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Olympia WA & South Sound Over-The-Air Reception

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Finally decided to cut the cable!  BUT, the network stations in Seattle are barely within reach, due to poor transmitter tower location - Queen Anne Hill.  If you have similar problems problems or are in this area and would like to cut the cable or dump the dish, please reply to this post.  I'm interested in sharing experiences with OTA in this area, improving the experience, maybe finding the ideal antenna system, and perhaps even going as far as lobbying for a repeater that would serve South Sound and perhaps Grays Harbor and Lewis County.  I recently put a HD Stacker from Denny's Antennas on a 20' mast atop my roof, aimed at Queen Anne through some fir trees (nterested in some free firewood from my neighbor's property?) and together with a Channelmaster 7777 preamp is able to pull in King, KOMO, KIRO and KCPQ along with several others of less interest (to me), BUT quite intermittently.  Strength in numbers, people!  Please join if this can help you.

post #2 of 7
Here is my reception report for Lacey, zip code 98503:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d1ddaf78697886d

I'm using the Y10-7-13 for VHF and the 91XG for UHF. This is feeding through a CM7777 preamp. My cable run is 50 feet and I have only one TV (Sony 34XBR960 with a QAM tuner). I have quite a few large conifer and broadleaf trees to the North and West.

I found reception to be extremely sensitive to the location of the antennas on my roof. I believe this is due to the trees and some large houses to the North. Originally I tried both antennas stacked on one mast. I could not find an optimum location which got me all the channels I wanted with this method. The only VHF station I get is 13 KCPQ-DT. There is only one location on my roof where this comes in. The signal is very strong in this location however. Unfortunately at this location I can't get 28.1 KBTC which I definitely want. So I put up another mast for the 91XG. With this antenna I'm getting 28.1, 20.X, 33.X, 42.X, 51 (7.1 KIRO), 46, 50 (51.X Spanish language). Sometimes 38 (4.1 KOMO) comes in with a lot of breakup.

Why the preamp? It gets me KIRO on 51. I don't get the local KIRO translator on 34 to the West at all, even pointing the antenna in that direction, probably because of trees and numerous 2-storey houses.

I do wish I could get KOMO and KING. I believe I could if not for the trees in that direction. I'm not going to put an antenna on top of a 100 ft tree. Still, I'm reasonably happy.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

What's your location in Lacey?  What's your UHF antenna height above ground?  With maddening variability, I'm able to get 4,5,7,11,13,16,20,22,28,33,42,46,and 51, many with several dash - 1,2,3 etc.  Most important for me are 4,5,7 13, and 33, and except for 33, they're all very intermittent.  I couldn't get any of the Queen Anne stations with a 10' mast on the rooftop, then added another 10 and got them all pretty well during the deep freeze, then the weather changed and so did the reception.  I may just try adding another 10'.  I'm in the South Bay area close to the school and grange, and look across the Henderson Inlet dip with pretty good clearance over the trees and terrain except for a patch of trees next door.  Queen Anne towers should be in line of sight.

 

FCC has a pretty good website for our area at http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/  A map of before and after the digital transition for KING is at http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/images/callsigns/KING.gif  Compare that with KCPQ/s map at http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/images/callsigns/KCPQ.gif and don't you wonder why KING is so bad?  Must be they get enough $$ from rebroadcasting rights from cable and dish companies that they're not really interested in us OTA freeloaders!

 

Denny Duplessis at Denny's Antennas has been pretty informative - he says this area is the toughest in the nation for OTA reception.  He's got a pretty good website at dennysantennaservice.com  I find it unfortunate that the big 3 network stations in our area don't give decent service to our state capitol area.  I guess Comcast has lots of us by the #esticles.

post #4 of 7
I'm about a mile South of the fairgrounds. My antennas are about 20 feet above ground.

