Sioux Falls, SD: OTA Antenna Attic Install - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-09-2012, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to bypass the cable company and do only OTA programming. I am brand new to OTA and antennas, but I'm looking to devote some serious time and energy into it and hopefully this community when I am done. I was hoping you could give me some advice to start me in a good direction. Here are my TV Fool results:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d2df978d77afeb7

A few notes so far:
  • I would much rather prefer installing an antenna array in the attic rather than on the roof, but I am open for discussion on whether that will hurt my reception too much for the given signal strengths. I will have plenty of room in the attic to go large with an antenna.
  • I am looking to split the antenna cable to 4 to 5 TVs if possible. I've looked into antenna preamplifiers, which I'm not sure will help with splitting to multiple TVs as much as it will if my signal is weak (I could certainly be wrong on this). I've also looked into distribution amplifiers, similar to this one, to both split and boost the signal to multiple TVs. If I needed both a preamp and distribution amp, my cable should be long enough between the two to avoid overload or oscillation (I could be dead wrong on this as well).
  • I really have no clue at this point what antenna would best fit my situation. I've looked at Winegard, Antennacraft, Channel Master, and Antennas Direct. All seem nice, but again, I'm just not sure what I should get. I'm willing to invest in the right equipment and would rather go too much and too nice than not enough and poor quality, so let's basically ignore budget unless you somehow find $1k antennas to recommend.
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-09-2012, 05:06 PM
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one321:

There is typically some signal loss when using attic antennas, but it can often be somewhat compensated for by using larger, higher-gain antennas. As long as you don't have significant metal in your attic that would disrupt signals, such as significant aluminum siding, metal roof (as opposed to typical plywood/asphalt shingle construction), foil insulation or significant metal ductwork, you can usually do pretty well with attic antennas.

For your situation, it depends on what you wish to receive. You have 5 stations providing 5 major networks at 72-75 degrees true, all between 9-12 miles. These stations are on VHF-high (real channels 7, 11 and 13) and UHF (real channels 36 and 47). For these, something small like a Winegard HD7694P aimed at 73-ish degrees would receive these just fine. Since the beamwidth of this antenna would be fairly wide, you might also expect to receive KCSD-24 (PBS) from 35 degrees true, especially if you cheated a bit and aimed the antenna around 50-ish degrees true. KSMN-15 (PBS) is perhaps strong enough to be received from your attic with the HD7694P, especially if aimed directly at 53 degrees true (close call). If KSMN-15 is very important, perhaps you would upgrade the selection a bit, just to make sure. You could first try using a simple 4 or 8-way unpowered splitter (terminated at any unused ports) to see if you didn't lose too much signal strength at each tv, but ultimately, you might need a powered distribution amplifier at some convenient location down in the house to ensure good signal strengths at all 4 or 5 tv's.

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=HD7694P
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=SP-2054
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=CM3218
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=TT-5900

You can probably receive additional stations from your attic, but they are in different directions and/or farther away. When feeding multiple tv's, having to rotate antennas or switch between multiple antennas can be inconvenient. Clicking on the "Pending applications included" on your TVFool report finds that KWSF-17 and KUSD-34 (PBS) are also available, but they are each literally at right angles to your other stations, making reception possibly unreliable. If you wanted these two additional stations (reliably), one option is to add a 4-bay UHF-only antenna (either homemade or bought), but remove (or don't install) the rear reflector portion, making the antenna bi-directional from the front and back (albeit at reduced gain, but those two stations are plenty strong). You'd aim that UHF antenna toward those two stations (front and back), but then you'd have to use a separate coax downlead from your attic to an A-B switch at your tv, and you plan to use multiple tv's (which might be somewhat problematic).

If you are also interested in receiving the 5 stations from 156-161 degrees true (at 66-70 miles), it might be possible from the attic with long-range antennas, but again, it's a close call. The antennas to do that would be an Antennas Direct DB8 UHF antenna mounted 2-3 feet above an Antennacraft Y10-7-13 VHF-high antenna on the same mast (mounted as high as possible). You could have these antennas on a rotator and forget about the HD7694P and the separate UHF antenna for KWSF-17 and KUSD-34, or you could have them as a separate setup and feed a separate downlead to an A-B or A-B-C switch at your tv. You'd combine the DB8 and Y10-7-13 using a special UVSJ combiner with two short (3 or 4-foot) coax lengths, with a single coax out from the UVSJ. If the DB8 plus Y10-7-13 could not receive those 66-70-mile stations from your attic, they almost certainly would from the rooftop/chimney.

