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sidefx
Sep 23, 2013, 01:39 PM
I have been cable free for 5 months now and football/sitcom season is back. I have two rabbit ears on each TV to get OTA signals. I'm having issues with both, the one on our main TV does not get Fox when the garage door is shut. The one up stairs in the bedroom cuts out when you walk past it.

Our house is 20 years old and has alum siding. The house is already prewired with coax cable with the cable box juctions on the west end of the house. Both our bedroom and family room is on the east end.

I was thinking of either getting a attic antenna or the GE Futura outdoor. I would want the outdoor antenna to be stealth.

-Juction to Family room and bedroom is about 60 feet
-Attic to basement 20 feet
-Basement to juction 20 feet

I'm leaning towards the attic antenna but was wondering if I would need a preamp with about ~100 of coax and a splitter?



Alrescha
Sep 23, 2013, 01:44 PM
I would use an amplifier at the antenna end. You're going to lose half of your signal over a 100' run.

A.

sidefx
Sep 23, 2013, 01:50 PM
ok, i will check out the attic this afternoon hopefully there's a outlet up there.

From A Buick 8
Sep 23, 2013, 03:36 PM
Use the website for some really good advice on OTA antenna's

http://www.antennaweb.org/

CoMoMacUser
Sep 23, 2013, 04:25 PM
Consider a rotor for the outdoor antenna.

sidefx
Sep 24, 2013, 07:37 AM
i looked over the attic last night, there is no clear path to get coax to the basement. I was thinking I could fish the wire down next to the spetic vent but the builder put no gap around the subfloor.

It looks like I will have to go with a outdoor mount. Im thinking about the GE Futura with about 25 feet of RG6 to my cable distribution box. The previous owner left a distribution amp but there is no power coming to it.

Will I need a distribution amp with my 40-60 foot runs of cable after the juction box?

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2013, 09:00 AM
First off, it's a mistake to choose antennas based on how they look. Your problem is signal quality so you need to get an antenna that solves that problem. You might be able to get a "stealth"-looking antenna that solves that problem but you might need something less stealthy instead.

A general rule of thumb is that pretty or nearly invisible antennas tend to be poor antennas while big, massive, (classic) ugly antennas tend to be great antennas. Something at either end of that spectrum might be best for your situation or you might be able to find something in-between.

A key piece of information you've left out is how far your home is from the broadcast towers. Is there obstacles (hills, buildings, etc) between where you are and the towers? And so on. Such issues influence what kinds of antennas might work best for your situation.

Better option: look around your neighborhood and see what kinds of antennas others have put in place. If you can find 5-10 on other roofs within a mile or two of your home you can probably get a good sense of a type of antenna that works well enough in your area.

Since you are having some success with rabbit ears, I'm guessing you are reasonably close to your towers and there probably aren't many obstacles between your home and those towers (except that garage door). Based just on that assumption, you'll probably see a "good enough" improvement by just getting a decent antenna outside and up on your roof. An easy test is to take the rabbit ears outside, get up on your roof, run a long cable from them down to your TV and have someone else check the problematic channels. If all is good, a smallish antenna will probably do well.

Also use that antennaweb website to verify whether your area has a mix of VHF and UHF channels or just UHF. if the former, you generally need a bigger antenna capable of reliably pulling in those VHF channels. If only UHF, you can probably get by with a smallish "stealth" antenna. That website will make a recommendation on the type of antenna best suited for your area (they use a color coding system). Take that recommendation seriously and recognize that going for a little bigger antenna than they recommend is putting up something that will probably yield a stronger lock on your signals. In other words, they'll recommend a just-good-enough antenna level so going just-good-enough-plus-1 is simply improving upon your signal reception.

Last tips: higher is generally better. Think peak of the roof instead of roof line, and as high above that peak as you can safely mount it. Look up something called multi-path to get some info about this.

Position on the roof can matter too. Don't pick a spot based on some subjective, "I want it here" view. Get up there and hold it in various spots while someone checks signal strength or just subjectively checks the channels (signal strength is much better if you have something that will numerically show it- like satt and some DVR boxes). Even a few feet can make a difference, especially if there are nearby trees or other potential signal obstructions.

