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Want Free TV 23-Jun-2014 3:04 PM

Fairfax, Virginia - Need Antenna Recommendation
Thank you for this wonderful resource.

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We are renting a townhouse and moved in in April. To keep costs down we have only high speed internet and no cable tv. A little antenna with rabbit ears and a round thing gets only a couple of stations (NBC, FOX, ION and a couple others part time).

We'd like free OTA television (we're tired of Netflix).

There are cable wires in the attic that we can use for an antenna (feeding a tv in the living room and the bedroom). We'd need to add a splitter in the attic and remove the one at the back of the house, but we can do that pretty easily.

Can you please recommend an antenna that can get all the major networks plus WMPT, Real Channel 42 (22.1)?

If that's not possible we could ask the landlord for permission to have an installer put an antenna on the roof. What would you recommend in that case?

Please make both recommendations since I'm not sure he will permit a roof antenna.

Thank you very much.

tomfoolery 23-Jun-2014 3:44 PM


Originally Posted by Want Free TV (Post 44557)
Please make both recommendations since I'm not sure he will permit a roof antenna.

Do you have a balcony or terrace or patio in the direction of the transmitters?

Want Free TV 23-Jun-2014 4:20 PM

No. The backyard faces SSE. The TV signals are all NE (at least the ones we want). To put an antenna on the ground we'd need to put it in the front yard. That's not going to happen.

tomfoolery 24-Jun-2014 2:22 PM

Since you have access to the attic, and plan on going up there anyway, consider mounting something with substantial gain and directionality up there. Like an HBU33 or HBU44, which is designed for both UHF and high-VHF.

I'm using a DB4e in my attic with a single dipole for high-VHF (left over from a portable tv) combined into a single RG-6 using a UVSJ, but my signals are line-of-sight (LOS), physically closer, and about 10 dB stronger across the board than your report shows, plus my roof looks right at the towers and doesn't have metal or wiring in it, so attenuation and confusion isn't as bad as it could be with other construction types.

An attic is far from a great place for an antenna, with signals bouncing around in there, but it's likely better than attempting to look through a myriad of interior walls and appliances and wiring and such. With your transmitters in a tight group, a highly directional antenna with good rejection off the back is what I would think you need in there.

But you said you get some stations with a cheap rabbit ears with UHF loop, which is promising. The signals you're getting cleanly are all through that small UHF loop. Have you tried laying the VHF dipole (rabbit ears) elements out flat, perpendicular to the direction of the towers, and set to about 32" wide total length (roughly half-wave length of channel 7)?

There are pretty good indoor antennas, too, like the Terk HDTVi (non-amplified), but the VHF portion is still a single dipole, so if you're not getting VHF signals with your present rabbit ears, I don't think improving UHF alone is going to make you happy.

I experimented with a similar rabbit ears unit in my attic before putting a larger outdoor antenna up there (huge improvement over ground floor), so I might also suggest setting the rabbit ears to 32" and trying it in the attic. Single cable to one TV, no splitters. It's free to try, so why not? If successful, consider an outdoor antenna, particularly one that's easy to fold back up if you want to take it back out, which the Antennacraft units are (IMO).

Want Free TV 26-Jun-2014 9:42 PM

In the living room:

Adjusting the VHF rabbit ears can get me Real Channel 9 (WUSA-9, CBS).

I can occasionally get something on Real Channel 7 (WJLA-7, ABC) but it's not watchable. It cuts in and out.

I also get 24 (WNVC-30.1 - Ind), 48 (WRC-4.1-NBC), 36 (WPXW-66.1-ION), 36 (WTTG-5.1-FOX). If I tune to some of the other channels they are there but the signal strength is too low to view them.

In the bedroom, with coax running to little antenna in attic:

Channel 7 is better but still mostly unwatchable. Channel 9 kept cutting out.
I was also able to receive 23.

No static at all 27-Jun-2014 10:24 PM


Originally Posted by Want Free TV (Post 44635)
In the bedroom, with coax running to little antenna in attic

A proper antenna in the attic should get you all the major channels from DC. (MPT-22 will likely require an outdoor antenna)You will need at least something similar in size to the photo below.

Does what you have in the attic look anything like this? Can you take a pic?

No static at all 28-Jun-2014 12:33 PM

Someone just listed a FREE antenna on Craigslist near you. This will work well for your needs & not too large for an attic install.

No static at all 28-Jun-2014 4:45 PM

FREE antenna = FREE TV = WHAT are you waiting for??????????????

I would pounce on this offer fast before it's gone.

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