Live in West San Fernando Valley. Can I get good HD reception here? Anyone?

West SFV Rich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I want to disconnect from the cable company and go for local broadcasts only over the air. Is there anyone out there in the West SFV that does this and could you tell me what channels, including HD stations I can expect to get with decent signal strength?

Thanks a lot!

Rich.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#2
Hey, welcome to the forum. I'm in LA, little ways from you but I'm getting about 40-45 channels over-the-air right now with a set of rabbit ears style antenna.

Have you plugged in your address information at TV Fool yet? We'll need to see your TVFool plot of how close broadcast towers are to you before we can establish any guesses for you in regards to signal strength. See this thread http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...cussion/18368-how-ask-dtv-reception-help.html for more information and how to post your TVFool chart here. Also see this thread too http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...n/18697-getting-started-over-air-tv-faqs.html

Here's the style of antenna I use for receiving mostly clear HD reception:

 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#3
I did a quick check for Van Nuys, - zip 91388 - and yea, you've got a lot of good strong stations in that area.
You will want to do your own (more accurate) TVfool report but heres the results I got:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=a36253d0a75316


As Aaron62 noted, go to TV Fool and enter you address and return here to post your results. We'll tell you what you can get, but you also need to tell us if you live in a place where you can put up an antenna or if you live in an apartment so we can recommend an antenna.

If you are very close to the transmitters then an indoor antenna like Aaron62 posted will work.
 
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West SFV Rich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
Thanks for both replies.

I checked out TVFOOL and it looks like I have great reception from any HD channel on Mt Wilson.

I have 5 rooms of TV and I plan to try putting an antenna in the attic near where the cable comes in and hits the splitter or distribution box, whatever they used on the install.
So all I need to do is pick an antenna and figure out how to best split it to 5 coaxes. Right? I dont mind spending $100 on a good one, if you think that makes a difference.

The analog signals look weak at best. I wont worry about dealing with those.

Thanks!
Rich.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#6
Rich,

Your antenna can make a VERY big difference especially if you want to split the signal 5 ways. I am in the process of finalizing my home system which is split 4-ways. I use no antenna pre-amplifiers or distribution amplifiers, yet I have enough signal for dependable reception on every channel I want to receive. This includes a 900 watt translator that is 40 miles away (I used to be able to receive it when it had a barn-burning 40 watt output) and a 2-edge (really 10-edge) 560 kW transmitter 75 miles away.

Please share your TVFOOL (URL) report with us for an antenna recommendations based on how much 'gain' you will likely need. The website will automatically conceal your address.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
Thanks for the chart. Everything in the "green" on your chart can be had with a simple 2-bay antenna pointed directly east. Very simple, very easy.

Try this antenna, Eagle Aspen DTV2BUHF DIRECTV 2 Bay UHF Antenna Digital HDTV Terrestrial Bowtie Outdoor Roof Top Local Signal Bow Tie Aerial, RED ZONE, Part # DTV2B-UHF: Oak Entertainment Centers and Home Office Furniture, TV Antennas, Audio/Video, Satellite, Cable,
ANDTV2.jpg
this will work in an attic, but a rooftop or east facing wall is preferred. It's designed for UHF, but will provide good VHF-hi reception, too.
You will also need the appropriate length of RG6 coaxial cable - You can get this at solid signal.com too, or any hardware store or even Wal/K mart. Do not get RG59 coax, and don't get white coax.
You could also make one if you're even a little bit handy:
Img_0157.jpg
You'll also need a mounting bracket or mast. A J-pipe on the roof or east wall would probably be your cheapest and easiest solution:
MT3009.jpg
you can get that from the same place as the antenna,
Channel Master 3009 TV Antenna Mount CM3009 Satellite Dish Wall Roof J Pipe 22" Universal Outdoor Off-Air Aerial Support, Part # CM-3009: Oak Entertainment Centers and Home Office Furniture, TV Antennas, Audio/Video, Satellite, Cable, DSS

You can connect the Coax from the antenna to the cable companies existing coax once you disconnect the cable to your house.

Your total - including shipping will be about $50.

For a list of stations you may get, go to rabbitears: RabbitEars.Info . Click on a stations call sign to see what subchannels are available on that station.

You have about as many stations as a lot of cable "STARTER BASIC" packages, I don't think you'll miss cable at all.
 
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West SFV Rich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#9
You guys are awesome! Thanks for the help.
Are there any impedance matching issues between the 75 Ohm antenna and the existing coax? I guess it is all 75 Ohm, so shouldnt be a problem with the correct splitter.
Any S/N improvement in buying an active amp disti box to drive 5 TVs? Or should I just try a splitter first?
Use RG-6. Got it.

Rich.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#10
You guys are awesome! Thanks for the help.
Are there any impedance matching issues between the 75 Ohm antenna and the existing coax? I guess it is all 75 Ohm, so shouldnt be a problem with the correct splitter.
Any S/N improvement in buying an active amp disti box to drive 5 TVs? Or should I just try a splitter first?
Use RG-6. Got it.

Rich.
Your signals are all pretty strong. You shouldn't need a pre- or distribution amp. Amps tend to add noise to your signal, so avoid them if possible. Your cable co. probably installed a splitter if they ran your cable to those 4 rooms, just use that - they tend to be good quality. If you have to buy a splitter, they are fairly inexpensive. The antenna is 75 ohm out (balun, aka transformer is included w/ antenna) and your cable is 75 ohm.

