How far away can you get channels nowdays with an antenna?

comfortably_numb

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Do they have ways to go say 300 miles now?
No, and any manufacturer advertising 150+ miles is lying. 45-60 miles is probably the best most of us can do. With an antenna mounted 30' above ground and a good preamp, possibly 80 miles.

I have an RCA ANT751R in the attic. Combined with a Channel Master CM-7777HD preamp, I regularly tune two VHF-HI channels at ~83 miles.

Aside from that, and the occasional ducting event, 45-60 miles is the best I have done to reliably tune OTA channels.

Here's a look at what I'm receiving currently:

FB0DE104-A0EC-4C0B-A8FA-E2D27F75452F.png
 

Magic Static

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OTA transmissions are line of sight. Past 60 miles and you are below the horizon from the transmitter and don't see the signal. Of course there are variances due to atmospheric and geographical conditions but 60 miles for reliable reception is it. Now you can see both directions that far so in a sense your antenna covers a 120 mile diameter. This is how they get away with misleading statements about distance.
 

Wireless Engineer

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Actually, hundreds of DXers have documented picking up both UHF and VHF tv stations from thousands of miles away under ideal band conditions but typical range is much shorter.
It all depends on the elevation of the TV towers, your elevation, obstructions, and what antenna system you have.
UHF tv signals easily go beyond line of sight distances and VHF signals go FAR beyond line of sight.
Many get 100 mile reception daily today
In the analog days i used to watch a low vhf tv station from over 200 miles away daily.
TV fool and other online signal locators will give you a fairly close estimate of the distances you can expect
 

comfortably_numb

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Actually, hundreds of DXers have documented picking up both UHF and VHF tv stations from thousands of miles away under ideal band conditions
DX'ing during late night hours and/or during tropospheric ducting events can temporarily bring in distant stations, or stations not usually reliable. However, I have not seen or heard of anyone reporting on this site of having received 100+ mile stations reliably.
 

Jim5506

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Back in the last century, when we had analog TV, our NBC affiliate was about 70 miles north of us, 2 edge signal but with a rooftop antenna we could always bring in a fairly clear color TV picture.
I'm not sure if anyone back home still uses an antenna, al least a deep fringe antenna since they now have a digital UHF repeater nearby.
 
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TNGuy84

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May 27, 2018
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About 10 years ago, I was able to receive some stations out of Chicago during a late night ducting in the Fall. I probably picked the stations up for 15-30 minutes at best (570 miles away). It was quite a feat for me at the time with the setup I had. I haven't tested the ducting limits of my current setup. I live on a higher elevation area in Southern TN, so I can get both Nashville and Huntsville stations easily. Tennessee has geographic feature where the middle of the state lies lower in elevation than the Northern or Southern most parts. If I was a few miles North, I'd be too far low to receive anything North of me.
 

Skytrooper

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Nov 5, 2012
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I used to get a local out of Pittsburgh year round. Last year they did a repack. Now I only get it in the winter when the leaves fall off the trees across the street.
 
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DJ Lon

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Actually, hundreds of DXers have documented picking up both UHF and VHF tv stations from thousands of miles away under ideal band conditions but typical range is much shorter.
It all depends on the elevation of the TV towers, your elevation, obstructions, and what antenna system you have.
UHF tv signals easily go beyond line of sight distances and VHF signals go FAR beyond line of sight.
Many get 100 mile reception daily today
In the analog days i used to watch a low vhf tv station from over 200 miles away daily.
TV fool and other online signal locators will give you a fairly close estimate of the distances you can expect
Very true. In the 70s I lived in Milwaukee and we had a big Winegard VHF/UHF antenna with an Alliance tenna rotor on the roof of our house and we could get Chicago (WGN, WFLD) and Madison (WHA) on a regular basis and in the Summer western Michigan, northern Indiana and even Green Bay. And distant VHF stations were better than a weather radio, you knew storms were coming when that lightning interference and sparkling started showing up in the picture. ;)
 

Radioguy41

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Unless the antenna comes with a functional rotator, that's clearly a deception. I have yet to see a wideband antenna that offers a 1:1 front-to-back ratio.
True with analog but with digital broadcasting a regular large UHF/VHF rooftop antenna will receive equally front to back. My antenna not only pulls in everything due south from the Philly area but also everything due north from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. It also pulls in everything from the Allentown/Bethlehem transmitters about 30 degrees SSE, all without using the rotor. My most recent rescan, due to the ever ongoing repack, I locked 73 channels.
 

clucas

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Sep 30, 2012
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Quite a bit depends on the transmitter power output. My local NBC affiliate is about 60 miles away and always comes in strong yet the PBS and ABC affiliates use a repeater on the same mountain and are substantially lower due to their lower power output.
 
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spongella

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I use one of those cheap "150 mile" antennas up about 12 feet that has a rotor built in, and get around 40 - 50 miles with it. With tropo, close to a hundred but that's rare.
 
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harshness

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May 5, 2007
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True with analog but with digital broadcasting a regular large UHF/VHF rooftop antenna will receive equally front to back.
This is a false statement. Most all larger antennas have a front-to-back ratio that is much greater than unity. Analog .vs. digital has absolutely no impact on it.
 
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Radioguy41

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Here's the TVFool image. My house is dead center. Draw a line from NNW to SSE and you'll see it's nearly a straight line from the SWB transmitters to the Philly transmitters and with my antenna pointed directly at Philly I pull in all the SWB channels on the back side of the antenna. Even using the rotor I could not do that when it was still analog. This isn't theory, it's real life fact.

Front side actual range distance = 77 miles (Phila)
Backside actual range distance = 53 miles (SWB)
Total channels locked = 73

Digital.jpg
 
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Radioguy41

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Digital signals are received at the antenna exactly as analog ones were.

The only difference is how the receiver treats them, not the antenna.
That's incorrect. Analog signals consisted of a continuously variable amplitude signal while digital is a bitstream. The continuously variable signal required the antenna to be designed in such a way as to capture that signal as efficiently as possible and that efficient design made the antenna very directional. A bitstream has no such limitations. If that hunk of aluminum picks up those ones and zeros from any direction they will be captured perfectly.
 

harshness

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Analog signals consisted of a continuously variable amplitude signal while digital is a bitstream.
The content rides on a carrier either way. With NTSC, there was an AM carrier for video and an FM carrier for audio. What does your experience tell you about AM versus FM at the same frequency?

Philly is a peculiar vortex for TV signals. You may be receiving reflections rather than the direct signal.
 

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