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Old 3-Aug-2013, 3:27 AM   #1
rcoop
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In search of roof antenna that will help pick up stations in country

I appreciate any advice that you may have as we currently do not have cable and would love to add local stations. We live a few hours away from several large cities, so we have a variety of stations available. The only problem is that most seem to be 30 to 50 miles away. I think the only way we will get stations is from the roof. There is a rod there from a previous antenna from the 70's. Also, there is a maple tree that is taller then the roof with leaves above it. Does that matter?

Here is my signal analysis http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46aed7e9608413

I have very limited knowledge of antennas, but based upon what I see I think the stations are UHF, so I don't need VHF with my antenna. Is that correct?

Thank you!
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Old 3-Aug-2013, 7:59 AM   #2
GroundUrMast
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The Baltimore stations are the easiest to receive. WBAL & WJZ are broadcast on High-VHF frequencies so I would opt for an antenna that includes support for both UHF and H-VHF reception.

Trees can cause problems with reliable reception, by reflecting and absorbing the signal. Ideally the antenna would mount outdoors, clear of all obstructions such as buildings and vegetation. Can you consider mounting higher than 20', or in a location clear of the tree?

Consider the Winegard HD7698P antenna pointed at Baltimore (about 333 compass) and the Winegard HDP-269 preamp.

An alternate system that would give you access to both Baltimore and some DC stations would be an Antennas Direct DB4e UHF antenna facing about 320 and an Antennacraft Y10713 H-VHF antenna pointed at 341. The Antennacraft 10G221 preamp has separate inputs for the UHF and VHF antennas.
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Old 3-Aug-2013, 5:03 PM   #3
rcoop
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Thank you! We can go a little higher up to 30 feet. Here is the signal analysis for that height. Does it help? I get two more green stations, but they are at 117 and 122 so that is a different direction than my antenna would be pointed.
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46aeeebaf4bc9c

331 degrees actually points away from the maple. We have a few pine trees 70 feet away that might interfere, but they are about 30-40 ft tall and a little to the left of the direct point.

So my next questions are will the maple that is on the backside interfere with the antenna? Or do we only have to worry about the trees in front of the antenna that are 70 feet away? Can we tilt the antenna upward slightly to clear them?

Also, while I will be happy with just Baltimore, I would love to try to get a few D.C. Will the Winegard get a few? I rather have the Baltimore clear then both without the clearest reception.

Also, I forgot to mention that my house is a brick house from the 70's on slab. Rewiring it is virtually impossible. Currently Direct TV and Atlantic Broadband have different access points in our house for their cable/ satellite. We were just planning to hook up from the outside into one of their old feeds. On the run are 3 TVs. The ones that I really care about are 30 ft apart. The other Tv is in our bedroom and another 30 feet away.

Last edited by rcoop; 3-Aug-2013 at 7:23 PM.
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Old 3-Aug-2013, 7:25 PM   #4
GroundUrMast
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Back in the days of analog broadcasting, you would have 'snow' and other types of interference show up in the picture... With digital broadcasting you'll often get a perfect picture or none at all. You either get enough error free data to decode the signal or you don't. If the signal is right on the 'edge', you can expect the video and audio to pixelate or freeze when too many errors are received.

So, if you opt for a single antenna such as the 7698, you may still receive a few of the DC signals even though you aim at Baltimore.

Trees behind the antenna are far less trouble than those the antenna is aimed at. Tilting the antenna up is not likely to help except when dealing with solid terrain. Always fine tune the final aim once you have the system together. Many TVs have some sort of signal meter, if available have a helper at the TV report the signal quality as the antenna aim is adjusted left and right to find the point that gives the best results on the majority of channels.

Satellite system coax is fine for OTA signal distribution as is the coax used by the cable company. Don't mix cable/internet signal on the same coax. Many of the accessories used in a satellite system will need to be removed because they will block OTA frequencies. If disconnected, cable TV splitters are fine for use in an OTA system
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Old 3-Aug-2013, 8:15 PM   #5
rcoop
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What accessories are you talking about for the satellite? Our direct TV is disconnected. We still have a satellite on our roof, but all the boxes etc. are gone as we do not use it any more. Currently we stream Hulu/ Netflix and do not get any over the air stations except for MPT (which freezes) on one tv when plugged into the wall. Not sure if it is our old 1970's rooftop or Atlantic Broadband connection picking it up.

Thank you again for all your help.

Also, I have read a few threads from people who live in a similar area to me and seen the recommendation of the Winegard HD7694P. I do live slightly farther out is that why you recommend the Winegard HD7698P? Just ask because of the cost difference. I rather pay $60 more and get more or clearer stations.

Also do I need an amplifier, I have seen other posts recommend not recommend them. Are their outdoor ones or do they go indoors. It would be a 30 to 40 ft run down to where the cable enters the house from the antenna. Does that matter?
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Old 3-Aug-2013, 8:31 PM   #6
GroundUrMast
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Satellite system parts such as matrix-switches (that made it possible to connect several tuner boxes to the same dish), diplexers, inline amplifiers & power supplies are commonly left in the cable runs of decommissioned systems. Some of those items may even look a bit like a splitter.

The extra gain of a larger antenna gives you a better chance of overcoming the problems caused by the pine trees.

If you are going to connect only one TV using no more than 40' of cable, you might get by with no amplifier. If you're going to connect several TVs, the losses caused by the splitter and additional cable call for an amplifier to ensure usable signal levels at the end of the cable run.

You have a mix of strong and weak signals. The amplifiers I've suggested are capable of handling strong signals without overloading. If you had stronger signals in the air, I would recommended against using an amplifier. Both of the amplifiers I've suggested, mount outside, on the mast at the antenna... Their power is from an indoor unit that sends the power up the coax to the unit on the mast at the antenna.

If I seem to rail against amplifiers in other threads, it's usually because amplifiers are often seen as a substitute for the proper antenna. There seems to be a lack of understanding of what an amplifier can and can't do in an OTA antenna system and how they can actually harm reception when misapplied.
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 3-Aug-2013 at 8:46 PM. Reason: another thought re. amplifiers
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Old 3-Aug-2013, 9:07 PM   #7
rcoop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Consider the Winegard HD7698P antenna pointed at Baltimore (about 333 compass) and the [B
Winegard HDP-269 preamp[/B].
I missed that part. I think the Winegard sounds like the simpler more clear system which is why I asked about that. I missed the preamp part in the first part so I am sorry if you had to be redundant. I am glad that it will work on the roof.

Thank you for explaining everything to me. I will have to have my husband look around and see if he sees any thing left by the cable/ direct tv in the runs. I appreciate your detail. We certainly don't need all 3 tvs to get local channels. We would like the two that are 30 feet away from each other to. I am just curious as this is an older house if it splits and goes to cable outlets that do not have a tv plugged in does that take away from the signal?
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