OTA TV Antenna (roof top with Directv)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by snowcraig2.0, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. snowcraig2.0

    snowcraig2.0 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2007
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    So I am cutting the cable on a couple of our TV's to save some cash. Unfortunately, given that we live in CR where the local broadcasts actually originate from 30 miles northwest of town and we live on the southeast side of a ridge, indoor antennas don't seem to be cutting it. I am thinking the best option will be an on roof antenna that I can plug into our existing Directv splitter. Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd love some direction on which antenna to buy and installation.
     
  2. ruxCYtable

    ruxCYtable Well-Known Member

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    #2 ruxCYtable, Aug 18, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  3. 2020cy

    2020cy Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2006
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    Sometimes you can get by with an attic antenna if you were worried about the look.
     
  4. jbhtexas

    jbhtexas Well-Known Member

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    #4 jbhtexas, Aug 18, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    First, go to antennaweb.org and enter your address. It will make an estimation of the kind of antenna you need for your location. It will also show you how to aim the antenna for best reception.
    http://www.antennaweb.org/Address.aspx

    A few years ago, I got a Radio Shack VU-90XR (outdoor antenna), and have had good results with it. I don't think RS carries that particular model anymore, but they have something like it. Antenna snobs are always pushing Channel Master or Wineguard. Nothing wrong with those brands, but they are more expensive. In searching around, I found a number of folks who had good results with the aforementioned less expensive RS model.
    http://support.radioshack.com/support_video/7697.htm

    3) If you have an attic with space, try installing it there first. Many have had success with this, and you can rig up a simple pole for mounting that doesn't have to withstand the outdoor elements.

    I ended up moving the VU-90XR outside because there were a couple of stations that didn't come in well. However, my attic is full of ducts and the furnace is up there, and I have large trees (which are bad for UHF reception). For the attic installation, all these things were between the antenna and the transmitting antenna farm (plus the roof of course), which I'm sure didn't help any. For outside installation, I found some brackets to make an inexpensive mount on the side of my house. The pole is only 8 ft, but the reception is excellent, and so far, it has withstood the storms. I can post a picture if interested.

    If you put an antenna up, be sure to ground it.
    http://www.antennahub.com/how-to-ground-a-tv-antenna.aspx
     
  5. Antihawk240

    Antihawk240 Member

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    I do not watch enough TV to justify cable, so I fought the indoor rabbit ears for many years. 4 years ago I bought a $75 RCA outdoor antennae from Walmart. I was concerned about reception, due to the number of trees I have surrounding my house, so I bought that one before I invested in a high price one. The one I purchased I mounted on the outside of my house along the gutters and pointed it Northwest. Absolutely love it. It pretty much gets me ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX without any problems, not to mention about 26 other channels that I rarely ever watch. During the winter it even picks up an NBC station from Quad Cities and I live by CR. My only issue is from Late July to Early September I have trouble getting Fox but that is more because the trees I have around my house being fully leaf'd out. Many people told me to buy the expensive antennae but the cheaper one from Walmart works just fine for me. Especially considering I live in a valley with lots of trees.
     
  6. snowcraig2.0

    snowcraig2.0 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2007
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    All of our Directv 'stuff' is on the outside of the house anyway, so I figure I will just try something on the roof or the side.
     
  7. Triggermv

    Triggermv Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2010
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    #7 Triggermv, Aug 18, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    I live in Marion, cut the cord 5 years, upgraded from an indoor (indoor worked awful) antenna to an outdoor one about 3 years ago, and don't regret for one second any of those decisions. With that said, providing your location, the position of CR signals and your obstacles you are competing with, I'd highly recommend going with an outdoor antenna as opposed to any type of indoor or attic one. I'm just afraid you might still struggle with the atiic and indoor ones. I've got the following antenna myself, it is cheap and it works great:

    http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Aspen-EASDTV2BUHF-Directv-Approved/dp/B000GIT002/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1408389227&sr=1-5&keywords=outdoor+antenna

    With any of these similar like antennas, you'll also need a J-pole mount as well as the antennas don't usually come with a mount. Those are really the only two components you should need too along with the coax cable and such.

    http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-C2-Complete-ClearStream-Antenna/dp/B00IITMTKE/ref=sr_1_113?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1408389112&sr=1-113&keywords=outdoor+antenna


    While I'd say my antenna works great, from time to time, mine does struggle a bit with ABC, but it is fairly minimal and easily tweakable (I'm talking like a couple times a year). Also, I'm sure many of the others work just as well if not better than mine. In fact, I've heard the ClearStream ones are arguably the best, but they are also a bit more spendy.

    http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-C2-ClearStream-Television/dp/B0017O3UHI/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1408389662&sr=1-4&keywords=clearstream+outdoor+antenna

    All said and done, back in the day, I think I spent about $150 for everything. $50 for the combo of the mount and antenna, and then I paid a guy $100 to install everything, including running the cable and setting up a splitter in my basement. Whether $100 for installation is cheap or expensive, I'm not really sure. All I know is that he was nice and did a very good job. Also, $150 in total cost is about the same as 3 months in cable bills for many, so it has easily paid for itself over the years and continues to do so.

