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Antenna advice in Tobyhanna, PA 18466

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Old 10-15-2008, 04:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Default Antenna advice in Tobyhanna, PA 18466

I'm going to start my own thread for my specific situation. I've already gotten quite a bit of help and advice and am almost ready to pull the trigger on the equipment. I'm hoping this thread will help me decide 100% what to get, and also help along the way with fine tuning once it's installed.

I will cut and paste some of the questions I've posted in other threads (sorry), and the responses I've gotten in those threads and through email. I'm just going to edit out some of the statements that don't pertain to this discussion.
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My original post:


Here's my tvfool chart. I'd prefer not to use a pre-amp to avoid noise (and cost). However, I'd also like to use the smallest antenna possible for aesthetics and ease of installation (and cost).

I'm putting it around 20-23' high (on top of my roof), and running it to the opposite end of the house, all together I estimate the coax run will be about 65 feet, maybe 70 to the tuner itself.

I was hoping to get away with something small like a CM 3010. There's an optional 3038 pre-amp, but it doubles the cost.

As you can see, I have a couple of VHF channels. I was hoping for an all in one solution, including FM so I could pick up the one or two HD radio channels from the same area as these TV stations (wilkes barre).

I would send the coax into a ground breaker and then into a keystone wall jack. I thought I'd share a 4 way ground breaker with my 2 directv coax lines, and then down into the same ground. Do I really need to send an 8awg copper ground wire all the way up with the coax and attach it to a bolt on the mast itself? I can't just attach the ground breaker to the ground pole? (I was reading this in the 3010 manual).

After coming out of the keystone jack inside the house, I would split it 3 ways, one to my TV's tuner, one to my DirecTV box's tuner so I could record, and one to my AVR's FM input.

BTW, I'm only interested in the yellows and green channels in this chart. Nothing extra really. antennaweb shows them mostly as yellow also. They show 28.1 and 22.1 as yellow (green on tvfool),24.4 as blue (yellow on tvfool) and 38.1 as violet (yellow on tvfool). Those are the only anomolies.

P.S. rabbit ears don't quite cut it and I don't have an attic space. Thanks in advance.
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Don_M responded:


The 3010 probably won't cut it, as its gain is mediocre. It's not likely to provide reliable reception without a pre-amp when splitting signals three ways. You'd be better off putting up a CM 4221 for providing signals to the TV tuner and DVR. The 4221's gain is much better, it's actually smaller than the 3010 (though it mounts horizontally, not vertically), and it's offered at about the same shipped cost.

The 4221 won't be good for FM, so please consider putting up a dedicated antenna at the other end of the house and running a cable directly to the AVR for FM/HD radio. Take a look at AntennaCraft FMSS, FM6 or even AC9 for inexpensive solutions.
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Then a user responded via PM. I will recap our discussion without mentioning the username:


The only small antenna I have used is the Winegard HD7210P "Ghost Killer". Even though it is larger than what you are looking for; I feel it would be a good fit in such a mountainous area. (Your desired stations look to be about 40 miles away) I had very good results with UHF & VHF stations 40-60 miles away. It is designed for channels 2-69 so it should work for FM pretty well also. The newer antennas designed for channels 7-52 will not work well for FM; as it is a much lower frequency range.

With 4 sets hooked up; you may end up needing some type of amplification; but I would try without an amp to see what happens.

Here is a link showing the size of the antenna.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882172015
-----------------------------------------
My response:


Thanks for getting back to me so fast. I may just end up picking that one up instead based on your recommendation. Can you suggest an ideal pre-amp to pair if I end up feeling I need one?

Do I need to run an 8awg copper ground wire all the way from the antenna down to the ground rod? Or do you just run the RG6 coax and right before going into the house you split it with a ground breaker and send that into the ground rod? (like the direcTV people do it).

So once it gets passed the ground breaker and goes into the house, I would then if necessary plug it into power supply for the pre-amp (I assume unplugging the power supply would disable the pre-amp, so I could test it back and forth if I wanted?) and from there I would put it to a 3-way splitter, into 2 TV tuners, and the 3rd into the FM jack, correct?

