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Old 14-Oct-2014, 8:56 PM   #1
Want Free TV
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Question Fairfax, Virginia - Need Antenna Recommendation

I posted a couple of months ago and wanted advice for an attic antenna. We never followed up but that's OK because now it looks like we can put an antenna on the roof.

Here's our TV Fool Report:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...d24322f956bdb6

Can the experts recommend a roof top antenna? The height I used is the top of the roof + 5 feet. The numbers don't change much if I add 10 feet.

We'd like to get all the stations in green, plus WMPT 42 (22.1) in yellow.

The stations in red would be nice but that's probably a more expensive antenna and we could live without them. Maybe you can give one recommendation for everything through WMPT and then another for those plus the ones in red so we can compare costs.

Any antenna will have to look through the tops of trees that are not on our property. Nothing we can do about that.
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Old 14-Oct-2014, 9:17 PM   #2
tonyp063
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You need both hi-vhf & uhf support in an antenna.

I would go with something akin to an AntennaCraft HBU-22 or HBU-33 aim right at 70degrees magnetic and expect to see all the DC stations.
You *may* possibly get some of Baltimore too.

Other, wiser heads here may post additional suggestions
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Old 14-Oct-2014, 9:58 PM   #3
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Thank you, Tony.

That's really interesting. For an attic installation to get everything through WMPT 42 (22.1) they had recommended the HBU-44. The HBU-44 is only $11 more than the HBU-33. Maybe we should reconsider going the attic route. That would save borrowing a latter and the hassle of mounting on the roof.

Any other experts want to weigh in?
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Old 14-Oct-2014, 10:01 PM   #4
tonyp063
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Attics are always an unknown. The typical rule of thumb is that they'll cut signal strength by at least in half.

That said, it's worth a try. And if it doesn't work, you certainly could use the HBU-44 on the roof.
Same aim.
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 10:48 AM   #5
Stereocraig
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Disclaimer: I'm not an expert.

I would never chance signal reliability to an indoor install.
Too much chance of signal blockage and reflection.
Then if you do have problems, (Which you most certainly will) that will be one more step in the process of elimination and you'll just end up mounting it on the roof, anyway.

Don't buy a cheaper antenna w/ the intention of saving 11 dollars, spend the extra money now, to save a lifetime of cable/ satellite bills.
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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If in you shoes, I would get an Antennacraft HBU-33. I wouldn't bother with the attic if you are interested in WMPT-22. Signal reliability may be compromised inside the attic.

You may get some Baltimore reception, but IMO the signals are too weak for day to day reliability, even with a larger antenna.

How many sets will be connected?
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 1:28 PM   #7
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I'm an engineer, but not an antenna engineer or industry member. Any advice I give is as a fellow OTA user and homeowner.

JMO - if there is any doubt that you might be able to receive the stations that you want, buy the biggest antenna that you can afford.

What are you using for reception now? Likely you have an indoors antenna and you are getting a few stations. If I were in your shoes, I'd buy a long cable and go into your living room, the attic, and then go up on the roof with whateve antenna you have now. Run a channel scan with the antenna in each location, to see the difference in reception at each location. There is no substitute for real data.

The trees surrounding your property may be a big issue, depending on how far off and how high they are. Realize that the attic installation will be affected by the trees even more than the roof installation, as well as being attenuated by the siding and roofing materials, surrounding buildings, etc. Your TVFool report does not take the trees into account - so I would not believe that going higher will not make a difference in actual reception. You have lots of options for mounting on the roof, depending on what your building and property looks like - tripods, chimney mount, eave mount, wall mount. Again if it were mine, I would use a chain link top rail for a mast (10') and put it wherever I could get the most height. It is possible to put a 10' mast in a 10' tripod and get nearly 20' above the roof peak (I would also use guy wires for that). Height is good.

Look here at the "antenna mast mounting" parts. http://www.antennapartsoutlet.com/ - Not an endorsement, but I have bought frm them, they sell commodity parts for antenna mounting (Rohn, Easy Up) and have reasonable shipping. Solid Signal is another source http://www.solidsignal.com/cview.asp...ing%20Supplies and Ronard seems to be recommended a lot, but seems like 70% of Ronard products are out of stock everywhere.
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 4:53 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone!

Just to review again before we purchase anything.

The consensus recommendation is for the HBU-33 on the roof. Our toughest station will be WMPT 42 (22.1) at 18.5 dB. This is a UHF station. The HBU-33 has a UHF gain of 7.7, while the HBU-22 has a UHF gain of 7.2. I'm surprised that a dB of only 0.5 will make such a difference.

Can I ask another question? I was reading the posts here and the experts often recommend a DB-8e. That has a gain of 17.4 dB. Do I we not need that much firepower? I would have thought that an antenna with a gain of 17.4 dB would be a slam dunk. Even in the attic. Even if the attic reduces the signal for WMPT from 18.1 to 2 because it would still be adding 17.4 and raise it back up near 18. Can someone explain?
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 5:58 PM   #9
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The advice for a lower gain antenna is due to the 20 degree difference between the DC stations and WMPT. A higher gain antenna would strengthen only one of the two directions and/or make one of them weaker. You'd pay more for a less reliable signal.
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 6:46 PM   #10
tonyp063
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Quote:
Can I ask another question? I was reading the posts here and the experts often recommend a DB-8e.
You don't need that much gain. And the bigger concern is that the DB-8e isn't designed to support hi-vhf. You'll likely lose 7 & 9.
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 7:56 PM   #11
timgr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want Free TV View Post
...Even if the attic reduces the signal for WMPT from 18.1 to 2 because it would still be adding 17.4 and raise it back up near 18. Can someone explain?
As tonyp063 writes, you'd lose too many channels with a DB8e without an additional dedicated high-VHF antenna and a combining network. The DB8e will not receive real channels below 14, including WJLA ABC, WUSA CBS, WDCN, WMDO and WWPX. So one of the HBU antennas would be better for you.

If you wanted to put the DB8e and dedicated VHF antenna on the roof, you'd have a shot at getting the pink stations and maybe into the gray if conditions were really favorable.
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Old 15-Oct-2014, 7:59 PM   #12
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Yes, the HBU-44 or 55 would be more directional & may require a rotor for WMPT. The HBU-22 may be enough, but the HBU-33 is a nice compromise for getting the job done.
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