Question: Ocala, FL Antenna setup

Gordon

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
Hi everyone!

I live in Orlando and can get excellent DTV reception with an amplified indoor antenna. My parents recently moved within Ocala, FL and I want them to also get OTA. Here is their TV Fool link. The problem I am having is that the house they moved from (~1/4 mile away) was able to easily get at least 10 channels, while their new house only gets one. Their current setup is a LAVA HD-2605 ULTRA Outdoor TV Antenna mounted upside down in their lanai with ~30' of RG6 going directly to the antenna's control box (provides power to the antenna's motor and has a gain), and then to the TV. We initially wanted to install in in the attic, but after reading about the foil radiant barrier blocking signal, we decided against it. Additionally, the community where they live prohibits roof-mounted antennas.

We can get WOGX-DT (51.1) even without the antenna, while some others (WESH [2.1], WCJB-DT [20.1] come in sometimes and the rest not at all. I found that when I handheld the antenna indoors, it was easier to find a consistent signal, despite being indoors and lower.

Is there anything that you would recommend to improve my signal? Is the lanai acting as a Faraday cage and blocking the signals? I would be happy with 5 good channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS). Should I add a preamp?
 
#2
Hi Gordon!

the community where they live prohibits roof-mounted antennas.
Unless your parents are living in an apartment, they can't do that. Read this: Yes, you can put up that rooftop TV antenna or satellite dish

And this: Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule | FCC.gov

Their current setup is a LAVA HD-2605 ULTRA Outdoor TV Antenna mounted upside down in their lanai with ~30' of RG6 going directly to the antenna's control box (provides power to the antenna's motor and has a gain), and then to the TV.
I had to look up "lanai -- a patio, porch, or any kind of outdoor living area." Your parents have an unconventional antenna setup, to say the least! Those LAVAs are made in China, for Chinese frequencies, and have a very flimsy construction. :( In addition, it's quite unusual for an indoor antenna to require an amplifier or rotor.

We can get WOGX-DT (51.1) even without the antenna, while some others (WESH [2.1], WCJB-DT [20.1] come in sometimes and the rest not at all. I found that when I handheld the antenna indoors, it was easier to find a consistent signal, despite being indoors and lower.
There must be something in the lanai blocking their signal. What you want to look for is "line-of-sight" (LOS) to the desired stations. Most of the stations on your parents TVFR are 1Edge or 2Edge already, meaning they have to refract around a hill or some other obstacle(s). If you put another wall, or even a window, between transmitter and antenna, you wind up with a 3Edge signal -- basically a lost cause.

Is there anything that you would recommend to improve my signal? Is the lanai acting as a Faraday cage and blocking the signals?
It's not a Faraday cage, just a plain old fashioned signal obstruction. :behindsofa:

I would be happy with 5 good channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS). Should I add a preamp?
No! The LAVA already has a preamp that you PROBABLY don't need. First thing to try is a better location. It might be possible to use the LAVA as a kind of location tester, but if there's any way you can return the LAVA, I would do so. If not, try to find out if you can remove the amplifier without choking off the signal (probably not). You will also want to replace the sub par RG-6 cable supplied with this antenna (I would get quad shielded RG-6).

Preamps only help in special situations, e.g. over 30' of coax and/or a splitter. Even then you should always try to setup without a preamp, initially. If you install an antenna indoors, and you have two receivers, you should consider buying two antennas, before looking at a splitter/preamp combination.

We initially wanted to install in in the attic, but after reading about the foil radiant barrier blocking signal, we decided against it.
Many attics work well for an antenna. It's normally better than center-stage in the house, unless you know for a fact you have some kind of barrier up there.

So in sum:
- Talk to your parents about the FCC regulations allowing outdoor antennas. An outdoor antenna would be your best bet by far.
- Find out about returning the LAVA.
- If you're stuck indoors, use the LAVA -- or a cheap, $10 replacement -- to hunt for the "sweet spot" in your parents home, and don't neglect the attic as a possibility.
- Ideally, you'll wind up with two UHF antennas combined with a VHF antenna, hopefully on the roof.
- We'll wait for you to do some homework before recommending any specific antennas.

I'm sorry it this seems like a lot of work, but you've honestly gone pretty far afield from what the experts recommend on this site.

Rick
 
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#3
The cheap amplifier in the cheap Chinese antenna is probably overloading. Toss it and get a better antenna.

If the lanai is screened with aluminum screening, then, yes, it's a Faraday cage.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
If it's not an attached structure like a townhome, you can put an antenna on the roof. Don't be intimidated by a HOA. If you have read the OTARD rules and believe you are allowed an antenna, show them the rules. Most HOAs back down when shown the rules and those that don't back down rarely win.

The only LAVA antennas I've seen on a roof are falling apart, they're junk. They advertise a 150 mile range, but the curvature of the Earth limits most reception to about 80 miles. So, yea, they're lying, they are designed for different frequencies, and the amps are noisy.

