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-   -   Springfield, MA, + Hartford,CT OTA Advice (https://www.highdefforum.com/local-hdtv-info-reception/141828-springfield-ma-hartford-ct-ota-advice.html)

trosti 07-19-2013 08:24 AM

Springfield, MA, + Hartford,CT OTA Advice
Hello all, I've spent a bit of time reading many of the post around here and I would appreciate any advice on a new setup.
A few years back I had a decent OTA setup which didn't require alot since I was pretty high on a hill facing broadcast towers. I've since moved, installed cable and am thinking about going back to OTA.
Let me share my info and what I am thinking.

First, I have Tivo Premieres on two tv's in the house. This is important because I'd like to have a setup without a rotor as I will be recording broadcasts at different times and not able to move the antenna. If I could get away with it I would have liked the Antenna Craft HBU44 (had luck with them before but I think too directional for my needs) So from what I've gathered I'm thinking about the CM4228HD since I need a less directional antenna and the only VHF I am looking to get is 11 WWLP. I've seen decent reports for high vhf on this antenna. I know that may have been the older model but hoping the case is similar for the newer. (The tower is also relatively close)

So thinking the CM4228HD with a RCA TVPRAMP1R (to save a little money). The antenna would be mounted on the gable end of my roof. I will run to the basement then out to two tv's in the house. I know people push the CM7777 but not sure it would be needed or overkill since I won't be running a ton of cable.

That being said I've asked advice on Denny's TV and he's recommended his Stacker Antenna (suprise) and sold signal and they recommended the Xtreme Signal HDB8X 8-Bay Bowtie. I would assume solid signal would have me install a VHF antenna with this but they didn't say. I don't think this antenna is any good for high VHF. I guess the benefit is you could aim each of the bays in different direction.
Not sure if those companies are just pushing their products and not really thinking of my needs.

Anyways as stated before would love any advice. :D

I will post tvfool after 4 more posts

trosti 07-19-2013 08:25 AM


trosti 07-19-2013 08:27 AM


trosti 07-19-2013 08:28 AM


trosti 07-19-2013 08:29 AM


trosti 07-19-2013 08:30 AM

My Location
Here is my location:

JB Antennaman 07-19-2013 12:19 PM

Pie graphs like TV fool, often times makes a fool out of you and me.

I would guess that if it was in the green that you should be able to hold the coax out the window and pick it up without even having a antenna connected.

I wouldn't buy a bay type antenna in this situation.
Even if you removed the screen from the back and turned it into a omnidirectional antenna that multipath might wreck a normally decent signal.

The HBU 22 would be my first choice, and I would take what ever I could get and not complain, because all the rotor is going to do is give you more options..


Your problem will arise if you desire a news report for something outside of the area. The HBU might not pick up something that someone else desires. It happens when you get used to watching a certain channel and are forced to watch another.

A pre amp will not work at your location, no use trying to amplify something if you aren't willing to put up a decent antenna in the first place and are not willing to turn it with a rotor.

IDRick 07-19-2013 01:15 PM

Welcome to the forum!

Given your tvfool report, I suspect you will be able to receive a large number of channels by aiming an antenna in W/SW direction. No rotor is needed unless your goal is to obtain the maximum number of stations possible. You cannot use a pre-amp at this location due to your very strong signals. Given your druthers, I'd suggest purchasing a HBU-22 antenna and aim in to the W/SW. Radio shack sells the HBU-22 as well as several on-line suppliers such as solid signal: http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...sku=1607900201

If you interested in a DIY project, you could build a M4 antenna with 9 inch whiskers and 8-1/2 inch bay spacings. For drawings, see: http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweath...0Drawings.html

A kit is also available, see: http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweath...Bay%20Kit.html

I built this antenna for use in my attic and have very pleased with it's performance. The M4 is a highly respected DIY design on several OTA forums and has many successful users. I have no affiliation with the builder, merely a satisfied user.

