View Full Version : Receiving Philadelphia\Scranton OTA channels from the Lehigh Valley area

10-20-2011, 09:23 PM
Last year I purchased an Antennacraft MCU33 high VHF / UHF antenna for my parents who live in the Lehigh Valley (Coopersburg/Allentown area). I installed it in the attic and was disappointed by the results. Only the closest channels were received (39,69,16 and a few others). I then tried it on the back porch and received most of the Philadelphia and Scranton channels, but being winter I placed it back into the attic.

Three weeks ago my father passed away after a two year battle with lung cancer. My mom now wants to reduce expenses and asked me to install the antenna outside, but wants it hidden a little so it's not an eyesore to the neighbors. I'm thinking about placing it on the back porch roof using a "J" mount which should get good reception and help keep it hidden.

I'm now wondering if an Antennas Direct DB8 would be better? It is more suited for a "J" mount and would be less of an eyesore. I read a lot of great reviews on this antenna. I'm also wondering if an Antennas Direct 91XG or Antennacraft MXU59 would work better in the Lehigh Valley to receive the Philadelphia channels? Both of these antennas are large, but if they receive additional channels my mom might not mind their size. I own an Antennacraft MXU59 here in Pittsburgh and love it, but always wondered how much better an Antennas Direct 91XG would work due to it's increased gain.

10-20-2011, 09:29 PM
First off my condolences to you and your family on your loss.

Now to the antenna and setup
Part of the issue is both markets have stations that are on VHF
Scranton has CBS & NBC on VHF (13 & 11)
Philly has PBS and ABC on VHF (including ABC on VHF Low 6)

most of the antennas you mentioned getting are UHF only so they probably wont work good on VHF.

Can you post moms tvfool report?

10-21-2011, 11:52 AM
Thank you Iceberg.

I know about some channels being in the upper VHF band which is why I purchased the Antennacraft MCU33 antenna for my parents last year. Channel 6 (ABC) was not important to them, because they prefer watching channel 16 (ABC) from Scranton which is received even with the antenna being in the attic. As far as PBS they prefer channel 39 from Allentown which remained within the UHF band. So, switching to a UHF only antenna would be good and the few VHF channels would not be missed.

I received specs from Antennas Direct on their DB8 UHF antenna (attached) and they look impressive according to the RF engineers here at work. Due to it's size, appearance and being able to mount onto a "J" mount for easy installation I'm now leaning towards purchasing this antenna instead of the 91XG. I'll probably purchase the 91XG for myself at some point, but for my mom it would be too big and unsightly.

Attached is a TV Fool's report for my mom's location. Thank you guys for the help and advice.

10-21-2011, 04:00 PM
A DB8 is a decent choice for the fringes, but it won't be any good at all for VHF stations such as the NBC and CBS affiliates out of Scranton and the ABC and PBS broadcasts out of Philly: Its balun (located where the cable connects to the antenna) filters out anything that's not a UHF (channel 14 and up) signal. You may be able to make the DB8 capable of receiving the UHF stations in both directions by putting it up without its reflector screen, but this will weaken gain somewhat.

As for the VHF broadcasts: If you're sold on a DB8, you'll need a big, separate VHF antenna such as an AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 and a UVSJ for combining signals from the two antennas onto one downlead. Even this approach has issues: You'll need to get a rotor for aiming the big VHF in both directions, or you'll need to choose one direction over the other, and this antenna won't likely pick up WPVI (ABC) out of Philly. To get that one, too, you'd need to get an even bigger, channel 2-13 model.

In short, that valley makes your mom's place a rather tough spot for terrestrial reception.

10-21-2011, 11:44 PM
A UHF antenna on a j-pole is not going to get her much TV. You can try it and see if signal is stable in the daytime.

Another problem is ABC WPVI is on channel 6 and even the Y10-7-13 will not pull that in.

I recommend a Winegard HD8200U for VHF and your DB8 for UHF is OK. Combine them with a UVSJ.

Getting the antenna up 40-50 ft will more than double the signal received at the antenna, maybe multiples of 4 or 8 times the signal at 20 ft.

A preamp might be problematic because you have 3 full power stations less than 5 miles from you - maybe a Winegard HDP-269.

10-23-2011, 05:56 AM
My setup is a Winegard YA-1713, Antennas Direct DB4, Antennas Direct UHF/VHF combiner, and Winegard AP-8700 Pre-Amp all attic mounted.

Here is a link to my TV Fool report for your reference.

TV Fool (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d60b5e7cefb2db0)

The DB4 and YA-1713 are great antennas. I originally intended to mount these outside, but the YA-1713 is huge!

Both antennas are excellent performers.


10-23-2011, 01:26 PM
Another problem is ABC WPVI is on channel 6 and even the Y10-7-13 will not pull that in.

The OP mentions that 6 is not necessary for mom. She has another ABC on the UHF band that works better

10-24-2011, 11:29 AM
This is true Iceberg, I'm not going to install a low and high VHF band antenna just to receive one channel. The Winegard YA-1713 looks to be a very good high band VHF antenna, but since other NBC and PBS channels can be received within the UHF band there is really no need for a high band VHF antenna just to receive a small number of channels. Plus my mom still receives local channels via DirecTV and is mainly interested in using the OTA antenna as a backup and for sub channels such as "THIS", "Create", "RTV", "MeTV", "Antenna TV", etc.

10-24-2011, 11:56 AM
yeah it looks like locally there is only one station on VHF and that is channle 60 (WBPH...RF9) but that is a religious station

Otherwise that antenna (the YA-1713) kicks butt. I have one for a VHF station (12) that is 72 miles away and it works great

01-09-2012, 09:27 AM
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Did you get your mother's house setup for OTA? I also live in coopersburg and wanted to know how it worked out for you. Also looking at broadcast channels either from Philly or scranton.


Reigster at SatelliteGuys