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Antenna selection help - Toledo OH - Tv fool in first post

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm trying to get some expert (you guys) advice for get good big 4 (abc, nbc, fox, cbs) reception.

TV fool

I currently have a Terk Indoor, and a Radio Shack 15-1892 (like this one http://www.missingremote.com/review/radioshack-15-1892-indoor-antenna-w-rf-remote)
Both powered indoor antennas, I've been using the RadioShack up in the attic and on good days I get the big 4, but more often than not I have to fuss with it a bit to pull in the one we want. I have aluminum siding and a shingle roof.

My sub-div also has a No antenna rule and while I remember reading here a while back that they can't legally stop me, I'd rather avoid the fight with the neighbors if I can, so I'd love something that is a bit inconspicuous if possible.

Thanks for the ideas!
post #2 of 5
Unfortunately, those compact indoor antennas are often a compromise due to their small size, and if amplified, they sometimes amplify noise and/or multipath distortion along with the tv signals, causing dropouts like you seem to be having. Assuming you're only interested in the top 6 stations on your TVFool report, you should be able to get reliable reception fairly easily and inexpensively with the right attic antennas.

Most of your stations are to the northeast, with one station (WBGU-27) to the south-southwest. Does the aluminum siding on your house extend up to the sides of the attic? Reason being, as long as you could position an attic antenna (or antennas) at a location in your attic where they would mostly "aim through" the roofboards and shingles instead of the aluminum siding (such as if the siding is only on opposing ends of your attic, which happens to mostly not be in the directions of your desired stations), your reception should be just fine with all stations within 26 miles and line-of-sight.

In your case, you could consider using an Antennacraft Y5-7-13 in your attic for the two VHF-high stations (WTOL-11 and WTVG-13), aimed toward around 54 degrees true. For the UHF stations, any 4-bay UHF antenna should work fine, and you would similarly aim it toward around 55 degrees true. However, since WBGU-27 is in almost the opposite direction from all your other UHF stations, this station could also be received simultaneously off the back side of the UHF antenna IF the reflector portion of the antenna were either removed, not installed or not folded into its usual outward position (depending on which 4-bay UHF antenna you chose). Generally, removing the reflector from any 4-bay UHF antenna of this type results in equal reception from both the front and rear, but with somewhat reduced overall gain compared to forward-direction-only gain when using the reflector portion. In your case, your UHF stations should all be plenty strong to sacrifice the gain lost from removing the reflector. For this reason, your situation calls for separate VHF and UHF antennas instead of a combination VHF-UHF antenna (which would be longer and more unwieldy in the attic anyway).

Inexpensive options for 4-bay UHF antennas include the Winegard HD-4400 and Antennacraft U4000, which both appear to ship with the reflectors in folded/collapsed form against the mast (you'd just keep them folded that way, but extend the front elements for reception from both front and back to include WBGU-27). Otherwise, you'd have to drill out the rivets holding the reflector in place (might want to call first to confirm which models just fold out the reflector elements).

Mount the antennas by hanging them at the central highest point of your attic (UHF antenna a foot or two above the VHF antenna) on a 1" white PVC pipe (sold in 8-foot sections at Lowe's or Home Depot) that you've cut to maybe a 4 or 5-foot length. Drill a hole across one end of the PVC pipe an inch from the end and screw it into an upper rafter (with a pilot hole) using a 2-inch screw. Connect the two antennas together with two 3 or 4-foot RG-6 coax sections, fed into a special UVSJ antenna combiner, with a single RG-6 coax from the UVSJ's output down to your tv.

Alternatively, for the UHF antenna, you could always make your own 4-bay bowtie antenna without any reflector using a 2x4 board and some coat hanger wire (there are many suitable plans online for this) and it would probably work just as well for the UHF stations only.

Hope this is helpful - good luck !

Edited by gcd0865 - 10/5/12 at 11:19am
post #3 of 5
I would put a more conventional VHF/UHF antenna in the attic like the HBU-22 from Radio Shack:


Use no amp for now, make sure the front of the antenna ( the right side in the RS picture) is pointed to the NE. See what you get. Make sure you use RG6 cable. It should yield better results than the indoor antenna you have now.

This is the entry level antenna from Radio Shack. You could always get bigger if you want, but based on your distance from the towers, it should be ok even in an attic.

Worst case if it does not work you can always bring it back.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you both very much! Quick question: Aiming a UHF antenna seems pretty clear, but how do you "aim" VHF rabbit ears antennas?
post #5 of 5
Originally Posted by tacroy View Post

Thank you both very much! Quick question: Aiming a UHF antenna seems pretty clear, but how do you "aim" VHF rabbit ears antennas?

Basically, to receive a horizontally polarized signal (all TV signals in the US are transmitted with horizontal polarization,see note below), position the dipole elements so they are horizontal, then rotate them so they are perpendicular to the direction of the signal. A dipole is bi-directional in the horizontal plane, it has no front or rear.

Note: Some stations include a vertical component in their signal (circular or elliptical transmission). Additionally, signals may rotate in polarization when they reflect off certain objects. Be cause of this, it can help an indoor dipole to be arranged in a "v" configuration to take advantage of these (potentially) rotated signals.
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