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Ft Collins, CO: Outdoor Antenna Recommendation Please!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

I am completely clueless when it comes to this. I have no real understanding of VHF vs UHF, and for all of the additional information I can see for my TV Fool report, I still don't understand what I'm looking at or how to gauge everything I need. Basically, we are going to get rid of Dish and go OTA. We live in Fort Collin, CO, so an outdoor antenna needs to be able to withstand wind gusts of 50+ mph on occasion. We plan to do either a roof or eaves mount, but not on the highest section of our roof due to the fact that area is blocked by a cluster of trees. The other half of the roof is pretty free of obstructions to point towards the Denver area. Here is my TV Fool report:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d1dda2949546007

We want to be able to pull in CW and PBS from Denver. We are hoping to have a small an antenna as possible to accomplish this. I've looked at some of the winegards, but I'm not sure what to use and whether a pre-amp is neccessary or unnecessary. I've also been looking at the Mohu Sky and the FAQ section says it is good UHF for 60+ miles and VHF 45+. I've heard good things about their indoor antennas so thought I'd look into the outdoor one. Based on the report and the info I've provided, what recommendations do you have? I have just gotten more and more lost with my own research and can't make heads or tails of this.

Thank you for your help and guidance!
post #2 of 6
Welcome to the forum.

Basically UHF and VHF are 2 different frequencies tv transmit on. VHF is considered Ch 2- Ch 13, and UHF is Ch 14-69. So in your case you would need a UHF/VHF combo antenna since you have some stations transmitting on VHF and some on UHF. Look in the "real" column, that will tell you the actual frequency the station broadcasts on. Note the "virtual" freq is just what the station renames itself on your tv when you select channels. For example, ION is on real 43, but if you are watching tv, it will say Ch 59.1

The radar plot on the tvfool report basically shows a view from above of your location, which is the center, and where the TV towers are in relation to you. For example, if you look at the chart, KLWY-DT Fox is 36 miles away from you with Line-of-sight (LOS) to the towers, meaning there are no obstructions in the way. And it is at compass reading 20 degrees, almost to the NNE. If you look at the radar plot, you will see a line pointing at about NNE with a number 27 on it. Thats where you would point your antenna.

The table shows stations in order with the station with the greatest signal strength on top. You do have some strong stations at the top, but they are all in different directions and appear to be the Wyoming stations, so you will probably need a rotor.

As you go down, stations have weaker signal. And if you notice in red are your Denver stations 57 miles away to the South with 1 and 2 edge reception, meaning the signals have to bend over a hill or obstruction once or twice to reach you. This is why the higher you mount your antenna the better. This is why you should run your tvfool report again, but this time plug in antenna height to see if the results improve, but regardless, You will need a Big VHF/UHF antenna with probabaly an amp. I don't think a small antenna is going to cut it.

You also might want to ask the in the Denver OTA forum for advice and what reception is like in your area.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/793003/denver-co-ota/8190
Edited by mikepier - 3/9/13 at 5:19am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you! Your explanation helps me a lot!
post #4 of 6
Your distance from the Denver transmitters and the winds in Fort Collins will complicate this install, but there is no reason that you cannot pull this off.

On the eave mount. The eave mount is great for low wind locations. It is easy to install and low profile. However, I think it is inadequate for a high wind location like those on the northern Front Range. It attaches to your roof facia board, which is just a 2/6 nailed to the roof; it is not a structural component and takes nothing more than a crow bar to pry off the roof.

The location 50 miles from the transmitters will require a high-gain directional antenna. I would recommend something like the CM3679. That antenna has a high wind load and in the 60+ mph winds in Fort Collins will make the mast attached to the eave mount act like a crow bar.

So I would recommend pairing the CM3679 with a roof tripod mount. This will penetrate the roof, but this can be done safely, with no leaks or violation of your roof warranty. The forums here have a few threads on the best way to mount a tripod mount.

Use good quad-shield RG-6 with the above and I don't think you will need an preamp unless you want to route the signal to multiple rooms.

Finally, since the whole Front Range is subject to thunderstorms make sure you ground appropriately. Solid Signal sells a nice grounding kit; it is easily googleable.

This won't be a cheap install, but cable is expensive so you should breakeven in less than 6 months at most and after that it is basically free TV for as long as you live there.
post #5 of 6
Quote:
I would recommend something like the CM3679.

There are no low-VHF stations to be had, so an all-channel antenna isn't a well-matched choice. Lots of wasted aluminum and excessive wind loading.

Quote:
Use good quad-shield RG-6 with the above

There is no advantage in using QS coax in most TV antenna installations unless there is a concern regarding signal ingress.

Quote:
I don't think you will need an preamp

A pre-amp is highly recommend if he wants Denver stations. The problem is that there are very few amps that can handle the job in this location without overloading.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
There are no low-VHF stations to be had, so an all-channel antenna isn't a well-matched choice. Lots of wasted aluminum and excessive wind loading.

Okay, fair enough -- it is billed as being an antenna that supports all the way down to FM broadcast so perhaps it is not as well focused from a channel perspective as is typical in the Denver market. That said -- I consider the CM3679 to be a good antenna when high-gain on VHF is required, regardless of whether LO-VHF channels are an issue.

I recall that this large style of yagi to be common in Fort Collins due to the distances involved, although many such installations may be a legacy of analog.
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