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Old 6-Sep-2014, 11:02 PM   #1
KCount
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Antenna Suggestion for Buffalo & Rochester, NY

Hello,

I have been struggling with deciding on a proper antenna for my situation.

I currently have a Rayzar Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna, but the signals come and go and I am unable to watch without losing signal. I have tried different areas of the house, but with no luck.

I am leaning towards Denny's "Stacker" antenna, but I have not been able to find reviews of that other than on their own website and they have not responded to any emails or requests for information (thus causing me to reconsider their product). I am not sure if I need a UHF/VHF antenna or if two separate antennas will suffice. Other antennas that I am considering are the DB8e, 91XG, HD8200U.

My TV Fool Analysis can be found at http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...d2430a94812ce0

I expect to mount a roof antenna, approx 25 feet high from the ground. I also expect that I will need a rotator. I am not sure about amps and what not, but would like to pull in the Canadian stations if at all possible as well.

Any guidance that you can give me regarding what antenna to go with would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any of your help.
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Old 6-Sep-2014, 11:20 PM   #2
timgr
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As the owner of a DB8e, I'm impressed by it, though my mounting is not finalized. It's a UHF-only antenna. I understand its advantage is that is a newer design, targeted to the narrower bandwidth 14-51 since the FCC turned over 51-69 to other uses than TV. Older designs target 14-69. It's directional, but you can aim each array in a different direction. Typically the more directional and the smaller the bandwidth, the better the reception.

I've been observing advice here for a while, am a technically savvy guy, and have observed that generally you look at which channels you want to receive, and which band they fall into - VHF low, VHF high, or UHF. Typically you aim for the clusters of available stations, yours being at about 63 and 230 magnetic. If there is a particular station you really want, you can erect a targeted dedicated antenna, and either mix the signals (VHF-UHF combiner) or bring each antenna feed to a separate tuner, and provide both feeds via a PC or some similar device. So look at what's in the air, and what you might might want to bring in. The weaker the signal, the less certain that you can receive it, even with appropriate measures.

Last edited by timgr; 6-Sep-2014 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 7-Sep-2014, 12:05 AM   #3
emartz91
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Two antenna solution comes to mind. Two antennacraft HBU 44 antennas. One for 63 degrees and one for 230 degrees. Use a 10' mast. Fence top rail is only $12 dollars at home depot. Make sure that they are both on the same mast and at least 3' apart. If you are only using one tv, you can have an antenna go directly to the tv for one market and have the other antenna go into a sensitive converter box for the other market. It acts like an a/b switch except you are switching inputs from tv to componet or whatever you use. I would also recommend a rca tv pramp-1r preamp. You should get all green and yellow and red down to 10-15 db if outside. Good luck!

Last edited by emartz91; 7-Sep-2014 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 7-Sep-2014, 12:09 AM   #4
Tower Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCount View Post

I expect to mount a roof antenna, approx 25 feet high from the ground. I also expect that I will need a rotator. I am not sure about amps and what not, but would like to pull in the Canadian stations if at all possible as well.
If I lived in your house I'd have one antenna for the local Rochester stations plus a second antenna on a rotator for Buffalo and Toronto. I'd get an external HD tuner for the rotatable antenna and switch from antenna to HDMI on the TV set to switch antennas. That way you won't need to rescan to watch the locals and you can try to find a tuner that allows for flexible channel adding to minimize the confusion caused by a rotator.

The Denny's stacker antenna works OK, but has low band reception that doesn't help you. Better designs are HD 7694P or HBU-33 for Rochester plus HD 7698P or HBU-55 for Buffalo and Toronto.

You may need a preamp for multiple TV's and/or the further stations.

I'll be watching the Bills tomorrow.
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Old 7-Sep-2014, 11:37 AM   #5
KCount
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Thank you very much. One question that I have by looking at my TV Fool report: If I aim an antenna at 63 degrees, will it also pick up channels from the rear (232 degrees)? Or will the antenna only pick up channels to the general direction that it is aimed at and not front and back?
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Old 7-Sep-2014, 3:02 PM   #6
tomfoolery
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If it were me, I'd put an HBU33 or 44 aimed at the Rochester towers on Pinnacle Hill, and just stop there, at least initially. I don't see anything in Buffalo that you can't get in Rochester, unless you want local news or certain sports broadcasts. CW in Rochester is on real 13/virtual 13.2, by the way.

For the Buffalo and/or Toronto stations, I think you'll need more antenna. If forgoing Buffalo and just concentrating on Toronto, a DB8e with the panels aimed apart a little may be enough that you don't need a rotator. But I don't think it has enough gain with one aimed at Buffalo and the other at Toronto.

But you never know. I can actually get one of the Buffalo stations, from 70 miles away and aimed into trees, with a DB4e in my attic and single digit NM figure, though it's not really watchable. But I'm amazed it even registers on the TV tuner at all.

The front to back rejection of any of those high-gain antennas is pretty high, so I don't think you'll get reliable reception off the back, unless you aim it at Buffalo and try to get Rochester off the back. But that looks pretty iffy to me. But there's no harm in trying, especially if you're starting with an HBU33/44 anyway.

Just my two cents.
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Old 7-Sep-2014, 4:37 PM   #7
KCount
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I spoke with an Antennas Direct salesman today. He had suggested both the DB8e and the the Clearstream 5, with the Clearstream 5 being ontop.

Can anyone offer an opinion of this setup? I am curious about the DB8e and their swivel panels and losing possible signal gains by rotating half of the antenna.

