I have cable, and don't think I could live without it, but my aunt is
using an antenna.
She just dropped cable, and asked me to hook her antenna back up. She
is only getting 2 channels. There is one more channel that can barely
What would be the chances she could get another channel after the
This website will tell you what digital channels she will likely receive,
based on her location:
My guess is that with a digital TV converter box and a good HDTV antenna
such as the "Antennas Direct DB2" antenna she should get more channels than
There is a bit more detailed reception analysis here:
Either way, after the transition, most if not all of the digital
channels will be transmitting at significantly higher power levels. Be
sure to test reception with her existing antenna before looking for any
"hdtv" antenna, since there is no such thing as an "hdtv" or "digital"
antenna. It's still the same radio frequencies and the old antenna if
it's in good shape should work fine. Of course if the old antenna hasn't
been used in some time you should check it and the downleads for damage.
when it works, it'll be perfect and noise free.
when it doesn't, it'll cut in and out like a broken cable.
If you remember the transition from analog cell phones to digital,
you'll have an idea what it will be like. A difference is that you
hopefully won't be in motion and there won't be any tower handoffs.
I just made the initial experiment -- we're on antenna w/ the three
networks plus PBS watchable w/ some snow. The digital was zilch, nada,
nothing from any of the three. What I know for sure is the closest (60
miles) is broadcasting two subchannels according to them; I'm not sure
of the others yet. What comparative broadcast strength is I also have
no data for, but it appears unless they boost their output or I do major
antenna or other upgrades we'll likely just be without. I've contacted
Engineering of the one station but no response, at least so far.
I talked to one of the stations when I was having trouble, and they
said that my twin lead might be the trouble. I tried going with a
coax cable, which din't help, but orienting the antenna better got the
job done. I'm just glad I didn't have to fish a coax down an outside
wall. If you haven't done it yet, try adjusting antenna direction or
We live in a fringe area, and barely got reception even with a 200
mile antenna and a top quality amplifier.
since we got the digital converter box, or reception is fantastic,
more channels, flicker free, bright picture, flawless sound.
We had a bad wind storm that broke 1/3 of the radials off of the
antenna, & it didn't effect our reception at all, that would have
killed it on analog.
What's your line-of-sight distance and tower height?
That's essentially the description of our situation but my initial
experiment w/ the converter box was a complete failure.
Oh, what converter box do you have? There was only one on the shelves
here when my coupon was expiring, unfortunately, having forgotten about
Are you using any amp now and if so, what is it, do you recall?
The converter box is a Digital Stream bought at Radio Shack, The
antenna is abut 30' up , no tower, just on the eve of a 2 story
I estimate my line of sight at 50 miles with near by hills to
interfere, my Amp is Winegard not sure of the model, it mounts on the
pole with a power supply in the house. I just bout the biggest DB gain
I could find.
OK, thanks...about the same except no hills here... :)
Our closest is about 60 mi. The antenna is on a tower but it also sets
at eave height of the two-story farmhouse. Right now I'm not using an
amp although the antenna is nearly new after a big blow destroyed the
old one last year. I bought about the highest gain I could find for the
idea of this coming.
Somebody else mentioned the twin-lead--it's what Dad pulled when he
redid the house in the mid-70s so that may be a weak point but
previously a coax run directly didn't make much difference altho I've
not tried the experiment w/ the digital box.
If aiming turns out to be so critical that an average of the three
that's been adequate for analog since forever won't do I guess it's
possibly a rotor.
Whatever, it's a real pita to have to deal with when as is is just
OBTW, I did look at the signal strength map for a coarse guesstimate
based on zip code--it thinks we should have 20+ dB NM (noise margin,
however they figure it). That seems as though _should_ be adequate so
perhaps when have some time to look at it further it'll be not too bad a
Digital is much more sensitive to background noise than analog was. We
tolerated noise and ghosts in an analog picture, but you'll get drop-
out's or no picture at all if there's noise on a digital signal.
Unless you are distributing your signal to multiple TV's or VCR's, an
amplifier is likely to introduce more noise and distortion than the weak
signal it's trying to improve (noise is boosted along with the signal).
Also, most digital stations are currently in the UHF band, so you'll need
to make sure your amp is rated for that. Many older amps were only rated
for the VHF band.
In my case, I found my signal to noise ratio (SNR level) was actually
LOWER with a new 15db UHF rated amplifier than just running the cable
directly from the antenna.
Sometimes moving left or right just a bit can make a big difference in
signal strength too. It all depends on topography and obstructions
between you and the source.
My SNR varied about 5-10 points depending on where I walked with my
antenna, and mounting the antenna outside raised my SNR about 15 points
compared to mounting in the attic. All pointed in the same direction, of
Twin-lead is out of the question, and you should be using at least RG-6
coax cable for the best shielding. I also found the cheap "crimp-on"
style of connectors let a lot more noise in than the professional
compression type of connector.
I spent about 3-4 months trying to get the best signal levels, and I'm
only 20 miles from the broadcast antennas (all in the same basic
direction). I tried a variety of antennas and locations, before settling
on a DB2 style of antenna mounted outside on the eave of our single-story
house. For now everything is working well since my digital stations are
all on the UHF band. But come February, a few of my stations are moving
back to the VHF band so I may need to get a different antenna to pick up
the lower frequencies.
That's not true. One of the biggest advantages of any digital
transmission is that it can tolerate much higher levels of noise and
still deliver a perfect signal. On the receiving end the system only
needs to determine if a "1" or a "0" has been received, the absolute
value of the signal level doesn't effect the data. Hence, you can
tolerate a lot of noise, still be able to determine which of the two
it is, and recover the signal.
It is true that if the signal is poor enough instead of seeing a
crappy picture that you might have had with analog, you'll get no
picture. But for the vast majority of people receiving via OTA,
that is an acceptable tradeoff.
On Oct 24, 11:18�am, email@example.com wrote:
around north carolina all the analog signals were turned off some
months ago as a test. about 20% overall decrease in viewers who
couldnt get signals anymore.
the turn off will be delayed by years, right now we wouldnt be told so
manufacturers can use up their inventory oif digital decoders........
Pretty good, *IF* she improves her antenna.
I can't remember where I read it or about which community/area it
involved, but there was a test recently where all the broadcasters in a
given area performed the transition EARLY as a test.
I recall the biggest complaint was insufficient antenna.
I went to my barber the other day. He uses an antenna and isn't in a
particularly good place with regard to line-of-sight/obstructions and
He was using a newly-Walmart-purchased, RCA converter box. The picture
was noticeably improved. The biggest improvement I noticed was that the
captions were PERFECT. Previously, using analog, they were pretty
garbled most of the time.
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