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=DB8
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=Y10-7-13
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=UVSJ

Hope this is helpful - good luck !
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-09-2012, 10:51 PM
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I spent around $325.00 for everything. I did not need an amplifier after the antenna, which I put in the attic. I have one coax going to my computer, which I use as a DVR. There are two more coaxes, each going to DTV converter boxes. Our RCA 32" CRT has a great picture. My husband said it would never work. I set everything up over the weekend, while he was at his son's graduation, in 2008. We now get over 20 stations...for FREE!

Here are the items I purchased, in addition to about 100 feet of coax (divided):

Monster 2 GHz 4-way splitter: $25.00
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Monster-Cable-2GHz-Low-Loss-RF-Splitters-For-TV-Satellite-MKII-1-Pack-4-Way/11080835?findingMethod=rr

The following items from Solid Signal:

Antenna: $61.00
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=DB8&d=Antennas-Direct-DB8-UHF-HDTV-TV-Bowtie-Antenna-(DB8)&c=TV Antennas&sku=853748001088

Preamp: $60.00
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=CM-7777&d=Channel-Master-CM7777-Titan2-VHFUHF-TV-Antenna-Preamplifier-with-Power-Supply-(CM7777)&c=Pre-Amplifiers&sku=02057207774

Rotator: $110.00
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=CM9521A&d=Channel-Master-CM9521A-TV-Antenna-Rotator-System-with-InfraRed-Remote-(CM9521A)&c=Antenna Rotators&sku=

Tripod: $20.00
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=CM9003&d=Channel-Master-CM9003-3-ft-Tripod-Mount-(CM9003)&c=Mounting Supplies&sku=

Mast: $13.00
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=SKY6008&d=Professional-Grade-5-Foot-TV-Antenna-Mast&c=Mounting Supplies&sku=
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-10-2012, 06:35 AM
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You are close enough to the towers that an attic antenna should receive stations. The only question is will the signal be strong enough to be split to 4-5 TV's. Which at that point you could either get an amp, or put the antenna outside to increase signal strength.

You need a VHF/UHF antenna, but not anything big, this entry level antenna from Radio Shack should work:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3739595

Put it as high up in the attic as you can go, Yo could probably get away with just tying wire around the antenna and nailing it to the joists and let it hang. Also make sure its pointing to the ENE ( the front of the antenna is the right side in the Radio Shack picture). Make sure you use RG6 cable.

Start off by connecting to 1 TV for now and see what stations you get. Then connect a splitter, probably a 4 way in your case, and see if you lose any stations. If you do, then you need an amp or possibly need to put the antenna outside.

Good luck
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-10-2012, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the wonderful, detailed advice. Regardless of whether or not you want me to, I will update this post with what I purchase, pictures of the install, and the results.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-10-2012, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I think I have narrowed my antenna choices down to these three options:
  1. Winegard HD 7694P: as recommended. -- appears to have amazing performance and is a popular choice
  2. AntennaCraft HBU33: as recommended (but one model/size larger) -- also appears to perform well and gets good reviews
  3. Channel Master 4228HD: this choice seems to be controversial ever since manufacturing moved to China, but it's also a high-selling, high-performing antenna. I could be wrong, but it seems like it might not be as picky directional-wise as the other two, which I was thinking could be best to pick up channel 24 at 35 degrees true while the rest of my channels are 72-75 degrees true as gcd mentioned. Also, this seems more friendly for attic installation.

I'm still thinking the Winegard HD 7694P is my #1 choice, but I'd love to hear thoughts on the Channel Master 4228HD for an attic installation.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-10-2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one321 View Post

I think I have narrowed my antenna choices down to these three options:
  1. Winegard HD 7694P: as recommended. -- appears to have amazing performance and is a popular choice
  2. AntennaCraft HBU33: as recommended (but one model/size larger) -- also appears to perform well and gets good reviews
  3. Channel Master 4228HD: this choice seems to be controversial ever since manufacturing moved to China, but it's also a high-selling, high-performing antenna. I could be wrong, but it seems like it might not be as picky directional-wise as the other two, which I was thinking could be best to pick up channel 24 at 35 degrees true while the rest of my channels are 72-75 degrees true as gcd mentioned. Also, this seems more friendly for attic installation.
I'm still thinking the Winegard HD 7694P is my #1 choice, but I'd love to hear thoughts on the Channel Master 4228HD for an attic installation.

