Morgan Hill, CA: Recommended OTA HD Reception Testing Procedure - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 03:24 PM
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48.1, 48.2 are where 36 is, east of Fremont/Milpitas.

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post #32 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Chuck.

I'm getting channel 7 very well. According to TV Fool, 62+ miles away. Seems to bode well that I might be able to snag some more at that location and area. I need to find a better way to mount this antenna, and possibly another one. Very temporary set-up at this time.

I'll try to snap a photo or two later of what I'm working with now...
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post #33 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 05:43 PM
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KGO has two transmitters: A VHF 7 from Sutro and a UHF 35 from Fremont. You'll need to check which one you're getting.
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post #34 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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KGO has two transmitters: A VHF 7 from Sutro and a UHF 35 from Fremont. You'll need to check which one you're getting.
Thank you ProjectSHO89.

I'm using an UHF antenna at the moment, so I'd guess it would be 35, but it says channel 7.1 (KGO-HD). So, I'm getting Sutro?

A bit more playing is showing that I can most likely achieve desired results with a mast of minimal height, just 3 - 5 feet.

What are one's options for setting-up such?

The previous owner had something in place that he used as a mast as I can see cut coax, and silicone around it... It's like a boot with a pipe in the middle. I had capped the thing as it was open to the elements (into the attic)...

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post #35 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 10:08 PM
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35 is a repeater of KGO. You're not getting Sutro KGO (rf 7).
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post #36 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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35 is a repeater of KGO. You're not getting Sutro KGO (rf 7).
If I'm indeed getting a repeater of KGO, and I don't doubt you of course as it makes sense, why am I getting it on channel 7 as opposed to 35?
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post #37 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 11:01 PM
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35 is a repeater of KGO. You're not getting Sutro KGO (rf 7).
If I'm indeed getting a repeater of KGO, and I don't doubt you of course as it makes sense, why am I getting it on channel 7 as opposed to 35?
It's a part of the digital transition. In the old days, television broadcasters had to identify themselves by the frequency on which they were broadcasting. Now with digital tuners, the television tuner learns the frequencies it receives, sometimes identifying the signals based on the old frequency numbers. By identifying, I'm talking about the 7-1 you see on your screen. Even if it's rf 35, a station now can be 7-1 thanks to ones and zeros in the data being broadcast. Part of the argument for the new protocol was that stations would need to have new logos etc. Not everyone likes it.
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post #38 of 78 Old 06-14-2014, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the education deltaguy. I can see why not everyone likes it...

So much for thinking I hit a tower 60+ miles away after minimal effort.

So, I'm up late reading about diplexers and tripod mount masts... Anyone aware of a tripod mount with adjustable legs? I realize it wouldn't be as sturdy, but if not adjustable, on a pitched roof, they must seemingly straddle a ridge, and that's not exactly desirable here...

I plan to reveal my ignorance further with this question and commentary... Anything wrong about using galvanized plumbing pipe for a mast? If not, I can easily have such a pipe, maybe 1 1/4", go through an existing hole in the test location into the attic, and all the way down to the "floor" of the attic, with something like a 2x6 spanning a couple ceiling joists, and one these attached for the pipe to thread into...



I can triangulate a brace within the attic, and I imagine that it would be quite strong. I just need about 3 or so feet above the roof, maybe 5' max. I would consider higher, so I could add another antenna, but I recall reading that sharing a mast is not ideal, and if so, they should be separated by at least 5 feet. So, a separate mast, one for VHF and UHF, is what I'm visualizing...

I've heard here and read that antennas should not be in contact with metal though, yet I believe masts are galvanized, so maybe a galvanized pipe would be fine...

Thanks for the feedback.
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post #39 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 07:15 AM
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It doesn't sound to me as though you have received any stations from San Francisco yet. The stations appear to be all from Salinas or Fremont. Here are some stations that can't be confused with anything others; KNTV, KKPX, KOFY, KPIX, KMTP, KRON, KCSM and KBCW. The first two are on Mt. San Bruno and the rest on Sutro Tower. Unless you have some of those scanned in you have not received any San Francisco channels.

