Lynchburg, VA: Ground floor apt in mountains - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-02-2013, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone. I am new to this forum and do not see a place for a newbie to introduce oneself. I have not used an antenna on a TV since the late 80s. Well times have changed and the simple fact is that money is dictating this choice in a nutshell. My wife and I are trying to cut back on expenses such as TV and cell phone. The other main factor is that we are college students trying to make a better life for our family and watching a lot of TV is just not practical . We have a smart TV with Netflix and Amazon Prime so we are spending less that $15 a month for "on demand" TV. The goal now is to have OTA TV so we have it when we want it for local news, Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy, etc.
My issues are as follows:
we live in an apartment on the first floor
we live in the mountains
my flat panel RCA amplified antenna is just not working. If the antenna is placed on the TV stand it picks up nothing. If I hang it on the wall behind the TV it picks up nothing. If I tape it to the aluminum window frame in the livingroom it picks up about 10 stations some of which work fine while others have digital bitter. Heck it will not pick up the local ABC station at all which is the closest to us. So, I am here to get educated on where to start and what to do to get quality OTA TV without spending a fortune to do it.

What is your primary objective (check the line applicable) :
I want as many as I can reasonably get

Main Assembly:
What kind of Terrestrial Antenna do you presently have:
(Make/Model/None): RCA branded flat amplified HDTV antenna bought from Big Lots

Is the Antenna to be/or installed:
Same room as my tv. Must be indoor as I live in an apartment.

If inside (same room) on which floor is the antenna?
First floor corner apartment

If in Attic, Roof or outside separate Mast/Pole:
How high above ground is your Antenna installed/proposed:
Indoor

Do you have an Antenna Rotator:
No

Are you presently using a preamp?
No



Interior:
How many linear Cable feet is it between your Antenna and the most far TV:
25 feet

How many TV sets will be/are presently being used, on this system:
1

How many Splitters are in use in your system:
None

Are you using a Distribution Amplifier:
Built in amp connected to the antenna


Additional Information:
Are you/do you plan to integrate Cable or Satellite Services with this system:
No

Is there anything else you would like to provide concerning construction, obstructions or geographical issues?
I gave up Direct tv to save money. I live in an apartment in the mountains and can not have an outdoor antenna.

My living room window is facing NE my bedroom window is facing NW.

Do you have a current Chart for the Free Local TV Channels in your Area?

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d46ae376ff36a89
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 05:31 AM
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Before you can get help here, you need to fix the tvfool's link so we can see what kind of signal levels you can possibly get...when I click on it I'm told the page does not exist. Also you should post the model of the RCA antenna, but I suspect it's not exactly top quality.

If you're surrounded by mountains that could be a big problem, but most TV stations broadcast from the tops of mountains. The fact that you can get some stations in when attaching to an aluminum frame in the apartments means that the big lots antenna is probably not the best of quality. Ideally you want to have the antenna outside, even if attached to a patio railing..you have legal rights even as an apartment owner to do this.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 07:33 AM
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Repaired TVFool link: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d46ae67491025f3 Please note the caution regarding location. I'd suggest using the interactive maps feature and precisely locating your location on the map, run a new TVFool plot, the post the link following the instructions on that page.

Realistically, at over 50 miles from most of the stations, a ground floor indoor antenna isn't likely to be easy or reliable unless you are located perfectly, without building materials that block signals, and are reasonably clear of surrounding ground clutter.

Your flat panel RCA is close to worthless for VHF which is what the local ABC station requires.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 10:59 AM
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RCA Flat Panel Antennas are WORSE than simple VHF-Rabbit-Ears+UHF-Loop. Suggest you try something selected from the fol. ordered list, bearing in mind that IF you want to receive Ch43, directly opposite to your local group, then you should first try Bi-Directional Antennas (NO Reflector):
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1037779/evs-recommended-top-rated-dtv-indoor-uhf-vhf-set-top-antenna-review-round-up-guide

A simple Rabbit-Ears/Loop MIGHT be enough to add ABC (Hi-VHF Ch13) and maybe PBS (Lo-VHF Ch3), but is only a small improvement for UHF channels.

