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post #1021 of 1188 Old 05-17-2011, 10:01 PM
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If OTA is all you have, Rockford is pretty limited. Madison has a lot more, and it's definitely worth a try. If you can spin the antenna to the north and get all of the Mads, and still have the Rockfords, you'd have over 20 channels.
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post #1022 of 1188 Old 05-18-2011, 11:20 AM
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Thanks to you guys for providing info about the content of alternate/additional channels that might be available by swinging my Loves Park antennas to point at Madison.

A little research shows that these additional channels mentioned show mostly old (some really old) movies or TV programs -- replayed. And, if I am patient, here is what the Me-TV web site shows:

You can watch Me-TV in the Rockford area on the following stations:
Over the air: WFBN 33 - Coming Soon

The PBS channels from Madison I believe are all shown on Comcast's several PBS channels.

Personally, I am not "into" music videos, either pop or country.

So the additional offerings are not too exciting, for me personally, and not worth the hassle of getting up on the roof to change antenna azimuths. There is no free lunch, it seems. Besides, I live one mile from the local library that has a couple thousand DVDs on its shelves plus provides a convenient way to put items not available on hold or transfer from other libraries in its cooperative network. All of this means I can easily get movies to watch as desired and most of them are recent items.

Whatta' life!!

Dick
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post #1023 of 1188 Old 05-20-2011, 11:44 AM
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Reception reports of various channels at many locations and with suitable antennas are of great interest and value. Thanks to all of you who contribute to this subject.

At the top end of my teen-age years many (many!) years ago, the US Air Force sent me to one year of Russian language training at Syracuse University, followed up by the remaining 3 years of my enlistment collaborating with radio intercept operators at different intercept stations. This experience taught me a lot about radio wave propagation, by frequency, by time of day, and even by season of the year. In addition I learned a lot about antenna design and construction. All of this was, of course, mostly for what we used to call "short wave." Russia is a very large country and at that time had almost no internal infrastructure of land lines. Therefore, great reliance was placed on radio telephony for communication, both military and civilian. Much of this traffic was easily intercepted at various locations with a collection of large rhombic antennas and super sensitive receivers.

After discharge I purchased a moderately expensive Hallicrafters receiver and, when possible, installed long wire antennas to receive Russian and later Cuban radio stations. I was an avid "DX-er" for many years.

Three years ago, when my roof was re-shingled, I removed the big multi-element FM only antenna from its 20 foot tripod on the top of my roof. This antenna, for 25 years, provided consistent reception from Rockford of Madison NPR FM stations plus its independent FM station WORT. Rockford area commercial FM stations don't provide listening experiences that suit my tastes. Now, these Madison FM stations, and other similar ones, are streaming their program contents on the Internet so my antenna and FM tuner were retired.

Years ago TV DX-ing, mostly of longer wave length channels 2-6, was a sometimes interesting hobby and I always had a rooftop antenna on a rotor. But, as we know, as DTV is migrating to the UHF channels, their DX attraction has diminished. Their short wave lengths only allow for, at best, unpredictable DX capability, mostly of the short time span trophospheric or auroral type. So, I have turned my hobby interests in different directions.

Next on my list will be a large flat screen plasma TV coupled with an up-converting DVD player so as to get the best video experience possible out of my moderately large DVD library.

Time marches on . . .

Dick
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post #1024 of 1188 Old 05-20-2011, 08:14 PM
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Great story! Thanks Dick.
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post #1025 of 1188 Old 06-02-2011, 08:09 AM
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For some reason yesterday evening (June 1st) my TV required a rescan to set OTA digital channels. Lo' and behold, it found WKOW channel 27, that also included 27.1, 27.2, .3, .4 (I believe that was all). This was about 10PM.

Now, the next morning, 27 has disappeared. My UHF antenna has only a modest 2 bowties. It is pointed WSW to get local channels 23 and 39, which is almost at a right angle to Madison ch. 27. This azimuth pointing supposedly puts ch. 27 in its reception null, so this reception is all that much more surprising.

