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Another Football Season, Another OTA Indoor Antenna To Try
Old 08-12-2014, 11:13 AM   #1
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Another Football Season, Another OTA Indoor Antenna To Try

With football season fast approaching and Thursday games coming to CBS, my OTA signal for CBS still is sometimes spotty.

So, I'm at it again hunting for a decent OTA indoor antenna that can maintain a steady signal.

I came across an indoor/outdoor (originated from Kickstarter) which has pretty good reviews and some say even better than the popular Mohu Leaf.

It's called, appropriately, a the cable cutter:

Amazon.com: HD Frequency Cable Cutter Indoor/Outdoor HD Digital TV Antenna (CC-17): Electronics

There's also a smaller version (but I got the big one):

Amazon.com: HD Frequency Cable Cutter Indoor Outdoor HD Digital TV Antenna - Mini (CC-17M): Electronics

The antenna is on the way from Amazon so I'll play around with that soon.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:55 AM   #2
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Yikes. $99 seems high, but maybe it's made from rare earth elements. Hope it does the job for you.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
With football season fast approaching and Thursday games coming to CBS, my OTA signal for CBS still is sometimes spotty.

So, I'm at it again hunting for a decent OTA indoor antenna that can maintain a steady signal.
Good info on Antenna Web.org
Site is a project of the Consumer Electronics Assoc and National Broadcasters Assoc. Good luck...
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:04 PM   #4
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Yikes. $99 seems high, but maybe it's made from rare earth elements. Hope it does the job for you.
Yes, the price is high. But if it does the trick to get my signal over the hump, I'd be happy.

Otherwise, at least Amazon has a very good return policy .
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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... at least Amazon has a very good return policy .
+1
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:38 PM   #6
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I'd be wary of any 'new fangled' antennas. Antenna design has been understood pretty well since Marconi's time. I don't think there is much new out there. And a few metal rods should not cost much. Make sure the $$ go to a solution, not marketing terms.

I cringe when I hear the term 'digital' antenna. The radiated signal is analog, with digitally encoded information. An antenna doesn't care what kind of information is encoded (or not encoded), it just picks up signals within a frequency range.

The best way to get to a real solution, and it sounds like you've tried the easy stuff already, is to educate yourself about what you need, and then find a product that meets those needs. Go to that AntennaWeb site that was linked (there's another good one, name escapes me now), and they should tell you what you need for the station in question (VHF or UHF is key - no help at all to go fancy with UHF if VHF is the issue, or vice-versa), and your distance and environment.

Coat hangers make fine antennas, just need them bent to the right shape. You can find some of the right kind in Joan Crawford's garbage can

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Old 08-12-2014, 02:53 PM   #7
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Thanks for the antenna web.org suggestions. Yes, I've already gone that route.

I'm not at the point like when visiting to an optometrist.. "Better with A or Better with B?"

But instead of lenses, the comparison is antenna A vs antenna B
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:25 PM   #8
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Thanks for the antenna web.org suggestions. Yes, I've already gone that route.
And what did it tell you?

I'm confused. Are you looking for help? It's hard to help w/o background information. And if you're just going to tell us which antenna worked for you, that probably won't mean a thing to someone else in a different environment.

If this were my problem, and I'd determined that signal strength is the issue (not multi-path or cabling or whatever), I'd look at what frequencies the weakest stations of interest are, and look for an antenna with actual specs for those frequencies (dB gain), and go for the highest gain where I need it.

Quote:
I'm not at the point like when visiting to an optometrist.. "Better with A or Better with B?"

But instead of lenses, the comparison is antenna A vs antenna B
Except w/o any requirements and specifications, it's more like pulling random lenses out of a barrel and to see if they work. Good luck!

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Old 08-12-2014, 03:32 PM   #9
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ERD,

No not looking for help. Was just saying what the title says. It's almost football season and I'm looking to try another antenna.

No measurements or anything to "report" but more the "If it looks good, eat it" (quote from Bizarre Foods)


The test

1. If new antenna works better than old, keep
2. If new antenna not a good as old, return antenna

As simple as that.

Oh..and if 1, then have a better experience watching Football on Thursdays.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:36 PM   #10
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OK then. Have fun.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:00 PM   #11
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I'm sure I will
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:56 AM   #12
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Forty years ago, I purchased the most advanced (read largest) rooftop television antenna from Radio Shack and installed it on out newly built house. This worked wonderfully until trees grew up over the thirty foot tower on the roof. And until the ION station moved to Ft. Collins -- at right angles to all of the other local transmission towers.

I tried several Omni directional antennas to correct this but found them not to draw in enough signal to prevent that digital breakdown "sparkles" on all channels.

