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Old 14-Jul-2011, 12:38 AM   #22
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 101
Originally Posted by SVTarHeel View Post
I also live in Winston-Salem, across town from the OP, so I thought I would just add to this post in case others ran across it in their search for local info.

We recently switched from TWC to DirecTV. I use the OTA signal as a backup in the event of storm interference and would potentially like to add a better antenna than the inexpensive Radio Shack DTV rabbit ears I currently have (adjustable rabbit ears with a loop). Since the DTV switchover, this antenna has generally been pretty good at getting our local stations.

Also, I recently purchased a DirecTV OTA tuner so I can add the digital subchannels to the list of 'DVR-able' stations. Currently, I have split the signal from the antenna so that it goes into both the TV's tuner and the DirecTV OTA tuner. Currently, the antenna sits beside the TV - the distance to the TV is < 3' and the distance to the OTA tuner is about the same.

When I did the original scan for the DirecTV receiver (during the overnight hours), it missed about half of the available channels. I rescanned the next morning, and it got most of the missed ones. I tried later in the day and it found everything it should have. When I tried recording a movie from a local station's subchannel, there were a lot of lost signal issues during the recording. I'm wondering if I could solve that problem with an amplifier of some type or if the issue is likely due more to the inexpensive antenna.

Let me also say that I'm firmly in the 'something for nothing' camp - I'd like to make OTA into a usable backup for us, but, since it's not our primary reception option, I'm hesitant to spend $50 for an antenna, $50 for an amp, etc., just to add redundancy that will not be used that often.

Here's the link to my street level report:

As an additional option, we do still have our ancient (~40 year old) antenna mounted to the chimney. We got cable in the mid-70s but never removed the antenna. (I know nothing about it other than the rotor control box says Alliance.) I will readily confess my ignorance as to whether or not that could be used as a better solution to this whole deal.

So, the bottom line is: would you have any thoughts as to my best bet? The way I see it, my options in order of increasing cost would be:
  • add an amplifier (before the splitter) to the existing rabbit ears setup
  • go with a better antenna
  • use a better antenna and an amp

(Or maybe bypass all that and use the existing mounted antenna somehow.)

Thanks in advance for any help.
I am not so sure about you using your original wiring. Most likely, it is all corroded out. Also many years ago, the ribbon style wiring was used, which is completely outdated now. If you were going to try to use that outdoor antenna, I would suggest you at least replace your wiring with RG-6 coax. Although, as old as that outdoor antenna is, it might need replacing as well.

If you don't want to get into all of that (because you only want OTA as a backup), you could try an indoor antenna such as one of the ClearStream Micron Series of indoor antennas. The better ones have a range up to 35 miles.

I also live in Winston-Salem and I can tell you from experience, don't expect great results from WGPX (our ION affiliate). Their tower is NE of GSO and has a very weak signal coming into Winston. The other stations seem to do well, although WGHP can also be a little weak in some locations. The only way you will know for sure is to try an antenna out at your specific location.

As I am sure you are aware, an outdoor or attic mounted antenna will do best. For example, I have an Antennas Direct Clearstream 4 mounted in my attic. I get all of the locals (except WGPX). I am also able to get the Charlotte stations at my location. Below is a link to my tvfool report:

PS As we all know--your specific location has everything to do with your results. Here in Winston, I believe one of the worst locations is in the Oldtown area because it sits at the bottom of a hill. Best wishes with your decision.

Last edited by scott784; 15-Jul-2011 at 10:38 PM.
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