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TV Antenna
Old 02-08-2012, 08:20 AM   #1
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TV Antenna

Breaking from my usual LBYM mode, I bought a new tv yesterday and the old one was not completely broken. I like the flat tv's and I thought that it would be nice to not have to deal with a converter box. The old tv made a horrible noise if I accidentally turned off the converter box before the tv.

Now I would like a good antenna. We only have over-the-air tv and I have no interest in cable. Any recommendations?
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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You might start with this website to figure out what type of antenna would work best in your location: AntennaWeb - Home
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:58 AM   #3
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I've always been happy with antennas from the local Radio Shack.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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AntennaWeb - Home

and/or

TV Fool
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:04 AM   #5
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When I cut the cable and went OTA, ended up trying several different antennas without success. The antennas didn't pull in all the standard local channels (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, etc.).


Finally, I did some homework and ended up building my own from a plan on the internet with metal coat hangers, wood and pipes as an antenna stand. This gave me the best reception -- even better than store bought.

I'd say, if you buy an antenna from the store, make sure there's no problem with returning them as it may take several buy and returns before you find one that gets the proper reception.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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How far are you away from your local TV stations, and how large the antenna you're willing to accept? Where are you going to put the the antenna?

If you're interested in a small DIY indoor antenna project by using only cardboard, pliers, drywall hanging steel wire, a staple gun, liquid nail, some scrap wood and some length of 300 ohms TV coaxial cable, then this (Gray-Hoverman design) GH10n antenna (http://clients.teksavvy.com/~nickm/gh_n_uV/gh10n_6V9_14u65_r.html) will give you an excellent reception on digital HD signals. I have it in my attic, and it gives much better signal strength than the commercial ones I bought from RS before. The antenna model can be downloaded from nikiml's site and opened by free software 4NEC2 (http://home.ict.nl/~arivoors/).

The only regret I have in the end is not because I built this antenna, but because it picks a lot more channels which most are either infomercial or religious stations.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIYes View Post
Breaking from my usual LBYM mode, I bought a new tv yesterday and the old one was not completely broken. I like the flat tv's and I thought that it would be nice to not have to deal with a converter box. The old tv made a horrible noise if I accidentally turned off the converter box before the tv.

Now I would like a good antenna. We only have over-the-air tv and I have no interest in cable. Any recommendations?
Hello: You do not need to buy the old style TV antenna. Digital over the air uses UHF signal.

I bought a unit at Costco, a few months ago. Have not seen the unit there recently. Description: Black, 2 black circular plastic pieces hooked together.
(like figure 8), piece of wire behind. Very small and light. Guess, 4lbs or so.
Forget price. I think around $60, came with co-ax cable.

Surprised it really worked. Pulls in stations 30 miles away.
Oh, installed unit outside.

Again, you do not need the old big heavy/awkward antennas.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:53 PM   #8
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Here's what I used for my homemade antenna:

(video) DIY antennas: Build your own DTV antenna!

(downloadable plan) MAKE | Maker Workshop PDF – DTV Antenna

I used a taller pipe as my antenna stands about 6 ft high as I needed the height to
go higher than the balcony (I stand the antenna indoors, next to my window).

Before this antenna, when a train would pass by, I'd get a signal drop. Now that rarely happens, plus I get all my local stations (cbs, nbc, abc, fox, etc.) which wasn't happening even with a store bought one.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:25 PM   #9
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The AntennaWeb site above is a good place to start; it will tell you where your TV station transmitters are.

I've been lucky enough to live in areas where all the TV stations share one "antenna farm", and I'm currently 15 miles away from mine. I think if the adjacent apartments weren't there I'd have line-of-sight to the antennas. But even with the buildings a UHF indoor antenna pointed at the farm is working great for me. I can even get a simple loop or vertical monopole antenna working most of the time (PC interference and the twin-lead cable touching metal are the issues for me).

Most HD stations are UHF. Note that the old channel numbers aren't necessarily the actual frequency channel the station is using, but the websites tell you what they're really using.

