New to OTA, looking for advice

mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
Hey all! Been trying to read up and figure things out, but really looking to get some thoughts from some of the more seasoned veterans on the OTA discussion. Hopefully the research I've done has me ahead of the game a bit, in understanding things around OTA. Anyhow, I live out in the country, switched to satellite providers recently, and dropped one of the boxes we had up in my office to save some money. Wanting to add on an OTA antenna to run to the rest of the house, where Dish is not currently at, to provide some programming in the office and guest bedroom.


Based on my tvfool report, it looks like I have pretty good LOS to most stations in Austin, due directly south of me. (183°). So a directional antenna should pull in a large majority of the channels. Don’t want to mess with anything inside the house or attic, due to solarboard construction.

TV Fool attached, can't post link since I haven't posted enough, i've found out.

Couple questions around antennas…


1) Which antenna would be best to pull in all the channels due south? I will likely put it up on my chimney, next to the internet’s antenna (wireless DSL) which should be about 30 feet up.


2) Without a motorized antenna, would I be able to pick up any of the channels north (21°-38°) that are in Waco? Looking for your best guesses based on your collective experiences.


3) Would a multidirectional pull in the north and south or are they simply not reliable enough/good enough to pull in the signal based on distance?



Other questions:


1) Amplifiers - needed? not needed? Suggestions of what to get if advised they improve things?


2) Splitter, so that I can send the antenna signal to the other rooms… Is there anything specific to consider, like you need special taps for satellite, or just a decent one will work? Any suggestions?



Thanks for any advice you can give this OTA newbie!



MikeyFrog
 

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boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
You will need a hi VHF and UHF antenna for your due south signals. You probably won't need a pre amp but you may need a distribution amp. How many TVs are you going to split the signal to?
 

mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
You will need a hi VHF and UHF antenna for your due south signals. You probably won't need a pre amp but you may need a distribution amp. How many TVs are you going to split the signal to?

3 TVs at this point. I might hook it up to the other rooms as well, just so I don't have to mess with the wiring again down the road.
 

FaT Air

HOA Free Zone
Feb 27, 2010
6,668
914
97W 48N
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...UHF-HDTV-Antenna-(HD7694P)&c=TV Antennas&sku= <<Should do IMHO. Should also get some from the back side, How much is an unknown.
I've used many of these distribution amps with good results.
Use good quality RG6, Not RG59.

YMMV but I've put two antennas facing opposite directions, using equal length coaxes and a splitter in reverse. (back in the analog days, and those freqs aren't used any longer) Both antennas had to be on the same pole for it to work for me. Again: YMMV, what worked for me may not for you.
 

mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=HD7694P&d=Winegard-HD7694P-VHFUHF-HDTV-Antenna-(HD7694P)&c=TV Antennas&sku= <<Should do IMHO. Should also get some from the back side, How much is an unknown.
I've used many of these distribution amps with good results.
Use good quality RG6, Not RG59.

YMMV but I've put two antennas facing opposite directions, using equal length coaxes and a splitter in reverse. (back in the analog days, and those freqs aren't used any longer) Both antennas had to be on the same pole for it to work for me. Again: YMMV, what worked for me may not for you.

Thanks for the input! I've got RG6 already run through the house, going to drop the same down the chimney, through the same opening my internet wire comes in. As someone who works in an IT related field, I know the consequences of poor wires.

I thought about 2 antennas but didnt want to risk multipath... thoughts on a multi bay antenna instead? Wondering if these work well or are more gimmicky than the on you posted, that reminds me of the one my grandparents had with the big motor control box you would spin and wait for the channel to slowly tune.

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...ntenna-(HDB8X)&c=TV Antennas&sku=700112818417
 

FaT Air

HOA Free Zone
Feb 27, 2010
6,668
914
97W 48N
Linked to that antenna that would do for both bands, Would be my first choice to try.
If preferring a multi bay think the 8 bay is real overkill and they don't accommodate VHF that well. IMHO a DB4 style for UHF and a yagi for VHF Hi (7 thru 13) would be a 'good fit'. Combine with a UV Combiner (NO induced mautipath)
(Same as I'm using except the VHF here is 90 degrees to the UHF & I also don't have the signal levels you have.)
4576-jpg.111905


8 bay reception 'width' is narrower than a 4 bay. So the 4 bay should work for all those to the S, SW, & SE. The 8 may get S and SW but may not get the SE. Only trying different configurations will 'tell'. The so called 'Art' of antenna installation really comes from experience. And what works here may not work there. So there's a lot of 'grey area' as there's many times unseen variables..

