Cutting The Cord And Looking For Help (1 Viewer)

Ironmagz

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Mar 5, 2018
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Hi everyone!
I hope this is the correct forum for this thread.

I am looking for more info and opinions on my new quest for OTA television for cutting the cord! I am on the fringe I guess and in a small valley of sorts, and being this is my first time gathering info and finding the best antenna for my location I am hoping some of you have seen and worked with some numbers like mine and know what I can expect from any antennas or specific ones.

I am lucky that all my towers are in just a few degrees of each other which leads me to think some high gain directional antenna should fit the bill.

I have listed 3 different TVFOOL signal analysis below, with each one being a different height to give you an idea about my location. As for directly in the way of my future antenna there are some trees about 150yds away which is also uphill a bit, and the bigger elevation is probably a half mile away or so. I'm guessing the initial coax run will be right about at 50'.

I feel I can easily get to 20' in elevation, and 25' without too much more work. But the 30' would take quite a bit more effort and hopefully don't need to do that. But if any of you can read these numbers and have a good inkling of what can be expected at 20 or 25' I'd love to hear it.



***It seems the site won't let me post any links..... at least I'm guessing that's the problem it's having. If this posts this time then that was the problem. And I'll have to find another way to get the info across.***



I plan on getting whichever antenna seems the best after my research and just living with the channels it gets me unless it's only like 2 or 3 of them.

Also I'm not opposed to an amplifier if it is determined to be needed. I haven't decided if I will feed more than the one TV. But to get to the others I would probably have to add another 50' to the initial coax run to get to the existing coax/splitter of the DirecTV installation area. (which would be much easier on me than all new runs).

Anyway sorry about the "wall of text". Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any thoughts or opinions on any of the antennas, signals, numbers or any other antennas etc. :) Your experiences are greatly appreciated.

Iron
 

Ironmagz

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 5, 2018
37
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Kansas
lets see if this works!


 

Ironmagz

Thread Starter
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Mar 5, 2018
37
20
Kansas
Okay so that pic is with the antenna at 20'. And at 25' close to half the channels become 1Edge signals and at 30' there are only 1 or 2 that stay at 2Edge signals.
 

comfortably_numb

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Okay so that pic is with the antenna at 20'. And at 25' close to half the channels become 1Edge signals and at 30' there are only 1 or 2 that stay at 2Edge signals.

Hello from the Kansas/Missouri state line. Get that antenna up as high as you can. 2 Edge signals can be difficult. You will need a preamp.

I would suggest going to Menard’s in Wichita and getting this model: https://www.menards.com/main/electr...ement-tv-antenna/ant3036z/p-1444424472672.htm

Plus this preamp: https://www.menards.com/main/electr...ea-preamplifier/tvpramp1r/p-1444424471376.htm

They’re both on sale. Hope this helps! Normally I wouldn’t suggest a 60-80 mile antenna when most of your stations are 40-60 miles away, but with you being in a valley, you might just need this bigger one.
 
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harshness

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While not in a Faraday Cage, you're awfully well insulated.:(

I can't fault what comfortably_numb has suggested as that's what I have but you might need to go a step higher into the "Deep Fringe" category of antennas. I say that because those models that usually feature the narrowest beamwidth and highest front-to-back ratio and as such are typically more adept at avoiding stray signals from the sides and rear of the antenna.

I pretty much write off two edge stations and one-edge reception is nothing to write home about in terms of consistency in poor weather and it may vary according to season. Edges are perhaps the worst thing that can happen. Valleys often compound that problem by creating reflections that lead to multipath.

Using a DVR stands a pretty good chance of being problematic as they aren't at all tolerant of iffy signals.
 

Ironmagz

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 5, 2018
37
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Kansas
Hello from the Kansas/Missouri state line. Get that antenna up as high as you can. 2 Edge signals can be difficult. You will need a preamp.

I would suggest going to Menard’s in Wichita and getting this model: https://www.menards.com/main/electr...ement-tv-antenna/ant3036z/p-1444424472672.htm

Plus this preamp: https://www.menards.com/main/electr...ea-preamplifier/tvpramp1r/p-1444424471376.htm

They’re both on sale. Hope this helps! Normally I wouldn’t suggest a 60-80 mile antenna when most of your stations are 40-60 miles away, but with you being in a valley, you might just need this bigger one.