Good luck!

trosti 07-19-2013 02:02 PM

Thanks guys! Two other notes: I did try an indoor amplified antenna VHF/UHF just to see what i could get. I actually couldn't get either NBC (11 + 35) or PBS (45+22) from my location. This was on the second floor of my home as well. I agree TV Fool can be a bit deceiving. The reason I was considering a larger antenna is because I would love to pull in channel 20, 39 (MyNetwork) and 26 (ION). I assumed if I had a wide enough multidirectional I could point to the hardest station (prob 26) and still get most others without a rotor. I guess you know what they say about assuming..
A newbie guestion (don't shoot me) what happens when you use a preamp and the signal is too strong? Also, from what you guys are telling me maybe its best to invest in a rotor even if its to find the "sweet" spot and adjust for recordings. JB not sure what you mean by "if you aren't willing to put up a decent antenna in the first place" I am willing to invest in any antenna.. Again, thanks for the quick response and the welcome!

IDRick 07-19-2013 03:05 PM

Tvfool is an excellent program for assessing reception challenges and opportunities. It estimates signal strength via modeling from available broadcast information and some adjustment for topography. Given that it is a projection, it will overestimate at times, underestimate at times, and be just right in others. The true test is always to put up an antenna and see what is there. Then shoot for the best mounting location...

Using an amplifier in a strong signal area can lead to overloading the amplifier, tv tuner or both. Overload leads to a loss of reception (ie fewer or no channels received). In your case, overload is almost guaranteed with three strong nearby stations (<2 miles away).

Indoor reception is not very predictive of outdoor reception. In my living room, I can only receive three stations from the west with an indoor antenna. But, I can receive four more stations from the south when the antenna is mounted in the attic or up on the roof. Location, location, location are the three most important factors for OTA reception.

A rotor will make your goal to record OTA tv more challenging. IMO, you don't need it but I don't live in your area nor do I know the differences between the available markets. Which market provides the games for your favorite sports? Which provides the better weather reports for your location? Are the PBS stations different between markets? Are you willing to spend the time to find the programming differences between markets? That's your call...

Rabbitears.info is excellent resource for evaluating reception possibilities. Here is the report for your location: http://www.rabbitears.info/search.ph...pe=dBm&height= Simply click on the callsign and it will tell you the network affiliation for the main channel (xx.1) and the subchannels (xx.2 etc). Are there unique stations that are "gotta haves" in separate markets?

www.titantv.com is another useful tool. It will provide a tv guide for OTA reception from different markets. You can thus compare programming between markets and answer, for example, are PBS'es different between markets.

Looking at your tvfool report, ch 26 is very improbable at your location even with a large high gain antenna. Ch 39 is also doubtful, check to see if MyNetwork is a subchannel on one the more readily received stations.

Good luck!

Pete Higgins 07-19-2013 09:20 PM

Solid Signal HDB8X

I don’t have any experience with Denny's “Stacker Antenna” so I’ll leave that for someone else to address. I do have an HDB8X that I am very happy with. The following is a review I wrote today for the Solid Signal website. Here is a link to my TV Fool report for you to compare:
In flat panel mode, when pointed to LA (292 deg.), my HDB8X reliably receives down to KNBC-DT on channel 36 (4.1) @ -107.7 dBm. When pointed towards San Diego, I reliably receive channel 30 (15.1), channel 40 (39.1) & channel 19 (69.1). When I tried orienting the panels to cover both San Diego & LA I lost most of my signals from both markets (see below). Your signals are so much stronger I think it would probably work for you with a panel pointed ~113 deg. and the other pointed ~236 deg. You should not need an amplifier. I don’t have any affiliation with Solid Signal.

