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Old 23-Nov-2010, 11:13 PM   #1
N4DBC
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A tough ABC station - suggestions?

I'm sorry, but I have to say this. I wrote a new thread twice and the website 'ate them' both just as I was getting ready to post them! I know that I should always save my text offline just for these scenarios, but I didn't think that I'd get bit 'twice'. Maybe you could adjust the 'timeout' on the forum?

Here's my tvfool report:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...81a3e3743058c5

I presently have a winegard pr7037 with a radio shack preamp. I have all RG6 cable (about 75ft) to a splitter feeding a Dish VIP211 receiver (with OTA tuner and ext. hard drive for DVR function) and a bedroom tv.

I also have an uninstalled Ant. Direct 91XG uhf only antenna, and an uninstalled channel master rotor (wire too), and a channel master 7777 preamp that I got new in the boxes for a really good price. I wouldn't be hurt if you recommend something different than the 91XG (I can always sell it again). But it does have some of the best gain ratings (which is why I got it), so try to include it in a recommendation if possible.

My hope is to get an OTA ABC network station. WOAY is the closest ABC station, but it is way down on signal at my location. The other ABC stations on my list are even lower in signal strength. Before WOAY changed to digital, I was able to hear the audio (with ant. pointed north), but the picture was too distorted to watch, so there is at least some possibility of receiving it.

I would like to get all (or as many as possible) of the channels from WOAY and up on the report. I know that many of them are not likely, but that's my 'wish list'.

I do get some of the local channels in that list from Dish Network (Bluefield/Beckley WV DMA), but I have good reasons for getting the stations OTA too.

1). If my economic situation gets too bad...bye bye Dish! In this economy, that could happen to any of us. Satellite tv will go away before the phone or internet or electricity or food, etc.

2). Even my cheap Dish DVR allows you to simultaneously record an OTA and a satellite channel. That's very convenient for me, so the more OTA channels that I can get, the more options that I have to simultaneously watch/record shows that I might otherwise miss. Even though the same networks carry pretty much the same programming, the individual stations may have different shows or sports which I could watch.

I presently get stations WVVA, WLFB, WBRA all of the time. WCYB is also pretty dependable, but has the same programming as WVVA, only in the wrong direction (no rotator installed yet). I get WDBJ (40-50% of the time), along with WSLS, WVNS, WPXR on occasion (depending on ant. orientation).

I plan to move my antenna location from a 'push-up pole' that just barely sees over the peak of my roof. I'll mount the new antenna setup on the roof, at least 5 to 10 feet above the roof peak. I have a 5' tripod for that already.

A rooftop installation should get the ant. even with the top of the ridge to my north. I'll mount the antenna as high as I can, but I sometimes get up to 60+ mph winds so I can't go too high. I live on a ridge across a valley from a 4,000 ft. mountain, so we do get extreme weather on occasion as a result.

I'm not wealthy, so don't get too much into the blonder-tongue or other expensive antenna gear, unless you know where some can be had 'really cheap' (but legal).

I need an antenna with as much UHF gain as possible, but I don't want to lose any of the VHF channels (low or high) as a result. I need to know if a separate UHF along with a recommended VHF would work better than one of the bigger all-channel antennas.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 24-Nov-2010, 12:13 AM   #2
John Candle
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Tv Reception

Yes I agree the time out is way to short , I am a slow typer and it times out on me often. As for WOAY . Go to the >Start MAPS< part of tvfool , select current + pending stations , raise the antenna height so as to get better NM(dB) at least -10 and higher -5 or better yet + 5 , +10 , + 20 ? Let us know how high the antenna is and what the NM(dB) is.
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Old 24-Nov-2010, 12:26 AM   #3
John Candle
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Tv Reception

Looks to me like the 91XG will be used as a dedicated antenna for WOAY 50. Read and understand this http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=695 Also how much do the NM(dB) numbers improve for WFRX Fox , WPXR Ion , WDBJ CBS with a higher antenna ? . 0 NM(dB) is the FCC number for reliable reception of LOS Line Of Sight between the transmitting antenna and receiving antenna. This is a target number and is not chiseld in stone. Reception drops off fast below -10 so the more toward the positive the numbers the better.

