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My Multi-Directional Problem.

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 12:57 AM
After reading many post on combining antennas I'm still not sure on how to resolve my OTA reception issues. I have Dish but I want to add an outdoor antenna so I can record & view OTA programming. I'm less than 25 (clear line of sight) miles from all 7 transmitters that I want to receive. All but 1 are located in the same vicinity. This location has 1 VHF & 5 UHF transmitters and is heading 126 degrees from my location. However the PBS transmitter (RF CH 25) has a heading of 296 degrees. I do not want to use a rotor. I haven't found one that communicates with a DVD recorder. I initially thought combining 2 HDTV antennas pointed in the right directions would do the trick. After reading umpteen post as to why that won't work I realized that I probably need some help. The "JoinTenna" thingy looks promising but I need some help in figuring out all the other details.:confused: So if someone could please point me in the right direction(s) I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
Bob Helms

k2yi
01-30-2010, 04:05 AM
After reading many post on combining antennas I'm still not sure on how to resolve my OTA reception issues. I have Dish but I want to add an outdoor antenna so I can record & view OTA programming. I'm less than 25 (clear line of sight) miles from all 7 transmitters that I want to receive. All but 1 are located in the same vicinity. This location has 1 VHF & 5 UHF transmitters and is heading 126 degrees from my location. However the PBS transmitter (RF CH 25) has a heading of 296 degrees. I do not want to use a rotor. I haven't found one that communicates with a DVD recorder. I initially thought combining 2 HDTV antennas pointed in the right directions would do the trick. After reading umpteen post as to why that won't work I realized that I probably need some help. The "JoinTenna" thingy looks promising but I need some help in figuring out all the other details.:confused: So if someone could please point me in the right direction(s) I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
Bob Helms

First of all, a rotor doesn't "communicate" with anything, and that includes a DVD recorder...all a rotor does is turn the antennas towards a transmitter.
Second, before anyone will suggest anything, they are gonna want to see an exact address TV Fool report (tvfool.com).
Your address won't appear on the report, and since you're new here, you won't be able to paste the whole link, so paste from the "/" back, such as this:
/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3dc7230e6665ce6f
I will or someone will convert it to your actual report, so we can see your circumstances and recommend a plan.
You can click on my report under my signature, when it comes up, click "to start over, click here" and put in your information.
Just off the cuff, I would think a combination VHF-hi/UHF antenna and a rotor would be a guess, but until the TVFool report is here, it would be silly to suggest anything.

projectsho89
01-30-2010, 05:34 AM
Most "multi-directional" antennas have a minor lobe off the back that can often be used. However, it's necessary to see the relative signal strengths in your forecast to see what might be needed.

s2mikey
01-30-2010, 06:35 AM
Bob - I was able to get pretty much all the channels I wanted in my area with just one antenna. The supposedly "hard to get" VHF channels come in perfectly with my multi-directional "UHF" antenna. I also get a bunch of channels that are about 160 degrees off of where Im pointed.

I was all ready to get two antennas, mess around with rotors, etc, etc. Glad I didnt. One moderately priced and sized UHF unit did the trick. Your situation might be different but I ended up needing less than I thought I would antenna-wise. Mounting it high and pointing it right are the key. Plus, a little luck doesnt hurt. ;)

JB Antennaman
01-30-2010, 07:20 AM
Before we start steering the boat in the wrong direction, we still need the exact physical address.

If the PBS station was a full power station, at 25 miles, you wouldn't need any type of antenna rotor with a LOS.

The only thing they need to realize is that if there is anything 3 or more stories high between them and the transmitter, we would need to know about it before we could make a prognosis.

