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Old 12-Nov-2014, 5:46 AM   #1
ZippyTheChicken
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This is my Report.. what do you think?

I purchased a cheap antenna off of amazon its I guess a miniyaggi kinda antenna with an amp and I can get stations off it. Its one of the newer designs has a single element and lots of collectors on it..

So then I decided to try building my own antenna and I ended up building a 4 bay with aluminum tubes instead of v shaped bunny ears on the side kinda deal.
That got me just about the same results

Then I added a RCA preamp to it I am not sure I got much out of it.. I bought it marked as Used from Amazon Warehouse and it was a return that they flipped and sold to me.. honestly not sure if it works at all I have had different weather patterns and testing at different times of day and mornings at sunup my channels were flaking out.

I am at a distance of 55 Miles from Philly and similar distances to other markets however Philly is performing best and I will probably just stick with that direction.

My antenna will be mounted in the attic and I am in a single story home so its .. you know wall height of 8 feet then whatever fits in the attic so figure 12 - 15 feet or something.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e1c69e2ce44011

That is my TV Fool Philly is 30deg magnetic...

I actually do pickup to the south of me WMAR 38 real when my homemade antenna is pointed north to 30deg..

not sure exactly why i get it .. could be reflections of me testing in my garage with a big metal door.. could be the antenna's reflector performing poorly.. could be i have so much gain on my antenna it just comes in.. I am not sure..

But from the signals and report what do you guys think would give me rock steady performance in all but the worst weather conditions? And maybe work then too...

Again I can't roof or tower mount because of my home owners association so please do not consider that at all .. it is really really not an option..

But I want something very dependable and something that won't require any maintenance or rotor.

I will need to serve a few / say 5 tvs in the home so a distribution amp will most likely be used after I disconnect the wires from my cable tv service leaving only the cable modem line to the computer.

Based on the signal which I am not really sure about how to read and understand fully the NM vs PWR

And what do you think is minimal for very good reception .. WMAR seems to come in great for me and its at 14db but I don't think I can get anything lower than that at this time without effort.

WBOC did come in and its showing a 4db signal to my area but I only caught it once in my initial tests.. it did seem to come in ok though.

What is the lowest DB and Noise that lets you get dependable signal?

VHF is not really important but would be nice maybe.

I see a lot of reports with people having 40 to 60db even and asking for help.. i think if i had that.. heh well I would be very pleased.. but I am on the low end of the scale and down to zero...

Need to understand that because some people are trying to get negative DB stations.. i see that too..

Thanks

Little lost could use a guide based on my report as what will work and what i can get dependably ...

Last edited by ZippyTheChicken; 12-Nov-2014 at 5:52 AM.
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Old 12-Nov-2014, 10:13 AM   #2
Stereocraig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheChicken View Post



Again I can't roof or tower mount because of my home owners association so please do not consider that at all .. it is really really not an option..
Oh, but it really, really IS an option.


Anybody that told you that, is either sadly misinformed, or is outright lying to you.
It is a ridiculously, unenforceable rule and the federal government says so.

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-r...n-devices-rule
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Old 12-Nov-2014, 3:20 PM   #3
ADTech
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Zippy has been working with his situation over at DHC for quite a while. See that thread at http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...610&highlight=
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 1:04 AM   #4
ZippyTheChicken
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See thats exactly why i said really really...
because for me .. in my home .. where I live .. and the way I want to live
It is not an option... I understand your point but I wanted to head that off.

Unfortunately you responded not with help but with a command
for me to confront my neighbors
and also go against my own wants...

I don't want a tower or a roof mount..
I grew up in a home with a roof mount CB Base Station antenna probably larger than any large TV antenna and its a drag..

If its in your attic like our tv antenna was its pointed and forgot.

If its outside it gets weathered .. you need to repair it.. climb on ladders
I am too old for that stupidity..

I would go out and sell crack and get the full comcast lineup and 100MB data if I wanted to be stupid...

so
really really

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereocraig View Post
Oh, but it really, really IS an option.


Anybody that told you that, is either sadly misinformed, or is outright lying to you.
It is a ridiculously, unenforceable rule and the federal government says so.

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-r...n-devices-rule
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 1:35 AM   #5
ZippyTheChicken
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Yes i have been working on this for a while and I am kinda stumped

and need help reading that tvfool report

I am not sure where my cutoffs will be based on my available signal.

I do not understand the noise to available signal readings on that report well enough to know if I actually can get rock steady signal all the time even with a large fringe antenna.

I need someone who understands those reports and my specific problem to give me a heads up on what is realistic for me based on what they have seen for many other people.

