How to improve OTA antenna reception - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
RobJJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I live pretty far from the OTA local channel signal source, and prior to getting DirecTV, I had a roof antenna but had good reception on only 1 of 4 available channels in the Boise area. It was so poor, I bought into the DirecTV local channels package and was very happy with that. Now that I've decided to get an HD receiver, I am thinking about going back to OTA local channels as it doesn't sound as if DirecTV currently offers HD for the local channels. What can I do to improve on the OTA reception I got previously? Would a different antenna be an option? Are there boosters that are available...and that work?

Anyway, any suggestions/thoughts would be appreciated...and thanks in advance for any assistance.
RobJJ is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 06:56 AM
Advanced Member
 
DAMAC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 904
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
You should probably start by explaining exactly what you setup is/was. Then we can go from there. You also should at least tell us your zipcode so we can figure out exactly how far and what direction(s) your OTA HD channels are coming from. Then, someone can probably give you some very good advice on what to do.

What model antenna have you used? Do you use a preamp, and what model is it? What is your zip? How high is your antenna tower? What is the terrain like between you and your TV towers?

GO COLTS!!!
DAMAC is offline  
post #3 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
RobJJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I went to antennaweb"dot"org after posting...it tells me I need either a large multi-directional, or a small directional with pre-amp for most channels, or a medium directional for a couple of channels (fortunately, all have the same compass orientation). As far as I can tell from the chart, if I go with the medium directional, it appears that it will also encompass what the small directional with pre-amp would have provided coverage for. Is this logic correct? Are there any reasons why the small directional with pre-amp would be a better choice than the medium directional?
RobJJ is offline  
post #4 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:05 AM
AVS Special Member
 
richard korsgren's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,562
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
You need a reasonable clean line of sight from antenna to transmitting towers (find out exactly where they are located). If the distance is more than 40 miles you will need a first rate antenna. One of best is Televes Dat75 but it is hard to come by. Check web site of 'stark electronics' for antennas from Channel Master and Winegard. You can also check the web sites of Channel Master and Winegard. If your local transmitters are located in different directions, you will need a rotator. A pre-amp is about the last item to consider. RG6 wire is a must. An unbroken line from antenna to back of receiver (tv) is best. Start out by determining how far the furthest transmitter is from your home. Good OTA reception is lots of trail and error, at times. There is much good information on same on the web.
richard korsgren is offline  
post #5 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:07 AM
AVS Special Member
 
richard korsgren's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,562
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
In my opinion, it is always best to go with a larger size antenna and get as much height as you are able. A pre-amp does not really give you a more powerful signal at the antenna head. A pre-amp will help you maintain that signal if you 'cut' your wire or if you have along run of wire (100 feet).
richard korsgren is offline  
post #6 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
RobJJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAMAC
You should probably start by explaining exactly what you setup is/was. Then we can go from there. You also should at least tell us your zipcode so we can figure out exactly how far and what direction(s) your OTA HD channels are coming from. Then, someone can probably give you some very good advice on what to do.

What model antenna have you used? Do you use a preamp, and what model is it? What is your zip? How high is your antenna tower? What is the terrain like between you and your TV towers?
I guess more info would have been better. I live at zip 83641...I am around 31 miles from the source and for all channels, approx. 28 degrees of compass orientation. I can't tell you anything specific about the old antenna...it is what the salesman told me I needed. There is no pre-amp. It was damaged in a windstorm, and a couple of the rods were bent, and I straightened them as best as I could, but I'm sure they are not exactly as they were originally...I'm not sure how critical exact/precise orientation of the specific rods is, but they aren't as they were originally.

The signal source is on top of a mountain and we live on a bluff and the antenna will be mounted on top of the second story portion of the house and therefore, there should be nothing between the source and where I will mount the antenna.
RobJJ is offline  
post #7 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
RobJJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I guess I also need to know about digital tv signals. What do I need to have equipment-wise, to receive these? How do you tune in a channel such as 7.1 (the website says is uses frequency assignment 26. Does that mean if I simply tune in to channel 26, I should receive that channel? Will any TV be able to receive that channel, or does it need to be a special type of TV? Will having the right antenna and the DirecTV HD receiver now allow me to receive that signal on my HD monitor? Not sure if it matters, but I have an Optoma RD50A and the HD receiver is a H2O receiver...I guess that means I need a LNB5 (and not the LNB3) as I originally posted. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? I assume at a minimum, it is the current technology, but being in Boise, I wonder if the technology the equipment is intended to use, something that will ever find its way to Boise. We seem to be at the end of the deployment pipeline. But, the Black Friday sale made the receiver free (after rebates), so it seemed like the right time to jump into the HD arena.
RobJJ is offline  
post #8 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:51 AM
AVS Special Member
 
DougRuss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 1,373
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
At that distance, I would recommend a 4228 . This is what I'm using, along with a Pre-amp to get the Locals out of Chicago......about 40 Miles going accross the Lake.
DougRuss is offline  
post #9 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 02:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
jtbell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Clinton, SC
Posts: 3,822
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJJ
How do you tune in a channel such as 7.1 (the website says is uses frequency assignment 26. Does that mean if I simply tune in to channel 26, I should receive that channel?
Stations broadcast their analog and digital signals on different channels. From the example you gave, it sounds like you have a station that broadcasts its analog signal on channel 7 and its digital signals on channel 26. All digital TVs and STBs are designed to re-map the analog channel numbers to the digital channels so that once your TV/STB knows about your example station, you can tune it as channel 7 even though it's reallly on channel 26. Broadcasters insisted on this because they've spent so much money on marketing based on their analog channel numbers. (One of my local stations would not be happy if they had to change their slogan from "Your Friend Four" to "Your Friend Thirty-Six"! :eek: )

The TV/STB finds out about the channel remappings in one of two ways: (a) you tune the station for the first time by giving the digital channel (26), and the TV/STB picks up the analog channel number (7) from information (PSIP data) encoded in the data stream; or (b) you tell the TV/STB to do a "channel scan" which automatically finds all the digital channels and extracts the analog channel numbers from them.

