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Old 26-Oct-2017, 4:29 AM   #1
Tango
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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Partial and Inconsistent Reception - Want to Upgrade Antenna

I hope this isn't too long, but I'm new here and I figure I'm better off providing more details than leaving out something that could make a difference.

Here's my report from TV FOOL. I'm in a new house and surrounded mostly by woodlands. From maps and the interactive TV FOOL map, even though the house is about 25' from the top of a small rise, we don't seem to be in any valley or low area.

Here's a breakdown on possible channels from the nearby city that I'd prefer:

Basically, I want to get the top 6 channels listed in the report. (Note that real channels 44 and 42 (virtual 23 & 57) come from the same transmitter - if that matters.) (I think 25 transmits from the same tower, but I'm not sure.) Most of these real channels, 22, 25, 25, 42, & 44, all come from due north of my location. Real channel 12 is (azimuth 22) and is the main channel I want to receive. After that would be the 5 stations from due north. If I can also get real channel 47 (azimuth 32), that would be nice, but it's not necessary. All these stations, except 47 (36 miles away), are 15-16 miles from me.

I started out using a typical flat indoor antenna inside my house on the first floor. It's amplified with power from a USB connector. I could get the 5 channels from due north, but could not get 12, the one I most wanted. I moved up to the 2nd floor and had the same results. Then I moved the antenna outside on the 2nd floor porch (about 15' from where it was inside on the 2nd floor) and was able to get the channels from due north. At this point I could not get 12, the one I really want.

I figured at this point I was probably far enough above ground, the house wasn't in the way, with nothing but trees for about half a mile from me, and maybe I should try a new antenna. I bought anRCA Indoor/Outdoor Amplified Flat Antenna. First I tried it from my porch and could not get channel 12, even trying different directions, including pointing the large flat part of the antenna 22 from North, toward that station's transmitter (I was using a compass for directional reference).

I mounted the RCA antenna to a 2x4 and took it out front, higher up, and used an extension cord so I could power the booster and a TV set for testing and walked partway of the small hill near our house. After several tries, I found I could get the 5 channels from due north and the one I wanted. Once I noted the direction, I want to a spot at the north end of the house, near a good place to mount the antenna, and tested a number of spots. I decided I could mount it there, since I could get all the channels I wanted.

It was late, so I went back in, and, just for grins, tested the simpler and cheaper antenna from the porch again and found, after playing with it, I could get the station I wanted. (At this point I feel if I can get the station I want, the other stations will come in too.) I was able to get all my channels. I'd have stopped there, but that was a poor place to mount an antenna permanently. (There are details to that, but they're not really important.)

The next day I went out to mount the better antenna. In short I found that the coax cable I used to connect it made all the difference and even moving the coax cable 2" could kill reception. I tried it in different positions, pointed in different directions, and rotating the antenna in different directions. It looked like the connection to the F Connector on that cable was iffy. I replaced that cable with a good one and suddenly it was impossible to get channel 12 with that antenna, no matter what I did. The other stations would come in fine, but 12 wouldn't come in at all.

I took the cheap antenna, experimented with it, and found if I put it on my wife's sewing cabinet, just inside the north wall of the house, I got far better reception than I was getting from the more expensive antenna. This is working, but it's a temporary fix. Sometimes reception is good, but it often starts cutting in and out.

I want to be able to mount an antenna permanently for the best reception I can get. The problem is I see a lot of different reviews of antennas. Customers basically give an antenna the highest rating if they get what they want and low ratings if they don't, so those reviews are worthless since we don't know the conditions for testing. When I look over websites that test different models, it's still hard to tell which ones are the best. At this point my guess is that my best bet is a yagi style antenna, since I see a lot of good comments about them or something like what's offered by Clearstream (or Antennas Direct?).

I am hoping to skip over a lot of possible antennas and just go for a good one. If I could be sure a yagi or the Clearstream one above would work, or if another model would work, I'd just spend the money and get it. I'm not sure how much directionality is an issue when I'm dealing with a span of 22 (especially when all the due north stations seem to come in clearly with eas) - or a span of 32 if I try to get the CW station, channel 47.

