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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sick of giving Comcast so much money every month for lame programming and repeated movies so I have decided to use Netflix for DVDs and "Watch It Now" (via the Roku) for my main viewing and receive television with an antenna as a supplement.


I've been looking around this forum for information, but I still have some questions.


I live on the second floor of a 2 story condo, above me is a typical attic that I have access to. Since my unit itself is encased in thick plaster and brick, I believe the attic would be an optimal place for an antenna ( I can't put it on the roof or the outside of the building). The attic is about 30'X30' square, two opposing sides have a slopped roof, the other two sides have cinderblock firewalls separating my attic space from each of my next door neighbor's attics. The block walls are on the NorthWest and SouthEast sides. The slopped plywood roof is on the NorthEast and South West side.


I checked antennaweb (zip 07031), I can receive about 40 channels with a Yellow antenna. Half of them are digital channels.


1) Is there anyway to know which of those channels are HD?


2) I have only 1 TV in my home, it is a JVC HD-56FH97. I believe it has a QAM tuner. It has 2 separate coax inputs, "75Ohm VHF/UHF" and "ATSC/Digital Cable In". I never used either one since I currently use a cable box. The instructions say to use a 2-way splitter and connect both, that is all. When connecting an antenna, which input do I connect to? I can connect an antenna directly to my TV and receive all those digital and HD broadcasts, correct?


3) The better antennas (listed as Green, Light Green, etc. on antennaweb) don't seem to offer many more channels, I believe I would be happy with the yellow. Can you recommend one of those for me to put in the attic? I have electricity available if necessary. I would like one that won't require me to go up there to adjust it all the time. Since I will be saving over $120 per month by cancelling cable, I don't mind spending on a good antenna. I looked thru the antenna threads, but there are so many choices, and a lot of it I still don't understand since it seems as if many of them won't give me all the channels. I would just like something good that will work and not give too much trouble.


Thank you for the information!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamaklipsch /forum/post/14217254


I checked antennaweb (zip 07031), I can receive about 40 channels with a Yellow antenna. Half of them are digital channels.


1) Is there anyway to know which of those channels are HD?


2) I have only 1 TV in my home, it is a JVC HD-56FH97. I believe it has a QAM tuner. It has 2 separate coax inputs, "75Ohm VHF/UHF" and "ATSC/Digital Cable In".

You are in NYC, so your stations are the NYC stations, most of which have their broadcast antennas located on the Empire State Building. At 8 miles, start with a inexpensive basic tabletop antenna with rabbit ears for VHF and a 8" loop for UHF. You may have one sitting around or borrow one. Another option is to get a Terk HDTVi which has rabbit ears and the Silver Sensor UHF antenna. Stay away from the indoor antennas with built-in amplifiers, they cost more and may make reception worse with strong signals. Just get a cheap antenna, hook it up to the antenna input on the TV and do a digital channel scan. It could be that simple.


BTW, ATSC = digital broadcast TV format; QAM = digital cable format. Use the ATSC tuner scan for OTA broadcast TV, use the QAM tuner for finding out what unscrambled channels are on the cable system.


As for what stations will have HD, in NYC that is pretty easy: the 7 broadcast networks that currently broadcast HD: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, CW, and My Network. The Ion Network has stated plans to offer a 720p HD channel, but they have not so far.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamaklipsch /forum/post/14217254


I would just like something good that will work and not give too much trouble.

If you even the slightest skill with tools, you could built a Single Bay Gray-Hoverman antenna. I adapted the spec to build an indoor version - no reflector, just a 2 foot long piece of wood 1/2" think and 4" wide, 6 wood screws, 6 flat washers, a 300 to 75 ohm transformer (if you remember the 1970s, the thing that connceted a coaxial cable to 2 screws on your tv), a 2 identical elements (aluminium or copper work best) bent to the size and shape in the spec.


Took me about an hour of my time and about $20 for the parts, and outperforms even my channelmaster 4221 outdoor antenna when I take it outside.


It's compact too - it's about 24" wide, 30" tall,, 1" deep.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt /forum/post/14217634


You are in NYC, so your stations are the NYC stations, most of which have their broadcast antennas located on the Empire State Building. At 8 miles, start with a inexpensive basic tabletop antenna with rabbit ears for VHF and a 8" loop for UHF. You may have one sitting around or borrow one. Another option is to get a Terk HDTVi which has rabbit ears and the Silver Sensor UHF antenna. Stay away from the indoor antennas with built-in amplifiers, they cost more and may make reception worse with strong signals. Just get a cheap antenna, hook it up to the antenna input on the TV and do a digital channel scan. It could be that simple.


