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Author Topic: The BEST OTA antenna's, and those to avoid  (Read 1284 times)
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Hyper
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« on: June 28, 2015, 08:28:30 PM »

Hey folks,

I am looking for info on what are the best OTA antenna's out there?  What models have you tried and what works well, and what does not work so good?

I am mainly interested in smaller antenna's in the 3-5 foot range that anyone can put up easily, not the great big old fashioned type sizes.

And mainly interested in current products that are available on the market today.  << Please no live links to outside websites though per the forum rules.

I would like to build a thread here that will help others pick out a quality antenna, and avoid the junk.

Also, post info on any great working home-made OTA antenna if you like, preferably with plans that other can follow to build it.

I know not all antenna's will work for all situations, but if we can get a good thread going on here with info on different choices, it should help all of us OTA'ers.

I currently know 3 different people who want me to help pick out an OTA antenna for them, i bet many of us get asked about this.


Thanks in advance.   smiley


 TVgood113


« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 08:30:23 PM by Hyper » Logged

My son Evan, taken from his family and friends on March 26, 2010 at the age of 15. We love you and miss you Evan. We will see you again soon in heaven. I miss you son. You were the best son a dad could have. I am so proud of you. Save a place for me.
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2015, 10:49:23 PM »

Antenna craft makes great tv antennas I have one.
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El_Viejo
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 12:07:59 AM »

People, or whoever is helping them, needs to know what the actual frequencies are for the stations desired. You can't necessarily go by what channel they call themselves. For example, here near Indianapolis, There are stations called by the following channels; 4, 6, 8, and 13. Channels 4 and 6 are really in the UHF spectrum along with 20, 29, 40, 42, 59, and 63. However, channel 8 is really on channel 9 while channel 13 is in reality channel 13, never moved. So, the little square/rectangular antennas are primarily for UHF. The physical elements of these antennas are not long enough to be useful for VHF-LO OR VHF-HI. Also, they tend to be somewhat bi-directional and in some cases omni-directional, (one direction), and won't get much signal of the edges. Most will not give very good performance inside your dwelling unless you are fairly close to the desired stations.  Just my 2 pesos, (less than 2 cents) for what it is worth.   E_V
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E_V
The old tomcat sat on the backyard fence, his feet were full of blisters; his head was up and his tail was down, and the wind blew through his whiskers.
Xubuntu 14.04.5 LTS AMD64 ASUS M4A7XTD EVO
True FTA: DMSI Hotdish90 (37") for 91W, 97W and 103W; Samsung JS851C11 (33") for 123W ITC; DN pro plus for 118 ITC & 125W; Winegard DS3101 1Meter 103W, Prodelin 1.2m for 99W-C.    All going to a Amiko Nano HD, an OpenBox S9, and Linkbox 9000i Local.
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2015, 10:10:37 AM »

I would go for either a "Channel Master' or a "Antennas Direct DB8"

Code:
http://www.solidsignal.com/cview_antennas.asp?mc=03&d=over-the-air-tv-antennas-supplies&c=TV%20Antennas&cea=LM

I would Stay Away from those Cheap Motorized models out there,nothing but Junk and a Waste of Time !

This is what I use...................Solid Signal Xtreme Signal HDB8X VHF/UHF Outdoor TV Antenna (HDB8X)

Code:
https://youtu.be/BWfW1ncmOr4

« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 11:31:26 AM by DougRuss » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2015, 01:26:07 PM »

Depends upon distances and stations, I can only comment on deep fringe reception.

We are 60 miles, through trees, to both VHF and UHF stations.

I have had very good results with the AntennaCraft HBU44.

I have had very poor results with the Antennas Direct 91XG.

