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post #15451 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 01:37 AM
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OK... So I made a decision on an antenna and completed the installation last night... I decided to source everything locally (so that I could return the items easily if they didn't work out). I couldn't find the Winegard antennas easily, so I ended up going for the DB4E. Went to Fry's Electronics and picked up the DB4E for $48.00 and the Channel Master Chimney Mount (CM-3080) for $18.59 (both were Amazon price matches). Picked up a 1.5" diameter, 10-foot electric conduit for the mast for $14.02.

After some aiming challenges, I seem to be getting all of my "must have" channels now and will just need to live with it for a while to see how reliable channels come through over a longer period of time.

Thanks to everyone for helping me get to this point!

For anyone interested in some of my aiming challenges, here are some details... and here is my TVFools link http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4486e42c29b

Weird phenomenon... I roughly aimed at 320 (towards Sutro Tower), but ended up having to pivot my antenna 290/300 to get a good compromise signal across all channels. However, the next day when I was tidying up my installation, I ended up pointing in a completely different direction!

The next day, I pushed my antenna further up the mast to get a little more height and 320 (direct at Sutro) seemed to work fantastic for most stations. But I suddenly lost a decent signal strength on KGO and KNTV. I ended up pivoting my antenna to around 350 (almost at magnetic North) to keep reasonable strength on most of the Sutro stations, but was able to get a little bit stronger signal to KGO and KNTV. I find it odd that KGO is at 320 (Sutro), and KNTV is at 315, and they both suffered from being pointed directly at Sutro. And yet the other Sutro stations came in very strong.

The current position of my antenna (pointed around 350 degrees), I find the following:
  • KTVU seems to be equally strong on 44 and 48 frequency
  • KGO at 7 frequency is not so strong. At 35 frequency, I get pretty good strength
  • I can't seem to get
KNTV strong at 11-1, but I do get a strong signal at 11-3

I am using my TiVo Antenna Strength Tuner to adjust my antenna. Signal strength goes from 0-100. I typically need at least a 50 strength in order to pick up a station clearly. Where my antenna is pointed right now, I am getting signal strengths of mostly 58-62. For some reason, channel 20 KOFY is coming in at 75, as is 44 KBCW. When I point directly at Sutro (at 320), most of my Sutro stations come in around 70-72, but in order to get a decent signal from KGO and KNTV, my compromise aiming brings these stations down to around a 58-62.

Here is a photo of my installed antenna. I don't like the trees that my antenna is pointed directly into. A direct line to Sutro would have my antenna pointed towards the telephone pole that you can see to the left.





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post #15452 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
The current position of my antenna (pointed around 350 degrees), I find the following:
  • KTVU seems to be equally strong on 44 and 48 frequency
  • KGO at 7 frequency is not so strong. At 35 frequency, I get pretty good strength
  • I can't seem to get
KNTV strong at 11-1, but I do get a strong signal at 11-3

That antenna is not designed for high VHF so you can't expect to get RF 7 or RF 11. And if you do there is another problem. The best signal will likely be with the antenna pointed in some other direction. I've seen this behavior when using a high VHF antenna on low VHF. The strongest signal is usually about 45 degrees off pointed and sometimes 45 degrees off pointed from the back.

If you want high VHF to work right you need to add a high VHF antenna.

In case you don't know, 11-1 is RF 12 and 11-3 is RF 49.

Chuck
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post #15453 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 04:34 PM
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OK, your TVFool did not improve and the antenna expert suggested what I would expect for Livermore with the "path" to Sutro 2Edge blocked. "LOS" means you could see the lights on the Sutro tower.

CAT 6 is a Ethernet high quality cable, RG6 is the coax cable for antenna use.

If your Visio will show you the RF channel you can determine which KTVU and KGO transmitters are getting to you. It might not be Sutro transmitters at all but ones on Monument Pk and Mt. Allison.

Thus no KPIX from Sutro.

Sorry for the delay, cable internet was out. They want to send 1Gb/s and the can't even keep it up with 65Mb/s. I need 12Mb/s.