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 09:54 AM
DE K2YI,
I tried to include / upload a 'TVFOOL' report but I got this this message...
"1. You are only allowed to post URLs to other sites after you have made 5 posts or more."
Here is my location;
1306 Doylin Drive
Cary, NC 27511
I understand 'silly'. That was my intent about any rotor communicating with my DVD recorder comment. So to elaborate the DVD recorder can not turn the rotor in order to receive a signal for recording. So if I'm not home to operate the rotor then the DVD can't record the program. Hence I want to avoid a rotor at all co$t. I want to receive channels 4.1, 5.1, 11.1, 17.1, 22.1, 28.1 & 50.1. The 4.1 channel (RF CH 25) is the problem, it is 170 degrees from all the other transmitters. Thank you for your help.
Bob Helms

IDRick
01-30-2010, 12:05 PM
Welcome to the forum Bob!

Here is your tvfool report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3dc7236461edf18a

NonMcTubber
01-30-2010, 12:38 PM
To Bob Helms,

Here is you TV fool report and I am assuming an antenna height of 25 feet.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3dc7239ee8f93c35

And I am guessing that its possible to get the set of stations at two different directions with one antenna. Simply because all stations are strong at your location.

But to follow my set of recommendations it takes some understanding of antenna gain loss patterns that vary from antenna to antenna and from one real frequency to the next. And while the best aim in a highly directional antenna is always directly at the station, the losses from that perfect aim is by no means a linear or a constant drop off although it can appear to be so in the short run. And the signal can be charted with a signal meter as antenna aim if varied.

And what is typical for a medium directional antenna is that +_or minus 30 degrees off main aim, you will get a low spot, after that,
being 40 degrees off main aim is better than being 30 degrees off main aim but not quite as good as being 20 degrees off main aim. So think of antenna gain loss patterns being shaped more like a club on a deck of playing cards.

So using your figures of 5 channels at 126 degrees and one station at 296 degrees means you have to split 170 degrees of arc to get both sets of stations with a single antenna.

Which means with have three possible strategies.

1. Using trail and error try to find some aim that gets both sets of stations at the two different directions. Just systematically change antenna aim in small 5 degree increments, then chart and scan to see what channels you get.

2. Realize that being exactly 180 degrees off main aim is often not a bad place to be especially if you have a antenna that does not block back gain. So an aim of 116 may not be a bad place to start. And you may have to change the antenna you use if you have a highly directional antenna.

3. Your problem could become very easy with a join antenna scheme. One small and cheap UHF antenna antenna aimed at 296 joined with a small and cheap combo VHF/UHF antenna aimed at 126 degrees and joined together in a common coax run.

Tower Guy
01-30-2010, 01:17 PM
The 4.1 channel (RF CH 25) is the problem, it is 170 degrees from all the other transmitters.


Yes, that is the problem.

I'd try an HBU-22. It has a F/B ratio of 11 db. If that doesn't work, consider a 4221 with the reflector removed.

You're also a candidate for the McClapp homebrew antenna.

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 01:29 PM
NonMcTubber,
Thanks for your information. I also think my best bet is the 2 antenna setup. However I'm not sure on just how to install these 2 antennas aside from mounting them on a mast and pointing them in the right directions. Can you point me to some guidelines that covers vertical spacing, which combiner to use and antenna to combiner coax lengths? I trust some or all of those issues would apply in my situation. I'm thinking I need antennas in the 'Yellow' category but I'm not sure which ones (multi-element or array/bowtie) to use. Also can issues about brands & sources be discussed in this forum? Thanks again.
Bob Helms

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 01:36 PM
Tower Guy,
I think I know what to do but having no experience I'm sure I don't know how to properly do it. I'm hoping a 2 antenna setup combined into 1 down lead will resolve my problem. Sounds simple enough don't it:confused:

IDRick
01-30-2010, 03:43 PM
Bob,

I agree with Tower Guy, an HBU 22 is a good choice and should be able to receive your PBS off the back side. Also, tower guy mentioned mclapp homebrew antenna. These are awesome high gain 4-bay antennas. I have been using one over the last year with great results. They have very low front to back ratio if you use a reflector or can be used without a reflector.

If you're interested, I can send you the information on how to make a mclapp. Alternatively, there is a commercial version of the mclapp that is available (it is called Kosmic SuperQuad antenna). If you search on google, you can find the sellers site.

