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Old 10-Jan-2010, 5:12 PM   #1
hothilton
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Rural MN-Starbuck-Antenna for Red Channels?

Live in Starbuck, MN, in town. Two story home. Looking for OTA channels. Signals report listed below. Get ABC and CBS fine with indoor set top antenna but looking to grab those red channels. What is my best rooftop antenna option and if installed will it make a difference anyway? Thank you.


http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...b32bdd02f7bb19
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Old 10-Jan-2010, 7:01 PM   #2
mtownsend
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Hello and welcome!

Your tvfool report was done at city-level only, which might not paint an accurate picture of your actual signal strengths. An exact address would work better.

If the address lookup is not working for your town, you can try the Interactive Maps tool (link here). That tool will provide an interactive map where you can zoom in, switch map views (to satellite or hybrid mode), and move the marker representing your location (drag and drop the orange marker). You can also edit the antenna height. The list of channels below the map will automatically get updated.

When you are satisfied with the placement of the orange marker, you can press the "Make Radar Plot" button to turn that into a shareable report for your exact location.



Based on the generic report you already posted, things do not look very promising. All of the "red" channels are translator stations from Alexandria. They are all partially blocked by hills that lie between Starbuck and Alexandria. Depending on your exact location, that blockage might be even worse than what is shown on the current report. If you live at higher elevations, you might do a little better.

If your exact location report gives you roughly the same signal levels for the Alexandria stations, then you should be able to pick them up with a large rooftop antenna.

Please note that at the moment, all of those transmitters are listed as analog translators in the FCC database. Some of them may have already switched to using digital equipment, but some (or most) probably have not switched yet.

Also, all of the Alexandria transmitters are currently on UHF channels. This means a UHF-only antenna like the Antennas Direct 91XG would do a good job of pulling them in. However, if any of the stations switch to VHF channels (maybe when they get new digital channel assignments), you may need to add a VHF-capable antenna later.

You could also use something like a Winegard 8200U, which is a large all-around high performance antenna that will cover all VHF and UHF stations.



Either way, it would be good to take a look at a more accurate tvfool report for your location. If the Noise Margin (NM) numbers for the Alexandria stations drop below around -10 to -15 dB, then it's going to be pretty difficult to get those stations.
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Old 10-Jan-2010, 8:26 PM   #3
hothilton
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mtownsend, thanks for your suggestions. I followed your directions and updated my location etc. Below is the updated info. In my limited experience and knowledge it does not look favorable? So basically my only option is the Winegard 8200U, or just stick to my two channels via indoor set top antenna?
Thank you very much for your time and answering my question!!!


http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...b32b896651f743
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Old 11-Jan-2010, 2:32 AM   #4
mtownsend
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It does not look too promising. You should be able to get the top three channels without too much trouble. KWCM is on channel 10, if you can get the antenna to see channels south-west of your location.

The rest of the channels are in the gray zone, which means it will be difficult. People have been able to successfully get channels down to roughly -15 to -20 dB NM, but it does require going with some of the biggest antennas available, mounting as high as possible, and using a good pre-amp.

In this new report, it looks like the Alexandria transmitters to the north (at a 7 degree compass heading) are out of the question. The terrain is probably just too high in that direction.

The next best bet for transmitters are the ones from Willmar (at a 140 degree compass heading). These transmitters are further away, but going over Lake Minnewaska and the generally lower terrain means they will be stronger than the blocked Alexandria stations. You will need to decide whether or not these extra stations are worth pursuing. If you are successful at pulling them it, it would be a significant increase in your total number of channels.
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