SHF
Follow up to reception issues in Livermore
Latitude and Longitude is the following
37.653228, -121.778897 as per google maps.
I have the 1byone on a 6 foot pole from HD mounted to an old direct tv dish mount and pointed towards 281 north/west.
I have Awg Rg6-quad Shield Coax Cable plugged directly into the 1byone
85 mile antenna.
This then plugs into the amplifier in the living room and then I have 4 foot Rg6 plugged into a Visio 32" TV (2015)
I get the following channels
Ch 2 (Physical channel 44) KTVU
Ch 4 (Physical Channel 38) KRON
Ch 7 (Physical Channel 7) KGO
Ch 9 (Physical Channel 30) KQED
Ch 11 (Physical Channel 12) KNTV
Ch 60 (Physical Channel 43) KCSM

These are all at 281 north on the sutro tower

I do not get CBS KPIX even though on same tower.
I switched out the power supply to a channel master 7778 and the amount of channels I received went down from 60 to 9.
I am thinking about swapping out the 1byone for a weingard antenna but it looks like I am getting some of the weaker stations and not the more powerful ones according to TV fool. Any suggestions? I have moved the antenna around considerably on the roof.
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post #15454 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
OK... So I made a decision on an antenna and completed the installation last night... I decided to source everything locally (so that I could return the items easily if they didn't work out).

After some aiming challenges, I seem to be getting all of my "must have" channels now and will just need to live with it for a while to see how reliable channels come through over a longer period of time.

Thanks to everyone for helping me get to this point!

For anyone interested in some of my aiming challenges, here are some details... and here is my TVFools link http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4486e42c29b

Here is a photo of my installed antenna. I don't like the trees that my antenna is pointed directly into.
Yeah, the trees are going to kill you. I suspect you haven't been getting much wind lately, when you get a breeze the leaves on those trees will probably scatter your signal to kingdom come, regardless of how much time you spent buying antennas.

Sorry, digital broadcast TV in the US can only be received reliably by an antenna mounted 50 feet in the air a few miles from the transmitter on a treeless Kansas plain more than 50 miles from an airport. Or strangely, by coat hanger wire in my attic (but a LOT of aiming was required to get the maximum number of channels reliably, moving the coat hanger wire as little as an inch in one direction or another wipes out 50 of the 100 channels I receive).

--
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post #15455 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post

Sorry, digital broadcast TV in the US can only be received reliably by an antenna mounted 50 feet in the air a few miles from the transmitter on a treeless Kansas plain more than 50 miles from an airport. Or strangely, by coat hanger wire in my attic (but a LOT of aiming was required to get the maximum number of channels reliably, moving the coat hanger wire as little as an inch in one direction or another wipes out 50 of the 100 channels I receive).

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Interesting observation. My antenna is 30'AGL, about 50 miles from Sutro/San Bruno, and we get everything from those transmitters without any issues at all
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post #15456 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popkorn View Post
Follow up to reception issues in Livermore
Latitude and Longitude is the following
37.653228, -121.778897 as per google maps.
I have the 1byone on a 6 foot pole from HD mounted to an old direct tv dish mount and pointed towards 281 north/west.
I have Awg Rg6-quad Shield Coax Cable plugged directly into the 1byone
85 mile antenna.
This then plugs into the amplifier in the living room and then I have 4 foot Rg6 plugged into a Visio 32" TV (2015)
I get the following channels
Ch 2 (Physical channel 44) KTVU
Ch 4 (Physical Channel 38) KRON
Ch 7 (Physical Channel 7) KGO
Ch 9 (Physical Channel 30) KQED
Ch 11 (Physical Channel 12) KNTV
Ch 60 (Physical Channel 43) KCSM

These are all at 281 north on the sutro tower

I do not get CBS KPIX even though on same tower.
I switched out the power supply to a channel master 7778 and the amount of channels I received went down from 60 to 9.
I am thinking about swapping out the 1byone for a weingard antenna but it looks like I am getting some of the weaker stations and not the more powerful ones according to TV fool. Any suggestions? I have moved the antenna around considerably on the roof.

Without going back and looking I think I recommended the Winegard HD7698P for you. It's no surprise that the 1byone isn't working. It would be okay if you were in Oakland. I think I also said that antennas are not rated in mileage. That's all marketing. DTV generally only covers a 50-60 mile radius even with no blocking hills. To receive a station at 85 miles both the receiver and transmitter need elevation without much in between the two. The problem with long distance reception is that the curvature of the Earth becomes the main factor even if the transmitter is really high.

Disconnecting the power supply from the CM7778 does not remove it from the circuit. It just turns it into a big attenuator.

Put up a Winegard HD7698P high enough to clear the local buildings and hopefully trees and you should be fine.

