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Infidel Goat
01-09-2005, 09:36 AM
Right now, I am cableless and directvless . . . and I am thinking about putting a large directional antenna on top of my house so that I can get digital (and eventually HDTV when I upgrade my television) reception on my local chanels.

I don't know much about antennas other than what I've read in the last day or so.

I live in North Carolina and am considering a large directional antenna so that I can not only get channels from WS, High Point and Greensboro (my triad neighborhood), but also places like Charlotte (90 miles away).

It sounds like I need a large directional antenna. I am also guessing that I need a router (?) so that the antenna will turn in the proper direction when I change channels.

My questions:

1) Any suggestions on antennas and routers?

2) How hard is this for a layman to install?

3) How expensive is the equipment/set up?

I might eventually get Directv, but I figure that this will still save me money in the long run because I would not have to pay for local channels and I might not ever have to pay for HDTV reception because other than a few sporting events on ESPN I doubt I'd care if things like the Daily Show are eventully in HDTV or not.

Thanks for any help.

--Infidel Goat

Michael Michigan
01-09-2005, 09:57 AM
I think this is the one I have. I think some have a little motor that turn the antennae towards the source but mine doesn't have a motor to turn it.

http://www.summitsource.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=ANW037&Category_Code=UHFVHF&Product_Count=11

Wineguard is all I have ever used, and my OTA Hi--Def is better than my DirecTV Hi-Def.

But I'm just outside of PHX and have a clear line of site to the sources on South Mountain.

My big dish guy installed mine on a 30 foot pole, but it looked easy from the ground.

;)

Skip Towne
01-09-2005, 10:05 AM
I know a little about them but this is a shaky topic as so many things affect off-air signals. First, you need a long range (deep fringe) antenna. WalMart sells a "pretty good" one for about $100. Channelmaster makes several different antennas. Look them up on the "net". Next you will need a signal booster to get good reception past about 30 miles in most places. I'd get a good (read expensive) one as the $30 ones aren't worth a damn. Channelmaster makes them too. Third you will need a rotor. There isn't much difference in them as far as I know. You will need to get the antenna up as high as possible. I use 20' joints of 1" pipe to do this. Hopefully you can anchor it to your house and concrete the bottom 2-3 feet in the ground. You will probably spend about $300 getting top of the line stuff but it's worth it as it will probably get stations Directv doesn't offer in your area and will save you $6 per month. You may be able to pick up some of it on ebay to save a little money. Look under Antennas, rotors (or rotators), and signal boosters (or pre-amps). Use RG-6 coax all the way down the pole and into the house. Make sure the pre-amp has two parts. One is mounted on the pole and the other is located at the TV and plugs into 110v. You can do it yourself if you are at all handy with tools. You could call a TV sales guy to do it but it will be pricey. Good luck!!

Michael Michigan
01-09-2005, 10:15 AM
Skip:

I've always been told the more elements the better, is that really true?

Herzig
01-09-2005, 10:19 AM
I know a little about them but this is a shaky topic as so many things affect off-air signals. First, you need a long range (deep fringe) antenna. WalMart sells a "pretty good" one for about $100. Channelmaster makes several different antennas. Look them up on the "net". Next you will need a signal booster to get good reception past about 30 miles in most places. I'd get a good (read expensive) one as the $30 ones aren't worth a damn. Channelmaster makes them too. Third you will need a rotor. There isn't much difference in them as far as I know. You will need to get the antenna up as high as possible. I use 20' joints of 1" pipe to do this. Hopefully you can anchor it to your house and concrete the bottom 2-3 feet in the ground. You will probably spend about $300 getting top of the line stuff but it's worth it as it will probably get stations Directv doesn't offer in your area and will save you $6 per month. You may be able to pick up some of it on ebay to save a little money. Look under Antennas, rotors (or rotators), and signal boosters (or pre-amps). Use RG-6 coax all the way down the pole and into the house. Make sure the pre-amp has two parts. One is mounted on the pole and the other is located at the TV and plugs into 110v. You can do it yourself if you are at all handy with tools. You could call a TV sales guy to do it but it will be pricey. Good luck!!

I've still got that Channelmaster Pre-amp that I don't need since I moved and now have DTV locals. I paid $54 for it. I'll sell it if you want it for $40.

Skip Towne
01-09-2005, 10:21 AM
Skip:

I've always been told the more elements the better, is that really true?
Yes. In this case bigger (longer) is better. I forgot to mention also that he needs to make sure to get a UHF/VHF/FM antenna.

