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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been wanting to try and get rid of my cable bill for a long time now. Unfortunately the only thing from stopping me from canceling cable TV right now is college football. I have figured with ESPN3 (my ISP provides it), ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC I should be able to get roughly 90% of the football games I want to watch.


This is my TVfool.com channel map. http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9e74dbf031bdba


It seems that I could get CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC and are almost all in the same direction (100 - 120 degrees) but the NBC channel is in the RED zone on the map so I more than likely will need a really good antenna to pick it up. There is another NBC channel that is in the green but it is in a different direction.


It looks like I will need to have an outdoor UHF and a VHF antenna combo (WTVM (ABC) is VHF and all the others are UHF). It looks like I can get away with a good RED antenna.


So my questions are the following.


Would putting up a "RED" directional antenna be able to pick up the stations that are showing in the green zone even if they aren't in the same direction?


Based on the question above would a "RED" directional outdoor antenna meet my needs to pick up the following stations? WRBL (CBS) (yellow zone), WTVM (ABC) (Yellow zone), WXTX (FOX) (yellow zone), WLTZ (NBC) (Red zone)


Based on the above would a pre-amplifier be needed? They seems to be almost at the price point of "it can't hurt" or can it? I would rather spend a little more and get something that is better than cheap out on something and hate it that I didn't spend the little extra. Suggestions?


It seems that hdtvantennalabs.com seem to love the Winegard antennas. Are they reputable? What other brands would be suggested to look at?


Any specific recommendations for an antenna/pre-amp?


thank you for the time.
 

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You have a lot of things to consider. Winegard antennas are good. I wouldn't skimp on the antenna in your situation. I put up a Winegard HDP 7698 for a friend who is in a poor location and it works better than I expected.


I'd be very cautious about using a preamp because you have that very strong channel 18 just 4.3 miles away. That can easily overload a preamp. But it's in a different direction from the stations you want so the antenna's rejection might be enough to at least reduce the overload. A low gain preamp like a Winegard HDP 269 might be useable. I'd definitely stay away from 20+ dB gain preamps. I have an almost identical situation as you do with a channel 18 just 14 miles away and I had to use a channel 18 notch filter ahead of my preamp to eliminate the overload. Because of the length of my cables, I had no choice but to use a 25 dB gain preamp.


The stations you want are 1 and 2 edge paths. This will virtually guarantee that there will be times when some stations will not be receivable.


Hopefully you can put the antenna high enough to clear any close in trees and buildings. If you're down in the bottom of a forest then it's probably hopeless.


In a situation like yours nobody can predict exactly what your results will be even if there are no obvious problems. It's a "pays your money and takes your chances" situation.


A rotor would help you.


Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras /forum/post/20850099


You have a lot of things to consider. Winegard antennas are good. I wouldn't skimp on the antenna in your situation. I put up a Winegard HDP 7698 for a friend who is in a poor location and it works better than I expected.


I'd be very cautious about using a preamp because you have that very strong channel 18 just 4.3 miles away. That can easily overload a preamp. But it's in a different direction from the stations you want so the antenna's rejection might be enough to at least reduce the overload. A low gain preamp like a Winegard HDP 269 might be useable. I'd definitely stay away from 20+ dB gain preamps. I have an almost identical situation as you do with a channel 18 just 14 miles away and I had to use a channel 18 notch filter ahead of my preamp to eliminate the overload. Because of the length of my cables, I had no choice but to use a 25 dB gain preamp.


The stations you want are 1 and 2 edge paths. This will virtually guarantee that there will be times when some stations will not be receivable.


Hopefully you can put the antenna high enough to clear any close in trees and buildings. If you're down in the bottom of a forest then it's probably hopeless.


In a situation like yours nobody can predict exactly what your results will be even if there are no obvious problems. It's a "pays your money and takes your chances" situation.


A rotor would help you.


Chuck

Thank you for the quick reply.


I am currently just trying to figure out what antenna I want. I understand that the bigger and the higher the better. Obviously I don't want something they can see from space though
.


A few that I have been looking at:

Winegard HD7082P

Winegard HD7696P

Winegard HD7697P

Winegard HD7698P

Channel Master CM3671


I am not sure which would would work best for me. Each seem to just get a little bit bigger. Is that the correct assumption? What else should I be looking at other than the size and the color chart? Is the color chart even worth looking at once you get up to red? Any suggestions would be great.


With the 1 and 2 edge how often can I expect the signal to go away? I assume much more often in the rain and bad weather?


Would you recommend me doing the same thing as you and getting a filter for that channel 18 so I can put a pre-amp on the line?


I have a friend that let me borrow his "DB8" antenna to just play around with it and I was able to pick up the WTVM ABC station inside of the house (it is considered a yellow).
 

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For maximum NFL games, go with a big 7-69 antenna and put it on a rotor. I checked the website 506.com, which details which NFL games will be on what FOX and CBS affiliates each Sunday, and it appears that there were several times last year where Columbus GA and Birmingham AL had different games on. You can usually gain at least 6 additional games per season, sometimes a lot more (I get over 20 "bonus games"). So if one city has a boring game that you aren't interested in, the other city might have a better matchup.

Also, it is odd that you have 6 PBS stations, but they are all in a NM range from -7 to +10. A rotor would make sure that you get at least some of these PBSs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you the replies.


I'm not that concerned about pro football, college is my thing
. But same principle.