Locating the Antenna OUTDOORS will provide a HUGE improvement and permit the use of much bigger VHF and UHF Antennas.

Whether Indoors or Outdoors, you could try a simple DIY project, such as the Combination Hi-VHF/UHF Bowtie-In-Loop or separate Hi-VHF & UHF Hourglass Loops, which may or may not receive Ch3 (if not, combine with RabbitEars using HLSJ Combiner):
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/loops
or a simple 4-Bay Bowtie, which has both Hi-VHF and UHF coverage:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/multibay/4bay/super4m10x95
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 12:33 PM
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 04:14 PM
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Edited to add location as required. See the sticky threads.

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post #7 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to understand tvfool. Which test results are you looking for me to post?
Here is the tv signal analyst.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d46ae376ff36a89




.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 05:12 PM
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See where it says
Quote:
If you would like to share these results with others, this page can be referenced as:
......../QUOTE]

?
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post

Realistically, at over 50 miles from most of the stations, a ground floor indoor antenna isn't likely to be easy or reliable unless you are located perfectly, without building materials that block signals, and are reasonably clear of surrounding ground clutter.

Agreed, even a high quality indoor panel is pushing it. You would have no problem with a roof antenna, but I assume being in an apartment that is probably not an option.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bac522 View Post


Agreed, even a high quality indoor panel is pushing it. You would have no problem with a roof antenna, but I assume being in an apartment that is probably not an option.

 

In a nutshell I can place an antenna in a window and I can use a window planter box for flowers. If I can use a plant box just outside a window, why not a small no too ugly antenna? I am thinking about clamping a small outdoor antenna to a bedroom window (brick under the window, there is a little ledge) and this is a NW facing window. My main signals are line of sight from the west. Maybe this is my best option. The NW bedroom window is on the back side of my building which faces the woods. If I do not draw attention to the antenna and it is not to large and does not stick out....maybe I can pull it off. 

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post #11 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 11:07 AM
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Try a ClearStream 2V, it's about as good as it's going to get in a small, compact antenna. I've seen them at Walmart and Best Buy stores.
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I am still trying to work with what I own right now until the budget is there to buy a better antenna. I saw a Clearstream 2 at Wally's World. In a nutshell I would be looking at $150 for antenna, coax, and two window cable pass through cables. That amount of money is not in the budget yet. I am planning on taking time tomorrow to get the best out of the RCA ant111 that I do have by playing with placement. My wife is getting frustrated with OTA tv because it just does not work right. I want a happy wifey, help. Lol seriously thought, what I am doing now is not working.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-05-2013, 04:50 PM
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Try the RCA ant111 non-amplified antenna just inside the bedroom window, no metal screen, no low-e glass, and let us know what you get.

While you are set up to experiment, also try the flat panel antenna at the same location.

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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www.megalithia.com/elect/aerialsite/dttpoorman.html
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-11-2013, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello Everyone. I think I have found my solution as to what I am going to do. I was able to get hooked up with a guy named Trip. He has a spectrum analyzer and was able to test my rabbit ears, a commercial antenna he had, and his own DIY antenna both inside and outside my apartment. His DIY antenna bar far performed the best according to his testing. Not only did he come to my apartment to help me with all of this, he sent me pics of his antenna and is working on getting me measurements so that I can make my own version of it. I am excited about this as it is the best solution for me in that it performed better than something I could buy at a store (at an affordable cost), and his design is cheaper to build, plus I get to have some fun making it. Also my college semester ended today and I have a week off from schoolwork, so I will have time to work on it next week. It seems to be all win win. Thanks to Trip for all of his help in coming out to help out a complete stranger. :) 

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