Should have been trying this sooner! (OTA DTV) (1 Viewer)

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Just thought to experiment this morning with my OTA reception. All I have is an 8"x9" RCA cheapo indoor DTV antenna from Wally World. Never really used it before.

By experimenting with the direction and height of the antenna in my living room, I was able to pull in 23 different channels. I wonder how well (how many channels) I could obtain if I had a really good antenna on the roof? While at work, I did a search on a couple of different sites to discover which channels I could get. I am getting all those and more, some they list as being not possible and some they don't even include.

Hmm? Wish I had tried this more seriously before. I think I might invest in a really good antenna and give it a more serious attempt now. If I can get 23 channels just goofing around in a few minutes with a P.O.S. indoor antenna, I bet I can do much better. Now I am wishing that the AZBox Premium Plus offered an ATSC terrestrial tuner!!! I could really use that right now.

It's getting too late for me to start a search for an antenna, so if no one minds, please feel free to offer your suggestions.

RADAR
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,032
Dorchester, TX.
Don't know what sites you searched but AntennaWeb and TV Fool are the most commonly used. From your description of channels beyond what you should receive you may have been getting skip. Give us your zipcode and we can give better suggestions on reception.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
35
Mankato, MN
Radar
What are you using as a tuner? Converter box? The TV itself? You didnt say

Being 40 miles NW of Omaha (as your loc says) I ran a tvfool report with a random town in that vicinity and got pretty much all the Omaha stations will come in fine. Lincoln is harder to get but if you had the right outdoor antenna (and a rotor) you could get some of the Lincoln stations and even some from Sioux City. Again it all depends on your loc and what you put as a height for the antenna. Obviously on the roof would be the best (the higher the better)

Here is the example tvfool I ran
TV Fool

as you can see it shows the 1st 6 results as the Omaha stations. Under channel where it says "real" thats the actual channel it broadcasts on. The virtual is what it "maps" to...or better what you are use to knowing what the number was when it was analog.
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
I am using the TV tuner of a SHARP AQUOS. I also used the two sites mentioned (tvfool and antennaweb). I can definitely get all the Omaha and Lincoln stations they list, plus Sioux City and there seems to be a few more. I don't get all of the stations that those cites list in the "hard to get" or "no signal" groups, but there are some that they don't list.

With this little square, indoor RCA antenna and no signal amp, I am pulling in a lot by simply standing it up and pointing it in different directions and laying it flat in a specific orientation. This is why I am wondering if a good antenna on the roof would serve really well here (41.6N, 96.4W).

RADAR
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
35
Mankato, MN
Radar
Check the link I posted above (the tvfool rpeort). I happened to pick pretty much the vicinity of where you are. Easy thing to do is to play with the height. Try 10 feet (which would be what you use now) versus say 40 feet. Obviously the higher the antenna usually the better signal (and more channels) you will get. A outdoor antenna will help with weaker stations.
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
ICE,

I also used the tvfool calculator / locator, but I entered my exact coordinates (41.56 / -96.47). This gives me quite a distinct advantage over the vicinity you checked (which turns out to be Winslow, NE) as I am 150 feet higher in elevation and I am also just a few miles nearer the main signal stations in Omaha. I would really like to see what comes in with a good outdoor antenna at about 20 - 25 feet above ground.

In the diagram you posted, see the weaker signals from near due north? With a little effort in setting the indoor antenna I can pick up (4.1 / 4.2) and one from the signals to the SW (10.1 / 10.2). I can get almost everything from the lower SE quadrant.

RADAR
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
35
Mankato, MN
SE would be Omaha ;)

4 would be (assuming) Sioux City...you should also be able to maybe get 14 (RF39) too which is a little more power and same height antenna as 4 is. 4 is NBC and 14 is CBS
10 is KOLN Lincoln

Thats pretty good with an indoor antenna
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
SE would be Omaha ;)

4 would be (assuming) Sioux City...you should also be able to maybe get 14 (RF39) too which is a little more power and same height antenna as 4 is. 4 is NBC and 14 is CBS
10 is KOLN Lincoln

Thats pretty good with an indoor antenna

ICE,

The following are the channels I have currently scanned into memory on the SHARP AQUOS.

3.1 KMTV-TV
3.2 LWN
4.1 KTIV-CW
4.2 KTIV-DT
6.1 WOWT-TV
6.2 WOWT-DT
7.1 KETV-DT
7.2 KETV-ME (ME TV)

10.1 KOLN-DT (This one is difficult to hold)

12.1 NET HD
12.2 NET 2
12.3 NET 3
14.1 KMEG
14.2 Azteca
15.1 KXVO
15.2 Azteca
26.1 NET HD
26.2 NET 2
26.3 NET 3
42.1 KPTM-DT
42.2 KPTMDT2
42.3 KPTMDT3
44.1 KPTH
44.2 MyKPTH (THIS TV)

I also thought it was pretty good (reception) for an indoor antenna, especially w/o an amplifier connected and for only being the size of a piece of typing paper (but 1/2 inch thick).
I really have to hold it just right to actually watch 4.1 / 14.1 / 44.1. Those must all be Sioux City stations. I have to stretch to the end of the cable, hold it up near the ceiling and aimed past an interior wall and out my patio door. Almost like a yoga to get it in. But, when those are coming in, so are the Omaha stations. That's my results today, they were much stronger and easier the other day.

I am really quite impressed with this little $26 Walmart, indoor RCA antenna. Those Sioux City stations are ~69 miles away! I looked at some of the top of the line, outdoor Winegard and Channel Master antennas... They are not that expensive, but holy cow... some of these are HUGE! Well, I am just browsing the antennas right now.

