OTA Signal Measurements

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
scubajwd
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:10 am

Thanx Jason & Craig for all your inputs; interestingly enough
I did loop some old VCR and telephone copper wire on the
panel when I had it up in the living room; that seemed to
help bring the one channel (CBS at 174 mHz VHF-HI) into my house;
verifies what you stated , Jason about the loop and coax being the
only component visible to VHF..I'll take a look at this antenna that you suggested..

ACraigo
Posts: 260
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:15 am

Don't want to wait for UPS?

Run one of these up the flagpole and see if your HOA salutes:
https://cromwell-intl.com/radio/tv-antenna.html

:D

Cayars
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:55 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby Cayars » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:16 am

Just keep in mind the Antennas Direct C1-V has VHF-HI but doesn't help you with VHF-LO channels (2-6).
It's an OK antenna that lives up to it's specs.

I'll mention a couple of things. HOAs in the USA can't stop you from mounting an antenna outside. This could be a TV antenna, Sat dish (under 1 meter) or some HAM radio antennas. I've had the pleasure of "correcting" many HOAs when doing installs when they object. If you need to use a "monster' 12' by 14' antenna for VHF-LO then so be it. Nothing the HOA can legally do about it.
https://www.fcc.gov/media/over-air-rece ... vices-rule

With that said, if you can do a mount that is less conspicuous then all the better.

Unless you are close to the towers I'd avoid inside antennas including the attic. You can easily take a 10 to 15 db loss essentially nulling a good antenna. Depending on material of house and which direction the sides of your house orient you can sometime mount an antenna directly to the side of the house painted the same color as the house itself which makes it very hard to even see when looking at it!

A simple home made antenna that will perform better then most antennas you can purchase for VHF-HI and UHF is the hoverman (with or without a screen). I just installed one for a friend under his attic eve and he's picking up channels from 45+ miles from the Phila towers. He was previously using a DB8e 8-Element Bowtie in his attic but couldn't get a good/reliable signal. PS that's a really good antenna but it's big and can be unsightly outside which is why he didn't want to use it.

Think outside the box and if possible at least try your antenna outside to see how much difference it will make.

ACraigo
Posts: 260
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:08 am

Just keep in mind the Antennas Direct C1-V has VHF-HI but doesn't help you with VHF-LO channels (2-6).
It's an OK antenna that lives up to it's specs.
Normally I'd throw plenty of aluminum at a project (to save time), but in this case 85KW is 5 miles from ground zero. The idea here is that just about anything close to VHF should see something. We hope.
I'll mention a couple of things. HOAs in the USA can't stop you from mounting an antenna outside. This could be a TV antenna, Sat dish (under 1 meter) or some HAM radio antennas.
If I became rich, my new hobby would be buying homes in HOA territory - then start OTA-DXing and work 80 and 160 meter exclusively:

Image
Unless you are close to the towers...


Yea, 5 miles.
I'd avoid inside antennas including the attic. You can easily take a 10 to 15 db loss essentially nulling a good antenna.
Magnum Overkill antennae in attics are nice in that you don't have to worry about wind loading, until the roof blows off. You do need more antenna than you would outside, of course, but when RF Energy is roasting the hair off the cat (from 5 miles away), an attic installation might be good enough. It won't help you re-educate your HOA thugs from in the attic, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how you look at it.

;)

clarkss12
Posts: 1139
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 11:51 am
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby clarkss12 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:38 am

He makes nice antennas......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqlViVmrz8U

ACraigo
Posts: 260
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:11 am

He makes nice antennas......
...proving beyond any doubt - ANYBODY can make a great anttanna.

scubajwd
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:15 am

THanx guys...Carlo thanx for weighing in also ..I'm honored to be
attracting all the forum heavy-weights on this project..

NBC and FOX for me are VHF-LO at 58 Deg off of true North (about 7 miles LOS)
PBS ABC CBS are VHF-HI @ 110 Deg off of true north (about 5 miles LOS)

The consensus (Including Antennas Direct) seems to think I have a 50% chance of bring in
those VHF-LO channels with something like:
ClearStream 4V Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Ante ... Mile Range

So I will give it a try; Amazon seems to have a return-friendly environment so
i Have not much to lose here..

Heavy 10 Lb Tiled roof here so not sure attic will cut it altho someone said I'm not pointing at
a satellite just thru a flimsy stucco wall here in freezing Henderson NV..if I have to go outside
I intend to mount it facing mid arc between 58 Deg and 110 Deg on my back patio (out of site from
the HOA enforcers..that solution, however will necessitate a lower installed height (about 10 ft)
and an xtra 75 ft of RG6 for a total length
probably in the neighborhood of 125 ft of 75 ohm RG6..will I need pre or post amps for this?

Thanx again for all the valuable participation & help here..

ACraigo
Posts: 260
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:28 am

With both possible 'targets' under 10 miles I wouldn't anticipate you'd need a line amp. If that becomes an issue you can add an amplified splitter at some point, near where it enters the structure, but in all likelihood you're probably going to be more concerned with too much signal rather than too little.