(of course I'll try it first without the pre-amp, but that's the scenario I envision including the possible pre-amp)
-------------------------------
The user's response:


I would still recommend the 7210 Ghost killer as I have used one and it provides great results on both UHF & VHF for such a small antenna. With 3 sets hooked up a Channel Master 7777 pre-amp will overcome the losses associated with the splitting. You maybe able to turn off the FM trap of the pre-amp and use this for FM as well. If you get inteference on your TV, you will have to turn the FM trap on and use a separate antenna for FM. You will just have to experiment with that. You can't just unplug a pre-amp to determine what things look like without it. As soon as you unplug it; you will lose everything. You have to completely bypass both pieces to determine what the real difference is. i just have the mast and coax terminator block running to the electric meter for grounding. I am just using the grounding wire that Radio Shack sells.
------------------------------------------------
Back to the public thread now,
Don_M wrote:


The 3010 probably won't cut it, as its gain is mediocre. It's not likely to provide reliable reception without a pre-amp when splitting signals three ways. You'd be better off putting up a CM 4221 for providing signals to the TV tuner and DVR. The 4221's gain is much better, it's actually smaller than the 3010 (though it mounts horizontally, not vertically), and it's offered at about the same shipped cost.

The 4221 won't be good for FM, so please consider putting up a dedicated antenna at the other end of the house and running a cable directly to the AVR for FM/HD radio. Take a look at AntennaCraft FMSS, FM6 or even AC9 for inexpensive solutions.
---------------------------------
My response:


That would cover me for those 2 VHF channels also?

Does the FM need to be on the other side of the house because they interfere if they are too close?

Would either the 4221 or the FM need a pre-amp in my case? I'd prefer not if possible.

Another user suggested the Winegard HD7210 Ghost killer, and another suggested the HD7082 over that. Thoughts on how the CM 4221 compares to those?
----------------------------------
jim5506 wrote:


You want your cake and eat it too, want a small inconspicuous antenna without pre-amp but good reception.

If you want consistent reception for the channels listed, I'd look at the Winegard HD7690 series designed for channels 7-69.

The bowtie antennas, especially the single column ones are very weak on VHF.

The Winegard HD7694P is the smallest I'd even consider and I might bump up a couple of steps to guarantee reception after splitting.

HD7694P on Ch 11 +8dB (lowest figure).
line loss antenna to splitter approx -2dB.
line loss in splitter approx -7dB.
signal estimate at antenna (from TVFool) +20dB (lowest figure).

Add'm up looking at +19dB noise margin so it should be OK.

First time using TVFools new numbers.
------------------------------------
Don_M wrote:


Facesnorth: My apologies for misreading your TVFool report. Brain belch made me look at the virtual-channels column rather than the real channels, hence the 4221 recommendation. Jim's antenna advice is far better.

To answer your earlier question, yes, two antennas can interfere with one another; placing them at opposite ends of the house eliminates the possibility. (Actually, 10 feet is ample separation.) You could use an HD-769x series antenna to pick up local analog FM. However, it might not do so well with the hybrid-digital ("HD") signals you want, and again, the three-way split would weaken signals per Jim's calculations to the point where you might need a pre-amp. So two antennas remain worthy of consideration.
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=================================

That's pretty much where we left off. Based on this series of discussions, I am leaning towards an HD-7694P. Before I do that, would I be better off getting a 7695 or even a 7697? Would getting a bigger antenna like that introduce more possibility of multicast or interference from more distant stations? The reason I was thinking about a bigger one is because, well if I have to put a big ugly one up I'd rather only have to do it once and not have to take it down and buying a bigger one later. Plus I'm trying to avoid needing a pre-amp if possible. And I'm planning to split into 2 or down the line maybe even 3-4 tuners. Right now I'm just going to split one into my TV, and the other into my DirectTV HR20. But down the line it might be nice to send 1 or 2 into an HTPC with Vista media center running.

It also sounds like I should pick up a seperate FM antenna and mount it on the other side of the house. I'm looking at Don_M's suggestions of an AntennaCraft FMSS, FM6 or AC9. It would be nice to put up the FMSS because it looks lightweight and easy to install. Is there a way I could find out where all the FM stations are around me that I could hope to pickup similar to TVFool or Antennaweb? It would help me determine if I need directional or omnidirectional, and the distance I need.

Also, as you can see in some of my posts I'm a little lost about the issue of grounding. I am going to run DB6 coax from the roof down to the ground block, which will tie into a ground, and then go into the house. Do I also need to run 8awg green copper wire from the ground post all the way up along with the coax and tie into the mast mounted on the rooftop? For both the VHF/UHF antenna and the FM antenna?