The 4228 is a UHF only antenna so it will not work for VHF. The other 2 antennas you mention should work, but I think they are too big for what you need. You are only 10-12 miles away from the towers, and you could probably pick up Ch 24@35 deg if you point the antenna halfway between 35 and 74 deg in a sweet spot. You could probably pick up the other PBS station on Ch 15 also.
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-10-2012, 03:23 PM
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CM4228HD might not be a GOOD Hi-VHF antenna, but it does provide adequate performance on
most channels and has the big advantage of being small enough to mount on a Rotator in the attic:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/multibay/8bayrefl/cm4228hd

It is probably all you need for nearby LOS Ch7/11/13....and if you find that the Attic Loss is too high
on these channels, you could always add a high gain Hi-VHF antenna that does not need to rotate.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-10-2012, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

CM4228HD might not be a GOOD Hi-VHF antenna, but it does provide adequate performance on
most channels and has the big advantage of being small enough to mount on a Rotator in the attic:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/multibay/8bayrefl/cm4228hd
It is probably all you need for nearby LOS Ch7/11/13....and if you find that the Attic Loss is too high
on these channels, you could always add a high gain Hi-VHF antenna that does not need to rotate.

Does the OP even need a rotor? Looks as if he can get all the major networks in one direction.
The next batch of stations worth watching is 66 miles away to the SE which he might not able to get with the antenna in the attic anyway.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-11-2012, 08:11 AM
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I recommend the RCA ANT-751. It should work well for your situation & is very compact.

If you do decide on the Winegard 7694, be aware that it is difficult to re-fold without damage if you need to get it out of the attic. The 7694 may be small enough to fit through the attic opening, so it may not be an issue for you.
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post #11 of 17 Old 10-11-2012, 12:10 PM
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The RCA ANT751 would probably also work just fine for your nearby stations (both VHF-high and UHF). I simply hadn't suggested it because the Winegard HD7694P might provide a bit more gain and I thought it was a few bucks less (but maybe not, after further checking).

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=ANT751
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=HD7694P
http://www.summitsource.com/ant751-1080p-hdtv-outdoor-digital-antenna-with-mount-optimized-uhfvhffm-outdoor-local-digital-signal-local-television-broadcast-reception-aerial-zone-part-with-coax-cable-p-10093.html

The HBU33 would also probably work well for your nearby stations (both VHF-high and UHF).

The CM4228HD would also probably work well in your situation. I have the original version 4228A on a rotor up on my chimney, and it has moderate VHF-high gain due to the width of its reflector screen (even though it is primarily designed as a high-gain UHF antenna), maybe about 60% of the VHF-high gain relative to a Winegard YA-1713 VHF-high antenna that I also have. The 4228HD should have no problem receiving your nearby VHF-high channels 7, 11 and 13 (my 4228A would receive our local real channel 7 at about 10 miles distance with high signal strength numbers, even from my attic). If you were to put it on a rotator at the very highest/central point of your attic, the 4228HD might also reliably receive your more distant UHF stations at 66-70 miles (probably about the same likelihood as a DB8), although it might or might not be good enough on VHF-high to receive KCAU-9 from your attic if rotated toward that direction (tough call).

Not sure about the assembly of the 4228HD. If it arrives fully assembled, it would have to fit through your attic opening (or you'd have to partially disassemble, which might include drilling out some rivets and replacing with bolts).
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post #12 of 17 Old 10-11-2012, 12:37 PM
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Also may consider Antennacraft HBU22.
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-11-2012, 03:40 PM
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The Screen Reflector in the original CM-4228 could be disassembled into two separate sections,
but required bending some bracket tabs to separate the Bowtie Assembly.

However the (40" H x 32" W) Reflector Rods in the newer CM-4228HD do NOT come apart, so
you'll need an attic opening of at least 32" ON-THE-DIAGONAL, which should be fairly common.
The Bowtie Assembly is easily removed via four thumbnuts.
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-11-2012, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll do some measuring and get back to you all. Thank you for all of the ideas. I thought I had my choice narrowed down, but now I'm seriously considering the RCA ANT751 (with included J-Mount!).

I'm really only concerned with channel 24 at 35 degrees true the group of channels at 72-75 degrees. I guess it'd be neat to pick up a second ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX for the varying local news, but it's certainly not necessary. I'll pick up MN PBS because it's in between, so that will be my extra variety. smile.gif

I hope to settle on everything soon. I need to do some re-measuring to make sure everything will fit on its way up to the attic. Also, we are just moving in, so things are hectic. Thanks again for all of the input!
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post #15 of 17 Old 10-22-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a rudimentary chart of what I decided on for my setup. I had to take a break from this project, but I'm back on it now and have everything ordered.
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-31-2012, 07:16 AM
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I see you have an HDHomerun. The HDHomerun GUI application has a level and quality indicator. This can be very handy for fine tuning the position of the antenna. By monitoring the status in the GUI, you can see how repositioning the antenna can affect one channel over another.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-04-2012, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is a picture of my Winegard HD 7694P attic installation. Everything is working perfectly at about 54 degrees true as gcd0865 discussed. Thank you for all your help!

cLrKz.jpg
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