BTW, ATSC = digital broadcast TV format; QAM = digital cable format. Use the ATSC tuner scan for OTA broadcast TV, use the QAM tuner for finding out what unscrambled channels are on the cable system.


As for what stations will have HD, in NYC that is pretty easy: the 7 broadcast networks that currently broadcast HD: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, CW, and My Network. The Ion Network has stated plans to offer a 720p HD channel, but they have not so far.

Thanks for the reply!


I'm not in NYC, but I am very close. Antennaweb showed a lot of channels coming from all different directions in NJ as well.


I do not own any type of antenna or know anyone with one, so I would have to buy something. If I were to buy something, would I be better off spending a little more on something better to put up in the attic?


My condo unit is surrounded by plaster, cinderblock, and brick. The attic has only plywood and a single layer of roofing tile, it's also 15 foot higher in the air than where I would put an antenna in my unit. I already have an RG-6 coming down from the attic to my TV location.


I assume I would get more channels from doing that?


Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gran chico /forum/post/14217895


If you even the slightest skill with tools, you could built a Single Bay Gray-Hoverman antenna. I adapted the spec to build an indoor version - no reflector, just a 2 foot long piece of wood 1/2" think and 4" wide, 6 wood screws, 6 flat washers, a 300 to 75 ohm transformer (if you remember the 1970s, the thing that connceted a coaxial cable to 2 screws on your tv), a 2 identical elements (aluminium or copper work best) bent to the size and shape in the spec.


Took me about an hour of my time and about $20 for the parts, and outperforms even my channelmaster 4221 outdoor antenna when I take it outside.


It's compact too - it's about 24" wide, 30" tall,, 1" deep.

I'm actually an electrician so I know my way around tools and also remember the 300 to 75 ohm adapter you are speaking of.


So I would really get better performance out of something I built than something I could buy?


Would this be something I would have tp spend a lot of time tuning? If I put it in the attic, it would be a pain to get to (130 degrees too!) and adjust.


Thanks for the help!
 

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Quote:
So I would really get better performance out of something I built than something I could buy?

I had a hard time believing that too, but I wanted to try building one. I was expecting a disappointment, but even with my lack of skill and good tools, my creation gave surprisingly good results. For instance, when I had it outside mounted 10 feet off the ground, I got WGRZ in Buffalo at over 90% on my signal strength indicator, and that transmitter is over 80 miles away.

Quote:
Would this be something I would have tp spend a lot of time tuning?

With any antenna, you need to find an optimal spot to put it and the optimal direction to aim it. There's nothing any more or any less involved with this antenna vs. any other.


I've taken a photo of mine (the transformer is off of it, but it would go on the middle wood screws/flat washers). Each bend is 90 degress, except for the top and bottom "stubs" which are 45 degree bends. The wood screws are EXACTLY 10 inches apart vertically, and 2 inches apart horizontally. Each element is 54 inches long. The segments between the bends are about 7 inches (exact lengths are in metric - 180 mm) while the stubs are about 6 inches (142 mm).


You just need to make the elements out of something stiff enough to hold the shape.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by el gran chico /forum/post/14217895


If you even the slightest skill with tools, you could built a Single Bay Gray-Hoverman antenna.

I thought the Gray-Hoverman design was a UHF only antenna? In NYC, WABC-DT 7, WPIX-DT CW 11, and WNET-DT PBS 13 will all move to their upper VHF analog channel by midnight on next February 17. He needs to be able to pick up upper VHF and UHF. His antennaweb results show strong signals for the NYC and northern NJ stations.


Start off with a simple indoor antenna in the attic with a RG-6 co-axial cable connection and see what station you get. For an attic setup in this case, the new Winegard HD-1080 2 bay bowtie with upper VHF dipoles ( http://www.winegard.com/offair/vhfuhf.htm ) is a good choice to pick up stations in the northern NJ area and NYC.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks again for the replies guys.


I am not seeing the CM-1080. Do you mean the HD-1080?


If I order that, it's ready to go? Just mount it up in the attic and connect the RG-6 with an F-connector? Does it need to be aimed in a certain direction? If so, do I have to change that direction depending on what channels I watch?