HTH,

Rick

JB Antennaman
01-30-2010, 06:15 PM
In a perfect world and in a perfect situation, the best a man could hope for is 1 of every network and all on the same general aim. Unfortunately your situation is not like that. Every snake oil salesman and his brother has a station in your area and most of the signals are fairly strong. In a optimal situation, there would be a gap of at least 1 channel between all the stations, but in your report, that is not so.

What you are going to run into is co channel interference and also multipath. The stations being so close together, when you try to receive one, you end up with 3. Corrupt signals are worse then no signal at all.

Any antenna with a huge amount of gain, is going to cancel out any hopes of getting more then a few good channels without running into problems. I would choose one market and stick to it. Be it North, South, East or West. If you want more then one market, be prepared to turn the antenna. I would try a very non directional antenna or even set top rabbit ears.

Your situation is like most, where the easy problems were solved earlier last year and the only situations left are the ones where people either has too many channels in too many different directions or no signals at all.

NonMcTubber
01-30-2010, 07:57 PM
NonMcTubber,
Thanks for your information. I also think my best bet is the 2 antenna setup. However I'm not sure on just how to install these 2 antennas aside from mounting them on a mast and pointing them in the right directions. Can you point me to some guidelines that covers vertical spacing, which combiner to use and antenna to combiner coax lengths? I trust some or all of those issues would apply in my situation. I'm thinking I need antennas in the 'Yellow' category but I'm not sure which ones (multi-element or array/bowtie) to use. Also can issues about brands & sources be discussed in this forum? Thanks again.
Bob Helms
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a word no, because multiple antenna set ups is not my area of expertise even if it is the area of expertise of others on this forum. As a general rule think a four foot vertical separation and some cheap specialized hardware for a multiple antenna set up.

But my point is and remains, you seemingly have a mystery existing antenna and job one is to make the antenna that you have do the job as attempt #1.

And it would help you and this forum to post what antenna you have. Spending zero additional money to get to nirvana always beats spending more money to get to the same place.

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 10:40 PM
NonMcTubber wrote:
But my point is and remains, you seemingly have a mystery existing antenna and job one is to make the antenna that you have do the job as attempt #1.

OK here is the deal. I do not have an existing antenna. I currently use "Dish Network" to view everything. I want to "add" outdoor OTA antenna(s) so I can view and most importantly RECORD programming that I cannot get from Dish. I did try amped and non-amped rabbit ears, they didn't work. I used to have cable and everything was just peachy but TW got real greedy. I knew I could get a lot more programming for the bucks I was spending but Dish's local channel lineup isn't as robust as TW. So I've decided to install my own roof mounted antenna(s). I do not want to use a rotor to turn an antenna. That won't work when I'm away from home all day and I need to record two different programs from two different directions. How do other people deal with this issue? What are your / this forums opinions on the round antennas that receive signals from all directions at once? I think both CM and Winegard make one. Thanks.
Bob Helms

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 10:51 PM
IDRick wrote:
If you're interested, I can send you the information on how to make a mclapp. Alternatively, there is a commercial version of the mclapp that is available (it is called Kosmic SuperQuad antenna). If you search on google, you can find the sellers site.

Thanks IDRick that would be awesome. Do you think a mclapp without a reflector would resolve my front to back reception problem? In the mean while I'll do the Google search thing. Do I need to do anything to allow you to send me the information?
Bob Helms

BobHelms
01-30-2010, 11:24 PM
Tower Guy wrote;
I'd try an HBU-22. It has a F/B ratio of 11 db. If that doesn't work, consider a 4221 with the reflector removed.

