How good are Antennas

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Greg_GG, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    Hello everyone, I am wondering how good antennas are to pick up TV signals or HD signals. I am sick of paying $80 buck a month when I can get something for free since I do not watch Cable Channels too often. When I moved into my house in mount olive township new jersey the house had an old tv antenna on a pole in the back yard. I was wonder if that would work or do I have to buy a fancy power antenna or something like that. I have absolutly no experiance with antennas and I do want to take too much away from my big screen tv I bought a year ago. Any help would be great.
    Thanks Greg
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Greg,

    Go to Antennaweb.org to find what type antenna is recommended for your area and which direction in which to aim it.

    Under decent reception conditions an antenna can provide a much better picture than most cable systems.
     
  3. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    Thanks Steve but i still have too many questions. The antenna that the site said was a violet for the vhf,uhf. The next qustion is do I have to point the thing everytime I want to watch a different show. What type do I buy as I said before the house came with a I think they call it a boom antenna outside on a pole but the wire is cut upstairs in the atic. Can I use this antenna and hoe do I hook it up to my TV or do I have to buy a different one.
    Thanks gain Greg
     
  4. Bruce N

    Bruce N Second Unit

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    There's an antenna there now? Hook it up and see what you get! You may be surprised.
     
  5. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    Violet is deep-fringe, very weak signal! That needs a huge antenna on a very tall mast with a preamp and extreme good luck to receive violet level signals. Cable is probably your only choice.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I've been cable-free for exactly two years now. Haven't regretted it at all. And my PBS picture is much sharper, with better-defined colors, that it ever was on the bandwidth-crammed and -starved cable "service" I had.

    If HD is your plan, I'd go with OTA or DBS or a combination of the two. HD over cable tends to be softer because most cable "services" are bit-grooming their signals.
     
  7. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    Thanks to everyone who responded I am going to try to hook up the antenna that is in my back yard I will post on how it came out.
    Greg
     
  8. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    OK here we go. I hooked up the outside pole mounted antenna. I get channel 2 light snow, channel 4 light snow , and channel 9 light snow that is it. Can I hook up a powered antenna with the outside antenna to hope for better and more channel or am I out of luck?? Thanks again.
    Greg
     
  9. Aaron Gilbert

    Aaron Gilbert Second Unit

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    Greg,

    When you say the antenna is on a pole in the back yard, how tall are we talking? I believe the general recommendation is that it's best mounted on the peak of your roof, 4'+ above the peak for a wood roof, and 10'+ for a metal roof. Unless this pole in your backyard is super tall, you won't be getting optimum reception. Are you certain the cable is in good condition? Seems like you should get at least something more than snow unless you are 70+ miles away from the broadcast towers, if the antenna is at all decent size.

    Aaron Gilbert
     
  10. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    I would say the pole is about 20 ft or about 3ft above my roof line since the pole is on a hill which is above my house foundation. When I say snow 2 and 4 and 9 has specs all the rest is SNOW. I live acording to the antenna.org site 46 mile from all the major channel tower in NYC and Secaucass (sp). Will adding a bigger or a power attic antenna work better. I didn't inspec the wire but my connections from wire to adaptor are solid and done by butt connetions, etc. Thank you guys are a big help to a novice.
    Greg
     
  11. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Greg,

    Your old antenna is probably badly corroded, and the downlead probably needs to be replaced all the way up to the antenna itself.

    Try replacing that old antenna with one recommended by Antennaweb, and run new RG-6 all the way from the antenna to the set. You will have to "aim" the antenna to get the best reception, and may also have to add an antenna rotator. I would try all of the above before getting an antenna amplifier.

    Digital reception may be possible even though you have snow on the analog channels, especially if you only have fairly light snow and little or no ghosting on your analog channels.

    Try posting an inquiry in the "local HDTV reception" section over at AVS Forums, including your location in the header.
    There are many antenna gurus over there willing to help newbies out with antenna reception.
     
