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Old 9-Jun-2015, 5:34 PM   #1
Lara
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need help 60+ miles NW of St. Louis

Hello, I would greatly appreciate any advice for getting OTA tv reception.

Here is my tvfool report:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f0aae018605c

I'm planning on getting a high gain 150 mile outdoor antenna from ebay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/110940583801...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT) and having it installed on my roof at about 25' above the ground. This is the height at which I did the tv fool report. I am in a bit of a hollow with trees on the hills around me.

I'd like to get as many of the St. Louis channels as I can, and am willing to pay a few hundred up front in infrastructure for the privilege. However, if all I can realistically get is the PBS channel out of Jacksonville, Il, I can survive with that.

Please let me know if the antenna I have in mind is inadequate, and if there is a better one out there. Also, should I get an additional amp or pre-amp?

Thanks!

Lara
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Old 9-Jun-2015, 9:50 PM   #2
Jake V
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It's very possible that PBS is the only station you will get.

Does your land extend up the hill to the top of the mountain? How far is it to the top.
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Old 9-Jun-2015, 9:58 PM   #3
Lara
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No, the whole of my property is in a bit of a valley.

When comparing my tv fool report with the antenna on sale on ebay, do you think that antenna will pull in that PBS channel?

Thanks!
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Old 9-Jun-2015, 10:10 PM   #4
Jake V
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It's possible that antenna will get PBS, but it is a piece of junk that won't last.

Can you create a few additional reports, at 35 feet and 50 feet?
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Old 9-Jun-2015, 10:48 PM   #5
Lara
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Here you are:

35':
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...82308a24c1a4ba

50':
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...823002295552ce

Not noticeably different, at least to my untrained eye.

Can you recommend an antenna? and where to get it from?

Thanks!
best,
Nellie
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Old 9-Jun-2015, 10:52 PM   #6
ADTech
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Those antennas and their ilk are pretty much flimsy, cheap excuses for antennas. Please stay far far away from them.

Your TVFool plot is pretty dismal. However, if you wish, send me the precise coordinates of your rooftop by private message and I'll be happy to do an in-depth evaluation of your location and the prospects.
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Old 10-Jun-2015, 12:58 PM   #7
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Lara,

I looked closely at your location and its surroundings. My best description of your area is going to be "experimental". From what I see, there is no reliable prediction of reliable reception (24/7/365) for anything, due primarily to trees. Most likely, you'll be able to get very good reception during the seasons when the leaves are off the trees but not when they fully leaf out. When they're wet and the wind blows, I'd expect nothing but sporadic service.

Your signal path towards St Louis has a hill about 3/4 of a mile away that's about 250 higher than your elevation. Adding insult to injury, that single tree by the highway on the east side of your drive blocks the exact (and only) signal path towards St Louis. If it were turned into firewood, your odds would increase dramatically....

Your signal path towards the Illinois station appears to have a line of trees behind the pond that's in that path.

There is a fair chance of picking up the two VHF stations out of Quincy. While there are trees in that direction also, VHF signals are less adversely affected by foliage and you "might" find something there.

If you're up to the "experiment", I'll be happy to make specific recommendations.

Please note that I can only make observations based on data available with publicly available aerial photos and topographical maps, so I cannot actually stand on your rooftop and see the exact height of any of the trees, for example. If the trees are lower than a potential mounting location but I can't see that, then my estimates will lean towards being more pessimistic.

BTW, we used to spend a lot of time up in Elsberry. My wife's family owned property along one of the sloughs for many years and we did a lot of boating in the area around Hamburg. We still boat up there from Alton pool occasionally by locking through at Winfield. Beautiful stretch of river.
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Last edited by ADTech; 10-Jun-2015 at 4:10 PM.
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Old 10-Jun-2015, 3:14 PM   #8
Lara
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Yes, the trees are all pretty high here, both the pine trees on the north side of the pond, and the black oak next to the highway. To the north and west are white oaks. The trees are a key reason why I bought the property, and I'm not inclined to turn them into firewood.

Having said that, I am very interested in an OTA experiment. I'm a scientist, and have no issues being a guinea pig. So please, bring it on! I've got a quite competent local contractor up here in Elsberry with a lift and an electrician who installed the wiring in my new garage apartment. All I need to do is provide the antennae, rotor, cable, etc. and they are happy to install it.

If I can get one to a few channels sporadically to complement my Netflix that would be nice.
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Old 10-Jun-2015, 4:29 PM   #9
ADTech
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Hmmm...

What are the odds that you can utilize that power line pole at the end of the driveway (where the transformer is mounted) without causing a safety issue (or raising Ameren's ire) and then run a coax back to the house? Just brainstorming, trying to get out from behind that large tree near the road. Of course, others will note that putting an antenna that close to a transformer has the potential of opening its own can of worms.. but we're just thinking outside that old box for a bit.

