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Old 6-Aug-2014, 8:46 PM   #1
ultim8
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Cutting the cable in Vermont -- Antenna/Installation advice

Hello,

I'm looking to get ride of cable and use OTA broadcasting to watch my local channels. Then use Netflix, Plex, etc... for everything else I need/want.

First off, I want to say that I'm technical minded (I'm a software developer), but have no experience in this field at all.

Here is my set up:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e1c65413bdf9c0
I live in Essex Junction Vermont. I live in a two story brick condo. There are tall trees all around my house. I am not allowed to have an antenna on my roof.

Here are my antenna placement options:
  • In the attic (but I don't want to have to run a power supply up there)
  • In the house (but the antenna aesthetics need to pass the wife test)
  • On the back deck. The deck is 4 feet off the ground and has 7 foot side walls. The deck is also facing Mt Mansfield... which has the broadcast tower that carries the local channels I care about.. which is about 14.5 miles away). The deck option also has to pass the wife aesthetic test.

The coax cable from the antenna will be going down into the basement and connecting to a HDHomerun Plus.

I already purchased a ChannelMaster SMARTenna 3000hd... but I really have no idea if that is what I need, or where to place it. I have no qualms in returning it if I need to.

I would love some guidance in the proper antenna to buy. If I need an amp. And where to place the antenna.

Thanks!
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Old 6-Aug-2014, 9:50 PM   #2
teleview
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A Simple reception situation.

Install a.

http://www.antennacraft.net.

HBU11K antenna.

Aim the HBU11K antenna at about 90 degree magnetic compass direction.

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A antenna system amplifier is not required.

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Here is how to aim antennas.

http://www.kyes.com/antenna/pointing/pointing.html.

Use a Real and Actual magnetic compass to aim antenna , do not trust a , cell phone , tablet and etc. compass.

As always , the aim and location can be adjusted for best reception.

Most Digital Tuners have a Signal Strength Meter and some Digital Tuners also have a Signal Quality Meter.

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The directions of reception at your location are , East , West North West , South West.

Get the HBU11K antenna , Up in the air so reception is not , obstructed , impeded , blocked , by the , Attic , roof , building in the directions of , East , West North West , South West.

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Here is the Federal Antenna Law that says Yes you can install a Broadcast Tv Antenna , UP High , above the roof and other locations , so as to have Reliable Reception.

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html.

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To Prove Reception connect a New Continues Length of Coax to the HBU11K antenna and run the New Continues Length of Coax through a open door or window direct to 1 Tv.
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Old 6-Aug-2014, 11:38 PM   #3
ADTech
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Since you already bought an antenna, hook it up and see what happens. Place it where the signals might best get to it and aim it at Mt Mainsfield.
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Old 7-Aug-2014, 12:42 AM   #4
ultim8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Since you already bought an antenna, hook it up and see what happens. Place it where the signals might best get to it and aim it at Mt Mainsfield.
Sorry, I missed mentioning that part. I have plugged it in and tried it out. I'm missing at least one channel (Fox) that I would have expected to get.

I want to get the best signal I can... so mid winter (or mid summer) during a huge snow/rain storm I'll still be happy with the choice I made (to cut the cord).

I want to make sure the antenna I choose is the best for my situation. I also want to know that where I put that antenna is the best for my situation. I also want to know my choice of an amp (or no amp) is the correct choice.

Currently I have the ChannelMaster propped up against the upstairs bedroom window for my testing. It'll be coming down by bedtime or I'm sure the wife will toss it out the window :-) It'll be a hassle to get it up to the attic... but I will if that is the best thing to do. It'll also be a hassle to hook it up on the deck... but I will if that is the best thing to do.

I will also return the ChannelMaster and get another antenna if that is the best thing to do.
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Old 7-Aug-2014, 9:56 AM   #5
StephanieS
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Greetings Ultim8,

If you are interested in opinions about if you chose the right antenna, I would offer there are better choices.

I'm not a fan of the 3000HD type of designs due to their limited surface for gathering signals. TV antennas perform best when they have a decent surface area to gather the signal you want receive. This panel antenna is only 14 X 11 - a tiny surface space to gather signals. Second, these type of antennas unlike traditional aerials that can nullify signals that are off the side of the antenna and focus on one direction, the 3000HD type of antenna "takes what's in the air" from all sides - including interference. Lastly, only the strongest signals will be received. This is not an antenna for anything but good to strong signals.

Lucky for you, you have a lovely cluster at magnetic 96 to cover the majority of networks in you area.

