Originally Posted by robertyknwt
Hi, I'm new to the forum, and looking for help on antennas. We just bought a house in Estrella Mountain south of Goodyear, and I want to go OTA instead of cable. I'm hoping we can go with an indoor or attic antenna, 'cause it looks like putting up an outdoor antenna could be a PITA with the HOA rules. The TVFool profile for the address is here
While TVFool uses a disclaimer saying it is a "rough approximation" (and it is) as long as the channels of interest are inside the 22-mile mark, are not low power, and are digital, and originate from South Mountain, you should have no trouble picking them up using an attic antenna, assuming that there are no metallic insulation or stucco grids that have to be passed through. Line of sight is also helpful, but not especially necessary anymore. That is easily checked by using a binoculars at night; if you can see the towers from your roof or an upstairs window, you're golden.
But to maximize your chances, I would get the best antenna you can get. I recommend the ChannelMaster 4228 HD, which has proven itself in high multipath environments. It is also highly directional (IOW has plenty of gain for your location), normally only about $60-70, and is compact enough to fit in any attic. It also is not so huge that it would violate the HOA rules which say it must fit within a 3x3x3 cubic space (it does). You may also need a preamp, but maybe not. ChannelMaster makes preamps with the lowest noise figure compared to anyone else, and that is the feature you want there. BTW, the 4228 HD is marketed as a "UHF" antenna, but due to its unique design it also reliably gets channels 8, 10, and 12, which means it gets everything you probably need (but if you use a preamp, be sure it is UHF and VHF, and preferably combined into the same input and output).
So here is how I would approach this: Install the antenna in the attic, tweak for best reception. Next, try adding a $8 passive FM filter from Radio Shack, which in my case raised my quality level readings an average of 5 ticks per channel (~17 high-power FM stations broadcast from the very same place, so they can raise the noise floor in your tuner). That can make the difference between 15-20 brief glitches a day to 1 or 2 brief glitches a day on a channel that may prove problematic ("perfect" reception still averages 1 glitch per 24 hr period, so if you watch 24 hours of TV per week, you will experience one brief glitch, on average, per week).
If you can't get everything you want from that single direction (and forget about multiple directions), add an antenna-mount preamp (don't buy it yet if you find the antenna is OK on its own) and be sure you can return the preamp if it does not help (there is no way to really predict that accurately without knowing what levels are at your particular site). If reception is not what you want by that point, then and only then worry about a roof mount, which you should only do with a pro installation for safety's sake. Gravity and power lines are a real danger. And with this antenna, the HOA has no leg to stand on.
The technology for reception of ATSC has improved markedly over the years due to tuner improvements in active equalization of multipath reflections. In 1999 you could not get a good signal in an urban environment at all, and line of sight was mandatory, as was a roof mount in most areas. By a decade later you could get reliable reception in the same area inside on the first floor using just a paper clip. I am 12 miles from S Mt and get perfect reception from a piece of twinlead taped to a second-story window. So if your TV is more than a few years old, consider replacing it with something with a newer tuner.Edited by TomCat - 4/19/13 at 4:35pm