Help me avoid cable, please!

Jan Andrea

Jan Andrea

Thread Starter
New Member
Jul 18, 2008
2
0
My husband and I have been cable-free for 12 years, and would like to stay that way. Long story short, we found that when we had cable, we'd just get sucked in to all the programming (and this still happens when we're visiting my in-laws, as they have cable) and we don't want that to happen to our kids (aged 8, 4.5, and 6 months). Right now, with a little rabbit-ears style antenna (RCA ANT130B), we get our local PBS station, with lots of ghosting and static.

In preparation for the digital changeover, we got a converter box (Insignia NS-DXA1). With the un-powered rabbit ears, we got nothing -- occasional garbled pictures, but mostly no signal. So we picked up a Terk amplified HDTV antenna (HDTVA), and it's better, but PBS still shows a lot of the cliff effect and we lose the signal if someone's not actually holding the antenna in a good orientation.

Here's the breakdown from antennaweb:

Call Sign Channel Network City, State Live Date Compass Heading Miles
From
Frequency Assignment
WENH11 PBS DURHAM, NH 295° 14.1 11

WENH-DT
11.1 PBS DURHAM, NH Feb 17, 2009 (post-transition) 295° 14.1 11

W47CL47 TBN YORK CENTER, ME 142°10.4 47

WPXG21I ON CONCORD, NH 294° 19.8 21

WMEA26 PBS ORONO, ME 34°19.9 26

WENH-DT11.1PBSDURHAM, NH 295°14.157

WCSH6 NBC PORTLAND, ME 28° 50.6 6

(Sorry, that all got a little garbled from the copy/paste)
I would like to have PBS-11, if nothing else.

My husband is not keen on the idea of putting up an outdoor antenna, and neither am I, but the indoor one just doesn't seem to cut it. I've been thinking about an attic antenna, and have read a little bit on this forum and others about it, but what I really need is for someone to tell me exactly what to do :D I just have no clue. We have a fair amount of room in the attic, and there's actually an antenna wedged in the walls of an addition to our house (DH thinks it may have been a short-band radio one?), but I don't know if the wedged-in one would be useful at all, given that it won't budge. We don't really want to spend a ton of money, and we still have an analog TV set (and won't buy a digital one until this one dies), so we don't need anything particularly fancy, just something that will actually work so the kids can watch their favorite PBS Kids shows after February.

Thank you for reading this far, and for whatever suggestions you may have!
 
harshness

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
17,329
3,213
Salem, OR
The NBC station is going to push you into an outdoor VHF/UHF antenna. The rest you should be able to pick up solid with a rabbit ears placed a north window of the house.

Keep practicing your cut-and-paste technique. ;)

You should consult TV Fool - Home for a second opinion and some insight into any frequency changes on that NBC station.
 
Don_M

Don_M

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 30, 2008
128
0
Aurora, CO
My husband and I have been cable-free for 12 years, and would like to stay that way...

Here's the breakdown from antennaweb:

Call Sign Channel Network City, State Live Date Compass Heading Miles
From
Frequency Assignment
WENH11 PBS DURHAM, NH 295° 14.1 11

WENH-DT
11.1 PBS DURHAM, NH Feb 17, 2009 (post-transition) 295° 14.1 11

W47CL47 TBN YORK CENTER, ME 142°10.4 47

WPXG21I ON CONCORD, NH 294° 19.8 21

WMEA26 PBS ORONO, ME 34°19.9 26

WENH-DT11.1PBSDURHAM, NH 295°14.157

WCSH6 NBC PORTLAND, ME 28° 50.6 6

I would like to have PBS-11, if nothing else.

Well... Thanks to your experience in the School of Hard Knocks, you now know what not to do -- like buy anything else made by Terk. Their offerings are mediocre; their prices, inflated. I'd also stay away from the electronics big boxes. You also don't need an antenna that's "specially tuned for digital broadcasts." That's marketing hype. Any antenna made for TV reception will work for digital broadcasts as well as analog stations.

The antenna that's wedged into the wall probably won't be much good for TV reception. I'm assuming it's vertical, whereas TV antennas need to be mounted horizontally to capture broadcasts effectively.

At your distances, an attic-mounted TV antenna should work reasonably well. Try this: Visit http://www.starkelectronic.com/ to get an idea of their inventory and prices, and then give them a call to ask for advice (they take orders over the phone, but not online). Stark Electronic is in Worcester, not far off I-290, and so you can visit their store in person if your travels ever take you to central MA. They offer good equipment at reasonable prices, and their people have a decent reputation for being knowledgeable.
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
. . . hrmmm.... I'm 28 miles from the Los Angeles main TV mountain. zip=90807
In some experiments last night , I got most stations, and 40 sub channels when testing my Channel Master box on un-amp'd rabbit ears.
My outdoor antenna got all the locals and some seriously out-of-town transmitters, and I counted 50-55 channels.

I was looking over your AntennaWeb paste, and having trouble reading it.
It would be easier if you just gave your zip code, and I'll plug it into TVFool.
But it looks like you're having trouble with stations 6 and 11 miles away.
Is it a very mountainous area? Are you shielded by high-rises?
That just doesn't fit with my distance and good reception . . .

Here are some thoughts:
- put the un-amp'd rabbit ears in the attic
- put the amplified Terk in the attic
- hook up to the antenna already in the attic, and give us a photo- we can likely identify it
- move to LA, where we have better reception and 3 or 4 PBS stations! - :D

Just noticed Don's comments above, relative to local dealer - sounds like good advice.
 
