Antenna help needed for NC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 66 Old 04-18-2013, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

This is my first time posting, so be gentle with me :-) If I am at the wrong place or something please tell me where to go. But nicely :-)
Anyhow, we live in NC and have already tested several antennas and have not gotten as good a results as we would like to.

We have tested the Antennacraft HBU33, as well as the AC HBU55 and the AC C490. And also the Antennas Direct DB8 (the worst one). We range from 24 to 35 channels, with the HBU55 being the best so far, but the C490 was close as well and the HBU33 was good channel-wise, but it pixilated alot. The main problem is that the channels do pixilate and break up way too much for enjoyable viewing.

We plan on mounting the antenna at approximately 30 feet when the definite decision has been made. But for testing purposes, we are using a pole that is maybe 12 to 15 feet high, for ease of use.

We have not used an amplifier yet, nor a rotor, but are wondering about the end situation, when we will have all seven TVs hooked up, instead of just the one so far. Especially if one TV cannot stay on frequency very well.

We live on a very small (not high) knoll with woods surrounding us.

Here is our TV Fool link-- http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d1dda270472f556

Any help would be great. Thanks for the help.

Crystal54
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post #2 of 66 Old 04-18-2013, 02:05 PM
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What all are you currently getting? What percent are they at?

Seems like everything is UHF. 91XG is supposed to be the best for its range.

How long are your cable runs and are you using RG6? A Channel Master distribution amp should be good to feed all seven TVs. I got a 20% gain with mine.

May want to toss up two antennas as well.
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post #3 of 66 Old 04-18-2013, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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2 (not as good)
3
8
9
12 (not as good)
18
20
42
43
45

and a few more.

It you want a full and complete list with more in depth signals, then just let me know and I can get it to you later on.

I don't have any way to check the signal strength except what I see on the TV screen. And it shows an average around the 40 to 60% area.

The temporary cable that we are using is about 25 to 30 feet long. It runs down the pole and into the LR window to the TV for right now. We are using RG6 and were wondering ourselves if two antennas would be better than one. But then would you use both together (one in each direction) and split the signal seven ways, or use just one antenna split to three TVs and the other antenna for the four left?

Once we set it all up permanently, then the cable will be run up to 76' to the various TVs. Thanks for your help.
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post #4 of 66 Old 04-18-2013, 06:09 PM
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You should be able to get all of the Charlotte channels, including 36, 46, and 55. WSOC-9 should be strong and WCCB-18. And probably WBTV-3. And most of Greensboro you should get, incl 8, 12, 45, and 2. But you definitely need an amp since you have your signal split 7 ways. That is why you probably have dropouts. You need a good preamp with the amp connected close to the antenna, about 3ft. cable. And a good 8 way splitter from Holland with a one port power pass. Possibly a Winegard 4800 UHF preamp. Or you could try an 8 port dist amp from Channel Master, Viewsonics, or Motorola. As long as you don't lose too much signal from the antenna to inside the house at the amp. And the 91XG is a very good antenna, but a Clearstream 4 or CM-4228 may be easier to receive both markets without a rotor. I know you tried a DB8 but the multiple splits may be the cause of your problem. And MCM has a good 8-bay antenna for $49. And you really don't need any HBU type of VHF capability unless you really want WTVI, which may not even be an option. Your main problem seems to be amp and splitter issues.
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post #5 of 66 Old 04-18-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey,
Thanks for your reply, but we only have one TV on the antenna at this point, but still have the dropouts. Sigh. We are waiting to set it up higher after we choose the correct one to keep. We can check into those that you mentioned but the DB8 really was the worst one for us, even with just the one TV on it. I am getting so confused. If I just knew which one was the best one for us, and have this issue settled and behind us would be great. But with all the issues, I still vow to never go back to Direct TV again. LOL. Can't afford it anyway. And you are right, we probably only need a good UHF antenna. I am interested in those that you mentioned, but hate to order and then return them. Up to this point, we have only bought ours from returnable stores like Radio Shack and Best Buy (thye may hate us before it is all over with). BTW, what company is MCM? And thanks for your help and your reply. Good night all.
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post #6 of 66 Old 04-19-2013, 08:55 AM
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Your TVFool results for any of the channels that are shaded in green indicate that they should be pretty easy to get with any of the antennas that you have tried. The antenna will most likely only get the stations when aimed directly at the stations. Since you receive from two different markets you need to peak up on just one at a time. If you are still getting lots of dropouts, you might be getting reflection from cars or people walking around the antenna. The pole needs to be rigid and not moving around in the wind. Everything will likely clear up with a higher antenna.
John
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post #7 of 66 Old 04-19-2013, 10:07 AM
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If you are interested in getting both Charlotte and Greensboro markets, I would use 2 antennas rather than a rotor, because the markets are 180 degrees apart. So it would be better to have 2 fixed antennas, rather than having to keep rotating 1 antenna 180 degrees each time. You need UHF only antenna for Greensboro, and UHF/VHF for Charlotte (WTVI is real Ch 11). If you don't care for WTVI, then you need just a UHF antenna.

