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post #361 of 9557 Old 09-17-2003, 12:37 PM
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The big bad,

The antennaweb.org works fine, I have the same recommendation and I use the RS 15-1880. I 'm close the Fwy 405 and Jefferey in Irvine. I know one person close to the lake Missionviejo, he has the SS antenna.

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post #362 of 9557 Old 09-17-2003, 02:49 PM
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O.K
I've decided to give the outdoor antenna a try despite my concern for my neighbors (I think I can hide it from view). I am trying to get a sense for which outdoor antenna is the best to start with. My questions are:
Is it fair to asume that generally speaking if a concentrated, directional antenna such as a silver sensor gives you a signal that a more concentrated , directional outdoor antenna such as a RS-2160 or a Yagi would most likely work for you?
Conversely, if a multidirectional antenna like a RS-1880 works for you then a "high gain" multidirectional outdoor antenna like a CM 4221 or 4228 would must likely work for you?


Thanks,
Stephen
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post #363 of 9557 Old 09-17-2003, 04:20 PM
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The reason I am asking the two questions above is because the silver sensor barely picked up a signal for me inside and outside whereas the R15-1880 indoor antenna picks up a signal but it varies constantly from the 30's to 60's.

Stephen
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post #364 of 9557 Old 09-17-2003, 05:20 PM
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The 1880 works better because it has a built-in, low-noise amplifier. You can get clse to same performance if you add a RS 1171 cable amp or a CM 7775 preamp. Both are also very low-noise.

With digital signals, gain is less important than "directionability". There is plenty of gain provided by most antennas for the digital receiver to lock onto, even without an amp. This is true even down here, some sixty miles away. What gives digital receivers fits, however, is multi-path, which on an analog receiver shows ups as "ghosting" or multiple images. Low gain adds "snow" to the picture. Multipath is caused by signals bouncing off other large objects like mountains, buildings, etc., and arriving at your receiver at slightly different angles and times. If the receiver can't figure out which is the real signal and which is the "bounced" version, it loses lock and you get a blank screen.

The reason tha low-noise amp helps, to a point, is because it provides a bit better difference between the real signal and the multipath. Picture a graph with a "squiglly" line drawn where one Peak" is drawn a little higher than the others. It is clear to you which is the "tallest" peak but now move the graph across the room. It isn't so easy then. The low-noise amps are effectively bring the graph "closer". If you use an amp that generates too much noise, it can mask both the real and "bounced" signals. Picture a 3-year old coming in and drawing all over you nice graph.

What a directional antenna does is make the signals arriving directly in front of the antenna stronger than those arriving at different angles. Now, all of a sudden, the main peak on your graph got taller. Digital receivers like this very much. Again, since gain isn't as big a factor, almost any cheap antenna that provides a measure of directionability will work better than most of the less directional "bow-tie" designs.

You can drastically improve directionalbility, thereby reducing multi-path, by horizontally "stacking" two identical antennas in the same horizontal plane at some fraction of a wavelength apart (the math is in this thead somewhere but for mid-UHF frequencies, it works out to around 40 inches...) and then combining their outputs using identical length leads. This makes perfect sense, if you think about it, because now the only signals arriving directly in front of mid point of the two antennas will arrive at exactly the same time, thus staying in phase. This works for even the cheapest of the cheap UHF "Yagi-style" antennas, like the $22 RS 2160.

Originally, I had a monster 8-bay CM 4228 "bow-tie"-styled antenna installed off an upstairs deck, with a 7775 pre-amp. It worked very well and I got very high "numbers" on virtually all channels. The problem was that I would also get annoying dropouts everyday on most of those channels. Eventually I replaced this setup with a dual 2160 array and an 1171 amp. I now only get a dropout once every few months, and then only on certain channels.

The latest receiver designs have also made big improvements in handling multipath. I'm using a Sony HD200 and a Zenith HDV420 and both work a lot better than the E86 and 1st generation ATSC-only receivers. The next generation will be even better. The HDV420 works so well I can get away using two SS and an amp, or two 1880s sitting side-by-side, indoors in a loft area "looking" out a living room skylight/window towards Mt. Wilson.

Finally, probably the biggest single factor that has the greatest effect on performance is antenna location. You've got to move around and find the best "sweet spot". Sometimes just moving a few inches one way or another can make a huge difference, especially in attic installations.

-- Gary
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post #365 of 9557 Old 09-17-2003, 05:43 PM
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WOW!!
Thanks alot Gary.
I will keep you posted.
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post #366 of 9557 Old 09-18-2003, 06:14 AM
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Stephen,

Listen to Gary, he'll lead you in the right direction.

