TV antenna in Chicago

I live on the north side of Chicago and want to put an outdoor TV antenna on my roof. In Chicago, most of the TV signals come from one of two buildings downtown, the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower. I am between 6 and 7 miles from each of these buildings. The Sears Tower lies 30 degrees east of directly south of me (or at 150 degrees on a compass) and the John Hancock Center lies approximately 42 degrees east of directly south of me (or 138 degrees on a compass). Radio Shack offers two antennas that I'm considering:
1.80" boom length, 32 element antenna 90 mile VHF range 70 mile UHF range HDTV compatible $60
2.50" boom length 18 element antenna 75 mile VHF range 50 mile UHF range does not mention HDTV compatibility $40
I have a clear view of both buildings. From what I understand, the longer the range of an antenna, the narrower the angle of reception. I would go for number 1 above because of the HDTV compatibility (don't have a TV set yet, but plan to buy one in the future), but I don't know if it would be hard to pick up the transmissions from both buildings. I don't really want to get a rotator, because (I hate to admit it) I switch channels quite often and I don't know if a rotator is ideal for someone like that.
Does anyone have any suggestions for either one of the antennae?
Thanks.
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North side of Chicago?
Shouldn't you be buying guns, or maybe an updated security system vs. fooling around with an antenna?
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Travis Jordan wrote:

Right. Have you tried a simple dipole made from TV lead-in wire?
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Check out www.antennaweb.org site. They have a utility where you can put in your zipcode and it will show you what type of antenna is recommended.
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Where I grew up in Milwaukee about 7 miles from the transmitters we used rabbit ears in the attic. Not sure if you are in a home or a solid building that may block signals, but you might try an indoor antenna in a window or omni-directional antenna first.
I get all the Chicago NTSC and digital channels (except CBS NTSC 2, digital 3) from Elgin (37 miles) with Zenith Silver Sensor indoor antenna (boosted by pre-amp) on 2nd floor closet shelf.
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Two Questions related to this post:
I live about 8 miles from most of my major tv station antennas. But, one favorite uhf station is 25 miles away. Luckily, they are all within 20 degrees of each other.
Questions:
1. Because I need some good gain for the uhf station 25 miles away, should I not use a mast mounted pre-amp? I know that I can get good reception from the stations only 8 miles away with a modest antenna, but the uhf station 25 miles away is one of my major channels that I listen to.
2. I have a brick chimney that is 20 feet away from where I can mount my antenna. Will the brick structure attenuate my signals??
------------------
Thanks for any advice !!
--James--
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You are so close that you will have a hard time NOT picking up anything. All you need is an indoor antenna. Or, they have this new-fangled service called "cable tv".
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balboni wrote:

You are very close to the TV transmitters, and you don't need much of an antenna. The smaller antenna will do fine, will have the added benefit of a wider beamwidth (you already know the advantage there) and will work OK for HDTV. In general, there are no 'special' antennas for HDTV. What you see on the box is marketing hype.
When you get it, enjoy your HD viewing!
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to.
Try it first without the preamp. While a preamp may help the more distant station, it may overload and degrade the picture from the nearer stations which will have a much higher signal strength. --- SJF
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An amp with an adjustable output is helpful too. This way if you get ghosting on the nearer channels you can turn it down......Ross
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Thanks for these nice responses. I will read other replies as well..........
thanks again..........
--James--
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SJF wrote:

Hi, Also amp boosts signal as well as noise. Tony
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