But regardless if you want 1 or 2 markets, make sure your antenna is aimed correctly. For Charlotte, you need to point the antenna to the SW, and for Greensboro, you need to point the antenna NE. In the link below for the HBU-33, the right side of the pic is the front of the antenna, and should aim towards the towers
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3740646#

Each time you test a different market, you need to do a re-scan on your tv.
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post #8 of 66 Old 04-19-2013, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepier View Post

If you are interested in getting both Charlotte and Greensboro markets, I would use 2 antennas rather than a rotor, because the markets are 180 degrees apart. So it would be better to have 2 fixed antennas, rather than having to keep rotating 1 antenna 180 degrees each time. You need UHF only antenna for Greensboro, and UHF/VHF for Charlotte (WTVI is real Ch 11). If you don't care for WTVI, then you need just a UHF antenna.

But regardless if you want 1 or 2 markets, make sure your antenna is aimed correctly. For Charlotte, you need to point the antenna to the SW, and for Greensboro, you need to point the antenna NE. In the link below for the HBU-33, the right side of the pic is the front of the antenna, and should aim towards the towers
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3740646#

Each time you test a different market, you need to do a re-scan on your tv.

I agree with 2-antennas for where you are at, best way is one pointing 49-north and the other 49-south and that would cover you. I do the same thing but I am farther south than you at the Harrisburg/Charlotte border.

All Comments made are my own and not of my employer.
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post #9 of 66 Old 04-23-2013, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help from everybody. We went out Sunday and bought two Clearstream4 antennas. Now a few new questions please :-) How far apart do they need to be and should they be mounted one over the other or side by side? Should I put ffour TVs on one and three TVs on the other or hook both antennas together, and then split the signal seven ways. Oh and BTW, when I thought that I was seeing the signal strength on the TV screen, that was merely the signal strength from my router for the smart apps. I am embarrassed to tell you this, but I have to because now I need to know how do I check my antenna signal strenth? Many thanks for the help. And for ybsane, since you are in the Charlotte area, what antenna do you use? Thanks.
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post #10 of 66 Old 04-23-2013, 02:52 PM
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I use 2 Winegard 9095 antennas back to back and combine them with a 2-way splitter as a combiner.

All Comments made are my own and not of my employer.
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post #11 of 66 Old 07-11-2013, 04:58 AM - Thread Starter
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As I mentioned in my last post, we did buy two Clearstream4 antennas. We have one of them up on our "test pole" and get app. 41 channels, so that fact combined with it's compact size and good price, makes us pretty happy. For our best reception, we were hoping for some more advice, as we are going to be mounting them on the gable end of the house, which is app. 30' up, so we are looking for that to make a difference as well. We have seven TVs to hook up (only one is on right now) and we were wondering if we should mount them separately side by side (how many feet apart?) or both on the same pole (how many feet apart?) and with four TVs on one and three TVs on the other one, or should they be all on one with the two antennas each turned in the proper direction for best reception? We receive from two different areas in opposite directions, Charlotte and Greensboro, but we still get both areas pretty well with our current test antenna and pole. Apparently this antenna receives off of the back side pretty well, since we have it faced towards Charlotte, but still receive Greensboro as well. And please also how do I check my antenna signal strength? Many thanks for the help and patience.
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post #12 of 66 Old 07-11-2013, 04:23 PM
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You may be able to get away with one antenna receiving from both directions. Use a Channel Master 7778 16db preamp at the antenna, with the power supply where the cable enters the house. Then install a Channel Master 8 port distribution amp to feed the cable going to all 7 TVs. If you install both antennas, space them one above the other about 4ft apart. Run equal 6ft length cable from both antennas into a reverse splitter. Connect the splitter from the combined antennas into the 7778 preamp with a 1ft cable from RadioShack. But sometimes combining 2 antennas can interfere with the other, so that's why 1 antenna may work better if it receives in both directions. Which it should, especially if you can leave off the reflector screen.
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post #13 of 66 Old 07-13-2013, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response and your help. I really apprecioate your input, although I know that no one can really know anything for sure, and that it is a trial and error thing that we will have to truly discover for ourselves. It would be great if we could know ahead of time what would would work the best. Sigh. Because it is kind of a scary thing to be changing and trying different things around at that height and from that precarious a position up on a ladder. I will stay in touch and let you know how it goes. We are going to buy some more supplies and get a ladder for the 30' climb and see what works. Wish us luck !!! Thanks again.
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post #14 of 66 Old 07-13-2013, 06:41 PM
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Hope it works out well, and I definitely recommend an 8 port distribution amp. The PCT/Channel Master versions are very good, and so are Motorola but more expensive. And if you are splitting to 7 TVs, the dist amp is probably necessary. The outside preamp may or may not be necessary, depending upon how much signal loss from the outside antenna to when the cable enters the house. Trial and error there and length of cable. Either a Winegard 8700 preamp or Channel Master 7778. Nothing stronger needed and could be detrimental. Good luck.
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post #15 of 66 Old 07-14-2013, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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We have decided to mount the two antennas separately on the end gable of the house (30' up), approximately 4 to 6 feet apart. And then to use one for 4 TVs and the other for 3 TVs, rather than using an 8-way splitter. We are hoping that this way will get us better signal strength and we are also going to get the amplified splitters and then check and see if we need the pre-amp (hopefully we won't). Since you told us which 8-way splitter to buy and we will be instead be buying a 4-way, which one do you recommend for that and what db gain should each port offer? We will be facing the two antennas in the same direction to get both Charlotte from the front and Greensboro off of the back side.