If that spot shouldn't be available, how about an alternate ground-mounted location that clears that tree?

I'll send you (momentarily) a link to a photo on my Google Drive that will help show the signal paths from your rooftop. I purposely set the antenna height to 150' to make the signal path lines more visible.
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Last edited by ADTech; 10-Jun-2015 at 6:07 PM.
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Old 10-Jun-2015, 9:52 PM   #10
Billiam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lara View Post
Yes, the trees are all pretty high here, both the pine trees on the north side of the pond, and the black oak next to the highway. To the north and west are white oaks. The trees are a key reason why I bought the property, and I'm not inclined to turn them into firewood.

Having said that, I am very interested in an OTA experiment. I'm a scientist, and have no issues being a guinea pig. So please, bring it on! I've got a quite competent local contractor up here in Elsberry with a lift and an electrician who installed the wiring in my new garage apartment. All I need to do is provide the antennae, rotor, cable, etc. and they are happy to install it.

If I can get one to a few channels sporadically to complement my Netflix that would be nice.
IF all else fails you can use one of the trees to mount a antenna at the top. Believe it or not I did this years ago when I still lived in Connecticut. Had a friend climb to the top of a 50 foot tree in our yard and install a VHF antenna pointed pointed towards Boston so that I could get a few of their stations which ran 24 hours. Nothing in Hartford or Springfield, MA a that time ran 24 hours.

Worked pretty well. I was able to get Ch. 4 and 5 at all hours of the day and Ch. 2 and 7 at night. As a bonus it even picked up the three VHF stations in Providence on Ch. 6, 10 and 12.

It is simply a matter of deciding which antenna is best for your situation and then find someone willing to climb the tree and mount it up there.
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Old 11-Jun-2015, 2:19 PM   #11
Lara
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Thanks for giving me some options to ponder. I'll call the electric cooperative and inquire about the power line pole, but I am pretty confident the response will be no. (There is underground conduit from the pole to the house and garage apartment, and that raises additional issues too.)

In the meantime, I would like to order an antennae, but don't know which kind. (as well as coaxial, rotor, etc.) Suggestions, please? I've gotten feedback that the ones for sale on e-bay won't last, so which option would work best for me?

best,
Lara
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Old 11-Jun-2015, 2:46 PM   #12
ADTech
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My suggestion would be our DB8e plus our PA18 preamplifier. RG6, either low loss or quad shield is fine, as well as an appropriate mount and/or mast, depending on where you choose to install the antenna. No rotor is needed if you want to focus individually on St Louis or the Illinois PBS station. You *might* find that the DB8e can be used in its split-aiming configuration and get both.

If you want to add an attempt for the two VHF stations out of Quincy, add a ClearStream 5. You'll either need a long enough mast for both or a separate mast/mount for the second antenna if you add this second antenna. I'd probably explore the UHF reception from St. Louis first as it's probably your best bet, particularly during the seasons when the trees are bare.

Do keep this question in mind... "If that spot shouldn't be available, how about an alternate ground-mounted location that clears that tree?"

It really is that important that the antenna not be behind trees when dealing with very weak UHF signals. I cannot stress this enough if reliable reception is desired - which is why I keep harping on the subject.
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Last edited by ADTech; 11-Jun-2015 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 11-Jun-2015, 9:17 PM   #13
Billiam
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Lara. If zoning will allow it, you could also have someone install a utility pole on the property for you to install a mast and antenna on top. If your yard is large enough that may be doable and will likely cost less than a tall free standing tower. Just make sure you get the pole with spikes on it to climb. Otherwise you will need to rent a cherry picker.
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Old 11-Jun-2015, 11:22 PM   #14
ADTech
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Zoning won't be any kind of issue at that location...
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Old 11-Jun-2015, 11:29 PM   #15
Billiam
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Zoning won't be any kind of issue at that location...
It may be doable then. When I lived in rural Maine I remember that the local utility would drop utility poles in the ground for some property owners that needed a pole that was off the street. And when I was a teenager I had a small one put in at our driveway which was used to mount a basketball backboard and hoop.
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Old 12-Jun-2015, 12:11 AM   #16
rabbit73
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ADTech:

I did an FMFOOL report using short coordinates, and saw a strong FM signal. Please do one with exact coordinates.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg LaraTVF FM est.JPG (118.6 KB, 836 views)
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Old 12-Jun-2015, 11:44 AM   #17
ADTech
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Good catch.

Based on that, I'd also add an FM filter to the input of the preamp "just in case".
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