Anyone use OTA antenna only during storms? (1 Viewer)

Kizzer

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 16, 2016
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38
Nebraska
My wife is concerned about outages during storms. Is it possible to add an OTA antenna and use it only during those rare times? Which OTA antenna? Can I buy one on amazon?

Thanks.
 

DWS44

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Apr 14, 2004
7,002
4,183
Rock Hill, SC
Hi...Welcome to SatGuys!

First, The Hopper doesn't have a built-in OTA tuner, but Dish makes a USB OTA Adapter that you can buy to plug into the Hopper to receive OTA. Now, as far as an antenna, there are a few variables that go into selecting the proper antenna based on your location, how far from the various stations, etc. I would suggest posting in the OTA Forum (linked below), and the folks in there can probably give you some more guidance in selecting the right antenna, where to buy, etc!

OTA Forum: http://www.satelliteguys.us/xen/forums/digital-over-the-air-television-talk-by-rabbitears.46/
 

HobbyTalk

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 4, 2007
434
206
SW Florida
Yes, I do. We have daily thunderstorms in SW Florida and we sometimes have outages. Just go to the OTA channel to get around it. I have a bowtie outside at roof height and it works fine.
 

Tron2012

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 6, 2012
1,149
421
IL Suburbs
Now, as far as an antenna, there are a few variables that go into selecting the proper antenna based on your location,.../

A few things?! ;) I've tried so many different types of antenna and always get frustrated. Like DWS said, try the main forum for this and you should be fine. IMO, make sure it is amplified and I've had luck with the flat, square types.

Example: Mother-in-law is about 15 miles closer to Chicago than we are and tried four different types, including a roof mount. Wanted to jump off the roof, nothing was solid. Even to this day intermittent (think her issue is the amount of trees in sight of the transmission towers). Tried my mom's house a few years ago, and even worse (she has way more trees in line-of-sight).

For me, I rolled the dice a month or so ago when local WGN went off the air on Dish and used a simple, amplified one I got for maybe $7 when Radio Shack was closing a bunch of stores (our town does not allow roof mounted antennas). That, along with the Dish OTA module and bingo, get pretty much all of the locals that are of any value (except local CBS channel 2 which a lower frequency station), solid signal strength even when Dish is out for a "mild" storm. About 35+ miles from Chicago, have townhouses in line-of-sight, just hung it at the top of the window facing East...plus the antenna I have states it is rated for about a 20 mile distance. Do not think there are any station repeaters or whatever near me. Go figure.

https://www.radioshack.com/collecti...nidirectional-hdtv-antenna?variant=5716984645
 
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Tron2012

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 6, 2012
1,149
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IL Suburbs
Kizzer Try this in your spare time...if you have a kid that skateboards, that is. ;)

Seriously, my son made this and works really, really well. He is almost 21 now and about 5 years ago the Tesla incarnate child asked me if I had any spare wire.

"What kind?"
"Large maybe??"
"In the basement."

Five minutes go by.

"Dad, where's your drill??"
"In the basement!"

Few more minutes pass.

"Dad, whe...."
"IN THE BASEMENT!!"

After some time of hearing drilling, cutting, curiously quiet time, more drilling and a bathroom break, it stopped. I didn't think anything of it and went about my business. Then a few days later I saw this Frankenstein centipede hanging in his room. Damn near got whiplash from my head twisting in wonderment..or maybe fear. Couldn't tell at the time.

"What the hell is that?!?!"
"It's an antenna for my TV. I made it with an old skateboard and wire. And it works, too!"

Well I'll be. It does. Now, before I ran off trying to get college scholarship applications for this chip off the ol' block, I did ask and he said he saw videos on YouTube for this and made his own version. Still, amazed he made it. At least he wasn't watching porn online. I hope.

Antenna 1.jpg Antenna 2.jpg
 

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
7,390
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Lubbock, Texas
The type of antenna you need is TOTALLY dependent on where you live.
TV is broadcast on 3 different RF frequency bands, VHF low (real channels 2-6), VHF high (real channels 7-13) and UHF (real channels 14-52ish). I say real channels because digital TV introduced virtual channels to TVLAND, so you have to do some research.

Each band requires a slightly different length of antenna element so job 1 is to find out which stations you want to receive, then determine what the ACTUAL broadcast frequency.

www.TVFool.com is probably the best source for what you can receive and what frequencies those stations actually broadcast on.

