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blackstone 12-Sep-2017 12:33 AM

Western Pa antenna questions.
Thank you for allowing me to be here and thank you in advance for any help or advice.
I am Approximately 45 miles north east of Pittsburgh Pa and cut the cord 3-1/2 years ago.
Due to my elevation, I get pretty good reception with my 25+ year old directional analog antenna with no rotor.
I get stations I shouldn't get and don't get some that I should.
We operate 3 TVs from that one antenna so a rotor would make one better but the others worse.

Here is my TVFool report link:

I'd like to upgrade but not sure which way to go.

The omni-directionals seem attractive to me but I've read that they may not be all they're cracked up to be.
The main TV is a lower end Element.
I run coax from the antenna into a Channel Master booster in the basement where it splits.
If I get a new antenna, I'd probably move the location so that it would be 10' higher.
If it would help, I can list the stations I get and ones that I think I should get but can't.

Thanks, again, in advance.

jrgagne99 12-Sep-2017 2:07 AM

You should steer clear of an omni in my opinion.

An antenna with VHF-hi + UHF elements such as the Winegard 7698P aimed at 228 magnetic should get you all the major networks from Pittsburgh, down through WPNT. The Winegard 7694P is smaller, and might work too, but WPNT might not come in.

What model is your "booster"? If it is a 7778, you should move it to the mast to amplifiy signal before the cable losses. You shouldn't need a powered splitter. Start with 1 tv to keep it simple at first. Then add a 3-way passive splitter and only go to powered if you need it. If you want Altoona stations too, you'll need a rotor too. But altoona signals are pretty weak (except WTAJ), so buyer beware.

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 3:59 AM

Thank you for your reply.

I have never been able to get WTAE and WPNT used to come in but doesn't now.
WPXI only comes in sometimes.

WWCP from Altoona is pretty reliable and my only source for ABC.
WJAC from Johnstown is clear but loses signal more often.

I shouldn't be getting Steubenville stations but they are some of my better ones

The amp is a Channel Master CM3414 4-Port Distribution Amplifier for Cable and Antenna Signal.

Although I agree that a rotor will definitely improve my performance, I am concerned about the second TV.

That is my wife's and we don't, usually, watch the same things.

Will the Winegard VHF-hi allow me to get WQED (13)?

Tower Guy 12-Sep-2017 5:23 PM

WQED will move from channel 13 to channel 2 in 2020. You will need a large all channel antenna such as the Winegard 8200u or Channel Master 3020.

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 6:57 PM

Thanks, Tower Guy.
A while back I saw they were moving but didn't remember if they were moving up or down

jrgagne99 12-Sep-2017 8:23 PM

Can you tell us more about your current "25+ year old" analog antenna, and where is it aimed? What model is it, mounting height, field of view (any trees?) etc.

BTW, there is no such thing as an "analog" or "digitial" or "HDTV-ready" antenna. That is all marketing mumbo-jumbo.

I think you will be surprised at what you pull in when you mount some real horsepower up there like the HD8200U or the CM-3020 or 5020.

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 9:02 PM

I'll see if I can get a picture of the present antenna.
I just assumed there was analog and digital antennas.

The height is about 20'.
There are no obstructions.
Trees, buildings or hills.
There is one tree @ 50' north that has no affect,.

I can't tell you what model it is.
I'm senile and I bought it 25 years ago, m/l.

I want to think it's a Channel Master and it was one with higher mileage ratings.
It was a VHF and the UHF was an add on.

My elevation is pretty high.
I'm on the second highest place in Armstrong County.

I couldn't find my compass which was unreliable.
North would move 45 degrees.
Just ordered anew, better one.
But, I'm somewhere between 210-235.

I realize that's a big window.

(I have a picture but don't know how to add it)

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 9:04 PM


blackstone 12-Sep-2017 9:07 PM

That didn't work for the pic

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 9:29 PM

This antenna always got a lot of stations.
Just not all the time.

For example, last night, with clear skies, I was losing signal to some of the stations.
I did a scan.
Didn't get those stations but picked up (briefly) Columbus, OH which has to be close to 200 air miles and a Youngstown station I only get infrequently.

rabbit73 12-Sep-2017 10:33 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by blackstone (Post 58857)
That didn't work for the pic

I got the first one to work, but not the second one.

You can click on the photo in your album for a share link like this one:

You can also upload the photo as an attachment for your post, using Go Advanced, but it has to be smaller than 1024 x 1024. Your image is 1836 x 3264 pixels, so I edited it, gave you a credit line, uploaded it as an attachment, and then added it as an image to my post.