I have had the best results with homemade Gray Hoverman antennas with NARODs.
Last one I built was GH6n3 gen 1, you can find diagrams online.
I'll try to attach photo.
These are cheap to make.  I use 4 awg solid bare aluminum tie wire and 3/4" PVC.
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2015, 04:47:44 AM »

I'd say antennacraft is the way to go, I can't afford one, so I built my own (I also have more time than money). Bowties seem like they work darn good, can't compare it to a yagi, don't have either, thinking those probably work as well. One dilemma i had was to boost signal 3dbi to get better reception after my first build, I had to double the signal. So I inserted horizontal ties, in between the bowties. It worked.  I'm at 400 ft., getting my signal over a 1,400ft distance hill, 1,400 ft high near ridge, within 2 miles. hence the tilt in the 78 bay bowtie for a tower 23 miles away. The horizontal signal needs to pass thru nearby power wires, transformers and pole, the whole assembly is right in my path to reception. The dongle on top is my wifi on a 20ft cable, which worked when I put it up a couple of years ago, but now with all the cell phones, can't get it to work to well at distance wifi hotspots over a hundred yards away, I have closer ones I can use now. I did use a reflector on the back of the tv antenna, but that yielded no improvement. How I got this up is with three pieces of electrical conduit, 1/2", 3/4" and 1" at the bottom 10ft pieces. there is a 5'-6" foot lap in the mask pieces, so at the top of the 1" piece, is three wall thicknesses, the 3/4" piece is two walls thick, 4'-6" of the 1/2" is single wall, and the 1" mask is two walls thick with a trimmed to length 3/4" conduit, mounted secured halfway, and then at the bottom, securing the 1" piece midpoint and at the base allows it to flex in the wind, unlike being mounted into a concrete poured base only, which it would fold at that point. Grounded the mask, and the equipment is grounded, but the RG6 cable is not going to a grounding block, that killed the signal. Not grounding is a risk, all the runs have something in route that is grounded, like the equipment, the neutral wire, and the computer, ground wire. There is a 100 ton steam locomotive on rails thirty yards away, which is likely a ground for any lightening that may want to strike near here.

only the photos are mine, drawings were picked from the internet. search google images with "bowtie antenna diy" to find their sources.

top and bottom cross pieces are 1/2" metal conduit. vertical lengths are thin wall pvc plumbing schedule 40, pinned fittings. The 16-18ga (not certain) whisker wire is fed through drill holes in the 1/2" tubing to form its shape and hold its position, in the spring after stromy winds I need to reshape the wires from blowing leaf strikes. The top antenna wires 12ga are to thick (see pic), I used them replacing the 16-18 ga wire thinking it might help, but dropped the signal level, to much mass.

if a mfrs 16 bay bowtie is around 18db, mine is somewhere around 23db + (guessing) unboosted. Every 3db is twice the size, so if I wanted to boost my signal another 3db, I'd need to double its size. I have a RCA TVPRAMP1R Preamplifier mounted on the antenna, there are better ones to be had.

not saying this is a diy, but it's what I did.

this seems like a good place to start, different length of antenna receives different frequencies.

Update July 12 2016: I bought a new tuner, same mfr. HomeWorx model hw180stb (real cheap) and I'm getting a station 45 miles away, over two 1,000 ft peaks, one is near, behind street front power lines. KTBW channel 14, nm -10.8 db, pwr -101.6 Dbm. Most of the time it's a broken signal, sometimes perfect.

Code:
http://www.tvtower.com/hdtv_antenna_and_reception.html
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 11:06:59 PM by scottd » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2015, 07:47:21 AM »

Nice job on the OTA antenna...

Will just merge the threads...

Slayers

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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2015, 05:14:24 PM »

Not all stations operate in the UHF freq's.  There are some that I can recirve out where I'm at that still use VHF[2 thru 13] and even one that is using ch-3.  It is best to check and see what "real"chanel is being used for the digital chanels in your aera, and use an antenna to recieve those stations.  Jess out in California
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2015, 07:52:04 PM »

Thanks for the info scottd, i will have to take some time to study this over.

And you make a good point jess73, there are VHF channels out there still, and i happen to have one in my area that is important to me.

This is why its a hard decision for me what to buy (or make), my omni-directional is both UHF/VHF i just want to reach out farther.

And some of the best antenna's are UHF only.


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My son Evan, taken from his family and friends on March 26, 2010 at the age of 15. We love you and miss you Evan. We will see you again soon in heaven. I miss you son. You were the best son a dad could have. I am so proud of you. Save a place for me.
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2015, 09:37:26 PM »

I just ordered this antenna for the Youth Building of my church. We will use it for NFL football viewing parties.

