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Old antenna on roof useful? Picture inside

1392 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  akpokey
I have this old antenna on my house. It was there when I bought the house and I never got around to taking it down. I'm wondering if it can be of any use for OTA HD. I think it looks like it has a rotor but I don't have a controller so I guess I would just point it and lock it down. Thoughts?

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Well from what I could see in the photo, the cable might have to be changed. Unless you know it is a 75ohm cable. But I may be wrong. The antenna itself seems to be in tacted. All the elements are still attached. Also, where are you from? It all depends how far you are from your local stations' towers. Judging from the smaller size of the antenna the pervious owner may have found it be good enough to pick up locals in your area.

The rotor is old and depending on where you live (cold climate) it may have ceased in its present position. You say you don't have a control unit for it but I see 2 cables coming down. The second one should be for the rotor. You need to find where this cable terminates and connect a turning unit to it. I found that there are a few units on e-bay. A used one will do, especially if the rotor doesn't respond.
I'm from North Providence, Rhode Island (cold climate). I'm about 9-10 miles from the local Providence towers which I assume I can get with an indoor antenna. (Find out tomorrow when TV arrives). And about 34 miles from the Boston towers - these are the ones I want to pull in.

The old owner was an old lady who had a b&w set from the 1960s. I don't remember if there was a control unit. I think there was and I think we threw it out when we gutted the house. The cable on it is an old antenna wire...I assume it needs to be replaced. I can cut off a snip of it and take a picture...it's running down the side of my house. Is a 75 ohm cable needed to even test it or can I get by testing it with whatever cable it has?

Will one of these controllers from Radio Shack work?
Link to Controller

If I find the motor is ceased I can always return the controller.

My main concern was whether or not that type of antenna was useful - the type and number of arms, etc. Thanks for the info so far!
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Yes, the cable will make a difference. There could be interference in the area and also if you have a long run of cable, the signal strength will drop. But, it may not hurt to try before replacing the cable to see what you can get.

The Channel Master 9537 is exactly what I have. I highly recommend it. It operates very quietly and it allows you to store the antenna positions, so it takes the guess work out unlike the manually ones.

If you have a rotor wire that has 3 wires in the jacket, then the controller unit will work with it.

As for the Boston channels, Channel Master has a similar antenna to which you have, a 3677. The range is 45 miles. So it may do just fine. If it doesn't, it would be worth it just to change every thing. The good thing is you have the post already attached to the chimney so it will be an easy install.
Thanks Mark.

As you say the good thing is that the post is up there. And I don't mind spending a few bucks to have everything operating correctly. The bad thing is that my roof has a VERY steep pitch and I've been up there once and don't care to almost fall off again ;)

Any idea/guess what an installer might charge to put up a new antenna and wire it into the house?

Thanks again!
Well the price for me (about 10 years ago) was around $400CAN. But mind you had 2 old antennas taken down, installer installed new RG-6 cable, new rotor cable, a semi-new rotor (big mistake on my part), and a new VHF/UHF combo antenna. Which is rated at 100 miles VHF/ 60 miles UHF to pick up Buffalo stations from Toronto. I would think it would cost you no more than $200US for a replacement antenna, rotor, cable, and installer's fee.

I checked the DTV from Boston, you should have no problem getting them with a small directional antenna, no probably won't need pre-amp either. The UHF portion of the antenna is the important one for those channels.

BTW, I agree about being careful, I have a 50' tower, I will not attempt to go up there accept in the summer.
Why not offer a friend, neighbor, or relative a case of beer and limited HD viewing rights for risking their life. If they get into the beer before starting up the ladder, make them sign a waiver.

I'd go online (antennasdirect.com, solidsignal.com...) and buy a coax, UHF antenna, plus accessories package for $150 to $200.

After doing my online research, I called Antennas Direct and they sold me a complete antenna package that was simple to install and has worked as promised.
Unless it was originally installed purely for decoration, it should work great for you. Antennas are very simple and there hasn't been any major advancements in antenna technology since probably the 60s. If that antenna works (it probably does) you have no reason to replace it.

I'd try hooking it up "as is" to an NTSC set and see how good the reception is. Work from there. The cable should be fine, a 75 ohm coax has always been the standard since forever. If it's not broken don't replace it.

You should be good to go for OTA with that bad boy.
Thanks for all the helpful info. I went out there again in the daylight today to look into the cables coming off of it and down the house. There are 2. One of them is a 4-wire and the other is a 2-wire. I assume the 4-wire is the controller cable. The 4-wire unfortunately is pretty much destroyed and needs to be replaced. They are both cut off right where they come into the house too. Must've happened when I ran new electrical, although I don't remember doing it...I don't remember a lot of things these days ;) I'm quite the handyman and have basically rebuilt this house. So it's not a lack of know-how or interest. I simply hate that 70 degree steep roof....we shall see. :)

So my next question is, if I have to go up there to rewire it anyway, I assume I might as well just replace the rotor. Should I replace the whole antenna while I'm at it? Again, I'd rather spend a couple hundred bucks and do it right.
Originally Posted by Philip Hamm

I'd try hooking it up "as is" to an NTSC set and see how good the reception is. Work from there. The cable should be fine, a 75 ohm coax has always been the standard since forever. If it's not broken don't replace it.

You should be good to go for OTA with that bad boy.
agree with all except the cable - when I put up mine years ago, I splurged for the sheilded 300 ohm - was considered a high end thing back in the day. So you may have to rewire it - but for sure, try it with whatever is there first - can't hurt.

and wait for snow and frost to go away if you do - I need to do some cabling myself new set in bedroom - but will be waiting for a foot of snow and ice to go away before I climb up on any roof - regardless of pitch.

and your antenna should work fine, just as long as it is pointed at the new HD towers (which may not be where the VHF towers are that the antenna was originally aimed at.)
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I have a small DB4 UHF bowtie antenna INSIDE my garage, my next door neighbor has a large combo antenna on his roof. With the same Wally World DTV receiver guess who gets more channels?
I forgot, if it works, really works, don't fix it.
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