Chuck
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post #15457 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
I am using my TiVo Antenna Strength Tuner to adjust my antenna. Signal strength goes from 0-100. I typically need at least a 50 strength in order to pick up a station clearly. Where my antenna is pointed right now, I am getting signal strengths of mostly 58-62. For some reason, channel 20 KOFY is coming in at 75, as is 44 KBCW. When I point directly at Sutro (at 320), most of my Sutro stations come in around 70-72, but in order to get a decent signal from KGO and KNTV, my compromise aiming brings these stations down to around a 58-62.

I have a TiVo Roamio so I assume you have the same thing. It doesn't have a Signal Strength meter. It only has a Signal Quality meter. You have no idea at all how strong your stations are. I normally don't look at the TiVo meter since my Sony TV has a real Signal Strength and a Signal Quality meter so I use that. As I remember though anything in upper 70's on the TiVo is pretty good for signal quality.

The assumption made by the FCC for DTV was an outdoor antenna at 30'. Using you photos as a guide and knowing that the PG&E poles are only about 35' at the top and the lower phone lines are only about 25', if you had your antenna mounted at 30' then it would clear the local obstacles and your signal quality would likely go way up.

Chuck
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post #15458 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
Yeah, the trees are going to kill you. I suspect you haven't been getting much wind lately, when you get a breeze the leaves on those trees will probably scatter your signal to kingdom come, regardless of how much time you spent buying antennas.

Sorry, digital broadcast TV in the US can only be received reliably by an antenna mounted 50 feet in the air a few miles from the transmitter on a treeless Kansas plain more than 50 miles from an airport. Or strangely, by coat hanger wire in my attic (but a LOT of aiming was required to get the maximum number of channels reliably, moving the coat hanger wire as little as an inch in one direction or another wipes out 50 of the 100 channels I receive).

--
max
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
I have a TiVo Roamio so I assume you have the same thing. It doesn't have a Signal Strength meter. It only has a Signal Quality meter. You have no idea at all how strong your stations are. I normally don't look at the TiVo meter since my Sony TV has a real Signal Strength and a Signal Quality meter so I use that. As I remember though anything in upper 70's on the TiVo is pretty good for signal quality.

The assumption made by the FCC for DTV was an outdoor antenna at 30'. Using you photos as a guide and knowing that the PG&E poles are only about 35' at the top and the lower phone lines are only about 25', if you had your antenna mounted at 30' then it would clear the local obstacles and your signal quality would likely go way up.

Chuck
Yeah... Based on this, I am going to return the DB4E (I have 30 days at Fry's), and go with the antenna was recommended to me earlier on... The Winegard HD7698P... With this antenna, I will likely end up pointing right in that gap/clearing on the lefthand side of my photo and will get a straight shot to Sutro. I just hope that the growth doesn't impair that clearing in the future. I am going to have my gardener trim back the left side of that tree, just as insurance so that I get a bit more clearing.

I don't think I will ever need low-VHF, so I will pass on the HD8200U.

Since I am planning on going this route, I have a few questions.

1) Should I mount the new antenna at the very top of my 10 foot mast (with maybe 3 inches of clearance)? Or will that create a powerful fulcrum that endangers my chimney?
2) Similar question...should I raise my mast above the roof? Right now, I have it sitting on the roof (actually, I put a 2" brick on the roof to protect the roofing material). Again, I am concerned about putting too much strain on my chimney...but I am also trying to get as much height as possible.
3) Since I am going to put an order on Amazon anyway, is there any need at all for the Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT Digital HDTV Preamplifier? Not sure if it will benefit me or not...but thought I'd ask.

Yeah, I should have just pulled the trigger on this antenna in the first place... But honestly, it was the ease of buying the DB4E that got me up off my butt to tackle this project anyway, so I guess it was a good thing...

My other problem is that I overtighten everything because I am afraid of aiming drift... I don't want this thing to move, so I end up tightening down the chimney mount straps too tight, and then I tighten the mast and the antenna down!

