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TV Antenna?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by finsfree, Feb 12, 2015.

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  1. finsfree

    finsfree

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    Feb 12, 2015
    I'm wanting to drop my cable provider and switch to a digital antenna.

    My question is how do you rate and what antenna is a "good" one?

    Are these things rated by distance they cover or something else?

    Not sure if I have the right forum for this.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Assuming terrestrial...
    Usually designed on the span of the channels they will receive...the tighter the span the better.
    Then whether VHF or UHF, then whether you are in good reception area or not, then higher gain antenna required for the latter plus perhaps masthead amp for either depending on signal strength and quality.
    Then perhaps distribution amp for number of outlets.
    Antenna installers in your area are the best people to talk to about it, perhaps need a site survey also.
     
    davenn likes this.
  3. finsfree

    finsfree

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    Feb 12, 2015
    Thanks.

    I did just use tvfool.com and it showed 15 channels in a 15mi radius. The next set of channels was 30+mi away which, according to tvfool.com, would require an external antenna.

    I guess the local 15 channels would be fine.
     
  4. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    This is going to be a problem for a conventional Yagi type antenna if all those 15 stations are in different directions
    This because are designed to produce higher gain in a particular direction

    cheers
    Dave
     
  5. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    We're assuming you're trying to use the over-the-airwaves broadcast digital signal.
    The local stores should be able to tell you what's recommended for your area. Stuff that doesn't work well, doesn't sell.
     
  6. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Digital terrestrial can be irratic. What works in one place may be different 3 metres away so again, ask an antenna installer.
    As an example, a wholesaler only last week, argued the point when I tried to get them to supply a high gain antenna, said they had never needed to use them.
    I had already done a survey so knew what was required.
    Antenna arrived next day, I fitted and tested and returned the previous and present readings to the wholesaler who's only comment was, "never needed them before!".
    In many instances, wholesalers and many retailers will not take back antennas that "do not work".
     
  7. Cmulls

    Cmulls

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    Feb 13, 2015
    It takes a bit of digging to figure it out, but be wary of the mileage ratings you see on antennas. Most antennas you find retail are designed for UHF. If you have VHF in your area they may have a tough time picking it up depending how far away you are from the tower. In my experience, test your VHF stations with a pair of old fashion rabbit ears. Those will pick up the VHF signal just as well as any retail antenna. (There are some though that are designed specifically for VHF) There are some decent guides out there on what to do. This Mohu Leaf Review goes into some detail about placement and what can affect your reception.
     
  8. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    The U.S. is using digital signals now. Them old VHF/UHF analog rabbit ears are about useless.
     
  9. Cmulls

    Cmulls

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    Feb 13, 2015
    There is no such thing as a digital or analog antenna. The rabbit ears still work. Hell, a paper clip will work if you're close enough to the tower. It's the tuner that translates the signal. Those have to be digital. So a pair of rabbit ears will work fine in a digital tuner. The whole "HDTV antenna" thing is just marketing.
     
    davenn and Arouse1973 like this.
  10. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Then again, he could be in a fringe area in which case a paper clips will be good for just that alone.
    There is a difference (due to frequency) between UHF and VHF antenna design and (especially with digital reception) one will not work on the other.
    Loose signal strength or quality with digital and your reception will be zero, not fuzzy or snowy but zero.(BER rates very important)
    Just as important is the polarisation of the signal. This can be horizontal or vertical for any particular channel and one may end up requiring a mix of both or indeed, for 15 channels (depending on origin) more than one antenna.
     
  11. Cmulls

    Cmulls

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    Feb 13, 2015
    I wasn't advocating paper clip antennas. I was just saying that rabbit ears will still work, and pretty well for VHF. I wanted to clear up the myth that HD antennas actually exist. It's the tuner and the signal, not the antenna.
     
    davenn likes this.
  12. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    yup, totally agree
    10's of 1000's of people have been scammed with this digital antenna craze in Australia alone
    I suspect its no different an any other country

    We have been using dual band (VHF and UHF) capable antennas for many, many years
    The UHF section works just as well for the old analog signal as it now does for the now digital signals

    Im surprised how many people THINK that the antenna "KNOWS" the difference between a digital and an analog signal .... IT Doesn't !! :) its just another RF signal


    Its unfortunate that the OP @finsfree hasn't come back
    I would have liked to have seen the location map of the station transmitter sites relative to his home
    as this is going to determine what type and how many antennas he would need to get a good reception of as many of them as possible

    Dave
     
  13. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    With one caveat...

    In Australia, the move to digital has freed up spectrum that is being sold off. Older "analog" antennas have large elements for the low frequency bands no longer in use. There is a theoretical possibility that they may pick up signal from other users of this spectrum and it may cause interference.
     
    davenn likes this.
  14. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2015
  15. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Methinks you big-city boys are a little closer to the TV stations than me and Bluejets are familiar with.
    Cmulls 'myth', isn't standing-up to my practical experience here.
    But I appeciate his confidence.
    I'm always interested in people who know everything.
    I can pick-up two digital TV station transmitters with my old rabbit ears if I get creative with antenna alignment with each one of them.
    It gets really cumbersome when I want to change channels using the rabbit ears.
    Analog signal vs. Digital signal transmission was not he point of my previous post. The point of the post was antenna reception of the two signals:
    which apparently I now know is not much of a factor if you're close enough to the TV transmitter.
    Thanks for the information.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  16. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    I use rabbit ears antenna on the bedroom TV, I get some dropout, but can live with it
    I am fortunate that the some 12 digital channels available here all come from 3 transmitter towers on the same ridge to the east of me, ideally suited for the Yagi style antenna on the workshop TV.
    Those towers are ~ 15 km from me and are not line of sight, there's another ridge or 2 in between
     
  17. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

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    Aug 11, 2014
    I agree Cmuls, many have been scammed thinking "I must pay more for the HD model".
    Another important factor is the Location of the antenna. In my last house, I got excellent reception putting my antenna in the attic.
     
  18. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    I appreciate all the input in this discussion, (even though I didn't start this thread). I'm pretty far from the TV transmiters here. Before the digital signals started-up, I could pull-in four stations with rabbit ears. When the switch came,
    I could only receive two, and with considerable effort in antenna alignment (rabbit ears). I don't know the theory, all I know, is what happened and what I have to do to deal with it. I assume the digital circuitry inside my receiver has
    to 'lock onto' the transmitted signal, and somehow the old rabbit ears just weren't easily doing that. Alignment issues, apparently. Maybe just an inferior receiver in the TV set.
    Anyway. Didn't intend for this to turn into a 'hot' issue, but the discussion is helpful to me.
     
  19. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    mainly that you need a stronger signal for digital to produce a clean receivable signal on the TV
     
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