Yeah we get hind teat down here.
post #5 of 7
A couple of decades back, I lived in Thurston County and recall how weak typical analog OTA reception was in the area. What seems strange is that the actual distance in miles from the Queen Anne Hill and Capitol Hill transmitters to Lacey is about 47 miles, and perhaps 52-53 miles to the Olympia Westside or Tumwater. It seems like the transmitters for the major-league Seattle stations suffer from a 2-edge path in reaching Thurston County, and perhaps those transmitters use directional patterns which don't reach to the southwest.

It seems like a lousy situation, since Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater are forcibly part of the "Seattle DMA" yet really cannot receive OTA reception of major-league Seattle broadcasters except for KCPQ/13 and the KIRO repeater on RF/34.

Have those of you from Thurston County contacted KING, KOMO, KCTS and KSTW about this situation? It seems really petty that they don't provide local repeater stations to serve Washington's state capital region, yet they want the perks of "Seattle DMA" status so that they can prevent your cable company from offering Portland OTA feeds as well as Seattle OTA feeds.

Some rural areas of Washington and Oregon have organized local community television reception districts, which operate their own repeater stations to serve their hometowns. Here is an example of a local system operated as a community non-profit in Cottage Grove, Oregon by South Lane Television: http://www.rabbitears.info/search.php?request=owner_search&owner=South+Lane+Television. Their system provides 6 distinct RF transmissions, and including subchannels, 13 channels of free OTA programming.

This may be something that Thurston County folks may want to look into, given that apparently the transmissions between Queen Anne and Capitol Hill are impaired by geography of the Kitsap Peninsula, the stations' transmission patterns, and other problems including many tall trees.

P.S. Methinks the logical place to put a transmitter for a Thurston County community television repeater would be up high on Tumwater Hill. It would not necessarily have to have a high power output.
Edited by seatacboy - 12/30/13 at 4:13pm
post #6 of 7
I believe the KIRO 34 repeater is on Tumwater Hill and I can't receive it in my location in Lacey - lots of buildings and trees in the way.

I can get the KIRO 51 repeater on West Tiger Mtn however. I wrote KOMO because their parent company has KUNS on Tiger Mtn and I get that too. No response however.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

A couple of decades back, I lived in Thurston County and recall how weak typical analog OTA reception was in the area. What seems strange is that the actual distance in miles from the Queen Anne Hill and Capitol Hill transmitters to Lacey is about 47 miles, and perhaps 52-53 miles to the Olympia Westside or Tumwater. It seems like the transmitters for the major-league Seattle stations suffer from a 2-edge path in reaching Thurston County, and perhaps those transmitters use directional patterns which don't reach to the southwest.

It seems like a lousy situation, since Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater are forcibly part of the "Seattle DMA" yet really cannot receive OTA reception of major-league Seattle broadcasters except for KCPQ/13 and the KIRO repeater on RF/34.

Per TVB, Seattle/Tacoma OTA penetration is only 6.2%, significantly below the national rate of 9.7%. Consequently, I would guess that your local stations don't place a high priority on extended digital coverage. In addition, area broadcasters have always seemed strangely indifferent to viewers outside of King County -- growing up in Tacoma, I took it as a given that those of us in Pierce County were an afterthought for the Seattle stations...and if they didn't care about us, they were going to care even less about Thurston County.

One consequence of this is that the transmitters for the majority of Seattle/Tacoma stations are badly placed when it comes to covering the entire market -- few major markets have as many stations with low HAATs (height above average terrain) as Seattle/Tacoma. At one time (maybe twenty years ago), KOMO, KING, and KIRO all had construction permits to boost their HAATs by about 300 feet, which would have helped significantly. For whatever reason, all three stations opted not to build out those permits, and continue to broadcast from the same low antenna heights that they've been using since probably sometime in the fifties.

The solution would be for all the stations in the area to agree on a common tower site that is significantly higher than Queen Anne Hill -- but at this point in time, I can't imagine them spending the money on such a massive technical undertaking. In addition, from what I can tell, the alternative sites (Gold Mountain home of KCPQ and KTBW, Tiger Mountain home of KWPX and others) seem to have significant shadowing issues in Seattle, which means that such a move would also require the use of boosters or translators to cover the shadowed areas.
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