Direction can matter too. Experiment with various angles or also get a rotor so you can rotate the antenna from inside. If all of your stations are in one general direction, you probably don't need a rotor. However, if they are all around you, it probably will help. Again, look around at neighborhood solutions and see if any of them are using a rotor. If they are, you probably need one too.

Big & ugly or stealth somewhat disappears after it's in place. When you do your neighborhood tour, since you'll be looking specifically for antennas you'll probably notice a number of them- maybe even some big & ugly ones- you've never noticed before. That's how it goes with antennas- they're always biggest & ugliest when you imagine putting one up on your own house but then they are mostly lost in the background once they are up... completely invisible at night and only visible during the day when you are outside and looking right at them. Otherwise, they tend to seemingly disappear after they are in place... like chimneys, weather vanes, roof vents and so on.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck.

JAT
Sep 24, 2013, 09:49 AM
If the stations are all around, an omni-directional antenna on top of the roof would be better than a rotor. What if you want to watch two stations at once in perpendicular directions? But hopefully that isn't the case, most cities have a single area for transmitters so antennas work for people.

Otherwise, what Darryl said.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2013, 12:06 PM
I've tried omnidirectional vs. rotor and the former seems to work "good enough" only if you are reasonably close to the towers (while very subjective, if OP is not about 20-25 miles away from all of his towers, I'd give less consideration to the omni models (though I'm sure there's going to be a few guys who have omnis working with towers 30-40 miles away). While omindirectionals can work well in certain situations, they also amp up the multi-path issues in other situations. After experimenting with both, I settled in on the rotor setup, then used it to find the optimal angle between towers both south and northwest of me so that I could get a fairly strong signal from all towers. I don't hardly ever rotate it now, except during some bad storms when I need to strengthen one of the signals that I'm watching at the moment.

And OP, don't be suckered by the "miles reach" marketing on the boxes or descriptions. Those claims are much like wifi or USB claims (theoretical max in perfect conditions vs. the realities of actual installations). If your towers are 30 miles away (I'm just picking a number there) and the description says 35 miles and another is rated for 60 miles, you probably need the latter. I suggest applying the divide-by-2 guideline: milage claim divided by two equals the signal lock consistency you actually seek.

Also, don't be too quick to fool yourself into believing the minimal "get by" antenna plus a signal booster will be better than a modestly overkill antenna without the booster. Again, depending on the situation, a booster can help... but they can also hurt. They can boost a signal but they also boost multi-path. I went through a number of trials with various power levels of boost before arriving at not using a booster for my own installation. The non-boost signals- while weaker rated- ended up delivering every channel in my area. The modestly boosted signal made a few channels fail to consistently lock. Too much signal is just as problematic as too little signal.

If you use a good signal testing approach, don't do those tests on very cloudy days. TV signals bounce off clouds. On a very cloudy day, I can sometimes lock in channels from upwards of 200+ miles away (I've even had a 300 miles away lock at one point) but they only last while the clouds are in just the right spots. If you are doing your testing on a very cloudy day, you can get fooled into thinking everything is great. Then the atmosphere evolves and the signals start failing. It's not necessarily just clouds right over your head either; it's often clouds about mid-way between the towers and your antenna. Certain other atmospheric conditions (like ice crystals way up there) can bounce TV signals too.

When you get it down to a favorite or two and you want to try the prettier one over the uglier one (that you think you probably need), buy local so you can more easily return the prettier one if it doesn't work out. Beware online orders with "restocking fees" as shipping it back and restocking can end up costing as much as some of these antennas. And use quality cable. And you'll want to test signals in bad weather conditions before believing you chose the perfect antenna (signal strengths seem to fluctuate in sunny & clear vs. torrential rain conditions). A minimal "get by" choice on a rainy SAT or SUN can lead to missing parts of the games. Did your team score or not? Sometimes you don't find out until after the game is over.

