NW Virginia - Can I expect to get any OTA channels? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I am in the middle of getting things planned to cancel DirectTV and use streaming and OTA channels to provide my TV needs. Initially I tried using a store bought amplified indoor antenna, which received 0 channels. I have also been experimenting with a home made indoor antenna, and tried the following 2 designs:

http://lifehacker.com/5919128/build-your-own-paper+thin-super+powerful-hd-antenna
http://www.instructables.com/id/Indoors-Fractal-HDTV-Antenna/

Currently using the first one. Now, due to my location I was not expecting to pick up a whole lot using an indoor antenna. But, managed to pick up 2-3 channels in one room of the house, and 8 channels in another. However, the initial 3 would break up and become unwatchable (but the picture would be great before breaking up), and while the 8 channels display the channel name. I am getting no picture. I just managed to get the 8 channels today though, and it has been very cloudy today.

Ultimately I believe I will need an outdoor antenna. But what I am trying to figure out is, before I even spend the money on the outdoor antenna set up, am I likely to pick up any channels and be able to watch them on a regular basis? Here is the results of my location at tvfool using an outdoor antenna mounted on a 40' pole.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d46ae5aa354724e

Thing is, I am not certain what I am looking at so I can't determine what channels I can expect to receive. If I am looking at the table correctly where there are about 26 channels, 4 of them with a red background and the rest with a grey background. Reading the color key there, it says the red channels I can expect to pick up with a roof mounted antenna, the grey I would need to go to extreme measures (not sure what those are). Assuming though that on a clear day, I could pick up 8 channels with my current DIY antenna, can I possibly expect to get at least those 8 channels with the outdoor roof mounted antenna?

Sorry for the lengthy post, trying to include as much information as possible.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 02:45 PM
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Odds are only a little better than zero that you will ever get reliable reception of more than 1-3 stations, no matter how much effort and money you put into the project. The number of "channels" will depend on the received stations and their channel offerings.

If you want to give it a shot, use an Antennas Direct 91XG, an Antennacraft Y10713, and an RCA PRAMP1. Add a rotor if you want to explore other directions.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post

Odds are only a little better than zero that you will ever get reliable reception of more than 1-3 stations, no matter how much effort and money you put into the project.

That's what I was afraid of, I don't really want to spend $200+ on equipment only to receive 1-3 stations, that potentially have nothing I want to watch anyway. Maybe I will start with one of the antenna's, see if I get anything at all, if I do add the pre-amp and then if I get another improvement pick up the 2nd antenna.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 03:32 PM
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Are you living in a valley (Shenandoah Valley)?

That would make OTA reception nearly impossible.

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by veedon View Post

Are you living in a valley (Shenandoah Valley)?
That would make OTA reception nearly impossible.

Yep, Skyline Drive is out my back door.

I figured OTA would be difficult, especially given that I get next to no cell signal here either (I realize they are not related), but had hoped to at least be able to pick up some channels using an outdoor mast mounted antenna.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-29-2013, 06:13 PM
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Some of the DC stations used to have translators to serve the Shenandoah Valley, and with a good antenna you could get 4, 5, 7, and 9 in certain areas. Not sure since the conversion to digital. But a 91XG is your best shot for UHF, along with a good HiVHF antenna and preamp. And not sure about Baltimore, Charlottesville, or Richmond.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-30-2013, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post

Some of the DC stations used to have translators to serve the Shenandoah Valley, and with a good antenna you could get 4, 5, 7, and 9 in certain areas. Not sure since the conversion to digital.

Gone now.

In Winchester, you can see the DC signals, no matter what the predictive algorithms say. I've never been to your exact area, but I've seen the DC signals as far south as Elkton. It's going to turn out to be very location-specific and require a high-gain outdoor antenna (and probably amp) in any case. I'm not trying to get your hopes up, but it's not nearly as pessimistic as TVFool makes it seem.

You'll probably have to take the "try it and see" method. You can try for DC, you can try for Harrisonburg (WSVF, W30CT-D, and WHSV should get you a full compliment of HD networks, if you also receive WVPY for PBS), and worst case, you can try for Hagerstown/Winchester, which would leave you without CBS and with FOX only in SD.

If I were nearer, I'd offer to come and visit to have a look for you, since I'm sure it would be a very interesting experiment, but it's a bit too far I think. You'll probably just have to try and see for yourself.

- Trip
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-30-2013, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post

In Winchester, you can see the DC signals, no matter what the predictive algorithms say. I've never been to your exact area, but I've seen the DC signals as far south as Elkton. It's going to turn out to be very location-specific and require a high-gain outdoor antenna (and probably amp) in any case. I'm not trying to get your hopes up, but it's not nearly as pessimistic as TVFool makes it seem.

You'll probably have to take the "try it and see" method. You can try for DC, you can try for Harrisonburg (WSVF, W30CT-D, and WHSV should get you a full compliment of HD networks, if you also receive WVPY for PBS), and worst case, you can try for Hagerstown/Winchester, which would leave you without CBS and with FOX only in SD.

Elkton is about 40 or so miles from me, I think the fact I could pick up a couple channels briefly and then at least grab the ID from 8 channels inside the house does offer me some hope. Seems as though the "try it and see" is going to be the best option, my main concern being wasting money on equipment that will likely then be tough to try and resell if it does not work out.
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Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post

If I were nearer, I'd offer to come and visit to have a look for you, since I'm sure it would be a very interesting experiment, but it's a bit too far I think. You'll probably just have to try and see for yourself.

Alexandria, yep about a 160 mile round trip. Thanks for considering it though, and at the very least providing me with some level of hope!!
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-20-2014, 09:07 AM
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I'm new to Winchester, VA and experimenting presently with getting DC based stations OTA.  So far I get the channels whose towers are a bit closer - but not FOX/CBS.  I'll keep trying/tweaking the antenna.  Anyone else have real world experience and success?

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post #10 of 10 Old 02-20-2014, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanWJ View Post

I'm new to Winchester, VA and experimenting presently with getting DC based stations OTA.  So far I get the channels whose towers are a bit closer - but not FOX/CBS.  I'll keep trying/tweaking the antenna.  Anyone else have real world experience and success?
What type of antenna and preamp? The best choice as mentioned would be an Antennas Direct 91XG for UHF and an Antennacraft Y10713 for VHF. Or, if you choose a combo antenna, then a Winegard 7698 or Antennacraft HBU-55. As for preamps, the Kitztech 100 or 200 perform very well in fringe areas due to very low noise figure. The 200 is best if you have no other strong signals nearby. They do make a difference with weak or marginal signals.
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