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VHF Lo Reception on VHF-Hi/UHF Designed Antennas

TNGuy84

SatelliteGuys Family
The headline says it all. Basically I'm seeing if anyone has ever gotten decent reception for VHF-Lo signals on an antenna designed for VHF-Hi/UHF. I know they aren't designed for frequencies that low, but I'd read somewhere that if you are within close range to the signal, then there's a chance you can receive it. I live around 32 miles from a channel that will be broadcasting on VHF Low RF 2 by next Friday. I've got a Channel Master 4228 in my current setup with a 4 output distribution amplifier (no pre-amp). Should I just pull out the rabbit ears when the station changes frequencies next Friday? I don't plan on investing in an additional outdoor antenna for one VHF-Lo channel.
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
The question becomes more a matter of how strong the signals are. An antenna is tuned in order to optimize capture of a wavelength. However, if the signal is strong, you can capture it on most any antenna. Even a straightened paperclip.

So, yes, I have no problem receiving a good signal on VHF-LO with a VHF-HI antenna. However, I live 5 miles from the tower and have direct line of sight.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
If you need more than a whip antenna, an "HD" or "Digital" antenna probably isn't going to get VHF-low for you. Even some of the name-brand units that claim VHF-low as in their wheelhouse offer about 2.5dB gain (versus 11-15 on UHF)

I see only two Tennessee stations in that range -- WTNB in Cleveland and WMC in Memphis that will both be on RF5.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
The headline says it all. Basically I'm seeing if anyone has ever gotten decent reception for VHF-Lo signals on an antenna designed for VHF-Hi/UHF. I know they aren't designed for frequencies that low, but I'd read somewhere that if you are within close range to the signal, then there's a chance you can receive it. I live around 32 miles from a channel that will be broadcasting on VHF Low RF 2 by next Friday. I've got a Channel Master 4228 in my current setup with a 4 output distribution amplifier (no pre-amp). Should I just pull out the rabbit ears when the station changes frequencies next Friday? I don't plan on investing in an additional outdoor antenna for one VHF-Lo channel.
The CM4228 is an 8 bay UHF antenna made in China for Channel Master. It is not recommended for LO VHF so at 32 miles it will depend on broadcasters strength, don't hold your breath. Your asking it to do something it was never designed to do.
 

primestar31

SatelliteGuys Master
Back in the '60's, - '70's when I still lived at home, we had no problems receiving solid RF2 (analog of course) reception from WJBK channel 2 in Detroit 100% of the time. It's about 85~ as the crow flies South-East miles from that house.

The antenna was on a tripod on the 2 story roof, (probably a good 40 feet up) fed with 300 ohm lead, and properly installed. It was all band, I don't know the brand (installed by my dad who was a technician) not amazingly large, but old-school metal good quality. NO pre-amp. Old school tv set also, but good quality for the times.

I don't know what Kw's they put out back then, but by FAR your BIGGEST issue with receiving that frequency now that might make it near impossible for you, is local electrical noise sources. Today, we are absolutely surrounded by devices that are completely unshielded. Switching power supplies are everywhere, and electrically noisy power transformers are out there, that the power company won't easily replace.
 

TNGuy84

SatelliteGuys Family
WHDF (CW-Huntsville) is the station I'm talking about. If I lose the station, it's no big deal because it's only a small fraction of my TV viewing anyway. I live in Southern TN and can receive the main stations in Huntsville AL via a set of rabbit ears (if I chose to), but I have the 4228 to point towards Nashville to pick up a few distant stations from there. With it pointed towards Nashville, I can still pick up 90% signal on Huntsville on the backside.

I've read about the numerous things that can affect reception on RF 2. I read an account once of an individual that couldn't receive a channel on that frequency due to a dirty power line filter outside their home.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
In many cases, the stories about why someone can't receive VHF-low were fabricated by people who bought hard into UHF-focused antennas. With the repack, many are having to get serious about the reality of VHF channels.

The primary problem with VHF-low is multipath because it travels well. A directional antenna often helps that.

RF noise is kind of a red herring as it impacts all bands -- the harmonics show up all over the frequency spectrum. Issues exist to be sure, but not all of the cited situations make sense.