This smaller image shows more of the tree in front of the antenna;

jrgagne99 12-Sep-2017 11:08 PM

That looks like a metal roof in your picture. I wonder if that affects reception. More height, which will get your farther away from the roof, probably can't hurt. My concern has to do with the age of the antenna, but more importantly the coax. I've heard that the coax performance can degrade over time, especially at connections. I would try switching to a high-quality RG-6 (you prabably have RG-59), and use new connections, perhaps before even trying a new antenna. When you do this, take some signal readings at the bottom of the down-lead first, then change the coax and re-do the readings to see if there is an improvement.

I don't know if antenna performance itself degrades over time (e.g. 25 years). I'd be interested to hear what other folks have to say about that.

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 11:38 PM

Thanks, Rabbit73.
That tree is at least 200' (or more) away.

Hadn't thought about the metal roof.

Can't remember if we cut the cord before or after we put the roof on

blackstone 12-Sep-2017 11:46 PM

When we put the new mast up a couple years ago, I noticed some oxidation on the connections.
Tried to clean them some but, maybe, not as good as it could have been.

I think I put new coax up at that time.
It's probably only a couple years old.
Raising the antenna at it's present location may give me challenges supporting it.

I had considered moving it to the peal of the house which is 20' to the left in the picture.
I would be able to gain another 5' or more and better support the mast and be higher than any part of the house.

Also, how do I measure the signal?
I've seen others use their TIVO but I don't have one.

My TV channel feature only gives me strong, good or weak

jrgagne99 13-Sep-2017 12:10 AM


Originally Posted by blackstone (Post 58862)
I think I put new coax up at that time.
It's probably only a couple years old.

Ok, maybe it's not the coax then.


Originally Posted by blackstone (Post 58862)
I would be able to gain another 5' or more and better support the mast and be higher than any part of the house.

This seems like a good idea if you can manage it.

Originally Posted by blackstone (Post 58862)
Also, how do I measure the signal? I've seen others use their TIVO but I don't have one. My TV channel feature only gives me strong, good or weak

Check your manual(s). Many TVs have a more quantitative indication. These are often numerical values (rather than words like "strong", "good", or "weak"), but unfortunately the numbers are usually given as unitless so you don't really know what they're actually measuring anyway. Also, these numerical metrics are not generally comparable between brands and sometimes not even between model numbers within a given brand. There are some good ones out there though. One of the best ones I've seen is on my Sony Bravia, which shows the signal-to-noise-ratio in dB. An SNR of 15 dB or greater is typically needed to get picture. If you're thinking of a new TV soon, and want a better indication of signal quality, I recommend this model. (It had one of the best pictures of the displays on the wall at Best Buy as well...)

blackstone 13-Sep-2017 12:28 AM

This TV is only a couple years old.
My wife is a bargain shopper so a really good TV is out of the question.

I'm, tentatively, getting the house sided in late fall.
That may be the time to move the antenna

Why is the Channel Master 3020 so much cheaper than the Winegard 8200u?

jrgagne99 13-Sep-2017 11:25 AM


Originally Posted by blackstone (Post 58864)
Why is the Channel Master 3020 so much cheaper than the Winegard 8200u?

Not sure why the 3020 is ~$70 and the Winegard is $120 (amazon prices). The Winegard looks beefier, maybe that's part of it. BTW, It looks like your old antenna IS the CM-3020 though, no?

blackstone 13-Sep-2017 11:50 AM

It's been so long that I just can't be sure.
I know I tried to get a good one because it was for my mom who didn't get out much due to age.

I'm guessing weather is a factor, too.
For example, if it's rainy, I lose a lot of stations.

And I get WJAC from Johnstown and WWCP from Altoona pretty well, usually.
But not the last couple days.

Sometimes, I can get 31 stations after a scan and sometimes only 19.
Average is 23-25.
They don't all always display, though.

rabbit73 13-Sep-2017 5:43 PM


I'm guessing weather is a factor, too.
For example, if it's rainy, I lose a lot of stations.
That is a classic symptom of trees in the signal path.

What direction is the antenna aimed in the photo?

blackstone 13-Sep-2017 6:03 PM

Guessing without a compass.
New compass coming tomorrow or Friday that may be able to find north.
The last one varied by 30- degrees.

There are trees.
But, at least 100 yards away in that direction.
Or more.
I am slightly below the crest of a wooded hill, maybe 1/8th mile in the direction the antenna is pointing

Except for one tree across my driveway 50' almost north of the antenna, I am pretty clear for a ways around my house.
There are trees within 100" south and east.

Hope this is helpful info.

Thanks, again

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