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Old 3-Oct-2010, 2:09 AM   #1
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2 antennas in PHL for local, NYC and ABE?

Does this sound OK?

Antennas Direct 91XG UHF
Winegard MS 1000 Metrostar
Eagle Aspen ROTR100 One-Cable Antenna Rotator
Channel Master CM0068DSB Pre-Amp
Channel Master CM3414 Distribution Amplifier
Winegard CC-7870 2-Way TV Antenna Joiner Coupler

Is the MetroStar compatible with the 91XG, pre-amp, and rotor? Or will it muck up the works?

We decided that we want WLVT, channel 39/39.1 and WWOR, channel 38/9.1, and a stronger signal for our local stations, 11 miles away at 273 degrees. WLVT is 42.7 at 330. WWOR is 74.4 at 48.

Sorting through the specs it looks like these might work:

Winegard HD-9032 UHF Prostar 1000
Denny's HD Stacker (Antenna Manufacturer: Winegard) Estimated Range 60 to 80 miles
Antennas Direct V21 High Gain UHF / VHF Antenna Range Up to 65 miles
Antennas Direct 91XG

The Winegard MS 1000 Metrostar for the local stations.

The Eagle-aspen rotor is coax powered. They suggested the CM0068DSB.

Will be on a row house. 30í to the roof line. Mast 10í Chimney mounted. ZIP: 19136. TV's: 3 total. The only being used is a new HD LCD. We have 2 CRT sets with converter boxes.

We have a four way splitter installed. We were told we had the option of bypassing the splitter, and forgoing the distribution amp, or replacing it with the amp.

Run from the antenna to existing splitter is about 60í. About another 30í from the splitter to the active TV set.

We get the local stations pretty good with rabbit ears. However our local PBS station, WHYY, breaks up some. And we get some breakup because of the I-95 traffic helicopters.

WHYY is VHF on channel 12. WPVI, our local ABC affiliate, is also VHF on channel 6. All the other channels we care about, are UHF.

Figuring labor is going to be much of the cost, we started wondering what we could get for our money.

One of the guys at work said he used to be able to get WWOR by pointing his antenna South, towards the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. That is only about 3 miles away. Donít know if thatíll still work with the digital signal. We are not right on the river, maybe a mile away.

I've talked to some local people. Some seem to be honest but don't have a lot of expertise. Other seemed to know a lot, but, said WWOR was a VHF station, and spec'd and "100 mile antenna', that the mfr says is good for 60.
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Old 3-Oct-2010, 3:01 PM   #2
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Old 3-Oct-2010, 5:56 PM   #3
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Hello and welcome!

I have not had the benefit of seeing Tigerbangs response, but here are a few of my own observations:

1) Most of the NYC channels are too weak to be received reliably, so I'm not sure if it will be worth it for you to go after those stations. All of the NY channels are in the "red" and "gray" zones on your TV Fool report.

2) You have a very good selection of channels from Philadelphia alone. Do you even need the channels out of New Jersey and Allentown? I would imagine that a significant amount of programming on these extra out-of-market channels would be a duplication of what you already get in Philly. You can have a very simple antenna setup if you only go after the Philly stations and ignore the rest.

3) You cannot combine dissimilar antennas that overlap the same frequency bands. The MS-1000 covers VHF and UHF. The 91XG covers UHF. If you combine them, the UHF range on these antennas would be electrically connected to each other and working as a strange larger virtual antenna. Chances are that this virtual antenna combo will have screwy performance all around, and it won't be able to pull in any distant stations.

4) You cannot use an amp of any kind. Pre-amps and distribution amps will certainly get overloaded by the signal levels coming from your local stations. You should avoid using any kind of amplification in your setup. When amps overload, they add distortion to the output signal, and this distortion can make things worse rather than better. In the presence of very strong signals, amplification can be a bad thing.

If you can live with just the Philly stations, then all you need is something like the Winegard HD7000R, RG6 coax, and a passive 4-way splitter (if you still need 4 splits).

If you really need stations from multiple directions (Allentown and New Jersey), the most viable way to do this is to use a highly directional antenna and an antenna rotator. You cannot get all the stations at the same time (because the rotator needs to be turned for each channel cluster), so this may be a problem if you plan on doing unattended recording of shows (with a DVR or similar setup). This adds a lot of cost and complexity (much larger antenna, rotator, more cabling, more adjustments) to the setup, so you need to ask yourself if the extra channels are really worth it.

I don't expect you to have much luck with the New York signals. Those signals are very weak, and you cannot use a pre-amp due to your close proximity to the Philadelphia transmitters. Things might have been a little different if you were farther from the Philly stations (far enough so that pre-amps would not get overloaded), but that is not the case here.
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Old 4-Oct-2010, 5:03 AM   #4
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Tigerbangs suggestion was

First of all, forget the MS-1000: it's a non-starter for VHF. Instead, use a

Winegard HD-5030 VHF antenna for your VHF needs: it has real gain, which the MS-1000 doesn't.

