View Full Version : Please help, mountains and trees

8-Mar-2010, 5:58 PM
Hi, I've been doing a lot of research online, trying to get some wonderfully FREE TV reception. Crazy to pay for cable, satellite when the best programming is on the Networks anyway.

So anyway, I live in a rural area, with lots of big mountains and tall trees...

I found an old combo antenna behind the shed, left by the former owner, I'm pretty sure it's a Channelmaster 3018. So I put that on my roof with a 10' mast made from a rail from a chain link fence that was also left behind. It's very sturdy in the wind. That puts the antenna at about 30-35' off the ground. I have it pointed at approximately 29 degrees true. There's maybe about 50' of 75 ohm cable running to my TV in the basement.

So with that setup I'm getting KBDI, KMGH, and KWHD reliably. The other day (clear, calm weather) I picked up KUSA, KTVD, and KCNC but they were intermittant and pixilated. I am hoping to be able to get channels (virtual) 12, 7, 9, 20, 31, 4, 2, and KRMA 6 way down the list. That last one's a long shot though.

So through all my research I'm thinking I need to add a preamp, and then probably replace the antenna too with something bigger, or maybe add a second ant. I'm leaning toward the Winegard AP 8780 preamp to really boost those UHF channels. And the Winegard HD 7697P antenna. I'm trying to spend as little as possible and not go overboard with something like an HD8200U unless absolutely necessary.

This is my first experiment with OTA TV and I'm pretty excited about it. Any advise, thought, input, or help would be greatly appreciated.


8-Mar-2010, 9:53 PM
Looking at the >>Start MAPS<< part of tvfool. I have a suggestion , long ago when broadcast television was the only way to receive television it was common practice to move the antenna around in all directions so as to receive reflected signals. Pointing the front of the antenna up or down and even tilting the antenna to the left or right from the horizontal plane in to the vertical plane to receive reflected signals off of surrounding mountains or through canyons , moving the antenna around to find hot spots. I see that there is a very tall mountain to south west of the town of Bailey Colorado. If you have a Tv with a digital tuner that can manual select digital channels without scanning or a seperate digital tuner that can manual select digital channels with out scanning , this will be a big help. Please note that with digital tv there is such a thing as Virtual Channels and Actual Channels , KBDI is an example , the Virtual Channel is 12.1 , 12.2 , 12.3 , the Actual transmitted channel is 13.1 , 13.2 , 13.3

8-Mar-2010, 10:56 PM
This is something else that I look at , cable tv will have a Hub , where the dishes , the microwave links and broadcast television antennas are at. Look at the Hub and the direction and type of broadcast television antennas.

9-Mar-2010, 2:36 PM
Hey, thanks for the replies... I am going to try pointing my antenna in a few different directions just as soon as I can get up onthe snowy roof.

Now I'm thinking of another scenario, what if I join a couple of antennas together? A VHF and a UHF together. Seems that I can get more gain that way than by going with a combo unit. More gain before amplification is a good thing right? I know I'll loose some gain by joining unlike antennas but is it worth a shot?



9-Mar-2010, 4:36 PM
Hello and welcome!

When it comes to weak signal reception, big antennas rule. Pre-amps also help because they help preserve the signal quality right out of your antenna before you start losing some of it to cable losses and other "downstream" components. For optimum reception, look for as much gain as possible on the channels you need (you have a few channels on high-VHF, so you'll need to account for that), and you'll want to find a pre-amp with as low of a Noise Figure rating as possible.

Using separate UHF and VHF antennas can get you a little more gain, but the difference depends on what you are choosing between. For example, the VHF performance on a Winegard HD8200U is actually about the same or better than most VHF-only Yagi antennas. In UHF, the standalone UHF-only antennas do have an edge over most combo antennas. The do-it-yourself Gray-Hoverman designs are also good UHF performers.

Most "good" consumer-grade pre-amps have Noise Figure ratings around 3.0 dB or less. That's as good as it gets for "normal" consumers. For enthusiasts/hobbyists who don't mind spending more money to get every last bit of performance possible, there are also pre-amps available with Noise Figures down in the ~1.0 dB range, but it's a big price jump to get that 1-2 dB improvement.

To go any further means ganging multiple antennas to achieve higher gain.

9-Mar-2010, 10:09 PM
Here are super low noise amplifiers. kitztech.com http://www.kitztech.com/ has a noise figure of 1 dB or less. And researchcomms.com http://www.researchcomms.com/ has a noise figure of .4 dB or less. Noise figures are important in poor reception areas because 'noise' blocks out part of the signal. I have 45 years in broadcast television transmission and reception and I know a lot of ways to receive television.

12-Mar-2010, 9:14 PM
If you are not aware of this , then here is something for you , It is known as Free To Air , or FTA . FTA is small dish satellite Tv , dish size 32 to 38 inch or so , and FTA satellite programing is Free and 100% legal. Type in - fta satellite tv - in the google search box or type in ftalist.com , this will open your eyes and get you started. FTA has been available for several years now in the USA. There is a lot of FTA information on the internet about FTA. The Free satellite transmissions/programing do not need a descrambler because the programing is in fact free to watch. FTA is very common around the world and is available here in the USA. Also on FTA is Radio stations , music stations and more. This Is Not dish network and this Is Not direct tv , This is in fact FTA. FTA sites have forums so you can join in with other FTA people. You are a smart guy , this will trip your trigger. http://www.ftalist.com/

13-Mar-2010, 12:07 AM
Type in -Tv antenna stacking- on the internet and you will find a lot of information. Here are the basics of antenna stacking. ALL WAYS use equal lengths of connecting cable between stacked antennas. It is best to use identical tv antennas , a vertical stack is one above the other , usually two antennas for the VHF Tv bands of 2 thru 6 or 7 thru 13. One is in a fixed position and the other is moved closer and further away up and down until the desired channel is at its best , vertical stacking works well with long distance reception , the television signal tends to shift up and down through the day and night , cold and hot and density of air layers, vertical stacking also works well for reducing or eliminating airplane flutter around air ports , air plane flutter is what one might call , moving multipath. The second basic way of stacking Tv antennas is horizontal stacking , or side by side stacking , this is done the same way , with two identical Tv antennas side by side in the VHF Tv bands. One is in a fixed position and the other is moved closer and further away to get maximum signal , horizontal stacking works ok for long distance reception but is more often done for the reduction or elimination of multipath from buildings , mountains , trees , etc. . To much multipath is not good for analog or digital television reception. An every day example of stacked antennas is vertical 4 bay bow UHF antenna and the vertical and horizontal 8 bay bow UHF antenna.