Last edited by John Candle; 27-Nov-2010 at 6:10 AM.
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Old 24-Nov-2010, 5:49 AM   #4
N4DBC
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Mr. Candle, Thanks for your reply

Even if I place the height at 100', the WOAY estimated NM is still -15.2.

So I guess there is no way that I'm realistically going to get an ABC station unless I go to the more expensive tv cable?

Maybe I'll look into internet/IPTV possibilities, but my wireless internet b/w is not that great, so that might not work too well either. Again, the alternative for more b/w is cable, which is also much more expensive.

I would still like to know what antenna(s) setup that you think would work best for my situation, trying to get as many OTA channels as possible, but knowing that I can't spend hundreds of dollars (maybe up to $200 max, knowing what components that I already have).

I may take a day and 'walk the roof' with the 91xg to see if I can even get close to a signal on some of the weaker uhf stations.

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 24-Nov-2010, 7:52 AM   #5
John Candle
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Tv Reception

Give WOAY 50 a try with the 91XG and the 7777 preamp , get the signal up to -5 or 0 , could give you ABC it is worth a try. Put the tri pod on the roof , just set it on the roof with the antenna on top and see what happens. . What about the other channels , did it raising the antenna height at 'start maps' bring the signals up higher. The reason I am intrerested is the two first strong channels are very strong at 67 and 63 NM and the weak channels are at +3 , -4 , -13 NM , it would be nice if a higher antenna height then 20 feet would bring the low numbers up a little. . Any way while you are up on the roof put the channel master antenna up there and try it with and with out it with the 7777 preamp and see what you can get at 84 , 98 , 99 magnetic compass.

Last edited by John Candle; 27-Nov-2010 at 6:15 AM.
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Old 24-Nov-2010, 3:47 PM   #6
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But don't get your hopes up for WOAY: the hills where you are are just too darned high! West Virginia has always been a hell-hole for TV reception.

I am concerned about swamping your Channel Master Titan 7777 with signal from WVVA and WLFB: those stations are so strong in your area that I KNOW that the Titan 7777 is going to overload on those stations. You may want to reconsider your choice of preamplifier for one that has high-input capability like a Winegard HDP-269 or an AntennaCraft 10G221.

Last edited by Tigerbangs; 24-Nov-2010 at 3:51 PM.
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Old 24-Nov-2010, 7:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by N4DBC View Post
Even if I place the height at 100', the WOAY estimated NM is still -15.2.
Let's start with the known NM of about -16 db at more reasonable heights. Add the 14 db gain of the 91XG, subtract the 3 db noise figure of the 7777, and note that you're 5 db short of reception. How to get 5 more db? Hot spots of antenna patterns can be as much as 6 db, so reception may be possible at some location on your property, the trick is to find out where. If you have a wideband receiver, try listening on 686.310, the pilot frequency of channel 50. Move the antenna around until the carrier is strongest and then try TV reception. If DTV reception is spotty, a second 91XG might be enough to make it acceptable.
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Old 25-Nov-2010, 12:13 PM   #8
John Candle
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The 91XG can be tilted , tilt the front of the antenna up so the length of the antenna is in line with top of the hill/mountain that is in between the receiving antenna and the transmitting antenna. This will take advantage of the defracted signal.
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Old 26-Nov-2010, 2:03 PM   #9
Dave Loudin
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Dave,
Being from the mountain state, I am all too familiar with your plight. If what you are using is getting what you want save for WOAY, then I would sell the 91-XG and related equipment. To see why I say that, click on WOAY's listing in the table of your report. The path profile puts you well in the shadow of that transmitter. The CBS and PBS stations got VHF channels for a reason - those have some hope of scattering over the ridge tops. Channel 50 - not a chance.
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Old 26-Nov-2010, 5:53 PM   #10
N4DBC
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Thanks to all - good information!

I want to thank all of you for your comments.

Due to the holiday, family, and work I haven't been able to try any of your suggestions, hopefully I can try some of them soon.