I am leaning towards the wingard 7698 that was suggested. But the reason for the cost difference? Any others that I should consider?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kur1j /forum/post/20852790


Thank you the replies.


I'm not that concerned about pro football, college is my thing
. But same principle.


I am leaning towards the wingard 7698 that was suggested. But the reason for the cost difference? Any others that I should consider?

Antennacraft HBU55. But the Winegard 7698 is better built and will likely hold up longer out in the weather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw /forum/post/20855939


Antennacraft HBU55. But the Winegard 7698 is better built and will likely hold up longer out in the weather.

From the estimated range is the HBU55 30ish miles better performer? Or is that just marketing? I was just going to get the Wingard but now you are making me reconsider.


Maybe I will just flip a coin *sigh* haha.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kur1j /forum/post/20856170


From the estimated range is the HBU55 30ish miles better performer? Or is that just marketing?

Mileage claims are useless when comparing brands of antennas. If installed outside, I would get the 7698. If in an attic out of the sun and weather, I would get the cheaper HBU55.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw
Mileage claims are useless when comparing brands of antennas. If installed outside, I would get the 7698. If in an attic out of the sun and weather, I would get the cheaper HBU55.
Absolutely correct. Mileage and gain numbers can be used to compare models of the same brand, but not across brands.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kur1j
Thank you much. That makes it easy
. I am going to be placing it outside so I just went with the Winegard.


Now I just have to get out there and put it up
.
If I may make a suggestion (from someone who has been using HD-OTA for years), I would place the antenna on your roof as high as is reasonable and strap it to the roof beams with guy wires (at least 3). Depending on what's around you and your distance, higher is always better. Basically you'd like to be about 30' from the ground to the antenna top, so on a single story home that's installing about a 10' antenna. If you have a 2-story you can get away with strapping it to your chimney (if you have one). You can strap it to a chimney on a single story and that will probably work but the higher up you go, the less chance of multi-path (interference). My antenna has been in the same place for about 28 years and has never blown over or been bent regardless of the weather.
 

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I'm replacing my Winegard HD 7084p with a HBU55 because the Winegard could not withstand the wind in my location. Several broken elements after just a few months of use has led me to believe they are not as well built as people indicate. Conversely, I have used Antennacraft antennas for years in the past and they did not sustain any damage from wind storms.


Antennacraft gain figures are accurate. Winegard seems to embellish theirs a bit according to actual studies done by people that frequent a Canadian HDTV forum. That being the case, I have found the MXU 59 is equal to the AD 91XG in performance and the Antennacraft Y7-10-13 has superior gain and side interference rejection to the Winegard Y1713.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kur1j /forum/post/20851337


With the 1 and 2 edge how often can I expect the signal to go away? I assume much more often in the rain and bad weather?

Rain does not attenuate VHF/UHF signals. The problem is temperature inversions that bend the signals which can either enhance your reception or degrade your reception. You read a lot on these forums about people who receive more stations at night. Afternoon is often the worst time. This is because temperature inversions form in the early evening enhancing reception and break up in the morning. People who have worse reception during a storm are experiencing a lack of signal enhancing inversions as inversions are usually non-existent during a storm. What you want to achieve is solid reception during a storm. This is what I call "nominal" reception conditions, neither enhancement or degradation from inversions.

Quote:
Would you recommend me doing the same thing as you and getting a filter for that channel 18 so I can put a pre-amp on the line?

If you have a short run of coax - less than 100' - I'd try the HDP 269 first. A good filter, like one from Tinlee, isn't cheap and a channel 18 filter will make channel 17 and channel 19 unreceivable.

Quote:
I have a friend that let me borrow his "DB8" antenna to just play around with it and I was able to pick up the WTVM ABC station inside of the house (it is considered a yellow).

That's a good indication. Maybe you can put that on the roof for a better test.


Chuck
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras /forum/post/20868039


Rain does not attenuate VHF/UHF signals. The problem is temperature inversions that bend the signals which can either enhance your reception or degrade your reception. You read a lot on these forums about people who receive more stations at night. Afternoon is often the worst time. This is because temperature inversions form in the early evening enhancing reception and break up in the morning. People who have worse reception during a storm are experiencing a lack of signal enhancing inversions as inversions are usually non-existent during a storm. What you want to achieve is solid reception during a storm. This is what I call "nominal" reception conditions, neither enhancement or degradation from inversions.

Nominal reception as you describe it is what we have. Our quality of reception does not vary at all regardless of weather conditions or morning/afternoon/evening viewing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot
Nominal reception as you describe it is what we have. Our quality of reception does not vary at all regardless of weather conditions or morning/afternoon/evening viewing.
I'm guessing that you probably have line-of-sight or pretty close to it to your transmitting towers. Inversions have little or no affect under those conditions. I have 3 stations with those conditions. I monitored one on my spectrum analyzer for a month and it never varied more than +/- 1 dB in signal strength.


My "local" stations are 54 miles away over two ridges and I have all sorts of inversion problems.


Chuck
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras
I'm guessing that you probably have line-of-sight or pretty close to it to your transmitting towers. Inversions have little or no affect under those conditions. I have 3 stations with those conditions. I monitored one on my spectrum analyzer for a month and it never varied more than +/- 1 dB in signal strength.


My "local" stations are 54 miles away over two ridges and I have all sorts of inversion problems.


Chuck
Yeah, we are about 60 miles away but have a "straight shot" across the bay and bypass downtown (San Jose) or any of the hills. I consider myself very fortunate.
 
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