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post #1 of 7 Old 01-12-2016, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Cardiff, CA - Ready to cut the cable!

OK - I'm ready to cut the cable. I've been absorbing as much information as possible from the Web. Just when I think I know the steps to take, I read a bit more and have doubts about whether I really know what I need to know.

It looks like there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this site who might help "un-confuse" me. Thanks in advance for reading my post. I apologize if it's a bit long, but I'm trying to anticipate the questions you will ask and answer them in the original post.

The first step I want to take is to get local TV stations OTA - i.e. I need to buy and install an antenna and connect it to my TV. I got a report from TV Fool on the stations in my area. Unfortunately I can't include a link to the report because I'm a new member.

I want to receive the first seven stations on the list. Three are clustered on a mountain about 13 ½ miles away with NM ranging between 30 and 59 dB. The other four are clustered on a mountain about 30 ½ miles away with NM ranging between 28 and 32 dB. The azimuth difference between the two mountains is about 35°. (If I can get the 8th channel - CW being broadcast from a transmitter in Tijuana, that would be nice, but not imperative. It has NM of 24dB and it's angle from me is between the two mountains with the other transmitters.)

One error about the TV Fool report: I don't have line-of-site to the closer mountain. You'd have to be about 15 feet above the top of the ridgeline of my roof to have line of site. There is a small hill about ¼ mile south of me that prevents perfect line of site with that mountain. I suspect that TV Fool's map software thinks my house is about 20' higher than it actually is. So my actual NM for each station is probably a bit lower than TV Fool's estimate.

I want to mount an antenna in the attic for two reasons: Avoid having to ground it; and if it's on the roof the antenna may corrode quickly - because I do have line-of-sight to the ocean. The Pacific about 1000 yards due west of my house and metal that is left outside doesn't have a long life.

I called Antennas Direct and the woman steered me towards a DB4e (long-range and multi-directional). But it doesn't have VHF reception (and 2 or 3 of the channels I want to get are in H-VHF). I found an antenna made by Stellar Labs that appears to be VERY similar to the DB4e at a much lower cost - but it is not rated for H-VHF either.

I read some articles about combining two antennas, and it sounds like a bit of work. Cutting cables to matching lengths, going through reverse splitters, matching impedances, etc. Is all that necessary? Is it as hard as it sounds? Is there a single antenna that I could use to try to get all the stations on my wish list?

To cut to the chase (and appealing to the combined knowledge and experience of members of this forum), what do you recommend for my situation?

Once I get OTA working, I plan to cut the cable and then install an OTT service - maybe ROKU.

Thanks (in advance) again!
Clint
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-12-2016, 09:26 PM
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I've found that OTA can be kind of a crapshoot. Where I live we have almost no OTA -- basically 4 transmitters all at the same location -- but I can't get Fox and ABC even though they have a greater NM in the TV Fool report than one of the other stations I do get. Go figure.

I would suggest that you start with an amplified omni directional to start with, but you may well have to roof mount if you want to pick up the weaker stations. Because the stations you want are pretty far apart as far as azimuth is concerned, you may want an antenna rotator.

Theory is a great place, everything works in theory.

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-13-2016, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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A couple of follow up questions

Thanks for the quick reply John. I hope you don't mind a couple of follow up questions. I'm learning.

The stations I'm interested in are all to the south of me. There are a few in Los Angeles that are VERY far to the north, and I'm not interested in them anyhow. So I was thinking about a multi-directional antenna. If it has a 90° field of view and if I aim it at about 150° (compass heading) I thought it would pick up everything I need. Do you think an omni-directional would be better? If so, can you explain why? (I'm trying to learn.)

And if I have an omni-directional antenna, why would I need an antenna rotator?

I was really hoping that I could get a multi-directional antenna with about 90° of azimuth range and not have to rotate. But your reply seems to suggest that isn't a viable plan.

Regarding mounting on the roof: I understand that I might have to do that. I was hoping to try in the attic first and hope I get the stations I want with a good signal. If the attic doesn't work and I have to mount on the roof, are there antennas that are very corrosion resistant? Maybe made of stainless steel? Or have a good rust-resistant coating on all components (including screws and connectors)?

Thanks again
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-13-2016, 01:08 PM
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You can send a PM to DrDon and he'll add your plot to your post. Otherwise, you can make it an "non-link" by changing the ".com) to (dot)com" or similar, then post that. Someone will piece it back together again.

Antenna recommendations must be customized for each specific location in order to have the best shot of success. What works (or doesn't) for one person is largely irrelevant for someone in another location.

The recommendation for the DB4e surely came with a recommendation to add the VHF kit. It likely isn't needed for channels 8 & 10 as they're strong enough to come in anyway without it.

Get your plot up and it can better be analyzed.

BTW, omni antennas sound great and do tend to work okay as long as everything is short-range and uncomplicated, but they're the first to fail when multi-path presents. Besides, your location isn't one that would benefit from an omni if it were to work. You have two VHF stations just down the coast in La Jolla, the rest are UHF and are further away, obstructed by much more terrain, are further eastward than the two VHF stations, and are all within a 20° arc.

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Last edited by ADTech; 01-13-2016 at 01:27 PM.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-13-2016, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. Here is the URL of TV Fool's analysis of the signals in my location:

www [dot] tvfool [dot] com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d5134c93faf023 9
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-13-2016, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClintOConner View Post
Thanks for the reply. Here is the URL of TV Fool's analysis of the signals in my location:

www [dot] tvfool [dot] com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d5134c93faf023 9

Connecting the dots:

www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d5134c93faf023 9
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-14-2016, 08:25 AM
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Based only on the available information contained in your plot, the DB4e with VHF kit (if needed) would appear to be appropriate. Since I do not have your precise location and cannot see your immediate surroundings, there's a lot of variability in what may exist at your location vs. what is conveyed by the plot.

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antenna help , h-vhf and uhf , Ota

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