4 weeks later - SUMMARY OF OBSTACLES I OVERCAME AND MAY HELP OTHERS
1. living in north Indianapolis, approx 12 miles from many transmitter towers. couple transmitters approx 35 miles away.
2. My earlier initial postings were for how to get started with install of antenna and how to proceed; below is a summary of obstacles I was hit with and overcame after many weeks.
A. Didnt want outdoor antenna since in a nice neighborhood(aesthetics).
B. Home was prewired with coax and 3 branches , 1 branch to each floor, (basement, 1st, 2nd).
C. currently have Comcast and looking to possibly drop
D. Bought winegard .. 94P antenna, would have bought Channel Master but blogs talked of large square profile... access to attic was only 2 feet by 2 feet hatch.
Went with the Winegard because good reviews and had a narrow linear profile that could be expanded when in the attic. antenna was about 4.5 to 5 ft long and easy to expand all fins, rods.
E. Because antenna is very directional, I bought 1 inch pvc conduit to use as mounting pole, couple clamps, joist hanger, basic mounting pieces to secure to attic joists and roof support 2x4's.
F. Coax length was a concern, 100' coax would start the path but then I would have to connect into back of house where comcast enters and deal with impact of the additional pre-wire and splits in the home.
G. Antenna was mounted, and this was time consuming as I would turn the antenna to TVFool mapping degrees, then go down to master bedroom where 100' coax attached to tv and do channel scans and evaluate. I made repeated charts of all channels and the quality of display of the channel for each antenna rotation. Approx 3 target positions. Surprisingly was getting 40 recieved channels from Tuner.
F. 32' lcd could lock on the channel but the resolution was different for different channels (aspect ratio) plus non HD channels would have varying degrees of some border blur.
G. Tossed 100' coax out window and attached to back of house; (obstacle) . As expected my upstairs had about 40% reduction in strength plus lost about 3 channels. Following week I replaced the 3 way splitter in furnace room with a "balance" 3 way splitter plus purchased an RCA pre-amp ($24) and attached right before the splitter. I was getting signal at antenna but needed the amp to overcome splitter signal degradation and additional branch lengths of coax.
H. Sigh!, worried at this point , but continue - only about $150 invested in the project so far. still cheaper than two months of comcast
I. Still some signs of not fully strong signal to basement and family room branches; (obstacle) noticed the prewire of home was Rg59 cable- debatable online but I decided to rule out and spent weekend threading new RG6 coax to the two accessible branches; crawl space and furnace room for family room and basement.
J. Better signal. (obstacle) forums debate better amplification at antenna versus inline downstream. I moved the pre-amp into the attic with the antenna and powered it via the injector in furnace room just before the splitter (ie. about 110' coax) between antenna and injector, just before the splitter.
K. Better signaling on all branches
L. (obstacle) spent another weekend, patching junction box drywall from coax rethread and also permanently drilling hole in soffit in rear of house to run coax out attic and down rear gutter ( I will put line in conduit and strap to gutter/paint to match) to have a clean look. And connected the coax. into box where comcast enters home.
M. Purchased a 47" LG smart TV 47ln5750 SamsClub $698 for the family room. Turned it on and easy tv wizard.
Beautiful Picture and get 40 recieved channels. 15 are daily watchable (others are religious, weather, spanish, etc). But the new tv tuner plus the stretched out coax and all above changes made for a fantastic FREE viewing.
N. 32" lcd in master bedroom, still shows weaker signal strength (bars on tv) but all the channels recieved and good picture. no drop outs. This is accepted, as I did not change this branch line (still rg59) and it is the longest branch , post split.
Conclusion: thanks for everyones input and this week I will drop Comcast but will still have undamaged branches should I have cable withdrawls in future.
PS. for the basement 46" tv I have router and purchased Roku 3 so that tv has the surround sound, ota, and also the streaming capability of Roku3.
Hope this tips help others.