View Full Version : Antenna for SW Montana
18-Oct-2010, 5:12 PM
My TVfool report is - http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3da362c9e5bf0ede
I am looking for an antenna to pull in the stations about 46 miles to the north in Butte. I would also like to pick up the PBS channel 85 miles to the NE in Bozeman. Mainly for the Red Green show :-)
The UHF channel 51 is a rebroadcast of one of the Butte stations. While it is easy to recieve channel 51 analog, the rebroadcast installation has problems. Chan. 51 recieves a digital OTA signal from Butte and rebroadcasts as analog channel 51. 51 suffers from frequent pixelization, frame freezing and outages. It appears 51 is the only UHF channel, so I am thinking of skipping 51 and picking up this signal as DTV direct from the Butte transmitters.
My research indicates the CM 3671 with a CM 7777 preamp and a CM antenna rotator for deep fringe installs. While this is doable, the CM3671 is absolutely huge. The old antenna has bent and broken elements from various large birds attempting to land on the long elements. Given the channels I am trying to get appear to be in the VHF, I don't know that I need the added size of the UHF portion of the antenna.
Last winter, I was able to get the Bozeman PBS channel when there was snow on the ground with clear air. Once the snow melted, the signal strength dropped. I was using a 30-40 year old VHF only antenna, about 8 feet long frame. It has a lot of the larger elements bent, misaligned or missing. Don't know the brand or model.
I have 3 houses to install antennas in, so would be willing to try a couple of options. I think all three houses will have coax runs of 100 feet or less from the antenna to the TV set. We live in a wide mountain valley, with mountains between us and the transmitter sites.
18-Oct-2010, 6:02 PM
Channel 5 and 6 are in the low VHF band and that translates to long antenna elements being required to receive those lower frequencies.
How about this for a VHF only solution? http://www.summitsource.com/antenna-craft-extreme-deep-fringe-vhf-fm-antenna-cs1100-vhffm-hd-antennacraft-33-electronic-elements-directional-tv-radio-aerial-outdoor-television-local-offair-digital-hdtv-signal-reception-blue-zone-part-cs1100-p-7101.html
Also, given the relatively short coax run, amplifier gain does not need to be that great... The amplifiers primary job is to overcome losses in the cable and splitters. A Winegard AP-8700 has more than enough gain and omits the UHF input of CM7777 which you would need to terminate in a VHF only install.
18-Oct-2010, 7:55 PM
The CS1100 looks like a nice antenna for my situation. Warren Electronics shows 7 available for "pickup only, no shipping". AntennaCraft does not sell the CS1100 on its website. SolidSignal and SummitSource show the CS1100 as no longer being available. Google shopping doesn't turn up any additional vendors. Any other ideas?
Thanks - Rob
18-Oct-2010, 8:25 PM
You are going to need to find an all-channel , deep-fringe antenna for your situation: there are 3 that qualify: The Winegard HD-8200u, the Channel Master Crossfire 3671 and the AntennaCraft HD1850. Since Delhi stopped making the VIP-307, there are no longer any really good long-range VHF-only antennas on the market.
I wouldn't bet on getting the PBS station all the time, but you'll need a rotator and a preamplifier if you want to go looking for it. I would suggest using a Channel Master 9521a rotator and either a Winegard AP 8275 preamp or a Channel Master Titan 7777. If there's any signal in the air, you'll need an antenna system of that size and quality to get it where you are. Unfortunately, there's no way that you are getting away with a small antenna for this installation.
18-Oct-2010, 9:14 PM
Thanks for your suggestions. I was hoping for some changes since I researched this a couple of years ago. I guess the physics of antenna design hasn't changed much ;-)
I was looking at the specs for the Winegard AP 8275 preamp and the Channel Master Titan 7777. The AP 8275 on paper has more gain and looks like a better preamp than the 7777. Is the AP 8275 actually a better preamp, or is the difference due to testing methods antenna performance models?
Thanks - Rob
18-Oct-2010, 9:40 PM
The transmitters are local. If address is correct , you are in a bad spot. Do this , go to the >Start MAPS< part of tvfool. Put in your address , Zoom down and raise the antenna height , also move the antenna location ( the red balloon pointer) around on your property. You are looking for better signal , hot spots. It looks like K51DW 51 translator is NBC , and DKBTZ 24 translator is PBS. If you will provide the addresses of the houses or the Full latitudes and longitudes of the houses , We can be of more help.
