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Old 16-Dec-2009, 11:00 AM   #1
rabeatz
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Suburban area - Antenna Web says I need a (Violet) Large Directional Antenna??

My family and I are trying to cut back on costs, and with the availability of streaming content available online as well as OTA HD programming as well as the small amount of time we spend watching TV, we thought it would be good to cancel our DishNetwork subscription and go OTA.

We have a 25' tall antenna mounted outside, however it's about 30 years old. In fact so old that when I tried connecting the wires to it, the bolts it connects to actually crumbled off. Some of the elements are split off and I don't believe it's functioning properly. I did the best I could to wire that one up just to test what I could get with it, and was unable to pull any signal with my TV (built in digital tuner).

Here are my TVFool Signal Analysis Results

I went to the AntennaWeb site and these are my results:

Call Sign Channel Network City, State Compass Heading Miles From RF Channel

blue vhf
WESH-DT 2.1 NBC DAYTONA BEACH, FL 104° 23.6 11

blue uhf
WOFL-DT 35.1 FOX ORLANDO, FL 106° 22.1 22
W21AU-D 21.1 AZA ORLANDO, FL 197° 4.0 21
WKCF-DT 18.1 CW CLERMONT, FL 109° 22.5 17
W21AU 21 AZA ORLANDO, FL 194° 4.0 21

violet uhf
WFTV-DT 9.1 ABC ORLANDO, FL 111° 24.5 39
WTGL-DT 45.1 FMN COCOA, FL 109° 22.5 46
WOTF-DT 43.1 TFA MELBOURNE, FL 109° 22.5 43
WKMG-DT 6.1 CBS ORLANDO, FL 104° 23.6 26
WHLV-DT 53.1 FMN COCOA, FL 109° 22.5 51
WVCI-LP 16 UNI ORLANDO, FL 169° 5.1 16
WMFE-DT 24.1 PBS ORLANDO, FL 107° 21.6 23
WRDQ-DT 27.1 IND ORLANDO, FL 111° 24.5 27

BLUE/VIOLET for the antenna type? This seems kind of extreme.. I was looking antennas up online and to get a UHF/VHF antenna in the 'BLUE' Category the boom length would be between 120" and 180", which to me seems to be a MASSIVE antenna. I need the VHF to pick up WESH-DT, which is important to me.

I'm not in a rural area of any sort, the furthest channel is 24.5 Miles away. 20 of the channels in my area show up in the "Green" category on my TVFools Signal Analysis, and 9 more channels appear in the Yellow one. Why would I need such a large antenna? The product descriptions for these antennas talk about having 45-80 mile ranges. "Violet" is one of those antennas in addition to a preamp to increase the signal. This just seems crazy. I want to replace the 30+ year old antenna with something newer to pick up the channels but i'm not putting something up with a 10 and a half foot boom length up...

Perhaps I'm putting too much trust in the AntennaWeb site. Before I go buy a giant antenna, can a human with knowledge in this area make a recommendation of the type of antenna I would REALLY need? I need VHF to pick up Channel 11 (23.6 Miles away), and UHF for everything else.

I understand people have personal preferences when it comes to Antennas, and certain models are no longer available, so although a recommendation of a specific model would be appreciated, what I'm really looking for is what CEA Color code antenna I would really need so I can research from there and make the decision myself. Blue/Violet just seems crazy when I'm so close to the broadcasters.

Thanks for any knowledge or advice.

Last edited by rabeatz; 16-Dec-2009 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 16-Dec-2009, 4:41 PM   #2
andy.s.lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabeatz View Post
We have a 25' tall antenna mounted outside, however it's about 30 years old. In fact so old that when I tried connecting the wires to it, the bolts it connects to actually crumbled off. Some of the elements are split off and I don't believe it's functioning properly. I did the best I could to wire that one up just to test what I could get with it, and was unable to pull any signal with my TV (built in digital tuner).
Do you have a picture of the antenna? That will help us identify what you currently have.



Quote:
Here are my TVFool Signal Analysis Results
Thanks. This is very helpful.