See I see that report and I look at 4 cols on it
Call Sign
NM(db)
Distance
Magnetic Direction

And in my mind i think anything with NM(db) over zero is available to me.
and then I point the antenna and do three spins and hope I get something.

most of the time I do.. however I have been having problems with quality both all the time and intermittent and at different times of the day or just randomly throughout the day... flaky cutouts and signal requiring antenna repositioning when the station was strong only 20 minutes ago...

and availability of stations that I should get that I am not getting.

But I know from testing that many other factors are coming into play because of my distance.

I have been taking notice of homes around here and many of them have a chimney or tower mounted
Channel Master CM 3020 or similar antenna
I am also guessing that many of them are using preamps or at least distribution amps


Personally I want to get away from amps if possible because they require maintenance.. I can perform that now to some extent but being in my mid 50's understanding my 60's and 70's are just around the corner..

Needing to reduce my bills by hundreds of dollars a year..
I am looking to go antenna with supplemental content from the net if its free...

I have setup a tv card to capture shows and I will listen to internet radio, watch news online free that stations stream and other content like youtube and whatever...

I believe I can keep myself entertained pretty well with all of that .. but I would want live tv over antenna just because its decent free content.

So its been a struggle trying to get there.

I have tested xbmc It might help watch prerecorded shows.

I am using a app called MCEBuddy to strip commercials from my shows recorded on Microsoft Media Center.

I have a decent inventory so far of shows I normally watch and like..
Not enough to be everything but enough to supplement what would be on antenna based tv when the only thing on during the day is jerry springer or something else mind numbing..

So I am I would say about 40% there now..

I need to find a way to stream to other tvs and I think a mediacenter computer with wifi and boxes at each tv will work for that..

And I need to allow a good lineup of live TV signal from antenna to each tv and I think if I pull the lines from the comcast box and connect a distribution amp and make my antenna connection I can get to each tv with live signal.

It is a large task

A lot of people are also in my position..

However I also see a lot of people that are simply dropping cable or satellite and then going only with online content streaming from amazon hulu+ and netflix...

But they are still paying for content and it can get real expensive real fast with some of those services if you decide to start watching new movies or other pay content.. you could easily equal a normal cable tv bill.


So anyway.. my predicament .. seems to be a pretty common one today...
however where some people feel the need to spend the same amount of money for content with pay services or pay for hardware like homeruns...

I am doing this on the cheap...

I am into it under $100 at this point and that is about a month and a half of my cable tv station bill .. not including my $40 a month cable modem bill.

There are even some services out there that let you watch movies when they are playing in your local theater.. legally.. that costs thousands per year I think over $10k per year..

If I hit the lottery heck i might not even watch tv anymore because I will be partying day and night until i pass away....

however being realistic ..
I understand that it more likely I will be working from home 18hrs a day or as much as I am physically able to do later on in life and a cable bill won't be as important as keeping the heat on or putting food in my stomach.

so

anyway





Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Zippy has been working with his situation over at DHC for quite a while. See that thread at http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...610&highlight=

Last edited by ZippyTheChicken; 13-Nov-2014 at 1:39 AM.
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 1:46 AM   #6
ZippyTheChicken
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also if you read that thread on the other site i describe a number of channels I received with a test of my amazon purchased antenna .... A test which lasted about long enough to go through 10 scans as I pointed the antenna out different windows in my home.. not long enough to realize i don't get those channels dependably 24/7

Many of those stations are flakey..
In a probably 6 hour test I had time to do I found sometimes I would get signal and sometimes not..

Which lead me to believe I needed more antenna and or amp

But not many of the stations are reliable enough to depend on grabbing tv shows with my computer tv card.. which also seems to have a weaker tuner than my tv and thus fewer stations and worse quality..

well anyway .. back to my original question
can I please get some help understanding my report and the other questions related.

I appreciate it.
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 1:56 AM   #7
ADTech
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I'll be happy to look in depth at your location, but I will require the precise GPS coordinates of your roof. There's a whole lot of interpretation that isn't possible with only the TVFool plot, but, with an accurate location that allows me to analyze your immediate terrain and ground cover, I will give you my assessment of your odds and will be able to adjust, as needed, your expectations as to what is likely or not.

If you'd like this assessment, use the private message tool to send the coordinates or you can send it to info (at) antennasdirect.com and I will get it directly.