Did any of the rest of you notice this short term phenomenon?
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post #1026 of 1188 Old 06-02-2011, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick West
For some reason yesterday evening (June 1st) my TV required a rescan to set OTA digital channels. Lo' and behold, it found WKOW channel 27, that also included 27.1, 27.2, .3, .4 (I believe that was all). This was about 10PM.

Now, the next morning, 27 has disappeared. My UHF antenna has only a modest 2 bowties. It is pointed WSW to get local channels 23 and 39, which is almost at a right angle to Madison ch. 27. This azimuth pointing supposedly puts ch. 27 in its reception null, so this reception is all that much more surprising.

Did any of the rest of you notice this short term phenomenon?
I get WKOW all the time, from 85 miles away, as long as the antenna is pointed towards it. It's a signal that travels better than most.
If you are ENE of the Rockford towers, I suspect that you could get WKOW, WISC, and maybe the other Madisons, if you aimed the antenna north. You're only about 40 miles away, and those Madison towers are twice as tall as Rockford's (and on higher land as well).
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post #1027 of 1188 Old 06-02-2011, 12:51 PM
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I just checked TV Fool for Loves Park. Even if you are down low, all of the Madison stations are above a +10 noise margin...you should be able to get them easily with the antenna pointed north. Since the Rockford stations all have a noise margin ranging from +50 to +70, they should come in off the side of the antenna.
You could tripple your channel count from 7 to 21.
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post #1028 of 1188 Old 06-02-2011, 12:58 PM
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I'm not questioning the capability of a Loves Park antenna pointed towards Madison to receive channel 27. From my location I can pretty much "look up" the Fox River Valley towards Madison. My surprise was that this signal was coming through so loud and clear that it could be received off my antenna's null side (at a right angle). I just wondered if anyone else noted this transitory event?

I would reorient my rooftop antennas to Madison except I like to get the local news channels, something not available when receiving ABC (ch 27) from Madison. I see a couple of other 4 bow-tie antennas in my neighborhood pointed towards Madison. When out on a neighborhood walk I will be alert for the possibility of asking questions about their performance.

This summer, when on the roof to do maintenance to prepare the wood stove's chimney for Winter, I will temporarily reorient my UHF antenna towards Madison and try it for reception. If this venture proves out I might get a longer mast and install a UHF antenna pointed towards Madison and run its down lead separately, then I could physically swap UHF antennas with a switch at the rear of the TV set. A fly in the ointment of this trial is a large tree over on the next block that is smack dab in the middle of the direction to Madison, and a tree on the north side of my house in the next door neighbor's yard. Perhaps in the Winter, when these tree's leaves have fallen reception could be more dependable.

Years ago I lived on slightly higher ground in this area and sometimes could get Channel 9 out of Chicago, and sometimes channel 9 from Green Bay -- depending on antenna orientation. One evening, all I could get on this channel, regardless of my antenna's pointed direction, was Channel 9 out of St. Louis. The incoming signal was so strong it swamped anything else on that channel. Such are the vagaries of tropospheric events.

Questions:

1. How much of a wind load is safe for chimney attached antenna masts?

2. How much space between antennas should be set for the installation of 2 different UHF antennas mounted on the same mast? My memory tells me that similar antennas should be spaced at least a wave length apart from each other to reduce the possibility of their interfering with each other.

I don't want to poke holes my my roof so if a chimney mounted mast can't handle this extra antenna all bets are off.

