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Old 20-Jan-2014, 10:15 PM   #1
Jake V
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Help with OTA Antenna - Northern Virginia

I would like suggestions for improving my OTA TV reception:

TV Fool Report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...5b94c039786406

Here's what I've tried so far:

1. Last summer I bought a Mohu Leaf Ultimate antenna. I was not sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at the channels it brought in when hanging on one of the walls near the TV. The downside is that it didn't bring in all the channels I wanted, and that it needed to be moved to pick up different channels (house faces NNW - about Magnetic 355 degrees). I don't have a wall that faces magnetic 60 degrees.

2. This fall I had a recommendation on another site for a C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V to try in the attic (there were cables running there from a cable tv installation, but reception is the same with a new cable running through attic entrance down the stairs to the TV). [A few other recommendations were just too large for the space.] The results were not much different than with the Mohu Leaf Ultimate. The attic antenna faces 60 degrees magnetic (tried from about 45 to 80 degrees magnetic and this was the best). Results are about the same with and without an amplifier (Mohu Jolt).

The following "green" stations are solid (I'm leaving out all the non-English stations, etc.):

- WNVC 24 (30.1) Ind
- WRC 48 (4.1) NBC
- WTTG 36 (5.1) FOX
- WDCA 35 (20.1) MyN
- WETA 27 (26.1) PBS

The following "green" stations are weather dependent (I receive them clear enough to watch about 50% of the time):

- WJLA - 7 (7.1) ABC
- WUSA - 9 CBS
- WHUT - 33 (32.1) PBS
- WPXW - 34 (66.1) ION
- WDCW 50 (50.1) CW

In the "yellow" group of 7 stations I occasionally can pull in 23 - WDDN (oddly, when the other green stations cut out).

Questions:

1. Is there an antenna recommendation for the attic that might pull the weather dependent stations more reliably? One that is not huge (the larger it is the closer to the floor it will need to be mounted). Through the attic wall facing 60 degrees magnetic there is particle board, tyvek and vinyl siding. [The TVFool report shows an intermittent station like WJLA-7 at a signal strength of 51.8 (others similar). That seems to be an incredibly high signal loss through the siding.]

2. What would my expectations be if I moved the C2-V-CJM to the roof, just above the roof line? I'm in a townhouse community and would mount it on the back roof so it rose just above roof line - unfortunately the ground rises in the direction of 60 degrees magnetic and the other houses and neighborhoods are higher than I am. I don't really want a large antenna on the roof. An if I go this route I really only want to rent a ladder once, and not have to keep going up there to exchange antennas.

At a minimum, I'd like to get all the above stations reliably, plus WMPT - 42 (22.1).

Ideally, it would be great to receive the "red" stations from the Baltimore market (50 miles away) as that would offer some viewing alternatives.

Thanks!
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Old 22-Jan-2014, 2:40 AM   #2
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The simple reality is that VHF antennas have to be larger than UHF antennas to achieve the same gain and directivity. Lower frequencies have longer wave-lengths and therefor the corresponding antenna elements need to be longer. Because you have a mix of UHF and VHF signals, you need an antenna that is larger than a UHF only design.

You have described a situation that is ripe for signal reflection (a source of multipath interference which can cause more trouble than simple signal attenuation) ie. nearby buildings and terrain that block your line of sight toward the transmitters. Eliminating the effects of your own roof is a very reasonable next step. Test reception outside, using the existing antenna.

I wish I could promise you that a particular antenna and location will work... 'for sure'. In fact, you need to test reception at a proposed location, then you'll know what's really there.
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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 22-Jan-2014 at 2:42 AM.
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Old 22-Jan-2014, 3:13 AM   #3
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Hiding Tv antennas is a good way to get less reception.

Install the CS2V antenna Above The Roof.

Aim the CS2V antenna at about 60 degree magnetic compass direction.

Here is how to aim antennas , www.kyes.com/antenna/pointing/pointing.html
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Old 22-Jan-2014, 11:12 AM   #4
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I agree with the others here about getting the antenna outside. This should solidify the DC stations. I would try connecting just 1 TV & test reception before adding the amplifier. The nearby tower @ 495 & 29 has 1 strong TV & 2 strong FM signals which will prohibit use of certain amplifiers.

The Baltimore & Annapolis stations will still likley not be seen with the CS2V mounted outside. Your elevation seems to be slightly below the average local terrain which is likely creating poor signal quality. The weaker stations will require a larger antenna to compensate for those conditions.
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Old 23-Jan-2014, 10:20 PM   #5
Jake V
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Smile

Thank you for your responses.

I understand that there is signal loss when the antenna is hidden in the attic. Yet, it makes sense to try it since the coax was already in place.

Trying the antenna on the roof will have to wait until the snow melts and I can borrow a ladder.

In the meantime, if I decide to try another antenna in the attic what would you recommend?
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Old 24-Jan-2014, 5:24 AM   #6
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Installing the antenna outside

"just above the roof line".

Is a good way the get less reception.

Here is the Federal Antenna Law that says Yes you can install a Broadcast Tv Antenna Above the roof in a manner that provides Reliable Reception.

www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Last edited by teleview; 27-Jan-2014 at 4:50 PM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 24-Jan-2014, 5:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake V View Post
Thank you for your responses.

I understand that there is signal loss when the antenna is hidden in the attic. Yet, it makes sense to try it since the coax was already in place.

Trying the antenna on the roof will have to wait until the snow melts and I can borrow a ladder.