Finally, like a true newb, I could use some suggestions on mounting materials. Let's say I buy the 7694/5/7P and the FMSS/6. What else will I need to buy to get it on the rooftop? (suggested mast, mounts, etc) I want the installation to be as easy as possible. The peak of the roof is about 23' off the ground. The shingles stick out about 2" from the fascia trim up top.

I'm not sure how to figure out the exact coordinates for my house, but I did a street level for antennaweb, and that attachment is posted here along with my tvfool report.

Thanks everyone for your help!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tvfool.jpg (109.7 KB, 13 views)
File Type: png antennaweb.png (42.7 KB, 5 views)
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:12 PM   #2
I like big Antennas
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by facesnorth View Post
I could use some suggestions on mounting materials. The shingles stick out about 2" from the fascia trim up top.
Here's one option:

http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/1476678.html
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:53 PM   #3
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
Yes, that could work for us. And I like the fact that I don't have to mess with the roof - I prefer that. However, my wife might find it unsightly since it will be in the front of the house. Is there a way to hook it up without having the mast stick down a couple feet like that with a crossbar?




One other thing I was going to mention is that I'm planning to buy the Winegard antenna from Skywalker. So if there are any specific items I can also get from them that would make it easier shipping-wise. I notice they don't carry the AntennaCraft antennas, though, so I may need to either hold of on that, or else also make an order from summit source or solid signal. I suppose it depends if I can get all the little supplies I need from Skywalker whether I will need to make an additional order elsewhere, in which case I could through the AntennaCraft Fm antenna in as well.

I notice Skywalker carries a Channel Master Model 2001C Advantage Series Antenna for about $17.99 which does FM. That's basically the only cheap one that comes up when I plug FM in the search bar. Would that be comparable to the AntennaCraft models mentioned?
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:23 PM   #4
I like big Antennas
 

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Do you like this better?

http://www.skywalker.com/itemdisplay.aspx?item=226167

The brackets can be mounted below the peak if the direction toward the towers is not aimed through the roof. You can cut off the mast if it's too long.

The 2001C may be a little weak for DTV. Try this one instead;

http://www.skywalker.com/itemdisplay.aspx?item=9385
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
Do you like this better?

http://www.skywalker.com/itemdisplay.aspx?item=226167

The brackets can be mounted below the peak if the direction toward the towers is not aimed through the roof. You can cut off the mast if it's too long.

The 2001C may be a little weak for DTV. Try this one instead;

http://www.skywalker.com/itemdisplay.aspx?item=9385

I like that option as well. I will have to examine the house and think about the ideal mounting method. I will also look and see if there is a similar eave mount with a crossbar available at Skywalker in case that turns out to be the best method for us.

Regarding the 2001C, you may not have realized I was referring to using it strictly as an FM antenna. Someone had suggested Antennacraft FM antennas, and I don't see Skywalker has any, so I was looking for something they have in stock in a similar price range.

I'm still planning to use a Winegard 769X series for UHF/VHF, just unsure if I should go with the 7694P to be cheaper and lighter to carry, or something like the 7697 to ensure reception without a pre-amp and not having to re-do the job. Worried about the possibility of conflicting with further channels and multicast. See comments at the bottom of my OP. Suggestions?
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:19 PM   #6
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I just figured out how to determine my coordinates using google.

41.2013, -75.3868 is about where I plan to put up the antenna, about 23' at the peak so it will end up a few feet higher on the mast.

Am I thinking too small? Should I be aiming to receive channels from much further with a bigger antenna?
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:30 PM   #7
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Here is a link to my 2150.com chart using my coordinates sorted by distance:

http://www.2150.com/broadcast/defaul...=Show+Stations
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:09 AM   #8
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
Do you like this better?

http://www.skywalker.com/itemdisplay.aspx?item=226167

The brackets can be mounted below the peak if the direction toward the towers is not aimed through the roof. You can cut off the mast if it's too long.

The 2001C may be a little weak for DTV. Try this one instead;

http://www.skywalker.com/itemdisplay.aspx?item=9385


I took a look at the possible mounting locations. This looks like it's going to be my only choice. The other one up top won't work for us. The fascia is at too wide of an angle on the one side of the house. On the other, at the peak there is a small corner, so it would have to be off center from the peak, with one side attached to the descending fascia and the other side attached to a piece of vertical corner trim. It would look akward. I'd rather put it on the corner side of the peak, which doesn't face the front of the house (although it's in the front of the house, and it's at the peak). I'd have to use the above mounts and screw them right into the T-111 (hopefully will find a stud, because it's a narrow area, may be just a small section between 2 studs).

