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Old 11-04-2014, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Northern Michigan OTA Antenna

Hello everyone -

I'm new to the forum and am looking for some honest advice. I recently purchased a home in northern Michigan and am looking to cut the cord and go with OTA television. Tired of excessive cable bills.

I have been reading forums and also have analyzed the TV signals for my locations. It looks like my strongest channels are coming from 23.5 miles away at 284 degrees (NBC ch 47, ABC ch 29, & PBS ch 17). I have two other stations 51.8 miles away at 225 degrees (Fox ch 32 and CBS ch 9). All are UHF signals with the exception of CBS (channel 9) which is VHF. There is also a local FM station with a tower ~10 miles away at 100.3 FM.

I am starting out slow, and have been playing around with different TV locally available antennas on a trail-and-error basis in preparation for working up to an outdoor, roof mounted antenna.

So far, a Winegard flatwave used indoors has pulled in the 284 degree stations, with a little re-aiming and playing around to get good signals without too much problem - but dropouts still occur too frequently for my tastes. An RCA 1600F has met with limited success - probably worse than the flatwave. The best so far has been an RCA ANT700R which works both indoors and out on the 284 degree transmissions, but no 225 degree reception. I am going to stick it on the end of a 10' pipe out doors to see what effect it has on reception.

I have had a Stacker HD antenna combined with a Wineguard LNA 200 preamp recommended as a solution to my situation. I'm worried that the Stacker HD is too directional for my specific situation, and am also worried about the local FM signal creating problems.

My question is: Do you think I will be able to pull in the 225 degree stations with a roof mount antenna and, if so, what antenna would you recommend? I'm thinking I will have to get a roof mount antenna and point in in the SW quadrant between 225 and 284 to pickup CBS and Fox at 225 (weaker signal) and also hope to get the stronger signals of NBC ABC and PBS at 284 degrees. My worry is that if I use a preamp with the antenna to get the weaker 225 degree signals, I run the risk of overpowering the 284 degree stations. Another worry is that very strtong FM signal at 100.3 - will I need a preamp with an FM trap to deal with the FM signal?

I am new to all of this and can use as much help as possible! Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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After looking at some different antennas today, I am know thinking of a Antennas Direct Clearstream 5 with the LNA preamp instead of the HD Stacker and premap. To me, it looks like the Clearstream 5 is not as directional, and might be better suited to picking up signals from 284 to 225 degrees.

Does anyone have an opinion on this approach?
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Old 11-04-2014, 12:53 PM
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The C5's data sheet showing reception patterns for both high VHF and for UHF is on our website under the "Documents" tab on the C5's page. Please refer to it for those patterns.

We'd really need to see the link to your TVFool plot in order to perform a basic analysis of what might be possible. It would also be helpful if you can itemize your "must have" and "would like to have" stations. List all stations by their call letters as they are unambiguous whereas network affiliation or virtual channel numbers may not be.

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Old 11-04-2014, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your response ADTech. I called Antennas Direct today and spoke to a tech rep who reviewed the TVFool analysis for my location in Grayling, MI. We pretty much ruled out the C5 as an appropriate antenna due to needing a VHF antenna to receive a VHF signal from a distant station/weak VHF station ~52 miles away at 225 degrees and also needing the antenna to receive UHF signals from stations at 284 degrees and 23 miles away. The tech said I would need a rotor and preamp to use the C5.


What I am really trying to do is use one antenna to receive both the weak UHF signal at 284 degrees and the strong UHF/VHF signals at 284 degrees (59 degree spread) without employing a rotor.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Radar plot will be posted shortly
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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My radar plot can be found at:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...d243babcae2eb4

Any help or comments are really appreciated!
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:22 AM
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When dealing with upper Michigan, be aware that a number of the different stations, being co-owned or such, cross-carry different stations as sub-channels. You'll have to sort through the individual details (I use rabbitears.info) of which station's programing is available on which particular channel since TVFool only tracks the first of the sub-channels. This may make beating your head against a wall to figure out a complicated reception system unnecessary.

Make a list of each station and what they carry, then distill that down to which channels are necessary to give you the fullest availability of programming. Once you know that, then a system probably can be designed.

