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Looking for attena advice for Tucson, AZ

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Old 08-27-2017, 05:01 PM   #1
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Default Looking for antenna advice for Tucson, AZ

Hello all, first time poster.

I am looking for advice on an antenna setup for Northwest Tucson (actually, the fringe of Marana for those familiar with the area). My zip code is 85742. Here's my TV Fool setup (I would have asked on TV Fool, but for whatever reason those guys just won't validate my membership. Oh, well. Glad I found this place).

(sorry, just learned I can't post a URL until I have five posts. I'll try a picture attachment instead).


First off, I'll tell you a little bit about me. For the last 20 years, I've been working in Information Technology. Before that, I was working those crappy jobs you work in your early 20's, but I did have an interest in amateur radio back then (the 11-meter band). I share this with you to tell you that, when you speak to me, you don't have to dumb down the terms too much. And, I am smart enough to know that I need some help in this area. I'm not unfamiliar, but I'd love to pick the brain of someone who specializes in this sort of thing.

I'd like to minimize the trial-and-error, learning-curve, due-paying part of this as much as I can. My googling for an antenna installer (that I have confidence in) has been fruitless. I'm not in the greatest shape right now, and I'm having some knee issues, so I'd like to keep the trips up and down the ladder to my roof as minimal as I possibly can.

I am familiar with the saying "buy nice or buy twice". So, I don't mind spending a little bit to get the decent set up I want. I plan on living in this house a good long while. And, if I get the set up I want, it's just done and I don't have to worry about maintaining it in the future. Oh, and no bills (yay). So, I'd like to get whatever I need to do this right the first time.

I recently cut the cord with DirecTV (been four weeks now already, and I don't miss it at all). My first plan was to take down DTV's dish, and using the existing mast and coax to run an OTA antenna in. I'd still love to use the existing coax, but the mast is at a lower corner of my pitched roof (single-story house). Additionally, my next door neighbor's chimney on this two-story house would be almost directly between my antenna and Mount Bigelow (83 degrees on my TV Fool report). My chimney is the highest point on my house. From that chimney, I have a clear shot at the mountain range where the 83 degree transmitters are, and only a dying mesquite tree between it and the south transmitters. I'm thinking the southern transmitters should be powerful enough to make the tree a non-issue.

I've been doing a lot of googling. There's a lot of recommendations for now-discontinued products, some conflicting information, and still things that aren't clear to me. So, that's why I'm asking for some help here.

Here's my "soft" plan (meaning very easily changeable at this point).

I'm thinking of running a two-antenna solution. One antenna pointing to Mount Bigelow, and another pointing to the south. Whatever antenna I get for the south would have to accommodate the 37-degree spread of the southern antennas. The east-facing one would be at 83 degrees, regardless, as you can see from the TV fool report. I'd like to put these in a combiner, run the cable down and join it to the existing DirecTV-installed coax.

My plan is to just get a solid, permanent setup so, in the future, I won't have to deal with any rotating antennas or adjusting antennuators. I just want to set it and forget it.

Oh, I'm looking to run this to at least three TV's, one of which has a great deal of coax (I haven't measure, but it has to be at least 50 feet).

Here's a few of my still-unanswered questions that I'd like to get good answers to before I get started...

-What are the best antennas for what I want to accomplish?

-What's the best way to run and/or secure the coax to my shingle roof so it and my roof are both protected, and the cable isn't ugly?

-Will I need a preamp? Will I just need the preamp on the eastern-facing antenna?

-My DirecTV splitter is outside. There is an electrical outlet there, but I'm not sure where I can put any amp to where it can be waterproof. What can I do here?

-My chimney is stucco, as is the rest of my house. What would you recommend for chimney mounting?

-What's the best combiner?

-Should I buy an FM trap in advance or just wait to see how I do? What about an LTE filter? To be candid, I have no idea where the nearest cell tower is to my home. I can tell you that both my wife and I receive consistent LTE coverage on our phones without a problem.
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Last edited by ImRizzo; 09-05-2017 at 05:36 PM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 08:59 AM   #2
It's the Antenna!
 

