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Old 07-28-2009, 07:17 AM   #1
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Default Help with channels 80+ miles away

My favorite past time these days is trying my best to get as many OTA channels as possible, but I've hit a brick wall at this point. My zip is 43130, my coordinates are (lat 39.714956 , N 39 42' 53.8",
39 42.8974') (long -82.582856 ,W 82 34' 58.3" ,-82 34.9714' ). My current setup is as follows: ChannelMaster CM3020, ChannelMaster 9521A Rotor, ChannelMaster Titan 7778 preamp, and the antenna is about 25-30' off the ground. I can get most, if not all channels in about a 40 mile radius, but from there, the distance goes up to 80+ miles (Dayton, Marietta, Cincinnati, etc.). I was able to pull in the Dayton and Cincinnati stations, almost as a fluke, about a month ago for a couple hours, but I'd like to do it regularly, if possible.

After reading here, I see the 3020 isn't the best or most loved antenna, and that's cool, no problem. I actually replaced a CM4228 (which I still have, if that helps) with it and am getting better results for my location. So, what do I need to do to up my reception for the really far-away stations? Thanks!
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:03 AM   #2
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UHF reception is line of sight.

Please go over the forum and look at my many posts for other members and read what I have posted for them.

In all circumstances UHF goes about 40 - 48 miles, and then the signal is more dependent on reflection and refraction. At that point, your reception is dependent on time of day, time of year, weather, solar weather.

Height = gain

In theory, if you stood on the shore of Lake Erie on a calm day and looked out across the water in Cleveland Ohio, if someone built a tower 3000 feet tall 48 miles away in the middle of lake Erie, you could see the red light flashing on the top of the tower from the shore .

Even though the horizon might only be 26 miles from one end to the other end, because the tower is so high and because the light bends around the curvature of the earth, it allows you to see the light.

ok

Another example is if their tower was 1,000 feet tall and your tower was 1000 feet tall and there was no deviation in elevation - the ground was perfectly flat between the two in elevation above sea level. If you were 40 miles apart, you could see their light and they could see your light.

The problem with UHF is that the earth is round and eventually the signal goes out into space and you have no more signal. Just like shining a beam of light out into the sky.

The problem with trying to put a antenna on a tower 1000 feet tall is that it creates nulls and voids for the transmitter antenna for UHF.

VHF liked lot's of height.

The only option you have is to go on vacation in the middle of the summer when there is a high pressure over your area and rent a boat and go out on Lake Erie with your television and your antenna and watch television.

In the middle of the lake, there is no obstructions to absorb or block your signal. Also the water will reflect the signal off the clouds and give you nearly perfect reception with the right weather conditions.

Living on the shore of Lake Erie would also give the same effect to a lesser degree.

In Cleveland on a clear day, you can pick up signals from Detroit, Erie, Buffalo, Toledo, and Canada with the right antenna, pre amplifier and tuner.

The truth of the matter is - if you can get Mansfield Oh, you are doing pretty good.

Tropospheric prorogation is not a reliable source of reception.

The true signal is LOS - Line of Sight.

Once you get beyond the range of line of sight, you get a one edge signal, once you get beyond that range - you get a two edge signal, once you get beyond that, you get a tropo signal.

Take this web site and enter in your address and your desired antenna height and see how much improvement you can get - the higher up you put your antenna.

http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?opti...pper&Itemid=90

At 10 feet, you might get 9 television stations and 3 transponders.

At 50 feet, you might get 11 television stations

WOUB is only 36.3 miles away and is only in the bottom of your reception range.

Raising the antenna 50 more feet to 100 feet above ground, only net's you one more channel, WDEM - 29.1 miles away!

Raising your antenna to 200 feet only get's you one more channel, WOUC - 74.9 miles away!

Raising your antenna to 300 feet net's you one more channel, WTAP 60.5 miles away!

So if you want to watch television 90 miles away - reliably you would need a antenna tower 500 feet tall, with a special cut antenna and amplifier - that was only designed to receive one channel.

It would basically receive one channel well and the rest with mixed results. You would need a antenna rotor and the best antenna you could buy. RG 11 wire

The only thing you can do to increase performance of your set up is to buy a good antenna with the highest amount of gain and mount it as high as possible and use a pre amp with the highest amount of gain and the lowest amount possible of noise and the best RG 6 Quad Shield wire and put that antenna as far away as possible from all electrical noise. Power lines, motor brush noise, electric wires, electric fences, anything that uses electricity - produces to some degree a noise.