  12. Garrett Adams

    Garrett Adams Supporting Actor

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    Jack, there is an army of folks who have migrated from Dish or DirecTV to HD cable and they report an improvement over satellite. I know my Comcast HD looks great. And the two Sacramento locals on their system (NBC and ABC) compare favorably to what I receive OTA using a humongous roof antenna.
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Greg: So you're only getting the VHF channels? Go into the appropriate menu on your display and see if you have it set to "Cable." If so, you won't be able to receive the UHF channels. Select "Antenna," and then you will get the UH frequencies. Also, as suggested, look closely at the coaxial cable to see if it's corroded. Check the overall condition of the antenna as well. If you're reasonably close to the transmitter towers and there are no major obstructions in your line of sight, then you should be getting a really decent picture. JB
     
  14. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    Jack the wire is not a coaxial it is that flat wire stuff the antenna appears to be in so, so shape. I just cut down a tree limb that was intangled with the antenna in doing so one of the antenna bars bent down. I just want to see if it is worth going out and getting a better antenna. Also do I have to get a coverter if I want HD broadcast? Thanks for all your help.
    Greg
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Greg,

    If your set has a built-in HD tuner you won't need a set top box. Check the owner's manual that came with the set.

    Most sets are only HD-Ready and do require a separate tuner box for HD broadcasts, either from your cable company, or an Over-The-Air (OTA) only receiver, or one of the combination satellite and ota receivers.

    If you are less than 50 miles from the broadcast transmitters and have few large buildings or hills between you and the transmitters you should be able to pick up ota digital signals with a good enough antenna and downlead. Since virtually all HD is broadcast on the UHF band and virtually all analog in your area is on VHF, you will probably need a new antenna for HD in any case.

    That flat twinlead you have now fell out of common use over 20 years ago and is probably in very bad shape.

    I think a good new antenna and all new cabling between it and your tuner will give you good results. The initial investment in a good antenna setup and HD receiver box will be in the neighborhood of $500 or so. You may be able to get HD from cable for a mere extra $5 or so a month as most all cable systems that carry HD only charge about that much for the HD cable box rental.

    If you're hesitant about climbing up that pole to replace that old antenna you might try consulting professional installers in your area.
     
  16. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    That old twinlead is 300ohms, modern tuners require a 75ohm coaxial cable input. You use a balun transformer to take a short connection of twinlead at the antenna terminals to convert to a coax plug then use 75ohm RG6 or RG59 coax cable from the balun to inside the house. Such an old antenna is probably designed for VHF however, you should get a newer UHF antenna for the digital TV stations which mostly are on the UHF band. The UHF antennas are smaller and lower profile anyway, I'd recommend a Channel Master model 4221 for UHF, of if you need both VHF/UHF get a Channel Master 3018 or similar combo model. You can mount it on your old mast location but get some new RG6 coax cable for the new installation.
     
  17. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    Thanks guys for the info. I think I am going to dive into OTA TV. I have to take the old antenna down. I was thinking of getting the Radio Shack vu190(even the it is only green colro I was recommened violet color). Can you guys tell me how to ground the pole/antenna and if that antenna will do job. I live in Mount Olive N.J. and antenna.org siad to get a violet colar antenna but Radio shack does not carry that color. Sould I mount it back on the pole about 25ft. or on top of my house on a tri pole,chimney mount. I am not going to go HDTV yet because I don't have 600 bucks for a converter. oh will a rca satalite reciever work for tuning or for measuring strength? Basicly I am looking for a good set up that will get channels cbs, nbc, abc, fox, upn9. And I need to know proper grounding becuase they talk about all that static eletric and I dont want to fry my TV's. Thank again.
    greg
     
  18. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Greg, are the channels that you watch available on UHF? If they're all available on UHF, you may want to pick up a UHF only antenna.
     
  19. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    Avoid that Radio Shack model its junk. Go for a good quality Channel Master or Winegard, the UHF-only antennas are a lot better for UHF digital TV reception. The big models like that Radio Shack are primarily a VHF antenna with a very small weak UHF section.
     
  20. Greg_GG

    Greg_GG Extra

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    According to antenna .org
    cbs=vhf 119degrees 40miles away
    nbc=vhf 115degrees 39miles away
    fox=vhf 115degrees 40 miles away
    upn=vhf 119 degrees 37 miles away
    abc=vhf 119 degrees 40 miles away

    all of the stations close by are vhf and are around NYC
    what about grounding or amps.
    Thanks again.
    Greg
     

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