You can use galvanized pipe for a mast. I normally like to see at least 3' between separate UHF and VHF antennas.
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post #40 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 08:03 AM
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TonyB1966,

I did a little research to see where Holiday Lakes Estates is and found them on the south end of Anderson Reservoir. In Google Earth I turned on the transmitter overlays and looked at the coverage from Sutro. Signals range from very poor to acceptable at various locations. Oakridge Road is in a good location so I ran TV Fool for that road. The results show all the signals to be at least 10 dB stronger than shown in your TV Fool report. That means you're in a marginal location. It may be that no antenna that you're willing to put up is going to receive SF stations. Chuck mentioned KCBA which is at the same location as KSBW but way down on your list. Indeed the overlays show KCBA to be very poor in that area.

You can see a similar display in TV Fool as I was looking at in Google Earth by selecting Maps in TV Fool.
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post #41 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
It doesn't sound to me as though you have received any stations from San Francisco yet. The stations appear to be all from Salinas or Fremont. Here are some stations that can't be confused with anything others; KNTV, KKPX, KOFY, KPIX, KMTP, KRON, KCSM and KBCW. The first two are on Mt. San Bruno and the rest on Sutro Tower. Unless you have some of those scanned in you have not received any San Francisco channels.

You can use galvanized pipe for a mast. I normally like to see at least 3' between separate UHF and VHF antennas.
Calaveras, you have been most helpful. Well, given what you say here, I got SF! From my notes, with my pop's antenna upon the ride of the roof, about 3' high (from the ridge), I got 44-1, which I noted as KBCW. It's not there now though. It was a bit sporadic... I have the antenna pointed at approx 320 degree true...

I'll proceed with a galvanized pipe mast install as described, based in the attic. Thank you. Maybe I'll try both on that mast, with about 3' separation...


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TonyB1966,

I did a little research to see where Holiday Lakes Estates is and found them on the south end of Anderson Reservoir. In Google Earth I turned on the transmitter overlays and looked at the coverage from Sutro. Signals range from very poor to acceptable at various locations. Oakridge Road is in a good location so I ran TV Fool for that road. The results show all the signals to be at least 10 dB stronger than shown in your TV Fool report. That means you're in a marginal location. It may be that no antenna that you're willing to put up is going to receive SF stations. Chuck mentioned KCBA which is at the same location as KSBW but way down on your list. Indeed the overlays show KCBA to be very poor in that area.

You can see a similar display in TV Fool as I was looking at in Google Earth by selecting Maps in TV Fool.
I appreciate the legwork! Really learning a lot here...

Is there such a thing as a combiner (for VHF & UHF), that also provides some amplification? My run will be about 20 feet. Should I consider RG-11 to limit loss? I think I still have some from my HAM days...

All, Happy Father's Day.
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post #42 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 11:08 AM
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Is there such a thing as a combiner (for VHF & UHF), that also provides some amplification? My run will be about 20 feet. Should I consider RG-11 to limit loss? I think I still have some from my HAM days...
The RCA TVPRAMP1R preamp has separate VHF and UHF inputs. 20' is very short but you'll get a modest improvement especially on UHF. There's not enough difference in 20' to bother with RG-11. Don't use the old solid polyethylene dielectric RG-11. That's probably no better than modern RG-6. There is new foam dielectric/foil shield RG-11 for TV and it has about 1.5 dB less loss per hundred feet at channel 51. Of course it requires special connectors.

The fact that you received KBCW only and now it's out is not very encouraging. What you want is for all those stations to be in almost all the time. If your situation is that an evening temperature inversion is bringing in a couple of Sutro stations then there's likely to be no antenna good enough to receive them all reliably.
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post #43 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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With what you said, I'll stick with RG-6. Seems like I'd need to buy new RG-11, and as you mentioned different connectors, and with that, the need for different tools. The stuff is or at least was rather stiff too...

I went up on the roof before leaving for the day, and the antenna had moved several inches from where I had positioned it. Again, it's a makeshift situation, certainly less than ideal. It's an ABS pipe that slides over a much smaller roof pipe, so I need to stuff the base of the pipe with cardboard, wood shims, whatever, to get it close to vertical. Over the night it had given away. So, I might still get KBCW in the same fashion I did before... I'll also aim more toward it, 312, as opposed to 320. According to my TV Fool, it's -8.2 db, so it would be a nice get...