Quote:
BLUE/VIOLET for the antenna type? This seems kind of extreme.. I was looking antennas up online and to get a UHF/VHF antenna in the 'BLUE' Category the boom length would be between 120" and 180", which to me seems to be a MASSIVE antenna. I need the VHF to pick up WESH-DT, which is important to me.
Yes, at 24 miles, blue and violet does seem to be way off base. Antennaweb is off sometimes, but this seems to be even more wrong than usual.



Your signals do seem to be quite strong, and they are all clustered together, with the exception of WVEN (Univision) and WOPX (ION). For this kind of situation, I'd recommend any basic VHF/UHF combo antenna like the Channel Master 3016 or Winegard 7694P pointed at around 109º compass heading.

If you plan on splitting the signal many ways or if you have problems with multi-path, then you can up-size the antenna a bit to help on both accounts, but chances are, this won't be necessary. Are there lots of tall buildings between you and the transmitters that might give you multi-path problems?

Your signals are so strong that I think for experimental purposes, you can try a simple rabbit ears and loop. There's a good chance you'll get most of the channels in the green zone on your tvfool report.

The rooftop is better of course. With roof antennas you won't be affected by things like people walking by or accidentally bumping the antenna. Being up higher also keeps the antenna above most of the "clutter" that interferes with, blocks, or reflects TV signals.

Best regards,
Andy
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Old 16-Dec-2009, 6:12 PM   #3
rabeatz
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I did pick up a little indoor amplified antenna by RCA, picks up a couple channels like the WESH, but there is alot of stuff on the desk I put it on, and tuning it (digitally) is a challenge since you don't get the snow to tell you if it's better or not.

The current antenna actually has two antennas mounted on the pole - the lower one looks similar to this:
http://freetoronto.tv/images/AntV1ch.jpg

While the one on top that I was connecting to looks similar to this:
http://www.rocketroberts.com/cm4251/..._ant_jan83.jpg (bottom antenna in image)

With it being 30 years old and breaking, i figure it needs to be replaced anyways.

Do you know what CEA color code the two antennas you mentioned are in? I will probably look those ones up later, but I'm on a budget and trying to stick to $30-$50 dollars for the antenna.

I was going to get the Antennacraft® HBU22 High-VHF/UHF Antenna until I looked up what Blue/Violet are and realized it was nothing close to what AntennaWeb said I needed.

Are far as splitting the signal - it would probably go to 3 different TVs. Would it be more effective to add a pre-amp or other forms of amplification, or to get a larger antenna?

Another thing - when Dishnetwork connects their satellite dishes, do they run anything in the coaxial line that would interfere with the antenna signal? Conveniently, my Dish was installed directly next to the antenna, so I can just disconnect that and connect it to the RG-6 that dish installed.. but I guess I need to go into the attic and see if Dish put anything on that line that would mess with the signal, or if it runs stright to the Dish receiver.

Last edited by rabeatz; 16-Dec-2009 at 6:28 PM.
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Old 16-Dec-2009, 11:24 PM   #4
andy.s.lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabeatz View Post
I did pick up a little indoor amplified antenna by RCA, picks up a couple channels like the WESH, but there is alot of stuff on the desk I put it on, and tuning it (digitally) is a challenge since you don't get the snow to tell you if it's better or not.
Does your TV have a built in signal meter? If so, it can tell you the signal "quality" (not strength) as you turn your antenna around. This might help you find an antenna orientation that works well for the majority of channels.

Most of your channels should come in best when the "face" of the antenna is pointing toward the main transmitter cluster (to the east of where you are). The rabbit ears need to be extended about half way for WESH.



Quote:
The current antenna actually has two antennas mounted on the pole - the lower one looks similar to this:
http://freetoronto.tv/images/AntV1ch.jpg
That's a VHF-only yagi antenna.



Quote:
While the one on top that I was connecting to looks similar to this:
http://www.rocketroberts.com/cm4251/..._ant_jan83.jpg (bottom antenna in image)
That's a "small" VHF/UHF combo antenna.



Quote:
Do you know what CEA color code the two antennas you mentioned are in?
Don't know what color codes they belong to, but I don't put much stake in the meanings of those anyway. All that really matters is how strong the signals are and how much gain the antenna has.



Quote:
I will probably look those ones up later, but I'm on a budget and trying to stick to $30-$50 dollars for the antenna.

