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Old 18-Apr-2015, 3:46 AM   #1
Heliophobe
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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Cape Cod, MA UHF antenna advice

I am finally set to cut the cable. Just looking for antenna advice. Been lurking here on and off for a year or so.

Did the interactive map and have a report here:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f0cb65a9eac5

I am looking to get UHF Boston ota signals which are roughly 61 miles away at 326. Only really care about CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox. Anything else is a bonus, including the Providence, RI signals at 298.

I currently pick those up with a cheap GE attic antenna my brother gave me. All crystal clear save WNAC channel 12 which has slight signal issues. And it is pointed at Boston since the crawl space I put it in doesnt allow it to point to Providence.

This is the cheap antenna btw:
http://www.walmart.com/msharbor/ip/G...tenna/20976617

I will be putting a roof mount antenna at 25' and I dont want 2 antenna up there. I will have two TVs hooked up. I was originally thinking of getting a winegard HD8800. Then thinking of an antennas direct DB8e but hoping a DB8 might be good enough. Also looking at a CM 4228HD. Assuming a preamp will be required as well.

Anyone have experience with uhf antenna for 60 + mile away signals?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Heliophobe; 18-Apr-2015 at 3:49 AM.
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Old 21-Apr-2015, 8:55 AM   #2
StephanieS
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Greetings Heliophobe,

I work some signals at 55 miles that are low powered with my set up. My weakest is about 7.6 db.

Your plot isn't too kind in regards to Boston. I would almost suggest you run additional signal plot heights of 50' and 100'. The goal with these additional heights is to determine if Boston signals increase in strength. As it stands at 25', your results at best would be intermittent because you are on that ragged edge of usable signal for that market

If I were to suggest an easier option - Providence is much more accessible. At 25' ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC have adequate signal for reliable reception. I might use an Antennacraft HBU33 for this application installed on the roof free of obstructions. I would expect all with the exception of PBS WSBE at magnetic heading 314/320 to be received when pointing that way.

Now, back to Boston. Until I see your additional plots, I'm reluctant to recommend any steps at 25' due to poor signal access. The benefit may not be there. Perhaps you can as a test before you commit yourself any deeper to Boston, buy the HBU33 and test it to magnetic 340 before locking it down to magnetic 315 so you see what you get. If you are close to the water, and part of Boston's path is over water it may work to your advantage. You'll just have to test out various scenarios. Right now though, the most concrete and likely reliable market is Providence. The HBU33 is recommended for it's support of high-VHF signals which you need for Providence.

A preamp for Boston *might* help, but keep in mind preamps just overcome losses in coax. If you signal at the antenna is at the ragged edge of reception with antenna gain applied, the only thing the preamp will do is prevent signal loss further down the coax. In Boston's case, as you've noted you'll likely need probably the highest horsepower UHF antenna you can lay your hands on to have a chance. UHF television signals further are less prone to "travel" well due to their shorter wavelengths.

At this point, after we see the additional plots its about cost benefit ratio. One might say Boston is going to be very difficult. The question becomes how much do you want to spend to try for it? In my part of the country I have the benefit of line of sight and elevation for my weaker signals.

I hate to not be optimistic, but Providence can be done with both TVs for a modest sum of money +/- 100 bucks. Boston will require more extreme measures and perhaps even a tower. If two antennas are a deal breaker, choosing the option that gives the higher chance of success is the one to go with and that's Providence.

Cheers.

Last edited by StephanieS; 21-Apr-2015 at 9:32 AM.
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Old 21-Apr-2015, 12:40 PM   #3
Heliophobe
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Thank you for responding. You gave me a whole lot to think about for sure. The cheap antenna in the grabs Providence right now. Almost don't need to do anything for Providence save reposition it.

For my wife Boston news and her familiar reporters are the goal so that's what I have to aim for. If I need to use the cheap antenna for one TV and the new antenna for our living room TV only I can do that.

Weak signals do worry me but there aren't many obstructions to deal with. Curvature of the earth mostly if being optomistic.

The additional plots are below:

25
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f0cb65a9eac5

50
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f02c42fbda6d

75'
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f0bf8cbb0b1b

100
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f08877116c64
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Old 21-Apr-2015, 1:17 PM   #4
StephanieS
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Thanks for the updated TVfool plots. Even at 100' your improvement isn't that significant. Its enough that Boston's WBZ, WCVB, WGBH and a few others get beyond single digit strengths. This translates to optimistically reliable reception is possible. At 75' the same signals get to about about 10db signal strength. Thus, at a minimum Boston would require a 75' tower with a DB8e on it for partial market coverage.

You could as a test, since Boston is UHF only, purchase a DB8e from a vendor with a generous return policy and test mount it on your roof as high as you can get it, point it at Boston and see what you get. Sometimes TVfool plots are dead on, sometimes they pessimistic, other times they are optimistic. There are a multitude of localized factors which the database cannot account for.

Providence is already working with your existing unit, you might
move that antenna around slightly to test if that remedies the occasional issue with real channel 12. If not, relocating outside ought would be the next step.

