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Old 25-Nov-2013, 12:10 AM   #1
Flint Ridge
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Starting over with antennas etc. UPDATE 11-29 HELP! 2 antennas different directions

First thanks for the opportunity to post. I've spent days looking her and researching trying to solve my issues once and for all.

The obligatory link to the TV Fool report.
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46ae0e1c99ba4d

Image of same -



A look at WDAF out of KC, which is the objective in the KC long range area.



Current setup





History and ramblings:

Obviously having some reception issues and looking to get it dialed in. Background I have 2 primary towns that provide OTA signals to me. Closest is about 40 60 miles as there are a cluster of broadcasters to the East in the Columbia/Jefferson City, MO areas (UHF and a couple VHF-HB that I would like). (Yes there is the PBS to the ESE, but you can get that with no antenna). Then Kansas City which is West 70 78 miles (all UHF). The original setup was a 50 tower with Winegard 7689 with Winegard preamp hand pointed to Kansas City. Then 6 or so below a Winegard 7697 with Winegard preamp. Then about a 150 160 of RG6 all with crimp fittings into a Winegard signal combiner CC-7870. That went into a cheapie 4-way splitter. Each antenna by itself worked great.

Well, that worked for a while but the issue was the combiner could not seem to figure out which signal to push and if I wanted to get something to work I had to take the combiner out. I then blindly tried and quickly failed at trying to bring some balance to the situation via a Winegard HDA200 24dB Distribution Amplifier (HDA-200). I had bought 2 and ended up trying one on either antenna before the combiner and tried to vary it with NO SUCCESS. So, the combiner and distribution amps sit gathering dust, but are rapidly available if needed.

Meanwhile signals continue to decline. To heck with that, lets take all the antennas off, take the top off the tower and go 10 higher and put everything back again. Signals were better and basically left it at that and have gone to just using KC antenna and the smaller one remains mostly idle. Took a surge somewhere along the way last winter and both pre-amps ate it. So replaced those with advise of somebody that said I needed just a UHF preamp for Columbia. (Wrong now Im out my VHF in that direction).

Oh and I just bought (yeah I know why do I keep tossing $ at this?) multi-port signal amplifiers for each antenna Channel Master. This was to take out the signal sapping cheapie splitter and this has bumped signals up across the board. Only tried on main antenna.
I should also note that my tower is also used for wireless internet. Meaning I lease my tower out to wireless provider and get free wireless internet in the bargain. That uses a fixed receiver and out the top is a dipolar antenna that covers a couple miles out. Hence my antennas are fixed and not able or wanting to go rotor.

This is what I am thinking. Now that I have spent hours researching.
Take off small Winegard to Columbia, place on shelf in shop.
Bring large Winegard VHF/UHF down 6 off the top and spin it around to Columbia/Jefferson City and bring along the preamp to once again push UHF/VHF and that should solve that issue. But how to combine?
On order is a UHF only antenna Antennas Direct 91XG UHF TV Antenna and I intend to bring the UHF only preamp up and hook to that. Now then I can try to set antenna based upon my weakest signal being the 4.1 WDAF. Does this sound good so far? Hoping I get a better overall signal.
Probably need to replace crimp connections with compression? And check for corrosion. But all the exterior connections have the rubber boots on them, so I would like to think that is not the problem.
Any chance of combining these signals successfully after that? Im thinking that KC being UHF boosted only I wont be getting a lot from the backside of the antenna? Then try the combiner again? Is that even possible? Im presuming for more research I am just amusing myself with this thought.
Is there a way to split the UHF/VHF outputs on the lower antenna? If so, could I then use UVSJ to combine the upper and lower UHF antennas and then have the VHF come into the house and then take the UHF and VHF into the combiner at that point?
IF I could get KC to be super reliable then I guess I could forget the 2 VHF-HB signals to the East. And combine two 91XGs going in different directions? Would I face problems as one may be stronger than the other? Or does the 91XG pic up well on the backside as well. The Winegard 7689, does a pretty good job picking up the opposite direction now, would that improved? If so, then maybe combine the below thought or just UVSJ the lower Winegard backwards and take the UHF out and then combine the VHR signal with another UVSJ to bring in the 91XGs UHF.
Are there any long range VHF onlys out there? Winegard HD5030 2-13pro star vhf only? Would that work? Presuming I could find one. Antennacraft by RadioShack Y5-7-13
Not fond of tearing up my entire house trying to get 2 cables to each tv and having an A/B switch.
Oh there are channels to the South, but Im not concerned with those.
Ive attached the TV Fool link. Cant seem to figure out the create a link to the Interactive Map. So I took a picture of it showing main channel of concern and placed basic data below as well as current config.