You shouldn't need an amp or rotor. You need a 4 bay bowtie antenna pointed to about 20 degrees ON THE ROOF to get the basics: ABC, NBC, Fox, and PBS are all UHF. CBS 4 is low UHF and in a different direction, but you should be able to get CBS on 28. If you want anything in the VHF range, you can add a second VHF antenna later.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#6
If it's not an attached structure like a townhome, you can put an antenna on the roof. Don't be intimidated by a HOA. If you have read the OTARD rules and believe you are allowed an antenna, show them the rules. Most HOAs back down when shown the rules and those that don't back down rarely win..
More specifically, you can put up an antenna for local reception and the HOA can't say anything about it unless it is more than 12ft above the roof line.

But you can only put it up on your exclusive use area. They can prohibit antennas on common areas such as yards that you don't have exclusive use of, or condo/co-op roofs.
 
#7
Seriously? So a typical lanai is screened off on all six sides? :daffy:

R.
Since neither you nor I know how his lanai is constructed, your comment makes no sense.

"Typical" means what?

Perhaps it's on a concrete slab (has steel mesh in it), has a metal roof, and is four-sided "box" that has metal screens to keep out mosquitoes.
 
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#8
Since neither you nor I know how his lanai is constructed, your comment makes no sense.
Since you don't know how it was constructed, WHY did you definitively say it's a Faraday Cage providing it's "screened with aluminum"? I think you just want to :argue:. In any event, you don't need a Faraday Cage to block a signal very effectively.

Perhaps it's on a concrete slab (has steel mesh in it), has a metal roof, and is four-sided "box" that has metal screens to keep out mosquitoes.
Sorry, I think you need to study up on the definition of "Faraday Cage." It's a technical term with a precise meaning. A Faraday cage has to be deliberately constructed; it rarely happens by accident in the way you describe.

Have a good'n
Rick
 
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Gordon

DTVUSA Rookie
#9
Thanks everyone for your responses; they have been very informative.

It seems I fell for the gimmick of the 100+ mile range since I wanted to get the local channels as well as the ones I enjoy in Orlando. It is quite flimsy, but it worked at my parents' other place. They've been hunting for the best signal and as per the advice, they have had success in finding several channels in the attic. It's funny that you mentioned the quality of the supplied coaxial cable because I immediately changed it once the antenna arrived (monoprice has a good cable, but their ends were crap; I had the internet installer put compression fittings on instead)

I let them know about the FCC rules. They will consider putting an antenna on the roof if needed. Seeing as it's a new home and they want to get along with the HOA and neighbors, this would be a last case scenario.

Sorry for creating a commotion about the lanai; it has a glass sliding doors on two sides, a stone wall on one and a non-metal mesh on the final side. I knew it wasn't exactly a Faraday cage (I used to work in a neuroscience lab and my rig was in one) but I didn't know whether the metal frame would have an effect on the signal.

I will do some research on antennas, specifically the 4 bay bowtie as MrPogi suggested.
 
#11
Sorry for creating a commotion about the lanai;
Don't be silly. :becky:

it has a glass sliding doors on two sides, a stone wall on one and a non-metal mesh on the final side. I knew it wasn't exactly a Faraday cage (I used to work in a neuroscience lab and my rig was in one) but I didn't know whether the metal frame would have an effect on the signal.
Yup, it would. Even the glass would have a small effect.

I will do some research on antennas, specifically the 4 bay bowtie as MrPogi suggested.
We've been discussing these recently:

http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv-chat/48959-need-help-antenna-selection.html#post103386

http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...ussion/48987-good-basic-4-bay-tv-antenna.html

Good Luck,
Rick
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#12
Gordon is probably long gone. Too bad I wasn't here. I live between Gainesville and Ocala, know the area very well. For someone not picky and remains realistic, a moderate to high gain UHF only antenna is all Ocala needs about 20 to 30 ft up. Might not want to go too high of gain, but not too low either. Yagi's work better than bowties around here because of the trees. I would point it at WUFT in Gainesville. All the other channels are strong enough to work off the sides of the antenna. WOGX, POURS out the power on 31 and overloads all of us here, it does me and he is closer. Any thing over 60 NM is going to overload a big amp. He might not even need an amp if the coax is under 30 ft and no splitter.

He will get a mixed bag of DMAs, but the far easiest reception. NBC and CBS will be from repeaters in Ocala itself from the Orlando DMA. ABC, FOX and PBS will be from the Gainesville DMA. He "might" get Gainesville CBS put probably not less than 35 to 40 ft. up.

Well if he comes back I can find his exact location, because "Ocala" are is HUGE with big differences in signals between north south and east west. then I could recommend an antenna.
 
S

speedrider

Guest
#13
Piggie, if you're still here, could you give me advice? I have an antenna 30 feet up. It's a bidirectional. I get about 15 channels, but they don't come in reliably. I am in the NE part of Ocala about a mile and a half south to south west of the Silver Springs park. Would putting the antenna up another 5 feet help? It has a small preamp on the first TV, and has a splitter for 3 additional TVs. Any advice. I got this antenna from the guy at the Marion Market.
 

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