Thanks for the info Tower Guy. Can the reflector on the 4221 be reinstalled if it doesn't work. Being a very green newbie with OTA antennas I'm not at all fluent in F/B ratio's. Can you elaborate on just what the 11 db ratio means to someone in my situation?
Bob Helms

k2yi
01-31-2010, 03:44 AM
I may get some static regarding this suggestion, but considering your situation and distance from the transmitters, the CM 3000A might be a choice.
http://www.summitsource.com/product_info.php?ref=1&products_id=5611
Those towers aren't that far away, you have a ton of stations all around you and an omni directional antenna would be looking at all of them. The non-amplified version of above may be all you need but that will need to be decided.
As you get further down the TVFool report list, obviously, some of those stations may be a task with an omni.
The gurus will agree or dispute my choice, but let's see.....

projectsho89
01-31-2010, 05:57 AM
What are your / this forums opinions on the round antennas that receive signals from all directions at once? I think both CM and Winegard make one.

Omni-directional antennas receive equally poorly from all directions. In general, they're potentially usable about to 25 miles or so. However, since they have little positive gain (if not negative) and no directionality, they will be highly susceptible to multi-path.

Bottom line is you can try one to see if your location is okay for one. If it works, fine. If not, try something else.

The HBU22 is a good suggestion. The AD DB-2 will also do fine including on your single VHF station on 11.

s2mikey
01-31-2010, 07:07 AM
Omni-directional antennas receive equally poorly from all directions. In general, they're potentially usable about to 25 miles or so. However, since they have little positive gain (if not negative) and no directionality, they will be highly susceptible to multi-path.

Bottom line is you can try one to see if your location is okay for one. If it works, fine. If not, try something else.

The HBU22 is a good suggestion. The AD DB-2 will also do fine including on your single VHF station on 11.

I've been getting very good VHF performance from my DB4. The towers are close so Im sure that helps. I was all worried about having to have a VHF antenna for ch 10 and ch 13 but it turns out I do NOT need to worry!

In my opinion, if you are close to the towers the bowtie antennas will be perfectly fine for VHF reception.

IDRick
01-31-2010, 10:28 PM
Bob,

Send me your e-mail address by PM and I can then send you plans for the mclapp 4-bay. They're too large to attach to a forum post (high def has very small upper limits).

Best,

Rick

aka.Hooper
02-01-2010, 09:32 AM
Omni-directional antennas receive equally poorly from all directions. In general, they're potentially usable about to 25 miles or so. However, since they have little positive gain (if not negative) and no directionality, they will be highly susceptible to multi-path.

Bottom line is you can try one to see if your location is okay for one. If it works, fine. If not, try something else.

The HBU22 is a good suggestion. The AD DB-2 will also do fine including on your single VHF station on 11.

Hi Bob,
That sounds like a fair summation of omni's. But since you're not far from the transmitters, and your signals are strong, as projectsho says... it doesn't hurt to try. Radio Shack sells one:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3740645
And as easy as it is to buy it, it will be equally easy to return it. (It's also probably the least aesthetically objectionable choice - read: "wife/neighbor/HOA friendly");)

I also agree an HBU22 or a DIY bowtie w/o reflector would get you what you're looking for as well.

As for the F/B Ratio, it is a measurement of how well (or not) directional antennas pick up from the rear. Say an antenna has (at some given freq) a forward gain of 12dB and a F/B of 11dB, the gain to the rear of the antenna is 1dB. Now say a different antenna also has 12dB of forward gain but a F/B of 20dB, the gain to the rear is now -8dB and the antenna is less likely to see stations in that direction.

NonMcTubber
02-01-2010, 09:42 AM
I should also note that we need to also discuss how our OP plans to mount the antenna once he has selected an antenna.

Is our OP talking above the house, inside the attic, or what? And what sorts of obstruction to signal are posed by either building materials or objects like trees, buildings, and other signal losses.

And if our OP goes with the vastly superior outdoor method, proper grounding of the antenna against lightning strikes is a must.

k2yi
02-02-2010, 05:51 AM
Hi Bob,
That sounds like a fair summation of omni's. But since you're not far from the transmitters, and your signals are strong, as projectsho says... it doesn't hurt to try.