My Review

The HDB8X compares very favorably with other UHF antennas. I started with a Channel Master CM-4228 (not the new “HD”) and compared it to a new Antennas Direct 91XG. The 91XG showed fractions of a dB better signal quality than the older CM-4228. When I received the HDB8X I compared it to the same CM-4228 and like the 91XG, it showed fractions of a dB better signal quality. My testing showed that for UHF performance the 3 different antennas were very nearly equal. Neither the 91XG nor the HDB8X appeared to provide any high VHF response at my location, while the CM-4228 did show a modest high VHF response. As previously recommended, I substituted two length matched 36” pieces of RG-6 between each of the HDB-8X’s BALUN's and the combiner. Worst case loss for 34” of 3C-2V coax @ 700 MHz = ~.268 dB and should be insignificant compared to RG-6 @ .217 dB. Needless to say, this test didn’t yield any measurable difference. Advertised gains for the HDB8X antenna appear overstated although its actual UHF performance matches more conventionally rated current antenna designs & brands.



My HDB8X 8-Bay Bow Tie Antenna arrived double boxed in a heavy duty brown corrugated cardboard outer box and a thinner white corrugated cardboard inner box. The two 4-Bay panels were stored back-to-back in the white box with the cross beams loosely assembled and tie wrapped to them. There was also an assembly & installation manual and one rubber boot in a plastic bag.

If you know how the antenna goes together assembly is straight forward, tool-less and easy. As with a lot of assembly manuals, however, the three listed steps (A, B & C) were not intuitively obvious. Fortunately, the manual listed a link to an assembly video: http://www.xtremesignal.com/hdb8x.html that can also be found on YouTube @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=BWfW1ncmOr4 (Thank you Mike!). I would strongly suggest that anybody assembling this antenna for the first time watch the video. FYI, to make mine look like the one in the manual & video I had to unscrew the combiner, rotate it 180 deg. and reattach it. Also, to have all the wing nuts on the back side of the antenna I had to reverse a number of the lower brace bolts. Fortunately, both sides of the metal mounting brackets (square tube clamps) have square cutouts to keep the plated carriage bolts from turning.

I am impressed with the way this antenna is designed. First off, the 16 individual 8” elements appear to be stamped or “die-cut” from 1.66 mm (~0.065”) sheet aluminum. The phasing harnesses inter-connecting the 16 elements appear to be formed from a relatively heavy 3.88 mm (~.153”) aluminum wire. Each element is held in place and in contact with its phasing harness by a Phillips head screw into the plastic stand-off. This means that after a few years’ service when oxidation forms, unlike my Channel Master CM-4228 that has the wire elements riveted to plastic brackets, I should be able to remove the screws and clean all the contact areas. The element to harness contact area is a generous 11.12 mm (0.437”) wide. Each panels BALUN is also bolted to the harness making all pressure contact areas accessible for cleaning. The 32 round reflector tubes are 8.18 mm (0.322”) thick by ~19Ĺ“ long. They are capped at the outer ends by a curved plastic extrusion that may mask progressively longer (~1”) rods at the center of each 2-Bay panel. The square supporting frame tubes measure 18.38 mm (0.723”). There is a lot of hardware provided to build this antenna that appears to result in a relatively robust design.

When fully assembled, the overall antenna is 32 1/2” tall X 47 7/8” wide X ~5 1/4” deep.

Multi-directional use:

It is very nice to be able to watch channels from different markets without having to wait on a rotor to turn your antenna. This can be especially important for households with multiple TV’s.

I had to shorten two of the long mast attachment bolts to allow my movable panel to rotate ~123 deg. from the fixed panel. Apparently, the supplied combiner doesn’t provide enough panel-to-panel isolation allowing some of the received signal on one panel to be reradiated off the other panel. This combined with changing from an 8-Bay to a 4-Bay caused loss of almost all channels at my deep fringe location. The isolation issue was solved with the addition of amplifiers between each panel and the supplied combiner. Fortunately, the combiner passes power through each port to support this. In urban environments (where combiner re-radiation loss would be tolerable) and a 4-Bay in each direction would be more than sufficient, the HDB8X offers considerable advantage over most other fixed panel 8-Bays. It wasn’t exactly straight forward, but with a little effort I’m able to surf between LA & San Diego “deep fringe” channels without using a rotor.

