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Old 11-Feb-2019, 4:18 AM   #1
scott784
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Location: Mocksville, NC
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Help - to get reception of all networks in Greensboro & Charlotte NC markets

I have attached my TV Fool Report. As can be seen, I live in a relatively good area to receive OTA from both the Greensboro and Charlotte NC markets. However, I have noticed some issues that I am trying to resolve and hope one of the experts on here can point me in the right direction as far as a new antenna.

Currently, I am using a Clearstream 4 (CJM model) that purchased while living at a former home about 7 years ago. At any rate, this particular antenna is up in the attic of my new home. I've got it aimed SW towards the Charlotte market; and it doesn't do too bad picking up my true locals (Greensboro channels on the side), with some exceptions.

However, here is my objectives in order of priority. I want to 1) stabilize my out of market WJZY 46 and WCNC 36 stations from Charlotte so that I can receive both of them simultaneously without making adjustments to my antenna in the attic. And second priority is to stabilize my local WXII (NBC) channel 12. My local channel 12 tends to pixelate on windy days and sometimes other inclement weather. If both of these goals cannot be met with any existing antenna, I would at least like a scenario whereby the out of market WCNC and WJZY are stabilized so that I get a good lock in (no pixelations) on either one of those out of market stations.

I am not counting pennies and money is not a problem. However, I have learned that bigger is not always better! For example, I tried a Db8e in my attic (of my new home). I tried it with various placements and the panels in different directions as well as all one direction. Long story short, the DB8e does not perform as well as my Clearstream 4 at my location.

Do any of the experts on here have any suggestions for a better antenna than my Clearstream 4 to use in my attic for my particular situation? For example, what about the Channel Master 4221 4bay UHF antenna since it appears to have a very wide beam width? Or what about the Clearstream 2MAX (with or without the back reflector)? Or other antennas? I really don't know. But I want reliable reception on all of the channels in my local and out of market stations (at least all the ones in green on my report).

Thanks for any help. My TV Fool report is attached.

PS there is a bit more than meets the eye with my TV Fool Report. It shows WXII as my strongest local station. But it is not my strongest - and my theory is that it has to do with the lower power level that the station is operating on versus some of my other locals. Also - my report shows my out of market Charlotte stations (in green) as being comparable to one another - when in reality - WBTV CBS Charlotte, NC is (by far) my very strongest out of market station. 'Much' stronger than WJZY or WCNC.
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Last edited by scott784; 11-Feb-2019 at 5:00 AM.
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Old 11-Feb-2019, 6:22 PM   #2
rickbb
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You have 2 issues to deal with before trying different antennas.

1. You have channels from all 4 points of the compass to deal with. Any directional antenna will not get them all. Unless you use a rotor.


2. Your antenna is in the attic, that makes it un-predictable at best on how any particular antenna will receive signals.

Also what about any trees between you and the towers, hills, buildings/houses?
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Old 12-Feb-2019, 12:54 AM   #3
scott784
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Yes, that is true. I have 4 points on the compass to deal with. This why I was thinking about something with a very wide beam width or omnidirectional. Of course, the issue is this type of antenna may be too weak to pick up my out of market stations.

As it is now, things aren't that bad. I live in a relatively well elevated area with no trees, buildings, or homes that are blocking the line of sight in my immediate area. With my present setup (the Clearstream4) pointing to the SW for my out of market stations, I am able to get relatively good overall reception, with the exceptions I described.

There is a repack in the Fall and some of these issues may resolve themselves, to some extent, if I am lucky. And while things aren't that bad (overall), I was just hoping for some feedback on the alternate antennas I mentioned (or others) that may improve my reception as it relates to locking in WJZY and WCNC simultaneously while also stabilizing my local WXII during windy or other inclement weather.

Thanks.

Last edited by scott784; 12-Feb-2019 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 12-Feb-2019, 2:21 PM   #4
jrgagne99
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The Clearstream 4 should have plenty of horsepower based on your report and desires. The problem is that in general, attic installations are hit-or-miss. First thing I would try is to get that antenna out of the attic and put it up on the roof where it has a clear LOS in 360 degrees. Aim it to 231-magnetic for the Charlotte stations, which you should be able to receive. Then see how that setup performs for WXII and other "locals" to the north and east, while still aiming SW. If you can't get those locals off the back and side of your antenna, I would try removing the reflector next, and if that doesn't work, maybe try hunting around on the roof for a hot spot, or maybe re-try your DB8e in its various configurations.

All of these tests should be done with a single, preferably new length of RG-6 (no more than 50-feet) and only one TV. No amps, no splitters--- keep it simple. Once you solve the antenna locating problem, then you deal with distribution throughout the home, which may require amplification (preferably at the mast) to overcome your downstream losses. Remember that amplification doesn't improve reception of the signals. It can only improve the distribution of signals that are first collected by the antenna.
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Old 13-Feb-2019, 2:25 AM   #5
scott784
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Thanks for your feedback. I always appreciate others who take the time to give their thoughts in these forums.

