Antenna selection, Pittsburgh market – try 2!

IAW

Thread Starter
New Member
Jun 17, 2019
3
0
Apollo, PA
Antenna selection, Pittsburgh market – try 2!

I am located about 18 mile east of the major towers out of Pittsburgh and looking to replace the GE Pro antenna with a new YAGI style antenna mounted above my chimney at about 32 feet off the ground so that I can say good bye to our Satillite provider. All are 1 or 2 edge path for reception.

The goal with the antenna is to receive a reliable signal from the following:

13 1 (4) WQED PBS PITTSBURGH PA 17.5-260.1° 269.7° 74.91 - Fair 46.91 L

2 1 (25) KDKA-TV CBS PITTSBURGH PA 20.1-270.9° 280.5° 71.37 - Fair 31.52

11 1 (48) WPXI NBC PITTSBURGH PA 19.4-264.6° 274.2° 69.66 - Fair 27.83 4

53 1 (43) WPGH-TV FOX PITTSBURGH PA 19.4-271.2° 280.8° 67.58 - Fair 26.14 7

4 1 (27) WTAE-TV ABC PITTSBURGH PA 16.9-211.2° 220.8° 65.46 - Fair 25.41 L


This is the current Rabbit Ears analysis for my location.

RabbitEars.Info

In April, I bought a GE Pro Outdoor Antenna. This antenna had a good user rating, but nowhere have I been able to find any specifications for it other than it’s rated for 70+ miles which I have come to realize means nothing. Before permanently installing I verified I could receive the majors in the Pittsburgh market (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS). I installed the antenna at about 15 feet off the ground but quickly found that I hadn’t accounted for the leaves starting to bloom, rainy and windy weather conditions or the impact of the hill in the direction of the transmitters behind the house and how they all impact the signal loss under the varying conditions. I attempted to correct the signal loss by buying and installing a Winegard preamp up at the antenna. In addition WQED 13 moved to VHF 4 July 1 and operates a low power transmitter.

My current though is to buy the Channel Master Masterpiece 100 CM-5020 and move that antenna above the main roof at about 32 ft. off the ground and install a rotor. Channel Master at least publishes the gains for their products and my thinking is to go as high as feasible with the highest gain antenna for both VHF & UHF to overcome the shadowing from the hills and obstructions. I am a novice at this and do not know if it’s a good solution or if a different lower cost antenna will perform just as well. Appreciate any help I can get before I make the plunge again to cut the cord.
 

Wireless Engineer

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 18, 2019
55
48
Ohio
The GE like most antennas these days claim greatly exaggerated range and positive reviews are likely people who are line of sight and a short distance from towers.
Since pbs in on vhf channel 4 and channel 19 is on vhf 11, you will need a 2-51 antenna.
The 5020 is a good choice combined with a good preamp like the Winegard LNA-200 or the CM 7778HD
 

IAW

Thread Starter
New Member
Jun 17, 2019
3
0
Apollo, PA
Thanks for the response. Over the past few months this forum and a few others I was able to find the information needed to understand and model the specific requirements for my location. Sites like Rabbitears, TVFool and OTADtv and great but there is nothing like practical experience to go with the knowledge which I lack.

The current contract disputed between Direct TV & CBS is the catalyst I needed for my wife to agree and move to an alternative (She hates change and navigating remotes). Streaming live TV may be a short term option but over time the cost of that and needed internet bandwidth is only going back in cost to where we are with cable and Satillite today.

As the 5G wireless networks are implemented and the impact of the FCC and repacking along with the new broadcast standards change is inevitable along with a lot of churn.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
15,791
2,394
Salem, OR
Edges are going to bring you nothing but frustration. Thats a cost of where you're located. Edges make you much more susceptible to weather, foliage and other demons that you simply can't gain your way out of.
 

Bobbj

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jul 2, 2019
17
2
Clymer
I’m probably 50+ miles east of the Pittsburgh towers and I’m picking all of those channels up with a Clearstream 2 (the model that receives vhf signals) and a channel master 7777hd adjustable gain amp. I tried the cm 7777 and it overloaded my signal, the cm 7778 worked but was not enough (might be good in your situation). I’m way down in a valley as well. I’m eventually planning on getting another antenna that has more gain but right now I’m pretty happy.
 

IAW

Thread Starter
New Member
Jun 17, 2019
3
0
Apollo, PA
I started off with the ClearStream 2V but on initial tests experience some pixilation on PBS 13 when they still were at 13. (Now they are down on 4 with many complaints and transmitting at only 10KW). I returned the ClearStream for the GE Pro Outdoor and it picked up 13 for about a week in early spring until I lost that signal. I don’t think the dipoles on the ClearStream 2 or 4 or the GE Pro for that matter are optimized well for low band VHF which is why I am looking to go toward the Yagi style antenna with longer dipoles. As the storms pass through last night I managed to continue watching the majors long after the satellite signal cut off due to signal loss.

The dilemma for me is which antenna will give me the best performance given my proximity to the towers and 1 and 2 edge paths. All the models predict sufficient signal strength but what I don’t understand is whether or not an antenna with higher gain and larger is any worse than that of smaller antenna’s with less gain.
 

Wireless Engineer

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 18, 2019
55
48
Ohio
The Channel Master Masterpiece 60 is likely all that you likely need at your distance and it may avoid having to turn the much more directional 5020.
Size matters when it comes to antennas and no compact plastic antenna will ever come close to the performance of a full size yagi like the Channel Master MasterPiece series.
 

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