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GreyPaws0827 4-Mar-2015 9:07 AM

A little help/advice
Hey all,

I'm new to the whole OTA antenna game. I just recently cut the cord and have been using some RCA bunny ears for a temporary fix. They have been good, but some channels are in and out and some I just cant get. I am looking to upgrade to an attic mounted antenna. It would be approx. 25ft high under standard asphalt shingles. I do have a lot of tall trees surrounding my house on three sides. Here is my tvfool report:
I was hoping someone could give me some advice on a good antenna for my situation as well as whether I would need to use a preamp or anything else. I will be connecting at least 3 tvs to this setup and the longest cable run would be 50ft+.Thanks for any help.

timgr 4-Mar-2015 1:35 PM

First, you have lots of signal in the air. Likely the rabbit ears would work for all the green channels in the 228 compass heading direction IF there were no other sources of interference. Once you go inside and behind trees, the characteristics of the building and the movement/wetness of the trees makes reception mroe difficult. It is difficult to impossible to predict effects like this. Your TVFR does not account for such issues.

That said, a big antenna in your attic should work ok, if the trees are not a factor. Your best move would be to position the antenna so it is above the tree tops, or aiming between the trees.

This article gives you an idea of what you are up against when aiming through trees. And when the wind blows, the local signal intensity moves around with the movement of the branches.

With your report, if you were on the roof in clear air, you could do very well with a modest antenna like the RCA ANT751. Going into the attic justifies going bigger due to the attenuation of the building materials, but increasing the size of the antenna may not be enough if you are aiming through trees.

A preamp won't help this. There is no shortage of signal in the air, and a cable run of 50' is not long.

GreyPaws0827 4-Mar-2015 6:24 PM

Thank you for the advice. I was looking at the Clearstream 2-v or the DB8e antenna so I can get the ION station around 35 miles away. I'm just worried that with the DB8 I won't get my local NBC as it seems to be a HiVHF station.

timgr 4-Mar-2015 7:26 PM

The DB8e is an excellent antenna. It's not deaf to VHF, but that's outside its target bandwidth. NB the DB8e and DB8 are different antennas.

WXIA is quite strong; I'd expect you to pick up WXIA if the DB8e were mounted outside and pointing at the transmitter. Inside, maybe not. You could always add a cut-to-band VHF-high antenna like the Antennacraft Y5713 (ca $30) to the DB8e and mix the signals with a UVSJ combiner (ca $5).

Note that there is about 100 degrees separation between the ION station and your main grouping. If you plan to spread the panels on the DB8e to point at both 228 and 329, the antenna becomes both less directional and less sensitive in each direction. Look at the Antennas Direct site, at the technical data. Peak gain drops from about 17 dBi to about 10 dBi with the panels spread that much. In clear air 10 dBi should be plenty for KPXA, but the attic and trees could be problematic. Decibels are a logarithmic scale, where each 3 dB is a doubling of the power received - so 7 dB is a significant drop. It might work great... but it's hard to predict.

GreyPaws0827 5-Mar-2015 12:05 AM

Is there a different antenna that might better suite my situation? I don't think I have the space for a large yagi style as it wouldn't be able to rotate.

GroundUrMast 5-Mar-2015 12:37 AM

Rotating an antenna might make sense if you were going after every possible signal... But then you wouldn't be considering an attic mounted antenna. If you are limiting yourself to an attic mount, I see no point in adding a rotator.

A panel antenna such as the DB8E is certainly not 'long' and not a Yagi type. The Y5713 is not what I would consider 'long', but if it won't fit your situation, you could opt for the Antennas Direct CS5, which I believe includes a UHF/VHF combiner.

GreyPaws0827 5-Mar-2015 10:25 AM

Just checked out the CS5. Yes, I think that will be a good one to start with. Thanks for the help everyone.

timgr 5-Mar-2015 12:03 PM

You understand the difference between UHF and VHF coverage?

GreyPaws0827 5-Mar-2015 2:22 PM

My understanding is that you have UHF (ultra high frequency) and VHF (very high frequency). Most antennas will pick up either or. I am looking for an antenna which can do both which I can put in my attic and do both. I fell as though that may be a tall order considering that I also want to pick up channels from a wide angle around 140 degrees. But I'm hopeful that if I aim the CS5 at the furthest UHF channel it will also pickup the one VHF channel since its a strong signal. Am I going about that right?

GroundUrMast 5-Mar-2015 4:13 PM

As I understand it, the CS5 was designed to cover the High-VHF band (real CH-7 through CH-13)... It was found to have some useful UHF capability which is less directional than it's intentional H-VHF performance.

Antennas like theDB2E, DB4E and DB8E are intended to cover the UHF band (real CH-14 and up) only. It's possible that some useable VHF reception may sneak past the strip-line balun... but reliable VHF reception should not be assumed.

The Antennacraft Y5713 and Y10713 are intended to cover just the H-VHF band. I have had spotty success with UHF reception when experimenting, but I would not recommend this type antenna as a multi-band solution.

If you want an antenna that has intentional support of both UHF and H-VHF, consider the Antennacraft HBU series and the Winegard HD7694P. For attic mounting, I'd avoid the Winegard because it is difficult to re-fold... If your attic proves to be a black hole of TV reception, as many are, the Winegard would be difficult to remove from the attic without risk of damage.

GreyPaws0827 5-Mar-2015 5:53 PM

Do you think I would be ok with one of the HBU's if I pointed it at the furthest station or somewhere between it and the others without a rotor?

timgr 7-Mar-2015 2:56 PM

I'm not a professional at this stuff, but I am a professional engineer. Been hanging around here a while, and I think I understand the issues involved.

It's difficult to make any assurances with an attic installation. Too many variables.

Look at the HBU33 specs here.

The HBU33 has a 85" boom (more than 7' long). The half-power beam width is 56 degrees. This spread is much smaller than the spread between the groups. So no, if you point half-way between, you will probably get few if any stations.

In the attic, you should probably not expect to get WATC and WPXA unless you point right at them with a big antenna. Then you will likely lose most of the stations from the southwest. Sorry, no better solution, unless you move to the roof (or start thinking about much more complicated solutions with multiple antennas).

You MIGHT recieve all the stations you want if you buy the DB8e and point one panel southwest (228) and one panel northwest (324). But I would not bet money on it.

If you had the DB8e, you could try it one of two ways -
1) one panel pointed NW and one panel SW.
2) both panels pointed SW, and forget the channels to the NW.

If you don't get WXIA, you can always add another dedicated VHF-high antenna to try and get it. This could be the Y5713, or the CS5 if you want something more compact. Signals from VHF and UHF antennas can be combined into a single wire inexpensively.

No guarantees on any of this. If you insist on an attic installation, you probably will not get everything you want.

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