I want to install an outdoor antenna for HDTV reception. I live in a
one story home and I am in Santa Clara, CA. Most of the stations are
in SF which is about 40 miles away.
In general, how tall should outdoor antenna be? Can it be just as high
as the peek of the roof? Or does it need to be 5 feet or more above
the roof? Does home depot sells pole/masts that long?
On Thu, 25 Oct 2007 21:27:43 +0000 (UTC), email@example.com wrote:
Experiment. That's what I did. I found the best attic location for
my HDTV power antenna--no poles, ladders, and completely out-of-sight.
I had to install a convenient electrical outlet for the DC
transformer. Picks up several stations, but PBS is all I watch.
It's not an analog vs. digital issue. It's more accurately VHF vs. UHF but
that's not even totally true as some broadcasters apparently will still be
assigned slots in the VHF band after the 2009 analog shutdown.
After all these years with cable and satellite TV it will be
interesting to see how many homes sprout antennas again.
Most folks I know are dead set against them thinking any antenna even
a dish somehow makes their home ugly....
I kinda doubt the masses will go antenna...........
The "masses" get their channels over cable or satellite so you are certainly
correct. IIRC the cable/satellite crowd is well over 80%.
That said, I have DISH network but still get my locals over a relatively
small directional antenna as DISH doesn't yet offer locals digitally. That
small antenna pulls all my local from 44 miles south of the Tucson
xmitters -- and I get all my sub-channels which I doubt Dish (or Cox) will
carry anytime soon.
When visitors see that what I'm pulling over the air is far better than the
Cox cable feeds, their interest in antennas peaks -- and it's FREE!
Generally speaking, the higher the better.
For example, our local "cable company" picks up the big city stations with
antenna arrays that look to be about 40' above street level. That part of
the county is about 50' above sea level.
I have a neighbor who at one time put a 40' tower next to her house.
That's definitely not DIY work so I'm sure the cost was in the $thousands.
For myself, I put up a "tripod" base on my roof ridge with a 6' mast and
rotator on top with another 6' mast. Because of overlap,etc. the antanna
(a middle of the road Radio Shack) is about 10' above my roof.
It's a good idea (even if not the law where you live) to run a ground wire
from the antanna mast to you house ground where the power comes in. For
myself, I did that and also drove in extra rods. I ran grounding cable to
both ends of the house.
Get good antanna cable. "Quad Shield" RG-6 is pretty good.
It just doesn't cost that much to install an antenna like I have. (Less
than $500.) It will surely get more stations than you get now and you can
then decide for yourself whether it's worth the cost to go higher.
At 40 miles, I don't think a "high gain" antenna will buy you much.
You might get lucky and find you can get marginal signals because of special
circumstances with your location.
In our case, the Potomac river seems give us better than expected reception:
I have picked up Philadelphia and Harrisburg (PA) early the the mornings.
If I really,really wanted to "get" these stations I might try getting a
other than news and some local shows most stations are network, and
offer the exact same programming much of the day, heck even syndicated
shows aree all the same, since they are distribuited by satellite to
your local station.
might look nice to get 50 stations but most programs will be the same:
Higher the better, and if you're going to the trouble of mounting one
on the roof, you may as well place it at least 5-8' above the peak..
You want an antenna with a fairly big UHF section (thing at the front
with the short horizontal rods), meaing it should have a reflector
(short horizontal rods that extend above and below the boom). Outdoor
mounting can help a lot, especially for UHF.. Also be sure to
electrically ground the antenna, mast, and antenna cable shield to
your home's ground rod (near the circuit breaker box),. Also install
a spark arrester inline with the cable, and let the cable droop about
a foot where it enters the building so that rain will drip off rather
than run inside. About every TV and video recorder includes basic
instructions about this in the first few pages of the manual, for
I'd use RG-6QS (QS = quad shield) cable because it doesn't cost that
much more but blocks interference the best. You need special RG-6QS
connectors for it, but you don't need bother with gold plated or
weatherproof stuff. You can make connections watertight with black
vinyl electrical tape (the last few wraps must not be stretched).
