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Thread: TV Antennas?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    TV Antennas?

    I am about 50 miles from the "local" transmitters. I had heard that even with a large roof antenna it was marginal, so I have always had cable. Well, they keep jacking the prices up on that, and there are no streaming services that include local channels for any less.
    Walmart closed out a bunch of antennas. One claimed it was get 120 miles when used inside for $15. Naturally I didn't believe it, but figured it was easy enough to take back. It is like a 8"x8" sheet of plastic with a wire coming out of it. Sure enough, I got absolutely nothing from it, but when I hung it out the window I got all my stations! Some flickered in and out, but others were pretty strong. (all the transmitters are in one small area). That made me think that a somewhat better antenna might actually work. The plastic sheet worked when put below my deck, so I figure the other antenna would work there also. One small hole through the wall and I am good.

    Antennas that look like they ought to be better than a sheet of plastic go from between $30 and $150. Can anyone suggest an antenna available at a big box store that would work?

    The plastic sheet worked when amplified and not at all when not. Do I want an amplifier for the antenna, or does a better antenna not need it?
    Oddly one of the most consistent stations was all by itself about 70 miles away; sadly, I don't really want that one. It didn't really matter how the antenna was pointed.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2014
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    I've bookmarked:

    AntennaWEB

    a quick look makes it look like it's still up and doing the same service, though the format has changed from what I remember.

    You give it your address, it knows the transmitter locations, and gives you direction and distance to each. There were also general recommendations based on distance and terrain for antenna type and size.

    Each type of antenna has an efficiency with which it captures signals. The closer more direct the stronger the original signal and the less wire and loads the less it's degraded. Antennas with more gain are more directional (and bigger.) An amp really only makes sure the captured signal doesn't have to drive the wire(s) and the receiver(s) you have. Sounds like, with an appropriate antenna, you won't need an amp.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    I've bookmarked:

    AntennaWEB
    It says that with the biggest antenna I can get 3 stations. But I got 6 stations with the plastic sheet.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    It says that with the biggest antenna I can get 3 stations. But I got 6 stations with the plastic sheet.
    Don't know. Your plastic version used the amp. Did they mention an amp for the bigger antenna? (I don't remember if they took number of loads and wire length into account. Also results vary depending on weather, topology, and sources of interference sources. Also they are probably conservative in their ratings.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    The Hartland of Michigan
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    If you can put up an outside antenna, that would be your best choice.

  6. #6
    Look over at Ebay for some directional antennas. They come with built in rotor, which is controlled by signal sent thru co-ax cable. In college, I worked for local TV shop. In one area of town, we had to erect deep fringe antennas to get local stations, but a couple blocks down the street, rabbet ears worked well. Transmitters were less than 30 miles away. Flat terrain, so hills weren't the problem. As a kid, lived in an L shaped house with tin roof. By aiming antenna directly into V of roof, at night, I could get a station over 160 miles away.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2014
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    We have one of these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SVNKT86...ster_B07W5WFNY and it's pretty good. We're in a fringe area somewhat closer to the transmiters than you are but with trees and topography in the way. The antenna is handicapped because I'm not willing to put in on the roof. Too much lightning around here. It's at the edge of our porch about 7 feet off the floor and under a metal roof. We get all the local channels with only rare problems when there is weather.

    I've had a other antennas including 1 with a cheap amplifier and this is much better. It does not need to be better than it is.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2006
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    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
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    I like the yagi antenna, do not think you will need an amp if you use an outside antenna...

    ebay item 174653508659

    Remember that the hdtv signal needs basically a line of sight to transmitter... buildings, trees, etc can block signal...
    Last edited by Bruce Page; 09-23-2021 at 11:58 PM. Reason: Removed ebay link per TOS

  9. #9
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    Feb 2007
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    southeast Michigan
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    Wade, there is a YouTube channel called "Antenna Man" that has a lot of good, easy to understand information. He also does tests and reviews on quite a few antennas.

  10. #10
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    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    I have a Channel master CM4228 and it works good. I don't think it's made and the last I heard the replacement was worse (but that was 15 years ago). I'm close to the towers but because the federal gov requires flashing lights on top of towers over a certain height and the state not wanting flashing lights they lowered them when they were switched to digital. So now part of the mountain blocks the signal. I didn't bother getting a rotor but if I had I probably could have found other stations.

  11. #11
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    Digital tv only uses the UHF bands so the old long arms on a big antenna are no longer needed. That does not stop makers from selling the old long arm designs because that is what tv antennas should look like. You could cut off the back half of those antennas and never notice except it would be hard to balance on the pole.
    Bill D

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Digital tv only uses the UHF bands so the old long arms on a big antenna are no longer needed. That does not stop makers from selling the old long arm designs because that is what tv antennas should look like. You could cut off the back half of those antennas and never notice except it would be hard to balance on the pole.
    Bill D
    You may have been misinformed Bill:

    To receive DTV signals from all stations in the area, your antenna needs to be able to receive both VHF channels (channels 2-13) and UHF channels (channels 14-36). Some antennas only provide good reception of VHF or UHF channels, but not both. For example, indoor "rabbit ears" usually need to be augmented with an additional "wire loop" or "bowtie" antenna (see images in next tab) in order to pick up signals on UHF channels. Many of the antennas being sold as "HDTV Antennas" perform best at receiving UHF signals, but perform less well receiving VHF channels. Check with retail consultants and consumer websites to make sure that any antenna you choose provides good reception of both VHF and UHF channels.
    From > https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides...tal-television

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #13
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Digital tv only uses the UHF bands so the old long arms on a big antenna are no longer needed. That does not stop makers from selling the old long arm designs because that is what tv antennas should look like. You could cut off the back half of those antennas and never notice except it would be hard to balance on the pole.
    Bill D
    Au contraire....the local ABC affiliate is on low-VHF. I was unable to pick it up with the typical smaller outdoor antenna available these days at our previous residence for that reason.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    I'm thinking that a major factor with picking up radio waves from an antenna 50 miles away is the 1650' horizon drop, so unless the transmitting AND receiving antenna's are mounted 825' in the air, there's no line of sight advantage.

    From my old CB days I know the 27mHz band will skip off the atmosphere, but I have no clue about the UHF bands used for TV broadcasting...?


    Over the air TV reception is one problem I DON'T have, thanks to being surrounded by mountains
    I'm standing in front of the neighbors house, facing NNE taking a pic of our house-
    hm.jpg

    Turning about 110 CCW, straight ahead of me about 25-30 miles away is
    Farnsworth Peak, which is (I think) the tallest point on the Oquirrh Mountains-
    fp.jpg

    Using my 'good' camera I was able to zoom in on the peak--
    That's one big tower up there, nearly all the radio, ham radio and TV stations
    have transmitters & antenna's up there--
    fpant.jpg
    we do get pretty good radio & TV signals around here
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 09-24-2021 at 12:58 PM. Reason: added pics
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  15. #15
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    Sep 2009
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    Putney, Vermont
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    I got rid of the tv antenna on the roof when I reroofed and put up a good antenna for the radio because we are radio listeners. After we dropped cable tv I tried the radio antenna on the tv and it picks up New Hampshire Public televisions 5 channels with excellent picture quaity.

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