The Winegard HD-5030 seems like overkill. I donít need much gain for VHF. As such I feel a smaller VHF antenna would be more appropriate.

Secondly, use a Winegard HDP-269 preamp instead of the 0068: the 0068 will overload severely on the Philly stations: the HDP-269 won't.

That will let me use the UHF for distant and local stations? Otherwise, it seems to me that I need to have 2 separate antennas, with separate leads, a UHF (91XG) antenna/pre-amp/rotor for NYC/ABE stations. A second VHF/UHF (MS-1000 or similar) antenna/shared rotor for local stations? And a A/B switch.

Use a Pico-Macom UVSJ antenna joiner to combine the 2 antenna signals into one coax cable before putting it into the HDP-269.

The AntennasDirect XG-91 is an excellent UHF antenna, and is directional enough to reject the Philly signals enough when aimed at NYC to give you a chance to see the NYC stations.

Do NOT use the Eagle-Aspen rotator: it is way too weak to turn an antenna system of this size! You can try a Channel Master 9521a or an AntennaCraft TDP-2, both of which have way more torque than the Eagle Aspen. yes, both need an additional cable, but are a far superior choice to the Eagle-Aspen for big antenna systems.

New York is going to be a challenge because the difference in signal strength between the Philly stations and the NYC stations. Theoretically, you should be able to see NYC, but, remember, the Philly stations are VERY strong at your location, and may cause the tuner in the TV to close down the AGC circuit in the TV, desensitizing the TV to weak signal. It's not certain, but it is a possibility.

NYC to Philly is 75 mi. For the last 20 mi. from Trenton to Philly, the signal may follow along the Delaware River. When the signal was analog, we could point the antennas toward the Tacony bridge which is about 3 mi. South.

Itís not certain, but possible. Signal strength is a concern. WWOR is rated at Ė2.2 dB. The highest gain antenna is 16.7 dB. That gives me a margin of 14.5 minus any loses.
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Old 4-Oct-2010, 6:36 AM   #5
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I would be worried that even the HDP-269 might get overloaded in this situation. It is a lower gain amp and therefore has more headroom before going into overload than most other amps. However, you are quite close to the Philly antenna farm and you have several channels that are pushing the upper limit of what amps can handle.

FYI, amps always boost the whole spectrum of RF energy going into them. All RF energy going into them (including VHF, UHF, FM and anything in between) gets boosted and sent back out. If the output power exceeds the maximum drive capacity of the electronics, then you have an overload condition.

You have about a dozen TV channels that are hitting you with around -30 dBm, which is pretty strong, and I'm guessing that you'll have another dozen or so FM transmitters nearby that are also pushing this much power. When you add it all up, it's quite a lot of power for any amp to handle.

Even a highly directional antenna like the 91XG has some side and rear lobes in its antenna pattern. If you are relying on the fact that the antenna is pointed away from the Philly transmitters, you will get far less gain out of the antenna, but some of the side lobes might still pick up enough energy to become a problem.

Depending on which way you point the antenna, you may still get the amp overloaded in certain directions. You have a few different transmitter groups of interest, like Allentown (at 342ļ), Hammonton (at 167ļ), and Trenton/NYC (at 59ļ/60ļ). It's hard to say exactly how much Philly signal energy you will get when pointed in these other directions. In my opinion, it's a bit of a gamble to use any kind of amp at all, but there's no way to be certain until you try it.

I'd still go back to the basic question of how badly you need the non-Philly channels? You can have tons of channels with hardly any effort (simple, low cost antenna, no rotator, no amp setup). By adding time, money, and complexity, you can fetch a few more channels out of Allentown and New Jersey (New York still seems like an unlikely stretch). Some of the extra programming might just be duplication of what you already get out of Philly.

If you really wanted to put in a lot of effort to get the New York stations, it will be extremely challenging. There's more than a 60 dB power difference between the near and far stations. You will probably also be up against a lot of co-channel and adjacent channel interference. Supposing that you could overcome these tough technical challenges, most of the programming you get would be a duplication of what you already have. How important is it to have multiple instances of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, MyN, PBS, and ION network channels?

I'm sorry to say that I think the only realistic way to get both Philly and NY channels is to move closer to NY and further away from Philly.
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Old 5-Oct-2010, 2:56 AM   #6
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Sounds too iffy to justify.

The savings will get us faster internet and a DVR.

I'm leaning towards a Winegard MS-1000. We have one of these
array antennas inside and it works well. And it's gotten
good reviews.

Are any of the followng much better?
Antennas Direct V15
Antennas Direct V21
Winegard HD7000R
Winegard HD7210P
Antennacraft AC9
Channel Master CM-3016

Thanks for your input.
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Old 5-Oct-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
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The MS-1000 is an omni antenna. All the others you mentioned are small directional antennas. For just the local Philly stations, the signals are so strong that pretty much any of these antennas will work.

