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Old 1-Jan-2010, 9:27 PM   #1
NoVa
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1
AD CS2 Antenna, but missing strongest channels

I am a newcomer to this site, but would love some advice. I'm not a big TV watcher, but like to see sports at times. Today's bowl games would be an example. I while back I bought an Antennas Direct Clear Stream 2 on the advice of a friend. Today on not being able to pick up ABC or CBS, I did a little more research on AntennaWeb to learn I needed a medium directional antenna with pre-amp for best reception for my location. I couldn't get that, but I did direct my CS2 to 126 degrees in hopes of picking up more channels. No luck, still picking up only 4.1, 20.1, 5.1 and 30.1. This radar map of my location from TV Fool (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...c20106b6d3a903) suggests that 6 channels should have a higher Noise Margin than the strongest channel I currently receive - 4.1. I saw a review on the CS2 that suggested that it didn't perform as well in the VHF spectrum and that the Channel Master CM2016 performed better.

Questions:
1. Is there anything as far as a pre-amp and/or outdoor or attic installation that could help the AD CS2 pull in more of the 13 channels it looks like we should be getting rather than the 4 that we currently get?
2. If no to (1), what antennas in the medium directional category would be best? Anything in that category that preserves performance but doesn't look quite so, uh, antenna-like?

thanks,

Bowl-less in NoVa
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Old 4-Jan-2010, 9:54 AM   #2
mtownsend
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Hello and welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoVa View Post
I while back I bought an Antennas Direct Clear Stream 2 on the advice of a friend. Today on not being able to pick up ABC or CBS, I did a little more research on AntennaWeb to learn I needed a medium directional antenna with pre-amp for best reception for my location.
You are right about the CS2's VHF performance. It is terrible at VHF, which makes one wonder why they advertise it as a channel 7-69 antenna.



Quote:
I did direct my CS2 to 126 degrees in hopes of picking up more channels. No luck, still picking up only 4.1, 20.1, 5.1 and 30.1.
According to your tvfool report, the optimum direction for most of your channels is at a compass heading of 116 degrees. However, a 10 degree error in this case probably makes almost no difference at all because the CS2 has a very wide beam pattern.



Quote:
This radar map of my location from TV Fool (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...c20106b6d3a903) suggests that 6 channels should have a higher Noise Margin than the strongest channel I currently receive - 4.1.
Where is the antenna located?

If it is indoors, then your difficulty in receiving strong signals may be due to multiple signal reflections (a.k.a., multi-path) being picked up by the antenna. These signal "echos" or "ghosts" can make it difficult for your receiver to decode the digital channel. You might find that relocating the antenna or pointing it in a completely different direction might give you better results.

Getting an antenna higher up (i.e., attic or roof) is usually the best way to get a cleaner signal to your antenna since it is above most of the miscellaneous objects that cause signal echos.




Quote:
1. Is there anything as far as a pre-amp and/or outdoor or attic installation that could help the AD CS2 pull in more of the 13 channels it looks like we should be getting rather than the 4 that we currently get?
Yes. Getting the antenna on the roof will very likely get you all the UHF channels at the top of your list. There's a small chance that the VHF channels are strong enough to get through the CS2, but that's a bit of a gamble.

A pre-amp is unnecessary in this situation. If you're going to spend money on hardware, you're better off getting a true VHF-capable antenna. Adding a pre-amp does not fix the inherent weaknesses of the antenna.



Quote:
2. If no to (1), what antennas in the medium directional category would be best? Anything in that category that preserves performance but doesn't look quite so, uh, antenna-like?
Option 1: Try picking up a cheap set of rabbit ears antennas (keep the receipt in case you want to return it later). The CS2 antenna elements are simply not long enough to pick up VHF wavelengths, but rabbit ears can be adjusted to be the proper length. Rabbit ears are not stellar performers, but they are still significantly better at handling VHF than the CS2 (yes, that is how bad the CS2 is at handling VHF).

Extend the rabbit ears elements to about half of their maximum length and spread them apart. This should get you set up to receive high VHF stations. You might find that this is good enough to get you your missing VHF stations.

A rabbit ears plus loop antenna combo can do both VHF and UHF (the loop deals with UHF, the rabbit ears deal with VHF). The loop antenna will not be as good as the CS2 at UHF, but if it works, it eliminates the need to deal with two separate antennas.



Option 2: Get a real high-VHF capable combo antenna (for the attic or roof). I would not really recommend anything smaller than the Antennacraft HBU22 for handling channels 7-69. It has the classic "antenna look", but it might be small enough to be passable.

Going a little bigger does, of course, provide better performance and gives you more margin for error (for dealing with random things that can happen like interference, stormy weather, seasonal changes, etc.)



Option 3: Combine a VHF-only antenna with your existing CS2 for a two-antenna solution (for the attic or roof). This will have great performance, but you'll still be dealing with a much larger antenna for handling VHF. There's no escaping that because VHF wavelengths are very long, and long wavelengths mean you need long antenna elements to pick them up.

Having two distinct antenna designs (CS2 and some high-VHF antenna) might be more aesthetically pleasing than the typical VHF/UHF combo design.
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