TiVo HD ANTENNA DISCUSSION...

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by SOGLAD, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. SOGLAD

    SOGLAD Thank You ALL !

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    The Topic: HD ANTENNAS from the connector to the metal in the sky!

    There are volumes written about HD Antennas and my comments are made with a rather 'broad brush'. It's easy to quibble and take potshots, but constructive comments and questions help so much more!

    The FIRST thing you should know is "proper Antenna selection" is critical!

    Although most stations have switched to "DIGITAL", not all stations MOVED to UHF frequencies! Los Angeles is a perfect example. At least 4 major stations REMAIN on VHF!

    Most newer 'HD ANTENNAS" are designed for UHF ~ and this is why almost all antenna 'elements' (rods) are quite 'short' in length. However VHF requires (almost demands) at lease some longer elements to help capture lower VHF (Lo-Band VHF) frequencies!

    The point is, KNOW what band(s) your LOCAL (and distant) stations are using! If all of your stations are on UHF you should do fine with a UHF only antenna. If not, buy the right antenna for the job!

    I've included a photo of the antenna I use below. Please note the longer 4 elements in back. Not bad for $14.99 and tax... free shipping too. The seller claims 180 mile range, but that depends on a LOT of things ~ I'm sure you know.

    The seller also says this antenna operates 360 degrees, but in reality this antenna IS VERY directional! Consider anything you receive from the sides or from behind ~ a gift.

    This antenna performs so well that I paused to buy two more! $32.83 with tax.

    It was mounted (outdoors) as close to my TiVo and TV as possible. I cut a 10' length of "EMT" electrical conduit to 5' for a mast. No need to buy a official/expensive "TV mast". I used QUALITY RG6u coax cut to length with just a few feet of coax to spare... as in no extra spool of coax to add additional coax line loss. Because this antenna has so much gain I didn't hesitate to add a 2-way splitter.

    Please know that splitter sends 50% of my available SIGNAL in two directions! So if a station is received at +20 dBm... +10 dBm goes to the TiVo and +10 to the TV antenna input. Also the general rule is that the higher the frequencies the higher your signal loss through your coax and splitters.

    Next: Help your Antenna last a decade! (if Mother Nature allows).

    U-V Antenna.jpg
     
  2. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    A two-way splitter doesn't cost you 10 dB, rather 3 to 3.5 dB.

    Why keep the source of that antenna deal secret?
     
  3. SOGLAD

    SOGLAD Thank You ALL !

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    eBay for the antenna... after my purchase today only 1 is left. If I gave the auction number folks checking would find not find the Auction... and the example I gave for the splitter was +20 dBm in, +10 dBm out at each port of the splitter. So the level in is just half at each port out.
     
  4. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    if you have a two way splitter with -10dB of insertion loss per port, you really need to throw that away, and spend way less than $10 for a proper splitter with a loss of -3 to -3.5 dB per leg.

    And a reception range of 180 miles is absurd.
     
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  5. pl1

    pl1 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a good site for all things HD Antennas Antennas Direct | TV Antennas Reinvented
    The Antenna I have been using for over 10 years is the "Antennas Direct DB2 Multi Directional HDTV Antenna (Discontinued by Manufacturer)". It definitely does not do 180 miles, more like 1-30 miles and I paid about $60 at the time for an exterior antenna. You have a good point about VHS, as that explains why I'm not getting a couple of the locals. This site will tell you which stations you should get by zip, and whether they are UHF or VHF.

    UNTITLED.jpg
     
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  6. unclehonkey

    unclehonkey Well-Known Member

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  7. bruce316

    bruce316 New Member

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    I agree, Antennas Direct is great. I've tried other antennas but my favorite is the Clearstream 4 from them. I mounted it in the attic and it has done a great job for several years now.
     
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    10 db down is a factor 10 in power, not a factor of two. Look up the basic definition of deciBel ratios.
     
  9. wizwor

    wizwor Active Member

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    There is no such thing as an HD antenna. Antennas collect energy at specific frequencies -- vhf-lo, vhf-high, and uhf, for instance. What exactly is carried in that energy is not particularly important to the antenna.

    There are actually three tv bands. 2-6 is VHF-low. Few stations are down there, but some are. In Boston, one of the PBS stations moved to that band with the repack. These frequencies are collected by the longest elements of an antenna. I don't think your antenna will pull in 2-6. VHF-high is channels 7-13. The entire FM spectrum lives between channels 6 and 7. In Boston one PBS station and one ABC affiliate live in this band. The Stellar Labs 30-2476 is the best VHF-high antenna available right now. I used to pull in real channel 11 on a DB8 which is a very good UHF antenna.

    Well, the curvature of the earth starts to get in the way of antenna signals at about 70 miles, so your antenna would have to be pretty high up to see something 180 miles away.