In this setup it looks as if a rotator would certainly be needed.
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Old 7-Sep-2014, 4:40 PM   #8
Tower Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCount View Post
Twill the antenna only pick up channels to the general direction that it is aimed at and not front and back?
That depends on how many reflections there are near you and how well your tuner handles the multipath.

If you want to try a single antenna consider the Winegard HD-1080 aimed at WIVB, WKBW, and WGRZ in Buffalo. It has a VHF lobe that will be aimed at two of the major Rochester stations while aimed at three UHF stations in Buffalo.

Last edited by Tower Guy; 7-Sep-2014 at 6:43 PM.
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Old 8-Sep-2014, 1:52 PM   #9
tomfoolery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCount View Post
I am curious about the DB8e and their swivel panels and losing possible signal gains by rotating half of the antenna.
Look at the data sheet for the DB8e here: DB8e web page Click the Documents tab, and open the Technical Data pdf file. As you scroll down through the pages, you can see the max gain (with both panels aimed in the same direction) go from about 16-17 dBi down to around 9-11 dBi when they're 180 degrees apart (page 8).

9-11 dBi is about the same gain as the dB2e all by itself (DB2e link - same drill to see the plots), which is literally 1/4 the antenna the DB8e is, and 1/4 the resulting signal strength. When you aim the panels away from each other, some of the signal received by one is reradiated back out the other. That's the problem with combining similar antennas aimed in different directions into a single downlead.

If ~10 dB is enough gain, and that's not chicken feed by the way, then the worst-case aiming (180 degrees apart) at two different antenna farms is a very elegant way (IMO) to accomplish this. Less than 180 degrees and the gain goes up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCount View Post
In this setup it looks as if a rotator would certainly be needed.
Some TVs allow rescanning to add channels. My cheap little Vizio has that feature, as I found this weekend when playing around on a boat. My big Panasonic plasma doesn't. So if using a rotator, and if the TV doesn't allow adding channels, you'd have to rescan every time you rotate the antenna enough that some drop out and others are receivable. That's something to consider if pondering a rotator vs multiple antennas and multiple tuners.

Multiple tuners would be a deluxe solution, using a computer as a media server. My neighbor is running three antennas into three tuner cards in his dedicated media computer system, with a seamless on-screen channel menu that covers all the channels. I haven't gotten that far yet, but it's an interesting solution, and about as integrated as one can get (includes DVR capability).

Last edited by tomfoolery; 8-Sep-2014 at 1:57 PM.
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Old 9-Sep-2014, 2:37 AM   #10
KCount
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I'm leaning towards the HBU series and aiming it towards the 63 degree cluster. Would there be significant signal gains or channel signal quality with a 55 vs a 44, or would the signal strength and quality of the channels be the same regardless of either model?

After looking at what I would be able to pull in, it looks like it's not worth the cost and effort for duplicate channels with another antenna pointed at 230 degrees at the moment.

Getting all of the major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox) and getting a decent set top box to record (DVR) the OTA programming that we might not be able to watch as it is broadcasted is what our goal is.

Thank you to everyone thusfar for the advice.
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Old 9-Sep-2014, 5:23 AM   #11
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Each of the suggestions thus far have merit. The HBU-44 that you are leaning toward is a very capable antenna. During the installation and aiming process. you can easily point it toward some of the weaker alternate market signals. Make some notes re. the signals that are receivable and you'll be able to judge whether they are worth the effort to go after at a later date.

I certainly expect the HBU series antennas to be able to receive stronger signals through the rear. So when aimed at 60 - 65 degrees, I'd expect you to receive WNYO, WGRZ and perhaps WIVB.
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Old 9-Sep-2014, 3:22 PM   #12
ADTech
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I got your precise coordinates from your PM and spent a few minutes looking at overhead photos of your property.

I like to recommend that antennas be situated so that they are not behind trees since I've found that trees tend to throw every estimate out the window due to the effect of the moisture on signals, especially on UHF stations. Ken Nist does an excellent job of describing this effect on his website at http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/glossaryR.html#trees and http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/siting.html (about 1/3 way down the page). Trees cannot be avoided at your location in any of the three desired directions. The path towards Rochester is least obstructed, primarily by that big tree just off your deck, at the point of that section of woods. The Buffalo Grand Island and Toronto signals are behind those two big trees in your front yard and the southerly Buffalo signals are behind the trees in front of the garage. Unless you're prepared to make some firewood, be prepared for the effects that trees usually cause, namely dropouts in wet and/or windy weather, especially when the trees are in leaf.

With all that said, your best bet is to try for the Rochester stations using a larger high VHF/UHF combination. I'd put up a C5 on a fixed aim to Rochester (I doubt you'd get any VHF from Buffalo or Toronto) and put a DB8e on top. If you want to experiment with reception from other directions, put the DB8e on a rotor. Add a pre-amp like the RCA.

Should you find that the DB8e can do moderately well through the trees towards (either or both) Buffalo locations plus Toronto, a straightforward modification to try would be to remove the four reflector screens (drill out the rivets). That would cost a couple of db in forward gain, but would make the antenna bi-directional with lobes off the back that closely approximate your angles for the secondary markets. If the experiment doesn't work out, the reflectors can be reinstalled with standard #10 screws and nuts.

Best of luck!
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Last edited by ADTech; 9-Sep-2014 at 3:26 PM.
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Old 12-Sep-2014, 8:51 PM   #13
KCount
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Thank you for all of your help. I purchased all of my supplies today and expect to have all of the parts by early next week. With any luck, I will be fully mission capable in no time flat. Thank you very much for all of your advice!!
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