I'll try the 'tilting' the 91xg trick. It makes sense that at least a small degree of tilt might make a difference with signals 'diffracting' over the ridges & mountains. That might also help with the WDBJ station (uhf 18) that is '50/50' depending on weather/season. Do you have to fabricate some sort of shim or wedge to do this, or is there enough adjustment in the mount as is?

The suggestion of 'walking the property for hotspots' also makes sense. One of my amateur radio friends mentioned doing that for some of their more troublesome 2-meter and 75-cm fm problems, which happen to be similar to OTA tv in many ways.

One of my friends found a recent article suggesting that the fcc and Obama regime ("administration" is too kind) is considering forcing more of the ota stations presently using uhf to vhf frequencies. They evidently want more bandwidth to 'auction' for more mobile comm services (where uhf is preferred). If they start with the highest frequencies, then maybe they will force WOAY (uhf 50) to a lower channel that will work better in the mountains. Unfortunately, it also sounds like the government is moving towards eventually forcing "free" OTA (over the air) stations to OTA (off the air)! It also sound like more interference issues, but I digress....

Even if I can't get an OTA ABC station, I'm still working to improve the reception on the stations that are presently marginal but possible (WDBJ, WVNS, WSLS). Even though I get pbs, nbc, cbs from Dish Net, and the network programming is pretty much the same, sometimes different DMA stations will have variations in sports & other regional programming. Plus, as I previously stated, if the economy gets worse (as predicted by many economists), then Dish Net will be the first 'costly' thing to go, at which point even the difference between game shows or talk shows might be appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave

PS - I forgot to ask before. The tripod that I have doesn't have a 'pitch pad' or cushion for the 'feet'. I have new 30-yr asphalt shingles on roof. I was wondering if anyone can suggest where I can buy them (or an alternative)? I have a Lowe's store nearby, and a few small hardware (ACE) stores? Thanks!

Last edited by N4DBC; 26-Nov-2010 at 6:05 PM. Reason: needed to add a post script
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Old 26-Nov-2010, 8:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by N4DBC View Post
I'll try the 'tilting' the 91xg trick. It makes sense that at least a small degree of tilt might make a difference with signals 'diffracting' over the ridges & mountains. That might also help with the WDBJ station (uhf 18) that is '50/50' depending on weather/season. Do you have to fabricate some sort of shim or wedge to do this, or is there enough adjustment in the mount as is?
The supplied mount will let you easily tilt the antenna as much as needed. I find tilting helps in many situations, but have never needed to tilt beyond the first notch on the mechanism. Also make sure to straighten the stationary element right in front of the active element. They are usually bent for some reason, but seems to work slightly better flat.

I would try without the preamp first. I feel the 7777 is way too much for your situation. I don't/can't use a preamp but get both excellent local & fringe reception.

If you find reception right on the digital cliff with any stations, you can add another middle section to the 91XG to help improve reliability without risk of signal overload. ($25.00 from Antennas direct)
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Old 28-Nov-2010, 7:40 PM   #12
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I'll try the 'tilting' the 91xg trick. It makes sense that at least a small degree of tilt might make a difference with signals 'diffracting' over the ridges & mountains.
In your case that is unlikely to help. You need ground gain to get to a positive NM. Tilting an antenna reduces ground gain.

Tilting helps more when there is plenty of signal but too much multipath.
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Old 30-Nov-2010, 4:14 AM   #13
N4DBC
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I forgot to ask before. The tripod that I have doesn't have 'pitch pads' for the 'feet'. I have new 30-yr asphalt shingles on roof. I was wondering if anyone can suggest where I can buy pitch pads (or an alternative) in a small rural town? I have a Lowe's store nearby, and a few small hardware (ACE) stores?

Thanks!
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Old 30-Nov-2010, 10:11 AM   #14
John Candle
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Roofing tar in a tube that fits in one of those ratchet guns. Use a stud finder to locate the roof support beams. . Put a lot under each foot and titan the feet down. Wipe away excess that squiches out.
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Old 30-Nov-2010, 1:17 PM   #15
N4DBC
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Thanks again!
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