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Old 16-Nov-2011, 8:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 3
Help with complete antenna solution for McKinney, TX

Hello! I currently do not have any antenna and thus I don't recieve a single channel. I am in the process of selecting all the components for my antenna solution. I would appreciate any help.

My TV Fool report:

As you can see, I am 46-48 miles from the DFW transmitters. I would like to get the major networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC

Difficulties: Distance to transmitters. My house is single story and at the bottom of hills on three sides. My house is immediately surrounded on all sides by large, tall pecan trees that are more than twice the height of the house. They drop limbs frequently during storms.

I was planning on the following solution:

1. Installation in the attic to protect the antenna and keep my Homeowners Association happy. My attic is gable-style, not hip-style.

2. Winegard HD 7084P or Denny HD Stacker. I prefer the Winegard, but the Denny's smaller size would make the installation and positioning much easier.

3. Winegard 8700 pre-amp with power supply.

4. Winegard CA8800 FM Band Separator/Coupler FM Tap just before the TV to provide a tap to my stereo's FM reciever.

5. All cables custom made to length by Solid Signal. RG6 quad sheilded.

I searched the forums for surrounding cities and zip codes, but I didn't find any posts from nearby members to guide me. I would appreciate any guidance. Am I on the wrong track? Is my situation hopeless? Winegard or Denny?

Thank you!
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Old 16-Nov-2011, 11:23 PM   #2
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Location: Greater Seattle Area
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The FCC says you can install an antenna on your roof:

You will have far greater chance of success if you mount outdoors. If you are mounting in the attic, you'll have better success if you can aim through the gable end rather than the roof deck and shingles. Some attics are very poor antenna locations, none are great. You're already at marginal signal levels and the terrain you've described may add to the challenge.

I have no reason to dispute the sellers comparison testing but the HD Stacker is difficult to recommend because there is no published data regarding gain and beam-width. I'm left with only anecdotal information to estimate how the antenna may perform.

A Winegard HD7084 would offer FM reception that the HD stacker lacks.

I doubt you will receive real channel 2, 5 or 6 reliably, those frequencies are subject to more noise than channel 7 and higher. And, your TVFR indicates they are going to be weak.

Unless you plan to use the cables for a satellite system in the future, quad shield cable won't hurt, but it won't help either. If there is any price difference, go with the lower cost of double shield vs. quad.
If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 17-Nov-2011, 5:43 AM   #3
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Thank you for all of the guidance. I'll plan to try it in the attic, aiming through the south gable instead of the roof decking. If that doesn't work, then I'll have to consider fighting the rooftop mounting battle with my "nay"-bors.

Good to know about the quad shield. And, thanks for letting me know that the Stacker won't catch FM. Looks like the Winegard will be the victim.

I received a private pm with a link giving me instructions on how to point the antenna. Turns out I was thinking backwards. Time to go re-measure the attic areas. That Winegard is going to be a tight fit trying to keep the fat end away from the 4 valleys which are all lined with galvanized flashing.

I plan to keep this thread updated along the build-out to help anyone else in my area.
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Old 27-Nov-2011, 1:37 AM   #4
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I finished getting all of the components installed into the attic this week. Without the pre-amp powered on, I pulled in 21 channels. Several had pixilation. With the pre-amp powered on, I pull in 67 channels all clean and clear. My FM radio reception has also gone from 5 static-filled stations without RDS to a station on almost every channel.

For anyone else in my area who wants to get the same results from an attic install, here is my list of what I used. This should help folks in the following areas: Collin County, McKinney, Farmersville, Lucas, Allen, Fairview, Anna, Melissa, 75069, 75070, 75071.

Winegard HD7084P installed into the attic at 12' elevation from ground, oriented to 206 degrees, 5 degree pitch, 5 degree left roll. I found the free Android applications "TV Antenna" and "Compass" set to GPS format to be extremely helpful with my installation. The compass app gives digital readouts of orientation, pitch, and roll.

Winegard AP-8700 pre-amp installed into the attic. Fixed Trap OUT because I want the FM radio stations for my FM receiver.

1.5 inch schedule 40 PVC mast running from joists to rafters.