I know Menards quite well and I appreciate the suggestion. I actually hadn't looked anywhere local as of yet. Those do look like some pretty good prices. Is that preamp a good one that I might as well grab whether or not I end up with that antenna or not?
 
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Ironmagz

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Mar 5, 2018
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Kansas
While not in a Faraday Cage, you're awfully well insulated.:(

I can't fault what comfortably_numb has suggested as that's what I have but you might need to go a step higher into the "Deep Fringe" category of antennas. I say that because those models that usually feature the narrowest beamwidth and highest front-to-back ratio and as such are typically more adept at avoiding stray signals from the sides and rear of the antenna.

I pretty much write off two edge stations and one-edge reception is nothing to write home about in terms of consistency in poor weather and it may vary according to season. Edges are perhaps the worst thing that can happen. Valleys often compound that problem by creating reflections that lead to multipath.

Using a DVR stands a pretty good chance of being problematic as they aren't at all tolerant of iffy signals.


Wow. Now the 2Edge is really scaring me....

I've seen the ratio front to back only somewhat explained... they mentioned the ratio number of 25 and what that means but didn't say whether the number gets better or worse when the number increases or decreases. Is the ratio of 25 tops in the market? and would 30 be more front ratio?

The more elements an antenna has is that always more gain? I would guess the bigger the antenna the more elements it will likely have. Does that affect the beamwidth at all? I'm guessing the smallest beamwidth available will collect all my towers?

Speaking of DVR's I was thinking about using a Tablo to stream to other televisions... it sounds like maybe it may not work too well.... :(

So you wouldn't even try for OTA if I can't get up close to the 30' mark where all but a couple signals are 1Edge?

Thanks a ton for the info!
 
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Tampa8

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That is a good cost for it. I have one that I recently replaced with a stronger AMP but not because this one was not good. In fact it performed very well and I paid more than that price at the time. I might consider a deep fringe antenna because you said your towers are about in the same direction. That is a more directional antenna and tends to bring the signal in better. But unless you use a rotor you need the towers to be in about the same direction which apparently yours are.

As for DVR's... Aside from a DISH receiver my only other experience is with my TIVO which has superb capture of channels. But that would be a much more expensive way to do it than with a Tablo or Channel Masters...

You are a good example of why cutting the cord isn't always simple. You are knowledgeable or at least know the questions to ask and still it may not be easy getting OTA.
 

comfortably_numb

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I know Menards quite well and I appreciate the suggestion. I actually hadn't looked anywhere local as of yet. Those do look like some pretty good prices. Is that preamp a good one that I might as well grab whether or not I end up with that antenna or not?

Regardless of the antenna you get, the TVPRAMP1Z is a good inexpensive preamp, or you could try the Channel Master CM-7777HD which is a bit more expensive but has adjustable gain: Outdoor HDTV VHF/UHF Antenna Amplifier/Booster-Channel Master CM 7777HD (CM7777HD)

I use both in different applications and they’re both pretty good little amps
 
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boba

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Dec 12, 2003
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Hello from the Kansas/Missouri state line. Get that antenna up as high as you can. 2 Edge signals can be difficult. You will need a preamp.

I would suggest going to Menard’s in Wichita and getting this model: https://www.menards.com/main/electr...ement-tv-antenna/ant3036z/p-1444424472672.htm

Plus this preamp: https://www.menards.com/main/electr...ea-preamplifier/tvpramp1r/p-1444424471376.htm

They’re both on sale. Hope this helps! Normally I wouldn’t suggest a 60-80 mile antenna when most of your stations are 40-60 miles away, but with you being in a valley, you might just need this bigger one.
I've never loved RCA antennas they are too light and flimsy for me . Here are a couple alternatives from Home Depot. Channel Master CM-3018 $69.97 and CM-3020 $119.99. Add in a CM1830 25 ft. telescoping mast $99. Channel Master has been around for over 50 years and over time has built up a good reputation.
 