Channel numbers like 7.1 come in because a single channel can carry more than one digital signal (multicasting). Many stations have a weather radar, weather channel, or SD simulcast of their HD signal, along with the main HD signal.

Most stations use UHF channels for their digital signals, even the ones that use VHF for analog. There are some exceptions, though. For example, one station near me in Columbia SC uses channel 25 (its traditional channel) for analog, and channel 8 for digital. So you need to find out whether your digital channels are all UHF, or whether some are VHF, because that determines whether you can use a UHF-only antenna, or need a VHF/UHF combo.

As an added twist, after the big analog shutdown (which now looks like it's going to happen in April 2008, although it's not final yet), some stations will move their digital signals back to their former analog channels. This is especially likely if the analog channel is in the high-VHF range (7-13), because VHF propagates better than UHF with less power, and high-VHF has fewer problems with interference than low-VHF (2-6). So in your example, you may end up needing to receive channel 7 after the analog shutdown, in which case you may want to get an antenna that can handle VHF, even if you don't need that capability right now.
jtbell is offline  
post #10 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 03:22 PM
 
garibay_2004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 485
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 13
I live in zip code 90026 and I have a winegard 8800 and I can't get a good solid signal for fox channel, my signal gets better at night. I live in a valley and the transmissions towers are 14.5 miles away, but I my antenna does not have a clear shot at them, would a long range directional such a yagi improve my chances?
garibay_2004 is offline  
post #11 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 06:42 PM
Advanced Member
 
DAMAC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 904
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Rob, I have a Channel Master 4228 antenna and a Winegard AP-8780 preamp. I live 35 miles from the towers with a fairly good line of sight. I get all the digital channels that are broadcasting in full power (only the big 4 do), and I even have my antenna mounted in my attic. I have also tried the $60 preamp at Radioshack. It worked fairly well, but switching to the Winegard preamp gave me a couple percent better signal on all channels. It may have already been said, but you need an HDTV with an ATSC tuner or an HD receiver with one (the two newer HD receivers from D* have it built in). Once you have the HD tuner (on your TV or sat receiver), let it do the channel search to see if it can pick up any HD stations. If no, then buy a preamp and add it to your setup. If you don't get all your stations after you add the preamp, then get a different antenna. From the information you said, you should have no trouble getting all of your HD stations. Just follow the steps I explained to try to keep your cost down.


Garibay,

I am surprised you are having a problem at all even though you are in a valley. I'm not sure a preamp is a good idea given your close location to the towers, so you may need to upgrade the antenna. What HD tuner do you have? Is it a good one?

GO COLTS!!!
DAMAC is offline  
post #12 of 15 Old 11-27-2005, 07:12 PM
AVS Special Member
 
dirk1843's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Northeast Arkansas
Posts: 1,594
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 13
If you can get any height and nothing crazy like a mountain or a high-rise in the way, 31 miles should be gravy.

As already metioned, bigger and higher are better.............ALWAYS.

I am around 60 miles out, using a VU-190 Radio Shack up around 30 feet. No preamp, with a pretty long run........probably 50 feet to HDTiVo, then a splitter, and another 50 feet of so to the STB in the bedroom, no problems.

FWIW..........this setup works great with all my ATSC stations, but I could not get an NTSC if I had to. VERY fuzzy, piture noise, rollling lines...........all the good things we remember from the old days. I really expected a quality NTSC picture.........don't know that I have ever seen one but I didn't get it.

I've seen things you wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
dirk1843 is offline  
post #13 of 15 Old 01-04-2006, 08:24 PM
Senior Member
 
Dennis Nicholls's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 421
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
IIUC the transmitters in the Boise area are up at the Bogus Basin ski resort. That's about 4 or 5 thousand feet above the floor of Treasure Valley, where Boise is located. www.bogusbasin.com . How's your line of sight to Bogus Basin?

Feline videophiles Condoleezza and Dukie
Dennis Nicholls is offline  
post #14 of 15 Old 01-05-2006, 02:04 AM
AVS Special Member
 
NightHawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Chaptico Md.
Posts: 1,491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I looked at the stations in your area and with the exception of NBC on ch 26 they are all still transmitting at low to very low power. I would say it's a no brainer to get the largest directional UHF antenna you can. Don't let anyone tell you a pre-amp won't help. With most of your stations at less than 100 KW, a low-noise, mast-mounted pre-amp is almost a must for reliable reception, even though your distance isn't that great. Any 8 bay bow tie like the 4228 and either the Channel Master or Winegard UHF pre-amp should do it. FOX on ch 13 at 17 KW will probably be the most difficult.
NightHawk is offline  
post #15 of 15 Old 01-05-2006, 08:35 AM
AVS Special Member
 
cawgijoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Centreville, VA
Posts: 2,377
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'm about 25 to 30 miles from the broadcast towers in DC and have a VHF/UHF Winegard antenna mounted on the roof and hooked up via RG6 cable.

I do have a pre-amp due to the fact that I have several TV's hooked up. The pre-amp is also Winegard. I did try a Radio Shack pre-amp which worked, though not very well, and eventually burned out. The Winegard is a huge improvement.

Go with a high quality brand such as Winegard or Channel Master and if a pre-amp is needed go with one of these brands also.

As others have stated, mount the antenna as high as you can or is feasible and outside if possible. Attic installations are hit or miss. Outside is always better.
cawgijoe is offline  
Closed Thread HDTV Technical

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off