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Welcome, Bret
Quote:
I would have asked on TV Fool, but for whatever reason those guys just won't validate my membership.
That happens often; they have a shortage of moderators. At least they are still doing signal reports, which are very useful with reception problems.

Thanks for the report image. You can just give us the last part of the link, and we can convert it into an active link. For example:
?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3de6a4047ad9387c

which came from this report
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4047ad9387c

that matches your report.
Quote:
I'd like to keep the trips up and down the ladder to my roof as minimal as I possibly can.
Understood
Quote:
I'd like to get whatever I need to do this right the first time.
Of course, but every reception location is unique. You must be prepared for some experimentation. We are helping you by remote control.

I'm not standing in front of your house, but I think I can see it in satellite view. I will send you an image with the green signal lines in a PM. If I have the right location, tell me if I have your permission to post the image on this thread.
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Last edited by rabbit73; 08-28-2017 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:29 PM   #3
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Here's the abbreviated link for my TV Fool report

?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3de6a40081e361d1

Alright, one more set of questions...(for now, anyway)

I have a new thought process. I'm thinking I might pull this off with one antenna. If I get the Winegard HD 8200U, amplify that with the Winegard LNA-200, point it at 83 degrees (Mt. Bigelow)...that antenna is big enough and powerful enough to get all the southern stations (shown as green on my TV Fool report) collaterally (for lack of a better term).

With two exceptions, the southern stations are all UHF. One is the NBC affiliate KVOA, real channel 4, in the VHF low-band, which would be a PIA to get, anyway. That same station has a transmitter on Mt. Bigelow on real channel 23, so hopefully I'd be covered for my NBC needs. The other is KOLD, the CBS affiliate, which is real channel 13, but has a transmitter on mount Bigelow at real channel 32. So, hopefully that would cover my CBS needs.

Except for those two exceptions, being that they're all UHF, and they're all green, and all but one of them are under 12 miles out, that Winegard monster should pull them in even though it wouldn't be pointed directly at them.

Is my thought process sound, or is is flawed? If it is flawed, what should I do instead?
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:59 PM   #4
It's the Antenna!
 

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Thank you for the short link. I think this is it:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a40081e361d1

Thank you for answering my PM. You didn't say if I could post the image. Does no answer mean no?

This isn't going to be easy.
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Last edited by rabbit73; 08-28-2017 at 01:17 PM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
Thank you for the short link. I think this is it:
Yup, that's me!
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Old 08-28-2017, 02:28 PM   #6
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
Thank you for the short link. I think this is it:

Thank you for answering my PM. You didn't say if I could post the image. Does no answer mean no?

This isn't going to be easy.
I'm sorry. I thought I said yes. Anyway...yes.
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Old 08-28-2017, 04:42 PM   #7
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Alright, I know I keep responding to my own thread, but I have a couple more things...

First off, I'd like to apologize for misspelling the word "antenna" in the subject title. Not sure how that happened.

Second, I've been staring at the TV Fool report some more. It dawned on me that I'm not hunting for any low-VHF antennas. So, the 8200U seems like a waste of money, and is bigger than necessary. With the exceptions of real channel 9, and possibly reach channel 13, I don't need VHF at all. So, I'm not considering the Winegard HD7698P , with the same one-antenna plan I posted about three posts back.
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Old 08-28-2017, 06:07 PM   #8
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The only station in the VHF-low band is the digital repeater for TV channel 4,(your NBC station) it is on VHF low band channel 4, but the real station is a first edge station on UHF channel 23, this first edge station may have problems with signal drop out during the day or night, and also depending on the weather.

This is a horizontal plot for TV channel 4 on UHF channel 23.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...ALLTV%26n%3d13

The TV transmitter is on the far left, you are on the far right, there is a mountain peak in the way, this causes the TV signal to knife edge, this can sometimes cause a fade out, or not.

