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Gramma Eileen 26-Sep-2010 11:56 PM

Oh to have TV again
Here's my info link:

I am up in the northern California mountains east of Sacramento - 55 miles from the major networks' transmitters. I am at 3,000 ft with oak and pine trees (a couple of which I may have to have cut back or down). My antenna is up 20 feet on a mast and has 50 ft of coaxial cable to a splitter, 6 ft to the 1st TV and 50 ft to the 2nd. I'll be moving my antenna location away from the tree that has overgrown it to a better location (info link).

Since the changeover to digital, with a converter box, I only receive the VHS-Hi channels 9 (PBS) and 10 (ABC) and not all the time because my current antenna has gotten beaten up by a tree. I'd also like to get 25 (CBS), 35 (NBC) and 40 (FOX). In the "olden days" I used to get all the network channels from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay areas. I've been saving up to get this done (what I would have been spending on satellite TV) and can get all the items listed below if I have to.

I definitely need to get a new antenna. I have spent hours and hours reading up on antennas and have figured out virtually nothing. Do I get a Winegard HD8200U 110", 7-13 dB gain, or a Channel Master CM 2020 90", 6.5-13 dB gain, or a totally different one like the 8-bay kind such as the Channel Master CM-4228HD?

I'm not sure I understand about the NM(dB) levels - is it possible to get a channel with a signal listed with a negative NM(dB) level (say a -2.5) at the antenna location by using an antenna with a high enough gain?

Pre-amplifiers: I'm pretty sure I need one and have been looking at either the Winegard AP-8700, or possibly the Channel Master CM-7777 which has a higher gain and is supposed to be for fringe areas.

Rotator: The magnetic headings I need are only three degrees apart (227ᶛ to 229ᶛ) but the transmitters are 55 miles away - so, do I need to buy a rotator? I don't know how well they hold up in bad weather. I'm up at the snowline and only get, at the most, 18" of snow now and then which melts off within days, but sometimes get pretty high winds. I'm hoping I don't need one, but if I do, I'd appreciate some recommendations.

I've been reading about all this off and on for weeks (and revising this request for days) trying to decide what I should ask and get and my head is going in circles. I have to get my sons to come visit to take down the current antenna, make the changes, and put it back up. I want to get everything they will need together to improve my reception before they come since I'm 20 miles from town.

Thanks for any help you can give me. I will truly appreciate it.

Gramma Eileen

Tigerbangs 27-Sep-2010 12:59 AM

Neither of the antennas that you have suggested is ideal for your situation: most of the stations that you are looking for are on UHF: only PBS and ABC are on VHF: the rest are on UHF. All are very weak signals at your location. The Sacremento stations appear to be the best bet for you to see any reception, and I suggest using a 2 antenna solution, an AntennasDirect XG-91 UHF antenna along with a Winegard YA-1713 VHF high-band VHF antenna mounted on the same mast. The XG-91 should be mounted 4' above the YA-1713 on the mast. Connect the two antennas together using a Channel Master Titan 7777 preamplifier, which has separate VHF and UHF inputs, allowing you to easily join the signals from the two antennas. This combination is superior to any single all-channel antenna that you can buy, and is actually less expensive than the Winegard HD-8200 or Channel Master Crossfire 3671. You can add a rotator if you want to try for the stations from Chico and San Francisco, if you like, but I expect that you'll have the best results with Sacramento.

Gramma Eileen 27-Sep-2010 5:28 AM

I can see that it makes more sense to have the two antennas you recommend and then with the pre-amp I should be all set. The Sacramento stations are all I need so I'll forget the rotator.

Thanks ever so much for your help.

John Candle 27-Sep-2010 9:44 AM

Tv Reception
Remove any obstructions to the Tv transmissions , if the trees are blocking the signal then cut them down.

Gramma Eileen 11-Oct-2010 4:01 AM

One more question
Have my fingers crossed that more channels will soon be coming my way. I almost have everything I need (except for some short cables to go from the antennas to the preamplifier because I haven't determined what lengths I need). I have the antennas assembled, and have one more question before all is assembled on the mast.

Can I mount the Titan 7777 preamplifier between the two antennas (with the XG-91 4' above the YA-1713 like you said) or does it have to go below the YA-1713? - I was just thinking that if it could go between, it would shorten the length of cable needed between the XG-91 and the preamplifier. Please let me know.

Tigerbangs 11-Oct-2010 3:37 PM

It's permissible to mount the preamp in between the two antennas, if you like, just be sure that the antennas are a minimum of 4' apart vertically on the same mast. I also recommend tilting the XG-91 UP in the front about 15 degrees to help overcome the refraction effects of the hills.

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