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Seeking antenna advice for HDTV

by dafus / June 16, 2009 5:55 AM PDT

We've got two rooftop antennas; one is aimed at a clear horizon and stations 30-40 miles away and does marvelous well. The other, a good-sized UHF-VHF, is aimed at a station about 10 miles away, but unfortunately the antenna is aimed smack dab into a large grove of trees, both hardwood and softwood. We aren't surrounded by trees, only about 45 degrees of the 360 around us, but the second antenna is indeed aimed right into those trees. The jury isn't yet in, and won't be until later in the summer when the station completes its digital transition, but present indications are that reception on the second antenna will be spotty. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding that second antenna? I expect to replace it, but I'm not sure what to replace it with.

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(NT) Put the second antenna on a higher poll to clear the trees.
by jcrobso / June 18, 2009 7:38 AM PDT
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not the only solution
by dafus / June 18, 2009 8:41 AM PDT

Yes, or I could move, or subscribe to cable. But a pole high enough to clear the trees would be a major undertaking, and that's not gonna happen.

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Seeking antenna advice for HDTV
by grayfrier / June 19, 2009 1:07 PM PDT
In reply to: not the only solution

How far away are those trees could you maybe install your Antenna on a pole in the upper branches of them and run your cable back to your home that is they aren't that far?

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I suspect...
by mwooge / June 19, 2009 3:08 PM PDT
In reply to: not the only solution

Wait and see what happens. With digital, the signal is either good enough or it isn't. If it's bad, you could try buying an antenna amplifier, though the signal might be reduced more in the winter when snow gets into the branches.

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antenna advice
by nocman / June 19, 2009 2:40 PM PDT

Well I will make two suggestions.

1. Get an antenna with more elements on both bands for greater gain.

2. Get a rotator for the antenna and use it. slowly moving it in small increments to see if you can find a hole in the tree coverage.

Also if you have tall buildings, or storage tanks nearby, you might could aim at them and see if you can pick up a reflected signal.

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Seeking antenna advice for HDTV by dafus
by grayfrier / June 19, 2009 4:02 PM PDT
In reply to: antenna advice

The problem with that is he will have to rescan after each movement that is what is suggested and not just when you move you antenna but monthly as well.
Why because every station everywhere is still upgrading their systems and changes are still happening.
Woke up today and found i lost PBS channel 12 among others so had to rescan again.
When I called the station they told me it maybe be 5 or 6 months before every thing is locked it and changes will happen from time to time they recommend rescanning everyday to be sure you have the latest changes as most stations make upgrades overnight.

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Did you check to see if they reverted to
by grayfrier / June 19, 2009 3:54 PM PDT

VHF instead of UHF some stations like channel 6 here in Philadelphia stayed on VHF instead of migrating to UHF like most of the country if that is the case you will need an antenna that has the proven ability to receive those VHF signals.
Believe it or not i had to go out and buy a cheap plain no frills Antenna cost me 9 dollars and when i rescanned i got 3 extra channels.
I live in a two story home my neighbor next door has a 4 story building
in line with the local transmitters.
But i now receive all local channels and some i had no clue existed.
Head to your local Flea market and find a cheap antenna to try just make sure it has the loop that we all grew up with and not just the ears.
What ever you decide good luck.

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A couple of solutions
by mjd420nova / June 19, 2009 5:44 PM PDT

One alternative would be to move the subject antenna to a different location on the home such as a different corner to allow an unobstructed angle to the transmitter. One other solution would be to use an amplifier to boost the signal that you do recieve.

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WOW Solution seems simple , BUT !
by Ron_D / June 20, 2009 1:25 AM PDT
In reply to: A couple of solutions

Be very careful where you tread here. Seems simple enough but consider LIGHTNING STRIKES ! Had a relative and good friend with equipment loss due to same. Not TV but CB and Ham radio. They got excellent reception and took their chances. One stepped out of the room, while on-line, as his wife wanted him to see the lightning display on the horizon. Saved him personal damage as a bolt then hit his raised position antenna and and blew up , literally, his antenna and damaged his set. One was smart enough to disconnect after every shutdown and avoid use while a storm was in progress. He lost many antennae but replaced as necessary. The higher the antenna the more susceptible to lightning. Lightning looks for a ground path, any ground path and possibly the neaest point of entry.

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Not my suggestion
by mjd420nova / June 20, 2009 2:21 PM PDT

Ron: I did not advise the raising of the antenna, just moving it to an unobstructed position. I am also a ham radio enthusiast and would never think of mounting any antenna for my transmitters without proper grounding. For any transmitter site, a severe ground needs to be provided in the means of a ten foot copper clad stake driven to earth. That's a proper ground but not within the means of the average home owner.

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Additional to prior. Forgot to mention.
by Ron_D / June 20, 2009 1:30 AM PDT
In reply to: A couple of solutions

Raising may or may not work. The Earth is round and curves away from your point of objectivity. Station may be situated too far in a valley or you may be. Do what you want but be careful on the pole, tree or roof.

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Thanks for suggestions, and additional information
by dafus / June 21, 2009 12:41 AM PDT

Thanks for all the suggestions. Hee is a bit more information relevant to some of them: The trees are about 50 feet away. Moving the antenna to the front of the house might ameliorate the situation. I would guess that the top of the trees are about 20 degrees above horizontal. The station of interest has changed from channel 59 to channel 25. The antenna system currently has an amplifier. (It's an ancient inside Radio Shack, pressed into service when our one-year old Channel Master 7775 failed. It seems to do about as well as the CM.) Prior to the changeover, we got the station well enough to watch, although bad weather brought drop-outs of varying and sometimes frustrating lengths. (So much for "the signal is either good enough or it isn't".) The current antenna has quite a few elements -- more elements would not be an easy route, although I suspect that a more modern uhf antenna might do better. This is the only station I'm concerned about.

The discouraging part is that I've found out that the station (UNCTV) apparently really dropped the ball on planning. It is currently using a temporary antenna and a low-power transmitter. In spite of being less that 10 miles from the antenna, none of our sets can detect any signal. We were warned previous to the switch that some 'outlying' regions might not get a signal, but 10 miles away? Current plans are for things to improve in "late summer."

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Antenna tune-up
by Hi-def Jeff / June 30, 2009 5:30 AM PDT

If you are using an "ancient" amp, are you also using "ancient" cables and connections? Generally, at 10 miles, even poor rabbit ears could work.

So, before you go spending more money for a new antenna, tune up your old one. Everyone with signal issues needs this "tune-up" information.

You should be using RG6 cable, not RG59.
Your system should be properly grounded.
Check all of the connections for tightness (only finger tight on equipment and just beyond finger tight for other connections).
Check all connections for corrosion and short needles (the needle of the coax cable should extend 1/16 inch beyond the fitting).
Have you checked and/or replaced the 75 ohm transformer?
Check all cables for cuts, abrasions and sharp bends.
Remove the amplifier and try it without. It may be overpowering your receiver with too much signal (which produces the same results as too little).

Do these things and then see what you get. You may still need a new or different antenna, but you would still want to check the above list before installing it.

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My thought on this. WAIT!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 21, 2009 1:22 AM PDT

The transition just happened. I'm seeing and reading how many stations are just coming online and some are at reduced power. Coverage may be spotty for awhile until they get their act together and get everything tuned up.

I think waiting may be hard for some but my advice is to WAIT and re-scan weekly to find what pops up.

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hdtv antenna sulution
by koelkoek / June 30, 2009 11:19 PM PDT

getyourself a 12v ampilfier and all problems will be solved.

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