Robert
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post #367 of 9557 Old 09-18-2003, 08:28 AM
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Has anyone in South Orange County tried using the Winegard PR 9012, 9014, or 9016? These seem to be pretty small outdoor directional/Yagi-type antennas and would probably be inconspicuous to the neighbors.
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post #368 of 9557 Old 09-18-2003, 09:40 AM
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I'd give the 9016 a try. It is more directional than the other two. Actually, the specs are pretty good.

-- Gary
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post #369 of 9557 Old 09-22-2003, 01:28 PM
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Gary,
I installed the RS 15-2160 and the RS 15-1171 outside over the weekend to boost up my signal. My signal strength is now average 60's to 70's. I now get the nbc digital station (I did not get it with the other antenna that I used) but I lost the PBS HD station. I still get some pixelation on most channels though. How do I prevent this pixelation for occuring? Do I need to get the signal stength up to the 90's?


Stephen
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post #370 of 9557 Old 09-22-2003, 09:37 PM
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COX added 707 tonight! SWEET!@!!!!!

Robert
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post #371 of 9557 Old 10-18-2003, 10:55 AM
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I get occasional video and/or sound drop outs with my Zenith HDV420 and a single Silver Sensor.

I live in the South Bay.
Which would work better?
-Two Silver Sensors in an "Array" (Horizontal or Vertical Stack?)
-One Silver Sensor with an Amplifier (RS-1171)

Would the Radio Shack 15-1170 In-Line Signal Amplifier work as well? Radio Shack Online does not list the 1171 at all.

-Ed

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post #372 of 9557 Old 10-19-2003, 11:26 PM
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i live in tustin ranch with a mitsuhisbi hi-def intergrated 55' diamond series with a radio shack 2160 and channel master 7775 in the attic with a cable run well over 100ft. I have gone through about 10 diffrent antenna's and amps, and this is the best combination i could find. I get NBC ABC KCAL KCET clearly and i get FOX with a tendency to break up. What can i do to receive all channels without any breakups? CBS comes and goes, i rarely get KTLA and fox breaks up. I have tried almost everything and this is getting really frustrating! Someone about half a mile away from me has the same antenna with anntenna in the same location (in attic) and receives all channels in the 80-90 percentile! Am i doing something wrong? Would it work best if i just got this antenna on the roof or onto my patio? please help me i am bout break my 2160 and 7775 into a million pieces! ahhhhhhhh!!!
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post #373 of 9557 Old 10-19-2003, 11:30 PM
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Are you using RG-6 cable with no splitters? Good luck with FOX. I used to get it okay and the last month or two can't get it at all. I live in a multi-path area in the City of Orange near Anaheim Hills. I'm wondering if FOX reduced the output of their antennas or something.

Is the neighbor you mention able to receive FOX in the 80-90 range?

Which HDTV receiver are you using?

From my experience getting the antenna outside on the roof is the best. For me angling the antenna slightly up gives me the best results.
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post #374 of 9557 Old 10-20-2003, 01:44 PM
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Yeah no splitters, but the wire run is well over 100ft.

Im not sure about my neighbor's fox... but when i was using the 2160 with the radio shack amp.. i could get fox clearly along with some CBS. With the channel master i get a broken up fox and little/no CBS

Im using the intergrated tuner that came with my Mitsubishi HDTV WS-55989.

Over the weekend ill try putting it on top of my patio, and try angling it in my attic. Ill post my results, thanks.
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post #375 of 9557 Old 10-20-2003, 02:48 PM
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how's everyone's PQ?

I've noticed the broadcasts, look washed out. The blacks are not as black as can be. I'm wondering if it is the broadcasting, or my hardware.

I'm using a Zenith HDV420 with a Samsung HLN467

-Ed

-Ed

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post #376 of 9557 Old 10-20-2003, 07:49 PM
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Edwood: how do DVDs look on your Sammy? That should answer your question (especially if connecting with DVI via the Samsung HD-931 or Bravo D1 if your Sammy has a DVI connector).

I don't find OTA HDTV washed out at all but certainly notice the picture quality varies. Leno and soem stuff on KCET/PBS is probably the best HDTV you can find for OTA. CSI and Smallville also look great.
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post #377 of 9557 Old 10-21-2003, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WynsWrld98
Edwood: how do DVDs look on your Sammy? That should answer your question (especially if connecting with DVI via the Samsung HD-931 or Bravo D1 if your Sammy has a DVI connector).

I don't find OTA HDTV washed out at all but certainly notice the picture quality varies. Leno and soem stuff on KCET/PBS is probably the best HDTV you can find for OTA. CSI and Smallville also look great.

