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Old 22-Mar-2019, 7:34 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2
Help - I can't find the omni-directional, VHF/UHF, 50 dB gain, tv top antenna...

that lists for under $100 and is on sale for 50% off that will solve all my problems.

Plus, I can't afford, wouldn't want, would probably not be allowed to put up, the 400 foot tower that would get me LOS reception.

So, real world time. We're in the fringe due to good size hills and lots of trees, even though we are only 26 miles from Central Park in NYC. (We are located in NJ, northwest of the city.) The Radar map (attached, 30 foot antenna ht) has us at 2 Edge reception for all channels, mostly courtesy of a 1000' peak about half a mile from the house. The good news is there is a saddle almost in line with the transmitters, and which is about 100 feet higher than our house.

Virtually everything I want to receive is in the same direction, about 145-160 degrees true. Thus I am looking at some directional antennas. I want VHF Hi and UHF. I am looking to get the major broadcast channels, plus a PBS, ION and MyNine (lowest NM = 7.9 dB with a 30 foot antenna).

The house is a two story with a peak height of about 22 feet. I plan on putting the antenna mast at the back left corner, which would then face at an angle over the front center of the house. 25 feet would be a minimum height. Running through different antenna heights yields a theoretical 1 dB gain for every 5 feet of height above 25 feet for low channel numbers, and about 1/2 db gain for higher channel numbers. I am assuming that there isn't much value in going above 30-35 feet antenna height. Trees in the yard are probably a bigger issue. Although, I am tempted by a Lowes top fence rail product which is a 21 foot long swaged 16 ga pipe. I could easily anchor two of those off the gable end of the house on a small concrete pad for about 40 feet of height. Might not be too pretty, though.

One issue is that the PBS channel is at 198 degrees true, so I wonder if a separate VHF and UHF setup would be better as I could align them separately.

I liked the Winegard HD-7084P combined antenna with gains of 7.2, 12 and 14.6 for VHF lo, hi and UHF, and 11 feet in length. However, it is no longer available.

The Channel Master Masterpiece CM-5020 lists "15-20 dB gain" (must be dBi) is only 109 inches long and might be suitable for a combined antenna. I haven't been able to get more detailed information on this and so I am not confident of its performance.

The Yagi HD 8200U has similar performance to the discontinued HD-7084P but it is 14 feet by 9 feet in size which is a negative.

For a two antenna set up, the Clearstream C5 lists a VHF Hi gain of 7.6 dB, and the Yagi 91XG for UHF lists 16.7 dB gain. Both are highly directional. I understand that I would want to separate these by at least 4 feet on the mast to avoid interference.

I am planning on a Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier, and a 4 Port DTV Distribution Amplifier (CDA4) to distribute the signal to three tv's.

So, the big questions: What are the recommendations for specific antennas? How far down the table of channels should I reasonably expect to receive a watchable signal? What am I missing in my set up?

Thank you for your time!

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Old 22-Mar-2019, 8:31 PM   #2
Tower Guy
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Delmar, NY
Posts: 1,190
Th TVfool database is missing some channels. Also, many channels will be moving on or before August 2, 2019. You will get a PBS when aimed at either Empire State Building or the Freedom Tower. You could consider ignoring WNJU.

If you want real channels 2, 3, and 4; consider the Channelmaster 3018 If you think that the programming on those three channels are not needed, the Winegard HD-7698P would be a good choice.

The LNA 200 preamp that you selected has enough gain to overcome the loss of a three way splitter plus about 100’ of coax, so I wouldn’t buy a distribution amp until I knew I needed one.
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Old 29-Mar-2019, 4:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2

Thanks Tower guy for all the good information and suggestions,

I got lucky and finally found detailed information on the CM-5020 antenna. Gains for VHF lo, hi and UHF are 4.5, 10 and 16 dBi (so ~2.4, 7.8 and 13.8 dB respectively). The 15-20 dB most sites were listing is the front to back ratio. At 109 inches long, it should work physically for me.

I am going to give it a try in the attic for grins to see what I can get. Back in the day (2003), we got just one channel with a tv top VHF/UHF antenna (Fox, ch 5), so there is some hope.

Cabling Question

Currently, I am remodeling the second floor, which is the main floor. I have a lot of walls open so it is a great time to run the RG6 through out the house. We cut the cable a year ago, but the existing commercial cable line is still in place - running along the outside of the house and along the walls inside the house. In other words just ugly. It also only goes to one location, the family room. The cable comes to the house on the east gable side. My tv antenna comes into the attic from the west gable end.

I think I see two ways to go with this. One is to run a "home run" from the commercial cable point of entry to the attic and leave it unattached in the event a future home owner wants commercial cable. The commercial cable could then be swapped for the OTA lead to the four way splitter.

The second approach would to run a separate commercial cable network and use duplex Jack F type wall plate connectors ( and label the outputs (OTA and commercial cable) on the wall plates. What I don't know about this approach is that we only ever had one tv with one box/dvr. I am not sure how multi-room tvs and dvrs that I see advertised works cable layout wise. Currently, there is a splitter on the commercial cable at the tv location which the tech added to reduce signal strength. I would think I would put a four way splitter where the commercial cable first comes into the house (it is a convenient location) and run RG6 from there to the target locations. A second option would be run the cable to the family room tv and initiate the other cables from that location.

All of these options are equally feasible physically at this time, but not for much longer. I passed my plumbing, electrical rough in and framing inspections this week. Yay

Recommendations? Is there a how to somewhere on the Internet? Call it a day with the OTA antenna and leave it at that?

Thanks for your time! (and my apologies for the wordiness).

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