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post #1 of 12 Old 01-21-2002, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I live in Concord which is in the east bay area. I just purchased a HDTV and was wondering if anyone knows about the Sutro Towers and how far they reach. I have the Oakland Hills in the way and a very large oak tree. I 'think' I live about 50-75 miles away from this tower. That is a very rough estimate.

Has anyone had any experience with this in my area? Will I be able to get any signal? I was told with HD broadcast it's either all or nothing, no in between.

Any input would be greatly appreciated

Tom
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-22-2002, 10:21 AM
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I live on the Peninsula, so I don't know about Concord specifically. It's often difficult to determine reception in the Bay Area, because of the intersting terrain.

But, you should be able to get a good idea of your coverage by your ability to receive good old analog TV. The DTV signals are transmitted in the same way as analog, so if you get good analog reception, you have a good chance of getting digital. There are other factors that come into play when receiving a digital signal, but analog reception is a good place to start.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-22-2002, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for the input. I'll try to get analog TV and if that turns out to be decent, i'll go for the DTV.

Are there special antenna's for the DTV? A good height? Any suggestions at all about the antenna? The people at radio shack were no help.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-22-2002, 02:14 PM
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Actually, what tji said is not 100% true since all DTV is broadcast on UHF while many of the analog TV channels are VHF, and they have different characteristics. So although KPIX channel 5 and KPIX digital channel 29 are both broadcast from the same antenna, the transmission characteristics will not be the same. The good news is that Concord is much closer to Sutro Tower than you think, it's only about 30-35 miles as the crow flies and the TV signal travels! I also live in Mountain View and have no problem picking up all the SF signals with rabbit ears. I know what a problem those Berkeley Hills are though, as soon as you go through the Caldicott Tunnel the car radio get much worse, for starters. The bottom line is, just try it!
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-22-2002, 04:59 PM
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Gwyn, not all DTV is on UHF, KNTV-DT 12 for one and when analog broadcasting ceases many of the bay area stations will put their digital signal on their VHF channel. The FCC licences DTV (ultimately) for channels 2 - 51. Some of the bay area DTV stations ultimaely will hve to move to VHF as they are currently on channels that wont be Licenced Tv channels when digital is the only game in town.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-22-2002, 05:27 PM
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DTC mac, you're quite right about KNTV-D being on channel 12, not that it's likely that you'll pick that up in Concord! Now, semantically, I'm not sure what the "official" break point is between VHF and UHF, but the practical fact is that channel 12 is at 205 MHz, which has very different characteristics to channel 5 at 77 MHz. For example, in the Oakland Hills, channels 2-5 (55-77 MHz)always have awful multipath (ghosts), whereas channels 7 (175 MHz) and up are significantly better. I presume the terrain just doesn't reflect the higher frequencies as efficiently. With DTV, as long as you can get a strong enough signal, it's the multipath that's going to kill you! You're also right in saying that, in due course, when analog broadcasting stops these channels will be used for DTV, but lets take that one year at a time!
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-23-2002, 11:03 AM
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Channel 14 the lowest UHF channel is at 470MHz a good 250MHz above channel 13. VHF channels are indeed more apt to scatter and have multipath problems than UHF. KNTV currently transmits from the south bay and is far harder for noertherly communities to recieve than the Mt. Sutro based stations, KNTV/NBC are working on securing a more notherly transmission facility.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-23-2002, 01:42 PM
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I live in the Haight which is line of sight to the tower (1/4 mile maybe)
Believe it or not I could not pick up those digital stations with an indoor antenna.
Bought a 9 fter from RS, climbed to the Roof (3rd story) and pointed right at the tower..BINGO
but how could I go wrong...if it was any closer I could pick them up over my toaster

"Conspiracy theorists don't live on the same flat Earth as the rest of us." -- astronomer Stephen Maran
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-23-2002, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Well that isn't very encouraging from what GBishop said. I would just hate to spend the money on a big antenna and have it not work. I guess i'll just have to take my chances.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-23-2002, 02:55 PM
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As I said earlier, I live in Mountain View (about 40 miles from SF) and can get all the stations with rabbit ears on top of the TV, and was able to do the same in the Oakland Hills, so try that first, then go for a roof antenna. My only recommendation would be to NOT go out and buy one of these so called "specifically designed for digital TV" antennas. Any well designed UHF antenna is going to work (except for that channel 12, of course!), the "digital" antennas are no more than that, but at twice the price (or more)!

DTC mac was right about UHF, I checked it and UHF officially begins at 300 MHz.

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post #11 of 12 Old 01-24-2002, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gwyn
As I said earlier, I live in Mountain View (about 40 miles from SF) and can get all the stations with rabbit ears on top of the TV, and was able to do the same in the Oakland Hills, so try that first, then go for a roof antenna. My only recommendation would be to NOT go out and buy one of these so called "specifically designed for digital TV" antennas. Any well designed UHF antenna is going to work (except for that channel 12, of course!), the "digital" antennas are no more than that, but at twice the price (or more)!

DTC mac was right about UHF, I checked it and UHF officially begins at 300 MHz.
Living in SJ, using only the Ratshack 100" UHF, pointed in the sutro direction, I receive ABC and CBS, but have problems keeping the FOX signal. KQED/PBS barely holds the signal, but I do watch occasionally without a huge problem.

Now, with my UHF pointed toward sutro, I do receive NBC/DTV12 at about 95% on my Dish6000 signal meter and the picture is great without drops. So, at $40, the 100" UHF does in fact receive the NBC VHF DT12 channel if you are close...

Also, my mast is only 5' and the antenna does not breach the top of our roof, so at about 60 miles from sutro, that is pretty good. I'm pretty sure if I raised the mast another 10', my Fox and PBS problems would disappear, but who watches FOX anyway? :D

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post #12 of 12 Old 01-25-2002, 10:27 PM
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If you can't get SF stations, turn your antenna the other way. You should have a pretty clear shot at Sacramento.
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