Last edited by Flint Ridge; 29-Nov-2013 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 25-Nov-2013, 9:06 AM   #2
GroundUrMast
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Quote:
Each antenna by itself worked great.
So, go back to what worked... If it still works well, let's build from that. If not, determine if the antenna is in trouble, or the coax, or connectors, etc. (Rubber boots make great funnels to pour water into the coax. And compression connectors are vastly superior to crimp type.) Have you done this test? http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13646

Quote:
Well, that worked for a while but the issue was the combiner could not seem to figure out which signal to push...
A broadband splitter/combiner is quite unlikely to work in this application. At a minimum, passive filter type combiners need to be considered. Tinlee.com AC-7 for example.

Quote:
Are there any long range VHF only’s out there?
If you prove the Winegard(s) bad, then yes, the Antennacraft Y10713 is the top consumer grade H-VHF option. (The 91XG + Y10713 make the top of the list for consumer grade deep-fringe/DXing off the shelf options.)

Once you have a west antenna working, and an east antenna producing reliable reception, then we can talk about amplifiers and combiners. (You may also want to consider a few alternative options such as a PVR/DVR that can be moved or one that has detachable media (hard-drive).
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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 25-Nov-2013 at 9:16 AM.
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Old 25-Nov-2013, 11:54 AM   #3
Flint Ridge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
So, go back to what worked...

Pulling in the Fox station in KC was always an issue, from time to time. Now just more so... I was "thinking" the 91XG might have more distance & gain on it. Also with the hail damage it is a tad unknown. But other than all the climbing cutting another piece of cable and just stringing through a window and up to the top antenna should not be that bad. I will need for wind and temps to cooperate for that test. Hopefully later this week.


If it still works well, let's build from that. If not, determine if the antenna is in trouble, or the coax, or connectors, etc. (Rubber boots make great funnels to pour water into the coax. And compression connectors are vastly superior to crimp type.) Have you done this test? http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13646

I have not performed that test. Again, this should be straight forward other than climbing. Changing to compression is easy enough. I'm a tad confused on the pre-amp idea. But listening. So on leads >50' with problematic signals they are of little or no use?

A broadband splitter/combiner is quite unlikely to work in this application. At a minimum, passive filter type combiners need to be considered. Tinlee.com AC-7 for example.

Some brain fog starting to clear will have to investigate those and get my head wrapped around them. Also seems that coax needs to be same length from both antennas before connecting? Maybe I am mixing concepts here.


If you prove the Winegard(s) bad, then yes, the Antennacraft Y10713 is the top consumer grade H-VHF option. (The 91XG + Y10713 make the top of the list for consumer grade deep-fringe/DXing off the shelf options.)

I'm not saying the Winegard on the upper is bad, just now I know I am at the outer limits and KC is UHF only, so why not go with the better item and the price is very reasonable. If I can dial it back in strong, then going with VHF only the other direction would be much easier to combine with the UVSF or whatever it is. That sounds far more workable.

Once you have a west antenna working, and an east antenna producing reliable reception, then we can talk about amplifiers and combiners.

Good points, West is where I am going to begin.

(You may also want to consider a few alternative options such as a PVR/DVR that can be moved or one that has detachable media (hard-drive).
I have a couple of computers in the house and CAT5 most everywhere along with a Silicon Dust HomeRun Dual and picked up another one of those. So if all else fails that is my backstop. I could establish a primary incoming signal via antenna run normally and have the secondary signal on a couple computers via HomeRun HD's and just have to go through the hassle of getting those channels that way.

So, hopefully the XG91 arrives on doorstep tomorrow sometime. Sounds like I need baseline data - the channel in question the other day was 43% or so. Still leaning toward upgrading the upper with this, checking with new cable, dialing in solely for the problem channel which is in the center of the Western signals anyway. Then have to revisit preamp or no - I know I can't amp a bad signal into existence, but confused over the 50' statement in the link.

Thanks for your replies and I have been learning a lot and will continue to do so. Interesting stuff.
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Old 25-Nov-2013, 3:27 PM   #4
teleview
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------

Yes is True , many come here for help after throughing big dollars at the reception situation.

--------------------------

Coax boots -->Take In and Hold Water<-- at the connector and connections and coax.

Remove and discard coax boots.