Power adapter to power injector - 6 foot, RG6u, supplied by Winegard with preamp.
Antenna to pre-amp - 3 foot, RG6, double-shielded, GE from Home Depot.
Pre-amp to power injector - 3 foot, RG6, double-shielded, GE from Home Depot.
Power injector to wall plate - 25 foot, RG6, quad-shielded, Ultra Pro from Home Depot. I splurged three extra bucks for the quad-shielded because it had a nice waxy jacket to give me an easier pull down through the walls and because I was running the cable through a wall full of electrical lines. I was right on both accounts. Well worth the extra money.
Levitron wall plate. Home Depot.
Wall plate to splitter - 6 foot, RG6, double-shielded, GE from Home Depot.
2-way splitter - 5-900 MHz, GE from Home Depot.
Splitter to TV - 3 foot, RG6, double-shielded, GE from Home Depot.
Splitter to FM Receiver - 3 foot, RG6, double-shielded, GE from Home Depot.

Here is a list of channels that I am pulling in with the above setup.

2-1, KDTN, SD,
4-1, KDFW, HD, FOX
5-1, KXAS, HD, NBC
5-2, NSTP, SD,
5-3, KXAS-US, SD,
8-1, WFAA, HD, ABC
8-2, WFAA-2, SD,
8-3, WFAA-3, SD,
11-1, KTVT, HD, CBS
13-1, KERA, HD, PBS
13-2, WORLD, SD,
20-1, KBOP, SD,
20-2, KBOP-D2, SD,
20-3, KBOP-D3, SD,
20-4, KBOP-D4, SD,
21-1, KTXA, HD, IND
21-2, , SD,
21-3, , SD,
21-4, , SD,
21-5, , SD,
21-6, , SD,
21-7, , SD,
21-9, , SD,
23-1, KUVN, HD, UNI
25-1, K25FW, SD,
26-1, KODF, SD,
27-1, KDFI, HD, MYN
28-1, KHPK, SD,
28-2, KHPK, SD,
28-3, KHPK, SD,
28-4, KHPK, SD,
29-1, KMPX, SD,
29-2, INMAGRA, SD,
31-1, SONLIFE, SD,
31-3, K31GL, SD,
31-4, K31GL, SD,
31-5, K31GL, SD,
33-1, KDAF, HD, CW
33-2, ANTENNA, SD,
33-3, THIS TV, SD,
34-3, KJJM, SD,
39-1, KXTX, HD, TEL
39-2, INMI, SD,
39-3, CNL SOI, SD,
47-1, KTAQ, SD,
47-2, UAN, SD,
47-3, MEXI, SD,
49-1, KSTR, HD, TEL
49-2, KSTR, SD,
50-1, KATA, SD,
50-2, KATA, SD,
50-3, KATA, SD,
50-4, KATA, SD,
52-1, KFWD, HD, IND
52-2, KFWD-2, SD,
55-1, KAZD-55, SD,
55-2, KAZD-55, SD,
55-3, KAZD-55, SD,
55-4, KAZD-55, SD,
58-1, TBN, SD,
58-2, CHURCH, SD,
58-3, JCTV, SD,
58-4, ENLACE, SD,
58-5, SMILE, SD,
68-1, KPXD, HD, ION
68-2, QUBO, SD,
68-3, IONLIFE, SD,
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Old 28-Nov-2011, 9:48 PM   #5
Dave Loudin
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Location: King George, VA
Posts: 659
That's great. It's great to see things work out to the good side of possibilities.

One tip for those who don't have a smart phone: Using the "start maps" option in TVFool provides a Google map centered on the receive location, with one of their red circle/pointer icons used to mark the exact location. With the satellite option, you can zoom in pretty tightly on your location. Select the "Show lines pointing to each transmitter" option to have those lines plotted and you now have landmarks to work with. In most cases, this will be good enough. In attic installs, this could be just a starting point if there are lots of signal reflections to deal with.

Also, local reception conditions can vary quite rapidly, so before recommending your setup to others, run a TVFool report for thier location. For instance, at one end of my street, it's easy to get line-of-sight to the DC market (might try an indoor antenna, even). However, on my end, one-third mile away, at 25 feet it is still one- and two-edge paths to those transmitters.

Almost forgot: when comparing with- to without-preamp reception, be sure to completely remove the preamp from the line. Unpowered preamps actually will be signal blockers 99% of the time. The only case I'm aware of where you can just switch off the preamp is the Terk HDTVa. You still need to keep the antenna unit plugged in, however.

Last edited by Dave Loudin; 28-Nov-2011 at 9:52 PM.
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