|Originally posted by steeler
Wow, now I am super impressed!!!!!! Some questions.....
1) How high is your antenna off the ground? Is it on the roof?
A: My antenna is on a tripod on my roof 10 feet above the peak of my roofline approx 30 feet above ground (2 story house). I live 9 feet above sea level and I am about 1 mile West of the Chesapeake Bay.
2) How can I get coordinates for Philly stations from my house? antenna web? How?
A: I would just eyeball a map. Philly is generally to the NNE - NE from most Wash DC-Baltimore locations. I point my antenna anywhere between 20 and 50 degrees to receive the various Philly/NJ stations. My rotator's North may not be exact. I recommend a "fringe area" directional UHF or VHF/UHF antenna, a good low noise preamp (as long as you don't live within 20 miles of any TV transmitters), high quality shielded coax, and a rotator if you want to attempt to DX (distance reception). I have a remote controlled Channel Master rotator.
In addition, I usually have to null out a couple of analog locals to receive a couple of the Philly DT stations and that takes some very precise aiming of my antenna. I only use very directional, high gain antennas. Sometimes, I may only be able to successfully receive a distant station on a bearing of +/- 3 degrees.
3) How can I find out how far the towers are from my house?
A: I have seen such a mapping utility online somewhere but since I'm not a hard-core logger or contest DXer (a DXer that logs every signal, mileage, time, etc), I don't have it bookmarked. I mainly memorize the stations that are a normal catch via summer/fall tropo. Since there aren't many open TV channels, there are only certain DXable channels. My open channels are 15, 17, 18, 19, 25, 31, 33, 35 (not for long), 38, 41 (not for long), 44, 49, 53, 55, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 (not W), 67 (not NW), 68, and 69.
4) What type of STB do you use?
A: I currently have a Samsung SIR-T165 but it does have some annoying "bugs" so I would like to test out different STBs one of these days. I hear through this forum that the STB that I currently use has one of the more sensitive tuners. It doesn't deal well with multipath, however. It's a 4th Generation receiver AFAIK. I've heard that the 5th generation STBs will address the multipath issues.
I don't have an HD display yet. I have the Samsung STB connected to a 27" standard television via S-Video cable. DTV is mostly DVD quality (except for 2-2, 7-2, 11.2, etc). I haven't found a display that I am willing to sink big bucks into yet. I still like CRTs due to the reliability factor but they are too heavy when you get to the sizes that are an improvement over what I have.
5) Are nights better than days?
A: Also see the answer to #6...
Tropospheric ducting is usually best in the evening, night, and early morning, but I have noticed that it is especially strong right after dawn (especially if there's fog in the area). In the past I have used the Hepburn Tropo Forecast and it is usually pretty accurate. The URL for the Hepburn forecast is http://home.cogeco.ca/~dxinfo/tropo.html. I have rarely seen tropo occur after 10 AM and before 7 PM. I usually key on tropo occuring from flipping through analog (over-the-air) TV or by flipping through FM radio stations on my car radio. FM is a good tip off that there is tropo. Some mornings the 99.5 and 101.1 stations out of Philly actually override the DC locals when I am traveling to work.
6) How many days/nights a week do you pull in the Philly channels?
A: There is no way to tell. It all depends on the weather, time of year, temperature, humidity, presence of fog (temperature inversion), placement of lows/highs, and your topography. I'm near the water so I may have an advantage over someone that lives inland. Ducting may be slightly enhanced by the Chesapeake Bay. Ducting is best between May-Nov from what I can tell, better when we are between spring/summer and summer/fall. Changing weather seems to bring it on. I have never seen tropo when it is actually raining, especially if it has been raining for more than a few hours.
7) What is mddolfan?
A: mddolfan is an avsforum member that was giving away some antenna equipment on this forum. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a very nice CM 4228 8 bay UHF antenna and a CM 7775 UHF preamp.
>> Sorry for all of the questions but I am very interested in the ducting theory. I will be moving my CM 4221 to the roof of my house in the near future. It will be approx another 25 ft higher than current location just for this purpose. I receive all the DC and Balt channels now but would love to pull in some distant channels like Philly and Richmond.
A: Please don't apologize!!! I am more than happy to share the details of my long time hobby. I am originally from Bradenton, FL and used to watch Orlando TV via DX (Channels 2, 6, 9, 24, and 35) in the early morning hours when I was 6 years old! I didn't know that it was a fascination/hobby that anyone else had until I recently found other people talking about it on the Internet. There is a good web page to learn more about it at http://anarc.org/wtfda/ (Worldwide TV FM DX association). I have chatted with these guys on IRC before. They meet on irc.icq.com:6667, #dx on Tuesday nights. Use mIRC or equivalent Internet Relay Chat software.