Best advice of all: BE CAREFUL. Falls off roofs can kill you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruhs5dAm4-k&feature=player_embedded . Electrical lines around your roof and a metal antenna in hand can kill you if the two accidentally bump together. Don't be working on your roof on gusty days or when lightning is looking for a fool holding a metal lightning magnet at a high point in his neighborhood (see approx 1:30 on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A3M-d_eIqo#t=17 ). Wet roofs (after a rain) are water slides with bad endings. Snow or ice-covered roofs are ABC Wide World of Sports "and the agony of defeat" scenarios waiting to happen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2AZH4FeGsc A unseen wasp or hornets nest in the wrong spot can lead to you flailing about on a dangerous slope with at least a 10ft plunge at the bottom (or a 20ft or 30ft plunge off the side). Be sure to ground the thing correctly (so one lightning strike down the road doesn't toast your AV setup and potentially set your house on fire). And so on.

sidefx
Sep 24, 2013, 01:52 PM
Im 11.07 miles from the broadcast towers and pretty level western Ohio ground between them. The signal is at 343 degrees which means the the front of my house faces the towers perfectly. The path for the signal (if I put it on the western tip of my house) does not have any trees or houses in its way for a good 200-250 feet I would say.

channels 2, 7, 22, 26 those are yellow

45 Fox (antennaweb has this one at green its the same distance and degrees as the other channels)

The old rabbit ears in the bedroom gets 75% signal unless someone is near the antenna. The dynex TV is the only one that has signal strength, unless someone knows where that feature is at on a Vizio.

Right now I will just use items I have on hand and experiment. My thoughts are this....

- Install rabbit ears or my batwing antenna in the spare bedroom on the front of the house on the second floor.

- Use the cable outlet in that room to bring signal down to cable juction box.

- Use exsisting distribution amp to send signal to master bedroom and family room.



As for other antennas I do know some people using the old dish mounts on their eaves to install the RCA ANT700r they have a Walmart. They are easy to point out since they look like a mini sail.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 24, 2013, 02:09 PM
If you decide to buy, I suggest going one notch further than green.

Installing inside vs. outside is giving up signal strength in all cases I've ever seen. If you can get something outside, it's the way to go.

All that said though: if rabbit ears have been working pretty good and all of your towers are in the same direction, try that front room idea with the rabbit ears right in front of a window (facing the towers). That might do the trick.

By the way, I used to live in between (what I'm guessing is your Dayton area) and Cincinnati and had little problem pulling all of your stations plus all of the Cincinnati stations with a rooftop antenna. If you end up on the roof, you might see if you can also pull Cincinnati.

Why would you want another market? Sometimes sports coverage varies by market. You probably won't get all Cincy stations with rabbit ears or one of those smallish, stealth antennas but you might be able to lock in some extra stations with one of those bigger (uglier) antennas (and probably a rotor).

Now, if you found any of this helpful: please send me a couple of cans of Goldstar Chili, a fresh batch of White Castles and maybe a Frisch's Big Boy or two. (just kidding... sort of)

dewthedru
Sep 25, 2013, 07:49 AM
what do you use for internet? you've probably already thought of this but many cable internet providers include local channels without telling you that they do. I've been with Comcast, Charter, and now Brighthouse and all have fed local channels through the cable without advertising it. I've just run one line to my router and another to my TV and it's worked great.

sidefx
Sep 25, 2013, 08:07 AM
I have cable internet with Time Warner. Guess I should try pulling channels thru the cable first...

Lord Hamsa
Sep 25, 2013, 09:52 AM
what do you use for internet? you've probably already thought of this but many cable internet providers include local channels without telling you that they do. I've been with Comcast, Charter, and now Brighthouse and all have fed local channels through the cable without advertising it. I've just run one line to my router and another to my TV and it's worked great.

Does that work with Verizon FIOS? That would make my life TONS easier...

CoMoMacUser
Sep 25, 2013, 11:10 AM
what do you use for internet? you've probably already thought of this but many cable internet providers include local channels without telling you that they do. I've been with Comcast, Charter, and now Brighthouse and all have fed local channels through the cable without advertising it. I've just run one line to my router and another to my TV and it's worked great.

