I have an old antenna in the attic. When i moved into my house i
hooked it up to the tv. It works ok. Some channels dont come in
perfect some of the time. I've tried adjusting it w/ no luck. I see
these new style antennas for sale on line.
Are they better then the old style?
Has anyone tried both?
We don't know what the old style is that you refer to. You don't
Take a look at www.solidsignal.com . They don't sell anything like
the one in your picture.
One thing the one in the ad has is a rotor. I have had one with a
rotor and I found it a pain in the neck. I just picked the best
overall direction and I stayed with that. IF the rotors gave good
feedback, so I could tell which way they were pointed for a station
that gave the best signal, that would be one thing, but they give
estmates at best, afaict. Your ad doesn't go into that so it's no
better than the others, I would think.
They don't call their antenna a digital antenna. I'll give them
credit for that (or they're repeating what is on the box and they got
these antennas out of a warehouse where they have been for 5 or more
years.) There is nothing different about a digital and an analog
antenna. However becuase of the deficiencies of digital, one may
need a better antenna.
I used to use a 6 foot piece of single strand wire, and I got all the
local digital stations, but I wanted to get the DC station, 40 miles
away, so I bought the biggest 7 to 86 antenna I thought would fit in
It's pointed at DC and it too gets Baltimore but with the same
interruptions at times.
I plan to buy a second omnidirectional one, and use a splitter
(combiner) to connect both to my DVDR, etc. Also probably an
amplifier, although solid signal sells so many I don't know which one.
I haven't found a good web page about that so I have been meaning to
call them for advice.
Even better than antennaweb imo is TVfool.com It will tell you all
the stations in your area, what channel they are broadcasting on, from
what direction and from how far away. Few tv stations use channels 2
to 6, even if you tune your tv to 2 or 6, they are really on another
frequency. In all but a very few areas of the US there is at least
one major station that uses at least one channel 7 to 13, so you will
need high-VHF. If you don't have even one channel bellow 14, you can
get a UHF only antenna.
If you don't need channels 2 to 6, you don't need an antenna with the
really big elements. I think the longest on mine are 3 or 4 feet,
because I have no stations below channel 7.
I'm in the same area and in the same boat and live in the shadow of a hill
that obscures the line of sight with the big TV antenna complex near the
Sears near Tenleytown. The problem I had with the rotor is that my DVR has
no way to rotate the aerial to the proper direction for the channel I want
to record. Since I have two DVRs, I ended up putting two antennas in the
attic: one optimized for DC and the other for Baltimore. I segregate my
recording based on that. Stations coming from Baltimore go to DVR one,
stations from Washington, DVR two. Later this year, I am going to mount a
tall mast on the chimney and put up the rotor again, with the largest aerial
I can find to pull in the stations like 22 that broadcast from Annapolis, 90
degrees away from Baltimore or Washington and some other transmitters that
aren't located with the other major towers. )-:
I still get dropouts, though, from overhead planes, rain clouds and elves.
(IOU, I am not sure what causes them, but I do know they proliferate at the
ends of programs where they're saying "Of course, the killer had to be -
silence, splotches, more silence and finally the picture returns). As fuzzy
as analog was, I don't remember losing key parts of the transmission they
way I do with digital. I've also discovered that there's an incredible
variation in tuners. The Polaroid DVR doesn't get half the channels that a
new, no name 7" portable can pull in off the same aerial. Probably a 7 year
difference in date of manufacture, though. I have noticed that even my
friends with FIOS have problems in rainstorms because the weather affects
the satellite transmissions from orbit to the FIOS dishes.
Still, I'm happy with basic cable, OTA HD and Netflix. And having a DVR
with a commercial skip button. I don't think I could watch TV anymore
On Thu, 2 Sep 2010 05:44:52 -0400, "Robert Green"
Baltimore or Washington.
They never do, do they?
Very clever. I haven't tried this yet but someone on
sci.electronics;.repair said one could use a splitter (combiner, same
thing) to connect both antennas together, implying that there would be
no problem interactino. No one contradicted him but I never asked
further. I figured I would try it, so there wasn't much point to
discussing it. But I havent' got the omni-directional antenna yet.
Still, I do have that 6 or 8 foot wire.
Dropout is the word! Mine are all elves. I've never seen a reason.
I've been pretty lucky. It usually comes back when they're on the same
jeopardy clue, or it drops out during commericals or during part of
the news I'm not interested in.
But a week ago, I missed the last 5 minutes of Alfred Hitchcock. I
went to zap2it.com , but it only gave a generic description, good for
all episodes. I was going to search on the description.