Oh...one other thing Calaveras... Yes, I have the TiVo Roamio OTA... And I have no other measurement tool other than that to measure the strength (or as you mentioned...the "quality") of the signal. I guess I am just going to have to go with that for now and hope that there is a positive correlation between signal quality, and signal strength...
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post #15459 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
Yeah... Based on this, I am going to return the DB4E (I have 30 days at Fry's), and go with the antenna was recommended to me earlier on... The Winegard HD7698P... With this antenna, I will likely end up pointing right in that gap/clearing on the lefthand side of my photo and will get a straight shot to Sutro. I just hope that the growth doesn't impair that clearing in the future. I am going to have my gardener trim back the left side of that tree, just as insurance so that I get a bit more clearing.

I don't think I will ever need low-VHF, so I will pass on the HD8200U.

Since I am planning on going this route, I have a few questions.

1) Should I mount the new antenna at the very top of my 10 foot mast (with maybe 3 inches of clearance)? Or will that create a powerful fulcrum that endangers my chimney?
2) Similar question...should I raise my mast above the roof? Right now, I have it sitting on the roof (actually, I put a 2" brick on the roof to protect the roofing material). Again, I am concerned about putting too much strain on my chimney...but I am also trying to get as much height as possible.
3) Since I am going to put an order on Amazon anyway, is there any need at all for the Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT Digital HDTV Preamplifier? Not sure if it will benefit me or not...but thought I'd ask.

Yeah, I should have just pulled the trigger on this antenna in the first place... But honestly, it was the ease of buying the DB4E that got me up off my butt to tackle this project anyway, so I guess it was a good thing...

My other problem is that I overtighten everything because I am afraid of aiming drift... I don't want this thing to move, so I end up tightening down the chimney mount straps too tight, and then I tighten the mast and the antenna down!

Oh...one other thing Calaveras... Yes, I have the TiVo Roamio OTA... And I have no other measurement tool other than that to measure the strength (or as you mentioned...the "quality") of the signal. I guess I am just going to have to go with that for now and hope that there is a positive correlation between signal quality, and signal strength...

I don't think your chimney will be endangered by the HD7698P. I've never heard of anyone losing a chimney to a TV antenna.

Don't buy the LNA-200. I've bench tested it here and it's not a good preamp. Stick with a CM-7778 or a Juice preamp. There's no such thing as a "digital" preamp. Just more marketing.

Signal strength is related to signal quality when the signal is weak. Signal quality is limited by multipath when the signal is moderate or strong. See my article where I discuss that and other things here:

http://www.aa6g.org/DTV/Noise/noise.html

Chuck
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post #15460 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 07:47 PM
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Thanks @Calaveras

So I will try and raise my antenna as high as I can given my ability to raise the pole on the chimney mount, and mounting my antenna as high on the pole as it can go with some reasonable clearance... I think height is going to matter...

Thanks for the advise on the Winegard pre-amp... and pointing me to the Channel Master pre-amp... I have an even more basic (and noob) question... Given your limited understanding of my situation, do you think I need or could benefit from the Channel Master pre-amp? What problem does it solve?

EDIT: Ah...your article discusses this topic... Going to go and read that now...

If it will provide a benefit for me, I am going to throw it in my cart with the antenna and have them shipped together...
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post #15461 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
After some aiming challenges, I seem to be getting all of my "must have" channels now and will just need to live with it for a while to see how reliable channels come through over a longer period of time.

Thanks to everyone for helping me get to this point!

For anyone interested in some of my aiming challenges, here are some details... and here is my TVFools link http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4486e42c29b

Weird phenomenon... I roughly aimed at 320 (towards Sutro Tower), but ended up having to pivot my antenna 290/300 to get a good compromise signal across all channels. However, the next day when I was tidying up my installation, I ended up pointing in a completely different direction!

The next day, I pushed my antenna further up the mast to get a little more height and 320 (direct at Sutro) seemed to work fantastic for most stations. But I suddenly lost a decent signal strength on KGO and KNTV. I ended up pivoting my antenna to around 350 (almost at magnetic North) to keep reasonable strength on most of the Sutro stations, but was able to get a little bit stronger signal to KGO and KNTV. I find it odd that KGO is at 320 (Sutro), and KNTV is at 315, and they both suffered from being pointed directly at Sutro. And yet the other Sutro stations came in very strong.

