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How else can I improve indoor antenna reception?

Discussion in 'Digital Over the Air Television Talk By RabbitEars' started by ghostman, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. ghostman

    ghostman Thread Starter Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Many thanks to those who helped me out in the last thread. I finally have my RCA OTA box up and running. I bought a Zenith Silver Sensor off Amazon and have it plugged in. With the exception of channel 4.1 (red), all the other channels I cared about were yellow (channels below 13) on AntennaWeb. So, when I got the Zenith, I thought channel 4.1 would be my biggest problem.

    Now with it plugged in, I can get channel 2.1, 4.1, 9.1 and 31... but these drop out from 80% to 0% fairly often. Channel 4.1 may actually be the strongest signal I get, with channel 5.1 rarely coming up on a scan and channel 7.1 and 11.1 never coming up at all. Oddly, before I got the Zenith, a paperclip+coat hanger pulled in channel 5.1 with relative ease (though positioning such a contraption is a pain).

    So, I don't get it. All the signals come from about the same angle from Manhattan. Why would some channels be problematic? And how can I improve the reception of the channels I do get? Unfortunately, I can't mount an outdoor antenna (yet), the tv is not near a window and there's a big ol' tree right outside :-/

    *yellow - uhfWNJU-DT36TELLINDENNJ
    8°5.036 *yellow - uhfWPXN-DT31.1iNEW YORKNY
    8°5.030 *yellow - uhfWWOR-DT9.1MNTSECAUCUSNJ
    21°7.538 *yellow - uhfWNYE-DT25.1INDNEW YORKNY
    38°3.724 *yellow - uhfWNYW-DT5.1FOXNEW YORKNY
    21°7.544 *yellow - uhfWPIX-DT11.1CWNEW YORKNY
    21°7.533 *yellow - uhfWABC-DT7.1ABCNEW YORKNY
    20°8.145 *yellow - uhfWCBS-DT2.1CBSNEW YORKNY
    21°7.556 *green - uhfWXTV-DT41.1UNIPATERSONNJ
    21°7.540 *red - uhfWNET-DT13.1PBSNEWARKNJ
    21°7.561 *red - uhfWNBC-DT4.1NBCNEW YORKNY
    22°8.328 *red - uhfWLIW-DT21.2PBSGARDEN CITYNY
    83°30.822 *red - vhfWNJB-DT8.1PBSNEW BRUNSWICKNJ
    280°26.28 *blue - uhfWNJN-DT51.1PBSMONTCLAIRNJ
    339°18.551 *violet - uhfWFUT-DT68.1TFANEWARKNJ

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  2. dodge

    dodge Active SatelliteGuys Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Indoor antenna

    Can you place the antenna outside on a deck or balcony???
    Have you tried moving the antenna around and doing a rescan??
  3. charper1

    charper1 Bourbon Tester Supporting Founder

    May 18, 2004
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    The Zenith Silver Sensor (ZHDTV1), although a great antenna, is UHF only and highly directional; not a very wide beam width; I am guessing it is less than 10 degree (maybe someone has the actual number). Just by looking at your posted results, your needed width is from 8° to 339° for the full sweep and this is much too large for the antenna without re-aiming to the correct heading as needed. Even if you exclude the 2 farthest channels, 51.1 and 68.1 you are still looking at 8° to 83° and that too is just too much without re-aiming. Another thing to remember is that even though transmissions might originate from the same approximate distance and heading doesn't mean that they all transmit at the same exact power; meaning different results to you the end user. I also have to ask if you have any access to a patio, balcony or window where you might be able to try a wider beam width model not 100% "indoors"?

    Maybe look at these. I am not 100% sure of your home and surrounding, so these are just ideas that might spur thoughts on better alternatives. What is your maximum distance away from the transmitters?

    Antennas Direct DB2

    Channel Master CM 4221A

    Winegard PR 4400

    Winegard PR 9016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2006
  4. mdovell

    mdovell Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    Likes Received:
    It helps to check antenna web.org to see the direction of the signal or at least a bit. I've got one antenna that has two poles. I generally keep one where it is and move the other one because the PBS ones seem to be higher and others seem to be straight. Also see if doing this at night makes a difference because it should be better then
  5. ghostman

    ghostman Thread Starter Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Actually, I'm not concerned about receiving all the signals listed. The ones I'm interested in are 2.1 to 11.1 and they are all between 20° and 22°. I believe they are all broadcasting off the Empire State building.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a patio or balcony. I live in a multi-family house and I'm situated on the 1st floor, so I can't get an antenna terribly high. What's worse, the living room of the house is in the middle, with no access to a window.

    Is there a simple and cheap way to amplify the existing signal from the Zenith antenna? I've learned to live without TV after the broadcast antennas went down with the WTC, so I've not bothered to invest in cable. I just need it to pull a steady enough signal on the few shows I do watch.
  6. Jim5506

    Jim5506 SatelliteGuys Family Pub Member / Supporter

    Oct 19, 2004
    Likes Received:
    The main problem with indoor antennas is multi-path, which your symptoms sound like.

    UHF signals bounce off any solid object especially those with high water content (humans) and metal. I get signal jump just by walking behind my Silver Sensor. Try it vertically instead of horizonally (it's counter intuitive, but it has worker for me).

    Move the Silver Sensor as near as possible to the outside wall toward the transmitters if you can. Keep it away from large flat metal objects, especially vertical surfaces and horizonal wiring or metal conduit.

    ATSC TV reception is an art, so be creative in your placement and use of the antenna.

    You also might buy a small (relatively) outdoor antenna and use it indoors (ugly but effective) since they have higher gain.
  7. sprintcarcrazy

    sprintcarcrazy Active SatelliteGuys Member Supporting Founder

    Dec 18, 2003
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    I have one silver sensor in the attic, it works great, I have one in our bedroom near outside wall on top of a hutch and it works ok, I had one in basement and had some loss of signal so I ran about 40 foot of coax and wire tied it to the upstairs deck rail and it now works great, so if you can stick it outside or in the attic, it will make alot of difference.

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