A photo is attached showing the crude set-up with my pop's antenna. The other photo shows what it is slid over and where I plan to run a galvanized pipe through as discussed...

EDIT - Sorry, I have no idea why they are upside down! There are not so on my desktop...

EDIT 2 - Just got the antenna back up and moved it a bit more to the "left" or what I think would be around 312 degrees (no compass this time), and I've had KBCW for 5+ minutes with one quick audio drop. Oh, just had some video distortion, but back quickly... Before that, I got KOFY 20.1, although that broke-up every 30 seconds or so. According to TV Fool, KBCW should be a tougher get than KOFY (-8.2 vs .7 db), but I guess with this antenna, that's not the case...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg photo 1.jpg (443.2 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg photo 2.jpg (464.3 KB, 12 views)

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post #44 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 08:00 PM
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyB1966 View Post
A photo is attached showing the crude set-up with my pop's antenna. The other photo shows what it is slid over and where I plan to run a galvanized pipe through as discussed...

EDIT - Sorry, I have no idea why they are upside down! There are not so on my desktop...
I rotated one in Photoshop. There's an obvious problem. UHF does not like to go through trees and VHF can be messed up too. To have any real chance of receiving SF you must get the antenna above the trees so it has a clear shot to whatever hill the signals are refracting over. There's really no choice in the matter. Pointing into thick vegetation is pretty much hopeless.
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post #45 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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A photo is attached showing the crude set-up with my pop's antenna. The other photo shows what it is slid over and where I plan to run a galvanized pipe through as discussed...

EDIT - Sorry, I have no idea why they are upside down! There are not so on my desktop...
I rotated one in Photoshop. There's an obvious problem. UHF does not like to go through trees and VHF can be messed up too. To have any real chance of receiving SF you must get the antenna above the trees so it has a clear shot to whatever hill the signals are refracting over. There's really no choice in the matter. Pointing into thick vegetation is pretty much hopeless.
Calaveras, thanks for making the time to rotate those photos and your continued input.

The trees / vegetation go well over the roof, by about 30 feet. For multiple reasons I won't even consider going that high...

That said, is the concern with the trees that I will not get a consistently reliable signal in all types of situations, like in windy ones? I say that because I've been watching 44.1 (KBCW virtual) and it has been rock solid since a minor tweak on 32' coax. I'm thinking that on 20' of coax, when more directly routed through the attic, along with some minor amplification, the signal would be more dependable. Again, I'm guessing that if the branches are moving in a stormy situation, all bests are off...
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post #46 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 09:55 PM
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That said, is the concern with the trees that I will not get a consistently reliable signal in all types of situations, like in windy ones? I say that because I've been watching 44.1 (KBCW virtual) and it has been rock solid since a minor tweak on 32' coax. I'm thinking that on 20' of coax, when more directly routed through the attic, along with some minor amplification, the signal would be more dependable. Again, I'm guessing that if the branches are moving in a stormy situation, all bests are off...
It takes a month if not longer to really get an idea how stable stations are. What about the other Sutro stations? Is KBCW the only one you can receive?

At my location I cannot receive any of my local stations at 20' because of vegetation but at 60' they all come in.

I don't know what your reception goal is. If you're happy with whatever you have now then fine. If not, then you have to do whatever is required at your location.
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post #47 of 78 Old 06-15-2014, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm playing with the Radio Shack dual antenna now, aiming around 312, and hoping to catch KSBW on the backside, but no dice...

Earlier you stated that these are without any confusion Sutro, or SF, at least if I understood you correctly: KNTV, KKPX, KOFY, KPIX, KMTP, KRON, KCSM and KBCW.

If so, I got KMTP (32-1), Chinese programming from my notes, but not a solid signal. KOFY (20-1), as said earlier, also came in, not solid. And yes, KBCW, quite good...

You bring-up great point - reception goal. Here's what I'm after, and maybe it's not all that much compared to others...

Ideal: Get 2 or all 3 of ABC, CBS and NBC (SF Bay Area) with a PBS station too.