To see the other stations just click on the stations call sign and it will give you a horizontal plot.
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Old 08-28-2017, 06:42 PM   #9
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terryl3 View Post
The only station in the VHF-low band is the digital repeater for TV channel 4,(your NBC station) it is on VHF low band channel 4, but the real station is a first edge station on UHF channel 23, this first edge station may have problems with signal drop out during the day or night, and also depending on the weather.

This is a horizontal plot for TV channel 4 on UHF channel 23.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...ALLTV%26n%3d13

The TV transmitter is on the far left, you are on the far right, there is a mountain peak in the way, this causes the TV signal to knife edge, this can sometimes cause a fade out, or not.

To see the other stations just click on the stations call sign and it will give you a horizontal plot.
Yeah, that one got to me, too. And, this may sound like I'm trying to be contrarian but I'm really not. I'm just explaining the thoughts that make this so confusing...

-I do have to go after Mount Bigelow because I need Fox and ABC. Without those two, this project just isn't worth doing.

-I don't know if this means anything at all, but I'm just putting this out there: I moved to the area in 1980. I was poor, and hence most of my time growing up was without cable television. So, my TV viewing was all OTA. Before the digital transition (or even the technology, really), Mount Bigelow is where the Tucson market's transmitters always were. And, most of the Tucson market got what was offered off of Mount Bigelow. Now, I understand that digital and analog signals are two completely different things, and perhaps they carry different or react differently to that edge. I am just putting that out there for the consideration of anyone who may read this thread.
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bret Linden View Post
I'm sorry. I thought I said yes. Anyway...yes.
OK, here it is:



It looks like 83 can get by your neighbor's house, but the trees worry me.

The choices on your report are difficult and your analysis has been sound so far, but K16EO has ABC.
http://www.rabbitears.info/market.ph...callsign=k16eo

Quote:
First off, I'd like to apologize for misspelling the word "antenna" in the subject title. Not sure how that happened.
Not a big deal. You might be able to correct it if you go to you first post and then Go Advanced.
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Last edited by rabbit73; 08-28-2017 at 09:19 PM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:09 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice on how to change the title of the thread...not sure if it stuck, though.

And, thank you for the confirmation that my logic is sound.

As to the tree at 83 degrees, it is not higher than my roof. That's not to say it never will grow to a point where it will be. But, as of right now, if I mount my antenna on my chimney I'll have at least five feet of clearance. I'm not sure how many years it takes mesquite trees to grow five feet, but I guess I'll find out.

The southern trees...that's another issue. But, again, the southern signals seem so strong that I doubt these trees will be an issue.

My chimney...I'm having second thoughts on that one. It is stucco. I've been reading that the tension straps will damage the stucco and that crumbling stucco will compromise the stability of the antenna. I didn't think of that, and have to admit it is sound logic.

I'm now back to considering a Gable End mount for my Northeast-facing wall. The north corner of my house is where the DTV setup was, so hooking in to that would be much cleaner, without having to lay the cable on the roof and all. However, I'm not sure if my neighbor's chimney would be in the way or not in such a scenario. You can see what his chimney is by the shadow it's casting in the picture that you posted. His is a two-story house. Getting a mast long enough on a gable end mount wouldn't be impossible, but it would present quite a challenge. I'm attaching a picture. For whatever reason, I couldn't get the view in as tight as rabbit73 did. But, it really looks as if the Gable End is going to put my neighbor's chimney right in the way going to 83 degrees.

So, I'm really not sure what to do here. I could just go south. But, I love football, I love the Simpsons, and I love Family Guy. I need Fox to make this project worthwhile. And, for whatever reason, they seem to be the only guys in town (except for My Network TV) who haven't set up a repeater south of town.





Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
OK, here it is:



It looks like 83 can get by your neighbor's house, but the trees worry me.

