublesome. Wireless would be a better solution.

Frankly, #3 might be easier. haha

Regards,
Tom

PS. TVfool says I should have ootals of noodles. All I can say is Where's the pasta?
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 08:10 AM
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Being in a "hole" is a very bad thing made even worse by there being trees on top of the hill per your post. Just curious, were your analog channels VHF before the switch to digital? VHF is a little better with trees and hills than UHF. And you may have found that even a marginal analog signal was OK with you at the time, where now your digital tuner cannot even decode the signal (its "all or nothing").

Based solely on the information in your post, I think that you are going to have to increase the height of your OTA antenna one way or another. A tower would be the best unless the nearby hills are really big.

If this is not feasible, there is always DirecTV or Dish (assuming the hills & trees do not block your view of the sats.)
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post #3 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 08:30 AM
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Can you post a link to your TVFool results? And some information about your current antenna setup?
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 09:28 AM
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i vote for : Putting repeater antenna on the hilltop which is a forest.
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6volt View Post

TVfool says I should have ootals of noodles. All I can say is Where's the pasta?

King Tom;

TV fool calculates signal strength. It does not consider signal quality. DTV can't be decoded with extremely high multipath, and/or some receivers can do better than others when there is multipath.

So your options are:
Try a different TV or converter box.
Install a more directive antenna and try tilting it up toward the top of the hill, or even over the top of the hill.

Without seeing the TVfool report I'd suggest an 91XG antenna, but I don't know if you have any VHF channels at your location.
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 04:36 PM
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Reception is often possible at the bottom of the hill, if you can find a sweet spot where there is signal. Higher is often, but not always better. Here's an article on difficult reception:
http://www.hdtvexpert.com/?p=134

I live in a hilly area and people around here often find an antenna hot spot, where TVFool shows no reception. But it takes patience and a lot of trial and error. Stangely enough, the two VHF channels here are often the hardest ones to reliably receive in such situations. It could be because they're underpowered, though.
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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TVfool drives me nuts - every time I want to change mast height, I have to completely reload all my information. You would think they would make it easy to experiment on their site.

Here is a URL to my location with a 5' mast height:

My TVfool Results

One thing that is interesting is that I have 140' of property in the direction of Pittsburgh stations. My house is located on the nearest edge while the rest of the property goes up a gentle grade. So if I located my antenna at the far end of my property, I would gain about 10' in altitude. With about 1/3rd acre, I think I would have room to experiment finding a sweet spot.

I was looking around for those tilt up 3-tube triangular towers that were so popular back in the 60's for ham radio. It seems like they are not popular any more. I've heard that the cost of any kind of tower is insanely expensive. I suspect somehow liability/law suits have ruined that industry.

Thanks
Tom
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6volt View Post

I was looking around for those tilt up 3-tube triangular towers that were so popular back in the 60's for ham radio. It seems like they are not popular any more. I've heard that the cost of any kind of tower is insanely expensive. I suspect somehow liability/law suits have ruined that industry.

Thanks
Tom

http://www.rohn25g.com/

One of many dealers on the WWW.
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6volt View Post

TVfool drives me nuts - every time I want to change mast height, I have to completely reload all my information. You would think they would make it easy to experiment on their site.

Actually they do. You just can't post the results. You can change the height on the result page and it reclaulates automatically. Also if you click the button next to the station you can also see a color overlay of signal strength.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=90
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much!

Ah, the Interactive TV plot. I had found this earlier and then forgot how to get to it. Yep, its easy enough to edit height and then do the Radar plot again.

I wish the map itself had actual contours even at the expense of the nifty color strengths (Oh, where is the key for the color values?)

They could even have given a little graphic tower/pylon with a graduated scale of height in feet with strength - even color coded. Its all about bang for the buck regarding height.

Thanks again,
Tom
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6volt View Post

Thanks so much!

Ah, the Interactive TV plot. I had found this earlier and then forgot how to get to it. Yep, its easy enough to edit height and then do the Radar plot again.

I wish the map itself had actual contours even at the expense of the nifty color strengths (Oh, where is the key for the color values?)

From strongest to weakest

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Cyan( light blue ), Blue, Purple
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6volt View Post

... where is the key for the color values...

