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Andy 1-Apr-2011 3:44 AM

Thin Signals
I was thinking of getting an HD Stacker.

I have an antenna almost identical to the EZ-HD and aplified with 18dB that I pick up WKSO 29.1 with. My set up is cheap but it gets the main station I want.

I live in an area with many knobs 1000' - 1200' and tall trees (eg tulip poplars) so reception seems to be off of reflections rather than line of sight but I think this is more common than not.

The pin I dropped on the map is on the northeast corner of the house on a 5' mast for a height of between 20' - 25'. If I move the pin around the map, the list of channels varies alot with a list of 21 stations given at one location on a knob ridge.

I however am only given a list of 2 stations and only can pick up one of them (29.1,2,3 WKSO Somerset). I did pick up once a station out of Tennesee called WBXX 20.1 for a day.

So now with the background would there be any point to trying the HD Stacker with this location? This is the weakest chart I've seen on TVFool.


John Candle 1-Apr-2011 4:34 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
I do not recommend doing this type and kind of public polls. As others have done do not try and slip in sales pitches or try and do any tricks to get tvfool tied up. I can answer your questions , but because you have done this , I will not.

Andy 1-Apr-2011 4:43 AM


Originally Posted by John Candle (Post 7385)
I do not recommend doing this type and kind of public polls. As others have done do not try and slip in sales pitches or try and do any tricks to get tvfool tied up. I can answer your questions , but because you have done this , I will not.


I'm surprised. I certainly didn't mean to offend. Why do they allow polls then if the user community finds them offensive? I thought polls where an easy way to get an opinion on a question from folks interested enough in a thread to have read it but not enough to chime in with a written answer.

If I understand correctly from between the lines you think I am promoting the HD Stacker. I am impressed with what I've read but have not financial or other stake in with them. In fact, before I stumbled on finding this antenna I was really try to find the name of the grid/bow-tie antenna I remembered from last year, a ChannelMaster 4228 or something like that.

Andy 1-Apr-2011 4:44 AM

If i could remove the poll I would as there is no point relying on a poll the users find offensive.

John Candle 1-Apr-2011 4:57 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
The issue is not the word you are using - offensive. The issue is Tricks. Tvfool is the best help place on the net. I have been on this planet for 62 years and I do not like tricks and I protect tvfool.

Andy 1-Apr-2011 5:01 AM

Huh? I don't understand. What do you mean by tricks?

Andy 1-Apr-2011 5:24 AM

Oh, I see now, the poll show who voted for which option, 'public'.

Sorry but I didn't notice the word public in your complaint because I took it to mean that these forums are public, which this being the internet of course they are.

Trust me, I am not running no 'tricks'.

GroundUrMast 1-Apr-2011 7:15 AM

You seem enamored with the HD Stacker. If it has at least 18dB of forward gain without any amplifier, then, in theory, it could have a chance at receiving WAGV.

Because I can't locate any information other than anecdotal reports and testimonials, I don't know what the real gain of the HD Stacker is. Judging from the photos I've seen, I would guess that it may offer between 8 and 12 dB of gain in the UHF band. I won't recommend the HD Stacker to you or anyone else, because there are many other antennas available that have published specifications which are recognized as trustworthy.

If you truly want an antenna with the gain required in your situation, look at the commercial products by Wade / Taco. Here is a bit of information on site built high gain antennas. Here is an experimental project that might have merit if all conditions needed were available. Hilltop Antenna Linked via Wifi

Dave Loudin 1-Apr-2011 12:27 PM

My parent's house has a similar report (here), so I'm familiar with rotten conditions. As @GUM says, the HDStacker's vendor does not publish performance data similar to other vendors, so it's hard to do direct comparisons. I've not seen one in the wild, but I have concerns about the connection between the top and bottom arrays nevertheless.

The recommendations here come from practical experience and understanding of the physics involved. Without casting aspersions in any particular direction, there will always be vendors that claim fantastic results that don't hold up under closer inspection. We try to be careful to recommend equipment that has been proven to work under the circumstances described. That does not mean there isn't something innovative out there (see the latest VHF antenna from AntennasDirect for example.)

There are a couple of places that give recommendations for deepest fringe reception. The OTA forum at is one of them.

Andy 1-Apr-2011 3:06 PM

Fringe Location
Hey guys,


I asked the the designer of the HS Stacker and he told me for my location he didn't think the HS Stacker would do anything appreciably better than the EZ-HD similar (I think the antenna I have is RCA, I bought it at Walmart) antenna I have. I believe the good things I've read about the antenna, so many people don't have motive to lie but I think maybe I and some of the others do sound a bit enthusiastic after dealing with the typical junk being sold as antennas at local discounters. One can't go into even a Radio Shack like when I was a little kid and expect to find an real antenna to buy (even living in the boonies like I do). And the thoughts of ordering and putting up a 12' by 12' foot antenna ordered from the internet and imagining possibly to have to go to the trouble taking it back down, re-boxing it and of returning it keep away alot of prospective customers. That's certainly one reason the HS Stacker antenna is so popular I'm sure.