    Lastly, you are right about the direction of where the channels are broadcasted. I've got a south-facing house, I've got my antenna just over peak on the Northwest backside of the house, and it works best to point the antenna West - SouthWest. Truthfully, it is almost exactly West. Hopefully some of this helps you. All said and done, you are making a wise choice.
     
  8. Antihawk240

    Antihawk240 Member

    May 17, 2012
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    I have also found that the age of your TV helps significantly. I have a main TV that is 8 years old in my living room. The TV I have in my bedroom recently stopped working so I purchase a (cheaper) but brand new one. Both are plugged into the wall jack, and that wall jack is connected to the same outdoor antennae described above. The new TV in the bedroom gets 5 more channels (granted I dont watch these) more than the one in the living room. Only strange thing is, on days when Fox doesnt come in on the living room TV (due to the surrounding trees), I can go to the bedroom and it comes in fine.
     
  9. jbhtexas

    jbhtexas Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    #9 jbhtexas, Aug 18, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    The older generation HD tuners didn't deal well with multipath distortion ("ghosting" in the old analog days), which is caused by the TV signal being reflected by buildings and trees. If a particular channel was suffering from multipath, the older HD tuners would basically give up. I think since generation 5, the HD tuners have much improved algorithms to deal with multipath.
     
  10. Triggermv

    Triggermv Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2010
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    Marion, IA
    By the looks of this one, I'm sure this one works just as good if not better than mine.

    Also, don't worry about whether each different antenna transmits HD or not as they all do and all at equal clarity levels. In fact, one thing many people with cable or satellite don't know is that your HD through an antenna is just as good if not better than your HD through your satellite or cable because there is no compression of OTA signals.
     
  11. keepngoal

    keepngoal Jobless Jerk
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    Jun 20, 2006
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    The signal and picture are better from OTA... noticeably BETTER.

    -keep.
     
  12. MNclone

    MNclone Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2006
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    I made a loop out of 1/2" soft copper about 3 for long. Connected each end to a coax converter from Menard's for $2. Works great.
     
  13. keepngoal

    keepngoal Jobless Jerk
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    This is your HD antenna? How far are you from the signal? How high up is the antenna?
     
  14. snowcraig2.0

    snowcraig2.0 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2007
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    Anyone patched into an existing Directv splitter?
     
  15. Triggermv

    Triggermv Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2010
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    I guess you gotta appreciate this dudes ingenuity and thriftiness, haha
     
  16. ruxCYtable

    ruxCYtable Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2007
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    I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are saying. Are you keeping DirecTV on some TVs and going to OTA on some others? If so, you will NOT be able to run your OTA antenna through the same splitter. You understand that right?
     
  17. ruxCYtable

    ruxCYtable Well-Known Member

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    OTA is better b/c it is uncompressed but I'd be willing to bet 99% of viewers couldn't tell the difference even side by side.
     
  18. DJSteve

    DJSteve Member

    Apr 29, 2010
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    I prefer TVfool to antennaweb--tvfool gives a little more in-depth information about stations you can conceivably pick up with an OTA antenna--direction, distance, expected signal level, and transmitting frequency. Here's a link to the address search tool: http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29 They also have a forum where you can ask for guidance on your specific situation.

    Looks like there are some VHF stations within your range, but the ones that are likely to be of primary interest are in the upper VHF band and have relatively high signal levels. So you might get along OK with an antenna optimized for UHF.

    Winegard has some nice stuff, or did as of a few years ago. Everything is made overseas, but the company is based in Iowa. They're also one of the few manufacturers that publish gain data for consumer antennas, as far as I could find.

    If you're running to multiple TVs, keep in mind you'll have signal loss associated with any splitter(s) unless you're using some sort of active splitter/distribution amp.
     
  19. Triggermv

    Triggermv Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2010
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    #19 Triggermv, Aug 18, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    I'm one of those anal people with video clarity that can tell the difference most of the time. It depends though. For some of the highly watched sports or action programming where they deem higher priority and don't compress the signal as much, even I have a hard time sometimes telling the difference. However, for the lower-viewership, more standard HD programming where they compress the signal a lot, I can definitely tell the difference. CNBC would be the perfect example or something similar. Even the difference between cable/satellite companies with certain programming is VERY noticeable as every provider compresses at different levels for different programming. However, I'm also one of those dudes where DVDs drive me crazy to watch anymore as compared to Blu-Ray material. When I'm with others, I don't raise a stink, but when on my own with options, I refuse to watch DVDs anymore.
     
  20. ruxCYtable

    ruxCYtable Well-Known Member

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    I felt antennaweb underestimated the size of antenna I needed. The type of antenna recommended, I needed about one full size larger.

    You're right about splitting signals. I neglected to mention that I installed the antenna I linked above with one of these

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00133NQ9A/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     

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