The current position of my antenna (pointed around 350 degrees), I find the following:
  • KTVU seems to be equally strong on 44 and 48 frequency
  • KGO at 7 frequency is not so strong. At 35 frequency, I get pretty good strength
  • I can't seem to get
KNTV strong at 11-1, but I do get a strong signal at 11-3

I am using my TiVo Antenna Strength Tuner to adjust my antenna. Signal strength goes from 0-100. I typically need at least a 50 strength in order to pick up a station clearly. Where my antenna is pointed right now, I am getting signal strengths of mostly 58-62. For some reason, channel 20 KOFY is coming in at 75, as is 44 KBCW. When I point directly at Sutro (at 320), most of my Sutro stations come in around 70-72, but in order to get a decent signal from KGO and KNTV, my compromise aiming brings these stations down to around a 58-62.
Congrats on getting your antenna up. If you are reading signal quality on your Tivo you're not doing too bad for a low antenna looking through a tree. The compromise aiming does hurt signal quality a little, but I suspect the trees are hurting you the most. Being able to pick up both Fremont and SF stations without rotating is a really convenient result, it looks like you're almost there. A VHF dipole antenna add-on is available for a few bucks from Antennas Direct, if you want to make sure to have this capability for the future. Today you get all the stations on UHF thanks to pulling in both directions on the broad-beam DB4e.

You do not need a pre-amp, IMHO, nor is a different antenna likely to help much with reception if it is still looking through trees. Given your reality, you need to put the antenna up high. It looks like you can get another 1 - 2' of height by moving the antenna pole up the chimney. You should leave about 2 to 2-1/2' of pole strapped to the chimney so as to not cantilever the pole excessively, although going with a 1.5" mast helps. That said, you probably need more than another 2' of height to solve your reception problems, which means guy wires and a real mast. Admittedly this is a tougher installation job, but really the only way to nail your reception.

Put the antenna you have above the trees, chances are good it will do the job.

Lifespeed
91XG Yagi for San Francisco, DB4e bowtie for Fremont
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post #15462 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 09:25 PM
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Thanks @Calaveras

So I will try and raise my antenna as high as I can given my ability to raise the pole on the chimney mount, and mounting my antenna as high on the pole as it can go with some reasonable clearance... I think height is going to matter...

Thanks for the advise on the Winegard pre-amp... and pointing me to the Channel Master pre-amp... I have an even more basic (and noob) question... Given your limited understanding of my situation, do you think I need or could benefit from the Channel Master pre-amp? What problem does it solve?

EDIT: Ah...your article discusses this topic... Going to go and read that now...

If it will provide a benefit for me, I am going to throw it in my cart with the antenna and have them shipped together...

I don't remember what your TV Fool report looked like. It's hard to track this stuff down amongst the many posts. It's quite possible that a preamp will do nothing. A preamp only helps on very weak signals.

I don't recommend these VHF dipole ad-ons to a UHF antenna. You want a VHF antenna that's equal in performance to the UHF antenna. I don't know where the idea came from that you need a high gain UHF antenna but almost nothing at all is fine for VHF. It's not. The same sort of problems exist on VHF as they do on UHF.

Chuck
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post #15463 of 18785 Old 07-05-2017, 11:17 PM
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The VHF signals you are trying to receive are strong at your location, the VHF dipole is likely just fine. However, there is a VHF-Hi Yagi available if you want to go that route. The only downside to the directional VHF/UHF combo Winegard HD7698P is you are not likely to pick up both SF and Fremont transmitters, a rotor would be needed.

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post #15464 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 12:06 AM
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Congrats on getting your antenna up. If you are reading signal quality on your Tivo you're not doing too bad for a low antenna looking through a tree. The compromise aiming does hurt signal quality a little, but I suspect the trees are hurting you the most. Being able to pick up both Fremont and SF stations without rotating is a really convenient result, it looks like you're almost there. A VHF dipole antenna add-on is available for a few bucks from Antennas Direct, if you want to make sure to have this capability for the future. Today you get all the stations on UHF thanks to pulling in both directions on the broad-beam DB4e.

You do not need a pre-amp, IMHO, nor is a different antenna likely to help much with reception if it is still looking through trees. Given your reality, you need to put the antenna up high. It looks like you can get another 1 - 2' of height by moving the antenna pole up the chimney. You should leave about 2 to 2-1/2' of pole strapped to the chimney so as to not cantilever the pole excessively, although going with a 1.5" mast helps. That said, you probably need more than another 2' of height to solve your reception problems, which means guy wires and a real mast. Admittedly this is a tougher installation job, but really the only way to nail your reception.

