Originally Posted by Jeckler
My house is 21 miles from South Mountain....
The windows in the living room face pretty much due south....
I then put it on the wall, facing due West...
t seems I get every channel EXCEPT 10.1, Fox 10. I do get 10.2,...
There are other antenna options available too, a couple Channel Master's at Fry's. I'm wondering if there is a problem with the 10.1 feed...
Lets see if we can break this down just a little bit.
An HD antenna is usually a better antenna if it is directional. These antennae you mention probably are somewhat directional, but not all that much, maybe about 3 dB greater from directly perpendicular to S.Mt. than they are parallel to S. Mt.
But it is also important to orient that beam to where the signal is coming from. Your TVFool data shows that you should face the antenna about 255-260 degrees, rather than 180 or 270, for best reception, generally.
What may be a larger factor here is when you did this testing. 10.1 has been at low power to allow adjacent tower work for a few days, and I think it is now at full power, so it might be good to do these tests again. But with a proper antenna, all of Mesa should see enough signal even at low power, so there is more going on here.
10.1 is a little lower in coverage than some other channels, but not significantly. The reason they placed 10.2 on KUTP 45's transmitter is because that channel has better coverage (The FOX network owns both stations), so they can reach more viewers. According to your TVFool data, you are seeing a raw signal about 5 dB below the strongest signal, and this is still ~3-4 dB higher than other stations you are getting OK, so there is probably a reflection or multipath issues involved here.
The first step is to orient the antenna directly perpendicular to S. Mt.
I have a similar setup, and am about as far as you are, but in Chandler with a 2nd-story window directly facing S. Mt. I also had to remove a strip of window film to get reception. What I am using for an antenna is a simple folded dipole that packs with a AVR for FM reception, about a buck from Monoprice.com. I run that into a FM trap (about 8 bucks), next a 20 dB variable attenuator (also about 8 bucks), and then a 25 dB amp ahead of a 4-way splitter.
The antenna only has a 3 dB beamwidth, so is not all that directional. The FM trap gives me another 5 clicks on the quality meter because even though they are at different frequencies than TV, there are ~18 very strong FM signals coming from the same direction, and this keeps them from swamping the AGC.
The amp and attenuator work together; you want to send the best possible level into the front end of the amp. The way to do this is to pick your weakest channel that you can receive solidly, and watch the quality meter (most TVs have this, if you don't this may not be available to you, but you could also do this procedure "blindly" by watching the screen), and slowly adjust attenuation from 20 dB to 0 dB. The signal quality should start to improve, level off, and then start to dip. Set the attenuator at the highest SQ level, which may be anywhere from -20 to 0, depending.
If you do not get this bell curve response, you should try this without the amp. If the signal always gets better as you turn the dial towards 0, then eliminate the attenuator.
Walls in typical construction, especially stucco, have metal grids in them that thwart reception, which is why the antenna should be in front of a window with line of sight to S. Mt. 2nd floor is better.
You may need an outside antenna, or at least an antenna with more directionality. The Channel Master antennae are pretty good. You also need the antenna to be able to receive high VHF, as 8, 10, and 12 are all in that band. You may need to simply move the antenna 10 feet to one side or the other if you are in a destructive interference node due to multipath reflections.
You can get an amp from Monoprice or RatShack, but you are close enough to not need an antenna preamp. A line distribution type amp might be what you need, especially if you are distributing to multiple sets.
Good luck, and post back.