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Old 11-05-2014, 09:31 AM
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The analysis for Troutfisher is actually pretty straight-forward. If he wants HD from all networks, he needs:

WGTU or WPBN, not both (but both are easily received)
WCMV for PBS (WCML is a simulcast)
WWTV for CBS (has FOX in SD; WFUP is a simulcast)
WFQX for FOX

WURO-LD has several minor networks in SD which are probably not the goal. Everything else is too weak.

- Trip

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Comments are my own and not that of the FCC (my employer) or anyone else.

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Old 11-05-2014, 01:47 PM
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[edit: I originally reversed the city to aim each antenna towards. I have corrected that. Thanks to veedon for bring that up. ]

Yeah, I took a few minutes to go through the list.

If he can live with Fox in 480i (widescreen), the antenna solution is simple: A UHF directional antenna aimed at Cadillac Traverse City combined with a high VHF antenna aimed at Traverse City Cadillac.

However, if Fox in HD is a requirement, it gets a lot harder to assure a clean combination of signals as you'd need the above PLUS a deep fringe UHF directional with its own amp combined with the two above antennas preferably using a custom UHF-32 single channel combiner.

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Last edited by ADTech; 11-06-2014 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Yeah, I took a few minutes to go through the list.

If he can live with Fox in 480i (widescreen), the antenna solution is simple: A UHF directional antenna aimed at Cadillac combined with a high VHF antenna aimed at Traverse City.

However, if Fox in HD is a requirement, it gets a lot harder to assure a clean combination of signals as you'd need the above PLUS a deep fringe UHF directional with its own amp combined with the two above antennas preferably using a custom UHF-32 single channel combiner.
Thanks for the info, everyone. I was slowing arriving at a two antenna solution also, but you guys speed things along. One other question/possibilty...would it be possible to not try for the two groups of signals at 225 and 284 degrees and just try using one antenna aimed in the reverse direction at further away stations (from memory around 165 degrees or so)? I'm thinking more signals in more ore less the same direction, but much farther off. Or is that way off base?

Thanks again
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutfisher View Post
Thanks for the info, everyone. I was slowinantennasriving at a two antenna solution also, but you guys speed things along. One other question/possibilty...would it be possible to not try for the two groups of signals at 225 and 284 degrees and just try using one antenna aimed in the reverse direction at further away stations (from memory around 165 degrees or so)? I'm thinking more signals in more ore less the same direction, but much farther off. Or is that way off base?

Thanks again
Also - would it be possible for you to recommend suitable UHF and VHF antennas that would work in my application? I will also need a combiner and preamp, no?
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Yeah, I took a few minutes to go through the list.

If he can live with Fox in 480i (widescreen), the antenna solution is simple: A UHF directional antenna aimed at Cadillac combined with a high VHF antenna aimed at Traverse City.

However, if Fox in HD is a requirement, it gets a lot harder to assure a clean combination of signals as you'd need the above PLUS a deep fringe UHF directional with its own amp combined with the two above antennas preferably using a custom UHF-32 single channel combiner.
If by high VHF you're referring to WWTV (CBS) on RF9, that transmitter is actually not near Traverse City, according to the mapping feature at TVFool. The RF9 transmitter is south of Cadillac. WWTV does have a translator near Traverse City on RF 40, but that would probably be hard to receive from Grayling.

Traverse City has a local discussion thread.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0&goto=newpost
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow - that rabbitears.info site is a pretty cool site! There's a ton of stuff in there if you search on a zip code and then poke around expanding things!
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:19 AM
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Glad you like it.

- Trip

N4MJC

Comments are my own and not that of the FCC (my employer) or anyone else.

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Old 11-06-2014, 07:40 AM
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Fixed cities in post #9 . That's what I get for trying to use memory instead of looking at the map when I type.

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Old 11-06-2014, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutfisher View Post
Wow - that rabbitears.info site is a pretty cool site! There's a ton of stuff in there if you search on a zip code and then poke around expanding things!
Yeah. I like the query that shows on an allocation map all of the locations, throughout the nation, of transmitters that are operating on a particular RF channel. The site is also great for finding out what the stations are doing in terms of subchannels.
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