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Old 30-Jan-2015, 3:40 AM   #1
EmptyBox
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Pained in Portland

I can only receive one channel in my condo. Itís a townhouse-style apartment with the TV located on the second floor. This is the only TV that I own.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...2c154e408754c9

Iím using a Mohu Leaf from 2013 and about 15 feet of cable.

Initially, when I connected the antenna, the only channels I received were the local PBS affiliate (10-1, 10-2, 10-3.) Then, I moved the TV and antenna and taped the Leaf to my window. Channel 10 no longer came in but I was receiving the CW channel (32.)

The only channels that Iím interested in receiving are the following:

2-1 KATU HD: ABC affiliate
6-1 KOIN HD: CBS affiliate
8-1 KGW HD: NBC affiliate
10-1 OPB: Oregon Public Broadcasting
10-2 OPB: OPB alternate programming
12-1 KPTV DT: Fox affiliate
32-1 KRCW DT: "The CW" affiliate

What would you say would be my best bet to pick up NBC, CBS and ABC primarily? The other 3 would be nice, but not mandatory.

Would a different indoor antenna help? Do I need an amplifier?

Iím not sure if the HOA would even allow a rooftop antenna, but thereís a meeting in a couple of weeks and I can find out.

I donít know anything about antennas and TV signals, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 30-Jan-2015, 9:37 AM   #2
timgr
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A couple of comments -

What material is the condo made of? Brick? Stucco? Wood with siding? This makes a big difference in the amount of signal indoors. Regardless, your TVFool report does not account for these conditions at all - it assumes unobstructed mounting in clear air. Any trees or buildings between you and the transmitter will greatly reduce the amount of signal in the air.

Next, if you own your condo, by law the HOA does not have any say in whether you put up an antenna or not. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-r...n-devices-rule

A small antenna like the Leaf will not be very sensitive to VHF stations like WRCW 5, KGW 8, KOPB 10, and KPBV 12. You can ignore the station numbers that the TV displays (20.1, 38.1, etc) and look at the real channel. This is the channel that the station actually broadcasts on. Chs 2-6 are VHF-low, 7-13 VHF-high and 14-51 UHF. Unless there is just a huge amount of signal at your location chances are very slim that you will see the VHF channels from a small flat antenna indoors.

If you want to try a more VHF-friendly antenna, a pair of long rabbit ears will be better than the flat antenna (which is more suitable for UHF).

An amplifier is not a panacea. All it can do is amplify whatever TV signal comes from the antenna, at the cost of some added noise. This won't necessarily help you.

Last edited by timgr; 30-Jan-2015 at 9:44 AM.
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Old 30-Jan-2015, 12:48 PM   #3
Jake V
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1. Do you have a window that faces west or northwest? If yes, try it in that window. I'd go so far as to remove the screen if there is metal in it.

2. If you don't have a window that faces west or northwest, try aiming the flat surface in that direction. Try it numerous places in the room.

3. You can also try a plain old non-amplified indoor antenna. Something like this RCA Antenna from Wal-Mart is only $10 and you can return it if it does not work. As timgr noted, the Mohu Leaf is not VHF friendly and your NBC, PBS and Fox stations are all VHF (8, 10, & 12).

4. Do you have a balcony? Try your current antenna out there. Again, as timgr noted, your HOA cannot prohibit you from putting up an outdoor antenna. They can only regulate where you put it (for example, it can't hang over your neighbor's house, etc.). An RCA ANT-751 is compact enough for using on a balcony and should work OK in your application, as would an Antennacraft HBU-11 or Antennas Direct C2V. Any of these would be worthy of consideration for the roof, as well. [Although it's possible that you may need to go a bit bigger, like an HBU-22, to get all the stations in yellow.]
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Old 30-Jan-2015, 11:33 PM   #4
EmptyBox
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Thanks everyone!
My building is wood and concrete. It's a modern building with a very large window facing South. There are no windows on the West or NW sides and i don't have a balcony unfortunately.

I will try the rabbit ears and depending on how that goes, might be back for more advice.