Well . . . Whatta' hobby. Right?
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post #1029 of 1188 Old 06-02-2011, 06:43 PM
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I guess it depends on the size and condition of the chimney. As long as the mortar is in good shape, small 2 and 4 bays should be no problem. So many old, crumbling chimneys have big ol' VHF low monsters on them.
Separation distance isn't an issue with 2 UHF panel antennas, as the reflectors are always bigger than one wavelength. Experimenting while you are doing roof work is a great idea, as you will be up & down anyway. Just be careful!
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post #1030 of 1188 Old 06-02-2011, 11:04 PM
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Heck, the ChannelMaster 4228HD antenna (warrenelectronics.com in the Quad Cities has them) should be fine, too. I can lock WKOW-DT here in DeKalb at night. A friend in Waterman, 9 miles south of me AND behind a ridge locks it and WHA at night. All using the 4228HD.

Gilbert
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post #1031 of 1188 Old 06-03-2011, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LithOTA View Post

I guess it depends on the size and condition of the chimney. As long as the mortar is in good shape, small 2 and 4 bays should be no problem.

And as some of you guys would say concerning channel counts, "The mortar the merrier!".

(Have to give credit to Larry Fine for that one.)
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post #1032 of 1188 Old 06-03-2011, 01:56 PM
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And as some of you guys would say concerning channel counts, "The mortar the merrier!".

(Have to give credit to Larry Fine for that one.)

I hear you Ram. I think the key is that if HD channels were left alone on a station, and SD channels were grouped together , it would be the best of both worlds- good PQ for HD, high channel count for SD.
But for someone in the Stateline area who is OTA-only, 7 measely channels from Rockford is not much of a choice of programming. Adding Madison's 14 makes a big difference.
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post #1033 of 1188 Old 06-04-2011, 10:23 PM
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Doesn't sound like it would even be worth the bother and risk of getting on the roof.

Streaming is where it's at these days, and there is lots of free stuff available (with a Roku, Squeezebox, Blu-ray player that also plays SD-DVD's, etc.).
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post #1034 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 10:38 AM
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Well, I've been up on my roof several times in the last 3 days. On the roof I have a DB-4 (4 bow tie with screen back) which is like 1/2 of the Channel Master 4228. It is about 28 feet above ground level. I rotated this antenna to point to Madison, did a rescan and, lo and behold, 6 and sometimes 7 stations appeared! Most of them have sufficient signal strength to provide dependable reception. Also, I believe some of their transmitters produce a better picture and sound than similar channels in Rockford.

Channel 13 (NBC) in Rockford continues to be handled by a separate 7-13 Yagi (5 element).

Presently, my VHF and UHF antennas are joined with a splitter hooked backwards in the basement where their two lead-ins pass, so only one cable goes to the baseboard connector at the rear of the TV set.

I tried the VHF without this combiner and the VHF reception to Madison is slightly better but, of course, channel 13 suffers. The all-channel splitter I am using is not the best for combining VHF with UHF!

As you know the FCC is quite canny in the method it assigns channels by locations and transmitter power to cut down on the chance of channel interference. I am in Loves Park and the Rockford antennas are WSW of me whereas the Madison transmitters are NNW of me. This means that when my antenna is pointed towards Madison it is at a right angle to the Rockford stations, therefore local reception is very marginal and from the antenna's null spot.

So, what to do? The Channel Master 4228 has about double the sensitivity of my present DB-4 and, supposedly, the more recent HD version of the 4228 is quite good at also getting channel 13. If this antenna were pointed towards Madison would its increased size enable acceptable local channel reception off from its side? This Channel Master antenna will cost around $90 with shipping which is really too expensive for casual experimentation.

I'm going to scout around Rockford to attempt to locate a used 4228, perhaps an ad on Craigs List, and an inquiry at the business that does most antenna installations in the Rockford area will produce results. Do any of you have a used 4228 to sell?

Also, Monday I will try to find a UHF/VHF combiner to ascertain if it produces a result better than the all channel TV signal splitter I have been using. A properly designed combiner has considerable signal rejection for VHF vs: UHF and UHF vs: VHF. It should help reception of lower power Madison stations, such as 47 and especially 57 and sometimes channel 21.