So I looked for alfred hitchock full episodes and got
several hits. I thought I would have to start watching each, but they
each had one still shot from the given show, and mine had the back of
a nurse's head with a guy facing her whom I actually recognized from
the show. I rarely recognize anyone. So it took only a couple
minutes to find the show, and I let it play in the background until I
got to the last 5 minutes. It ended just like I remembered from 45
Right. The arrogance with which they asserted that it woudl be better
Very interesting. Thanks. I noticed this years ago with analog
tvs, and also with radios, that famous brand doesn't make much
I didn't know they made those. A year or two before the switch, a
friend gave me a VCR with commerical skip, but it turned out the whole
machine didn't work. I wonder if I was supposed to know that. Anyhoe
I didnt' get it fixed before the switch. I still plan to connect a
VCR to watch movies I bought for a dollar and never watched, and
things I recorded, but there's no rush.
Thanks. They're not going to be on a pole but in the attic, which is
about 7 feet high in the center and 6 inches high at front and back
Any advice about placement in that case??
I figured the big one meant to get DC stations south of here would be
south of the omnidirectional, meant to get stations east and if I'm
lucky north of here. Is 5 or 10 feet between them enough?
I figured I'd hang the antennas from the rafters and have room to put
light-weight boxes underneath.
Sorry, I don't. I'd try it out at least 10' but I'm just guessing. May
even have to mount one higher than the other, but again, I'm not sure.
Keep in mind your roof does block some of the signals and it will work
better outside. I don't know what would happen with a steel roof!?
Two antennas made it theoretically possible to switch back and forth via a
timer, but that was an incredibly complicated solution compared to spending
another $200 on a second DVR and having a two completely separate recording
"chains." It's turned out to be very useful for the sweeps when the only
three interesting programs broadcast all year are telecasted on the same day
I've done similar things (multi aerial receiver for household X-10 RF
controls signals), but in this case, the antennas are at opposite ends of
the house (Washington signals are strongest on the south side, Balto on the
north) so there didn't seem to be any point to combining the signal. I
suppose it might not be a bad idea to see what happens if I combine them.
Hmmmm . . .
It's pretty annoying. It's like microwave ovens. My old reliable Litton
had nothing but a mechanical spring timer that lasted over 20 years with
only a broken door latch. The replacement has a super-fancy multi-function
"cooking system" (aka "timer") that locked up tight the first time we used
it. Sometimes newer is not better.
That's good detective work. I had a similar experience the other night and
discovered Wikipedia has a lot of synopses for old TV shows with pretty
detailed commentary. I like to watch Hitchcock just to look for actors who
made it to the big time later on. HD OTA is great because I am getting to
watch old movies that used to be available only on AMC or TCM. That and the
Outer Limits where you can see a futuristic looking video-telephone device
equipped with a rotary dial!!!!! There's nothing as funny as old science
fiction where they either got it half wrong or all wrong. I remember when
computers were represented by huge arrays of flashing lights.
There are so many things that turned out to be better for the sellers than
the buyers. Hell, I like HD for movie viewing, but I don't want to see the
news anchor's nose hairs or acne scars. What ticks me off most is the
aspect ratio issue. I was watching something on Comcast's analog net and it
was a conversation between two people, neither of whom were on the screen in
I've got almost a dozen different devices with ATSC (HD capable) tuners,
from USB cards to DVR to LCD TVs of differing sizes. The variation in the
number of channels each different device sees when scanning from the same
antenna is pretty darn wild. The best tuner is in my LCD TV, which sucks,
because I can't record from it! The worst is a Samsung DVD recorder, the
best a Panasonic DVD recorder (although the DVD part crapped out one week
after the warranty did after burning less than 25 disks so it's useless).
On the other hand, my older Panasonic DVR with DVD recorder has burned over
There aren't many DVRs left on the market. I was told is was because TIVO
sues them out of production, but I can't say for sure. But both the
Panasonic DVR and the Polaroid have commercial skip buttons (Panny is 1 min,
Polly is 30 sec). Neither is available new anymore, although I believe
Philips and ChannelMaster are making consumer HD DVRs. My units aren't HD,
but in HQ mode, I really don't notice the difference. OTA HD still has a
lot of SD content.
On 9/2/2010 5:44 AM, Robert Green wrote:
Later this year, I am going to mount a
We also opt for over-the-air reception. We are lucky. At our location (north
of Wheaton, MD) all the DC transmitters are within about 15 degrees of each
other, except for Chan 22, which is about 90 degrees further east. We opted for
a fixed mast on a chimney mount with a high gain, directional, unamplified
VHF/UHF antenna. Although the antenna is directional, we get
4,5,7,9,20,26,30,32,50 and 66 reliably without needing a rotor. Since we often
want to watch a DC station while recording 22, or vice versa, a rotor would not
have been a good solution for us. Our installer agreed to try mounting an
unamplified 8 bow tie UHF antenna on the same mast, pointed at 22, using a
reverse splitter to merge the signals from both antennas into the single feed
wire. Although you can find many web sites that say phase distortion makes that
type of setup unworkable, it works like a charm for us even though we passively
split the download 3 ways. You might want to try it before you invest $$$ in a
Us too. It can be totally clear, sun shining, no breeze and no sound of
airplanes, yet suddenly the signal strength starts fluctuating wildly and we get
drop outs or even short episodes of "no signal" blank screens. Since it most
often happens at about the same time of day for a particular station, I suspect
it may be aircraft activity from BWI and/or national relatively close to the
transmitting tower and too far from the house to hear anything. Of course
there's lots of helicopter traffic in the close-in DC area. As you say, it
usually happens at a critical moment in whatever program is in progress!