In the meantime, if I decide to try another antenna in the attic what would you recommend?
Your TVFR indicates that the CS2V should be doing very well. That it's not, is almost certainly an indication of the poor reception conditions in your attic. A larger antenna may or may not help... consider the Antennacraft HBU-44 or HBU-55.
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Old 24-Jan-2014, 10:48 AM   #8
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Did you try moving the antenna to different areas of the attic? The CS2V should work much better than it is once it is placed correctly.

I helped someone near you in Fairfax/Merrifield with the same antenna. It works well in his attic, but required experimentation with placement to achieve satisfactory results.
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Old 25-Jan-2014, 12:56 PM   #9
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Thanks to all who responded.

No Static: That's a good idea. I tried moving the antenna around a little when I installed it, but only so far as the existing coax cable reached. I have the antenna positions as high as I can in the attic, facing through the wall (the spot where it aims 60 degrees is one of the few spots where its aimed through a wall and not through either the roof or a neighboring townhouse). I can easily run a fresh cable through the attic opening that's long enough to allow me to experiment better.

GroundUrMast: Thanks for the recommendation of the Antennacraft HBU-44 or HBU-55. Those are long antenna (116" & 145", respectively). I'll measure next time I'm in the attic to see if it will fit. I think it will, if I mount it must above the ceiling of the room below. [Need to think - not sure if I'd rather try the larger antenna in the attic first, or try the C2-V-CJM on the roof first.]
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Old 25-Jan-2014, 4:51 PM   #10
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I'd test reception outdoors first.
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Old 26-Jan-2014, 12:08 AM   #11
Jake V
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I noticed today that channel 9 was still out, and that there is still 3" of snow on the roof. When into the attic to take a look. It turns out that part of the LOS of the antenna is through the roof. That expains it (and also why some channels cut out when it's raining).

I tried the easiest thing first. I moved the antenna about 3 feet, so that its whole profile was looking through the wall and not the roof. Channel 9 came in instantly and stayed for the hour I had the TV on.

Tonight it's a different story. Channel 9 was there when I put the TV on but then dropped out after about 15 minutes, and with it Channel 7 also dropped out.

So I need to try a few more spots in the attic. But it's likely that I will either have to put it outside or get an antenna with more gain.
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Old 26-Jan-2014, 5:31 PM   #12
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Did any of the other channels improve when you moved the antenna?
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Old 26-Jan-2014, 9:33 PM   #13
Jake V
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Yesterday: In addition to the loss of Channels 9 and 7 Channel 49 also dropped off. I didn't pay attention to the loss of Ch 49 since it's mostly shopping and foreign language broadcasts. None of the signals for the other stations improved.

Today: Big duh on my part! Yesterday I had mounted the antenna as high as possible in the peak, so that the whole profile had LOS to the wall (board, tyvek and vinyl siding). It also had the advantage of being above the roof line of the next house. Here's my duh. I went up this afternoon and realized that the roof has a metal ridge vent across the top. That was probably killing some of the signal.

So I moved the antenna several times. Finally, for trial purposes, I tied it to one of the vertical supports in the middle of the house, at the end of the house so it had full view of the wall. It's not in a hugely different place than before (only about a foot horizontially and maybe a foot lower). Channel 9 came back but not Channel 7. Channels 26, 32 and 49 cut in and out. The rest seem OK.

I looked at the specs for this antenna again. The gain of the C2-V-CJM is 10.4 dBi UHF and only 3.1 dBi VHF. So maybe that probably is part of why it's having trouble with the VHF stations in the attic.

I can try more locations in the attic. And I think it would be interesting just to aim it out the bedroom window to see the result (it can be angled 60 Degrees but really couldn't be mounted to stay there for any length of time).

But in the end it looks like it will have to go up on the roof once the snow melts and it's warmer. Until then I can investigate mounting hardware (the C2-V-CJM came with a J-Mount). Or I may see what a professional installation costs (I don't have a ladder). I suppose it would be OK if screwed directly into a joist.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 27-Jan-2014, 11:46 AM   #14
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Yes, it looks like you will have to get that puppy up on the roof & see what happens.

Surprised it isn't working better for you though. I put a similar antenna above a drop ceiling with metal all around the antenna. Only 15 feet off the ground all the way out in Manassas & it works well.
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Old 1-Feb-2014, 3:40 PM   #15
Jake V
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Talking

A follow-up.

1. The snow on the roof melted during the week and Channel 7 did not come back. I've been trying slightly different places in the attic without luck.

2. Just for an experiment I aimed the antenna at 79 degrees. I could not pull in the Channel 42 (22.1) MPT, but it was there. That bodes well for when the antenna goes on the roof (or I get a better one for the attic).

3. For another experiment I moved the C2-V-CJM from the attic to the living room. The best reception there was on the floor angled at 60 degrees. Channel 7 came in just fine, but I lost some of the yellow UHF channels. [Antenna is now back in the attic for now, though I'm tempted to try it in an upstairs closet.]

4. I am still toying with another antenna for the attic. -- I remembered that years ago I had a Radio Shack antenna similar to the Winegard HD-9022 on my mother's roof. With it she was able to receive the UHF channels from the next town about 60 miles away (giving her choices). It was taken down when a roof was put on and is in the shed. It's UHF only but might be worth trying to see what happens (before considering buying another one for the attic). --- I understand the advantage of an antenna above the roof, but it's almost a challenge to get what I want in the attic. Plus I don't have to buy, rent or borrow a ladder (or hire someone to put it up on the roof).

5. BTW, for those in the Washington, DC viewing area it it looks like another subchannel is on air. For the past week I've been seeing get.tv on 14-3. It has a message that it starts in February. This network shows old movies. And at times 14.4 is showing with with a black screen.
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