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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm gonna try to buy an STB again now that so many Chicago stations are supposed to be DTV, either are or will be soon. I live in a 5th floor apartment right up next to the lake, and pretty much equi-distant, N/S-wise, from the Sears Tower and the Hancock Tower.


I used a Toshiba STB for a couple of weeks but was only able to get ABC and NBC. This is with a Radioshack double-bowtie, unamplified. So I took it all back.


But I want to try again. Is there anything I can do to optimize the singal and try to get all the stations? What I don't understand is how I am so close to the transmission towers and can't get a thing.


I have seen one antenna that supposedly plugs into the wall and uses the building's electric grid as an antenna. Is there any possibility this will work, being so close to the source?


Would a good amplifier on the Bowtie Antenna work? Even when I had the bowtie antenna, I had to position it absolutely perfectly. A millimeter difference would mean the difference between 0 and 90 signal strength.


Any ideas, suggestions? I can't put anything out the window, I'm afraid, but anything indoors is fair game.


Thanks.
 

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Any chance of hooking into the building's master antenna system. That may be the best way to receive all the digital channels. Even if your building has cable the wires for the master antenna might be behind the wall plate.


Check it out.


Mike K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now I am intrigued! But I am a little ignorant so please bear with me -


The building has cable. The coax wall jacks give you only basic cable. Would the building necessarily have a rooftop antenna even if there's cable?


And assuming they do, how would I recognize the feed for this antenna (and subsequently not get fried by accidentally touching power)?


Don't worry I don't plan on doing anything without help but I am so curious now.
 

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Check with your building's Manager/Supervisor. He/She will have the answers as far as what they have installed in the building.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by peter0302
I'm gonna try to buy an STB again now that so many Chicago stations are supposed to be DTV, either are or will be soon. I live in a 5th floor apartment right up next to the lake, and pretty much equi-distant, N/S-wise, from the Sears Tower and the Hancock Tower.


I used a Toshiba STB for a couple of weeks but was only able to get ABC and NBC. This is with a Radioshack double-bowtie, unamplified. So I took it all back.


But I want to try again. Is there anything I can do to optimize the singal and try to get all the stations? .....
How's your quest going in receiving DTV stations? I live at Lake Shore and Addison (3600N) and had similar problems receiving a good signal from my 3rd floor condo using only an indoor antenna, until I got the RS Double Bowtie Antenna. I think our major problem with receiving a good signal (despite the close proximity to downtown) is what's called multipath interference. Too many tall buildings around reflect the signal multiple times, so digital decoders get confused and don't know which copy of the signal to lock on to (a simplified explanation, anyway).


Basically, if over-the-air reception is going to work at your location, an antenna has to be highly directional - or basically just homing in on signals from one direction and ignoring all the garbage signals that are being reflected from tall buildings around you. Not much in the way of that in the indoor antennas - but as far as I know the RS Double Bowtie is one of the better ones in that respect (which solved all my reception problems). One that I've seen others talk about on other threads is the Antiference Silver Sensor antenna but you have to order from Canada. I think it costs about $35.


So unless your building has a highly directional exterior antenna that you can hook up to your tuner, you might be SOL if no indoor antenna is working for you. A couple notes though - have you tried modifying the RS Double Bowtie as others have done? There's a great thread on the Forum on how to do that if you search for it. Basically it involves shortening the 300-Ohm wire on the back of the antenna, and that seems to help significantly in some cases. I haven't tried it yet since I don't want to fix what isn't broken in my case. One other note - AT&T Broadband should be providing DTV stations soon (although so far it seems the news is they'll only offer NBC, FOX, Sho-HD, and HBO-HD). But maybe we can keep our fingers crossed for more... I'm not expecting anything from RCN at all based on what they told me when I asked a few days ago.


And one other thing - if the Hancock and Sears towers are in just slightly different directions from you, you'll probably still have to rotate your antenna a little bit to pick up different stations, at least at such close proximity.


Let us know if you're making any progress.


-eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info. I did not know before what highly directional vs. omnidirectional meant. That explains why the BowTie had to be in the EXACT right position and angle to work. I am going to try the Silver thingy. Do you know where I can order it? Canada's no probl as long as they'll ship.


I hate RCN. So sick of their BS. They're raising their prices, and unapologetically refuse to offer HDTV now or even in the future.
 

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Check out http://www.antiference.co.uk/sensor/ they actually list a US agent for ordering the Silver Sensor. As for the dealer in Canada try: http://www.nbtelectronics.com .


And here's something interesting from an article on transmitter.com from 2000:


Quote:
In the Receiving DTV portion of the NAB Engineering Conference, Walter Sidas from CBS reported on indoor reception tests CBS conducted in Philadelphia. In the tests, reception of KYW-DT was compared with the reception of Channel 29's analog signal. At 42 indoor sites, the Antiference log periodic antenna worked best, followed by the Radio Shack dual bowtie and reflector. A loop antenna performed the worst.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
NBT is quoting a price of $54.95 for the antenna. Sounds a lot more expensive than what's been quoted - is that in Canadian $$? Doesn't seem to be.


[Edit] - Never mind; says prices are Canadian. We'll see how it works.
 
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