A few markets have had a fairly full complement of VHF-low stations all along and they've managed to survive both the real and contrived issues.
 

Trip

RabbitEars Webmaster
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
My rule of thumb about low-VHF is this: No matter how bad you think it's going to be, it's probably going to be worse. I've been jumping up and down about this for years now, having experienced with WBRA in Roanoke that it, like other low-VHF stations I've tested, under-performs the predictions by a lot.

In the repack, so far, three stations have moved to low-VHF. KVCR, WOUC, and WJSP, all since late February. (Two more, KWHY and WHDF, will move by the end of the week, barring any issues that keep them from lighting up.) I don't know anyone either involved with WJSP or living in the WJSP coverage area, but in the case of both other stations, I've heard the phrase "far worse than expected" come from either the station or viewers or both. My advice is that if you don't have a proper low-VHF outdoor antenna aimed at the station, and do not currently receive its UHF signal at something like 100% on your signal meter, do not count on receiving it. Assume you will lose the station. If you happen to receive it, you are lucky.

- Trip
 

TNGuy84

SatelliteGuys Family
It's definitely not worth buying a long antenna just to receive one channel. If I lose the channel on Friday, then it's no big deal.
 

twhy08

Member
One channel in my area KDLO-TV has been on low-vhf since it’s interception and is about 30 miles away. Only “modern” style antenna I’ve found that actually picks up low-vhf, high-vhf, and uhf is the Antop model BV-400.
 

larrykenney

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
With my Winegard 8200U, an all band antenna, I can receive a solid signal from a low power station transmitting on channel 2 from 55 miles away. My UHF XG-91 and CM-4228 get absolutely no signal on that channel. We have two stations transmitting on channels 3 and 4 from 14 miles away, and the UHF antennas see weak signals but can't receive them strong enough to produce a picture. With the 8200 they're solid. You really do need an antenna designed for Low VHF if you plan on watching any stations transmitting on channels 2 through 6.
 

NYDutch

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
As a moderate distance low-VHF add-on, I've had good luck using a 3 or 4 element FM radio antenna. The FM radio band lies between low and high VHF on the spectrum, and the antennas usually have a broad enough bandwidth to pick up RF channels 2-6 reasonable well.
 

Trip

RabbitEars Webmaster
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
So WHDF has made the transition; what's the verdict?

- Trip
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
Judging from their news package regarding their transition, quite a few OTA viewers are no longer receiving the channel and they recommend purchasing an antenna that is designed for both VHF and UHF. Duh.

They also recommend pointing the antenna at Minor Hill, TN(?); quite a distance away (35+ miles?) from Florence, AL.
 

TNGuy84

SatelliteGuys Family
I tested my 4228, rabbit ears, and an FM pigtail that stays plugged into my audio receiver. None of them showed a thing on the signal meter. I'm thinking there will be a lot of OTA viewers in the area missing out. Yes, the video at RocketCityNow (dot com) only mentions an antenna that does VHF and UHF. Well, there's plenty out there labeled as such, but not all of them go that low in frequency. The transmitter has been at Minor Hill since the late 90s. They moved it there from Florence to provide more coverage to both Tennessee and Alabama.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
The wavelength of RF2 is around 21', so it is no wonder that an antenna with 20-something inch elements is not getting it done. RF20 has a wavelength of 23" so there's some serious purchase there.
 

larrykenney

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Here's a picture showing my antennas where you can easily see the size difference. The top antenna, the Winegard 8200, covers low VHF very nicely, as well as high VHF and UHF, where the XG-91, below it, designed for UHF only., does not receive low VHF at all. It does work for a high VHF station that's 5 miles away, but the signal is low. You really need that big antenna to watch low VHF channels.

antennas21.jpg
.
 

TNGuy84

SatelliteGuys Family
Thanks for the size comparison. I'm not going to invest in another antenna just to get one channel. If I did, I'd buy one of the longest ones for the most UHF coverage, which would run over $100. My 4228 is fine for me. Everything else from Huntsville and Nashville that I need to pick up is UHF only. An antenna that big is too much weight for the setup that I've got.
 
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