Put the antenna you have above the trees, chances are good it will do the job.
I read that ideally, you want four feet between the upper and lower chimney straps, so I am going to try and keep it where it is for the benefit of mast stability... That said, I would not hesitate to experiment and move it up a bit if I can't get the current chimney strap locations to work.

I was trying to avoid the VHF dipole add-on, because I perceive it as a compromise solution. However, I am starting to reconsider. Given my location, the wide capture range of a bow-tie UHF antenna might be ideal for my location. I don't know...I was pretty strong on going for the HD7698P, but given my need to have a rotorless solution for my TiVo unmonitored DVR recordings, I am starting to have second thoughts.

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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
I don't remember what your TV Fool report looked like. It's hard to track this stuff down amongst the many posts. It's quite possible that a preamp will do nothing. A preamp only helps on very weak signals.

I don't recommend these VHF dipole ad-ons to a UHF antenna. You want a VHF antenna that's equal in performance to the UHF antenna. I don't know where the idea came from that you need a high gain UHF antenna but almost nothing at all is fine for VHF. It's not. The same sort of problems exist on VHF as they do on UHF.

Chuck
Hi Chuck... Here is my TV Fools report to remind you of what my situation looks like:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4486e42c29b

I can get most of everything I need from the towers at location 320 and 315. The nice thing is that 320 and 315 are located just to the left of the clump of trees in front of my antenna...

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Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post
The VHF signals you are trying to receive are strong at your location, the VHF dipole is likely just fine. However, there is a VHF-Hi Yagi available if you want to go that route. The only downside to the directional VHF/UHF combo Winegard HD7698P is you are not likely to pick up both SF and Fremont transmitters, a rotor would be needed.
If my VHF signals are as strong as you indicate, I may just give the VHF Dipole a shot... Just so that I can keep the wide capture range of the DB4E and still bring in KNTV on RF11, and KGO on RF7 (and future proof myself for the KRON move). I hate feeling like I am putting a compromise solution in place (which is why I was really looking at switching over to the Winegard antenna), but this could be a good solution for me...

Anyone here have any experience with the VHF dipole add-on?

I'll report back what I decide to do, and the impact that it has on my reception and signal quality.

Thanks again @lifespeed , @Calaveras and all! This is quite a journey so far!

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post #15465 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
Hi Chuck... Here is my TV Fools report to remind you of what my situation looks like:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4486e42c29b

I can get most of everything I need from the towers at location 320 and 315. The nice thing is that 320 and 315 are located just to the left of the clump of trees in front of my antenna...



If my VHF signals are as strong as you indicate, I may just give the VHF Dipole a shot... Just so that I can keep the wide capture range of the DB4E and still bring in KNTV on RF11, and KGO on RF7 (and future proof myself for the KRON move). I hate feeling like I am putting a compromise solution in place (which is why I was really looking at switching over to the Winegard antenna), but this could be a good solution for me...

Anyone here have any experience with the VHF dipole add-on?

All of your stations are very strong. If a dipole is good enough for VHF then a dipole is good enough UHF. If you agree with this then you should downgrade to a UHF dipole. If you don't lose any stations you'll likely see a reduction in signal quality because a dipole will receive much stronger multipath signals. Multipath is a terrible problem in the Bay Area and is the reason you don't see 100% Signal Quality on every station. If you think the DB4 is a good idea for UHF then you have to think that a directional antenna is good for VHF.

The HD7698P is a little more directional than the DB4. I see this as a good thing because it should improve your signal quality and should insure reliable reception if there's any path changes with varying weather conditions.

Noise Margin, also referred to as Fade Margin, is dependent entirely on signal strength. TV Fool does not and cannot address multipath. Changing inversion conditions cause signal quality to change. My signals are 40-60 dB weaker than yours but multipath still dominates signal quality for me. Without highly directional antennas I wouldn't receive anything.

Maxreactance reports positioning of his attic coat hanger antenna is critical. This is because of multipath. Signal strength doesn't vary that much over such a short distance. A good outdoor antenna would solve that problem.

Here's another indication that multipath is a big issue in the Bay Area. All the Fremont stations show more than 50 dB Noise Margin in your TV Fool report. None of the antennas we talk about here have a sharp enough pattern to reduce the Noise Margin of those stations to < 0 dB no matter where you point them. Pointing an antenna at SF should not cause any of those stations to drop out. But they do and it's caused by multipath. When you do compromise pointing you are not compromising signal strength. You are compromising multipath. Compromise pointing where you are may result in compromised reliability of reception.