Scroll to the bottom of the results page.
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9fbec2cb158d24
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

I live in a hilly area and people around here often find an antenna hot spot, where TVFool shows no reception. But it takes patience and a lot of trial and error. Stangely enough, the two VHF channels here are often the hardest ones to reliably receive in such situations. It could be because they're underpowered, though.

The distance between hot spots is related to wavelength, which is longer for VHF than for UHF. So there are fewer hot spots for a VHF channel, and they're further apart.
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 05:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Scroll to the bottom of the results page.
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9fbec2cb158d24

I'm pretty sure he meant for the overlays, but I could be mistaken.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbell View Post

The distance between hot spots is related to wavelength, which is longer for VHF than for UHF. So there are fewer hot spots for a VHF channel, and they're further apart.

Many people are limited as to where the can put their antenna. And then there's the anemic power level of so many VHFs.

We're in a 2-market area, so since one has all commercial networks on UHF, most people (without rotors) just shoot for the more reliable all-U market, which is dropout-free regardless of the weather. YMMV
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post #16 of 27 Old 12-21-2010, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Up to now, I have been moving at glacial speeds, but the other day, months after I turned my cable box in and canceled service, they actually disconnected my cable.

So the Basic Cable I was mooching has finally been removed.

So I hooked up my Channel Master 7000 with a powered RCA rabbit ears/loop antenna and got channels 4 and 22.

So now I'm in big trouble because I have to get 2 to watch Steeler football.
A cousin lives on the hillside on the opposite side of the valley i'm in and gets at over 6 channels and said 2 is even difficult for her. I am worried because she gets 4 no matter how her powered ears/loop [same model as mine ironically] are oriented while 4 for me is very difficult to get. What I don't understand about tvfool is that they seem to include stations that do not exist. For instance, they claim a LOS station 56.1 which simply does not come up on any channel scans.

I know that for a specific FM station, you can string rhombic wire up and get real good signal if you have a "large yard." Since FM is right by 5 and 6, wouldn't this be feasible?

I'm now trolling Craigslist for rotors and antennas....

_______________________________


Somewhat off topic, but what about lightning arrestors? I would want to buy the highest quality possible (not RS). Would this be C-D or CM?

Thanks
Tom
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post #17 of 27 Old 12-21-2010, 11:32 AM
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Your TVFool shows that an indoor antenna will not likely get many channels at your location. Apparently that is true.

Your channel "2" (KDKA) is actually on UHF channel 25 (see the "REAL" channel column on your TVFool). You may need a good high gain UHF fringe antenna and preamp to reliably get it, and with hills in the way, you may need to search for a reception hot spot for your antenna. See: http://www.hdtvexpert.com/?p=134

Since your channels are a mix of both UHF & VHF, if you want more than KDKA, you need a UHF & VHF antenna, either combo or separate V & U antennas.
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post #18 of 27 Old 12-21-2010, 11:46 AM
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Location added to thread title.

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post #19 of 27 Old 12-21-2010, 05:59 PM
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I live not too far from you and might have some things you can experiment with.
If you get 22 you should get 2 with a decent antenna - they are the same direction and I don't think 22 has a repeater anywhere. As far as 4, it depends on which 4 you are picking up, there are 2 towers for WTAE so if you are hitting the one tower that is south of the city you will probably need to reaim to get KDKA.

I live in New Kensington (on top of a hill) and pickup all the stations from Weirton to Altoona/Johnstown except for the LP stations (low power) and 59.1 (with the direction I am aiming right now, a slight change and I get it also).
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post #20 of 27 Old 12-21-2010, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi paco...

I was playing around with a Gemini line amp (only VHF section works - UHF appears to be dead) and have a single setting that gets 2, 4, 25. 22 will lock but it is all block noise. Since I need 2 for football and it took so long to find the antenna position, I'm not too eager to mess around with things to try to get 22 which really isn't that important to me.

What I don't get is that there are 3 channels which should be stronger than 4 that I don't get.

56.1 should be monster strong but it does not show up.

8 (FOX) should be stronger than 4.

I just don't get it.
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post #21 of 27 Old 12-21-2010, 09:26 PM
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56.1 is a low power station, and I don't know what is on it.
8 is a strong station, but it is on VHF 8, you need the right antenna and/or amp.

It is up to you how much you want to play with it.

I have a big vhf antenna - I was going to try to get Wheeling with it but haven't played with it yet.
I have a 2 bay antenna that actually works well, but not using now.