FYI, omni antennas are vulnerable to multipath, which is extra signal bouncing off of tall buildings, trees, or hills in the surrounding areas. Since omni antennas will take in signal from all directions, all of the extra signal paths (a.k.a., ghosts or echoes) can be picked up by the antenna and delivered to the receiver. If a signal has lots of multipath interference on it, the receiver might have a hard time maintaining a lock on the channel.

Multipath is often much worse when antennas are installed indoors because there are many more objects for the signals to bounce off of. It is usually a bad idea to try and install an omni antenna in an indoor environment. Omni antennas work best if they are on the roof in an open environment to minimize the amount of multipath that gets picked up.

Directional antennas a less vulnerable to multipath problems because they are selective about which signals they allow in. They have the ability to "screen out" some of the unwanted multipath signal coming from off-axis directions, thus providing a cleaner signal to your receiver.

It's hard to tell how much multipath is actually in your neighborhood, so I'm not sure how much you should worry about multipath. If you remember seeing "ghosts" on your analog TV stations before the digital transition, then you definitely have multipath issues. If not, or if you don't know, then maybe multipath is a non-issue for your location. You may just have to guess about multipath depending on the number of tall buildings and trees that are near your home.

In your original post, you mentioned the desire to get WLVT (Allentown) and WWOR (New York). Both of these stations are in the "red" zone on your TV Fool report, and none of the antennas you mentioned have enough gain to pick up channels at this level.

Any of the antennas you listed are fine for the Philly stations, but don't expect much in terms of out-of-market stations.

A few other comments about the antennas you listed:

1) The smallest and cheapest of these antennas are going to be the HD7000R and the AC9. Either of these antennas should work and they are both cheaper than the MS-1000.

2) The CM-3016 is a channel 7-69 antenna, so it does not officially support channels 2-6. WPVI is so close and so strong, that it might be picked up anyway, but it might be prone to multipath stability problems if they exist in your area (the CM-3016 probably behaves more like a very low gain omni antenna in the low VHF frequencies).

3) All the other antennas are small full-band directional antennas. They are generally bigger than the HD7000R and AC9 type antennas, but they are still considered to be small to mid-sized antennas. Any of these antennas should work too.

4) BTW, all of the antennas except for the CM-3016 also do a good job of picking up FM radio (FM frequencies are just above channel 6 in the spectrum, so any low-VHF antenna makes a good FM antenna). I don't know if you considered this at all, but you might be able to hook up the same antenna feed to your FM radio as an added bonus.

Bottom line is that if your location is mostly multipath-free, then I think your choice of the MS-1000 is fine as long as you can install it out in the open on the roof, clear of any nearby objects.

If you do have multipath signals bouncing around your neighborhood, then any of the other antennas you listed should do a better job of cleaning up the signal.
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Old 5-Oct-2010, 2:54 PM   #8
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Our neighborhood is a block of flat row houses. No trees above the roofline.

No ghosting in the past.

Thinking of mounting the MS-1000 on a chimney mounted mast.
Its data sheet says it needs to be rotated for best reception. Any experience with them?

Otherwise it may come to down to what's available locally, or fastest/cheapest, if I have to order.

Channel Master lists the CM-3016 for channels 2 thru 69.
Perhaps they revised it.

Now to try to find one locally, someone to install it.
$200 doesn't even come close to paying for a hospital stay.
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Old 13-Nov-2010, 4:58 PM   #9
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Philadelphia- successful installation. 49 channels.

CM-3016 installed and working. Jim Thompson of Advanced Satellite Systems, Berlin, NJ did the installation in 90 minutes.
Said he didnít need the 40 ft. ladder he brought.

Getting stations Iíve never heard of:
6.1, .2, .3
10.1, .2, .3
?8.1, .2, .3, .4, .5, .6
10.1, .2, .3
12.1, .2, .3
17.1, .2
23.1, .2, .3
35.1, .2, .3, .4
?36.1, .3
48.1, .2, .3, .4, .5
52.1, .2, .3
61.1, .2, .3
65.1, .2

49 channels for $260, without a monthly bill.

Donít know about analog stations. Lead goes into a Magnavox (TB100MW9) digital converter box w/o analog pass through.

Follow up: I was at the Sears web site. They had installation available through Crutchfield. Local antenna, attached to one or two TVís is $200. The Channel Master CM-3016 antenna was another $60. The next larger antenna (CM-3018) was $20 more. The installation for the CM-3018 is $300.

Crutchfieldís installation partner is Installs, Inc. The first 2 persons they put me in touch with claimed they could not do the job. They didnít have a 40 foot ladder. The second one rolled out here with 2 trucks, 6 persons at 8:15 AM. Then told me he couldnít do the job, he had to get that 40 foot ladder. Two weeks later, he still didnít have the ladder.

I told Installs and Crutchfield that either they get it installed, or I was cancelling the installation and returning the antenna. I followed up with an email to persons listed on the Installs web site.

Installation completed this morning.
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2 antennas, dual antennas, nyc, philadelphia

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