If I'd have been in your situation I'd have purchased a Antennacraft HBU11k and mounted outdoors with a clear view to magnetic 96 and would likely through all seasons have reliable reception all of all major networks.

Even PBS WCFE has a good chance of being reliable off the back.


http://www.antennacraft.net/Antennas/AntennasHBU.html

Cheers.

Last edited by StephanieS; 7-Aug-2014 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 7-Aug-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
ultim8
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Hi StephanieS,

Would that antenna be able to be mounted in the attic? If I mount it on my deck, it'll be significantly lower in height.
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Old 7-Aug-2014, 1:02 PM   #7
ultim8
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Also, how is the RCA ANT751 compared to the Antennacraft HBU11k. To me they seem comparable, but the RCA product seems more durable.
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Old 7-Aug-2014, 11:29 PM   #8
StephanieS
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I've never head word one about durability issues with the HBU11. This antenna tends to be recommended over the RCA ANT751 due to its lesser pricepoint. Both antennas are of very similiar design. These antennas have a small footprint and can be mounted with a satellite dish type J Pole mounting bracket. Off the back of the home, they wouldn't be even visible from the street. In your case, if being visible from the front of the home is the dealbreaker. This situation may be passable.

Outside mounting is absolutely preferred. I can't tell you how many times people have posted here because their attic reception is unpredictable. It is unpredictable because: 1) you've weakened the signal 10 - 25% making it pass through your roof. 2) the antenna is all the closer to household interference and 3) signals become unpredictable in attics.

Antennas work best when they have unobstructed and clear pathways to the transmitters they are trying to receive.

The deck option can work provided you have a clear line of sight. Trees are the caution point here. They slice and dice signals. If you are shooting through trees, it is best to get over them or cut them down. Not ideal options either if you have 100 year old trees on the property. If you install and shoot through trees the likelyhood of drop outs and unreliable reception increases greatly - and yes, even with healthy signals.

If you have that line of sight and don't really require WCFE PBS then go for it. WCFE PBS could be a loss due to your home physically being between the antenna and the WCFE transmitter.

Cheers.

Last edited by StephanieS; 7-Aug-2014 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 8-Aug-2014, 12:30 AM   #9
ultim8
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Thanks for the info. There will be trees in the way. There are lots of them and tall enough that the only way I would be able to clear them is if I put the antenna on the rough... and I can't do that as I'm in a condo. Also, since I'm in a condo, cutting down the trees are not an option.

Would it be helpful to get an amp if I know tree's are going to be in the way?
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Old 8-Aug-2014, 8:58 AM   #10
StephanieS
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I am the bearer of bad news here. Amplifiers and preamps don't "fix" signals that are coming through solid objects or tree lines. Let us say you have trouble with WVNY ABC or maybe even a couple of signals. The signal comes and goes or breaks up a lot. Your antenna is properly aimed and you know you don't have a great amount of loss in your coax that would sufficiently weaken reception to the unreliable level. The phenomena here to look at is foliage. It destroys signals. Forum member ADTech has described personally taking readings of signals losing up to 40db of attenuation in thick wet forest. This means that if this where WVNY ABC, with 40db of signal removed, it's at 14db a very weak signal.

The upshot is that if you are going to be aiming through trees you have to be ready for reception to be unreliable. You may get lucky and have no problems. However, trees along with attic installs take reception situations from reasonably predicable to all bets are off. There are just too many factors now on the hyper local level to gauge with a reasonable amount of certainty what your results will be.

My suggestion don't spend a lot of money. Buy the HBU11k and put it on your deck, try it out and see what you get. Make sure a generous return policy is from the business you purchase from.

I would avoid the attic at all costs. Property surroundied by trees + attic install, it's just not worth trying. More can go wrong than right.

Sorry to be a sour puss, but I want to make sure people understand the risks, realities and challenges of their situation.

Cheers.
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Old 8-Aug-2014, 12:55 PM   #11
ultim8
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Thanks Stephanies,

I ended up buying the RCA ANT751. It was on sale for $45 at Amazon. I'm going to try attaching it to the side of my house right near the roof. Hopefully the condo association board (which I'm a part of) doesn't notice.. or care.

In terms of signal quality, when I had the channel master in the second floor bedroom, setup by the window, the signal quality was between 70% and 100% for WCAX-DT, WPTZ-DT, WETK-DT, WVNY-DT. However, WFFF-DT didn't get picked up at all.

Hopefully, with the better, directional antenna, set up outside, pointed directly at those stations, I can get close to 100%.

It does sound like those trees in my way can cause some variability.... I'll have to see.

I'll let you know the results once the antenna comes in the mail and I have time to set it up.
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