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harshness

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Wow. Now the 2Edge is really scaring me....
As it should. Edges are evil because they trip up signals that have a decided preference for line-of-sight.
I've seen the ratio front to back only somewhat explained... they mentioned the ratio number of 25 and what that means but didn't say whether the number gets better or worse when the number increases or decreases. Is the ratio of 25 tops in the market? and would 30 be more front ratio?
Front to back ratio is the preference for signals coming from the narrow end. If it picks up signals 30 times better from the front than the back, it is more directional than 25. I've seen antennas that claim a F/B ratio of 34.
The more elements an antenna has is that always more gain? I would guess the bigger the antenna the more elements it will likely have. Does that affect the beamwidth at all? I'm guessing the smallest beamwidth available will collect all my towers?
Not necessarily. When you have a very narrow band, it helps but when you're trying to cover a broad spectrum, you have to look at the gain numbers.
Speaking of DVR's I was thinking about using a Tablo to stream to other televisions... it sounds like maybe it may not work too well.... :(
I'm not sure I understand the attraction to the Tablos. They're really expensive and I've not heard many glowing comments about their performance relative to the other options. Maybe they just aren't getting the recognition they deserve or maybe nobody wants to lay out that kind of money looking down the barrel of a seemingly likely ATSC 3.0 future in the next six years or so.
 
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jayn_j

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I obviously don't know the layout of your land, but is it possible to find a higher spot elsewhere on your property? As everyone else has mentioned, you need to get that antenna peeking over that ridge. A 40' tower is worth considering if you can't find a spot to place a higher mast.
 

Ironmagz

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SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 5, 2018
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Kansas
As it should. Edges are evil because they trip up signals that have a decided preference for line-of-sight.Front to back ratio is the preference for signals coming from the narrow end. If it picks up signals 30 times better from the front than the back, it is more directional than 25. I've seen antennas that claim a F/B ratio of 34.Not necessarily. When you have a very narrow band, it helps but when you're trying to cover a broad spectrum, you have to look at the gain numbers.I'm not sure I understand the attraction to the Tablos. They're really expensive and I've not heard many glowing comments about their performance relative to the other options. Maybe they just aren't getting the recognition they deserve or maybe nobody wants to lay out that kind of money looking down the barrel of a seemingly likely ATSC 3.0 future in the next six years or so.


Thank you for all the answers to my questions! I am learning a lot that I hadn't found info about yet!

I don't remember now what I had read about the Tablos that caught my eye VS any of the others...

My needs with it or another are to firstly record OTA programming (don't think we can live without a DVR), secondly I figured streaming to any of my other TVs over the network would be an easier setup than trying to feed them all with my antenna with week signals.

At this point while learning, I am open to anything. I will have to keep researching on the DVR end. Thanks again!
 
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Ironmagz

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Kansas
I obviously don't know the layout of your land, but is it possible to find a higher spot elsewhere on your property? As everyone else has mentioned, you need to get that antenna peeking over that ridge. A 40' tower is worth considering if you can't find a spot to place a higher mast.

I've got over 5 acres to work with and there is that rise in terrain at about 100yds away toward the towers. I'm guessing I could gain 10-15ft in elevation up on the front of the property. But that would make a long coax run for sure... buried I'd guess. Is a run that long even advisable?
 

jayn_j

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I've got over 5 acres to work with and there is that rise in terrain at about 100yds away toward the towers. I'm guessing I could gain 10-15ft in elevation up on the front of the property. But that would make a long coax run for sure... buried I'd guess. Is a run that long even advisable?

There is some loss from a long run of coax, but it is small compared to what you are losing from having that hill block you. RG-6 will lose about 4-5 dB per 100 ft of run. You lose that much from a single splitter. The preferred setup would be to place the antenna as high as possible and add a low noise pre-amp at the antenna. Then run it to the house (buried is OK if the coax is rated for such). Try to minimize connectors (1-2 dB loss each) and splitters (3-4 dB each pair). The best is antenna to a single TV with an unbroken cable.

Don't know how old your TV is, but there have been some significant improvements in tuner performance in the last 10 years. Given current prices, this might also be worth considering.
 

harshness

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I did also look at the homruns, but again I guess I need to revisit the DVR part.
Silicon Dust is working on their own DVR feature that uses media NAS devices. There are also well-established computer-based media center software packages (i.e. Plex and others) that can utilize the HDHomerun tuners.

The problem with any DVR is if the signal is coming and going, it can take huge chunks out of the program. Because there isn't much error correction built into OTA, the MPEG2 stream is missing pieces and MPEG2 is built largely on the changes from one frame of video to the next. The impacts of corrupt frames gets progressively worse with MPEG4 and HEVC so it will be interesting to see what drop-outs do to Next Gen broadcasts where HEVC encoding is used.
 
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