Because the multipath issues are so severe in the Bay Area I can only recommend a high gain antenna pointed at the transmitter(s) you want to receive. If that means you'll need to rotate the antenna or have a second antenna pointed at other transmitters then that's what it means.

The Fremont stations recognize they're not in a great location. KICU is the only one of the big four that don't have their main channel on another station on Sutro Tower or Mt. San Bruno.

Chuck

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post #15466 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 08:07 AM
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Thanks for your perspective @Calaveras

Recognizing that I likely will need more than a dipole VHF antenna, do you think it would be better for me to return the DB4E and replace it with the Winegard HD7698P? Or do you think it would be equally good to go with a Yagi VHF only antenna (the one that @lifespeed included a link to above) and use a combiner?

Is it basically "six of one, half dozen of the other"?

I know the answer is likely "it depends" or "it's up to you"... I am only looking for an opinion because I don't play in this space like all of you do...
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Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
Thanks for your perspective @Calaveras

Recognizing that I likely will need more than a dipole VHF antenna, do you think it would be better for me to return the DB4E and replace it with the Winegard HD7698P? Or do you think it would be equally good to go with a Yagi VHF only antenna (the one that @lifespeed included a link to above) and use a combiner?

Is it basically "six of one, half dozen of the other"?

I know the answer is likely "it depends" or "it's up to you"... I am only looking for an opinion because I don't play in this space like all of you do...

If you're happy with the UHF reception you have now then I'd add a separate VHF antenna. A different UHF antenna might result in different reception that can't be predicted. I agree with the VHF antenna that Lifespeed suggested.

Chuck
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post #15468 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
If you're happy with the UHF reception you have now then I'd add a separate VHF antenna. A different UHF antenna might result in different reception that can't be predicted. I agree with the VHF antenna that Lifespeed suggested.

Chuck
Cool...that makes sense @Calaveras ... Is there a "go to" VHF-only antenna and combiner that is a good place to start, or is the one @lifespeed provided a link to the best option at this point? Does anyone have any experience with an add-on high gain VHF-only solution?

Also...just for extra credit...not all that important, but I am curious nonetheless... Which antenna technology captures FM radio? Will I get that with my UHF only antenna? Does it require VHF? Or is FM handled completely separately?
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post #15469 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeekiM01 View Post
Cool...that makes sense @Calaveras ... Is there a "go to" VHF-only antenna and combiner that is a good place to start, or is the one @lifespeed provided a link to the best option at this point? Does anyone have any experience with an add-on high gain VHF-only solution?

Also...just for extra credit...not all that important, but I am curious nonetheless... Which antenna technology captures FM radio? Will I get that with my UHF only antenna? Does it require VHF? Or is FM handled completely separately?

That's pretty much the "go to" VHF antenna these days since there are not many choices. There's also the Antennas Direct C5 but I like the MCM better.

Your UHF antenna will not receive much on FM. FM is more or less low VHF. What you need for an FM antenna depends on what you're trying to receive. A couple of strong local stations? An indoor dipole will work. A station 100 miles away? An FM yagi outdoors will be required.

I built the attached FM yagi (yes it looks like a big MCM VHF antenna) and it easily received stations in the 50-100 mile range, often more than one station on the same frequency.

Chuck
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post #15470 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 11:32 AM
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OK... Well, I am going to be out of town for a week or so... So I am not going to do anything until I get back...

I am still waffling over going with the more standard solution (HD7698P), or running separate VHF and UHF solutions in tandem...

I have 30 days to return the DB4E antenna to Fry's...so I have plenty of time to contemplate...

I doubt I have any more information or confidence in making this decision in a week versus now...but hey...why not kick the can down the road another week?
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post #15471 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 02:14 PM
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Today you're not missing any channels due to a lack of VHF, although two years down the road you will probably want VHF reception. I suggest you take your time and examine antenna direction and height vs. signal quality and reliability. Take care to check at different times of day and atmospheric conditions, particularly at twilight. This will give you a better idea of whether your compromise-pointed broad beam antenna will be a good solution or not. Also, it may inform a decision whether or not to raise a taller mast.

Armed with this information you'll have a better idea what to do next time you do an antenna reconfiguration, whether that involves a VHF Yagi, mast height upgrade, change from broad-beam no rotor to more directional with a rotor, etc. You'll have data from your location and your trees to inform decisions.

