Suggestions for improved digital OTA reception (1 Viewer)

a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
My project this fall has been doing what I can to try improve my digital OTA reception.

First order of business was some repair work on my antenna. The 1st attachment is a photo of my antenna prior to repair (you can see a few of the splines were missing). With some aluminum tubing and small hose clamps, I was able to make what I feel is a satisfactory repair.

Next, I plan to run all new cable (as currently I have some splices). I have a 500' spool of RG6, and plan to run from my antenna on the roof directly to the main TV.

Any recommendations if I were to replace my antenna? Would it be worth it? I would be tempted to go buy the biggest antenna I can get (assuming the bigger the antenna, the best chance of getting the channels I want).

Thanks for any advice!


I have a rotor, and also have a 30 db rat shack booster.

Now, looking at my tv fool output (based on my address), I should be able to pick up alot more stations that what I currently am getting (see 2nd attachment).

I believe part of the problem is the trees (see photo of antenna to see what I mean there).

I believe the other part of the problem I am almost on top of the hill, but aiming to the north I am shooting right into the top of the hill (which includes more trees and houses). I would have to get real high to get over the trees to the north.

I am debating on getting a new antenna (and possibly new booster). However, I know I am sort of taking a gamble hoping I might get better reception than what I am currently getting.
 

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a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
boba said:
What is your zip code I can't read your TVfool?

Bummer, didn't realize it would not be readable! Zip is 55901. The channels I get:

3.*, 6.1, 10.*, 15.*, 24.*, 47.*, and analog 56 and 58.

On a good day I can get more, but I am trying to figure out how to get more all the time.

Thanks!
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
My project this fall has been doing what I can to try improve my digital OTA reception.

First order of business was some repair work on my antenna. The 1st attachment is a photo of my antenna prior to repair (you can see a few of the splines were missing). With some aluminum tubing and small hose clamps, I was able to make what I feel is a satisfactory repair.

Next, I plan to run all new cable (as currently I have some splices). I have a 500' spool of RG6, and plan to run from my antenna on the roof directly to the main TV.

Any recommendations if I were to replace my antenna? Would it be worth it? I would be tempted to go buy the biggest antenna I can get (assuming the bigger the antenna, the best chance of getting the channels I want).

Thanks for any advice!


I have a rotor, and also have a 30 db rat shack booster.

Now, looking at my tv fool output (based on my address), I should be able to pick up alot more stations that what I currently am getting (see 2nd attachment).

I believe part of the problem is the trees (see photo of antenna to see what I mean there).

I believe the other part of the problem I am almost on top of the hill, but aiming to the north I am shooting right into the top of the hill (which includes more trees and houses). I would have to get real high to get over the trees to the north.

I am debating on getting a new antenna (and possibly new booster). However, I know I am sort of taking a gamble hoping I might get better reception than what I am currently getting.
Forget the stations to your north unless you want to raise the antenna to clear the top of the hill, very little signal is going to bend down to your antenna. A channel Master 4228 8 bay bow tie UHF antenna should help to your south the CM is supposed to work fairly well on HI VHF which should get ch 10. Is the Radio Shack amplifier a distribution amp or a preamp? If your antenna repairs improved your signal I'd leave it alone.
 

a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
A channel Master 4228 8 bay bow tie UHF antenna should help to your south the CM is supposed to work fairly well on HI VHF which should get ch 10. Is the Radio Shack amplifier a distribution amp or a preamp? If your antenna repairs improved your signal I'd leave it alone.

Are you suggesting the CM 4228 as a replacement, or in combination with my existing antenna? I already get channel 10, so I wasn't sure this was getting me anything more than I already have.

The amp I have is model 15-2507 (an antenna mounted high-gain signal amplifier). There is a box mounted on the antenna, and a box down in the house which plugs into a wall outlet. So the cable from the antenna feeds into the box mounted on the antenna mast, and then another cable feeds down from it to the box in the house, then from that it feeds out to my TV.

Ya, I wish I could figure out how high up I would have to go to get over the top of the signal blockers to the north.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,579
115
Port Hope, ON Canada
Those stations very close to your location may cause you some trouble to pick up the far away ones. To receive more signal into your antenna, generally height will be needed to overcome the trees in the signal path. A TV tower may be required. In the past I have had problems with a Radio Shack pre-amplifier being just to noisy to do a good job, but yours looks like a much newer model. For maximum amplification, the Channel Master 7777 is a great amplifier, may work fine, but the local stations may just overload it. You have some strong stations very close. The Winegard HDP-269 still has good gain, with low noise and superb signal overload characteristics. This may work well in your situation. Your antenna should do a good job, as the UHF portion is large and should give you good gain. The UHF portion is the flying arrow part at the front of the antenna. The very long elements at the back of the antenna are for the low VHF, and the shorter elements (of the back half of the antenna) are for hi VHF.

One of the best combinations of antennas is the 91XG and YA1713. However, I feel your problem is not the antenna but height. From the pictures, a 40' to 50' tower would probably be required to overcome the close trees.
 
Last edited:

a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
Studying this more, I get the feeling it isn't VHF I have a problem with, but UHF.