Skip Towne
01-09-2005, 10:33 AM
I've still got that Channelmaster Pre-amp that I don't need since I moved and now have DTV locals. I paid $54 for it. I'll sell it if you want it for $40.
Would you take $30, you miser? Why haven't you answered my email, bitch?

Michael Michigan
01-09-2005, 10:34 AM
Yes. In this case bigger (longer) is better. I forgot to mention also that he needs to make sure to get a UHF/VHF/FM antenna.


Okay, thanks.

I spent a bunch but my OTA picture is very crisp.

Skip Towne
01-09-2005, 10:37 AM
I've still got that Channelmaster Pre-amp that I don't need since I moved and now have DTV locals. I paid $54 for it. I'll sell it if you want it for $40.
Do you still have the antenna? Sell him both for $100.

dtebbe
01-09-2005, 10:46 AM
I would first find out what size antenna you need to get the channels you want, by visiting antennaweb.org:

http://antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx


I would suggest starting with a large directional antenna, like the Terk TV38. A great source for all things antenna is Solid Signal:
http://www.solidsignal.com/antennas/

Finally, when you install your antenna, PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS! Buy good quality RG-6 cable, and make sure the connectors are installed correctly. Most importantly, waterproof your outdoor connections with a semi-pliable sealer like Radio Shack Connector sealant. If just a little water gets in the connector/cable you can easliy loose 3db of signal (1/2 of the signal) that you paid for. Also, make sure you ground your mast and antenna with some #8 solid copper ran from the roof all the way to a ground rod in the ground. If lightning ever comes calling you will be glad you did. And I agree with Skip, bigger is better. Get the biggest antenna you can, and get it up in the air as far as you can. As for amplifiers, I would avoid them unless you absolutely have to have one. Amps are just one more thing to give you problems, so why use it if you don't need it. What I'm saying is that I would spend $120 on a big directional antenna, instead of spending $60 on a small antenna, and $60 on an amplifier. If you do have to buy an amp, don't buy one of the cheap Wal-Mart or Radio Shack ones. Get a good quality Winegard or Channel Master, and pay close attention to the noise figures if you are trying to pull in HDTV signals.

I am about 40 miles from the transmitter sites here in Atlanta, and my house sits down on the side of a hill that is between me and the transmitter sites. I didn't want to put an antenna on the outside, so I put a Big Terk TV38 in my attic. I pointed it using a compass with the heading given at antennaweb.org. I get all the Atlanta HD signals, as well as the analog signals with very good quality. I am losing about 1/2 the gain of the antenna by having it in the attic. We installed the same antenna on my dad's house. He lives in Fayette, MO about 100 miles from KC and about 35 miles from Columbia. He gets all the Columbia and Jeff City stations perfect (when they are on the air) and he also gets Ch. 4 and 5 from KC. We have an amp in his setup, but only because he is splitting it to 5 TVs. That's another thing you have to watch. Don't split the signal any more than you have to. Splitters are really lossy, and will kill your signal.

DT

Skip Towne
01-09-2005, 10:59 AM
He's going to need the biggest antenna he can find AND an amp to go the 90 miles he's talking about. The distances vary from locale to locale but asking for 90 miles is a lot.

dtebbe
01-09-2005, 11:03 AM
He's going to need the biggest antenna he can find AND an amp to go the 90 miles he's talking about. The distances vary from locale to locale but asking for 90 miles is a lot.

The nice thing about antennaweb is that it takes terrain into account, so if he were at a really high elevation in relation to the transmitter sites, it's suggestion on antennas would reflect that. I would agree that for analog he is most likely going to need both. But, you really never know until you get the flag flying, if you know what I mean.

DT

Infidel Goat
01-09-2005, 11:10 AM
Thank you all for the information.

After looking at antennaweb site (wow!), I think I will likely start off with somthing like DT's suggested antenna and skip the amplifier unless I really need it (sorry, Herzig--had to fix lunch for my girls).

Of course, if I start getting better reception that means I'll have to get a better tv. Cross your fingers that I don't fall of my roof.

--Infidel Goat

Baby Lee
01-09-2005, 11:35 AM
Wineguard is all I have ever used, and my OTA Hi--Def is better than my DirecTV Hi-Def.
Wouldn't that always be the case?
My understanding is, it's a matter of bandwidth.
And OTA signal is either there, significantly artifacted [ie, in and out of tune], or not there. But when it's there, it's full 1080i and uncompressed.
Satellite HD signals have to ride along with the rest of the panoply of channels and are often compressed.

The only differences I've noticed between a well received OTA channel and a barely well enough received OTA channel is clearly attributable to the source material.