Weather/Water damaged connections and-->coax<-- even if no boots are at the connection , is the number 1 cause of declining reception.

I recommend replace All outside coax and connections with New RG-6 coax with Compression type connectors.
Also replace the weather/water damaged couplers and splitters and outside amplifiers and etc. .

To make double sure weather water does not get into , connectors , connections , coax , wrap with , www.coaxseal.com

Last edited by teleview; 3-Dec-2013 at 1:57 PM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 25-Nov-2013, 5:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
I know I can't amp a bad signal into existence, but confused over the 50' statement in the link.
Great, it sounds like you understand that the preamplifier can not/ does not 'pull' signal from the antenna or air, that it only 'pushes' signal through loss connected to the output side of the amp. 50' of coax has little loss (not more than 3 dB at the upper end of the UHF band) so there's not much work for the amplifier to accomplish on a run shorter than that.

Then, consider that the amplifier makes the signal and noise coming from the antenna stronger by the same amount. For example, a 24 dB gain amp will increase the desired signal 24 dB and it will also increase the power level of the noise received from the antenna by 24 dB. So if this is where it ended, you would have the same relative difference between signal and noise (signal to noise ratio). However, the amplifier will generate some noise and add it to the signal. If the manufacturer of the amp provides the information, you'll see a specification for NF (noise figure) a good consumer grade preamp will have an NF of 3 dB or lower.

Now back to the 50' section of coax... If it has 3 dB of loss, it will make the desired signal 3 dB lower. But, the noise generated inside the tuner doesn't go down. that leaves you with a net noise margin at the tuner 3 dB lower than what was available at the antenna, before the 50' run of coax. (Adding an amp at the antenna overcomes the loss in the coax, but typically adds about 3 dB of noise (or what ever the NF spec really is). So an amp can actually make your net NM worse on shot runs of coax.

The 50' length of test coax is a rough estimate of how long a run is needed before there is any benefit to adding an amplifier.
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Old 25-Nov-2013, 10:15 PM   #6
Flint Ridge
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Ok, new 91XG showed up today a day early. Nice. I did pick up compression fittings for the RG6 cable. Got more than enough to do all exterior connections - I think. Would like to think if done properly I should be able to pull in the signal as it is noted as -7.6db and the antenna is rated well above that, but all the coax and connections etc will erode that.

Is there an advantage to these even indoors - not subject to weather? I'm presuming so. Might need a few more before I am all done.

I will need an amp I "presume" as I have estimated a 150' from tower, through the shop, under the driveway, into basement and to my giant birds nest - good time to redo all of that.

Presume that you will want to know what my signals are "prior" to suggesting pre-amplifier strength. ie 18db or 28db. Amps are of the 28db Winegard variety and less than 1 year old. Had enough go out of the years to know when those are fried.

So I'd like to NOT replace all the cable, but... reality is that other than a giant pain pulling the wire, removing the old from the tower etc it is doable. And helps to ensure I start off in the best possible position. Had a 1000' of it years ago and I can always get more.

On the coaxseal, is that readily available on the street? Suggestions as to sources. I can do the internet, but I would like some serious progress on this over Thanksgiving. Wish I would have picked it up today at a shop 75 miles from here, doubt I'm backtracking for that.

Thanks for the replies and will be taking this step by step as suggested. To me this is fun taking the time to figure out something that is totally out of my comfort zone.
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Old 25-Nov-2013, 10:37 PM   #7
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On the coaxseal is that "equivalent" to most any mastic tape? I see various backing type material and ones without backing.

Or put it all together and just get it in a couple weeks?
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Old 26-Nov-2013, 1:44 AM   #8
Flint Ridge
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Checked lower antenna signal strength and it was not good only a couple channels came in, but they were only the UHF. It has a UHF only booster on it. So, coax may be issue.
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Old 26-Nov-2013, 2:22 AM   #9
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If you have a big box home center close by, look for Scotch brand 2228 stocked with the generic electrical tape offerings. Example: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Scotch-1-...2#.UpQT4CePU4w
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Old 26-Nov-2013, 3:40 AM   #10
Flint Ridge
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Thanks GroundUrMast, I will check tomorrow. Just a Menards & Lowe's locally. But there is an electrical supply house too.

Curious as to the coax and compression fittings. Might be a major part of the problem. Will see over the next few days.

Got the Antennas Direct 91XG together. Instructions a bit weak. Went together fine. Nicked myself on the sharp metal. (This is a good thing - bit of sacrifice - my projects always go better from this point). Must say I'm looking forward to installing it. Lightweight and pretty easy to handle. Beats the giant old Channel Master I had back in the day - must have been 8' wide and 14' long.