Good luck.
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Old 21-Apr-2015, 3:09 PM   #5
rabbit73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephanieS View Post
Perhaps you can as a test before you commit yourself any deeper to Boston, buy the HBU33 and test it to magnetic 340 before locking it down to magnetic 315 so you see what you get.
I like that idea. The HBU33 is a good compromise between gain and beamwidth. If aimed at 340 magnetic, Providence might still be OK; if not, between the two favoring Boston. The half-power beamwidth for VHF-High is 56 degrees; for UHF it is 52 degrees:
http://manuals.solidsignal.com/HBU33_specs_2014.pdf



Quote:
A preamp for Boston *might* help, but keep in mind preamps just overcome losses in coax. If you signal at the antenna is at the ragged edge of reception with antenna gain applied, the only thing the preamp will do is prevent signal loss further down the coax.
Not exactly true. A preamp does make the signals stronger before the coax loss; signals lost can't be recovered. But, a preamp also inproves the system NF (Noise Figure) because it is at the beginning of the system and its NF is usually much better than the NF of the tuner (average 7 dB).
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/files/ota

scroll down to, and click on
File 10
COMPARE System Noise Figures
With and Without Preamps


which should take you to:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/file...=0&w=1&s=0&z=4

Try the HBU33 without a preamp on one TV first.
Quote:
For my wife Boston news and her familiar reporters are the goal so that's what I have to aim for. If I need to use the cheap antenna for one TV and the new antenna for our living room TV only I can do that.
Good idea. If the HBU33 doesn't have enough gain for Boston, even with a preamp, you can upgrade to an antenna with more gain.

If you do use a preamp, you will probably need an FM trap, because WCIB is very strong at -13 dBm.



The coax should be grounded with a grounding block that is connected to the house electrical system ground with 10 gauge copper wire for electrical safety. For further compliance with the electrical code (NEC), the mast should also be grounded in a similar manner to drain any buildup of static charge, but the system will not survive a direct strike.
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File Type: jpg HeliophobeMap_1.JPG (159.0 KB, 1178 views)
File Type: jpg Heliophobe FM est_1.jpg (168.3 KB, 1227 views)
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Last edited by rabbit73; 21-Apr-2015 at 5:07 PM.
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Old 21-Apr-2015, 5:29 PM   #6
Heliophobe
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Providence works now with the cheapo antenna. Makes all the sense in the world to focus on that market. Unfortunately I am not dealing with logic but desire. Happy wife happy life.

Surprisingly I found the db8e at Walmart cheaper than most places. And the wife's stepfather has a discount. Can't beat Walmart for a return policy.

Going to just go for broke and see what happens. And thanks for the grounding advice rabbit. Was an electrician in a former life. Got everything I need collecting dust in the basement.

Will let you know how things work out.
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Old 17-May-2015, 2:53 AM   #7
Heliophobe
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Cut the cord today. Still haven't gotten a new antenna. Talked the wife into trying out just providence channels. We are getting 17 total with the cheapo ge antenna so not too bad.

We have Netflix and trying out HuluPlus and slingtv as well. got a free roku stick from sling btw.

Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 6-Jan-2016, 12:32 AM   #8
Heliophobe
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Update:

I decided to try a db8e on the roof just to satisfy curiousity. As expected and suggested, it didn't work well at all for boston. It actually got fewer channels than the attic mount ge antenna. Took it down and returned it.

Since I now had a mast on the roof I decided to buy another cheap ge antenna, this time an outdoor antenna, to get providence for another tv.

Barely aimed it and......it got 41 channels. Boston and providence. All crystal clear with 2 exceptions.

Go figure.
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Old 6-Jan-2016, 12:58 AM   #9
StephanieS
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Good to hear.

Out of curiosity, which Boston signals are reliable?

Cheers.
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Old 6-Jan-2016, 10:57 PM   #10
Heliophobe
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Getting everything on the report down to 62.1. Fox 25.1 and NBC 7.1 are the only Boston channels to have issues occasionally. In early afternoon for 7.1 and random for 25.1. 58.3, 58.4, 58.5 and 58.6 are also spotty at times. Everything else clear with normal signal strength.
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Old 6-Jan-2016, 11:24 PM   #11
Heliophobe
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BTW it is a ge outdoor antenna model 30741. Can barely even find info on it online.
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Old 6-Jan-2016, 11:53 PM   #12
StephanieS
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For Boston, that's favorable with your existing antenna. Anything around a signal strength of 7db and lower is susceptible to atmospheric and weather conditions causing the signal to fall at times below the digital cliff resulting in loss of reception.

I have a 7db signal which is the secondary CBS in my market. Its directional translator is 55 miles out and 1000 watts which of only 400 watts is heading my way. With my Antennas Direct 91XG on my large TV I see it 99% of the time, however different TV tuners can behave differently. My 24" sharp in my study only sees KLEW 50% of the time.

Coming and going can often be the reality of signal digit signal strengths.

Cheers.
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Old 10-Jan-2016, 12:10 AM   #13
Heliophobe
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I don't quite get why it is working but I'll take it. In the short time it has been up we have had rain, snow, sleet, sun, clouds, fog, clear skies and overcast. Temps in the teens to the 60's.

I spent almost a year researching cutting the cord and antennas. That failed me. Spur of the moment purchase I expected to have to return is working.

My new years resolution is to drink more and think less.
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Old 10-Jan-2016, 2:54 AM   #14
shoman94
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Interesting.... I tried that antenna today and it was worse than the Clearstream 2V for my situation.
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