Thanks again for your generous help!
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Old 2-Feb-2015, 4:46 AM   #5
EmptyBox
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i'm still not having any luck.

i bought two rabbit ear antennas, but neither of them did any good.

http://amzn.com/B000EIMKYC
http://amzn.com/B000FCNBGS

i have to say that the dipoles did not extend as long as the specs stated, so i don't know if that had something to do with it. i also don't know if i'm doing something else wrong. i'm using the automatic scan on my tv and the only channel i receive now is 26. i know in the old analog days, you could move the antenna in real time to see if it improved reception. can i do that now or do i have to rescan every time i readjust the antenna?

i should also point out that my tv is on the east side of my living room. because the new rabbit ear antennas come with hard wired cables, i can't even place the antenna more than a foot and a half from the tv. i tried using a longer cable with an adapter and placed it against the west wall, but that didn't do anything. i should also say that there is another unit on the other side of the west wall, so i imagine that doesn't help much.

what would you say are my next options?
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Old 2-Feb-2015, 8:13 AM   #6
GroundUrMast
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"Auto Scan" functions well in some cases, in other cases it fails completely... It depends on the TV manufactures firmware. When scanning for channels, use the "Air" or "Antenna" mode to be certain the TV is set to use the digital format for over the air broadcasts. "Cable" mode uses a different signal format and won't decode any digital OTA signals.

If needed, do an online search of your TVs model number plus the key word, "manual".
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 4-Feb-2015, 3:26 AM   #7
EmptyBox
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I used the antenna mode for scanning.
Any other options? I'm at my wits end.
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Old 4-Feb-2015, 4:13 AM   #8
GroundUrMast
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If you have some decent weather, and access to power for a temporary test, try taking the TV and antenna outside. There should be a fair amount of signal available outdoors. If that test fails totally, we need to consider the possibility that your tuner is questionable...

Presuming a decent tuner, if you can't see any usable signal indoors, a full size outdoor antenna (mounted indoors) isn't likely to get the job done either. Some indoor settings simply can't be made to work... Once there is too much signal degradation due to building construction, trees, etc., there's no signal to receive.

Though it's only an empathetic gesture, If I was in the condo development business, I'd have no problem including a roof mounted antenna system available for any unit owner who wanted to escape the cable/satellite racket.
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 4-Feb-2015 at 4:15 AM.
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Old 4-Feb-2015, 4:19 AM   #9
EmptyBox
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So, are you saying that if i take the TV and antenna outside and still can't receive any signals then a rooftop antenna probably won't work either?

If I were to go the roof route, I'd have to hire someone to install it up there and presumably drill a hole in the exterior wall to run cable to the TV. So, I don't want to go to all that trouble if it'll be for naught.

Alternately, is there any additional way to receive network channels without having to pay $20 or $30/month to Comcast?
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Old 4-Feb-2015, 5:17 PM   #10
Ben Myers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyBox View Post
I used the antenna mode for scanning.
Any other options? I'm at my wits end.
You might try an FM trap.
https://www.google.com/?complete=0#complete=0&q=fm+trap
An FM Fool report with your coordinates shows several high power FM stations about a mile away.
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Old 4-Feb-2015, 5:18 PM   #11
GroundUrMast
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Quote:
...are you saying that if i take the TV and antenna outside and still can't receive any signals then a rooftop antenna probably won't work either?
Almost. We need to be sure the TV that you're testing with works. The signals listed on your report should be relatively easy to receive if not for obstructions such as buildings and trees. If you still don't see any signals when testing outdoors, using a basic unamplified indoor antenna, I have to start suspecting a fault with your tuner.

Once you have proven the tuner is functioning at an average or better level, you can begin to trust it as a test tool.
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 4-Feb-2015, 5:31 PM   #12
timgr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyBox View Post
So, are you saying that if i take the TV and antenna outside and still can't receive any signals then a rooftop antenna probably won't work either?

...
It's a test that costs you nothing and, if reception improves significantly, will tell you a lot about what influences reception in your condo. The green channels are pretty darn strong, and you should get most or all of them with a simple antenna that is aimed properly and unobstructed by buildings or trees.

If you take the antenna outside and nothing happens, that tells you something too ... that most likely there is some other problem with the setup, like the TV or the antenna or the cable.
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Old 16-Feb-2015, 3:57 AM   #13
EmptyBox
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OK, i bought an FM trap, tried it with 3 different antennas with no difference.

I went outside today, aimed the antenna West and could only pick up the following channels:
10-1, 10-2, 10-3
26
32-1, 32-2, 32-3

I tried 2 different antennas, tried with and without the FM trap, but still can't pick up the other stations. My neighbor saw me outside and he said that he can't pick up any signals in his apartment across the street either, so I'm guessing that the terrain might have something to do with it.
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