Basically, you would have to be a hermit and live on a hill as far away from civilization as possible.

Cape Tobin Greenland would be the best place that I can think of for long distance reception of television signals.

There you have miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles and ice and snow on the ground all winter. No TREES! No PEOPLE!

My father has threatened to send me there many times!
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:06 AM   #3
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One problem is that most of the 80+ mile away stations are complicated by co-channel interference.

There are stations or translators with stronger signals closer to you than the target station, so you may never be able to receive these stations, except under tropospheric ducting circumstances which occasionally can be strong enough to knock a local off and replace it.

For what you are trying, you need the very best antenna with the highest front to back ratio you can find.

The CM3020 is not one of their masterpieces, the 36 series are better antennas, the 3671 is the biggest.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #4
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Rather than join the doom and gloom club, its worth posting the exact address TV fool report first.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...aead5904f17c65

For my next unposted trick, I lied to TVFool and said antenna height was 45 feet, and at best gained 1 point on NM(Db), saying basically the added cost is basically not worth the benefit.

So I have to basically agree with Jim5506, your best bet is in a better antenna with very high on aim gain, and with the largest signal collection area possible. And once you get below -7NM(db), its going to be very hard to get enough antenna gain to get you up to the north side of the digital cliff. At best, you can only hope for more rare days when the atmosphere reflects signals back down for distant channels.

And even then co-channels interference will give you fits.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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The problem with Channel Master Antenna's - by JB Antennaman

If you bought a old Channel Master antenna and took it apart without damaging it. Replaced all the carbon steel rivets with stainless steel studs. Cleaned all the elements, directors, reflectors, everything with a solution that would remove all the corrosion / oxidation that had built up on the antenna with 30 or so years of outdoor use. Assembled the antenna and then dipped it in a solution of liquid plastic.

30 years from now, your children would still be using that antenna with little or no problems.

I was employed for 6 months as a metallurgist for a powder metals production facility. One of the vendors we used impregnated wax into powdered metal bearings for us, also had a tank that held a thousand gallons of liquid plastic.

They could coat anything up to and including a mirror and it would stick to what ever you put it on indefinitely - as long as you didn't peel it off.

A thin layer of plastic would not act like a shield and won't affect signal performance.

The main problem with Channel Masters manufacturing procedures is using dissimilar metals. When you put steel and aluminum together, one oxidizes and the other rusts.

Then the problem becomes that the driven element has steel lugs that you attach the transformer balun. The terminals corrodes and looses contact.

Then you get into the poorly manufactured transformer, after a short period of time, the insulation on the outside of the transformer wires deteriorates and the wire inside corrodes and the transformer fails to work as designed.

From the ground, the antenna can still look like brand new, but once up on the roof, it looks like a piece of junk in a very short period of time.

The new Channel Master antenna's are of a cheaper design and probably will not last half as long as the original design nor give the same amount of reception.

I have heard comments about the balun box on the Winegard being of a poor design and falling apart. I have not witnessed this so far, but it could be possible. Most times the person installing the antenna did something wrong, or the person working on the antenna decided to take the transformer off the antenna and when they went to un clip the cartridge box - the tabs broke off.

Then you have to remember that even though the antenna and the wire says 75 ohm, the antenna isn't always tuned to 300 ohms - due to the fact that it changes its resistance as you change the tune - frequency of the receive on the antenna.

What I am getting at is that the antenna isn't always tuned for maximum reception on every channel from 7 - 53, even though the antenna is advertised to receive those channels.

But my opinion is to use one really good uhf / vhf antenna and mount it as high as possible and to use a Winegard antenna because it uses a cartridge box instead of a transformer with wires.

The 8200U antenna is their highest rated antenna for UHF / VHF reception.

The XG 91 - Antenna'sDirect model is one of the better ones for UHF only reception.

Some people favor the Channel Master CM 4228 for UHF and some people even tie several 4228 antenna's together to improve reception.

In the end, you have to have a goal, what you want to watch and what you are willing to spend.

