View Full Version : Antenna advice
14-Jan-2010, 3:51 PM
I am looking to pickup some free OTA HD channels to supplement my existing AT&T U-verse package (dropped the HD channels to save some $$). I would like to select an antenna that could be mounted in the attic of my garage, so size is somewhat important. I would have a cable run of approximately 30-40 ft to the single tv that I want to connect.
Here is my TV Fool Signal Analysis Results. (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3db32b1af4d8e334)
I am in a single story house with no tall buildings in the area. There is a water tower a few blocks to the East/Southeast.
I am mostly interested in the following channels from my report:
uhf WXMI-DT 17.1 FOX GRAND RAPIDS, MI 110° 31.3 19
uhf WOTV-DT 41.1 ABC BATTLE CREEK, MI 121° 37.2 20
vhf WOOD-DT 8.1 NBC GRAND RAPIDS, MI 109° 32.4 7
vhf WWMT-DT 3.1 CBS KALAMAZOO, MI 117° 32.3 8
Any additional channels that I could receive would just be regarded as a bonus.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
14-Jan-2010, 4:56 PM
Hello and welcome!
Since the channels you want are all clustered together, that makes things easier. It's a mix of fairly strong high-VHF and UHF channels, so a high-VHF/UHF combo antenna like the Antennacraft HBU-22 or the Winegard HD7694P should work as long as there is nothing conductive blocking the way in your attic or roof (e.g., ducts, foil-backed insulation, wire meshes, etc.).
You should point the antenna into the center of the transmitter cluster you are interested in (approximate compass heading of 115 degrees), and keep it away from other objects as much as possible. Each of these antennas are the smallest in their family of antennas (there are also the larger HBU-33, 44, and 55, or the HD7695P, HD7696P, and HD7697P), so hopefully these smaller variants will fit in the space you have.
If you don't get 100% of the channels on your first pass, it might be possible to slightly relocate or turn the antenna slightly to find the sweet spot that gets everything.
You also have a few other channels that are coming in from different directions. Some of these might be strong enough to be picked up, but since they are coming in through the "side" of the antenna, there's no guarantee that you will get them. See what you get and you might get lucky.
25-Jan-2010, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the advice. Now for my follow-up question. :)
After talking with a salesman at my local Radio Shack, he recommended the larger antennas from your suggested list. He said the smaller ones often come back (get returned) in our area due to poor reception. If I were to pick the largest antenna that fits in my space in the garage attic and the reception was still not ideal, what would be a suggested amplifier that could be used in conjunction with this type of antenna? Would the Winegard AP-8700 U/V Preamplifier do the trick?
25-Jan-2010, 3:27 PM
After talking with a salesman at my local Radio Shack, he recommended the larger antennas from your suggested list. He said the smaller ones often come back (get returned) in our area due to poor reception. If I were to pick the largest antenna that fits in my space in the garage attic and the reception was still not ideal, what would be a suggested amplifier that could be used in conjunction with this type of antenna?
The four desired channels you mentioned are all in the green zone on your tvfool list. Their signal strengths are pretty strong and they are all coming from the same direction (about 115 degree compass heading).
Having more antenna will help you get a few more channels further down the list and will also give you more margin for error on the stations at the top of your list. Just make sure you have enough room left over so that you can rotate and adjust the position of the antenna a bit. It sometimes takes a bit of experimentation to find the optimum position for an attic antenna.
Amplification only helps for losses that occur after the amp. This means things like coax loss, splitters, and tuners. Amps do not change the behavior of the antenna itself. Note that amps can sometimes make things worse. Amps with high Noise Figure specs or amps that are overloaded (due to too much signal power at the input) can actually make things worse than an unamplified system.
If you have no splits and a modest coax distance (~30 ft) between your antenna and TV, then amplification is probably not necessary. If the coax length is going to be long or if you plan on splitting the signal to multiple rooms, then amplification can help.
When choosing an amp, be sure to get one with a low Noise Figure specification (usually 3.0 dB or less). Amps known to have decent Noise Figure specs include the Antennacraft 10G201, Winegard HDP-269, and Channel Master 7778. The Winegard AP8700 is also a good amp.
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