Last edited by Flint Ridge; 26-Nov-2013 at 4:59 AM. Reason: antenna together
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Old 26-Nov-2013, 11:36 PM   #11
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Still working on running new coax, cut it way long @175'. Plenty outside now, through the shop, into the sub-basement of the shop and I am staring at the conduit and the 40' run under the drive to the house. And I left an extra wire in there just for pulling something 10 years or so later. I'll take an extra one along on this trip too
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Old 29-Nov-2013, 11:05 PM   #12
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OK, update. Some good, some ugly, plenty of questions. Obviously need “professional help”.

Got the big Winegard down from the top and placed on the lower level pointed for the Eastern stations.

Placed the AntennasDirect 91XG on the top headed to Kansas City (West). I also cheated what I could and went an additional 3’ or so up on the mast given the low wind resistance of this design. Antenna was dialed in to the problematic 4.1 station with a new Antennacraft 10G202 (29db high gain). New RG6 coax, with compression fittings and mastic tape on connections. Overall very positive results.

Maybe you can help explain some of the numbers etc. Before numbers on top, after numbers below. Keep in mind enough time between to not be able to compare directly. Also the directions of antennas were certainly tweaked from previous alignment. I really took the time on 4.1 as that was my weak signal I wanted. Readings are all through a cheapo 3-way splitter for second figures – we will chat about that issue in a bit.

Channel Signal Strength Errors SNR (db) AGC(%) Sorry I can't get the columns to line up no matter the attempts at tabs or spacing
4.1
41% - No Signal 0 – 253 0 32

76-87% - Solid Signal 0 22-27 33
5.1
89 0 – 47 28 32

92-98 0 31 33
9.1
95 0 29 32

98 0 31 33
17.1
67 – Backside East 0 20 46

76-78 0 23 36
22.1
67 – Backside East 0 20 43

70-73 0 20-22 48-49
38.1
81 0 25 33

92 0 29 35
41.1
87 0 26 33

95 0 29-30 34
62.1
95 0 30 32

98 0 32 33
I then tried to set it up as normal configuration and went through my Channel Master powered multi-splitter adds like 4.5db. This lead to all stations taking a huge hit and some went to no signal. So, in comes cheapo splitter. Am I over driving it? Even though I have about 150’ of coax?

Then I was off to working the lower antenna (previously the big Winegard 7689 on top). Brought the previous amp down. Suffice it to say I only got a signal coming through for a brief period of time. Somewhere along the way the power supply on the Winegard preamp died. Had another one replaced it. Basically the time when I was getting some signals was all UHF and no VHF. The other old preamp I thought was UHF only was VHF only. I did not try it.
So, I’m thinking I need a new amp as the only time I got signal for a period of time was bypassing the preamp and just going direct from antenna took out power supply and just used the lead from antenna straight to tv. However, with no VHF ever at all. I think there is something wrong with antenna. Could I lose just one band from a bad balun??? Antenna is more beat up than I thought - hail. Checked to ensure no obvious ground of the antenna to the frame – whatever the fixed leads are running down along the frame. NO visible contact. But the back half of antenna at its best was weak and now seems to be just dead.

After about 4 hours hanging onto an tower – I GAVE UP!

Thanks Grandpa for coming over and calling out the signals as I was aiming.

So, 91XG is working very well, wish 4.1 was a bit better, but it has not dropped at all, so may have nothing to worry with.

What about the powered splitter killing signals, finally too much overdriving? Should I dial down the amp and get something lower powered? Or, simply lose the powered splitter? When I finish I need about 6 different lines out, so…

Is the Winegard dead? Any chance antennas are too close or too far apart (about 9’)? Is the preamp dead?

What if I just went with a VHF only antenna pointed East, go with a Antennacraft Y10713. I’m getting the other UHF Easterly channels good enough at the moment through the backside. Combine and end up with the best of all worlds one lead, clean split no funky trying to switch antennas or smear the signals together? Would the Y10713 need an amp? Mid-level – or just get it the antenna, dial it in, see what the signal is and make the call once real data is presented to you all for input?

Enough questions for one afternoon?

Last edited by Flint Ridge; 29-Nov-2013 at 11:16 PM. Reason: working on formatting for ease of viewing data
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Old 30-Nov-2013, 1:34 AM   #13
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Just checking back...

