Best OTA Antenna Options (can't use roof or attic)? (2 Viewers)

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DavidZ

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 25, 2007
64
0
My install date was moved to Monday morning.

I live in on the southwest corner of a high-rise condo building (18th floor) in the Cleveland, Ohio area. So far, Dish doesn't offer local channels here in HD. A roof or attic antenna is NOT an option.

What are the best OTA antenna options either indoor or attached to the Dish 1000.2? Does Dish supply the OTA antenna? If so, which ones does Dish use and how much do they charge?
 
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cparker

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
May 8, 2007
1,461
7
Sanborn, NY
DavidZ,

Where are the local TV broadcast towers located in relation to where you will installing Dish? If you're in the city and/or not far from the towers, then something like Amazon.com: Philips PHDTV1 Digital HDTV-UHF Indoor Antenna: Electronics

will probably work fine. Zenith makes a model almost identical and I believe Terk does as well. I have one on my bedroom TV upstairs and I'm receiving from towers 42 miles away (I live in a rural area). This assumes that your local TV stations broadcast their digital programming on UHF (rather than VHF). Any of those choices is under $30. There are outdoor options if you have a balcony rail you can attach to as well. UHF is nice and you'll find that your reception may have a lot to do with line of sight to the towers.

To the best of my knowledge, Dish does not provide the antennas for OTA reception.
 

levibluewa

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 25, 2006
1,150
7
WA, OR, CA
Antenna tweaking?

Trying to pull in Vancouver BC signals approximately 60-70 miles away. Presently have a roof mounted Radio Shack antenna VU-120 XR VHF/UHF/FM with matching transformer (?) with apx. 40-50' cable 18AWG run to the set. Receiving a signal of 65-72 on one channel broadcasting at 4.3 kilowatts. Another channel operating at .319 kilowatts because of a conflict with a Seattle station -- I have a signal of 35 (no picture/sound) with blips to 54 about once a minute for a second. Another forum member a half-mile from me (on top of a hill) is receiving that station perfectly with rabbit ears :(

Other than moving to the top of the hill, would a different cable RG-6 or RG-111U or a mast-mounted pre-amp boost the signal I'm receiving.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Much thanks.
 

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RoyW

SatelliteGuys Family
Nov 19, 2003
77
0
San Diego
My install date was moved to Monday morning.

I live in on the southwest corner of a high-rise condo building (18th floor) in the Cleveland, Ohio area. So far, Dish doesn't offer local channels here in HD. A roof or attic antenna is NOT an option.

What are the best OTA antenna options either indoor or attached to the Dish 1000.2? Does Dish supply the OTA antenna? If so, which ones does Dish use and how much do they charge?

I'm using a Terk HDTVi to pull in HD locals on my computer and its priced about the same as the Phillips and looks similar. I attempted to use one with my Vip622 but ended up using a Terk roof mounted antenna because it seems to work better with the satellite receiver although I'm not sure why.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
You'd better hope the TV station's towers are generally "visible" from the same location the dish will be going (on a balcony ?).
 

DavidZ

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 25, 2007
64
0
DavidZ, Where are the local TV broadcast towers located in relation to where you will installing Dish?
All but 2 of my local channels are about 10 miles from me. The other 2 are about 30 miles from me.

Right now, I'm using an old (Pre-HD) Terk TV20, which is a decent directional indoor amplified antenna. The funny thing is that my reception doesn't always correlate with distance. However, (1) I'm on the west side of the building (southwest corner with primarily western exposure) and most of the stations are southeast of me and (2) Some of the stations have specific problems such as low tower output, etc.

For example, our local NBC affiliate is channel 3, which is 9.4 miles away. I can't receive this station at all. Go figure.

The local PBS (my favorite local) station, channel 25, is 11.0 miles away (from what I've read, this station has low output). On my HDTV, I get a signal strength that varies from 1.5 to out of 6 bars to 2.5 out of 6 bars. When the signal falls below 2 bars, it starts to break up. There's another PBS station, channel 49, which is 29.7 miles from me. I get about the same reception on this channel as I do on channel 25.

If you're in the city and/or not far from the towers, then something like Amazon.com: Philips PHDTV1 Digital HDTV-UHF Indoor Antenna: Electronics will probably work fine. Zenith makes a model almost identical and I believe Terk does as well.
Unfortunately, I can't find any of these antennas locally. I prefer to buy locally, in case it doesn't work any better than my Terk TV20, I can give it back easily. I may just have to order one over the web and return it if it doesn't perform any better than my Terk TV20.

There are outdoor options if you have a balcony rail you can attach to as well.
I can do that. What brand and model?

UHF is nice and you'll find that your reception may have a lot to do with line of sight to the towers.
Right. But as I said above, there seems to be other factors involved here beside line of sight.

To the best of my knowledge, Dish does not provide the antennas for OTA reception.
That's correct. While the first Dish CSR told me they would supply a Winegard Sensar as part of the install, every other CSR I've talked to since says they don't supply OTA antennas and suggest I go to Radio Shack (which doesn't carry any of the indoor antennas discussed above or any of the top-rated ones at antennaweb.org).
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
Distance and direction are one factor. The other big factor is output power of the station in question. Your NBC may not be operating at high power yet.

There was a thread here that gave information on Dish selling and installing antennas for certain cities and Cleveland was one of the eligible cities. I don't recall a single person who was able to get one of these antennas from Dish though.
 

Barry Erick

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 27, 2004
1,020
0
Dallas
Digital will work at 10 miles on low power. I know from experience at both ends, although that is not the present conditions.

