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Antenna Selection Help - 50 Miles WSW of Transmitters

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Old 12-01-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
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Default Antenna Selection Help - 50 Miles WSW of Transmitters

Hey everyone. Really sorry to post yet ANOTHER plea for antenna selection help. I've read probably 20 threads on the exact same topic here this evening, and my head is literally spinning. So, hopefully you've got the energy to answer yet another plea for help. On to the details:

I'm about 50 miles WSW of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I want to get rid of the DishNetwork service and go strictly with an antenna and Netflix combination. My goal is to use an HDHomerun and use that to feed a MythTV DVR. But, no reason worrying about that until I get a working antenna setup. All this means is that I'll have a relatively short run of cable from the antenna to the HDHomerun box, with no splits in between.

Here's my TVFool report for your viewing pleasure (since I'm new, it won't let me post the url, so I've put the coordinates below instead)

44.681623
-93.996212

I'm really only interested in the cluster of channels to the ENE...basically those coming from Minneapolis/St. Paul.

I'd LIKE to put the antenna in the attic or garage, but I have no issues putting the biggest, meanest, ugliest antenna on the roof as long as it means free TV for me Of more concern to me is cost, so lets lean toward cheaper options and not pretty options.

I started the day thinking I wanted a C4 or DB4e, but after chatting with a guy from Antennas Direct, he pointed out those are UHF only and I'd be missing on the VHF channels in town. He recommended a C2v with a pre-amp, but that doesn't seems like a good solution to me. Looks too tiny...bigger is better right?

After reading 20+ threads here tonight, it sounds like the Winegard HD-7698P would be a good option. Also seems to be the most pricey of anything I looked at today. Is there a lot lost if I go down to the Winegard HD-7697?

This is where I'll turn it over to you experts. Any help would be greatly appreciated....and again, sorry to ask the same question that many others have asked before.

Last edited by FlashJT; 12-01-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Hee, hee, small world. I worked on a dairy farm just north of Plato during the summer of 76, oooh, long time ago!

Here is your tvfool report with an assumed antenna mount height of 20 ft: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...ec12ead25e3590

You have done your homework, both high vhf and uhf signals are available from the Shoreview Towers. Plus, I agree that the C2V is not "enough" for one edge signals 50 miles away. A Winegard 7697 is good choice at your location. I would also consider adding a pre-amp (either a Winegard 8700 or Channel Master 7777). Definitely mount the antenna outside, about 10 feet above your roof ridge line. Tips on antenna installation are available here: http://manuals.solidsignal.com/AntInstallGuide.pdf

There are DIY antenna options if you're interested in trying one. See for example: http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweather.com/index.html I would suggest building a antenna with 9-1/2 inch long whiskers and 9 inch bay spacing. Note, there is a kit which makes construction very quick. You'll also need to pick up a small piece of fencing material for the reflector (3' by 3'). Look for fencing that has 2"x4" rectangles. You will be able to build a M4 for significantly less money than the Winegard 7697. However, snow is due in the near future if not already present...


Good luck!

Rick
MN native from St James area
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:50 AM   #3
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With noise margins in the 20s for the MSP stations, my recent experience suggests the C2V with preamp is plenty "big" enough. I used one a couple of weeks ago without a reflector and with a CPA19 preamp out in central Missouri. I didn't feel like dragging my C4/C5 combo out into the woods for deer season this year so I went small. (See old post I Think I need a 7 to 13 Antenna, Plus).

I removed the reflector to make the UHF reception bi-directional. I got perfect reception from both St Louis and the Columbia/Jeff City areas without using a rotor. 40-60 miles, almost all 2-edge.

Flash, your location appears to be pretty flat and completely open terrain. My deer camp location was rolling hills and wooded although I was on a hilltop. You really don't need to "go big" for reliable reception. It wouldn't hurt, it's just not needed.

Last edited by projectsho89; 12-02-2011 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:09 AM   #4
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While the C2V would likley be fine under most conditions, I would lean towards something with a bit more gain to ensure reliabilty when reception conditions deteriorate.

Not even the best preamp can replace the cleaner signal that a higher gain antenna will provide.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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Thanks to those who have responded already. I appreciate you taking the time to help.

Even if the C2v is adequate, it is $120 direct from AD and I have yet to find anywhere that carries it cheaper. This is basically the cost of the 7698, which I think everyone would agree is a better antenna (albeit much larger too). If the C2v were closer to $75-80, I think it might be worth trying that out, but for the same cost I'll always pick the one that will give me the better results even if it is larger.

So the 7697 should be adequate? I'm not sure how much difference there is between he 7697 and 7698. I'm tempted to get the 7698 since it's only $30 more than the 7697 new. However, I found someone on craigslist about 60 miles from me that has the 7697 with mounting hardware and an amplifier for $75. Not sure if the amp is any good, so I've got my fingers crossed it's one of the better ones. Even so, the ad has been listed for almost a month now, so assuming it's still available, I should be able to talk them down a little and get a great deal on it.

If the 7697 isn't available anymore, then the DIY option definitely has a lot of appeal to it. I love DIY stuff, and that seems pretty darn easy. Has anyone here built one of these?
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:46 AM   #6
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FlashJT,

The difference in gain is very small between the 7697 and 7698. It would be important if you were in a fringe location but you're not. Personally, I'd buy the cheaper antenna. The used one could be a good bet although transportation can be issue. The elements snap firmly in place and it can be difficult to collapse them back to original location for transportation...

I've built several M-4 antennas and have used one in my attic since fall of 2008. I'm not affiliated in any way with the DIY kits, rather I'm merely a satisfied user of the M-4 design. Several people on this forum and on other OTA forums have built the M-4 and are pleased with it's performance.

Good luck!

Last edited by IDRick; 12-02-2011 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:26 PM   #7
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Is the Wingard AP-8275 amp any good? That's the one that comes with the local 7697 for sale. Also comes with a mounting pole and stand. Talked the guy down to $60 for the entire package, so it seems like a pretty good deal. Saving $40 over new on the antenna plus free mounting and an amp. Kinda wanted to try the DIY version, but at this price I think it's hard to pass up.
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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The 8275 is a good amp for fringe applications. It has more gain than the 8700 and has a lower threshold before overloading. However, based on your tvfool report, it should work fine in your application. Great job negotiating!

Last edited by IDRick; 12-02-2011 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlashJT View Post
Is the Wingard AP-8275 amp any good?
Yes, I find it to be an excellent preamp for far suburban to fringe applications.
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