Dang, we've got enough DC area posters here to form a local chapter of AHR.
I've been in a few other newsgroups that have "met up" with each other, and
it's always interesting to put a face to the name. Channel 22 is really the
red-headed step child of the DC area, existing out in left field. A friend
that lives in Wheaton gets WTOP radio on her phone lines, the towers are so
close by. (-:
I've found it's hardly ever a good solution and it's why I'm working with
the two aerial/two DVR system that's working fairly well. But since we're
in a small valley, I suspect that the extra 10 or 15 feet I'd gain with a
chimney mounted antenna would eliminate a lot of the dropouts. I am
surprised you get reception with an amp. How long is the run of cable from
the aerial to the TV set?
Since that same technology works well to give my whole house good X-10 (the
home automation stuff) RF coverage. I got an amplifier, a five way
splitter-combiner and mounted five small aerials at each corner of the
house with one in the middle. They're not even really aerials, just
sections of RG6QS peeled back to reveal the central wire stripped to a
length that's allegedly a multiple of the RF wave). Ever since I installed
them, I get full coverage from my home automation system throughout the
house and several hundred feet away from it. I was also warned about phase
distortion, I've seen no evidence of it. In a plaster/lathe house, one
aerial just doesn't cut it. Now I have only one "slightly" dead spot right
near the furnace underneath the spot where all the ducts diverge. I see no
reason why the same technique would not work on the TV antennas. It would
certainly be easy enough to try. I guess it's time to get the coax and
tools out. I miss not having 22 - ComcASSt dropped it (and WHUT - 19) from
their ever-shrinking basic cable lineup. I read somewhere that DC is one of
the few places where they have delayed the digital switchover because
residents here poll as very price sensitive and likely to leave ComcASSt if
force to upgrade to digital.
I also live next to the only multistory building for miles and there's quite
an issue with multipath distortion. While it's not so easy to spot with a
digital tuner, when I had analog, and a plane flew overhead (we're on the
approach to both BWI and Andrews AFB) you could see a second image appear,
shift left, then right, then slowly vanish. I only wish digital did
something like that and not the "picture gone" or "sound gone" problems I
see. Another slight annoyance is that channel surfing is much, much slower
as most of the tuners I have take a second or two to "lock" in the channel.
I'm sorry if I gave you the impression that I have an amp in my antenna circuit.
I thought I would need one, but I don't. I've got the high gain (but
unamplified) VHF/UHF joined with the 8 bow-tie array through a reverse splitter
feeding a 3 way splitter that serves my master bedroom, den, and kitchen nook.
The longest run is to the kitchen nook, probably about 75-100 feet. Except when
the gremlins are active, almost all the stations max out the signal strength bar
graph on the TVs or are only 1 bar less. I suspect that an amplified splitter
might have over-driven the RF front end of the tuners.
My mistake. I meant to write "withOUT an amp." D'oh! I am still surprised
you get that strong a signal WITHOUT an amp. My location is at the base of
a hill so I suspect that's why without an amp, only get two channels (5 and
14) and even those show only half of the max signal strength. Wheaton's
much higher up and closer to the Wisconsin Av. tower complex. That's got to
help with getting a strong signal.
On the other hand, where I live, if you're riding a bicycle, you can coast
almost a mile from the top of the hill down to my house. It's not good for
TV reception and every 10 years or so, there's a rainfall that comes and
overflows all the storm drains and flows past my house and into the lowest
area around - the park behind my house. The folks who have lived here since
they were kids tell me the land behind my house was a local natural spring.
The drainage culvert at the low end of the park is several feet across and
during the real frog strangling rain we had a few months ago even it turned
out not to be wide enough to carry off all the water.
I have it better than my neighbor whose house is right at the T intersection
of the major uphill pointing road. She's gotten several feet of water in
her basement, even with an oversize sump-pump. Mother Nature can deliver a
hell of a lot more water than any sump pump likely to be found in a home.