What is curious is that none of the the Madison channels received here includes NBC. TV-Fool lists channel 19 (15.1) as NBC but my rescans have not produced that station. Is my tuner rejecting it because of its closeness to Rockford 13? Years ago my little rooftop with rotor got NBC on channel 15 so I suppose the station is still operating. What channel do you guys get Madison NBC on?

So, I apologize for my wordiness but the extra Madison channels would be nice to have if doing so does not interfere with local reception and/or cost too for a better antenna. It is my understanding that UHF/VHF antennas can be combined OK, but combining two VHF pointed in different directions does not produce good results and they interfere with each other. So, if one good antenna (channel master 4228) pointed towards Madison can't also get Rockford channels 17 and 23 off its side, all bets are off. The expense and complexity of rotor would be too much.

Comments? I appreciate your help.

It is interesting to see the increased mention in articles about computer users cutting their cable connections. The only reasons I continue with Comcast is for CNN, MSNBC and occasionally Fox news. There has got to be a cheaper way to get just these stations on a cable hookup. I can't find any realtime news feeds for them on-line. Drat!

Dick
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post #1035 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick West View Post

What is curious is that none of the the Madison channels received here includes NBC. TV-Fool lists channel 19 (15.1) as NBC but my rescans have not produced that station. Is my tuner rejecting it because of its closeness to Rockford 13? Years ago my little rooftop with rotor got NBC on channel 15 so I suppose the station is still operating. What channel do you guys get Madison NBC on?

Is it possible that you are receiving interference from Chicago? WGN is on channel 19 in Chicago, and people half-way in between often have issues with both stations.

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It is interesting to see the increased mention in articles about computer users cutting their cable connections. The only reasons I continue with Comcast is for CNN, MSNBC and occasionally Fox news. There has got to be a cheaper way to get just these stations on a cable hookup. I can't find any realtime news feeds for them on-line. Drat!

Dick

Is it CNN and MSNBC you need, or 24 hour news in general? A small free-to-air satellite dish can get you Al Jazeera and RT. (I'm watching Al Jazeera right now.)

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post #1036 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Dick West View Post

The only reasons I continue with Comcast is for CNN, MSNBC and occasionally Fox news. There has got to be a cheaper way to get just these stations on a cable hookup.

Yeah, pretty much the same situation here. I only have SD Dish just for less than a handful of stations and/or programs that I watch pretty regularly, which is mostly stationary or talking heads kind of stuff (and it looks more than passable on my Pio Elite plasma). All my HD comes from OTA (would have to pay like $300 or $400 to upgrade to HD now, because I didn't originally get it - and that's not even including a DVR, if I wanted that). I used to get three markets at first (Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee), but the rotor went out since then, and because the majority of the programming was redundant, I just never bothered replacing it.

Since you can have antennas where you're at, can you have satellite? Dish is generally the cheapest of the bunch. You can get their AT 200 (with "Free HD for Life", if you want), which is the lowest package that has all those channels (the one lower doesn't have MSNBC), to two TV's (HD/SD, or SD/SD), for $39.99 a month for 12 months, then $59.99 thereafter. Also, being in IL, there are no taxes on it.
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post #1037 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post

A small free-to-air satellite dish can get you Al Jazeera and RT.

I didn't even think of that. Yeah, he can get a lot of extra, free stuff with that. Add a BUD, and get even a lot more (wish I could get away with having a BUD myself - most of the stuff I'd want is on c-band).

I believe one of the main reasons I can't get at least some of the Madisons here is because the interference from Chicago is so strong. I'm about 45 miles ESE of him.
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post #1038 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 11:29 AM
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Same here, WMTV-15 is almost never there because WGN just destroys it. I think 15 is weak to the SE to protect WGN.
Another option for news is PBS Mhz, which is available in Chicago on WYCC-20. They do RT news, DeutchWeld, France 24, Al Jazeera, and even NHK Japan. But there is very little US news on these networks.
Agree with Ram that Dish is by far the best deal for cable channels.
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post #1039 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 02:22 PM
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Thanks guys. Lots to chew on here in your last few posts.