I will let you all know how well it works (or not) next week.


 smiley


EZ HD TV Antenna

√ Dual band design receives all digital channels VHF and UHF signals.
√ Reliable reception to 50 miles.
√ Works great for antennaweb's yellow, green, red and blue zones or the FCC's green and yellow zones.
√ The EZ HD TV antenna is quality built and made in the USA.


Specifications

Antenna Type    VHF/UHF/FM/Digital
Length    35.15"
Max. Width    34.43
Max. Height    3"
Weight    4.6 lbs
Output Connection    Coax cable or twin lead
Mast size    3/4" to 1.7/8" OD


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My son Evan, taken from his family and friends on March 26, 2010 at the age of 15. We love you and miss you Evan. We will see you again soon in heaven. I miss you son. You were the best son a dad could have. I am so proud of you. Save a place for me.
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2015, 10:19:24 AM »

I have had amazing results over the years with a channel master 4228 anda  CM7777 preamp.. the DX hunter guys over at digital home Canada pretty much use that setup.. I know it is a UHF only however the gain is so great that it pulls in the VHF stations in my area with zero problems (channel 9 and channel 11).. get both at 90+% signal.
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2015, 09:40:07 PM »

On the EZ HD, it looks like it would suffice for channels 7 thru uhf. However, it doesn't have much gain, (not enough elements). In order for an antenna to work for channels 2 thru 6, the longest element should be 109 inches long. It may give some results, but it won't be a barn burner!! JMHO  E_V
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E_V
The old tomcat sat on the backyard fence, his feet were full of blisters; his head was up and his tail was down, and the wind blew through his whiskers.
Xubuntu 14.04.5 LTS AMD64 ASUS M4A7XTD EVO
True FTA: DMSI Hotdish90 (37") for 91W, 97W and 103W; Samsung JS851C11 (33") for 123W ITC; DN pro plus for 118 ITC & 125W; Winegard DS3101 1Meter 103W, Prodelin 1.2m for 99W-C.    All going to a Amiko Nano HD, an OpenBox S9, and Linkbox 9000i Local.
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2015, 09:21:32 PM »


Got the EZ HD delivered today.

Will not have time to test it out this weekend, but will let you all know how it works next week.


 grin
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My son Evan, taken from his family and friends on March 26, 2010 at the age of 15. We love you and miss you Evan. We will see you again soon in heaven. I miss you son. You were the best son a dad could have. I am so proud of you. Save a place for me.
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2015, 04:09:11 AM »

hope things worked out okay. Here's another link that could be useful when shopping for a antenna, always check tvfool dot com to see where you stand at reception, for me I'm behind two 1000 ft peaks 10 miles apart, it takes geography into account, and always take into consideration those applications are perfect conditions, not shooting through trees, power lines, or through roofs. Aim width can be a factor, so you have to think about more than one antenna or a motor if your towers are part.

Code:
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/antennas/comparing.html

and

http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/best-tv-antenna.html

HD 1080 ota is excellent, 720 is okay, 480 is decent if down scaled 1080, but the retro (the right word?) stuff is blurry. It has come a long ways since anything analog. Hope you get some.

ScottD
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2015, 07:16:17 PM »

I finally installed the EZ HD antenna today and i love it! I decided to keep this one for myself after doing some bench testing, and today i put it on the pole on the roof of my garage, replacing the Channel Master Omni-Directional i had there. With that antenna (the CM) i got 23 channels. With the EZHD i get 26 channels. And the best part is, the CM was amplified, the EZ HD is not. So not only does it out-perform the CM, it also requires no power! It is very lightweight, comes totally assembled, just rotate the elements into place and fits a J pole. The ONLY thing i did not like about it is it comes with a twin lead matching transformer to connect your coax cable to the antenna and this is cheaply made. Where it attaches to the antenna i broke this very easily just touching it, so i wired in some good connectors to it and now it is great. So i would recommend this antenna to anyone. Before long i am going to install 2 of these at another location, both pointing to 2 different cities in different directions and see how that does.
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My son Evan, taken from his family and friends on March 26, 2010 at the age of 15. We love you and miss you Evan. We will see you again soon in heaven. I miss you son. You were the best son a dad could have. I am so proud of you. Save a place for me.
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