It comes pouring up the basement floor drain (non-sanitary, thank god, so
it's only street water, not sewer water) like Old Faithful. I've put in
three sump pumps (one's a 12V emergency system) and that barely copes with
the flooding of the 100 years storms that seem to be coming every 10 years
I was considering putting a waterproof submarine-type hatch over the floor
drain but a knowledgeable neighbor said that could cause the entire
foundation to lift or crack. Not sure if it's true, but I am sure I don't
want to find out. Now that they've relined our storm and sanitary sewer
lines, it seems that storm drain flooding has increased. But it could
easily be that the severity of the storms and the inches per hour have
increased. Soon, I'll be checking Ebay for used mining pumps . . .
From aerials to floods. How's that for thread drift?
I just noticed the dimensions.
Dimensions: 22.8" x 17.7" x 25.8"
I'm not sure which dimension refers to what, but all but one of the
elements are smaller than the maximum in the same direction. They
are folded over, but I'm not sure that's good. Let's assume it's not
bad. It still leaves those elements at about 3/2 the dimension, ad
most 38", and 5 of the 6 of them are the same size. (or 7. One or
two things are reflectors)
The antennas they have been selling for 60 years have elements of
different lengths because there are channels of different wavelengths.
The better antenanas have more elements, each of a different length.
Let's assume it could be bad to have the element folded over. It
could be because the same tv signal will induce a current in one
direction in one half of the element and in the opposite direction in
the ohter half of the element. Or maybe not, but it seems that way to
Ah, but it probably has an amplifier. It's much better to have a
strong signal from the antenna, than a weak signal that is amplified.
Amplifiers are recommended when there is a long distance from the
antenna to the tv. Of course maybe that used to be more true, because
the antenna would amplify the "noise" too. Now most noise is filtered
out in the process of digital detection. Maybe. I'm no techie.
That said, I'm dissatisfied with my big antenna and I'm going to buy
an amplifier on the hopesw that it will help.
The first week the antenna was in the attic, I got channel 26, and
channels 30.1 to 30.5. Teh channels 30 are even farther from me than
DC, but I hven't gotten them again except in the middle of the night.
So I do have a signal but maybe it is too weak.
That's a LPDA (log periodic dipole array).
A popular choice for UHF are bow tie.
This antenna has large diameter closed loop elements which leads to a
wide frequency range.
That won't work well on VHF as the elements, particularly in the low
range are small compared with the wavelength. Ditto on the reflector
which becomes smaller than a wavelength.
I'd probably choose a different antenna, although if the OP know what
stations and where this may work well. Most stations are now UHF but
there are a few VHF.
That is my take also.
Note if you take the number of elements and do a rough gain
calculation, the numbers don't add up to all antenna gain. My rough
guess is about 8 dB or so.
Might need to get it out of the attic.
(used to hold a ham license, still remember something.... or part of
Everyone says that, but I just don't want to do it. Plus I'm very
close to having all I can reasonably expect. There are a cou
amplifier or the
I had a novice license for a year in 1960, but didn't have to know
much to get that. I was trying to learn what I need for a general
license, but couldn't get my code speed up anyhow, so I didn't work
much on the theory.
But about 4 years ago I got a license, general I think. No more code
requirement, and the tech stuff is mostly about antennas and safety, I
guess since few people build their own oscillators anymore.
While we're talking about stuff like this.
Long ago when I was in high school I had a Hallicrafters reciever, 4
bands from ?? the table radio band up to shortwave.
And I was listening to the sound from one of the tv stations (even the
radio was AM and tv sound is supposed to be FM, but it matched the
sound coming from our tv on one channel) and every couple minutes I
would have to tune the radio higher. This went on for 40 minutes or
more, with me eventually tuning the radio much higher than it was, so
high I went off the end of the band.
I think there was a higher band so I started at the low end of that,
but couldn't find the same station.
What the heck was going on?
On Thu, 02 Sep 2010 13:38:16 -0500, The Daring Dufas
Would the IF increase in frequency like that, maybe as the tv got
warmer. But before you answer look at my next answer.
I think the tv wasn't on when I started. My older brother never
watched tv and I don't think my mother or I was until the signal
sounded like a tv show and I turned the tv on.
Maybe one of our next-door neigbhors' tvs? The lots were 100 feet
wide so his tv was 100 feet away more or less. The tv was in t he
middle of the house, about 40 feet from one property line and 60 feet
from the other.
Harmonic signals can be weird and caused by lots of unexpected things.
The Navy sometimes has problems when a bit of corrosion between two
pieces of metal turns into a semiconductor junction and because of
all the high power transmitters on board, that corroded metal can turn
into a transmitter when the RF from the intentional transmissions hit
it. I was repairing a two way radio some years ago when a transistor
exhibited some very odd characteristics. It would work fine for DC and
audio frequencies but when hit with RF it acted like an inductor and
caused interference on other radios. I replaced it with a new one and
the two way set worked fine. I've walked around transmitter sites with
a field strength meter plus portable receiver and seen some very strange
signals pop up when the transmitter was operating.
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