IMHO-Go with the DB8 if you want some DXing now and then. http://dxinfocentre.com/tropo.html
2 antennas but didn't want to risk multipath
That's why both had to be on the same pole and combined with = length coax. If still bad the driven elements have to be aligned vertically. I've got 'some' multipath from a large tall
metal covered building about a quarter rmile away. Analog really had a 'shadow. Digital- it's not a problem here now.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,350
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
The Winegard fat air recommended in his first post should handle a 3 way split without a distribution amp but if your going for more connections you will probably need to amplify. You want to use splitters not taps they are different items and have different purposes.
 

mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
So ended up just testing the old hanger on a coax cable method, to see what I can pick up before buying an antenna. Was able to get most of the green channels by putting the antenna in the attic. I was kinda surprised by this, based on the solar board used in the exterior walls. I am thinking I may mount the antenna in the attic, rather than on the roof, so that I don't have to get up and risk my health (wife worries). About 20 channels came through total on the hanger, pretty happy with my test. I'll let you guys know once I get the full setup in there, how it ends up.

Question if anyone sees this and knows... do I need to worry about grounding the antenna if it is in the attic? I haven't seen anything certain from anyone. I probably will just to be safe, but really curious if its necessary or not.

Thanks!

Mikey
 

Foxbat

Addicted to new HW
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 25, 2003
16,331
8,585
Michiana
I did ground the antenna in the attic at my old house, but that introduced a ground hum in my audio amplifier of the time. Turns out my antenna was better grounded than the outlets in my living room! I had to use back-to-back 75-300 Ohm baluns to isolate the ground patch through the TV antenna lead. Since I was within 4 miles of the transmitters signal strength wasn't an issue, but multi path was.

My current house is much better grounded, plus the ground rod I buried for the satellite is bonded to the utility ground rod. No hum at all.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
48
Mankato, MN
So ended up just testing the old hanger on a coax cable method, to see what I can pick up before buying an antenna. Was able to get most of the green channels by putting the antenna in the attic. I was kinda surprised by this, based on the solar board used in the exterior walls. I am thinking I may mount the antenna in the attic, rather than on the roof, so that I don't have to get up and risk my health (wife worries). About 20 channels came through total on the hanger, pretty happy with my test. I'll let you guys know once I get the full setup in there, how it ends up.
cool

Question if anyone sees this and knows... do I need to worry about grounding the antenna if it is in the attic? I haven't seen anything certain from anyone. I probably will just to be safe, but really curious if its necessary or not.
I have never grounded my antennas at any of my locations.....3 were outdoor setups. 1 was in a closet when I lived in an apartment
 

mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
So I got the antenna (the 7694) set up in the attic, pointed towards Waco, picked up 26 channels. I am able to get all the major networks from austin and some from Waco, except for KCEN and KWTX in Waco. KCEN has Me-TV and This TV on virtual channels, which aren't on the Austin networks, so i'd like to get them picked up as well. Most of the channels are in the 70-75 signal strength on my Dish OTA module as well.

Would a preamp help bump up the strength of the channels and possibly get me the 2 waco channels or is my best bet trying the antenna outside? Or is it not even worth trying, due to low transmitter power? Hoping to lean on you guys for advice before I take down the attic setup and try it outside.


Thanks!

Mikey
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
48
Mankato, MN
I show KCEN has AntennaTV, not ThisTV (at least according to rabbitears)

Best bet is to try outside...as both are on VHF (KCEN is on RF9 KWTX is on RF10) to see how (or if) it works. They are 50+ miles away (per your tvfool) but show decent numbers. You can always try an amp too but putting the antenna in the attic cuts approx half your signal
 
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mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
I show KCEN has AntennaTV, not ThisTV (at least according to rabbitears)

Best bet is to try outside...as both are on VHF (KCEN is on RF9 KWTX is on RF10) to see how (or if) it works. They are 50+ miles away (per your tvfool) but show decent numbers. You can always try an amp too but putting the antenna in the attic cuts approx half your signal

Thanks Iceberg... I was going off Wikipedia for the subchannels. Guess I'll be trying outside tomorrow.

Mikey
 

mikeyfrog

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 8, 2012
24
3
Georgetown, Texas
So put the bad boy outside, got all the same channels plus a few more. Picked up 3-1 and 3-2, which is real channel 50 out of bryan/college station, which says on tv fool it is a 2 edge at a bit over 100 miles away, still not getting the 2 other waco stations I wanted. Shocked I can get the 2 edge 100 miles away but not the LOS KCEN and KWTX at half the distance. Any thoughts from the experienced guys on here? Is it the UHF vs VHF?
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
48
Mankato, MN
Yeah its probably UHF vs VHF. I forget what antenna you are using. Some antennas that are combo units (VHF/UHF) are more emphasized on UHF and the VHF is kinda "an afterthought" with range not as strong as UHF
 
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