Properly ground it as soon as you can.
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#11
MrPogi,

I looked at the specs for that 2-bay you recommended, and the Hi-VHF gain is listed at -12 dB. That might work for one TV, but if he is driving 5, I don't know... I have to go with a Channel Master 2016 on this one. Channel Master 2016 DIGITAL ADVANTAGE (HDTV / VHF / UHF)

Both FOX and ABC are high VHF, and those are kind of important.

Rich,

That's a gorgeous TVfool report. Everything is strong and in one direction.
 
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SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#12
Rich,

Just a minor clarification here...

A PRE-Amp, is placed near the Antenna, to boost weak Reception Signals. As Pogi said, your chart doesn't indicate the need for one of these.

A DISTRIBUTION Amp, is placed inside, to compensate for long runs of Coax, or, to compensate for splitting the Signal one or more times.
Distribution Amps, may be needed, when your internal Coaxial Cable lengths approach 100 ft. or...
When you Split the Signal several times. Like a 4 Set to the Rooms, then a 2 Set to go to your TV and VCR/DVR.

You won't find a Splitter, which splits to Five TV's. They come in 2, 3, 4, or 8 Set configurations.

Signal Losses
In Splitters:
A 2 Set Splitter, will cause a 3 db loss in signal.
A 4 Set Splitter, will cause a 7 db loss in signal.
A 8 Set Splitter, will cause an 11 db loss in signal.
When using Splitters sequentially, their loses must be added to a total loss.
In Coaxial Cable:
Usually one can figure that there will be a 7 db loss, per 100 ft.

Distribution Amps, can be placed just ahead of your Main (multiset) splitter to boost the whole system.
Or, in a Single Line, if it's long and you use an additional Splitter in the Room.
This may apply to you, IF you decide to use an 8 Set Splitter, then on to a 2 Set to feed your TV and VCR/DVR in a Room.

To get a 5 way split...
You can get an 8 Way Splitter, and just Cap the unused (3) lines, or...
Get a 4 Way, then a short piece of Coax to a 2 way Splitter (thus totaling 5 lines).
The lines coming out of the 2 Set Splitter, of the double 4/2 Splitter configuration, would best be used for the shortest two runs.
Some manufacturers will give you the insertion loss for a Splitter. (the lower db the better)
Some mulltiset splitters, have outputs which have different db loss factors available in the same Splitter.

Here's a basic drawing of how one would do that...


.


Should you get a Distribution Amp...
I'd say not at this time, get your system set up, and see if you may need one.
If when you get it set up, and there are Sound/Signal Loss/Pixilization problems, THEN maybe !

SO very often, most have a tendency to overdo the Power of an Amp. The thought being, stronger the better.
DON'T fall into that ! As strong as your "original" signals are, you might need something in the lower ranges.

D-Amps start in the 4 db boost Range, and go to as much as 25 db or greater !!!
Some Amps are "crappy", and put a lot of "noise" on your lines.
IF you need an Amp, then try to buy one with a very LOW "Noise Factor". Low would be in the 3 db range, as opposed to HI being up toward 8 db.

Some D-Amps have an Adjustable Output, this could be VERY handy when there is a marginal "overload" possible. Just trim it back a little to get a stable picture.

Have a good Day ! :)
S.W.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#13
dkreichen
I looked at the specs for that 2-bay you recommended, and the Hi-VHF gain is listed at -12 dB. That might work for one TV, but if he is driving 5, I don't know... I have to go with a Channel Master 2016 on this one. Channel Master 2016 DIGITAL ADVANTAGE (HDTV / VHF / UHF)
I agree, but... that report is so strong:
That's a gorgeous TVfool report. Everything is strong and in one direction.
( I am envious of it too!) I figured he could get away with it. But yes, the CM is better on the VHF side, and I didn't realize Walmart sold that CM...

So, perhaps it may be better to go to a local walmart and pick up a CM there (site to store), because you can return it if there is a problem. I could also suggest Radio Shack U75r, I have never seen the VHF specs on this one. But I am using this one and it does a fine job getting my only VHF at about 45 degrees off the front, and others have noted that too. It's in the same price range. Note the U75r does need a Balun, not supplied.
 
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West SFV Rich

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
I ordered this one:
1 x Eagle Aspen DTV2BUHF DIRECTV 2 Bay UHF Antenna Digital HDTV Terrestrial Bowtie Outdoor Roof Top Local Signal Bow Tie Aerial, RED ZONE, Part # DTV2B-UHF (ANDTV2) = $12.45

I should have plenty of space in the attic for this. And yes, the price is pretty darn good for the package!

I am curious as to how much loss and how many reflections I will get from the roof including the metal ties in the rafters, compared to a clean atmospheric path to the transmitters???
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#18
The rule of thumb is that you loose 50% of your signal with an attic install. If you have a foil barrier in the rafters, or metal in the roof, it will pretty much kill the signal. The nice thing about an attic install is that you don't need to worry about lightning or falling off the roof, and you can always add a VHF antenna such as this one.

AntennaCraft Y5-7-13 Highband-Broadband VHF HD Yagi TV Antenna

If you do you will want to connect it to the UHF antenna using a UVSJ like this one.

Pico-Macom-UVSJ-UHF-VHF-Band-SeparatorCombiner-for-Antenna
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#19
Rich,

It's impossible to anticipate how steel HVAC ducting, a steel chimney pipe or anything else metallic may affect your reception. Rather than chosing an arbitrary or convienient mounting spot, I suggest you 'walk the antenna' around the attic to find the best place to locate it. If you add a VHF antenna, it may receive signal best at the opposite end of your attic. Consider yourself lucky you don't have to worry about a heavy snowfall attenuating your signals. Good luck and please keep us posted on your results. :thumb:

Jim
 
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