So I'm out on the north side of Marysville, OH (Mill Valley . . . not really a valley).
I have a Hitachi 51" CRTRP HDTV (51S715) that I really like, and we have Dish satellite, which I am rather ambivalent about except for one thing that drives me bonkers. No locals in HD, plus I really love uncompressed signals even if I'm not 100% sure under normal satellite-provided HDTV viewing I could run around point out all the differences between that and OTA. Who knows, at least this will be free after the initial setup costs.
So I have been since we moved here last October using these small Radio Shack amplified rabbit ears sitting on top of my entertainment center, which is on the wall nearest to Columbus but the line of sight goes through most of the front of my neighbor's house. Even with that little piece of junk I was getting NBC, CBS and Fox with good signal strength. I could not get ABC or WOSU, which was really aggravating because I want LOST in HD for sure and the kids love Word World but that isn't on Dish's feed of WOSU but it is in the lineup OTA. Go figure. The measured signal strength based on my TV's measurements had both channels under 70, which is where things start to break up.
So I bought a Channel Master 4228 and installed it in my attic, along a wall such that the antenna looks directly out through the wall and only tangentially has to deal with shingles. I ran 100ft of cable from the attic, outside the house, down the vinyl, and back into the house at the TV.
Here is what I am getting now along with the strength readings I am getting from my TV:
In particular WOSU is coming in significantly stronger, which is really great as that is 3 channels. But:
1. What is up with ABC still? The good news is that now that it is consistently 70+, I'm not getting drops or breakups . . . at least so far with good weather. But it is still low! It is at 146 degrees, which is only 3 degrees off CBS, which comes in at a solid 100 signal strength. Antennaweb.org says it is VHF, which is the only .1/digital VHF channel on the whole list (will that change next year?). I think the 4228 antenna I got is primarily a UHF antenna, but at least one web site says it is pretty decent at VHF (http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4228.html
). When the weather is not ideal, the wind shouldn't be a problem since the antenna is in the attic, but will the weather otherwise significantly affect the signal strength? Would a pre-amp likely be of any use given the length of cable I am running over?
Even if the cable was weakening the signal strength by 5-10 and a pre-amp could bump that back up by that amount, that would probably give me some kind of cushion given the signal strength floor where breakups start (under 70). This will be very relevant to me (and, more importantly, my wife) when I am DVR'ing LOST in the fall.
2. What's up with NBC coming in at only 80+? It looks to be using the same tower as CBS, and is also UHF. I'm less worried about NBC dipping below the floor. Antennaweb.org says NBC's frequency assignment is 14, while CBS' is 21, is that difference in frequency causing a lot of this? ABC's frequency assignment is 13, and that all at least very superficially seems to correlate to signal strength when nothing else at least that I've red so far accounts for it (direction, or other factors) . . . CBS (21/100) > NBC (14/80+) > ABC (13/70-72) Hard to believe there is that much drop off between a frequency assignment difference of 1, but it goes from VHF to UHF.
One note is that I have not specifically set up the degree direction of the antenna. Right now it is "facing Columbus", and I am picking up both WOSU (113 degrees) and CBS (143 degrees) at a rock-solid 100 signal strength, so I figure I'm somewhere in the right neighborhood as far as direction. I'm not sure what the best (and least expensive) way would be to get a very exact degree direction on the antenna. A cheap compass would give me something slightly more specific, but probably not significantly.
Anyway my questions may be totally moronic, and/or equally off base, but I know the info I get on these forums is usually pretty good. I am actually pretty proud of myself, since I have no developed home improvement skills (at all), that I was able to get such an improvement on my first attempt.
Thanks so much for any information provided!! (particularly the ABC issue)
Sorry for the length