I had been toying with the idea of extending the pole above my current setup, and putting a UHF only up from it. What if I got a 91XG, put it up about 4 feet, and then a channel master 7777 so that I could take both my current antenna and the 91XG feeds into it?

I may have to see how the signals are after I rerun my cabling before I would decide to try adding more $$. I want to make sure I have good connections, no splices, and all RG6.

Thanks for both of your inputs so far!
 

DRCars

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 16, 2010
324
59
Southern USA
If you want to know how high you need to go to get a direct view (line of sight = LOS) to the transmitters to your south (their path is labeled as 2 Edge) you can keep raising your antenna height at TVFool and (hopefully) see 2 Edge turn to 1 Edge and then to LOS.

I did that and found that it required about a 150' tower for me. Not gonna happen.

DRCars
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,033
Dorchester, TX.
Are you suggesting the CM 4228 as a replacement, or in combination with my existing antenna? I already get channel 10, so I wasn't sure this was getting me anything more than I already have.

The amp I have is model 15-2507 (an antenna mounted high-gain signal amplifier). There is a box mounted on the antenna, and a box down in the house which plugs into a wall outlet. So the cable from the antenna feeds into the box mounted on the antenna mast, and then another cable feeds down from it to the box in the house, then from that it feeds out to my TV.

Ya, I wish I could figure out how high up I would have to go to get over the top of the signal blockers to the north.
Yes I am suggesting you replace your antenna except ch10 your broadcasters are UHF.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,579
115
Port Hope, ON Canada
Your antenna already has a good UHF section, but certainly a 91XG would be better. Would you see a difference? Maybe, Maybe Not. I would try the pre-amp first before buying a 91XG. Maybe even try a new balun. the channel master balun gets good ratings. (CM-94444) They can make a difference.
This Matching transformer balun antenna is compatible with all Channel Master antennas and allows you to connect coaxial cable to the antenna input
Your picture may be deceiving, but the metal grill on your chimney may also be affecting your reception. With UHF signals, moving your antenna, even a foot or two can have drastic results. There are many hot and null zones. However, the trees seem to be the biggest factor from your picture. That amplifier looks to be a pre-amp (the part at the antenna) and distribution amp with variable gain (built into the power supply).
TV/HDTV/VCR/FM Antenna-Mounted High-Gain Signal Amplifier - RadioShack.com
No where does it mention the noise factor. (can hardly believe its less than $3.00) I would be very shocked if a new high quality pre-amp did not give remarkable better results. However, due to your location and transmitters close to you, if you do get a Channel Master or Winegard pre-amp, make sure you can return it if you end up with signal overload conditions. The Winegard HDP-269 can accept a much stronger signal than other pre-amps, but has less amplification than the Channel Master 7777. Other Winegard and Channel Master pre-amps will only work with much weaker signals before overloading. Give them a try and see what happens.
If adding another UHF antenna, the Channel Master 7777 is ideal with separate, or combined inputs. There is a switch inside the pre-amp to select which. If using two antennas would you use your current antenna strickly for VHF on the VHF input and the 91XG for UHF on the UHF input. If trying to combine the two and using the combined input, I think you would run into too many problems with each antenna acting as a radiator (transmitter, transmitting the other antennas signal) instead of adding the signals together and ending up with less signal.
 

a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
Your antenna already has a good UHF section, but certainly a 91XG would be better. Would you see a difference? Maybe, Maybe Not. I would try the pre-amp first before buying a 91XG. Maybe even try a new balun. the channel master balun gets good ratings. (CM-94444) They can make a difference.
This Matching transformer balun antenna is compatible with all Channel Master antennas and allows you to connect coaxial cable to the antenna input
I will have to see if I can find this locally, shipping is 3x the price of the balun! Do you know the difference between the CM 94444 and CM 3075? They look the same, perhaps it is just different part numbers?

Your picture may be deceiving, but the metal grill on your chimney may also be affecting your reception. With UHF signals, moving your antenna, even a foot or two can have drastic results. There are many hot and null zones. However, the trees seem to be the biggest factor from your picture. That amplifier looks to be a pre-amp (the part at the antenna) and distribution amp with variable gain (built into the power supply).
TV/HDTV/VCR/FM Antenna-Mounted High-Gain Signal Amplifier - RadioShack.com
No where does it mention the noise factor. (can hardly believe its less than $3.00) I would be very shocked if a new high quality pre-amp did not give remarkable better results. However, due to your location and transmitters close to you, if you do get a Channel Master or Winegard pre-amp, make sure you can return it if you end up with signal overload conditions. The Winegard HDP-269 can accept a much stronger signal than other pre-amps, but has less amplification than the Channel Master 7777. Other Winegard and Channel Master pre-amps will only work with much weaker signals before overloading. Give them a try and see what happens.

I think the reason my amp shows so cheap is it is an older model they must have closed out now, so most stores no longer have it available (could not find it entering my zipcode anyhow). Looks like radio shack has the Winegard HDP-269, not sure about the channel master 7777 (which really is the one I would want to try out I think).