Here is my TVFool report @ 25 ft AGL (above ground level):
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=e2cbfac29db3de

You will see that my real channels have a channels 6 and a channel 11 and a channel 13 listed in the VHF range and all the rest that are receivable are UHF - NOTE: I consider only channels with a NM(dB) in the positive range as receivable, however it has been known that reception down to the -10 area can happen.

So, if I want to receive all the available stations, I need either an all channel combo antenna or some combination of antennas that can receive all three bands. I really don't care about channel 6 so I use a VHF-high/UHF combo antenna.

The second consideration is how strong are your signals?

Once again we go to the TVFool Report. If your wanted channels are in the green, you can probably get all of them with a small outdoor antenna ( never recommend an indoor antenna unless outdoor is impossible).

Even in my strong signal area (NMdB above 35) I use an antenna larger than necessary because I split the signal to multiple TVs and every split cuts signal in half and without any amplification overload is not a worry.

If your signals are moderate, you need a larger (more elements) antenna to get a proper signal.

If your signals are very weak - fringe - you need a very large antenna and may need a pre-amp to get stable reception. Yes, yes they say a pre amp is only to overcome line loss, but a good quality pre-amp with a low noise level can actually pull in otherwise unreceivable signals in extreme cases.

Once you have decided on your antenna, then you need to place it as near to the TV as possible to avoid line loss (RG-6 75ohm cable has a loss of about 3dB per 100' that's 1/2 of the signal), so short cable is preferable.

If your signals are in all different directions, that's another problem, especially in weak signal areas - another story for another time.
 
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SamCdbs

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
May 7, 2008
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Most more modern TVs have a button on the remote marked "source" or "input" which toggles between the set top box (generally HDMI) and the OTA antenna. I just hooked an antenna up to the set and keep the remote that came with the set in a drawer and when it rains that hard I just switch it over. Also get several .2 type channels that way, some of which are not awful. However it totally depends on your location relative to the broadcast towers.

Two other solutions to "rain fade", which is 95% just Big Cable lies anyway, is to have a "smart TV" and just watch something that way until the rain passes, or to record up a few movies on the DVR that you only break out in such cases.
 

Tron2012

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 6, 2012
1,149
421
IL Suburbs
Most more modern TVs have a button on the remote marked "source" or "input" which toggles between the set top box (generally HDMI) and the OTA antenna.

That's an option, too. For me, I hate having to juggle remotes. The nice thing about the over-the-air (OTA) USB adapter for the Hopper is that you can keep your TV remote tucked away in the drawer. Everything shows up nicely on the Hopper guide and can easily distinguish the antenna channels from Dish channels. No swapping TV inputs all the time and you can even set timers to record from OTA channels as well.

And at times when it's not storming, I do see something that interests me on an obscure .2 or .3 station that I otherwise would have missed if I had the antenna connected the old fashioned way.
 
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Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
I searched Amazon using the phrase "dish network usb ota" and nothing turned up. Tried Dish Depot and they list the module with this note:

Currently out of stock, NO ETA as DISH is looking for a new manufacturer.
 

donebu

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 13, 2011
92
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VanCleave
Too bad DishNetwork doesn't allow you to use the Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD or WinTV-HVR-955Q or really any usb adapter that's supported in the Linux OS. I'd really like to use the WinTV-dualHD and have two OTA tuners available. Still waiting for the H3 OTA recording issues to be resolved before I convert.
 
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Tron2012

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 6, 2012
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IL Suburbs
No town can outlaw roof mounted antennas. OTARD.
I rush typed but was trying to make a quick point. It is our HOA. Now, if financially I could not afford alternate means for TV and the smaller antennas did not work then yes, I probably would have found this reference and said: SEE, Chop says it's OK! ;)

If Deadlocked is still interested and has an extra $209, yes 209 dollars, laying around you can get a used USB now:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DISH-NETWOR...316294?hash=item1a19949006:g:hnIAAOSwMtxXs2-8

:wtf
 

MikeD-C05

Pub Member / Supporter
Pub Member / Supporter
Nov 25, 2003
26,208
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Nederland , Texas
Boy that is ridiculous . I wonder why DISH is so backed up on making more of these modules?


Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys mobile app
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
But how often do we see posts indicating that local laws or HOAs ban them?
In general they can't, but that doesn't stop them from "lying". In many cases, the person wanting the antenna or dish simply takes their word for it and doesn't put one up. It's kinda like the signs on some dump trucks - "Stay back 500 feet - not responsible for damage from thrown rocks". It's simply not true but when it happens, so people think, "Oh, they had a sign on the truck saying they're not responsible, so I guess I can't do anything."
 

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