Interesting. I have Mediacom. If I drop TV and keep broadband, they'll charge -- $20, I think -- to send a tech out to install a trap so no channels can sneak through.

JAT
Sep 25, 2013, 01:39 PM
what do you use for internet? you've probably already thought of this but many cable internet providers include local channels without telling you that they do. I've been with Comcast, Charter, and now Brighthouse and all have fed local channels through the cable without advertising it. I've just run one line to my router and another to my TV and it's worked great.
That's usually only if you pay them for TV service, already. If you are internet-only, it may not be available. Every service, every city will be different, of course.

sidefx
Sep 25, 2013, 02:01 PM
I'm assuming the stations that would be coming in the from the cable for free are SD correct? When I had cable I could only get HD with the set top box, our bedroom TV just got the SD stations.

bit density
Sep 25, 2013, 02:04 PM
Your system will likely work. But for 15 bucks you ought to try this. I am using it and it kicked the rabbit ears butt. It may not work, but it may save you a lot of hassle...

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10901&cs_id=1090101&p_id=4729&seq=1&format=2

cdavis11
Sep 25, 2013, 02:58 PM
That's usually only if you pay them for TV service, already. If you are internet-only, it may not be available. Every service, every city will be different, of course.

I'm with Time Warner and can tell you that they have put traps on my feed to filter out tv as soon as I cancelled.

I had been running 2 Silicon Dust HDHR tuners off their unencrypted signal that I got with my internet only service for about a year before they did this.

I'd say overall i'm much happier since I put up an attic antenna. I'd have to rescan channels 2 or 3 times a month when I was connected to TWC - they shift channel frequencies quite often - and if you're not on top of it you end up recording dead air or a blue screen with EyeTV.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 25, 2013, 03:14 PM
Local over the air channels in HD should likely be free through that cable feed. I don't believe the cable company can filter them out even if you only have cable internet. I also don't believe you'll be limited to only the SD versions of the channels. Try it with a digital TV (hook up the cable directly and do a channel scan) and see. There's a good chance you'll find them if you do a search for them.

sidefx
Sep 26, 2013, 08:24 AM
When hooked up to the cable line should I scan air or cable channels?

dewthedru
Sep 26, 2013, 08:45 AM
Does that work with Verizon FIOS? That would make my life TONS easier...

no idea. i'm not an expert....it's just what i've experienced.

----------

That's usually only if you pay them for TV service, already. If you are internet-only, it may not be available. Every service, every city will be different, of course.


I'm not paying for TV service...just internet and I get the local channels in HD for free.

----------

When hooked up to the cable line should I scan air or cable channels?


cable

----------

I'm assuming the stations that would be coming in the from the cable for free are SD correct? When I had cable I could only get HD with the set top box, our bedroom TV just got the SD stations.

mine are HD but YMMV

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 26, 2013, 09:58 AM
when doing the cable scan, your system might give you the option of digital channels only or "analog + digital" or "all". The digital option is the one that is hunting for just digital (probably mostly HD local channels).

If your system doesn't give you that option, the final list of channels successfully scanned will probably give you a clue as to HD vs. SD by showing channel numbers with dashes. 45-1 or similar will likely be a digital channel and probably an HD channel of channel 45. A plain-old listing of just "45" in the channel list will probably be the SD channel version of 45. If you are hunting for HD, those dashes will generally be the key in the final, scanned channel listing.

Lastly, if you are quality hound (like I am), the cable version of HD may not be quite as high a quality as the over-the-air (via good antenna) version of the same channel. There's no rule on the cable company that they have to provide the channel at peak quality... so they generally don't. It will probably look very good- maybe even to a level where it's hard to see a difference- but if you want best possible local HD quality, you'll maximize quality with the antenna as long as you can get a consistent signal lock.

dewthedru
Sep 26, 2013, 12:58 PM
when doing the cable scan, your system might give you the option of digital channels only or "analog + digital" or "all". The digital option is the one that is hunting for just digital (probably mostly HD local channels).