Make sure you have a combo VHF/UHF antenna if any of the digitals are on a V channel. In our market, 2 stations are on V and you'd be surprised how many experts sold wanna-be viewers UHF only antennas because that is "all this market is". Well, for analog they are correct, but not digital. That is our number one call... Why can I pick up this but not that. One is ch 13, and the U's will just get that on the edge, and the other is ch 11 and U only antennas do not get that one. Then you have those 2 miles away with preamps and a high gain antenna that don't get anything, either.
 

DavidZ

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 25, 2007
64
0
Channel Master 4221 and 4228 are better antennas at half the price. Also look at the Antennas Direct 91XG.
Those are roof/outdoor antennas. This thread is about indoor antennas or small antennas I can put on my balcony (that won't upset my condo association).
 

DavidZ

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 25, 2007
64
0
Digital will work at 10 miles on low power. I know from experience at both ends, although that is not the present conditions.
I don't understand. Please elaborate.

Make sure you have a combo VHF/UHF antenna if any of the digitals are on a V channel.
Yes, there are 3 VHF stations in Cleveland.

In our market, 2 stations are on V and you'd be surprised how many experts sold wanna-be viewers UHF only antennas because that is "all this market is". Well, for analog they are correct, but not digital.
Again, I don't follow you here. Either your writing is cryptic or I'm dense. :D

That is our number one call... Why can I pick up this but not that. One is ch 13, and the U's will just get that on the edge, and the other is ch 11 and U only antennas do not get that one. Then you have those 2 miles away with preamps and a high gain antenna that don't get anything, either.
Do you sell antennas or something?
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
Those are roof/outdoor antennas. This thread is about indoor antennas or small antennas I can put on my balcony (that won't upset my condo association).
Depends who you ask.... There's a guy over at AVS Forums who has one of those sitting in his living room .... and claims his mother was visiting and didn't notice it ! Besides, you have VHF stations in Cleveland so that antenna will only do "half" the job.
 

havana

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 1, 2005
112
1
Cedar Ridge CA.
Depends who you ask.... There's a guy over at AVS Forums who has one of those sitting in his living room .... and claims his mother was visiting and didn't notice it ! Besides, you have VHF stations in Cleveland so that antenna will only do "half" the job.

I have a 4228 on an 8ft pole (-+ a couple of inches) attached to my deck railing and even thou it’s 3foot square it’s hardly noticeable and easy to point at the various towers...it’s the best UHF bang for the buck out there for fringe reception.
 

allargon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2007
1,642
26
Austin, TX
Have you tried powered rabbit ears? There's a Philips +50dB gain set sold at Lowes for $30. It should be able to catch everything in Cleveland along w/ Candian crap. It's UHF/VHF/FM like any decent antenna should be.
 

schneid

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 27, 2007
806
76
In the Wind
OTA HD Geographic Reception Computer

This site:

Address

will tell you precisely and accurately whether or not you can receive HD over-the-air and what kind of antenna you need.

There is no such thing as an HD antenna. Plain old rabbit ears up to the old giant rooftop jobs work depending on line-of-sight and distance from the station. They must be VHF/UHF combos.

The above web application is very sophisticated. I moved the map pointer around in my neighborhood and it was elevation and physical obstruction aware.

Dish OTA HD DVR integration is seamless. The source of signal, air or sat, does not concern the user.

Just curious, but does anyone know if Dish HD locals are equivalent to the integrated OTA broadcasts?
 

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
7,436
2,180
Lubbock, Texas
Those are roof/outdoor antennas. This thread is about indoor antennas or small antennas I can put on my balcony (that won't upset my condo association).

If you have an exclusive use area, the condo Assn. has no say in which antenna you use. SEE OTARD - FCC regulations trump assoc. rules.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
...will tell you precisely and accurately whether or not you can receive HD over-the-air and what kind of antenna you need.
If he's on the "wrong" side of his building in relation to the towers, it may tell him he can get the channels when in fact he can't. It does ask if there's "any buildings, steeples, towers, or other structures taller than four stories within four blocks of your location". The same building someone lives in could be the problem. In his case though, it sounds like he's generally facing the right direction.
Just curious, but does anyone know if Dish HD locals are equivalent to the integrated OTA broadcasts?
Given the choice of the two, always use the Dish HD locals as "backup". They will NOT be as good of quality as direct OTA signals.
 

DavidZ

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 25, 2007
64
0
Have you tried powered rabbit ears? There's a Philips +50dB gain set sold at Lowes for $30.
My Terk TV20 is essentially "powered rabbit ears." The amp is rated at 40 dB gain.

It should be able to catch everything in Cleveland along w/ Candian crap. It's UHF/VHF/FM like any decent antenna should be.
Can't get any Canadian TV here, even though I live on the 18th floor right on the lake. The coast of Canada is about 100 miles north across Lake Erie and the population centers are far inland from there.
 

DavidZ

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 25, 2007
64
0
If you have an exclusive use area, the condo Assn. has no say in which antenna you use. SEE OTARD - FCC regulations trump assoc. rules.
I guess it depends on how you interpret those rules.:cool:

The regional Dish installers here wouldn't even show up for an appointment unless I faxed them a letter from my condo association stating (1) That they gave permission to install a satellite dish on my balcony (even though I already have a DirecTV dish there) and (2) Whatever restrictions my condo association imposes.

Fortunately my condo association was cool about it. The only restriction they have (which they put in the letter) is that they don't allow the dish to be mounted on the balcony railing. They prefer that the dish be mounted by drilling into the cement wall separating my balcony from the neighbor's. That's how my DirecTV dish is currently mounted.
 
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