18-Oct-2010, 9:43 PM
It's easy to assume that more gain=better preamplifier, but that's really not the case. When selecting a preamp, we need to make several calculations: ie, does it have enough gain to power all the TV sets in the house without signal loss, and to cover our line and splitting losses. Digital signals, however, do not benefit from MORE gain once the minimum signal requirements of the tuner are met.
More important than gain in this situation is the preamplifier's noise figure, which is critical when determining how adversely a preamplifier's internal noise will affect the signal-to-noise ratio of the incoming signal. Digital TV signals must have a minimum signal-to-noise ratio in order for the tuner to be able to decode the signal. Any noise added by the preamplifier reduces the available signal-to-noise ratio available from the antenna. Good preamplifiers have low ratios, but there are differences between preamps, and, in your situation, where you will be scratching for all the signal that you can get, the added noise of a preamp is critical.
In your case, both preamplifiers have more than enough gain, even to run 4 TV sets from your one antenna, and both preamps will allow you to run very long lengths of coax cable without losing signal. In this case, however, the noise figure of the Channel Master Titan 7777 is very slightly lower than that of the Winegard AP-8275. The Channel Master is more expensive, in most cases, however, and it's primary benefit over the Winegard is that it offers separate inputs for VHF and UHF antennas for those people who intend to use separate antennas. For your application, the potentially lower cost, and the fact that you will be using only one antenna, may swing the decision to the Winegard, but both are very good preamplifiers.
18-Oct-2010, 10:11 PM
Also consider this http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=265 . A satellite installer in Butte Mt. might be able to handle the the installation or you might do it your self. There are do it yourself videos to watch.
18-Oct-2010, 11:15 PM
I redid the tvfool report using a 500 ft tower and the chart showed it picking up 0.5 on each entry on the NW (dB) and PWR (dBm) columns.
Chan 51 is a poor quality repeater from the Butte NBC station 46 miles to the north. I was getting a better quality link through my DTV test setup than the repeater provides.
You pointed out that 24 is much closer than the Bozeman stations. I hadn't noticed this.
I think the poor quality is because of the various mountain ranges between me and the transmitters. Butte is on the other side of the continental divide and the Bozeman transmitter sites are over at least 2 different mountain ranges.
Thanks - Rob
19-Oct-2010, 4:08 AM
The call signs , translators/low power stations , that have no network listing , I find out what programing is on them by typing the call sign in the google search box. Like this K51DW or this K51DW tv or this K51DW 51 or this K51DW 51 tv. The listings at tvfool are not 100% so to find out for example if K51DW is transmitting analog or digital I would need to call the parent station. Ask to talk with the enginering department and find out whats up. You can do the same thing.
19-Oct-2010, 4:31 AM
Look at DKBTZ 24 with the antenna from 1 to 10 foot above ground. Defraction of a Tv signal makes hot spots at different heights.
19-Oct-2010, 7:31 AM
K51DW is a (low quality) repeater to the south on the hills overlooking Dillon that broadcasts in analog. We have the antenna pointed there now for news. We get a really nice analog signal, unfortunately, K51DW simply picks up the digital NBC signal from Butte using an OTA antenna, I guess. It has lots of problems with pixelation, frame freezes and the broadcast site not being able to get a digital signal lock from Butte.
PBS chan 24 is apparently near Whitehall, so it can serve the Butte, Bozeman and Dillon areas. That explains why I was able to get PBS 24 but not the other more distant Bozeman channels on the same heading.
I'll try playing with the antenna elevation at 1 to 10 feet and let you know if anything changes significantly.
Thanks - Rob
19-Oct-2010, 8:48 AM
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=491 blondertongue make Heavy Duty antennas , look at the cut to channel and low band antenna. Also other manufactures sell Heavy Duty antennas.
25-Oct-2010, 4:56 AM
DKBTZ 24 is by Butte. I recommend the Antennas Direct XG 91 to pick up that channel. Tip the antenna up in the front so the length of the antenna is more in line with the tv transmission that is being diffracted across the tops of the hills between you and the transmitter. Diffraction makes the tv transmission to bend a little downward.
25-Oct-2010, 12:21 PM
For the low band channels 5 and 6 the Winegard YA6260
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