Do you have any recommendations for antenna brands beyond the Winegard and the Channel Master?

Well, I'm going to watch a movie now on THIS TV before turning in.

RADAR
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
35
Mankato, MN
looks like you got all Omaha and 4 & 14 from Sioux City which look like they're pretty strong
here is the FCC map for 4 (what they think the coverage area is)
41 dBu Service Contour for KTIV, Sioux City, IA - Google Maps

and 14
41 dBu Service Contour for KMEG, Sioux City, IA - Google Maps

I guess 1 million watts at 600 meters helps ;)

As for antennas I use a HBU33 from Antennacraft
AntennaCraft 33 Element UHF / High-Band VHF Outdoor HDTV Antenna (HBU33) from Solid Signal

I'm 29 miles away from the stations and it works great on all stations (even the low powered religious ones) and I run it to 5 locations in the house. If you mainly want Omaha then most basic antennas will work fine. But if you want to get Sioux City or KOLN then you might need something a little bigger (like the HBU55). I know there are some folks here who really know their antenna stuff and hope they chime in

here is my antenna "farm"...one for Minneapolis stations and one for a distant VHF station 72 miles away (in opposite direction of Mpls)
http://www.satelliteguys.us/digital-over-air-ota/250210-my-antenna-has-buddy-now.html
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,032
Dorchester, TX.
A good ole small antenna that has been used for years in the RV industry is Winegard Sensar II amplified bat wing antenna. Give it a try if your results are that good on an indoor antenna it might be surprising.
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
ICE

Looking at the 41 dBu contour maps for the Sioux City channels, I am right on the blue arc between Blair and Fremont at the bottom of the image.

I don't think that I need to put forth a lot of effort or expense to improve my reception for the Sioux City channels. But, if they come in as a by-product, that will be great. However, I am most concerned with the NEWS / WEATHER, the PBS channels from Omaha and THIS TV and ME TV, also from Omaha. (I made a mistake in my channel list indicated in my previous post... The THIS TV channel I get is 42.2 (Omaha), NOT 44.2 (Sioux City). I wouldn't watch much of anything else, so I think I will concentrate on signals from the Omaha direction. That should simplify my antenna shopping.

I will look into the antennas that you and boba mentioned. Looks like the majority of the stations I want are between 28 and 40 miles away in roughly the same direction.

RADAR
 

navychop

Member of the Month - July 2014!
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Don't forget, you'll need a rotor.

I have a bat wing. I don't think much of it.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
35
Mankato, MN
VHF Low in most cases is no longer needed....I know in Western Nebraska it is (like in North Platte) but when the conversion happened most of those went to UHF (a few went to VHF Hi)

With digital in a lot of cases the channel you're use to (2,4,5,9,11,13 etc) is NOT the same channel that they broadcast on. Check tvfool report. With Omaha locals they are as such
# you're use to/number they actually broadcast on
6/22 NBC
7/20 ABC
3/45 CBS
42/43 FOX
15/38 CW
17/26 PBS
Sioux City 4 is on 41
 
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Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
35
Mankato, MN
If you want Omaha I'd get a HBU33 like I have...that will work just fine

you should might be able to get the Iowa PBS in Council Bluffs on 33.
 
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navychop

Member of the Month - July 2014!
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Lifetime Supporter
Jul 20, 2005
51,356
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Northern VA
Here is one antenna that kinda caught my "antention".

Channel Master CM3000 Suburban Outdoor Amplified Omnidirectional SMARTenna TV Antenna (CM-3000A) from Solid Signal.

Omni-directional, fair range, small, easy to set up, amplified, non-intrusive in appearance and not too expensive, etc. But, I don't see anywhere in the specs anything about low VHF signals (ch 2-6).

RADAR

If you're going to consider the above, maybe you should consider the Stealthtenna also, if you're really trying to go low end. I've used them in high signal areas to great effect. Have one on the roof at work right now. It comes in amplified and non-amplified versions.

You will never get as good a signal from an omnidirectional as you will from a directional. Frankly, I think you need more than either of these two will provide. And the HBU33 is a good start.
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
NavyChop,

Thanks for the notion on the Stealthtenna, that's worth checking into and I am building a list of possibles now. I am not going to get overly excited about buying anything at this time since the indoor antenna that I currently have is doing a pretty good job for the channels I am after. Come spring, I will get serious about which outdoor antenna to buy. I will also consider one that accepts a rotor.

Right now I am really wishing that OpenSat provided an ATSC tuner for the AZBox Premium Plus IRD. They have a terrestrial tuner available, but it is not for the American market. Dang! My Sharp Aquos' internal tuner works fine, but I would love to have the signal go through the AZBox so that I could record programs and also to make my "remote" life more friendly (one remote only).

RADAR
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,578
115
Port Hope, ON Canada
If you want to play around some experimenting, then try making one of the bow tie antennas that are all over the internet. Now they are mainly for UHF and not for VHF, but can be modified for some VHF channels. There are some plans for good VHF-hi antennas as well.
I made a VHF-hi antenna based on the design below and it works extremely well. Used some aluminum flashing cut into 1 - 1 1/4 inch strips and rolled into tubes for the elements.
Hi-VHF 10-El Yagi - Lorkoe's Antique
Making/using custom channel-cut yagis for UHF/VHF TV - Page 14 - Digital Forum
Yagi Antennas - ImageEvent
Also a great forum for antenna design.
 

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