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Old 1-Dec-2011, 4:31 PM   #1
jonnybass
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Trees, Buildings, need antenna help! Pics included

Hi, I'm new to OTA and would like a little help selecting my first antenna.

My tvfool report is here:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...ec12d8d824cf94

My situation is as follows:

I'm on the 3rd floor of an apartment building, my balcony faces SSE. I have a few enormous maple trees immediately in front of my balcony which block my line of sight to the 2 clusters of towers I'm trying to receive signal from. Additionally, a few hundred meters beyond the trees, there are a couple of apartment buildings that further block my line of sight. I have included a picture below.

I'm trying to get the local channels located at magnetic 180 and 182 degrees, as well as the buffalo channels located between magnetic 156 and 166 degrees.

I've properly oriented and superimposed the tvfool map on a picture of the view from my balcony below. The two dots in the picture represent the location of the 2 clusters mentioned above.



As you can see, I would be aiming my antenna directly at the trees!

As for the Buffalo channels, I would like to get FOX, ABC, PBS, CBS and NBC.

Can you recommend an antenna, as well as any other suggestions?

Thank you very much!
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Old 1-Dec-2011, 6:09 PM   #2
GroundUrMast
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Can you install an Antennas Direct XG-91? Buffalo signals are going to require the highest gain UHF antenna available. Even then, don't expect reliable reception due to the obstructions, weak signal conditions, adjacent and co-channel interference and strong local signals including FM stations.

Reception of the locals could be doable with an indoor antenna such as the Terk HDTVi or an RCA ANT-751 mounted outside.
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Old 1-Dec-2011, 6:26 PM   #3
jonnybass
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Hi GroundUrMast, thanks for the quick reply!

OK, so the locals are covered. Check.

As for the Buffalo channels...

I took a look at the XG-91, and being almost 8 ft long, to point this beast at Buffalo would require the antenna to stick out way past my railing - I'm certain that the building management would not allow that.

Is there another antenna that would do the same job, but is wide as opposed to long? This way I could have it on my balcony and not stick out over the railing.

Thanks!
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Old 1-Dec-2011, 6:35 PM   #4
GroundUrMast
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You could try an 8-bay panel.

Ex. DB8, U8000, CM-4228, HD8800 - All of which will be less likely to produce the results of the XG-91.
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Old 1-Dec-2011, 6:46 PM   #5
jonnybass
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OK, an 8-bay would fit nicely on my balcony.

A couple of questions...

1) The angle between the locals and Buffalo is about 20 degrees... So if go for the Buffalo channels with an 8-bay (with no success guaranteed) would I need the additional antenna you mentioned earlier to target the locals, or would the 8-bay pick those up "from the side"?

2) Would I need a pre-amp with the 8-bay to boost the weak Buffalo signals?

3) Can you recommend a specific 8-bay model that would give me the best chance of getting the Buffalo channels?
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Old 1-Dec-2011, 7:04 PM   #6
GroundUrMast
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1) The 20 difference is well within the beam width of the typical 8-bay. (Given the strong local signals.)
2) Yes.... BUT, the strong local signals are going to overload most if not all amplifiers. The only amplifies that might tolerate the high signal levels would be a Winegard HDP-269 or an Antennas Direct CPA-19. Even those are going to be pushed very hard. It's like you are trying to take a picture of a faint star that is just a few degrees away from the noonday sun.
3) All of the 8-bays are going to be 1 to 3 dB lower in gain than the XG91.

I don't want to tell you not to try, I just want to be sure you have realistic expectations. (If you can purchase from a vendor with a liberal return policy, go for it.) I think you would be doing extremely well to see one or two of the Buffalo stations.
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Old 2-Dec-2011, 5:51 AM   #7
be236
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There's an RF 14 channel that a HD-8800 might have a better chance of getting than 91XG... The HD-8800s are known to have better low UHF gain than 91XG.
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Old 23-Dec-2011, 6:27 AM   #8
jonnybass
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So, I bought a DB8 antenna.

Here are the results... I am getting:

5.1
19.1
23.1 @ 75% Strength <-- Buffalo
25.1
41.1
47
57.1

The above are all strong and watchable.

29.1 @ 48% <-- Buffalo, Not watchable. This is FOX... the channel I REALLY want, and oh so close!

Here's the interesting thing - I had to aim the DB8 at the building on the right hand side of the photo to achieve the above results. When I pointed directly at Buffalo, I'm getting blocked by either the tree, or the building directly ahead. So instead I'm getting the deflected signals off of the building to the right.

Any suggestions on boosting that deflected 29.1 signal?
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Old 23-Dec-2011, 7:47 AM   #9
GroundUrMast
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Buy the apartment complex and install an XG91 on the roof. (Bad joke, sorry. )

A bit of metal railing can skew the antenna pattern quite a bit. Have you experimented with all of the reasonable variations of antenna location? Any windows with a southern view?

It's also entirely possible that you are getting a reflected or diffracted signal as the result of the building to the south. A little reverse engineering makes me think the complex at the corner of Clark Ave W & Yonge St could be a big reflector.

If you are using no more than 50' of coax, I doubt a preamp will help... If anything, it will add noise and make matters worse.

How about making friends with your upstairs neighbors. Would they like free OTA signal enough to host your antenna on their balcony?
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Old 23-Dec-2011, 9:01 AM   #10
jonnybass
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GroundUrMast, thanks once again for the quick reply, your help is greatly appreciated!

The people in my building are not very friendly, so I don't think sharing my OTA set-up with a tenant on a higher floor will be happening any time soon... I probably have a better shot at buying the building and mounting a XG91 on the roof

I do have a south facing window in the bedroom, so I can try positioning the DB8 in front of that window to see if that makes a difference... I would first need to get a very long cable for that though, as the cable I'm currently running from the antenna to the TV is very short... In fact, the short cable is what has prevented me from trying other positions on the balcony (the cable is fully stretched to the one spot the antenna is sitting now)

I just thought of another factor that may be in play here - I'm using a winegard rc1010 atsc tuner box, as I have an older tv that is only "HD ready". I've read a couple of reports of others getting less channels with this particular tuner... Maybe I should grab a cheapy 19" TV from Walmart to see if the built in tuner does a better job?
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Old 23-Dec-2011, 2:17 PM   #11
Tower Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnybass View Post
Any suggestions on boosting that deflected 29.1 signal?
GUM, I love your analogy: "It's like you are trying to take a picture of a faint star that is just a few degrees away from the noonday sun."

The channel 14 signal may be weak or it may have interference. To determine which it is, you'd need a high overload resistant amplifier such as the Winegard HDP-269 and/or a channel 14 bandpass filter. The CF-7 from Tinlee is one option. http://www.tinlee.com/bandpass_filters.php#CF7
Tinlee is in Toronto.
Here's another option.
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...Hz-%28BPF-U%29
The filter must be installed between the antenna and any preamplifier. You'd have to remove it to use the antenna for other stations.
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Old 23-Dec-2011, 3:54 PM   #12
be236
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How about making yourself a DIY M4 or SBGH antenna for RF 14 (29.1)?

I made those and it works to pull in a similar channel situation (RF 24 for me, 2EDGE, 62 miles away, NM -5dB)...
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