trosti 07-20-2013 06:57 AM

Thanks for the post Pete. Now I am a bit torn. I like the fact the HDB8X cant be pointed at two different markets without a rotor. I don't like the fact that it has no high VHF capabilities. I would still like to get channel 11 in my area which is relatively close (14 miles). I would have to buy and mount a vhf antenna with this setup as well. If I was to do so where would I combine that signal? After the two UHF elements are combined? I suppose the cost of the HDB8X + a decent high VHF antenna would add up. I had luck previously with a small UHF antenna RCA ANT751R in a different location about 8 miles east of me aiming towards CT stations and still pulling Springfield stations. Here was my old location: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46ae1c494ee564
Being that two people recommended the HBU 22 I am thinking maybe buying a little bigger than that and putting a rotor to adjust for the best location. Anyone have thoughts on the HBU 33? Thanks again for everyone being so helpful!! I know tigerbangs is in my area so hoping he chimes in ;)

Pete Higgins 07-20-2013 01:48 PM


Iím hoping that IDRick or tigerbangs will chime in to help. Growing up in San Diego and always wanting to get the LA stations I automatically go for the biggest (highest gain) antenna I can get. With your signal environment I have to stifle this tendency.

Basically, the more elements you add to an antenna the higher the gain from its favored direction (allows you to watch weaker channels), but the narrower the beam width (the area or span of directions it efficiently receives signals from). A simple VHF dipole (rabbit ears) or UHF loop have the least amount of gain, but cover the widest area. Since your signals are relatively strong, but somewhat widely dispersed I would expect the HBU22 to provide ample signal strength and better coverage for you than the HBU33.


I would still like to get channel 11 in my area which is relatively close (14 miles). I would have to buy and mount a vhf antenna with this setup as well.
Maybe, but even a UHF antenna will show some response to a-40.5 dBm signal. My VHF signals are -85.6 to -97.4 dBm or 100 times weaker.

At your new location NBC WWLP VHF channel 11 (ch. 22.1) programing appears to also be available on NBC WVIT on UHF channel 35 (30.1). Unless WWLP has a gorgeous weather girl or news anchor you would probably get the same network programming on WVIT. While somewhat different, in your new signal environment I would expect you to achieve the same results you saw before you moved. Channel 11 is ~9 dBm weaker at the new location but it is still high green and should be receivable with just an indoor antenna.


If I was to do so where would I combine that signal? After the two UHF elements are combined?
The HDB8X (and most other UHF antennas) will have a single output. In the case of the HDB8X, each 4-Bay panel has a 75 ohm BALUN. The output from both BALUNís goes to a combiner. The output from the combiner would go to your TV. If you chose to add a VHF antenna you would buy a UHF/VHF Signal Joiner (UVSJ) that has a VHF input for the VHF antenna and a UHF input for the UHF antenna and a common output. A short 75 ohm cable would connect each antenna to the UVSJ and the UVSJ output would go to your TV.

If you still have your old antenna, and were satisfied with its results, Iíd put it back up and expect the same quality of reception.


I suppose the cost of the HDB8X + a decent high VHF antenna would add up.
Yes, as would installation complexity.

Billiam 07-20-2013 07:31 PM

If you want to receive every channel down to WCTX then the HBU 55 will do the trick. With this antebnna I was able to receive a UHF Ch. 15 with a NM of about 8.0 without a pre amp. And I was also able to receive Ch. 35 that had a NM of Zero well enough to watch without any kind of breakup except during thunderstorms. Yes, a rotor is recommended. If you only want channels in green then the HBU 22 is the way to go.

I'm originally from the Hartford area and know the terrain. In this case these antennas are the way to go since multipath is likely to be an issue from the small mountains and hills in the area.

Terryl3 07-21-2013 11:51 AM

Some don't like them (I don't know why) but they do make an omni directional antenna that would fit your application and location.

Take a look at this one.

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