TV Indoor Digital Antenna questions

Discussion in 'Over the Air TV By RabbitEars.Info' started by MortimerWestinghouse, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Hi there - I'm a recent indoor digital antenna buyer and budding OTA enthusiast. I live on the 4th floor of an apartment in Brooklyn, about 5-10 miles south of tens of OTA channels broadcasting from towers in Manhattan and within 30 miles of attainable channels in New Jersey and Long Island. I'm getting 75+ channels on a bad day and close to 100 on a good day.

    I've experimented with a couple different indoor digital antennas - a 35 mile radius and a 50 mile radius antenna. I have a few questions for someone out there, as I am eager to learn more about how these antennas work and hoping that one of you guys can help.

    -There's a channel about 7 miles away that broadcasts from the Empire State Building that I can't seem to reliably get. I get lots of other channels that transmit from the ESB, but I can't get this one. Why would that be?

    -Is there a reason why a 35 mile antenna would get certain channels that a 50 mile antenna wouldn't? I noticed that I ended up getting slightly more channels with the 35 than the 50, even though the quality overall is better with the 50. Do antennas with more range sacrifice the ability to locate certain low-power channels that are closer?

    -I've only used the flat antennas that look like mousepads. In order to better get the channels that are in NJ and LI to the east and west, would an indoor antenna with old-school rabbit ears or a curved antenna (like the Mohu Curve) likely perform better than the flat antennas?

    I realize these are pretty basic questions - like I said, I'm really curious about how this technology works and have been reading up a bunch about it so I'm hoping that someone can help me along here. Thanks in advance.
  2. Welcome to the forum! Glad to see another fellow OTA enthusiast. Could you run a TV Fool report on your location from and post your results here? That will help us point you in the right direction. :)

    Sent from my iPhone using the SatelliteGuys app!
  3. With 75-100 channels are you missing something? Saying you are getting 125 channels might sound impressive, but if you are only watching 10 of them your wasting your money.
  4. No harm in trying to get as many channels as one can. Like him, this is a hobby for me, too, and I like to experiment with different antennas to see what I can get. If he wants to spend his money, more power to him. I can think of worse things to waste money on..

    Sent from my iPhone using the SatelliteGuys app!
    kittyhas1000legs and . Raine like this.
  5. Sure thing. Here's my report.

    WJLP is 6 miles away and yet I can't seem to reliably get it in alongside other channels (like WNXY, WBQM, WDVB etc.) that are even closer that I can't get in at all, whereas I have relatively few issues getting WLIW from 29 miles away. I don't really get it, so I'm just kind of curious how this all works and what I might be able to do about it.

    And yeah - living in NYC, I realize that we have a wealth of OTA options, and it's not like it makes a big difference in the grand scheme of things. It's just kind of a hobby to see how many channels I can get - the most I've ever reached is like 95. I know that the possibility exists to hit 100, and it'd be pretty sweet if I could do it. :)

    Attached Files:

    comfortably_numb likes this.
  6. Ah, I see WJLP is a VHF-LO station on channel 3. That's probably the issue. Those flat digital antennas don't really do a good job handling VHF-LO.

    Sent from my iPhone using the SatelliteGuys app!
  7. WJLP is a LOW band VHF station, it's on RF3. That means you need a large (due to long wavelength at that frequency) outdoor low band vhf antenna to get it. It's also very affected by any strong FM radio stations, and any electrical interference nearby.

    The little patch UHF antennas can't get it.
    comfortably_numb likes this.
  8. Do you have access to the roof of your building? If they'd let you put even a small outdoor antenna out there, or just outside the window of your apartment, you could probably pull it off. VHF-LO is kind of a specialty niche, I don't have any VHF-LO channels here, so I'll defer to the experts on what you could use to pull those stations in ;)

    Sent from my iPhone using the SatelliteGuys app!
  9. Distance as the crow flies from the broadcast antennas is only part of the equation. If you're on the far side of your building, your "distance" goes up significantly because the building materials absorb the signal.

    There can also be issues stemming from signals bouncing off other buildings that interfere with the signal direct from the tower. Sometimes you have to make your antenna setup "less powerful" in order to pick up very close stations that are bouncing from many directions (multi-path).

    VHF low demands an antenna with long elements (rabbit ears are better than most give them credit for). Mud flap and similar "flat" antennas are really only ideal for channels 14 and up regardless of what the marketroids claim. The other disadvantage to "flat" antennas is that they are not particularly directional and as such, are much more susceptible to multi-path.
    comfortably_numb likes this.
  10. A-ha. This all makes sense now. Thanks for your collective wisdom - I didn't know about the VHF Low distinction.

    Are there indoor antennas that are particularly good for VHF Low channels? Like one of those indoor antennas with rabbit ears, or some such? I'm fortunately on the north side of my building, with a relatively unobstructed view of the broadcast towers in question (I can see them both from my windows). I don't have roof access to my building, but I probably could hang some kind of small outdoor antenna out of my window somehow.
  11. As others have noted, WJLP is on low-VHF and will require a real antenna to receive. At my grandmother's house in Fair Lawn, NJ, I can just barely decode it with rabbit ears, and even the antenna in the attic doesn't do much with it. (You can see the live reception from that location at this address: )

    WDVB-CD is side-mounted on the Empire State Building and you're in the spot where their directional antenna is falling off. It may not be receivable depending on where it's mounted and other specifics like that which aren't part of the FCC database.

    WBQM-LD was running an empty transport stream last time I was in the area. It was on the air, but broadcasting no programming. If that's still the case, you could very well be receiving the signal but not seeing it on your TV.

    To my knowledge, WNXY-LD simulcasts with WXNY-LD and WNYX-LD and is thus completely redundant. I wouldn't waste any time on it, and I was unable to confirm that it is on the air last time I was in the area.

    - Trip
    comfortably_numb likes this.
  12. You might be able to get it with rabbit ears. I live in a market with 3 vhf low channels (2, 4 and 9), am about 10 miles to both transmitters (2 and 4 are on the same transmitter), but I can't get channel 2. My rabbit ears can get 4 and 9. I think my rabbit ears are just a few inches short of what channel 2 needs.

    Sent from my SM-N900W8 using the SatelliteGuys app!
  13. A few inches short? Do what we used to do- either of the following. The first one works best:

    A. Have a small child stand next to TV holding the end of one antenna.

    B. Put aluminum foil on both ends of the antenna.
  14. You might have better luck with a paper clip being that close to the towers.

    I used to use those uhf antennas you got with a dish receiver