We are also wondering if you can direct us any about the very important ground wires? We already have a grounding rod nearby to use (our whole house electrical is on it, unless that may cause some interference). Maybe they will need their own grounding rod? But also will the two antennas each need to be grounded separately or can they some how be done together? And can the coax be run side by side with the ground wire or should it not be too close together? Must the ground wire be #8 copper or #6 aluminum or can I use some #12 copper wire that I already have? I am sorry to be such a newbie pain, but I really appreciate the help and guidance. Anybody want to come to NC and help us? LOL. Thanks again.
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post #16 of 66 Old 07-14-2013, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, yes I almost forgot. Do you have any thoughts on the RG6 coax, such as brand name or should it be quad-shield, where to buy, etc. and the F connectors? We are thinking that we will need at least 100 feet of RG6 and multiple F connectors, including some that are those 90 degree connectors. Thank you again.
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post #17 of 66 Old 07-15-2013, 03:24 AM
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There are numerous grounding threads here, poke around some more.

A typical good 4-way distribution amp should provide about 7-8 dB of gain. Good ones to choose from include the AD CDA4, CM/PCT 4-port, and the Electroline amps.

There is rarely any advantage to using RG6 QS or standard RG6 for antenna installations.
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post #18 of 66 Old 07-15-2013, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, thank you. I will check into those other threads for some grounding info. And thanks for the splitter info, but I am very puzzled about the coax issue. If I don't use RG6, what am I supposed to use?
I thought that was what I needed. Now I am stumped. Thanks again.
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post #19 of 66 Old 07-15-2013, 07:06 AM
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There is a 4 port version of the Channel Master dist amp so I would choose that model. Or the Motorola BDA S-4. But Channel Master is also good but cheaper. And you do want RG6 coax cable. Just no need for quad shield. Lowes or Home Depot should be fine. Or even Walmart.
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post #20 of 66 Old 07-15-2013, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you bunches !!! I appreciate the help. Seriously :-)
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post #21 of 66 Old 07-15-2013, 01:24 PM
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Before you lock down your antenna, make sure you are getting all the stations you want. If a station is pixelating, you may have multipath interference. In your situation, you may have to experiment with different mounting heights to see if pixilating stops. A change of only a few inches may clear up the problem.

The Clearstream4 antenna is very good so I don't expect any reception problems, but as they say in the real estate market, location, location, location.
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post #22 of 66 Old 07-28-2013, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it.
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post #23 of 66 Old 07-28-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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We have not gotten our antennas mounted yet, but are sadly still working on the situation. And I hope that this is my last question before I get to post our results, hopefully soon. Anyway, at what intervals is the best reception for antennas? Should they be at 10 foot, nine foot or what intervals? This is so that I can figure out how much height that we need to get our best, most optimum results. We are wondering if we should try and figure them for at either multiples of 9' or 10' or 5', etc. ? We will be double stacking them, so should they be at what heights? I don't know at what heights the "air waves" run at. I hope that this is not a stupid question, and if it is, then I am sorry. I hope that you all continue to have patience with me :-) Thank you so much.
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post #24 of 66 Old 07-28-2013, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh yes and do you go by where the bottom, middle or top of the antenna is located at in figuring your height? We are using the Clearstream4. Thanks again.
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post #25 of 66 Old 07-28-2013, 09:37 PM
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Beyond the general rule "higher is better", the "Sweet Spot" for reception could be as small as about 1/4 wavelength, which for UHF is several inches high (or wide) to several feet high (or wide), depending on ground bounce geometry, frequency (VHF will be even bigger). So the only way to find it is to search up and down, back and forth...a lot of trial and error....and....it could change as weather changes the index of refraction....which is why I think vertically stacked antennas (e.g. Bowties, G-H, ClearStream), with at least some elements in the Sweet Spot(s), provide better protection against Multipath than "flat" antennas, such as a typical Yagi, Log-Yagi & LPDA.
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/antennas/siting.html