The choices on your report are difficult and your analysis has been sound so far, but K16EO has ABC.
http://www.rabbitears.info/market.ph...callsign=k16eo

Not a big deal. You might be able to correct it if you go to you first post and then Go Advanced.
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:42 AM   #12
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I would go with a tri-pod mount at the top peak of the roof, chimney mounts can work loose if they are covered with stucco, and if you use the chimney for wood fires the antennas will get covered with soot and creosote, this over time can make them useless.

A tri-pod mount at the center of the roof (right where the red marker is in the above photo) with a ten foot mast would be the best setup, and if you want all the stations surrounding you a good antenna rotor could be used.

And to help with any problems due to the knife edging a good high gain antenna should be used, but trying to find one now days that will cover the low band VHF channels is tough, but the only station on low band is the one on channel 4, and that one is quite close in, it may work on a good VHF/UHF antenna.
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terryl3 View Post
I would go with a tri-pod mount at the top peak of the roof, chimney mounts can work loose if they are covered with stucco, and if you use the chimney for wood fires the antennas will get covered with soot and creosote, this over time can make them useless.

A tri-pod mount at the center of the roof (right where the red marker is in the above photo) with a ten foot mast would be the best setup, and if you want all the stations surrounding you a good antenna rotor could be used.
Can you talk me through that install a little bit? I'm concerned with protecting my roof, preventing leaks, etc. I know that DTV guy bolted the DTV dis mount right in to the roof, and there haven't been any leaks, but I didn't see how he did it.

Additionally, can you recommend a good tri-pod mount for a pitched rooftop. I've seen a few, but their legs aren't adjustable. Not sure how that helps on a pitched roof. So, which ones have adjustable legs?
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:49 AM   #14
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And to help with any problems due to the knife edging a good high gain antenna should be used, but trying to find one now days that will cover the low band VHF channels is tough, but the only station on low band is the one on channel 4, and that one is quite close in, it may work on a good VHF/UHF antenna.
I have settled on the Winegard HD7698P Platinum Series Long Range Outdoor TV Antenna. It doesn't have VHF low band, which I've decided I do not need, anyway. From my research, this seems to be the strongest directional antenna that covers both UHF and VHF-High.

...unless I'm missing something here, and someone has a better suggestion.
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Old 08-29-2017, 12:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
My googling for an antenna installer (that I have confidence in) has been fruitless. I'm not in the greatest shape right now, and I'm having some knee issues, so I'd like to keep the trips up and down the ladder to my roof as minimal as I possibly can.
There are other people that might be willing and able to help you, like a roofer, an electrician, a carpenter, or painter, who work on ladders. A roofer might be able to do a tripod mount on the roof in a way that would minimize the risk of roof leaks.

A gable mount would only allow a 5ft mast with one big or two antennas (one for each direction). To go higher with a gable mount, the mast would need to have its base at ground level.

You should first make a test to see if Fox and NBC are possible from 83 degrees. Then swing it around to 161 for ABC from K16EO. The results of this test will determine if you should go any further, and in which direction. For the test, try the inexpensive Solid Signal HDB91X UHF antenna and a preamp like the Antennas Direct Juice.
https://www.antennasdirect.com/store/JUICE.html

You will need a preamp for 83 degrees, but it is not yet known if you will need a preamp for the south because of the trees.

Quote:
Should I buy an FM trap in advance or just wait to see how I do?
You might need an FM filter; you have several strong FM transmitters from the south:
http://www.fmfool.com/modeling/tmp/6...6/Radar-FM.png
filter:
https://www.antennasdirect.com/store...on_filter.html
Quote:
I have no idea where the nearest cell tower is to my home. I can tell you that both my wife and I receive consistent LTE coverage on our phones without a problem.
You might need an LTE filter if your phone works well inside; stucco is usually applied on a metal mesh.
https://www.channelmaster.com/TV_Ant..._p/cm-3201.htm
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File Type: jpg wado66TVFwall.jpg (80.9 KB, 1 views)
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