If your system doesn't give you that option, the final list of channels successfully scanned will probably give you a clue as to HD vs. SD by showing channel numbers with dashes. 45-1 or similar will likely be a digital channel and probably an HD channel of channel 45. A plain-old listing of just "45" in the channel list will probably be the SD channel version of 45. If you are hunting for HD, those dashes will generally be the key in the final, scanned channel listing.

Lastly, if you are quality hound (like I am), the cable version of HD may not be quite as high a quality as the over-the-air (via good antenna) version of the same channel. There's no rule on the cable company that they have to provide the channel at peak quality... so they generally don't. It will probably look very good- maybe even to a level where it's hard to see a difference- but if you want best possible local HD quality, you'll maximize quality with the antenna as long as you can get a consistent signal lock..

yup. the cable/satellite signal is usually a bit compressed

sidefx
Sep 27, 2013, 08:48 AM
I do get local channels thru the cable line, kinda strange however is that I get Cincinnati stations when I'm closer to Dayton.

The bad is that I still do not receive FOX!

2010mini
Sep 28, 2013, 12:22 PM
Use the website for some really good advice on OTA antenna's

http://www.antennaweb.org/

Ok I just used this website and it recommended 2 different types of antennas.

Multi/ directional and directional.

Confused even further, I am.

From A Buick 8
Sep 28, 2013, 07:44 PM
Ok I just used this website and it recommended 2 different types of antennas.

Multi/ directional and directional.

Confused even further, I am.

It is just telling you the either would work.

2010mini
Sep 28, 2013, 09:11 PM
Ok thanks, but which is better?

JAT
Sep 30, 2013, 04:53 PM
I'm not paying for TV service...just internet and I get the local channels in HD for free.
I wouldn't bring it up when talking to them. ;)
Ok I just used this website and it recommended 2 different types of antennas.

Multi/ directional and directional.

Confused even further, I am.
Probably directional. It is likely defaulting to include multi-directional since that can always work. But, as Darryl said above, you can get more crosstalk and multi-path issues, which can reduce signal quality.

If you want to be more technical, look at the direction given for each station (that you care about). It shows a degree like 45deg or 264deg. They are probably all very similar.

Ex:
Mine show 92-95deg for all our Minneapolis stations (basically all the same direction), and then I have some from a smaller town an hour away at 153deg (nearly opposite direction). Since it recommends directional for you, I'm assuming your main stations are within a small range, like mine. I don't care about the smaller town stations, so I ignore them and use a small directional.

So, if they are grouped together, directional should be the best choice.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 30, 2013, 06:18 PM
That's right. Directional. If you want to try for the combo of Dayton & Cincy over the air, big directional probably with a rotor. The rotor could be set up to rotate between the Dayton antenna cluster and the Cincy cluster. There are rotors with remotes so you can control the rotation from the couch. This is also a very good way to optimize the direction (sitting on the couch checking signal strength readouts while trying different angles).

However, if you are happy with just the Dayton stations, you probably won't need the rotor and can probably get them with a smallish antenna. Too bad that only Fox is excluded from your cable option. I suggest scanning again in a few days just in case it's down. I believe Fox MUST be included with the other "big 3" networks so maybe it was just not available when you scanned it.

2010mini
Sep 30, 2013, 07:53 PM
I wouldn't bring it up when talking to them. ;)

Probably directional. It is likely defaulting to include multi-directional since that can always work. But, as Darryl said above, you can get more crosstalk and multi-path issues, which can reduce signal quality.

If you want to be more technical, look at the direction given for each station (that you care about). It shows a degree like 45deg or 264deg. They are probably all very similar.

Ex:
Mine show 92-95deg for all our Minneapolis stations (basically all the same direction), and then I have some from a smaller town an hour away at 153deg (nearly opposite direction). Since it recommends directional for you, I'm assuming your main stations are within a small range, like mine. I don't care about the smaller town stations, so I ignore them and use a small directional.

So, if they are grouped together, directional should be the best choice.

Thanks