OTA HDTV, antennas and trees - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-01-2007, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am a "babe in the woods", (I live in the woods and am inexperienced, not a babe in the other sense), researching the feasibility of upgrading my antenna to receive OTA HDTV.

I live in the country about 40 miles SE of Washington DC and currently get ok to rotten analog reception depending on the channel on Radio Shack's priciest antenna (gable mount, 10' mast, amplifier, no rotor). It does improve if I optimize the direction (at least until the next windstorm)

AntennaWeb rates the antenna type for local stations in the red-blue-violet range, depending on the source.

I am on a hillside and the antenna just barely peeks over the horizon. It's peeking through an 80' wide stand of trees ranging up to 100' tall. Cable is not an option, and trees on the south rule out a dish, according to installers for both major dish providers.

Obviously I can raise the antenna mast 10-20' and add a rotor. My question is how much effect those trees (deciduous, mainly poplar) will have on signal strength?

Alternatively I could put up a tower at the top of the hill. While setting me back a lot more money, this would get me past the trees, BUT it would also add at least 200' of extra coax. What would the line loss tradeoff be?

Any suggestions? Or must I go to a professional installer who is familiar with local conditions for advice?

Many thanks,
Bill
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-01-2007, 02:44 PM
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Hills and trees = bad reception. Others have more tech knowledge but my final solution is the Samsung DTB-H260F Tuner, rotor, Antenna Direct's 91xg (from Solid Signal) Channel Master 4228 = very good, but 91xg tops over hills/trees, and Channel Master 7775 pre amp. This a UHF antenna. The 4228 can get some higher VHF. Depends where your station signal will rest in 09. I bought the best RS could offer and they're in the recycle bin. As far as sat signals, I had to place my dish on a 20' pole on which the 4228 rests on top. Even there, the 91xg outperforms it "towards the hills". Take some time to read previous posts and you'll see it is site specific.

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post #3 of 4 Old 01-01-2007, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillHF View Post

I live in the country about 40 miles SE of Washington DC and currently get ok to rotten analog reception depending on the channel on Radio Shack's priciest antenna (gable mount, 10' mast, amplifier, no rotor). It does improve if I optimize the direction (at least until the next windstorm)

AntennaWeb rates the antenna type for local stations in the red-blue-violet range, depending on the source.

I am on a hillside and the antenna just barely peeks over the horizon. It's peeking through an 80' wide stand of trees ranging up to 100' tall. Cable is not an option, and trees on the south rule out a dish, according to installers for both major dish providers.

Obviously I can raise the antenna mast 10-20' and add a rotor. My question is how much effect those trees (deciduous, mainly poplar) will have on signal strength?

Alternatively I could put up a tower at the top of the hill. While setting me back a lot more money, this would get me past the trees, BUT it would also add at least 200' of extra coax. What would the line loss tradeoff be?

For starters, the biggest Radio Shack antenna is not regarded as the best antenna available for long range reception. All of the DC stations except one are are at full digital power and all are currently broadcasting on UHF. See the 1st page of the Washington-Baltimore locals thread for details.

Before you go to the huge expense of putting up a tower, I suggest you try a good UHF antenna at the top of your current mount and get a TV or STB with a digital ATSC tuner. The Samsung DTB-H260F ($180 list) is getting high marks for good performance. The AntennasDirect 91XG is fairly lightweight and has been used to get the DC stations from much further away than you are. Maybe add a Channel Master or Winegard pre-amp to it. If it does not present a weight & wind load problem, you could keep the Radio Shack antenna for use as a VHF antenna for use after the analog shutdown in 2009 when WJLA 7 and WUSA 9 switch their digital broadcasts back to their analog channels.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-03-2007, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to both of you for your detailed suggestions. I am especially glad for the incremental approach and long-term strategy you suggest, afiggatt. Davinlee, your experience and reminder that the best approach is site specific are also greatly appreciated.

I'll report back when I have some actual experience!

Regards,
Bill
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