Also clamp the cable to the mast so it doesn't tug at its connector.
Buy a reputable brand, like Radio Shack, AntennaCraft, Winegard,
Jerrold, and don't bother with that overpriced Terk junk. Fry's and
radio-tv supply houses have antennas, and some Radio Shack stores may
still have in stock (I bought their second-largest outdoor antenna for
just $5 on close-out). If you have to order by mail, try MCM
Electronics, Dalbani, Premium Parts. I think that San Fransisco uses
a central antenna for almost all the TV stations, so get a directional
antenna, not a unidirectional one. Also a big antenna can alleviate
the need for a distribution amplifier.
Thank you for all the info.
My "grand plan" is to put up a strong pole from the ground right next
to the house (so the pole leans against the house). This way, I can
put up the Antenna, plus any potential future dish that I may want to
get. I can dug a hole and pour concrete to secure the pole in place.
But do they sell Pole that long? I am in a one-story house, ceiling is
8', so I imagine the peek of the roof is probably 20'? Can I get a
pole this long? (even if I do, how the hell do I get it home?)
Perhaps I can interconnect shorter ones to make a long one, if so, is
it still stable enough for a dish?
They're available. Wrap it in a blanket and tie it to the roof of
your car, and have a friend keep a hand on it to feel it shift
around. Without a hand kept on it, there's a good chance cargo can
fly off undetected, judging by the number of brand new mattresses I've
seen next to the road.
Radio Shack at least used to sell lots of antenna mounting hardware:
Eaves mount: http://tinyurl.com/245cqo
Wall mount: http://tinyurl.com/yslz32
They also had roof mounts (flat and tripod), chimney mounts, and even
telescoping masts up to 36' long. Fry's Electronics and amateur radio
(HAM) stores should also have antennas and mounting hardware.
I'd be worried about attaching two shorter masts to make a single long
one, unless they overlapped a lot and were secured to each other with
Most non-commercial, non-military, non-telescoping antenna masts are
sold in sections, maybe 8-10 feet long (whatever the longest length
trucking companies will carry as standard parcels.) One end is necked
down (or flared) to fit into(over) the section above (below) it, and
they are usually predrilled for bolts or retaining pins. Overlap is
maybe 8-10 inches or so? In the old days, using sticks of 2" galvanized
water pipe, sometimes linked end-to-end with a union coupling, was not
unknown. Those had a bad habit of rusting off where the cut threads
broke through the zinc layer. They would also rust from inside, since
people seldom remembered to cap the top, and put bottom end right in the
For a typical residential TV antenna, that only weighs 20 pounds or so
and has a small sail area, it simply isn't that critical what you make
mast out of, as long as it holds it up there and won't blow away in
first stiff wind. The grounding and signal cable is what matters. My
antenna (backup for satt dish local channel service), is a little
L-shaped piece of shit on a 4-foot mast lag-bolted to the wooden chimney
chase for my fake woodburning fireplace. I had to remount on a long
scrap 2x4 screwed through the siding into chimney stack framework,
because idiot installer had simply screwed it on to cedar corner trim.
Under wind load, it pulled right out.
whatever you do insure a lose pole cant contact in any way a powerline
in a storm...
theres a large danger of electrocution in varying ways.
pole falls over in wind, contacts power line, turns everything
connected to lethal voltages, pole antenna and anything connected to
antenna, like tv vcr etc etc
With the typical antenna mast stock, I don't think having it set it
concrete, start from the ground and go all the way up the side of the
house buys you anything in the way of support. For that to be
effective, the mast would have to be of sufficicent gauge metal so
that the bottom part is going to be doing anything to help carry the
load. In other words, a typical 8ft mast attached to a chimney
would be just as effective as a 32ft long one set into concrete and
then attached to the side of the house. If it fails because of
stress from high wind, both are likely fail by bending/breaking,
coming loose in the same place, which is in the area of where the
last clamp is placed, whether on the chimney or the side of the house.
If you're going to start from the ground up, you'd need a mast like 2"
steel pipe. And I doubt it really buys you anything, or else you'd
see it commonly done. I've never seen one attached to a house that
started from the ground up.
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