Antenna suggestions

NFLMVP's picture

I'm a newb here and a newb to OTA antennas. The old man took care of all of that, back in the day, so I'm starting from scratch.

I'm about a week away from dumping Time Warner and I'm not interested in satellite.

There's currently a whole house antenna in the attic, which I assume dates back to when the house was built, in 1980. The whole house has been completely rewired with cable and I assume it's up to current specs, based on the fact that TWC did the wiring, last fall. I have 16 outlets throughout the house and all the splitters and amplifiers are there. I just want to feed a signal into that setup and move on.

Here are my concerns....

I have no idea if the antenna in the attic is worth a damn and I'm not inclined to put much time into it. Ideally, I'd love to get a new antenna and mount it in the attic but I understand the drawbacks to that. If I HAVE to mount a antenna on the roof, I will do it grudgingly. I can probably block the view of it from the road, without worrying about blocking incoming signal, unless there's something I'm missing. I don't even want to think about a tower.

I'm looking to receive as many channels as I possibly can, for as little $$ as I can spend.

I'm in north Appleton and I have a pretty clear shot to the Green Bay area. I actually do pretty well with rabbit ears so I assume GB is pretty easy. What I really want to know is whether or not I can receive a decent signal from any of the other markets in the state, with not too complicated or costly a set up.

I've been looking at the Antennas Direct DB8 multi-directional antenna. Any thoughts? Will it pick up Milwaukee or Madison or Wausau? Is it overkill or not enough for those distances?

I'm sure I've thoroughly muddied the issue but would appreciate any inside info and/or suggestions.

Posted August 2, 2012 8:43pm in
TowerguyWI's picture

Considering your location and

Considering your location and the fact that your existing antenna has been protected from the elements in the attic, it should work fine depending upon a couple of things. First, it must have UHF elements in addition to VHF since all the local channels except for channel 11 have moved to UHF. Second, it will have to be aimed at Scray's Hill on Green Bay's south side. If the antenna has a 300-ohm (twin-lead) termination, you'll need a 300 ohm to 75 ohm adapter to hook it up to your existing wiring. It's worth a try, and if it works it will give you 12 free channels with the various sub-channels.

Forget about getting any other markets in the state with your set-up, though, especially with the attitude that you don't want a roof-top antenna, don't want a tower, and don't want to spend any money on this. To pick up any other markets OTA (Wausau, Milwaukee, etc.), will take a fairly large high-gain antenna up around 40 feet or more in this area on average. The Trinity Broadcasting Network runs a station in Mayville on channel 52 (DTV Ch. 43) that you can pick up with a second UHF-only antenna aimed south from Appleton, but it would have to be up on the roof at a minimum. They run mostly religious programming on 5 sub-channels.

Bear in mind that the antenna you mention isn't multi-directional. It has bow-tie elements in front of a reflector screen which makes it directional. It's also UHF-only, so it may or may not work on channel 11 from Green Bay. It has little "gain" compared to a long yagi-style antenna, so it's not going to pick up other markets from Appleton.

NFLMVP's picture

Thanks for the info. I guess

Thanks for the info. I guess other markets just aren't in the cards. In case there's a problem with the existing antenna, is there another antenna I should be considering to maximize my reception, while still utilizing the attic space?

Is there any benefit to going with something long-range, vs the 15-60 mile ranges I'm seeing?

TowerguyWI's picture

Yeah, unfortunately I think

Yeah, unfortunately I think you are stuck with the Green Bay channels. An antenna like this one (available at Best Buy or Amazon) would work well and probably fit in your attic.
PCasioT International - CM-3016 Television Antenna
Model: CM-3016 SKU: 3395378

It's made by Channel Master which is an old name in TV antennas as is Winegard. Something in the $50 range would suffice. Not much advantage to going any larger unless you want to put it up on the roof or a tower.
Personally, I have a large Winegard VHF/UHF antenna up about 50 feet aimed at Green Bay, and a smaller UHF-only yagi up about 30 feet aimed at Mayville for channel 52. This gives me 16 OTA channels. That, along with an $8.00/Mo. Netflix streaming subscription gives me all I want or need for TV watching. I'll never pay the rates that TWC or Dish charge.

NFLMVP's picture

Thanks. I'll check Best Buy

Thanks. I'll check Best Buy for the antenna, next Monday. I just got off the phone with Time Warner and pulled the plug. My service should expire at Midnight. Until I get an antenna hooked up, I'll be moving a set of rabbit ears around the house, which will be something of a PITA but I just wasn't willing to pay one more ridiculous bill for service I just don't use.

Now, if I can find an alternative to TWC Cable Internet, I'll dump that, too. There just don't seem to be many options for that....yet.

NFLMVP's picture

I forgot to ask.... Is there

I forgot to ask....

Is there any chance that I can do double duty with a antenna to use it for FM reception as well, or do I need to use a separate antenna?

TowerguyWI's picture

I hear ya on the ridiculous

I hear ya on the ridiculous bill part. Yes, a TV antenna that has VHF elements will work great on the FM broadcast band. The FM band lies between TV channels 6 and 7. Remember though, that most TV antennas are directional, so you'll pick up FM stations in the direction the antenna is pointed better than off the sides or back of the TV antenna.


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