Tigerbangs is the expert here when it comes to antenna's and what will work best for you. Read his prescription thread.

Last edited by JB Antennaman; 07-28-2009 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:28 PM   #6
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I didn't realize that electrical wiring and long runs of coax cable had such a big affect on things. I have a really long coax that I bought as part of a package deal with the rotor, I believe. I also have the line running through my attic, no doubt over some interior electrical wiring. Would shortening the coax and keeping it away from the electric improve anything? It's going to be a bunch of work, and I'm lazy so if it won't really do much, I'll leave it as-is.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:00 PM   #7
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In theory, if you have RG-6 or better coax in good shape, the main effect of a strong pre-amp lies in canceling out coax line losses.

But if you have old or inferior coax cable, bad splices, bad splitters, there are no end of posters who have tried that low cost gamble and greatly benefited. And no end of posters who have tried that same gamble and have received no benefit. \

Hey it summer time, the living is easy, get the shortest possible coax and string it through an open window, bridge around your old coax run, connect one and only one TV to the antenna, add in the preamp, and if you get dramatically better results, suspect something in your old coax run. You can get 50' of RG-6 indoor for less than $15.00. Failing better results, your old cable is probably not the problem.

The same gamble is not so easy in the winter, because baby it gets cold outside with open windows.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:19 PM   #8
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you CAN get channels in at 75 miles+ i know, i do it every day.i live in deep fringe city USA lafayette,indiana.60 miles from indianapolis,80 from bloomington,indiana.90 from champaign,illinois.i pull in 4 channels from bloomington,2 from champaign,24/7 rain,fog,sunny,dark,tornado.doesn't matter. you need an antenna with a very high gain,remember you can only amp what you get,if your antenna does not capture the signal at the elements there is nothing to amp.i have a winegard 8200u w/ap-8275amp 30 feet up 70 feet rg6 quad coax.i use to have a phllips mant 51 element antenna with a cheap amp,couldn't get indianapolis to come in.got the winegard,got the amp from solid signal for 40 dollers,put them up on 3 10 foot poles on the side of my house and now i watch bloomington channels.there are bigger antennas wade-delhi made some big ones.the vu-937sr with uhf superzoom is the biggest combo antenna ever made i think.there is a company over seas that sells an ultra low noise amp it's a 120 dollers,but i heard they are well worth it.research communications LTD is the name of the company i think.put those two together and see what happens.and remember the higher the better no matter what.there is another member smdp1 who has a antennasdirect xg-91 on top of a wade-delhi vip-307 with a channelmaster titan 7777 amp,he gets channels from a 107 miles away every day.vip-307 best vhf only,xg-91 best uhf only put together with a great 7777 amp on top of a 68 foot tower and you to can pull in channels from 100 miles plus.
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ota only! View Post
you CAN get channels in at 75 miles+ i know, i do it every day.i live in deep fringe city USA lafayette,indiana.60 miles from indianapolis,80 from bloomington,indiana.90 from champaign,illinois.i pull in 4 channels from bloomington,2 from champaign,24/7 rain,fog,sunny,dark,tornado.doesn't matter. you need an antenna with a very high gain,remember you can only amp what you get,if your antenna does not capture the signal at the elements there is nothing to amp.i have a winegard 8200u w/ap-8275amp 30 feet up 70 feet rg6 quad coax.i use to have a phllips mant 51 element antenna with a cheap amp,couldn't get indianapolis to come in.got the winegard,got the amp from solid signal for 40 dollers,put them up on 3 10 foot poles on the side of my house and now i watch bloomington channels.there are bigger antennas wade-delhi made some big ones.the vu-937sr with uhf superzoom is the biggest combo antenna ever made i think.there is a company over seas that sells an ultra low noise amp it's a 120 dollers,but i heard they are well worth it.research communications LTD is the name of the company i think.put those two together and see what happens.and remember the higher the better no matter what.there is another member smdp1 who has a antennasdirect xg-91 on top of a wade-delhi vip-307 with a channelmaster titan 7777 amp,he gets channels from a 107 miles away every day.vip-307 best vhf only,xg-91 best uhf only put together with a great 7777 amp on top of a 68 foot tower and you to can pull in channels from 100 miles plus.
Great to hear!
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ota only! View Post
You can get channels in at 75 miles+ I know, I do it every day. I live in a deep fringe area.
Lafayette,Indiana. 60 miles from Indianapolis, 80 from Bloomington,Indiana. 90 from Champaign,Illinois. I can receive 4 channels from Bloomington, 2 from Champaign, 24/7 rain, fog, sunny, dark, tornado it doesn't matter. You need an antenna with a very high gain, remember you can only amp what you get, if your antenna does not capture the signal at the elements there is nothing to amp. I have a Winegard 8200u w/ap-8275amp, 30 feet up 70 feet RG 6 quad coax. I had a Phillips Mant 51 element antenna with a cheap amp, and couldn't receive stations in Indianapolis. I bought a Winegard amp from solid signal for 40 dollars and put them up on 3 - 10 foot poles on the side of my house and now I can watch channels from Bloomington . There are bigger antennas such as the Wade-Delhi.
The VU-937 SR, with UHF superzoom is the biggest combo antenna ever made. I think there is a company over seas that sells an ultra low noise amp, it's a 120 dollars, but I heard they are well worth it. Research Communications LTD is the name of the company I think. Put those two together and see what happens.and remember the higher the better no matter what. There is another member smdp1 who has a AntennasDirect XG-91 on top of a Wade-Delhi vip-307 with a Channel Master Titan 7777 amp, he said that he can get channels from 107 miles away every day. vip-307 best VHF only, XG-91 best UHF only put together with a great 7777 amp on top of a 68 foot tower and you to can pull in channels from 100 miles plus.
I take it you failed English and Typing in high school.