I think it's the crappy component cables that came with the Zenith HDV420, or the component 3 input itself. I tried the RGB(HD-15 PC), and it looks much better. Some shows are a bit more washed out than others, but, I guess that has more to do with the source. I watched CSI Miami last night, and it looks great. Now if only KCOP 66 (UPN) would broadcast in HD......

I did find a wierd problem with underscan? through the RGB (PC) output. On some HD channels like KCET-DT ( 28-1) and some SD channels (ones with letterboxes on the sides), the picture has a small black bar on the left. almost like the picture is shifted to the right, or is missing part of the picture. It does not do this with Component output. However, some shows like CSI and many other stations like WB, output a full picture.

Does KCET-DT put out a different resolution or someting?

-Ed

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post #378 of 9557 Old 10-21-2003, 10:44 AM
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I read that UPN recently started broadcasting Star Trek Enterprise in HDTV and some other show. I haven't tuned in to confirm this.
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post #379 of 9557 Old 10-21-2003, 11:00 AM
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They are broadcasting Enterprise in HD. Just not in LA , yet. Grrrrrrr.....

The SHT - Stealth Home Theater
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post #380 of 9557 Old 10-26-2003, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Is Star Trek Enterprise still being filmed? That's the only way they could broadcast anything in HD...

xcrappy - You gotta try a roof antenna outside the attic! At least TRY IT to see what you're missing with an attic-mounted antenna. Doesn't matter what nearby friends are getting, the only results that matter are YOURS.

You've apparently tried a lot of different equipment, but you need to see the best reception that your location offers. You can always decide to accept less...

My guess -- You might settle for "kinda working most of the time" for a while, but eventually you'll try to get the best possible signal all the time.
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post #381 of 9557 Old 10-26-2003, 09:35 PM
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Attic solutions are always hit and miss. Many times just moving a few inches can make a huge difference. You will definitely have much better luck outside. If you must keep it in the attic, try different spots.

Like real estate, it's location, location, location! I have one spot in my loft that looks out a 3 x 10 foot skylight/window in the living room, up a canyon towards Mt. Wilson. From that one spot I can use the Radio Shack 1260/1880 amplified indoor antenna and get dropout-free reception on my HDV-420 receiver. Actually the signal is split and it also drives a MyHD card in a PC. If I move that antenna, even two inches, in any direction, the signal goes away. Not just a little, but completely! I'm at least 60 miles from the transmitters so this illustrates that signal strength is not the issue, just finding the right spot with the least amount of multi-path.

-- Gary
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post #382 of 9557 Old 10-27-2003, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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You bring up several good points. When just a few inches can make such a big difference, a neighbor's results will not necessarily be a good predictor of one's reception. I remember other local O.C. posts in an earlier thread - they too had good success with attic mounts, even in this 50+ mile range, clearly demonstrating the hit/miss aspect.

A big factor with inside antennas is the building material the antenna "looks through". While a window causes negligible loss, pointing through an attic wall or roof will be worse. I think the worst situation is pointing through stucco, since expanded steel lattice is stapled to the framing as underlayment for the initial brown coat. With the wavelength of UHF signals, it might as well be a continuous foil layer.

My own tests started with the 15-2160 clamped to the top of a 6 foot ladder, in the yard. I was encouraged by halfway decent results. Next I began looking for a suitable permanent spot, starting in the attic. Unfortunately I had to aim through a stucco wall. The attic offered just a small enclosed space where the antenna would fit. I could temporarily nail the mast mount upside down from the roof joists, and move it within a limited range. I was disappointed with poor reception, far worse than my ladder tests, despite a 20+ foot elevation gain.

Finally, I moved the antenna just outside the attic wall it had been aiming through (the present location) and saw my best results. Unfortunately I can't express it in percent improvement, and I know now that my 15-1109 pre-amp was another limiting factor at that time, but I clearly remember there was "no going back" once I saw the improved reception.

My neighbor across the street just bought a Sony plasma set and is getting the HDTV-capable box from Cox Cable. Yesterday I started getting the initial questions about the roof antenna, so I see another round of experiments here!

Gary
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post #383 of 9557 Old 10-27-2003, 11:19 AM
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Luckily it doesn't get windy here in Orange County too often or we'd be screwed regarding OTA antennas mounted outside. Everytime we get a wind storm it's obvious when TRYING to watch OTA HDTV.

I guess people in desert areas that get intense wind pretty frequently would be limited to cable to get their OTA type HDTV channels.