E

elder

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 17, 2007
426
5
How about the two dollar antenna farther down the page only buy the balun at the Dollar Tree?
 
E

elder

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 17, 2007
426
5
According to TVFool WCHS6 will be on ch 44 after switch.
 
Jan Andrea

Jan Andrea

Thread Starter
New Member
Jul 18, 2008
2
0
Wow, you guys are fast -- thank you!

My zip is 03824, and it is a fairly hilly area (coastal New Hampshire) with lots and lots of tallish trees. Not a whole lot of high rises, although we live very close to UNH and there are some 12-story student apartment buildings nearby, probably right in line with the PBS station. I'm not too worried about NBC -- we've lived for 12 years without most of the commercial broadcast channels, so it's really just PBS I really want to get (naturally...). I'll see if I can find a long coax cable so I can put the antenna in a north-facing window, at least for the time being. If that doesn't help, I'll give Stark a call and see what they say. Also totally considering the DIY antenna from the other thread :cool: I think I could handle that :)
 
M

mastermesh

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 18, 2006
1,987
0
Also, I know it's not what you are asking about... but you really might like to check out getting an Free-to-Air system up and running. Lots of great alternative tv options on there - many of which are educational.
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
great minds . . .

Ya know MM, I was thinking the same thing. - :up
All those nifty kid's shows...

But anyone unwilling to put up an outdoor TV antenna...
... So, I just didn't say it. - :D

Plus, all the programming choices would really put the OP right back in the same boat as having Cable.
Too much to choose from. Too much distraction. - :(
 
msadvertising

msadvertising

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Feb 4, 2004
32
0
Not all converter boxes are equal. And you’re now dealing with a digital tuner in all converter boxes. Consumer Reports has rated some of the available converter boxes at:
ConsumerReports.org - DTV converter boxes ratings

You may also be experiencing Multi-path. Multi-path is caused by buildings, hills and any other hard object in the line-of-sight to the broadcast towers. They cause signals to reach the antenna out of phase, confusing the ATSC (Digital) chip set in the converter box or tuner (for analog or digital TV sets). If the signal reaching the front of the antenna is not 2 to 3 times stronger than a bounced signal from the same station reaching the back of the antenna, the ATSC chip doesn’t know which signal to use, so it just keeps searching.

Signals even bounce of the walls in your viewing room. But sometimes a bounced signal can be stronger than trying to receive the signal straight on. Try several different locations and aiming directions in the room, not necessarily at the window.

It is true that if you live very close to the transition towers, a wire coat hanger can pick up some broadcast signals and a higher antenna is better, outdoor is the best. And viewers should certainly try their old antenna first. It’s also true that any of these older antennas will pick up some signals, maybe all the broadcast signals a viewer wants to receive, depending on their location. If they’re getting all the OTA channels they want and almost completely uncompressed DTV and HDTV, unlike cable or satellite, than they’re good to go.

But many of the TV antenna designs now in use and on the market today such as the Yagi and your rabbit ears have technology roots going back 30 years or more. While it’s correct that antennas can’t tell the difference between analog and digital signals, there are definitely certain newer models which have higher DTV batting averages than others. Not all antennas are equally suited for DTV. A percentage of viewers will require something a little more tailored for DTV reception. And your rabbit ears are not going to deal well with Multi-path, if that’s your problem.

Antennas Direct (Antennasdirect.com) will have a new indoor antenna available in a few weeks, the Micron. The Lacrosse™ Micron™ indoor DTV antenna has a higher gain of 8 dBi (max gain) in only a 10”x10” form and is 98% efficient across the entire bandwidth. It targets post 2009 core DTV UHF frequencies with high VHF capabilities.

They offer a “no fault” 90 day guarantee. If the antenna doesn’t do the job for you, just return it for a full refund, no questions asked.
 
harshness

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
17,329
3,213
Salem, OR
The Yagi-Uda antenna was introduced in 1926.

The Rabbit Ears antenna concept came from someone named Heinrich Rudolph Hertz [notice anything interesting about the last name???] in 1886.

Marketing FUD aside, most cool looking designs are just that: cool looking.

Your best bet would be to find someone locally who does outdoor TV antenna installations and work with them to address your needs.

Doing the Monte Carlo method (ie. throwing darts randomly at a square and determining Pi by how many of the darts land inside of an inscribed circle) with an Internet retailer may also work but you may end up paying more in freight and other charges than you would with a competent consultant.
 
Voyager6

Voyager6

*Cancelled*
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 30, 2005
17,097
5,324
Wokeville
Wow, you guys are fast -- thank you!

My zip is 03824, and it is a fairly hilly area (coastal New Hampshire) with lots and lots of tallish trees. Not a whole lot of high rises, although we live very close to UNH and there are some 12-story student apartment buildings nearby, probably right in line with the PBS station. I'm not too worried about NBC -- we've lived for 12 years without most of the commercial broadcast channels, so it's really just PBS I really want to get (naturally...). I'll see if I can find a long coax cable so I can put the antenna in a north-facing window, at least for the time being. If that doesn't help, I'll give Stark a call and see what they say. Also totally considering the DIY antenna from the other thread :cool: I think I could handle that :)
Yes, check this thread. http://www.satelliteguys.us/hd-over-air-ota/119733-very-good-2-00-homemade-antenna-hdtv.html
Check out post #48 by digiblur. It has a picture of his attic mounted DIY CM4228 antenna.
 

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