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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,


I am planning on ordering DirecTV within the next month or two, but because they offer no local channels in my area, I want to get a feel for my OTA situation before I get stuck in a 2 year commitment.


I'd like to test out the waters (or air
) with a simple and cheap indoor antenna first. Does anyone know of an indoor antenna (UHF/VHF) that is cheap and can be picked up locally (or ordered with cheap shipping) but is reasonably powerful? I don't intend to use it in my setup full-time, only to see how well I can pick up some of the very close transmitters...kind of a toy



I've taken a look at Antennaweb and TVFool (which seems to be FAR more accurate)...here's what I'm looking at:


My main concerns are the major 4 networks (no Fox digital), and as you can see the channels for ABC (KIFI/-DT) and CBS (KDIK/-DT) are going to be my problems...the NBC and Fox channels should be no problem. I realize that they are listed in green, which is supposed to mean I'll get a good signal, but seeing as Antennaweb doesn't list ANY digital channel except KPVI-DT (the one 4.4 miles away), I'm hesitant.


Aside the fact that I will be moving to another rented location and may not be allowed to install an antenna myself, I've decided that I'm not comfortable with the risk of attempting to setup an outdoor antenna myself and possibly not being able to pick up all the signals I want seeing as they're coming from different directions. (should I be worried about this?)


I figure that my local DirecTV retailer/installer will be glad to handle this responsibility, and I don't mind paying for it. So is it reasonable of me to assume that they will be able to install an outdoor OTA antenna for use in at least 2 rooms (with the DTV receiver) that will pick up those channels that are ~44 miles away? What kind of questions should I ask my local retailer's customer service to get an assurance that I will get these major transmisions? I am in a mountainous area, however I'm on the edge of the mountain and those transmitters are across 44 miles of very flat land, just before another mountain range.


Mind you I'm not asking people to guide me through setting up an OTA antenna from nothing in this thread, I just don't want to get into a long commitment with DirecTV and be stuck without local channels.


Thanks for any advice.
 

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Go to Wal-Mart and buy an antenna that has a power booster (you plug it into a wall socket). Probably less than $40 and if it doesn't work just return it. Mine does a good job here in Phoenix including CW and PBSHD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telexen /forum/post/13013895


My main concerns are the major 4 networks (no Fox digital), and as you can see the channels for ABC (KIFI/-DT) and CBS (KDIK/-DT) are going to be my problems...the NBC and Fox channels should be no problem. I realize that they are listed in green, which is supposed to mean I'll get a good signal, but seeing as Antennaweb doesn't list ANY digital channel except KPVI-DT (the one 4.4 miles away), I'm hesitant.

The colors on tvfool.com are green for digital and red for analog, they don't have anything to do with projected signal strength. The key is the projected signal strength numbers under the Rx(dBm) column. The tvfool listing you pasted also show 3 digital translators such as K47KJ-D. These are not on the air yet. These translators have been granted a channel assignment and construction permit by the FCC, but won't go on their air or do a digital flash cut conversion until February 17, 2009 or more likely sometime after that.


You left out some vital information from the tvfool paste. Is the report for your exact location or for your zip code? I always prefer to see the zip code so I can see if there are other digital stations in the region.


Your Fox station does not have a digital channel, unfortunately, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KFXP-TV . If the projected signal strength numbers are for your location, those are strong signals. An indoor antenna might work, if you are on a second or higher floor or can get the antenna high up in the room or in the window. Three of the digital stations are on UHF, but KIFI-DT ABC 8 is on upper VHF 9. So you need upper VHF and UHF reception. Because KPVI-DT is only 4 miles away, you want to stay from the indoor antennas with large built-in amp values because the amp may overdrive the signal from KPVI-DT. I suggest you try a inexpensive $15 to $20 tabletop UHF loop and VHF rabbit ear antenna to see how many of the digital stations you can get.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt /forum/post/13015998


The colors on tvfool.com are green for digital and red for analog, they don't have anything to do with projected signal strength. The key is the projected signal strength numbers under the Rx(dBm) column. The tvfool listing you pasted also show 3 digital translators such as K47KJ-D. These are not on the air yet. These translators have been granted a channel assignment and construction permit by the FCC, but won't go on their air or do a digital flash cut conversion until February 17, 2009 or more likely sometime after that.

My bad, after a second look I see that I read the "legend" on TVFool wrong, it was referring to the colors on the map provided below the one I gave a screenshot for to guide on signal strength. My zip code is 83201, but I did enter my address to get that reading.


If you take a look it shows that all of the digital stations I want should pick up pretty well (KIFI-DT, KPVI-DT, KIDK-DT)...any of the others would just be an added bonus (the PBS station, and all the other ones I can't identify), and the major 4 networks' analog signal should be pretty well too.


Should I be at all surprised that it's estimating that good of a signal strength from the KIDK, KIFI, and KISU (and all their digital counterparts) transmissions that are nearly 45 miles away? From my limited research on the subject I would have guessed the only way to get a good signal from that far is with a larger more powerful antenna (large bow-ties that border on "ugly"
).


I have made my peace with the lack of a Fox digital/HD station. While they don't appear to be owned by the exact same company, KPVI (NBC) and KFXP (Fox) are maintained by the same group here. In fact, the news team for KPVI does news for KFXP just an hour earlier. Even if this group had a digital station allotted from the FCC for KFXP, the quality of the broadcasts on KPVI leave me to believe they are not competent enough to handle two stations that offer HD content...it's like they're a high school A/V club.


I guess I'll run down to the store and pickup whatever I see as best, as long as it's easy to return. I'll have to wait for the current heavy snowstorm to subside, but maybe I'll get lucky and get enough signal from those transmitters to get watchable analog content and intermittent digital content with an indoor antenna.


Thanks for your help again guys.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telexen /forum/post/13016469


My bad, after a second look I see that I read the "legend" on TVFool wrong, it was referring to the colors on the map provided below the one I gave a screenshot for to guide on signal strength. My zip code is 83201, but I did enter my address to get that reading.


If you take a look it shows that all of the digital stations I want should pick up pretty well (KIFI-DT, KPVI-DT, KIDK-DT)...any of the others would just be an added bonus (the PBS station, and all the other ones I can't identify), and the major 4 networks' analog signal should be pretty well too.


Should I be at all surprised that it's estimating that good of a signal strength from the KIDK, KIFI, and KISU (and all their digital counterparts) transmissions that are nearly 45 miles away?

The key is that tvfool shows that you have Line of Sight (LOS) to the broadcast towers. Those broadcast antennas must be located high up on a ridge of mountain for you to have that. If the indoor antenna does not work reliably enough (dropouts) or doesn't get all the stations you want, you could try a Channel Master 4220 2 bay bowtie or the 4221 4 Bay bowtie. The 2 and 4 bay bowties are UHF antennas which can pick up strong upper VHF channels, lousy performance for low VHF (2 to 6). However, your 2 low VHF stations are analog and are available in digital on upper VHF and UHF. While I don't find bowties "ugly", because they are real antennas (
), they can be hung off of a balcony or under the eaves or other tight spots out of the way.


Yes, not much you can do about getting Fox in HD, except contact KFXP asking to please do a digital flash conversion as early as possible. It can't hurt if they hear from viewers out there who want to get the digital signal. As a full power station, KFXP should filing a conversion plan with the FCC by February 18 as is being required of ALL full power stations. You may be able to find out when they plan to do the flash cut conversion.
 
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