Seems like I'm leaning toward just adding a Y10713 with a VHF amp I have and combining signals with a UVSJ. Bunch of perplexing questions remaining, but curious as to suggestions. New antenna seems to be holding strong even the backside reception. I know every day is different on the long range stuff.
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Old 30-Nov-2013, 11:54 PM   #14
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Well WDAF finally kept going out on me today during the middle of the day, which I kind of expected.

So, other stations held super strong and even the backside channels were strong enough to remain stable today.

Unfortunately I made a call yesterday when the internet folks were on the tower fixing somethings. Chap offered to put the XG up higher. So, with a 150' of coax I presumed a preamp was needed and made up the drop. So I do not have results for the channel without an amp.

As the channel in question is on the edge would I be making a reasonable gamble if I went with a low noise preamp? Such as a Kiztech for example? What would be your suggested next option? Want to get this figured out as GroundUrMast suggested before I revisit the status of lower antenna going East.

Thanks!
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Old 1-Dec-2013, 12:08 AM   #15
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Sounds like the situation I had with my 91XG. Mid-day is most often the roughest part of the day with my 7.0 db signal. With the RCA preamp, I mitigated it to at worst, a drop out or two with 99% reliability.

Without the preamp, the hours between noon and 6, the 7.0 db signal was below reception threshold and after sunset returned to threshold.

I'll be curious if you pull the preamp, if your results are similar with complete loss of signal during specific dayparts.




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Originally Posted by Flint Ridge View Post
Well WDAF finally kept going out on me today during the middle of the day, which I kind of expected.

So I do not have results for the channel without an amp.
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Old 2-Dec-2013, 9:13 PM   #16
Flint Ridge
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Is all RG11 cable equal? I know it's not, but what should I look for?

Can get a spool of Belden 1523A-010, Duobond RII Shielded rather cheap locally gathering dust. It's PVC coated and I do not see where it is UV rated.

Spent way too much time on here reading stuff from GroundUrMast and Teleview. Must say if you have not read GroundUrMast's, "Application and Misapplication of Amplifiers" http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=1514, then you should, fun and informative.

So, I want to eliminate "noise" as best I can as I work toward solving a channel issue.

And I finally got an actual compass so I need to go double check my hand pointing to best signal.
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Old 2-Dec-2013, 10:25 PM   #17
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Are compasses impacted by metal buildings and various RF type signals?

From the ground it looked like it was off 5 degrees or so. But once up on top, it seemed very close and tweaked it a degree or so. Back on ground and it seems I went the wrong way from what it looks like on the ground.

Is this a task that requires two folks? Seems like the needle was clearly skewed up top, internet antenna signals?? "True North" walked on me various times.
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Old 12-Dec-2013, 10:07 PM   #18
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Well a couple attempts this afternoon.

First back up top, compassed to as close to 290 degrees as I could muster and WDAF would not lock at all - gone. Possible the highpower PBS is overpowering from the backside? With it going dead on to WDAF - PBS is 190 degrees to the rear.

Suggestions filters, notches etc? What is the Tin Lee cost range? Spooks me when I see, just call. They want about $180 or so for their preamp for example.

Got the Y-10-7-13 up around 50' I'd guess 2Edge range going back to the East. Compass dialed into weakest station, homerun to the tv and nothing. No amps, splitters etc. Went for stronger VHF and never got a signal - there may have been some signal but the teenage girl looking at the tv reported no signal lock. Tried a couple old questionable preamps from the bench - now headed to the trash. Oh I did get one UHF in that general area.

So, I need a new amp I presume, but thought the VHF would have had enough to pull something in.
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Old 13-Dec-2013, 12:32 PM   #19
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Are compasses impacted by metal buildings and various RF type signals?
Yes to metal. In a big way. I use a sailboat compass I have laying around, and I have to be careful to stay away from the mast and other ferrous metal items. But if I can get it within a few degrees, I consider it good, and fine tune from there. If there is a lot of metal around, it's probably better to eyeball a landmark (in line with the mast) from the ground, away from everything, and aim for that when on the roof.

And cel phone compasses seem to give a different reading every time I try, so I don't bother with that, other than maybe seeing which way is what in a very crude sense.
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Old 13-Dec-2013, 1:35 PM   #20
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Thanks tom... Yep, later I was like - that was silly, we are discussing magnetic north. Tower metal. Got up there yesterday and eyeballed before getting up there. And held way out to dial in. Too bad the Antennacraft 10G202 is overloading.

Researching lower powered amps that are more tolerant.
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