    I would be curious to know what your experience with VHF (especially low) is.
     
  10. oscarfish

    oscarfish Member

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    I'm seeing reference to three different CleanStream 4 models (4, 4V and 4Max). On Amazon they range in price from $95 to $150. On the Antennas Direct web site they recommend the 4Max which is the $150 model. Does anyone happen to know the difference between those three models?
     
  11. unclehonkey

    unclehonkey Well-Known Member

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    Clearstream 4-UHF only
    4V-they have the rods for VHF but there is a combiner to combine VHF & UHF
    4Max same as 4V but the combiner is built in
     
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  12. bruce316

    bruce316 New Member

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    I have the older style regular Clearstream 4 (the $95 one on Amazon) which is made for UHF but I have one VHF channel in our lineup, our local CBS station, which is a strong signal and I have no problem picking it up with this antenna. The Clearstream 4V might be better if you have more VHF channels and/or the VHF signals are not as strong.

    I've read some reviews on the 4Max that said it does not perform as well as the original Clearstream 4 and 4V because the 4Max doesn't have the big mesh wire panels behind the elements anymore. I have not used one of the 4Max antennas myself so I don't know if that is true but it might be something to consider and research more before buying one of those.
     
  13. wizwor

    wizwor Active Member

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    What is the 'real' channel of that CBS station? UHF antennas can pick up high vhf stations and vhf-high antennas are readily available. I doubt you can pick up anything below channel 10 with a UHF antenna.
     
  14. bruce316

    bruce316 New Member

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    You are probably correct about that, the VHF station is labeled as 10.1 and the real channel is channel 10. I'm not sure how the antenna would perform with a lower VHF frequency. The other local channels I watch are all on the UHF band.
     
  15. oscarfish

    oscarfish Member

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    Yikes, I stared at pictures of various Clearstream antennas, including the 4, 4V and 4Max, and I didn't even notice that the 4Max didn't have the mesh. Now that's all I can see.
     
  16. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

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    It's more like 3.5 to 4 dB loss. A "perfect" split of a signal would be 3dB loss, but no splitter can achieve that.
     
  17. tampa8

    tampa8 Official Tivo User

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    I was drawn to this thread by the assertion of an HD antenna, which as you point out does not exist except in the hype of advertising.
    To get the best signal the two most important things aside from topography is height of antenna and correct wave length to get the signal. The first sometimes can overcome topography. Knowing what actual channels are being used in your area makes all the difference in getting the right antenna. On lower frequencies I even get airplane interference sometimes since the changeover to digital. The AVS discussion board has many posts about problems here since the changeover in getting a reliable OTA signal on several channels.
    There is no end in what can lessen the digital signal including a nearby air conditioner compressor starting up, a metal ladder being put underneath where your antenna is, and on and on. Our friend starting having problems getting a channel and we narrowed it down to a flag pole next door being installed. We overcame that by slightly moving the direction of the antenna. Channels we could get before now need more pinpoint aiming to get making it much harder when the towers are not all from the same general location/direction. It seems like there is no forgiving and getting channels from more of the side of the antenna anymore unless you are much closer to the tower.
    An example we always could get Sarasota channels but reliably no more since digital unless I turn the antenna more that way, which then loses many of the Tampa channels.

    And yes any decent splitter should be about a 3.5 loss.
     
  18. wizwor

    wizwor Active Member

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    The first post came across as authoritative but was mostly incorrect. Just wanted to set the record straight. Receiving broadcast television isn't difficult, but it can seem like magic if one lacks a basic understanding of how things work. I can't count the number of people I have helped by recommending the right antenna and getting it pointed in the right direction.

    Start Here
     
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  19. Narkul

    Narkul Active Member

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    HD Antenna with VHF low and high, also with good UHF coverage.

    antannafoil.jpg
     
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  20. SOGLAD

    SOGLAD Thank You ALL !

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    I was out of the antenna biz for years and when the 'hammer-down' date came for the tremendous "Move to HD" date finally arrived my brother wanted to cut the cable... I helped my brother install his "HD" antenna just before he cut services...

    UHF reception was AWESOME, but lower channels were pixilating like mad and there were some (VHF-Lo) that we could not receive at all! Everything had new channel designations, I thought it was his (somewhat of a) 'valley' location and because he did not have a "clear shot" to Mount Wilson? I was very wrong thinking that ALL VHF channels were vacated (by FCC mandate) to free-up 'huge blocks' of VHF bandwidth? WRONG... apparently the networks in Los Angeles have lots of clout?

    In Los Angeles channels 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 9 / 11 and 13 REMAIN on VHF-Low band and hence the need for longer elements to help capture them.

    Finally we bought a Weinguard true U/V antenna but ended up taking it down again to install a pre-amp... that did the trick!

    I hope this helps you
     

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