As far as integrated VHF/UHF antenna vs separate, receiving both SF and Fremont on the same UHF antenna with no rotor dictates a separate VHF Yagi pointed at SF as there are no Fremont VHF stations and the VHF Yagi wants direct aim (to SF).

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KRCB has filed for their repack channel 5. They're going from a directional antenna to an omni but they're only asking for 980 watts ERP! Maybe that's all they can ask for to not exceed their current service contour. They've got to know that that's not enough power for very many people to receive them. Maybe they can request more power in one of these upcoming filing windows? I was expecting to see at least 10KW.

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post #15473 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
KRCB has filed for their repack channel 5. They're going from a directional antenna to an omni but they're only asking for 980 watts ERP! Maybe that's all they can ask for to not exceed their current service contour.
That's correct.

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Maybe they can request more power in one of these upcoming filing windows?
That's correct.

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I've been receiving KRCBs 300KW signal on RF 23 from Sonoma Mountain down here in South San Jose. That won't be happening at 1KW VHF.

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Today you're not missing any channels due to a lack of VHF, although two years down the road you will probably want VHF reception. I suggest you take your time and examine antenna direction and height vs. signal quality and reliability. Take care to check at different times of day and atmospheric conditions, particularly at twilight. This will give you a better idea of whether your compromise-pointed broad beam antenna will be a good solution or not. Also, it may inform a decision whether or not to raise a taller mast.

Armed with this information you'll have a better idea what to do next time you do an antenna reconfiguration, whether that involves a VHF Yagi, mast height upgrade, change from broad-beam no rotor to more directional with a rotor, etc. You'll have data from your location and your trees to inform decisions.

As far as integrated VHF/UHF antenna vs separate, receiving both SF and Fremont on the same UHF antenna with no rotor dictates a separate VHF Yagi pointed at SF as there are no Fremont VHF stations and the VHF Yagi wants direct aim (to SF).
True... I do have a solution that works for me... And I can wait, and consider the small amount that I have invested so far as a (as you estimated) "two year solution".

The only "urgency" is if I want to take advantage of the fact that I am still in my return policy range and want to repurpose the $50.00 that I have invested in my DB4E into something that might be a better foundational solution. Something that might be possibly a good five year solution.
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post #15476 of 18785 Old 07-06-2017, 06:17 PM
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I've been receiving KRCBs 300KW signal on RF 23 from Sonoma Mountain down here in South San Jose. That won't be happening at 1KW VHF.

I'm betting they're going to request higher power. You will need a low VHF antenna outdoors. There's no chance you'll be able to make due with some other antenna. The advantage of low VHF is that trees don't affect it nearly as much as UHF.

Chuck
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post #15477 of 18785 Old 07-07-2017, 05:14 PM
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Not sure anyone from KTVU television monitors this forum but.

Serious audio problems with the 10 o' clock newscast cutting out randomly during the entire newscast.
especially bad during the loud "commercial breaks"

I did notice this problem yesterday too ..... but just wrote it off hoping it was something temporary ... but its not.
I had the same problems here, so I contacted KTVU via the website. I got this in response:

Bryan, We rebooted one of our components here. Please let me know if it has improved. Lee MacPherson KTVU, KICU

Seems to be working OK now!
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post #15478 of 18785 Old 07-07-2017, 05:24 PM
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You will need a low VHF antenna outdoors.
Too bad they don't make VHF Hi/Lo combos. All the receive antenna mfgs are ignoring low VHF, but the FCC and the TV stations are starting to broadcast there again. Supposedly VHF was going the way of the dinosaur, then they saw $$ in spectrum auction to the mobile carriers

I've got a couple years to see if they build anything other than the HD8200U, AFAIK that is the only low VHF antenna out there. And the UHF antennas need shifting in frequency. I'm not going up the pole again until the antenna designers come up with something compelling.

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KNTV filed for their repack channel 13 Construction Permit today. No surprises. The new antenna has the same pattern as the old antenna. It will be located where the old channel 11 analog was which is 50' higher than the current channel 12 antenna. This results in a power reduction from 103KW to 95KW. I doubt anyone will notice.

Chuck
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post #15480 of 18785 Old 07-07-2017, 05:59 PM
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KNTV filed for their repack channel 13 Construction Permit today. No surprises.
Any word on their UHF repeater in Fremont?

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