If adding another UHF antenna, the Channel Master 7777 is ideal with separate, or combined inputs. There is a switch inside the pre-amp to select which. If using two antennas would you use your current antenna strickly for VHF on the VHF input and the 91XG for UHF on the UHF input. If trying to combine the two and using the combined input, I think you would run into too many problems with each antenna acting as a radiator (transmitter, transmitting the other antennas signal) instead of adding the signals together and ending up with less signal.

I would use my current antenna strictly for VHF and the 91XG for UHF, so yes, I would want to try the channel master 7777 amp. I also think trying to combine 2 antenna's would not work so well.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,579
115
Port Hope, ON Canada
Do you know the difference between the CM 94444 and CM 3075? They look the same, perhaps it is just different part numbers?
CM3075 looks to be the balun alone, and the CM94444 includes a metal mounting clip for Channel Master antenna with round a round boom. From another chat board, you may find that suppliers may sub the CM94444 for they do not have to stock different parts, and the CM3075 may be discontinued and replaced with the CM94444. If the place where you are getting your pre-amp does not have the balun, then just re-use the one you have. The channel master balun was nice because it uses aluminum wires, lessening the chance of corrosion where you connect it to your antenna. It also performed well. However, there was not a lot of difference between most baluns, and the person doing the testing did not have a large sample size so the results of his testing may not be reliable.
 

Bob2011

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 5, 2011
526
2
Hudson Valley NY
That antenna is already a good performer so I wouldn't rush out to buy a bigger one. If your antenna elements are back on plain and spaced correctly you probably should be getting those channels to the east and south at 60 miles, possibly the ones at 80 miles. The first thing I would do is test the antenna with a short cable to one TV to rule out any loss with your splits or splices. The next cheap move is to go with a 10 foot pole instead of the 5 footer and get it further above the metal on the chimney like Larry suggested.

I see you have FTA satellite so you wouldn't be gaining anything other than local programming and news in another market. I guess only you can determine if its worth spending $60 or $70 on something like a 91XG to try for these stations.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
288
35
Mankato, MN
I see you have FTA satellite so you wouldn't be gaining anything other than local programming and news in another market. I guess only you can determine if its worth spending $60 or $70 on something like a 91XG to try for these stations.

I assume hockeynut wants the Minneapolis stations. Considering I've seen Rochester news Minneapolis is a great improvement. Hell some public access would be an improvement. Plus we have some programming not available in Rochester

Although hockeynut just so you know the Wild aren't on 45 this year. They are FSN North only. I know some games were available on a subchannel in his area but SD only whereas 45 had them in HD
 

a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
Iceberg said:
I assume hockeynut wants the Minneapolis stations. Considering I've seen Rochester news Minneapolis is a great improvement. Hell some public access would be an improvement. Plus we have some programming not available in Rochester

Although hockeynut just so you know the Wild aren't on 45 this year. They are FSN North only. I know some games were available on a subchannel in his area but SD only whereas 45 had them in HD

Ice knows me oh too well 8^)

Yes, hockey mainly, although some others as well. Since my 6 footer isn't the best for s2 signals, thistv 24x7 would be a plus for the wife!

Interestingly I had some time this am, and was getting some of the cities stations from the north including kstc 45! Also was getting the lacrosse stations from se. I was hopeful it was my new cabling, however this afternoon they were gone! I didn't think the atmosphere was any different, so not sure what to think! I get some time, may play with height.

Was also thinking a different type of uhf antenna perhaps I can raise higher and not worry about extra cabling for wind?
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
288
35
Mankato, MN
Since my 6 footer isn't the best for s2 signals, thistv 24x7 would be a plus for the wife!
ThisTV isnt DVB-S2 so it should work. What bothers me on 45-2 is there are black bar hell the whole time.

As for the signal, I get the same thing here. I have a VHF only antenna for KEYC12 at the house (about 5 miles from Mistake Lake) and the signal is usually 75-78 on the HDTV meter. Pretty stable....At night the signal travels better so I get up to 100%. I'm 72 miles according to tvfool. We also have a couple low powered stations (48 & 50) and during the day nothing but as it gets later at night the signal comes in choppy then very clear.
 

a_hockeynut

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2006
264
0
Rochester, Minnesota
Well, I made quite the discovery this weekend! Running new cables may have helped, but ultimately what I learned is the tuner in my HDTV is not very good! I have 2 digital converter boxes which way out perform my HDTV as far as tuning in distant stations from my antenna! Which is sorta a bummer since I realize the digital converter box is only giving me a 480i picture (my HDTV will go up to 1080i). But the benefit of getting the twin cities stations out weighs getting 1080i for me! So for now, I have my RCA digital converter box as my tuner for my HITACHI 42" plasma 1080i HDTV.

We have been discussing getting a new LED TV, and moving the plasma downstairs, but the big question is how does one know the quality of the tuner prior to purchasing? I seem to recall when I purchased the HITACHI the QUAM tuner it had was supposed to be quite good. Based on what I have found I now disagree!

For now though I am pleased with the results, and so far no additional investment required other than time!
 

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