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Old 15-Sep-2010, 6:38 PM   #1
tbird2340
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Need outdoor antenna advice please.

My current outdoor antenna is busted up and I want to get a new / better one.. I've tried researching and reading up on antennas but all the info makes my head spin.. Roters, amplifiers, etc..

Basically I got on Amazon and looked at some best selling Antennas.. I *think* I narrowed it down to the DB8 or the ClearStream4. Both get excellent reviews but I'm not sure which to get or if there is another option that is cheaper that will work just as good..

We live on the bottom of a hill and I just have my current boom antenna attached to my chimney. I was thinking I could possibly get a longer pole when I get my new antenna to try and get it higher. My current one is about 3'.. But then I thought if I make it too high would the wind be an issue.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I don't care about the listed VHF channels so don't think I need a VHF/UHF antenna.

Thanks

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Old 15-Sep-2010, 7:35 PM   #2
John Candle
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Tv Reception

A wide spread of tv stations from the north to west to channel 45 to the west and a little south. How many tv's will be connected?
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Old 15-Sep-2010, 8:10 PM   #3
tbird2340
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Just one TV..
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Old 15-Sep-2010, 8:33 PM   #4
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Here's the question: you have signals in Youngstown from Youngstown, Cleveland-Akron and Pittsburgh available to you with the right antenna: what do you WANT to see? Obviously, Youngstown is pretty easy: it won't take much of an antenna to get those stations, but if you want Cleveland and/or Pittsburgh, then we are going to need a BIG antenna on the roof along with a rotator and a high-input preamplifier. The question is how far do you want to go with an antenna?
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Old 15-Sep-2010, 8:38 PM   #5
Dave Loudin
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What are you looking to do? You're practically next door to the Youngstown stations, plus you have Pittsburgh to the SE, Wheeling/Steubenville to the S, and Akron to the W. Going after anything but Youngstown will require a large outdoor antenna, like a Winegard HD7698P. Anything beyond Pittsburgh will require a rotator to move the antenna aim. If you'd be happy with just the locals, then get a $4 bow-tie from Radio Shack.

Before committing to the outdoor antenna, please rerun your report for EXACT address (recommend using the maps option in order to be able to place the receive marker right over your location) and proposed antenna height.
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Old 15-Sep-2010, 8:57 PM   #6
tbird2340
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Exact Address Report

I'm basically looking to get as many stations as I can within reason.. I don't really want to spend more then $100 - $200 nor do I want a 400ft mast.. I would love to get KDKA so I can watch the Steelers when the Clowns play at the same time..

Also, would I need a rotator if I got a uni-directional antenna like the DB4/8 or the ClearStream4?

Currently I have an older boom antenna that I got from my inlaws because they don't use OTA. I have no idea what the make / model is but it's one that has the sides fold in which some have broken off. It's *similar* to
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 1:07 AM   #7
Dave Loudin
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Before we're finished, you need to rerun your report and vary the antenna height at the point where you can drag the receive marker on the map. Every time you click away from the box, the predictions update. What you're looking for is a big increase in the NMs of the Pittsburgh and Akron/Cleveland stations.

Based on your current data, I'd recommend a Winegard HD7698P aimed at Pittsburgh. If you don't care about WPCW (CW) and WQED (PBS), you can use an Antennas Direct XG-91 aimed at Pittsburgh. Either way, the locals are strong enough to come in off-axis.

IF, and ONLY if the NMs improve to at least near zero for the Akron/Cleveland stations, I would use a rotator with the Winegard antenna.

Good luck!
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 2:23 AM   #8
tbird2340
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Loudin View Post
Before we're finished, you need to rerun your report and vary the antenna height at the point where you can drag the receive marker on the map. Every time you click away from the box, the predictions update. What you're looking for is a big increase in the NMs of the Pittsburgh and Akron/Cleveland stations.

Based on your current data, I'd recommend a Winegard HD7698P aimed at Pittsburgh. If you don't care about WPCW (CW) and WQED (PBS), you can use an Antennas Direct XG-91 aimed at Pittsburgh. Either way, the locals are strong enough to come in off-axis.

IF, and ONLY if the NMs improve to at least near zero for the Akron/Cleveland stations, I would use a rotator with the Winegard antenna.

Good luck!
Ok, so here is a more exact reading. I zoomed in all the way and clicked right on my chimney.. I then put the antenna height at 25'.. I have a two story house so I'm assuming that is about the height the antenna will be it..

I don't think the Cleveland/Akron stations are going to be possible. Also, why did you say if I don't care about WPCW (CW)? Isn't that really close to KDKA which is the channel I'm most interested in?

Can you tell me why you suggest uni-directional antennas instead of the two that I was initially thinking about? I don't doubt your knowledge, I'm just trying to get a better understanding..

Thanks again for the help! Those tvfool tools are amazing! Would be even better if you could select the antenna you want and see the results!
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 2:55 AM   #9
Dave Loudin
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WPCW and WQED broadcast on high-VHF channels (look at the real channel coumn). If they are not important to you, you do not need an antenna that picks up that band. The Winegard covers channels 7-51 and the Antennas Direct covers 14-51.