Well, that's kind of why I suggested the CM 3000a...many towers are only 14 miles out, and an amp'd omni might help with that omni lose...I do not speak from experience on the omni thing (I'm a yagi type of guy :D), it just seemed logical.
But a RS antenna, just to test, is a good suggestion....

IDRick
02-02-2010, 07:31 AM
Bob,

I sent you the plans for mclapp 4-bays and construction tips via e-mail last evening. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Best,

Rick

Sam Spastic
02-02-2010, 04:04 PM
Late to this one.

You are probably best off to use one of the previous SINGLE antenna suggestions. A channel 25 JoinTenna box will block a bunch of channels each side of 25. A better filter say from Tin Lee might work well but they are a little more pricey.

If you can get to the signal strength screen and turn the antenna at the same time you could quickly aim a lobe for that one off to the south-west or those to the north-east also.

Say who makes the best OMNI anyway?

JB Antennaman
02-02-2010, 04:32 PM
Now the brain is starting to rattle and I am getting the impression that things are going in one ear and coming out the other.

as Ralph Kramden would say - Bang Zoom, straight to the moon Alice.

OK here is the deal. I do not have an existing antenna. I currently use "Dish Network" to view everything. I want to "add" outdoor OTA antenna(s) so I can view and most importantly RECORD programming that I cannot get from Dish. I did try amped and non-amped rabbit ears, they didn't work. I used to have cable and everything was just peachy but TW got real greedy. I knew I could get a lot more programming for the bucks I was spending but Dish's local channel lineup isn't as robust as TW. So I've decided to install my own roof mounted antenna(s). I do not want to use a rotor to turn an antenna. That won't work when I'm away from home all day and I need to record two different programs from two different directions. How do other people deal with this issue? What are your / this forums opinions on the round antennas that receive signals from all directions at once? I think both CM and Winegard make one. Thanks.
Bob Helms

BOB - the amplified rabbit ears will do nothing for your reception issues. Let me rephrase that. If you knew how to read and follow directions and if I sent you directions on how to tune the length of the rabbit ears antenna - non amplified and you adjusted the length of the two bunny ears to the wave length of the frequency and you gave those rabbit ears a clear path between the antenna and the transmitter, with a exact aim. I would venture to say that I could watch half if not more of the stations in your report.
What I am saying is that you can't just yank the bunny ears out all the way and try to receive the channels and when the antenna is the wrong length or overloads the tuner with the amplifier, you will not get a signal that you can use. You can't point a flashlight up into the sky and have light down on the ground. You can't point it out in front of you and still have light behind you - it just doesn't work that way. You can't start your own little TV cable company with one or two antenna's with a general point of aim.

You have to be willing to do some work here. If you want to watch a program on channel 8 and record a program on channel 51 and they are in two different directions. One antenna has to be pointed at 8 and the other has to be pointed at 51 - or you are not going to get both. At the same time, if you want to leave home for a week and program the recorder to record programs on several different channels and no two are at the same point of aim, then either someone is going to have to manually turn the rotor for you or you are going to have to decide which channels are the most important to you. You will not be able to just walk out of the house and automatically - all the programs you entered into your recorder will record - because you forgot to turn the antenna.

My advice is to pay the cable bill and forget about local reception if it is too hard for you to understand or comprehend.

BobHelms
02-02-2010, 11:12 PM
I'm going to try one of them OMNI jobs. Channel Master doesn't make a non amplified version of the CM-3000A but Winegard makes a non amplified MS-1000 that I'll try first. It has a 25 mile range, we'll see. I did confer with Antennas Direct and one of their 'Gurus' told me that based on my TVFOOL report a DB2 pointed toward the 296 degree tower would do a good job of pulling everything else in from the back side but a DB4 would do a poor job from the back side. So if the MS-1000 fails that will be my next move. If both of those fail then I'll try the Antenna Craft HBU-22. It is the largest of the 3 choices. Once I get something working I'll post the results. Thanks for all the feedback.
Bob Helms

BobHelms
02-03-2010, 01:38 PM
JB Antennaman Wrote:
You have to be willing to do some work here. If you want to watch a program on channel 8 and record a program on channel 51 and they are in two different directions. One antenna has to be pointed at 8 and the other has to be pointed at 51 - or you are not going to get both. At the same time, if you want to leave home for a week and program the recorder to record programs on several different channels and no two are at the same point of aim, then either someone is going to have to manually turn the rotor for you or you are going to have to decide which channels are the most important to you. You will not be able to just walk out of the house and automatically - all the programs you entered into your recorder will record - because you forgot to turn the antenna.