I read specs on another site, it seems like it won't receive channels under 7, is that true? Will I lose CBS, NBC, and NYW since those are on 2, 4, and 5 here? (Or at least that's what they were with analog OTA and all the cable companies)


Thanks again for walking me thru this guys, I appreciate it greatly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt /forum/post/14218337


I thought the Gray-Hoverman design was a UHF only antenna? In NYC, WABC-DT 7, WPIX-DT CW 11, and WNET-DT PBS 13 will all move to their upper VHF analog channel by midnight on next February 17. He needs to be able to pick up upper VHF and UHF. His antennaweb results show strong signals for the NYC and northern NJ stations.

It is a "UHF only" antenna but I got reasonable gain on VHF-high frequencies. But you're right, it may not be enough. Only one way to find out for sure.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamaklipsch /forum/post/14218364


Will I lose CBS, NBC, and NYW since those are on 2, 4, and 5 here?

You won't get the analog versions (which only have 7 months more to live anyway), but you will get the digital version of these stations that will be on different channels.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gran chico /forum/post/14218423


You won't get the analog versions (which only have 7 months more to live anyway), but you will get the digital version of these stations that will be on different channels.

I SEE! That makes sense.


The "ATSC/Digital Cable In" input on my TV will only receive digital channels anyway, correct?


The other coax input labelled "75Ohm VHF/UHF" is for analog? I can still connect basic analog cable to this and receive both sources?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamaklipsch /forum/post/14218490


The other coax input labelled "75Ohm VHF/UHF" is for analog? I can still connect basic analog cable to this and receive both sources?

Will you have kind of cable connection? If true, you may not need any antenna - with even the most basic sub (with Internet) you'll get almost all of the chs that you'd get via OTA. The TV's QAM tuner will get all those when the coax is on the digital in connection.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamaklipsch /forum/post/14218364


I am not seeing the CM-1080. Do you mean the HD-1080?


If I order that, it's ready to go? Just mount it up in the attic and connect the RG-6 with an F-connector? Does it need to be aimed in a certain direction? If so, do I have to change that direction depending on what channels I watch?

My error, yes, it is the HD-1080, although there is no such thing as a "HD" antenna. The antenna does not care if the signal is NTSC analog or 8VSB modulated ATSC digital.


Yes, you have to aim the antenna. You will probably have to experiment with the location and aim to get all the stations. The bowties and dipoles are on the front of the antenna, the screen is the reflector. Some people install the bowties backwards. Attics can have dead spots for reception because of reflections off walls or signal blockages. My suggestion for placing an antenna in the attic is attach a attic mounting bracket to a large enough flat piece of wood and then the mounting pole to the bracket. You can slide the flat base across the floor beams to find a good reception spot.


The low VHF analog stations in NYC are all staying on UHF for their digital transmission physical channel after the analog shutdown. Low VHF 2-6 has not worked well for ATSC broadcasts in the urban environments because of impulse noise & electrical interference breaking up the digital signal (although some hope VHF 6 will be ok). So only 40 full power stations across the US have selected low VHF for the post-transition era. Most TV stations will be in the 7-51 channel range with UHF 52-69 being taken away from TV broadcasting. You will see the mapped virtual channel shown on the ATSC tuner; digital broadcasting includes PSIP data which provides channel mapping info.


WCBS-DT 2 is currently on UHF 56 (out of core), will move to UHF 33.

WNBC-DT 4 is currently on UHF 28, will stay there.

WNYW-DT Fox 5 is currently on UHF 44, will stay there.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

Quote:
Originally Posted by biker19 /forum/post/14219705


Will you have kind of cable connection? If true, you may not need any antenna - with even the most basic sub (with Internet) you'll get almost all of the chs that you'd get via OTA. The TV's QAM tuner will get all those when the coax is on the digital in connection.

I'm not sure if I will still get cable channels. Someone mentioned that for $13 I could get very basic cable channels, like 2-22.
 

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I built one of the coat hanger quad bow ties in about 30 minutes with a battery drill and a few sheet metal screws. Any electrician should be able to halve my build time. The only hard thing was the dollar balun I bought at a flea market and the 2x4 for a structure, that I had. Just mark the 2x4 and screw on the elements and balun. No reflector. It worked well enough it is still standing in the corner hooked to the tv.


If nothing else, this virtually free setup will tell you where you are on the antenna pecking order. You might be surprised. With mine I am pulling in stations which say on the chart they are over 50 miles away.


I you want to spend ten bucks, Walmart has a basic rabbit ears made by Phillips.
 

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I think the Winegard HD-1080 would be an excellent antenna for you as it is a medium multi-directional, small enough for the attic that does all UHF and high-band VHF. It can be had for $35 plus shipping.
 
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