Adequate: Get 2 or all 3 of ABC, CBS and NBC (Central Coast, south of Morgan Hill) with a PBS station too.

I like how channel 8 (KSBW) has both NBC and ABC. I'm watching the news on KGO now (7.1) and especially like it for the Bay Area news.
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post #48 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 07:00 AM
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You bring-up great point - reception goal. Here's what I'm after, and maybe it's not all that much compared to others...

Ideal: Get 2 or all 3 of ABC, CBS and NBC (SF Bay Area) with a PBS station too.

Adequate: Get 2 or all 3 of ABC, CBS and NBC (Central Coast, south of Morgan Hill) with a PBS station too.

I like how channel 8 (KSBW) has both NBC and ABC. I'm watching the news on KGO now (7.1) and especially like it for the Bay Area news.

What's the vegetation situation in the direction of KSBW? If it's clear then you might be better off concentrating on those stations. KCBA now is broadcasting KTVU news so you could get the Bay Area news there.

It's not likely you'll get stations off the back of an antenna in a weak signal area.
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post #49 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You bring-up great point - reception goal. Here's what I'm after, and maybe it's not all that much compared to others...

Ideal: Get 2 or all 3 of ABC, CBS and NBC (SF Bay Area) with a PBS station too.

Adequate: Get 2 or all 3 of ABC, CBS and NBC (Central Coast, south of Morgan Hill) with a PBS station too.

I like how channel 8 (KSBW) has both NBC and ABC. I'm watching the news on KGO now (7.1) and especially like it for the Bay Area news.

What's the vegetation situation in the direction of KSBW? If it's clear then you might be better off concentrating on those stations. KCBA now is broadcasting KTVU news so you could get the Bay Area news there.

It's not likely you'll get stations off the back of an antenna in a weak signal area.
A huge oak tree in that direction too (168 degrees or KSWB direction)... Also, about 50' away from the antenna. The good news is that these are large diameter branches just stemming-off the trunk, as opposed to small diameter branches, twigs and leaves...

I remembered last night that someone here found how to view signal strength on this TV, so I did so on a few channels with the Radio Shack antenna. It displays the SNR and I saw high teens for ABC, I think it was KGO displayed on 7-1 and mid 20's for others. I'll make it a point to run that diagnostic as to have some hard numbers for comparison. Watching the World Cup now on 14-1 or 51 "physical channel", in Spanish. SNR is in the 26 range. Speaking of which, from an antenna of choice perspective, (UHF or VHF), it's the physical channel that matters, here 51?

Hmmm.... KCBA doesn't sound familiar. It's also at 168. According to TV Fool, it would seem to be tough get for me at -9.2 db. Sounds like a good channel to get for me.
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post #50 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 04:32 PM
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It's the trees that are making reception more difficult than it otherwise would be. Stations with SNRs only in the teens will likely have periods of no reception. SNR is Signal Quality and not Signal Strength. Weak signals will result in low SNRs but strong signals can still produce low SNRs due to multipath. The noise margin column in TV Fool is strictly about signal strength. It does not take into account antenna gain or preamps so it's frequently possible to receive stations with predicted values below 0 dB.

Physical channel is what counts for the antenna. Virtual channel is about station branding. 51 counts not 14.

KCBA is FOX 35 Salinas and is on 13. Even when taking everything into account KCBA is still predicted to be -12 dB here yet I receive it at +8 dB or better most of the time. You just never know.
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post #51 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Figured such, and I really appreciate the clarification. I guess physical channel is what TV Fools calls the Real Channel. I'll only consider such in my antenna decision-making process...

Given that my dad's antenna is strictly UFH (ClearStream 4), I think I'll order another one that can address VHF as the one I'm using now (Radio Shack VU-75XR) is larger than what I'd prefer. The ClearStream4 UHF antenna is quite compact. For a compact and competent VHF / UHF antenna I'm thinking the RCA ANT751, or according to a TV Fool discussion, this one, which is essentiallly the same, possilby better (?): http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/...v_Antenna.html. Any input on these two, or others? It seems that these are not for lower VHF channels, just the higher ones, but really all that's there that I want is channel 8 (NBC and ABC), so I'd think that should suffice... Oh, there is 35 too, as you mentioned KCBA, which would be nice to get FOX...