I spent 15 minutes with spell check, just trying to correct some of the errors in spelling and syntax.

A person living in Illinois, does not have the same challenges as a person living - say in Pennsylvania, West Virginia or some other place where you have hills, valleys and mountains.

When all you have is queers and steers to interfere with your signal, I guess you can occasionally receive a Television station 100 miles away. Especially when the elevation between the two doesn't deviate more than 100 feet in 100 miles.

Normal ranges of communications doesn't normally travel more than 65 miles with line of sight UHF.

Taking advice from someone who's only experience involves putting up a 68 foot tower in the middle of a corn field, cannot be compared to someone that has climbed 1000+ feet up a tower to change a light bulb.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:44 AM   #11
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Having seen ota only's TV fool report and being very familiar with the local terrain because I used to live in West Lafayette, IN, I have to be very impressed with his results.

Far from having any elevation advantages, that part of Indiana is a basic pena plain, part of the great Indiana prairie, and bulldozed flat by the last glacier. Ota only may be lucky that he does not live closer to downtown Lafayette that lies mainly inside the Wabash river valley that cuts a 250 foot deep scar in that pena plain, but when he can get WTIU from Bloomington, IN, 80 miles away on real channel 14, ota only is definitely well into two edge, and something like -15NM(db). And Bloomington, IN is about 100 feet lower and well into the limestone belt of Southern Indiana the last glacier missed.

OTA only's results basically prove that UHF is not purely line of sight and shows what a big antenna with large collection area plus high on aim gain can do.

Sadly it might not help our OP much, because he has many stations that are 2 edge at less than 30 miles away. Flat out our OP is far more terrain challenged. But still ota only may have shown our OP what can be done in any situation for someone willing to put their money into being the best he can be where they are located.
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:01 AM   #12
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Large antenna's

Compare what you think is a large antenna to the pictures of these two antenna's.

http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/1342157.html

http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/1342184.html

That's a BIG antenna!
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:30 PM   #13
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Dude, you honestly have rubbed me the wrong way, yet again. First, I ask a simple question, and rather than get a simple yes or no answer, I get a first-grade science lesson on broadcasting. Then I get another first-grade edumucation on how my antenna is awful. NOW, your simply attacking this guy because of how he posts. Honestly, you've not been helpful at all. In fact, it's people like you who drive me away from forums like this. Stop being a douchebag and answer a question, if you have the answer. If not, shut up. I never understand why people feel the need to belittle people online, if they aren't quite as "knowledgeable". You may know what you're talking about 100%, but with the way you treat people, your knowledge will fall on deaf ears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Antennaman View Post
I take it you failed English and Typing in high school.

I spent 15 minutes with spell check, just trying to correct some of the errors in spelling and syntax.