I was going to get the Antennacraft® HBU22 High-VHF/UHF Antenna until I looked up what Blue/Violet are and realized it was nothing close to what AntennaWeb said I needed.
That antenna should work.

The HBU22 is smaller than the Winegard 7694P. It's also smaller than the antenna you already have. This means you can expect the gain to be lower. However, your local channels are pretty strong, so I expect that it will still work.

BTW, Winegard antennas have historically had a good reputation of lasting a long time. Not so sure about the Antennacraft construction, but it looks OK to me.

The next step up (HBU33) is closer to the Winegard antenna, and seems to be similarly priced at that level.



Quote:
Are far as splitting the signal - it would probably go to 3 different TVs. Would it be more effective to add a pre-amp or other forms of amplification, or to get a larger antenna?
I'd go with a pre-amp. Being in hurricane country, a smaller antenna may have a better chance against the elements.

A pre-amp is usually better than a distribution amp because it can be placed up close to the antenna (before you incur any cable loss). Pre-amps are also usually designed with lower noise figures than distribution amps. Both of these factors will help you keep as much signal quality as possible (whatever your antenna can deliver).



Quote:
Another thing - when Dishnetwork connects their satellite dishes, do they run anything in the coaxial line that would interfere with the antenna signal? Conveniently, my Dish was installed directly next to the antenna, so I can just disconnect that and connect it to the RG-6 that dish installed.. but I guess I need to go into the attic and see if Dish put anything on that line that would mess with the signal, or if it runs stright to the Dish receiver.
There may be a multi-switch in the middle somewhere (for sharing a dish among multiple receivers). You can bypass that to get a straight connection to your TV area.

Best regards,
Andy
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Old 16-Dec-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
rabeatz
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Thanks for all the advice. I'll pick a new antenna and post whenever I have results
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Old 17-Dec-2009, 1:19 PM   #6
rabeatz
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I'm going with the Winegard 7694P. SummitSource.com includes 50 feet of coaxial with every antenna order, so I can just use that instead of trying to mess with the stuff Dish put in. When we cancel our dish service, i'll take a look at it again, but thats probably when I'll need to get the Pre-amp too, for now i'll just have it going to one TV.
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Old 17-Dec-2009, 4:44 PM   #7
andy.s.lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabeatz View Post
SummitSource.com includes 50 feet of coaxial with every antenna order, so I can just use that instead of trying to mess with the stuff Dish put in.
Just so you know, the coax that they include with the deal is RG59, not RG6. RG59 is a lot more lossy and has no shielding, and that's why everyone prefers RG6. It's not to say that RG59 won't work, but at 50 feet, RG6 will probably deliver about 2-3 dB better signal at the end.

The lack of shielding on RG59 can also sometimes be problematic if microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, or other electrical interference is interrupting your TV viewing. This may or may not be an issue in your house, but it's something to look for if you go with RG59.

Your signals appear to be strong, so you might be OK either way.
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Old 21-Dec-2009, 8:03 PM   #8
rabeatz
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Yeah the site didn't say if it was RG-6 or RG-59 but i figured free = RG-59. I might shop around a bit and just buy RG-6.. a few DB loss might not be a problem but if i'm splitting it to 2-3 TVs and not having a pre-amp, I don't want to add more loss in the wiring.
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Old 30-Dec-2009, 10:39 PM   #9
rabeatz
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Got the Winegard 7694P from SolidSignal.com and 100 feet of RG-6. The antenna is pointed at 109° (or the best I could get it using my phone's "compass")

Have it going from the antenna into a dual grounding block shared with the existing dish network wiring, then to my bedroom. I ended up being about 12 feet short of cable and had to couple in an additional 25 foot cable. With that said - I picked up 38 digital stations and 3 analog. The analog stations aren't clear at all, but it's Latin programming which I don't really care for. Everything else comes in extremely clear, clearer than some stuff on my satellite.

The only VHF station (WESH-DT) is coming in extremely clear in HD, so I am very happy with that. There are actually some big trees in my neighbor's yard and this doesn't seem to affect my signal.

I appreciate the advice that I was able to get from this forum, I believe this is the best antenna for me and I'm glad I didn't blindly follow antennaweb's advice!
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