I did at one time 'built' an antenna using 2 thick copper wires (very thick, I think 11 gauge) bent in a zigzag of about 2 feet in length each and stuck it in the house's back window. I think the design was 'Hoover-Grey' or something like that. I think it was on that Candian DigitalHome web site. Surprisingly it worked (due to reflections I'm sure) when 29 WKSO was still UHF before being moved to VHF 14. It even would pick up channel 6 very faintly out of Knoxville and this only using 2 zigzagged copper wires.

As this is more a curiosity than an interest in picking up commercial OTA I may try building that Hoover-Grey antenna for real (although I can't seem to get the wire bent just how it should be) or investigating the recommendations of GroundUrMast or trying what I originally was looking for a ChannelMaster 4224 (or something like that).

Andy 1-Apr-2011 4:23 PM

I'm messing with the 'Signal Diagnostics' for the Sony Bravia XBR 32".

For WKSO 29.1:
Physical Channel: 14
Frequency (kHz): 473000
Modulation : 8VSB
Status : Lock
Errors : 0
SNR (dB) : 19.22 (variable about 19.01 but goes from 16.8x - 19.9x)
IF-AGC (%) : 42
Interleaving : ---
Channel : Antenna 29.1
Current Level : 21 (variable)
Peak Level : 27 (variable)

When I check the numbers for 29.2 and 29.3 I get the same as above (except for the virtual channel number of course).

If I turn in to physical channels, e.g. 12.1 (physical channel 12, WKYMT 57.1), 51.1 (physical channel 44 WAGV 44.1) I get a similar chart for example:

For WKYMT 57.1:
Physical Channel: 12
Frequency (kHz): 207000
Modulation : 8VSB
Status : Unlock
Errors : 0
SNR (dB) : 0.00
IF-AGC (%) : 55
Interleaving : ---
Channel : Antenna 12.1
Current Level : 0
Peak Level : 0
'No Signal'

Trying these different physical channels that theorectically could be available the only variable (besides the obvious frequency and channel names/numbers) so far has been the IF-AGC (%) on 29.1 it is 41% or 42% on the other channels I've tried it has varied from 51% (phy 51.1 WAGV 44.1) to 59%. For physical channels that shouldn't even have any possiblity of signals like phy 2.1 I get between 45% - 49% and for phy 69.1 I get 54% - 55%.

What do you guys use to 'tune' into possible signals? I'm not even sure what this IF-AGC% means. Of course the Sony TV has it's own software that I can't or wouldn't want to change.

I do have a ATI All-in-Wonder HD 2400 HDTV Tuner (I run the antenna through a 18 dB booster before splitting to the ATI card & the TV) available if you guys are aware of some freeware software that folks is using as a means to search for and fine tune signals. Is there any software for these cards out there that give a technical look into all the signals they are measuring and tuning into to tune a signal?

Andy 1-Apr-2011 4:46 PM

Very Interesting thread about IF-AGC and Sony HD-TVs:

If I am to believe this channel 2.1 has a signal but there is nothing I know of there.

Could this be FM station noise I see on 2.1?

Would pre-amp be better than amp at the TV set?

What about filters to put on the antenna line?

GroundUrMast 1-Apr-2011 5:21 PM


Could this be FM station noise I see on 2.1?
Possibly. It could also be random RF noise generated inside your "18 dB booster", power lines or a combination of similar sources.


Would pre-amp be better than amp at the TV set?
The same amplifier attached at the antenna rather than the at the receiver, will offer a better signal to noise ratio (by up to the dB loss of the cable between the antenna and receiver), provided the amplifier is not overloaded by the higher signal level at the antenna. (Not a likely possibility in your situation.) But your question begs another; How big a pump would you need to get water out of a dry hole?


What about filters to put on the antenna line?
Have you identified an interfering signal that needs to be blocked?

To continue the well analogy, you won't get more water unless you dig the well deeper. IF you can safely mount an antenna higher, TV Fool offers the tools to explore what signals would be available to you.

Andy 1-Apr-2011 5:29 PM


No, I haven't identified an interfering signal that needs to be blocked. I was just sorting through the possibilites. I guess the best course of action if I want to satisfy my curiousity would be to find an open source signal tuner and compile it for that ATI HD All-in-Wonder tuner card if such a project exists. I'm just being curious and running my mouth at the same time. It looks like in my location I need to find another hobby, lolz.

GroundUrMast 1-Apr-2011 5:37 PM

If you have a friend or family member with more favorable reception, could you operate a HTPC remotely, downloading recordings of shows over a VPN link?

The upstream speed of most DSL and cable internet links will not support real time DTV.

Andy 1-Apr-2011 5:43 PM

Thanks, that would work probably best in my situation.

But I'm not actually interested in watching TV. I must have 500 DVDs I've never watched. I'm a bit weird I know...

GroundUrMast 1-Apr-2011 5:48 PM


Originally Posted by Andy (Post 7410)
Thanks, that would work probably best in my situation.

But I'm not actually interested in watching TV...

Go in peace.

Tower Guy 2-Apr-2011 2:48 PM


Originally Posted by Andy (Post 7382)
So now with the background would there be any point to trying the HD Stacker with this location?


Most any UHF antenna mounted on the roof with a preamp will pick up WKSO and nothing else.

To play with additional reception in your area you need a tall tower and large antennas.

Andy 2-Apr-2011 4:16 PM

Thanks. I'm not interested in such a tower.

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