I am contemplating using this new antenna for the southern channels along 168 degrees (8 and 35), and the ClearStream 4 northward, around 320 degrees. As provided earlier, and thanks again Calaveras, I'd run those two through a mast-mounted RCA TVPRAMP1R.
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post #52 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 06:11 PM
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KCBA is also on Fremont Peak, so should not be a problem.

The only major OTA net that isn't on Fremont Peak is CBS, which is unfortunately further south on
Mount Toro.

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post #53 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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KCBA is also on Fremont Peak, so should not be a problem.

The only major OTA net that isn't on Fremont Peak is CBS, which is unfortunately further south on
Mount Toro.

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Thanks Chuck. From the TV Fool report, the only reference to KCBA is at 168 degrees. Where should I be pointing? I'm at 320 now, so I shouldn't be too far off, I would think...
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post #54 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 07:24 PM
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The EZ-HD and the 751 are essentially the same. Neither is anywhere as strong on UHF as the C4 but, as you're now aware, the C4 is a UHF-only antenna.
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post #55 of 78 Old 06-16-2014, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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The EZ-HD and the 751 are essentially the same. Neither is anywhere as strong on UHF as the C4 but, as you're now aware, the C4 is a UHF-only antenna.
Thanks ProjectSHO89. My southward aim is really just to bag channel 8, to get NBC and ABC, so the UHF capabilities of the ANTI75 are not highly important for this application.

If I get FOX via KCBA on Fremont Peak with the UHF antenna, assuming it's UHF, that would be great.

If the forum allows for Excel attachments, I share some notes between both test antennas aimed at 320 degrees (geographic / true). Pretty interesting...

Had to zip it, so hopefully it worked... Too large. The first tab is an image of my TV Fool report, so I'll ditch that and see if that helps.
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post #56 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 07:48 AM
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Thanks Chuck. From the TV Fool report, the only reference to KCBA is at 168 degrees. Where should I be pointing? I'm at 320 now, so I shouldn't be too far off, I would think...
KCBA would be at something like 168 from where you are. You are probably picking it up off the
back lobe from the antenna.

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post #57 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Just made time to run up into the attic before heading into the office. I wanted to see below the test location as it seemed that the previous owner used it as an antenna spot, given the coax found going down...

I also wanted to get the vertical space in the attic, which is about 48" (ceiling joists to roof).

Does the piping appear to be that of an antenna mast, something specifically designed for such? If so, maybe I can find an appropriate length / extension and utilize it for my purposes, as opposed to constructing something, like galvanized pipe, as mentioned earlier...

I didn't have a phillips screwdriver with me, but does anyone know what Radio Shack amp that is?

A somewhat poor quality video, about 50 seconds:


Thanks much.
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post #58 of 78 Old 06-17-2014, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Tribolet View Post
KCBA would be at something like 168 from where you are. You are probably picking it up off the
back lobe from the antenna.

Chuck
Chuck, thanks for the follow-up on KCBA. I'll admit that I was thinking Fremont, as in the East Bay. Not sure why! Funny story is that I had a history teacher who called it Gavilan Peak. He was of Mexican descent, and always made us laugh when recounting the story of went down there...

Thanks Chuck.
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post #59 of 78 Old 06-19-2014, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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From an SNR perspective, is there general consensus of what's needed or generally denotes what should be fairly reliable signal?

From what little I've experienced, anything less than 17 is crap. The high teens seem to be somewhat decent, and low 20's starts to give me some confidence that it can be a go to channel...

I'm playing the with RCA preamp now, with just the CS4 UHF antenna. The RCA ANT751 just arrived, so I'll experiment with two antennas soon...
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post #60 of 78 Old 06-19-2014, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyB1966 View Post
From an SNR perspective, is there general consensus of what's needed or generally denotes what should be fairly reliable signal?

From what little I've experienced, anything less than 17 is crap. The high teens seem to be somewhat decent, and low 20's starts to give me some confidence that it can be a go to channel...

I think that's a good summary of the situation.
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