I ask for precise GPS coordinates because, after doing this for a fair number of years, I do NOT have confidence in the accuracy of the Google's geocoding for many street addresses which provide inaccurate or ambiguous location data. GIGO.
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Last edited by ADTech; 13-Nov-2014 at 2:01 AM.
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 12:53 PM   #8
Stereocraig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheChicken View Post
See thats exactly why i said really really...
because for me .. in my home .. where I live .. and the way I want to live
It is not an option... I understand your point but I wanted to head that off.

Unfortunately you responded not with help but with a command
for me to confront my neighbors
and also go against my own wants...

I don't want a tower or a roof mount..
I grew up in a home with a roof mount CB Base Station antenna probably larger than any large TV antenna and its a drag..

If its in your attic like our tv antenna was its pointed and forgot.

If its outside it gets weathered .. you need to repair it.. climb on ladders
I am too old for that stupidity..

I would go out and sell crack and get the full comcast lineup and 100MB data if I wanted to be stupid...

so
really really
OH Geez, C'mon, Zippy!

All you had to say, was that you didn't care to do any climbing. I can certainly respect you for that.
But, you said that your HOA disallowed them and that, was the problem I was trying to help you with.

Oh well, things will work out.
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 3:10 PM   #9
Ben Myers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheChicken View Post
also if you read that thread on the other site i describe a number of channels I received with a test of my amazon purchased antenna .... A test which lasted about long enough to go through 10 scans as I pointed the antenna out different windows in my home.. not long enough to realize i don't get those channels dependably 24/7

Many of those stations are flakey..
In a probably 6 hour test I had time to do I found sometimes I would get signal and sometimes not..

Which lead me to believe I needed more antenna and or amp

But not many of the stations are reliable enough to depend on grabbing tv shows with my computer tv card.. which also seems to have a weaker tuner than my tv and thus fewer stations and worse quality..

well anyway .. back to my original question
can I please get some help understanding my report and the other questions related.

I appreciate it.
If you are rescanning with every antenna change, I strongly suggest you try to find a way to add channels manually. Many televisions and converters can do this, even when it is not documented in the manual. Sometimes all you have to do is enter the real channel number into the remote, possibly followed by a period or hyphen. Don't be surprised if you see nothing on the screen initially, since most modern televisions don't show a picture unless a usable signal is present. Also, the most important things in the TV Fool report are the real channel numbers, the direction in which the station lies and how close the entry is to the top of the report.
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Old 13-Nov-2014, 3:15 PM   #10
Tower Guy
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Your attic goal will limit your ability to pick up an ABC station. WPVI is on channel 6, a low band VHF channel. None of the antennas that you have tried are capable of low band. WMAR is possible with a good antenna, but in another direction than the Philly stations that are easier to receive than the remaining Baltimore affiliates.

Reception of WPVI will require a low band antenna such as a Y5-2-6 or a large all channel antenna. Yet I'd rate the chances of success at less than 50/50.

Reception of channel 38 in the attic is around 50/50 with the largest UHF antenna plus preamp but even if successful your WMC will be stymied by the inability to add the antennas together efficiently.
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Old 14-Nov-2014, 2:53 AM   #11
ZippyTheChicken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
Your attic goal will limit your ability to pick up an ABC station.

WPVI is on channel 6, a low band VHF channel.

Reception of channel 38 in the attic is around 50/50 with the largest UHF antenna plus preamp but even if successful your WMC will be stymied by the inability to add the antennas together efficiently.
Philly ABC is not a huge concern if I can get a good selection of other stations I can live without ABC.. however as you point out I could get WMAR to the south


And in fact I do get WMAR to the south pretty well with my homemade 4bay with a preamp... and i actually receive it when I am pointing north to philly so thats kinda a bonus... because I don't have to rotate the antenna..

This is only in tests that I am performing in my garage and someone pointed out to me I may be getting reflections that increase my reception of that station because of my garage door ... I guess I will see once i move the antenna to the attic but the antenna is too big to fit through the crawl door so it means taking it apart and putting it back together up there and I am reluctant at this time to do it in case I want to make large modifications to it.


HOWEVER are you saying the performance of WMAR will be sketchy because of its signal strength? of 14db? and its noise of -76?

Because I don't really understand that noise thing...

I have seen people trying to get stations and the noise -76 seems really high and they have problems from -60 and up.

Thanks for your reply tower guy.
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Old 14-Nov-2014, 3:02 AM   #12
ZippyTheChicken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Myers View Post
If you are rescanning with every antenna change, I strongly suggest you try to find a way to add channels manually. Many televisions and converters can do this.
Oh yes I really need to figure that out...

my tv is a cheap 24" UPStar brand that I found out is marketed primarily to the Hospitality/ Hotel market.. It is decent quality and I got it for only $90 at Tiger after a discounted price and a $32 Rebate .. I actually have a Tiger near me kinda and I had to fight them to give me the floor model for the price .. I am guessing they didn't really want to sell them that cheap but heh...

