HDTV reception probs in Charlotte, NC

Stingman

New Member
Mar 3, 2009
3
0
Matthews, NC
We have a new Sharp LCD HDTV hooked up to amplified rabbit ears. Reception is spotty and unreliable. This TV is downstairs. By contrast, the analog TVs upstairs (with HDTV adapters and amplified rabbit ears) have reasonably good reception and we have no complaints with those.

I’m thinking of installing an antenna in the attic (third story), dedicated to the problem TV on the first floor. I was looking at the Winegard MS-2000, but then noticed my desired channels (all <=30 miles) cluster as follows:


Six channels cluster between 4 degrees and 25 degrees;

Four cluster between 303 degrees and 306 degrees;

One is at 218 degrees, but reception to this channel isn’t critical.

Do you guys think I should go the Omni or Directional antenna route?

If directional, which antenna models do you recommend?

In case it’s helpful, attached is a copy of TV Fool output for my location. Thanks you experts are most impressive!
 

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Don_M

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 30, 2008
128
0
Aurora, CO
One vote for "directional antenna(s) without amplification." Omni antennas usually have pre-amplifiers; an antenna amplifier is very likely to overload on the top four stations on your TVFool report, which are the strongest. Overload means unreliable reception on one or more desired channels at best; at worst, it means total loss of some channels. Multipath interference is probably among the causes of your present reception issues.

When we went digital a little over a year ago, I had to get rid of our omni and go with directional antennas because of both overload and multipath, and our signal-strength numbers aren't quite as strong as yours.

For one TV, there are two ways to do a good antenna system:

1. A single Winegard HD-7694P antenna mounted above a rotor. This model is designed for channels 7-69, and it's compact at 65 inches long and 35 inches wide.

2. Two antennas pointing at fixed locations: The 7694, aimed at 14 degrees, and a second, UHF-only (channels 14-69) antenna aimed at 304 degrees. The second antenna can be a small, inexpensive 2-bay "bowtie" model like the Antennas Direct DB-2. The antennas should be separated by at least 2.5 feet to prevent interactions that might impact reception. With this approach, you'll need a two coaxial cables, one from each antenna, leading to a coax A/B switch at the TV for choosing the proper input antenna for the desired channel. Most switches are manual, but Radio Shack sells one that operates by remote control.

For best results, the antenna(s) should be outdoors, above a roof or eve mount. Most attics lack sufficient room for a rotor to work properly; the two-antenna approach may be OK from the attic as long as the antennas can be aimed correctly and won't be "looking" through signal blockers such as stucco or aluminum siding, concrete roof tiles, a radiant barrier, metal ductwork or foil-lined insulation.
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
1. A single Winegard HD-7694P antenna mounted above a rotor. This model is designed for channels 7-69, and it's compact at 65 inches long and 35 inches wide.
That's a $57 antenna at SolidSignal.com

2...The second antenna can be a small, inexpensive 2-bay "bowtie" model like the Antennas Direct DB-2. The antennas should be separated by at least 2.5 feet to prevent interactions that might impact reception.
Sounds a bit close, Don, even with an A/B switch. Shouldn't they be at least a full wavelength apart; more like 5' on Ch.11? That's a $37 antenna, by the way.

Or you could shop for a single antenna with an 85° beamwidth. :D
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
Here is a 3rd suggestion. Eagle Aspen DTV2BUHF aimed around 340 degrees. In a 3 story attic you have heigth and if there are no rf blockages such as metal siding you have a good chance of reception on about a $30 antenna. I am picking up VHF12 at 40mi. off the back side of this antenna and UHF at 60 miles, your experience will vary we are fairly flat.
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
I am picking up VHF12 at 40mi. off the back side of this antenna and UHF at 60 miles, your experience will vary we are fairly flat.
HOLY CRAP! :eek: Just goes to show that you can read simulations and quote specs all day and still have NO IDEA what an antenna is actually capable of.
 

Stingman

New Member
Mar 3, 2009
3
0
Matthews, NC
My roof is strand board with composite shingles. The only attic insulation is loose pink fluff on the floor. The house exterior is brick veneer and wood. All this seems to bode well for attic reception….

The only other impediment (just occurred to me) might be downtown Charlotte with 50+ story skyscrapers on a hill, 7 miles (crow flies) to the northeast at 318 - 328 degrees.

A couple of follow-ups.

Don_M – Thanks for helping me avoid a mistake with an Omni and for suggesting how to integrate two stationary models.

Cowbow Dren – Spacing at 5’ apart for the two antennas is no problem, as there’s ample attic space.

Boba – There’s real beauty in simplicity! I’ll give the Eagle a try, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll work my way down the list of other suggestions.

This will be sooo much better than my current situation.

Thank for the help, guys!
 

Don_M

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 30, 2008
128
0
Aurora, CO
The only other impediment (just occurred to me) might be downtown Charlotte with 50+ story skyscrapers on a hill, 7 miles (crow flies) to the northeast at 318 - 328 degrees.

The buildings are 12-15 degrees away from the direct signal paths from 303-306, and at 7 miles away, I don't think there's much to worry about as you have line of sight to all stations of interest. That's what those LOS notations mean in the TVFool report. Just make sure the antenna(s) point through the roof, not the brick facade, and you'll be pleased with the results. Additional height + better antennas = better reception, usually by a wide margin.

CowboyDren said:
Sounds a bit close, Don, even with an A/B switch. Shouldn't they be at least a full wavelength apart; more like 5' on Ch.11? That's a $37 antenna, by the way.

I go with "more than a half wavelength" because of posts from numerous people who've had no problems with 3-foot spacing of much larger antennas down to channel 7 -- including one who pulls in reliable UHF signals out to more than 100 miles. Hence, 2.5 feet. At least it's not an issue in this case.

You guys are right about the Eagle Aspen 2-bay -- same antenna, less than half the price. I forgot about that one. Thanks for the reminder!
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
Bored, I shopped for the Eagle Aspen antenna, and found one for $18 with free shipping via Google Shopper, or $36 for two. Summit Source is a pretty good vendor and a Satellite Guys advertiser, and they charge $39 for two of them, shipped. Your Call.
 

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