As for going outside, I don't want to do that right now. I've already been that route at my other home. And while it is generally better for LOS - there are the downsides such as climbing ladders to maintain and outdoor setup. I had that issue with my old outdoor Winegard 9095P at my other home. After 6 years of being up on the mast - the antenna needed maintenance; and I was in a 'pickle' because I didn't want to climb my ladder 30 feet off the ground to get to it. Fortunately, at that point, I was selling the home so it became a moot point for my circumstances.

My current setup is actually not so bad in the attic. The signals are there. It's just a matter of trying to balance everything out. Currently, I've got a good lock on WCNC (NBC) Charlotte, but WJZY (Fox) Charlotte is weak. I can make very minor adjustments to my Clearstream 4v that corrects WJZY, but then it comes at the expense of messing up WCNC. Crazy stuff since those two towers are both in the same area.

But to your point about taking the back reflector off my Clearstream 4v, I may do an experiment with just trying the Clearstream 4MAX 'or' Clearstream 2MAX.....just to see how those two alternate antennas 'stack up' to my Clearstream 4v. It's not too difficult of a test - b/c I can always return those antennas back to the store.

This Fall during the repack, the out of market WJZY (Fox) Charlotte is supposedly upgrading their tower to a top mount omni-directional signal. So my issues with that station may resolve themselves with that. And WCNC (NBC) is supposedly increasing their power. So that may help as well.

The signal for my true local WXII (NBC) Winston-Salem is definitely there! It's just the issue of occasional disruptive pixilations during inclement weather. My theory is that it has (at least some) to do with 1) the fact that WXII operates at lower power that some of my other locals and 2) the fact that I cannot point my antenna to the NW for WXII without having a greater (overall) negative impact on my other desired stations.

OTA can certainly be a balancing act and sometimes just settling for compromises because when you've got multiple/desired channels in various directions - there is often times no easy fix.

But I would be interested to know if others have specific thoughts on how the Clearstream 4v stacks up (generally speaking) to the Clearstream 4MAX (or even the Clearstream 2MAX in a general scenario, such as mine.

Accordingly to the specifications, the Clearstream 4MAX has 11dBi gain versus 12Dbi on my existing Clearstream 4v (with the back reflector). But (my personal guess) would be that the Clearstream 4MAX (still pointing in to my SW for Charlotte stations) would help my local WXII to the NW BUT (at the same time) have a negative impact on the out of market Charlotte channels.
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Old 13-Feb-2019, 2:29 PM   #6
jrgagne99
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If you're committed to the attic installation, you can always try moving the antenna around by small amounts. For example build a mount that lets you slide it around in X/Y and up/down by say 6"-12" at a time. You might be able to find a hot-spot that works for all of them. UHF can be very finicky, to the point were inches matter. The issue might be even more pronounced in the attic.

As for the Clearstream 4 with- and with-out the reflector (V vs. MAX in your case), I think your general assessment is correct. Removing the reflector should help pull in stations off the back side (and possibly to the sides), to the detriment of the stations out front. I might be wrong, but I don't think the wider beamwidth of the Clearstream 2MAX would help for your Charlotte stations since they are both at the same tower. But the wider beamwidth off the back side might help with WXII.
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Old 16-Feb-2019, 5:44 AM   #7
scott784
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You are so right. Inches do matter! It's amazing how sensitive UHF can be to small adjustments in antenna placement. It appears much more so versus FM radio....especially as you get 50 plus miles out.

Curiosity got the best of me recently, and I picked up a Clearstream 4MAX for testing. Long story short, it is great for picking up stations off its back side. However, its forward gain is not as strong because of the lack of a reflector. So for my particular circumstances with desiring to have out of market locals, and 4 points on the compass, the Clearstream 4v is more effective (with its back reflector).

As for antenna mounts, I actually made one some time back with a plumbers pipe (6 feet tall) and plywood that I picked up at Lowe's. I've only got a 10 by 10 storage area in my attic (rest of attic is off limits with no flooring and other hazards). But within my storage space in the attic, I've moved the antenna around multiple times - also vertically as you said - which also can certainly make a difference.

As for now, I am settling with my Clearstream 4v and keeping it directed at my out of market Charlotte locals. I get my true locals (Greensboro) fairly well with the exception of some annoyances. But I don't think I'll ever have total perfection no matter what antenna I use....due to the multiple towers in different directions I am trying to get. But at the end of the day - things aren't too bad - actually pretty good I suppose for an attic set-up.

Last edited by scott784; 16-Feb-2019 at 5:54 AM.
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Old 18-Feb-2019, 3:11 PM   #8
rickbb
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Any reason you can't go to a roof mount?
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Old 18-Feb-2019, 8:13 PM   #9
scott784
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickbb View Post
Any reason you can't go to a roof mount?
I could. And there's no question that going outdoors is best for some people who cannot get satisfactory results otherwise.....and don't mind climbing a ladder to install the mast, grounding the antenna, etc. Also, knowing that there may be future maintenance requirements (over time) due to the antenna being subjected to all sorts of weather.

But my home is already (custom) pre-wired for an attic setup. And since I'm already getting good reception (with the exceptions mentioned in this thread), it would not make sense (in my particular scenario) from a cost benefit analysis.

Last edited by scott784; 18-Feb-2019 at 8:22 PM.
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