All antennas have some sensitivity in many directions besides the main one. Your local stations are very strong, to the point that a paper clip would work. So, despite the relative insensitivity off-axis, you will get reception without having to turn the antenna
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 3:14 AM   #10
tbird2340
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So am I basically buying this antenna to just get KDKA? WPXI-DT is also at 139* but only has 0.9 NM. WTOV-DT is channel 9 so that means it's VHF? WPCP-CD is at 94* so I'm not sure if I would get that if I pointed it directly at 138*..

Also, what is the best way to get an exact pointing at a specific degree? IE: 138*?
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 11:31 AM   #11
Dave Loudin
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You would be buying the antenna for all the stations in the yellow/red. Look at the real channel column. Those are the actual channels stations are broadcasting on. Between your locals and the Pgh. stations, only two broadcast on VHF. You can buy a UHF-only antenna and not worry about those, or you can buy a VHF/UHF antenna and get those - your choice. By aiming at Pgh., you probably will not get WPCP and you will definitely not get WTOV. The only solution would be to buy a rotator, and I don't think you want to do that for only two channels.

To help you sight the antenna's aim, go back to the maps page and turn on the lines option. Zoom in on your house and you will see landmarks you can use to aim on.
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 1:48 PM   #12
tbird2340
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I don't see an option to turn on lines..

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Old 16-Sep-2010, 2:21 PM   #13
Dave Loudin
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I just brought up the page via IE on WinXP and there is a tick box beside the radio button selections for display options labelled "show lines to each transmitter." I don't know why you don't have that.
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 5:10 PM   #14
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tbird2340,

It looks like you are either using Chrome or Safari as your web browser.

Unfortunately, there is a pretty nasty flaw in the way Chrome and Safari (or any web browser derived from the Webkit project) handle vector drawing in the Google Maps API. Whenever the vector draw feature is enabled in one of these browsers, the memory consumption of the browser suddenly climbs by hundreds of megabytes. On some versions of the browsers or on systems with limited RAM, this is enough to crash the browser or bring the system to a slow crawl.

The problem seems to be related to the way the Javascript engine allocates unnecessarily large buffers to draw a simple line over the map and then also a failure of the garbage collection system to free that memory when the line drawing is complete. Some of these problems reside in the specific Javascript engines in Chrome (V8) and Safari (Nitro/SquirrelFish), while others stem from memory leak issues in the Webkit core itself.

To avoid crashing people's browsers or causing system-wide slowdowns (due to high memory consumption), we've had to disable the vector drawing option on Webkit derived browsers. If these memory problems get fixed, then we will be able re-enable this option in the future.

In the meantime, I would suggest using a non-Webkit based browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc.) to experiment with the "show lines" feature.
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 6:57 PM   #15
Dave Loudin
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Thanks for that information! By the way, the "show lines" feature works on an iPad.
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Old 16-Sep-2010, 8:29 PM   #16
andy.s.lee
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Originally Posted by Dave Loudin View Post
Thanks for that information! By the way, the "show lines" feature works on an iPad.
That's pretty interesting. That must mean they've modified the user agent string sent back to the http server.

Can you tell if the browser's memory consumption goes up when the "show lines" option is turned on?

I really hope they have fixed or will fix this bug soon because line drawing is such a simple task yet enabling this feature can be crippling to the browser or to the computer as a whole.

Best regards,
Andy
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Old 5-Oct-2010, 6:59 PM   #17
tbird2340
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OK, so I got the 91XG and it works pretty good. KDKA comes in perfect! One issue I'm having though is with PBS (45.1).. It comes in but frequently goes completely out (no signal) for seconds and then comes back..

The db is around 27 so it's weird that it's cutting out. It's 16.5 miles from me and it's at 245*. KDKA is 47.5 miles from me and it's at 138* and only around 5db and it comes in perfect.. Is it because I'm pointing directly at KDKA (138*)?

Any way to fix this? We've never had PBS tune in and now that I get it (somewhat) there are a lot of shows my kids like.

Thanks
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Old 5-Oct-2010, 8:23 PM   #18
ADTech
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Is it because I'm pointing directly at KDKA (138*)?
Perhaps. It depends on WHICH WNEO signal you're getting.

At about 90 off boresite and assuming you're getting WNEO's signal from their primary tower, most Yagi-style antennas such as the 91XG are about as blind as a bat by design.

TVFool does show that WNEO operates a channel 44 translator overlooking Youngstown. If you're getting that one, it's coming in off the back of the 91XG and may be suffering severe degradation.

Can you check to see which WNEO you're getting?
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Old 5-Oct-2010, 8:28 PM   #19
tbird2340
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How do I check which one I'm getting? I tune my TV to 45.1 so I just assumed it was the WNEO-DT that is at 245*.
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Old 6-Oct-2010, 3:35 PM   #20
Dave Loudin
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Two ideas: 1) try entering the RF channel directly (works on my old Samsung tuner and my cheap "converter box"). If you enter 44 and get 45.1, then you'll know.

2) enter a manual channel scan mode and try the real RF channels for WNEO.
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