BTW: TVFool makes prediction calculations using either the SRTM-1 or SRTM-3 data bases, collected by a radar system flown on one of the old Space Shuttle flights. The BEST location accuracy is on the order of 10-16 meters in height error and 15-20 meters in circular Lat/Long error....and some TVFool calculations use much lower accuracy calculations.
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post #26 of 66 Old 07-29-2013, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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So, if I understand this correctly, then the TV waves run at approximately every 32' to 33' since 10 Meters = 32.808398950131234 Feet? And so then my starting place for antenna mounting should be at this 32' to 33' point? Wow, this seems awfully high. I was hoping for every 10'. LOL. To be up that high on a ladder does not allow for alot of trial and error and moving antennas around, just for the safety factor. Again, wow. That just makes me scared and thinking that Direct TV might not be so bad. LOL again. And is this "sweet spot" anywhere in the 32' to 33' area or would it be best to put the middle of my UHF Clearstream 4 antennas there at 32. 6' ? I had attached my TV Fool report earlier, but to be honest I don't understand it alot. I am sorry to need so much hand holding through out this process, but I sincerely thank you for you input and help. Thanks again from NC.
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post #27 of 66 Old 07-29-2013, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
So, if I understand this correctly, then the TV waves run at approximately every 32' to 33' since 10 Meters = 32.808398950131234 Feet? And so then my starting place for antenna mounting should be at this 32' to 33' point?

No, not at all. The default height of 30' or 10' m is for calculation and planning purposes. In the real world, in open space one will have some signal all the way from the ground up to perhaps miles into the air. The intensity will vary with height, and, depending on a number of variables, would be expected to be stronger as the height increases (up to a limit, of course). If you're in a suburban environment, it's generally best to get an antenna up in the air out of the local clutter losses. How high must it be? "As high as it takes" is the only answer that's correct from a technical standpoint. Realistically, you'll hit the limit of your comfort zone at some height and either it will work or it won't at that elevation and location.

Do not drill any holes to mount the antenna until you have satisfactorily demonstrated the antenna actually has signals in that location. As holl_ands noted, a very small movement in an antenna can make or break reception, depending on ones local conditions.

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post #28 of 66 Old 10-27-2013, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm sorry but I am back to bug you guys again but due to my husband's back injury, we are just now getting around to finishing up with our TV antenna. As previously stated, we purchased two Clearstream4 antennas and we have since also purchased the Winegard 0012 antenna mount. We will be putting both antennas on a 10 to 12 foot mast with this mount and will space them apart hopefully about 6 feet or so. We will still be hooking up to seven TVs and have definitely decided to split them with two 4-way splitters instead of going with an 8 way splitter, with each antenna being split four ways and one of them three ways. We also would like to avoid buying two antenna pre-amps unless absolutely necessary. That being said, what we would like is to use two 4-way AMPLIFIED splitters instead closest to where the cables enter the house at. Does this sound OK to do and could I please have your recommendations for the splitters with very definite specs so that I can't mess it up when ordering. There seems to be so many confusing specs with the various splitters. Thank you so much in advance for your help.
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post #29 of 66 Old 10-27-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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And although there have alrady been some suggestions, I was unsure which of them was amplified and the best to us plus there are sometimes several models of them that throw around unknown specs like bidirectional, distribution, active return, etc. I guess I need my hand held a little more than the usuals, like just tell me which one. LOL. Sorry.
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post #30 of 66 Old 10-28-2013, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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photo 2 - Copy.JPG 75k .JPG file photo 4 - Copy.JPG 74k .JPG file Well, the results are finally in after all this time and they are not what we expected or hoped for. We finally finished getting the two antennas (Clearstream4) onto the peak of the roof yesterday. And since I don't have the splitters yet, we only hooked up two TVs, (instead of the seven) with one going to each antenna. What we got was fewer channels than before and still the pixilation on some of them. I was so disappointed. I realize that this probably means that we are either not in the "sweet spot" or the two antennas are not the proper distance apart. Either of these issues will not be addressed since they are crazy high up (35 to 47 total feet) and I could not, nor would I, ask my son and nor my husband to change them, since they wouldn’t anyway (they were scared senseless on that ladder:-). That being said I have posted some pictures and am begging PLEASE for some definite model numbers of recommended amplified splitters, as I do not understand the jargon connected with them and maybe some opinions if I need a pre-amp? and which one? Your help is so greatly appreciated and needed and I thank you so much for it.
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