Due to Santa Ana winds Saturday night I'm unable to get CBS-HD, FOX-HD, KCET-HD and UPN-HD although I'm getting everything else strong. I have a remote antenna rotator but even that couldn't pull them in. I've never had problems receiving CBS-HD so this is very odd. I'm in a bad multipath area and the trick for me is to angle the front of the antenna into the air and I think it's a bit off due to wind. So up on the roof soon...
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post #384 of 9557 Old 10-29-2003, 12:16 PM
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WynsWrld98:

Is your signal loss during the Santa Ana's only due to antenna movement, or do you think that the additional dust and smoke in the air could be attenuating the RF signal?
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post #385 of 9557 Old 10-29-2003, 02:37 PM
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avitt: good question...
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post #386 of 9557 Old 11-17-2003, 02:55 PM
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I've posted a few notes in the Hardware section under 3100A impressions about my box, but I wanted to post here to thank all of you folks for helping me decide on how to go about what I needed to do and not throw away a bunch of money in the process.

I live in Long Beach, and my zip code is 90803. I am just south of CSULB and 35 miles from the antennas on Mt. Wilson. I was worried about line of sight, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. I hooked up a Radio Shack antenna (Cat. 15-2160) and tossed it on a chair pointed out the door. Did the channel search and got all of the available OTA stations from Mt. Wilson and a few others. I moved the antenna to my attic, with about 30 feet of cable attached, and got the same thing. I played around with pointing it in different directions, but the highest signal meter reading was just over half way on pretty much all of the channels. If I have any dropping problems I'll install a pre-amp. So far they all come in great with no pixalation (sp?) and no audio drops to date, even CBS. Of course I haven't watched that much, but so far so good. I have great reception on all channels, the PQ is outstanding, and the audio is great too through my Yamaha surround system.

In the end, I have what I paid for. I do have a problem with the display on my box, but as long as I get to see what I'm seeing now with the quality I have, I'm a happy guy. I'm even thinking of toying around with a couple of these 2160 stacked horizontally with a pre-amp and point south to see if I can pick up San Diego broadcasts clearly. It would be good during baseball season for me.

I came up with an easy mounting scheme I thought I'd throw in. I had some ½ inch copper pipe laying around the garage, so I cut a piece about 3 feet long, pounded the end flat, drilled a couple holes in it, screwed it to one of the rafters in the attic and then suspended the antenna. It worked great and was easy as pie.

You guys are GREAT, thank you.

JLB
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post #387 of 9557 Old 11-25-2003, 11:37 AM
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I am a newbie to HDTV and I am glad I found this thread that really helps me clear a lot of my questions. I am located in Ladera Ranch - adjacent to RSM and Mission Viejo. I have a perfect clearance from my backyard to the North and believe that I may be able to get OTA HDTV. Actually, I'm going to put an antenna on my roof to best receive all the HDTV local stations but have never done this before. I'd like to know how to install a roof top antenna in a proper way to have a good protection from LIGHTNING. What are your thoughts and/or experiences about this concern and would you have any useful Internet link that replies to my question? Thanks.
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post #388 of 9557 Old 11-25-2003, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Commenting on two of the above posts...

Regarding multipath and wind:
Multipath involves reflections from stationary objects that are offset from the direct line-of-sight to the transmitter. Besides wind causing movement of your antenna and mast, I suspect that in many cases the offending stationary reflecting object is also swaying. This is particularly true in the case of buildings that might sway several feet at the top in high winds. It might be enough to change the phase relationship between the primary and reflected signals enough to cause dropouts, etc.

Regarding lightning protection:
Instructions that come with a new antenna will always have grounding instructions. It basically means running a copper wire from the antenna mast to a grounding rod pounded into the ground. The path should be as short as possible. The gauge almost doesn't matter - it simply establishes a low resistance path to ground and after that, the path through air is ionized even after the copper wire is vaporized. Still, it's best to follow the instructions so you don't invalidate your insurance.

Gary
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post #389 of 9557 Old 12-09-2003, 06:53 PM
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Hi all, maybe I've missed it, but I've spent all day at work today reading through all sorts of different OTA/ antenna posts. (Bottle of excedrin required) Could someone please tell me where to get some of these antennas. I've seen the Channel Masters at Lowes, and of course the Radio Shack ones speak for themselves, but what about the others?

Also, I live in Aliso Viejo at the top of Glenwood, anyone know someone nearby who would be willing to help out one afternoon setting this up? It would be much appreciated.

-Mike
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post #390 of 9557 Old 12-10-2003, 06:09 PM
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Mike,

I'm happy to help. I work in Aliso Viejo close by you so I could share my experiences as well as those of my
friends who I've helped to get OTA reception over the past few years. Send an e-mail to bweimer@cox.net
and we'll set it up.

Bruce
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