I am down in the Fox River valley with a fairly clear shot north to Madison but no mater what antenna or its orientation I have never been able to get Chicago or Milwaukee. There is a north/south ridge of higher ground east of me. It is not very noticeable but it is there so my TV should not be getting interference from Chicago on 15 as it scans for stations available.

You folks need to help me with some of your nomenclature. What is a BUD? Is RT "real time?"

I have done a little research on a DISH package and agree that its lowest price package would give me most of what is desired, except usually for MSNBC. Introductory prices for DISH service are enticing but after the initial year their price goes up to very close what I am now paying for Comcast ($63/mo). So all things considered there is too little inducement for me to switch. I have no plan to subscribe to HD content and hope SC content will continue to be watchable, which is one reason I have yet to get my coveted 50" Panasonic Plasma I remain content with a 27" flat screen CRT from Sanyo to watch cable SD stuff. The network stuff shown by Comcast has been improving the last year in picture quality to the point I doubt SD would be better on a big Plasma.

What is "AT 200 (with "Free HD for Life", if you want)." Is this a package from Dish Network?

Can you point me to a link/s with more info about the small free-to-air satellite dish? That would be a bold move and perhaps a challenge that would hold my interest for some time.

I have come to like the news as presented by certain personalities on CNN and MSNBC so news per se is not desired as much as news packaged by the various commentators on CNN and especially MSNBC (which tells you something about my progressive political leaning).

I did find a RT feed (on-line) for a special Whitehouse event on FOX so it might be worth exploring its web site's offerings further. Ditto PBS and C-SPAN.

Movies for me are easy to come by. I live a mile from a nice library system that has thousands of DVDs and a nice way to put some on hold. I watch several movies per week, some very recent issue, so entertainment content is easy to come by.

Well, all of this is interesting. . . . .
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post #1040 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 03:47 PM
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BUD = Big Ugly Dish. That's those huge, 8'-10' monsters for C-band.

Ku-band uses the smaller dish. Here'a a channel list of what's available right now:

www.ftalist.com/master.php

"AT 200 w/HD free for life" is Dish's "America's Top 200 channels", SD package. The "free HD" deal is with the two-year commitment and paperless billing. It normally costs about $10.00 extra as an add-on, I think. You can also pay an upfront, $99 fee to get it without the commitment.

Here's a calculator for Dish:

http://www.dishnetwork.com/quote_bui...alculator.html
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post #1041 of 1188 Old 06-11-2011, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
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Is RT "real time?"

RT is Russia Today. I don't watch it, but some people do enjoy it for their news.

Quote:


Can you point me to a link/s with more info about the small free-to-air satellite dish? That would be a bold move and perhaps a challenge that would hold my interest for some time.

Here are links to posts about the two past setups I've had. I have yet to put up a similar post for my current setup, which has a motor to move the dish for me.

http://www.rabbitears.info/blog/inde...one-Dirt-Cheap
http://www.rabbitears.info/blog/inde...A-Home-Edition

I mostly watch Al Jazeera but there's lots of other stuff up there, but now that my setup is motorized and as soon as my new satellite receiver arrives that'll deal with AC3 audio, I'll be able to watch multiple PBS feeds without dealing with my stupid local PBS station.

Quote:


I have come to like the news as presented by certain personalities on CNN and MSNBC so news per se is not desired as much as news packaged by the various commentators on CNN and especially MSNBC (which tells you something about my progressive political leaning).

Understood. I hold similar views, but cannot stand the opinion media.

- Trip

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post #1042 of 1188 Old 06-12-2011, 03:39 PM
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Trip in VA,

Many thanks for the info about FTA satellite reception:

"Here are links to posts about the two past setups I've had. I have yet to put up a similar post for my current setup, which has a motor to move the dish for me."