My advice is to pay the cable bill and forget about local reception if it is too hard for you to understand or comprehend.

JB Antennaman:
Once again let me say "no rotor" and "no cable". I do not have a HOA so if I need to put an antenna farm on my roof to get local OTA channels then the squirrel's will just have to complain. I do clearly understand what's required and I'm trying to figure out the best way to do whatever it takes to make it happen. To clear up the other questions in the OP, the yet to be installed antenna(s) will go on the roof about 35 feet off the ground. I'm going to piggyback it/them off the tripod that is holding the Dish. I would upload a picture but I haven't had enough post to have that privilege. Don't understand that restriction but that's the way it is. Also when I tried to use rabbit ears they were very erratic. At times I couldn't ask for a better signal. Then for no apparent reason the signal would just fade away, very strange. Do you know if transmitters adjust power at different times of the day? Thanks for the advice.
Bob Helms

IDRick
02-03-2010, 02:49 PM
Bob,

You can post pictures after 5 posts, so you're good to go as far as posting pictures.

I suggest you go to www.titantv.com and enter your zipcode. Select broadcast tv as your source. It will show you an electronic program guide for each of the stations in your area. You'll be able to see if they go off air during the late evening/early morning hours. The vast majority of stations broadcast 24/7 and do not alter their signal unless for repairs. However, the amount of received signal does show some variation during the day but is not very large. Looking at your tvfool, daily variation is likely not the issue. IMO, the loss of signal in your case indicates that you do not have sufficient antenna gain or appropriate antenna location for reliable reception.

HTH,

Rick

BobHelms
02-03-2010, 09:55 PM
Bob,

You can post pictures after 5 posts, so you're good to go as far as posting pictures.

I suggest you go to www.titantv.com and enter your zipcode. Select broadcast tv as your source. It will show you an electronic program guide for each of the stations in your area. You'll be able to see if they go off air during the late evening/early morning hours. The vast majority of stations broadcast 24/7 and do not alter their signal unless for repairs. However, the amount of received signal does show some variation during the day but is not very large. Looking at your tvfool, daily variation is likely not the issue. IMO, the loss of signal in your case indicates that you do not have sufficient antenna gain or appropriate antenna location for reliable reception.

HTH,

Rick
Rick,
I concur. Those rabbit ears were at the lowest elevation in my house. Still strange how the signal came and went though.
Bob Helms

BobHelms
02-20-2010, 10:25 PM
I promised an update to which antenna solution solved my multi-directional reception problem. First of all here's what didn't work. The Winegard MS-1000 omni directional antenna. The MS-1000 signal strengh was just too weak to maintain a 'good' signal so I got lots of picture breakup on all channels. Next I tried a DB2 from Antennas Direct. I pointed it at the weakest transmitter and it worked OK but the back side reception was not good at all and it also had picture breakup problems. Yesterday I installed a HBU22 as was suggested from more that one member of this forum. Purchased it at The Shack and they shipped it to my front door, no charge for shipping. I pointed it toward the cluster of 5 UHF and 1 VHF transmitters I wanted to see. This left the back side pointing toward my 1 UHF transmitter located in the opposite (170 degrees) direction. I'm very happy to say that all the stations I wanted are now coming in just fine.:yippee: Many thanks to everyone for all your help and suggestions.
Bob Helms

IDRick
02-20-2010, 10:30 PM
Thanks for the update Bob! Great news, enjoy the fruits of your labor! :)

Best,

Rick