A person living in Illinois, does not have the same challenges as a person living - say in Pennsylvania, West Virginia or some other place where you have hills, valleys and mountains.

When all you have is queers and steers to interfere with your signal, I guess you can occasionally receive a Television station 100 miles away. Especially when the elevation between the two doesn't deviate more than 100 feet in 100 miles.

Normal ranges of communications doesn't normally travel more than 65 miles with line of sight UHF.

Taking advice from someone who's only experience involves putting up a 68 foot tower in the middle of a corn field, cannot be compared to someone that has climbed 1000+ feet up a tower to change a light bulb.
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:32 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice and the confirmation that it can be done!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ota only! View Post
you CAN get channels in at 75 miles+ i know, i do it every day.i live in deep fringe city USA lafayette,indiana.60 miles from indianapolis,80 from bloomington,indiana.90 from champaign,illinois.i pull in 4 channels from bloomington,2 from champaign,24/7 rain,fog,sunny,dark,tornado.doesn't matter. you need an antenna with a very high gain,remember you can only amp what you get,if your antenna does not capture the signal at the elements there is nothing to amp.i have a winegard 8200u w/ap-8275amp 30 feet up 70 feet rg6 quad coax.i use to have a phllips mant 51 element antenna with a cheap amp,couldn't get indianapolis to come in.got the winegard,got the amp from solid signal for 40 dollers,put them up on 3 10 foot poles on the side of my house and now i watch bloomington channels.there are bigger antennas wade-delhi made some big ones.the vu-937sr with uhf superzoom is the biggest combo antenna ever made i think.there is a company over seas that sells an ultra low noise amp it's a 120 dollers,but i heard they are well worth it.research communications LTD is the name of the company i think.put those two together and see what happens.and remember the higher the better no matter what.there is another member smdp1 who has a antennasdirect xg-91 on top of a wade-delhi vip-307 with a channelmaster titan 7777 amp,he gets channels from a 107 miles away every day.vip-307 best vhf only,xg-91 best uhf only put together with a great 7777 amp on top of a 68 foot tower and you to can pull in channels from 100 miles plus.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:59 AM   #15
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I'm gonna put my in here.

First off, you gotta take JB with a grain of salt, for a large part.
If you go by him (and a few others here) you wouldn't get cell phone reception @ 1900MHz more than 50 yards from a tower, since that high a frequency would be totally blocked by any and every obstacle... (Or we'd all have to walk around with an 8200U strapped to our ass! Couldn't pass that up. )

Many here seem to believe there is this dividing line between VHF and UHF, and that because of the name the signal behaves totally differently. Sure, there is a progressive change in the way a given transmission reflects & refracts as you go higher in freq, but it's not like there's this gauntlet between 200MHz & 450MHz.

Think about it, cell phone reception @ 1.9GHz: I'll be standing in Home Depot talking to someone and think to myself "Damn, pretty amazing: I'm inside a cinder block building, with a steel girder truss roof, surrounded by metal shelving, who knows how far from the transmitter"...

Heck DBS @ 10GHz - by some of the thinking I've heard this shouldn't be able to penetrate even the thinnest of clouds, never mind rain... nor refract around any trees whatsoever - but it does, doesn't it!!! And I'm living proof - I have DISH network and my std 18" dish is pointing right into a bunch of big oak trees at the corner of my property @ ~35 yards, which extend thru the adjacent yards - and I get a solid signal! Drop outs for the serious thunder boomers, of course, but only for a few min's. (Actually I'm sure if I was trying to have it installed today a surveyor would tell me it wasn't feasible. I've been a cust 6 or 7 years now)

BTW, I'm getting a little tired of the "focused searchlight beam" analogy personally. UHF is NOT like a laser! And last I checked, light DOES reflect off things - even clouds...

Always remember, the bumblebee isn't "supposed" to be able to fly - but it does! So listen to those that give you the best antenna & amp advice, and give it the 'ol college. Bottom line: Worst that happens is you're out $200 and you've still only got the same stations - but now you've probably got them thru the worst of times/weather conditions, with no drop outs.

Best case is the real world shows you all the theories and projections are wrong, and you're pleasantly surprised! And then you can come back with a post like ota's

Well, I did find this thread entertaining anyway.
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