Anyway if I scan and miss stations that I normally get from a specific direction with that tv I punch in the number of the station and it says A - 32 or something which i believe its trying for Analog Real 32 .. I have not found a way to get it to do Digital Stations from the remote ... and since this is a Hospitality tv there is little or no support on the manufacturers website and no instructions came with it.. so heh .. yeah fun.. got to figure that out.

Thanks Ben
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Old 14-Nov-2014, 3:13 AM   #13
ZippyTheChicken
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Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
I'll be happy to look in depth at your location, but I will require the precise GPS coordinates of your roof.
Sorry ADTech I don't feel comfortable with that
The TVFool Report is not even from my neighborhood its up the street a couple miles but if you can read the signals from that report you should be good to go because I live....

Between Dover Delaware and Middletown Delaware and the terrain here is both flat and very similar for a 20+ mile radius.

There are no hills .. there are no large obstructions other than homes which are 300 feet away in the direction I am pointing my antenna... no trees of any concern .. the area is flat and most of delaware is flat until you hit the last 25 miles before pennsylvania and even so its all graded pretty even from here to philly in relationship to the distance...

Signal gets that far from the tower and a rolling hill is not going to block signal.. its not like I am in West Virgina in a valley .. or even in a suburban community where there can be variations of hundreds of feet ...

Its just flat here and for a good 30 miles its flat to philly
and to baltimore its flat all the way there with the exception of water the signal will cross.. and south of me.. flat...

heh

anyway from Dover DE to Middletown DE.. pick a spot any spot .. pretty much gonna be the same especially since signals are 50+ miles away.

Thanks for your reply ADTech
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Old 14-Nov-2014, 3:23 AM   #14
ZippyTheChicken
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Yeah i know ... but I said what was what and that should have been enough

I mean hey ...
LINUX SUCKS..
INTERNET EXPLORER IS THE BEST...
ANDROID IS BETTER THAN iOS8
AOL IS BETTER THAN FIOS
KIM KARDASHIAN IS NOT AN ALIEN FREAK FROM OUTERSPACE

you know.... i know

I don't need to justify my life to you...

however i feel my original plea for help to the form was pretty contrite ..

Thank you for your purchase.. please come again .. have a wonderful day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereocraig View Post
OH Geez, C'mon, Zippy!

Last edited by ZippyTheChicken; 14-Nov-2014 at 3:28 AM.
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Old 14-Nov-2014, 6:48 AM   #15
Ben Myers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheChicken View Post
Oh yes I really need to figure that out...

my tv is a cheap 24" UPStar brand that I found out is marketed primarily to the Hospitality/ Hotel market.. It is decent quality and I got it for only $90 at Tiger after a discounted price and a $32 Rebate .. I actually have a Tiger near me kinda and I had to fight them to give me the floor model for the price .. I am guessing they didn't really want to sell them that cheap but heh...

Anyway if I scan and miss stations that I normally get from a specific direction with that tv I punch in the number of the station and it says A - 32 or something which i believe its trying for Analog Real 32 .. I have not found a way to get it to do Digital Stations from the remote ... and since this is a Hospitality tv there is little or no support on the manufacturers website and no instructions came with it.. so heh .. yeah fun.. got to figure that out.

Thanks Ben
Try entering the real channel number, followed by a period or hyphen.
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Old 14-Nov-2014, 2:38 PM   #16
Tower Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheChicken View Post
HOWEVER are you saying the performance of WMAR will be sketchy because of its signal strength? of 14db? and its noise of -76?

Thanks for your reply tower guy.
It's hard to say. An inaccurate location for the TVfool report, attic variables, and unknown antenna characteristics make for an unpredictable situation.
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Old 15-Nov-2014, 4:27 PM   #17
ZippyTheChicken
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cool that works... i've been locked on channel 3 for so many years with cable i don't even know how to work a tv anymore hahahahaha

29-1 = digital 29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Myers View Post
Try entering the real channel number, followed by a period or hyphen.
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Old 15-Nov-2014, 7:56 PM   #18
Ben Myers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyTheChicken View Post
cool that works... i've been locked on channel 3 for so many years with cable i don't even know how to work a tv anymore hahahahaha
29-1 = digital 29
The idea is to tune the television to one of the new, unmemorized channels that you are still trying to receive, then configure and aim the antenna until the picture shows up. This feature may or may not be documented in the manual. Typically, once received, the channel is automatically added to the channel list.
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