That's the prime location for mounting an antenna on my house, and the highest, with few to no trees blocking it towards Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Now on the opposite side of the house, also at the peak, facing Wilkes-Barre is a slew of trees only 15 feet away, and rising 40-50' in the air. That I believe is going to be an issue and kind of eliminates that as an ideal mounting location for a secondary antenna.

How picky are FM antennas? I don't have a lot of info to go by as far as determining all the local FM stations in my area, their direction, and whether I should go for a directional/onmidirectional (FM6 or FMSS), and how high it should be. Because I could also mount on top of my chimney, which would be lower, about 15' at the top of the chimney (it's at the low side of a cathedral ceiling). With mast the antenna would be 17' or so. There are trees way in the distance that would block it horizontally, but realistically in my area there are a lot of trees and hills.

Another user via PM has been suggesting that combo UHF/VHF antennas are weak on the UHF side.

I'm juggling right now and trying to decide on what my goal is. It would help if I had a realistic idea of what I could possibly achieve. I read about people getting stations from 250 miles away. Ultimately does it matter if I get 5 different CBS's? They all play the same shows right? I just get to watch the news from different locales? Can anyone determine from my location and the info I've posted what I could realistically hope to achieve, living in a populated community of a woodsy, hilly area?

Another question I need to understand has to do with grounding. I mentioned this in the first post above, but understandably it's a lengthy post and a lot of people probabaly don't want to read through the whole thing. I've never had an antenna before. Looking at my DirecTV antenna, I don't see a ground wire hooked up to the dish or the mast, just the dual DB6 wires which come to the house and connect to a grounding block. Then there is a copper wire which connects to the grounding block and comes down and attaches to a grounding rod in the dirt.

In the front of my house is another, much fatter and longer grounding rod. My main panel, telephone service, and cable TV (internet) all have grounding cables attached to that rod.

Am I going to simply run a DB6 from my antenna(s) into a grounding block, and attach a copper ground cable from the grounding block into either of those grounds? Does it matter how many items share a ground, or do certain items conflict with one another on a single grounding rod?

Also, others have mentioned (and I've read in the instruction manuals of some antennas) running a ground wire and attaching it to the mast itself. Does this imply running a second ground cable from the grounding rod, all the way up the top of the house (presumably with the DB6) and attaching it to the mast? Why doesn't my DirecTV mast have one connected to it? What's the danger, if the DB6 is going to run through a grounding block which connects to the ground?
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:57 AM   #9
I like big Antennas
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by facesnorth View Post
Another user via PM has been suggesting that combo UHF/VHF antennas are weak on the UHF side.
True, but that matters not for the local stations. They are strong enough with a combo antenna.

If you want Philly stations, he's right. You'll also want a preamp and rotator to try for Philly
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:16 AM   #10
I like big Antennas
 

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Originally Posted by facesnorth View Post
Also, others have mentioned (and I've read in the instruction manuals of some antennas) running a ground wire and attaching it to the mast itself. What's the danger, if the DB6 is going to run through a grounding block which connects to the ground?
A direct lightning hit would cause the DB6 to vaporize, causing secondary damage to the siding of your house.

A separate ground wire can handle more current than the DB6. You can get RG-6 with a ground wire attached.
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Old 10-16-2008, 11:44 AM   #11
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Great info, thanks.

With regards to getting stations as far as Philly or New York, we are still talking about network stations right? affiliates of NBC, CBS, etc. So I will basically get the same prime time shows as the local affiliates. Just some different daytime programming and newscasts. Are there other stations to shoot for besides ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, WB, ION? Do people just like trying to get as many variation of these same affilliates as they can?

Also, are not many of the stations going that far going to share the same channels with stations around here making it difficult if not impossible to receive them? With that being the case, I'm not sure how people get stations so far away. Can you tell from my attachments if that is true for me?

Thanks a lot for your help.
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:04 AM   #12
What is HD?
 

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Automatic Identification Technology was the obvious answer, and the application chosen was the WhereNet Real-Time Locator System (RTLS), which can provide instantaneous location and tracking throughout the supply chain for total asset visibility.
Your information is good information to all......

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