This may be a new area for me and I will begin to study about it. Many years ago two homes down the street had C-band dishes but their owners said that the networks began to encrypt the more interesting feeds to the point these neighbors sold their BUDs.

The Rabbit Ears web site is an excellent source of info and new links for DVT. I have been reading them almost all day.

Question:

Has the dust settled yet about the change in the Channel Master 4228 antenna since it was sold and moved to China? It would seem from some posts that the smaller CM 4221 HD model has better specs for higher channels and is a better buy than the 4228, considering it is about 1/2 the price. After reading all the postings I am doubting my earlier intention to get a CM 4228HD. If the before and after changes are so large it seems silly for the Chinese folks to continue with the 4228 model as now available when some simple changes could improve its performance.

Would you guys get a 4228 or something else?
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post #1043 of 1188 Old 06-12-2011, 07:46 PM
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Trip in VA,

Many thanks for the info about FTA satellite reception:

"Here are links to posts about the two past setups I've had. I have yet to put up a similar post for my current setup, which has a motor to move the dish for me."

This may be a new area for me and I will begin to study about it.
If you have any questions, let me know. I'll likely be making a post about my current setup in the near future, so you can examine that as well when I get it posted.

Quote:
Many years ago two homes down the street had C-band dishes but their owners said that the networks began to encrypt the more interesting feeds to the point these neighbors sold their BUDs.
A lot of stuff has been encrypted, but things like the PBS feeds and assorted other odds and ends are still available.

Quote:
The Rabbit Ears web site is an excellent source of info and new links for DVT. I have been reading them almost all day.
I'm glad you enjoy RabbitEars. Some time this week I expect to launch a section about free-to-air satellite.

- Trip

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post #1044 of 1188 Old 06-13-2011, 10:35 AM
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A small free-to-air satellite dish can get you Al Jazeera and RT. (I'm watching Al Jazeera right now.)

- Trip

How much would one of *those* cost?

Now in Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna in the east window at a height of 40 ft off the ground (3rd floor apt with VERY high celings). Got everything except FOX. :-/
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post #1045 of 1188 Old 06-13-2011, 10:44 AM
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I got my box at a swap meet for $40, the dish and LNB I'm using was $10 at a different swap meet, and the mast it's on was free from a friend.

- Trip

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post #1046 of 1188 Old 06-14-2011, 01:21 PM
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I got my box at a swap meet for $40, the dish and LNB I'm using was $10 at a different swap meet, and the mast it's on was free from a friend.

- Trip

Hmm, my house has a directv dish thats not being used. would that work or no?

Now in Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna in the east window at a height of 40 ft off the ground (3rd floor apt with VERY high celings). Got everything except FOX. :-/
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post #1047 of 1188 Old 06-14-2011, 05:22 PM
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Possible, but unlikely, as the dish is too small. The LNB definitely cannot be used since it is circularly polarized and free-to-air content is linear.

- Trip

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post #1048 of 1188 Old 06-15-2011, 10:01 AM
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Possible, but unlikely, as the dish is too small. The LNB definitely cannot be used since it is circularly polarized and free-to-air content is linear.

- Trip

Ok, just as i figured: It's useless. Maybe i should hang a wreath on it for Xmas.

Now in Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna in the east window at a height of 40 ft off the ground (3rd floor apt with VERY high celings). Got everything except FOX. :-/
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post #1049 of 1188 Old 06-16-2011, 05:55 AM
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I you went around and collected all of the unused dishes sitting on roofs all over America, you'd have quite a pile of metal. How many homes have both a DTV and DN dish up there?
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post #1050 of 1188 Old 06-16-2011, 11:10 AM
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I you went around and collected all of the unused dishes sitting on roofs all over America, you'd have quite a pile of metal. How many homes have both a DTV and DN dish up there?
I've seen quite a few around the Elgin and DeKalb areas.

Now in Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna in the east window at a height of 40 ft off the ground (3rd floor apt with VERY high celings). Got everything except FOX. :-/
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