You may find a sweet spot about halfway between the two targets, or you may need to aim at the target you don't have the antenna for (the VHF-Lo), or you may actually need two antennae (one of them will have to be cut for VHF-Lo). None of these scenarios can be anticipated. This is where 'field work' comes in. It's your field. Get to work!

lol

scubajwd
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:14 am

Wow that sucks and the reason I will never live in an HOA controlled home.

I use this app on my iPAD https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/signal- ... 80769?mt=8 to check signal strength. You can check multiple channels simultaneously while you adjust your antenna. I would get the antenna as high as possible, the attic makes a big difference due to lack of insulation. At least it did in my coworkers house when comparing attic to an upstairs bedroom right under it.

Keep the cable length short-ish if you can and don't split the signal using a splitter, a direct connection to the HDhomerun box is best. In some scenarios you may need an amplifier, although my installing did not require any kind of amplifier.

At my house, I had near >90% signal strength inside the house but only about 50% signal quality and nothing came in very well. And amplifier didn't do anything to help signal quality so I removed it. Moving my antenna to the outside on the same floor brought my signal quality to >80% for all my channels. I live about 25-35 miles from the TV towers in the nearest large city.
Thanx very much for all this "experienced " info...especially pointing me to the IOS App..that bad boy
IS VERY USEFUL and will come in very handy once I climb up into my attic!!

2leftfeet
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:09 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby 2leftfeet » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:41 am

Just keep in mind the Antennas Direct C1-V has VHF-HI but doesn't help you with VHF-LO channels (2-6).
It's an OK antenna that lives up to it's specs.
The VHF dipole that comes with the Antennas Direct antenna actually is tuned for around 180 Mhz - I have found that works quite well with channel 6.

2leftfeet
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:09 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby 2leftfeet » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:45 am

.....I've convinced myself that for me an indoor solution
won't work and my HOA won't allow a pole mounted HDTV antenna off my roof..
......
Actually, per the FCC OTARD rules (https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/in ... ite-dishes), an HOA cannot prohibit pole mounted antennas as long as they are within the stated guidelines

Cayars
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:55 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby Cayars » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:18 am

Just keep in mind the Antennas Direct C1-V has VHF-HI but doesn't help you with VHF-LO channels (2-6).
It's an OK antenna that lives up to it's specs.
The VHF dipole that comes with the Antennas Direct antenna actually is tuned for around 180 Mhz - I have found that works quite well with channel 6.
The VHF portion however is only VHF-HI and not designed for VHF-LO. That dipole is used on a few different models and is 2.1 to 2.5 db gain depending on the antenna and reflector. It's not cut for 85 MHz which is Channel 6. You're most likely picking it up on the UHF portion of the antenna.

Looking at your location I see you're in PA so I'm assuming your channel 6 is WPVI Philla. That station is a flame thrower (34 kW; 62.9 kW application) and I can pick it up on a UHF antenna 45 miles from the 330 meter Roxborough towers with no amp at 20'. I bet you could pick it up as well if you disconnected the dipole and only used the UHF part of the antenna but you would then lose WHYY 12 (VHF-HI) depending on distance. I believe WPVI is still the most powerful VHF-LO station in the US.

WPVI is still VHF regardless of power so interference is a killer and often times requires an outdoor antenna even for those living in Philla to help reduce interference. It of course is the hardest major station to get in the area reliably.

scubajwd
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:10 am

So experts..what is the FCC repack all about? Is it to refurb some
towers to move channels into the UHF band with less power output?

ACraigo
Posts: 260
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:37 am

So experts..what is the FCC repack all about? Is it to refurb some
towers to move channels into the UHF band with less power output?
Oh, it's much more nefarious than that...:
https://www.radioworld.com/news-and-bus ... challenges

I think that pretty much covers it - all the way from 'bad idea' through 'we're gonna do it anyway' up to where we are now...
what does that mean for us?
Various levels of pain and suffering, I'm sure, but you may get lucky if your stations aren't playing musical frequencies - and you can find out if they are here:
https://playout.tvnewscheck.com/2017/04 ... in-repack/
particularly:
https://newscheckmedia.sharefile.com/sh ... 1ba8e4372a
(a big list)

I think it's the broadcasters getting boar-hogged on this deal (and it couldn't happen to a nicer group of cash-hungry zealots), but rest assured bazillions of our tax dollars are being made ready in what is sure to be in the top ten of all money grabs in history.

For me, one channel is moving up a single channel - 33 to 34 (pure genius, I'd say). That's at the main hub, from which several feeds are microwaved to towers overlooking select communities in the Abyss (and I'm in one of them), so it may be on our end, things won't change at all, but at worst very little.

For you - one channel you wouldn't get anyway (this new antenna may help), K43FO-D 36 is moving to 45.

No band changes I can see for either of us. I was kinda hoping a major network broadcaster in the area would be forced to channel 2, broadcast a half million watts and do the ricochet-rabbit down in this holler, but that ain't gonna happen.

scubajwd
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:03 pm

THanx, AC..does appear to be just another Fed cluster-Expletive deleted!
My new antenna is due here next Tuesday..I'll keep everyone posted
on developments...seems to be a moderate interest in my case here..
Maybe we can all add to our experience base; Iknow I'm very late to the
cord-cutting hard core but I've had it with Cox and I've already informed
my wife that her 17 Yr love affair with her Tivo is toast..


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