If you're further away, have big buildings/trees/airports in the way and/or have stations in different directions, then the antenna situation can get more complex.

One thing to note: an amplifier does not improve antenna reception. It only compensates for attenuation from long cable runs or splitters.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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AntennaWeb tends to be way too conservative. TVFool is much more accurate IMO.

As far as antenna choices go, you need to know:

* The distance to all the stations you want to receive (this determines whether indoor will work or if you need to go to the attic or even outdoors completely)
* Whether all the stations are in the same general direction or scattered all over
* Whether you have many tall buildings and/or hills blocking direct path to the signals
* Whether you have any "low VHF" stations (broadcast frequency -- not necessarily channel number -- 2 to 6) and/or "high VHF" stations (7-13) in addition to the usual UHF on RF frequencies 14-51).

If your markets don't have any VHF, a regular UHF antenna for RF channels 14+ is fine. If you do have some VHF, you'll need others.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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Hello: You do not need to buy the old style TV antenna. Digital over the air uses UHF signal.
Usually, but not always. A few stations do still use VHF signals. If you don't have any, it makes your setup simpler, especially if you need to put them up outdoors.

In the Austin market, our Fox affiliate broadcasts on Channel 7, and south of us serving parts of the Austin and San Antonio markets is one broadcasting on channel 5. Because we have a VHF station and all the Austin transmitters are 60 miles away, I had to mount two antennas outside, one that gets channels 7-13 ("high VHF") and one getting 14-51 (UHF), joining the two signals into one with a $5 part called a UVSJ. They are mounted on the same mast pointing in the same direction, the UHF antenna being about 3 feet above the high VHF antenna before feeding into an amplifier. Signals are great and strong with no dropouts. We still have satellite, but this makes it tempting to cut it sometimes, and in the meantime it's a nice backup to when satellite goes out.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 02-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #12
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One of those antenna sites said my house has good coverage, so I got the cheapest antenna that radio shack had - I think it was $12-15. We get a great HD signal off of it, and it's enough channels that we canceled most of our cable.

(we get basic coverage because of a bundle discount for internet, worth the $2 a month for local sports games)
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
AntennaWeb tends to be way too conservative. TVFool is much more accurate IMO.

As far as antenna choices go, you need to know:

* The distance to all the stations you want to receive (this determines whether indoor will work or if you need to go to the attic or even outdoors completely)
* Whether all the stations are in the same general direction or scattered all over
* Whether you have many tall buildings and/or hills blocking direct path to the signals
* Whether you have any "low VHF" stations (broadcast frequency -- not necessarily channel number -- 2 to 6) and/or "high VHF" stations (7-13) in addition to the usual UHF on RF frequencies 14-51).

If your markets don't have any VHF, a regular UHF antenna for RF channels 14+ is fine. If you do have some VHF, you'll need others.
Nice summary zig. I agree completely.

I also like meekie's idea of starting with a simple indoor antenna. Check reception against what you are expecting based on TVFoool data. Then, choose your permanent antenna (if you wind up needing more than the simple indoor antenna) based on both the expected results and the actual results.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:18 PM   #14
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Thanks, this is great info. I have checked the antenna website and learned that I am...at least by my guess..a reasonable distance for decent reception.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:02 PM   #15
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Thanks, this is great info. I have checked the antenna website and learned that I am...at least by my guess..a reasonable distance for decent reception.
You will be surprised at the number of over the air channels there are. I get 80+.

HD is very good. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, CA, everything is digital. UHF.

Some TV's have built in " TV Guide". So you can view all of the stations and show times and edit out the stations you do not want. My Sony has built in TV Guide. However, I just noticed some of the newer Sony TV's have dropped that feature. (Nice feature "TV guide", if you do not use cable).
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #16
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Location is everything, at my QTH - location, get exactly one tv channel. TV fool agrees.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:59 PM   #17
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Can't vouch for the actual perfomance as I don't own it. But here is an interesting one with high ratings at Amazon:

Amazon.com: Paper Thin Leaf Indoor HDTV Antenna - Made in the USA!: Electronics
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