I've been researching on the web, but I just don't feel like I know enough to know what kind of antenna I can get for the best reception for my situation.
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Old 26-Oct-2017, 2:03 PM   #2
JoeAZ
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 198
Congratulations! You have found out what many others
have as well. Indoor antennas don't work particularly well
and they don't work hardly at all on VHF. The Winegard
7694p and the Clearstream 2 Max come to mind for your
particular situation. Be sure the Clearstream comes with
the VHF dipole kit. Keep your RG6 cable run at 50 feet
or less. Be sure to ground the system. It can improve
reception and prevent a lightening strike.
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Old 26-Oct-2017, 3:30 PM   #3
Tango
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeAZ View Post
Congratulations! You have found out what many others
have as well. Indoor antennas don't work particularly well
and they don't work hardly at all on VHF. The Winegard
7694p and the Clearstream 2 Max come to mind for your
particular situation. Be sure the Clearstream comes with
the VHF dipole kit. Keep your RG6 cable run at 50 feet
or less. Be sure to ground the system. It can improve
reception and prevent a lightening strike.
Are there differences in features between the two antennas that are worth knowing about, or are both pretty much the same in terms of function?

I should stress I don't mind "overbuying" an antenna. If I can be sure the Winegard 7694 will work, great, but if there is doubt and I might be taking it back, I'm okay with going the next model up and just grabbing what will work.

Yes, I was definitely going to ground it! I forgot to mention grounding, since I was working with temporary set-ups.

What about boosters? The cable run may run over 50 feet, but not by much. Most likely it'll enter the house near the crawlspace entrance, where I can easily plug in a signal booster. As it is, my guesstimate is a run of 55-60 feet.

Last edited by Tango; 26-Oct-2017 at 5:24 PM.
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Old 26-Oct-2017, 5:38 PM   #4
ADTech
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,742
The C2MAX automatically includes the dipoles, there is no UHF-only version of the MAX series of ClearStream antennas.

One thing to keep in mind is that WUPV will be moving from UHF 47 to VHF 8 in early 2020. It would be prudent, if you expect you will still be living in this location and still using an antenna, to "overbuy" on VHF now so it's less likely to be an issue when that station switches operating channels.

WUPV is the only station that appears to be in possible need of amplification. All the rest are calculated (sans trees) to be strong enough and an amp is shouldn't bee needed. Of course, I cannot see the fine details of your location, so I'm just going on the data in your plot which is about 60% useful to me.
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Old 26-Oct-2017, 7:16 PM   #5
JoeAZ
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Join Date: Mar 2017
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Ad Tech makes some very good points. In my opinion, the Clearstream
C2Max would be better at UHF with the VHF better with the Winegard
7694p. Either antenna should serve you quite well.
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Old 26-Oct-2017, 8:03 PM   #6
Tango
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeAZ View Post
Ad Tech makes some very good points. In my opinion, the Clearstream
C2Max would be better at UHF with the VHF better with the Winegard
7694p. Either antenna should serve you quite well.
Thanks. Called them and ordered the C2 Max, since he provided a customer service number and the guy on the other end actually knew what he was talking about.

Am I right that if I have an issue with the VHF, or have an issue later when channels are changed, that it's possible to use two antennas and combine them somehow?
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Old 26-Oct-2017, 8:56 PM   #7
ADTech
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Quote:
that it's possible to use two antennas and combine them somehow?
Yes, absolutely. Just add a stronger high-VHF antenna via a UHF/VHF combiner.

This document, the instructions for our combiner, shows a common configuration.
https://www.antennasdirect.com/cmss_...blyInstall.pdf
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Old 27-Oct-2017, 2:03 AM   #8
OTAFAN
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Partial Reception-Upgrade Antenna

If you want to keep it simple with just one antenna, you may want to try the Antennas Direct Element. Good gain for both UHF/VHF in a single LPDA at a fair price.

Of course there are some other antennas with even higher gain in Yagi style at a good price too around the web.

Just a suggestion.

Best viewing
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