I have a CM7775 pre-amp - UHF only but basically new condition.
I have a CM7777 pre-amp - same condition, am currently using but I think it is too powerful for my current setup.

You might want to try different setups, without moving your current antenna since you have a few stations.
You need a better antenna
If you are picking those stations up with the gemini and rca antenna, that is a good sign. Neither of those are really that good.

You can PM me if you need to.
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post #22 of 27 Old 12-22-2010, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
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A guy has a CM4228 w/10' mast just over 1 hour from me for $25. Wish he was closer.

Found that FOX 53 is what I should be trying to get. Not 8.

I've got a bunch of other things I have to deal with so my progress here will be spotty.

(!) Thinking of hanging a 10' long VHF antenna from my ceiling fan that I don't use. Would be nice rotor system! HaHa

Tom
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post #23 of 27 Old 12-22-2010, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacofortacos View Post

56.1 is a low power station, and I don't know what is on it.
8 is a strong station, but it is on VHF 8, you need the right antenna and/or amp.

AFAIK 56.1 is a Bruno Goodworth station that repeats WBGN. Actually channel 8 (WWCP) isn't that powerful for a supposedly full power digital station but it does have a very high transmitting antenna.
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post #24 of 27 Old 12-22-2010, 01:44 PM
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In your location, you may be able to pick up both 8 and the Pgh. stations. They are 180 deg. apart from you.

Well holler if you need help, pm me as I don't check this forum all the time. I am playing with a homemade antenna right now.

That is pretty good for the 4228.
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post #25 of 27 Old 12-25-2010, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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For a couple of nights, I found an indoor hotspot where I got 2, 4, 11, and 53 which is all the networks with a single antenna setting. I am not able to achieve this 100% of the time - its probably dependent on someone having their garage door open - haha!
(I have the "high-power" RCA ANT1250 Made in China rabbit ears w/loop with individual VHF and UHF gain knobs. A cousin has one too and gets 3 to 4 more channels than me - she is on the other side of the valley I'm in. I wonder how much better the "best" indoor amplified antennas are?) There is a $25 CM4228 that is 50 miles from me w/10' mast but I'm thinking any kind of outdoor Yagi hanging from the blades of my ceiling fan (obviously would not run that fan any more!) would be the ultimate in expeditiousness.

I read that when the signal strength is pulsing all over the place, multipath is present. Boy, do I have multipath so maybe the Yagi wouldn't be that bad an idea. Need to find a used one or build one out of plastic pipe and clothes hangers.

Thanks so much,
Tom
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post #26 of 27 Old 02-23-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Finally solved my reception program for all Pittsburgh stations.

I bot a used CM4228 which I have on a hospital IV stand which I can roll around on my front porch.

With the antenna alone, I could get 2, 4, 11, 13, 16, 19, 21, 40, 43, 53 with some fussing around depending on conditions. (Sometimes, I could get all with one antenna position, other times, it would be very difficult to get 1 or 2 stations.)

Then I added a CM7777 mast mount high gain preamp.

Now I get all stations with one position, 95% of the time. There are still times, I have to do a minor adjustment (move 6") to get a station that is noisy.

When there is no signal (broadcast black) there is just the slightest onset of diagonal lines which may be due to strong "local" channel effects, however, it is of the order of where I place my CM7000 D2A box relative to my power amp/components/etc.

I still want to get it on a pole above the porch and am looking for the Alliance control box for the rotor assembly I have found in the attic. I know that controller is around here somewhere.....

Regards,
Tom
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post #27 of 27 Old 02-23-2011, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sptrout View Post

VHF is a little better with trees and hills than UHF. And you may have found that even a marginal analog signal was OK with you at the time, where now your digital tuner cannot even decode the signal (its "all or nothing").

Not always, while I didn't actually live in my present location prior to the analog cutoff, I've heard that reception of all the analog channels (about half were VHF) was terrible here. I actually live in a depression on the side of a southwest facing hill so it's like being in a bowl with the main ridge blocking the Pittsburgh stations. I receive the five Pittsburgh 1 MW stations but can't receive the other four, two high VHF and and two UHF with 500 kW or less power. While the actual direction varies somewhat by channel the general direction my antenna is pointed is away from the stations and towards the next ridge. IOW the next ridge is my repeater antenna.
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