I, eventually (after spending several hundred dollars), tried this antenna. It is multi-directional so I was able to point it in two directions and now get 90-100 percent signal strength from all stations within fifty miles -- and several stations from Colorado Springs (70 miles) and Cheyenne WY (95 miles).

An expensive project but still a miniscule amount compared to cable/satellite.

(FWIW -- I use SageTV a program that was purchased by Google about three years ago -- and promptly shut down -- but allowed legacy folks continued use. Still today, after four years of no updates, it is still better than other Media Center programs (for example, Windows Media Center.) I have not been able to find a suitable replacement -- even though I know that the day is coming when it will no longer function.)
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:10 AM   #13
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It's also important to read the specs carefully if you need to pick up any VHF signals (broadcasting below channel 14). Many antennas are UHF-only, so if you need channels 7-13 (in a few unfortunate markets, 2-6 as well) you need to make sure it's rated for channels 7-51 (or 7-69, some of them still could be listed since only recently channels 52-69 were deallocated from the OTA TV spectrum).

I am planning a "ditch the dish" move soon and will be mounting this one on the mast where my dish is installed before long. I've tested this antenna mounted low on a metal fencepost and it works great for stations about 35-50 miles away, including channels 9 and 12 out of San Antonio; I just need a huge ladder to get up there since it's almost 15' off the ground:

Amazon.com: RCA ANT751 Durable Compact Outdoor Antenna: Electronics

I also am currently using a Terk HDTVa indoors that works pretty well for UHF, can't get the rabbit ears to pick up VHF on 9 or 12, but also has problems when cars pass the house. For the most part, I've found some antennas in "near fringe" zones like ours which are pretty solid for UHF but are all but useless for VHF. If someone doesn't need *any* VHF, consider yourself lucky because your antenna solution just got a lot easier, especially if you want/need an indoor solution.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:26 AM   #14
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There are still people out there who will install an antenna for you if you don't care to do the work yourself. I have no idea if any of these guys are any good. I just found the site.

https://www.antennasdirect.com/store/home.php
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:35 AM   #15
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There are still people out there who will install an antenna for you if you don't care to do the work yourself. I have no idea if any of these guys are any good. I just found the site.
In the Denver area, there is this guy (freeTVEE-top cord cutting alternative to cable & satellite-free tv). I have used him (too much of a DIYer) but I have met him and seen his work. I have no hesitation to recommend him -- his rates are quite reasonable.

His website is also a good place to become familiar with some of the options available that "cut the cord."

Yeah, the Antennas Direct link is the same one I gave in my earlier post.

And, of course, AVS (AVS Forum) is the ultimate source for all things Home Theater.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:15 AM   #16
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Frank has been a very active ham for 45 years, and one of his main interests has been antenna design. So when he expressed some desire/interest in designing indoor OTA TV antennas for both of us, I took him up on it. I took an antenna class at A&M years ago, but one class vs the same plus 45 years' experience is no contest.

He spent less than $10 on materials, and he said it didn't take much time at all and was fun. At my suggestion, he let me buy him an $18 lunch as a thank-you/reimbursement. The antenna is ugly but it's behind the TV so I don't see it. I do live in a (sort of) metropolitan area, and it pulls in around 40 channels including all major networks. He occasionally tweaks the position and fiddles with it when he is over here. Honestly I couldn't be happier.

So, if you know any active hams that owe you a small favor....
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:12 PM   #17
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... The antenna is ugly but it's behind the TV so I don't see it.
If the indoor antenna is effective, there is no such thing as an ugly antenna
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:16 PM   #18
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OK then. Have fun.
I got the HD Cable Cutter antenna today and put it up. So far so good, but the jury is still out (I have about 30 days to decide) as to whether it works better than what I had previously.

My goal is if the antenna gives stable results and I don't have to move it around, in particular for CBS, then that's a keeper.

When doing a rescan, my DVR ended up having two CBS channels. One was spotty and the other clear. I later figured out that the spotty one is from a signal that I couldn't get with my previous antennas but now is a fringe station. That actually is a good sign meaning the new antenna likes CBS

The antenna looks like a giant fly swatter
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:18 PM   #19
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If the indoor antenna is effective, there is no such thing as an ugly antenna
Wanna bet? I know someone who believes there's no such thing as an aesthetically acceptable antenna. The two of you should meet and discuss.
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:20 PM   #20
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Wanna bet? I know someone who believes there's no such thing as an aesthetically acceptable antenna. The two of you should meet and discuss.
Definitely, a one for the beauty is in the eye of the beholder category
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