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TV Reception question..

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TV Reception question..

Old 09-17-03, 09:30 AM
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TV Reception question..

Ok. We got rid of cable and just have broadcast stations. I don't have a pair of rabbit ears or anything and I just run the coax cable from the wall to the TV. When I screw it all the way into the TV I barely get a picture but when I just insert the needle part into the connector and leave it barely even in it's clear as can be. Anyone know why this is and what I can do to pick up a better signal?

Anyone know of an antenna that is really good?

Thanks!
Old 09-17-03, 09:46 AM
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Your signal would improve if you take the cable, that your cable tv was hooked in from, slip the cable guy a $20 bill and tell him to make it all better.
Old 09-17-03, 09:47 AM
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If you don't have cable or an antenna then I don't see how screwing the coax for the cable into your TV does anything. The copper in it must be acting like a regular antenna but it must not be good enough to get a good picture. Unless your apartment has an antenna that all the coax comes off of. I don't understand why you get a picture at all but you could see if the end is warn out. Or just buy a cheap Wal-Mart antenna.
Old 09-17-03, 09:48 AM
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Do you mean illegal cable... Sssteeeven...
Old 09-17-03, 09:51 AM
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I don't live in an apt.. I live in a money pit.

What is the difference between a cheap wal-mart antenna and an expensive intenna say off crutchfield?

Would I pick up more channels with an expensive antenna?
Old 09-17-03, 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by Mopower
If you don't have cable or an antenna then I don't see how screwing the coax for the cable into your TV does anything.
Well, rabbit ears are basically a long wire you hang off the back of your TV. The coax for cable is a long wire that stretches through your house. It can act as a better antenna than nothing at all.
Old 09-17-03, 10:14 AM
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Originally posted by AndyCapps
Well, rabbit ears are basically a long wire you hang off the back of your TV. The coax for cable is a long wire that stretches through your house. It can act as a better antenna than nothing at all.
I think that's a good reason...didn't people used to use old telephone jacks for better reception for am radio if I am not mistaken?
Old 09-17-03, 10:20 AM
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Originally posted by AndyCapps
Well, rabbit ears are basically a long wire you hang off the back of your TV. The coax for cable is a long wire that stretches through your house. It can act as a better antenna than nothing at all.
Like I said in my post....

Old 09-17-03, 10:23 AM
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Originally posted by tbird2340

Would I pick up more channels with an expensive antenna?
That's hard to answer not knowing what is available in your area over the air. If you get a good antenna and get it installed properly you will probably get clearer reception than a cheap one. It's going to be better to have a rooftop than a set top antenna also.

Before buying any antenna check out the newspaper to see what you can receive over the air and then buy accordingly. In some areas UPN and FOX station are actually broadcase on UHF, not VHF, so you want to get an antenna that gets everything you can.
Old 09-17-03, 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by Mopower
Like I said in my post....

You expect me to read more than the first sentence of a post before replying to it?
Old 09-17-03, 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by renaldow
That's hard to answer not knowing what is available in your area over the air. If you get a good antenna and get it installed properly you will probably get clearer reception than a cheap one. It's going to be better to have a rooftop than a set top antenna also.

Before buying any antenna check out the newspaper to see what you can receive over the air and then buy accordingly. In some areas UPN and FOX station are actually broadcase on UHF, not VHF, so you want to get an antenna that gets everything you can.
How do I know what is broadcast over the air in the newspaper? Also, how does an outdoor antenna work? Do I have to run a cable from the outdoor antenna all the way to the TV? If this is the case does it only work for one TV?

Thanks for all the replies!
Old 09-17-03, 11:26 AM
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I just looked on tvguide.com. It gave me these when I chose broadcast for my city:



Does this mean ALL these stations are suppost to come in with an antenna??
Old 09-17-03, 11:41 AM
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Pick up an antenna from Radio Shack and see how it does. A UHF antenna (roof mounted) will cost ~ $25, the mounting brackets and pole will run another $15 or so. Run a coax from that to your TVs (splitting the signal if you have more than one TV.

I'm not talking about getting a 50' tower, just do a basic rooftop installation on one of your eaves.
Old 09-17-03, 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by AndyCapps
Well, rabbit ears are basically a long wire you hang off the back of your TV. The coax for cable is a long wire that stretches through your house. It can act as a better antenna than nothing at all.
Coax is by definition a shielded wire, for this reason it does not work to pick up signal, but is very efficient at relaying the signal from an antenna to a tuner.

An antenna can be split to serve multiple TV's, you may need to invest in an amplifier to keep the signal at a tolerable level, depending on your distance from the broadcast towers.

Also, depending on your location a rotor may be necessary to tune in stations that lie in different directions from your house.

As far as selecting an antenna, start at AntennaWeb.org it will help you to select the right type of antenna for your location from your local stations.

And stay away from the most expensive antennas like Terk, the fancy things you'll see at Best Buy, etc. A basic antenna from Radio Shack that matches AntennaWeb's recommendation will do fine.
Old 09-17-03, 11:54 AM
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Sweet link... I'll check that out.. Thanks
Old 09-17-03, 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by jim_cook87

As far as selecting an antenna, start at AntennaWeb.org it will help you to select the right type of antenna for your location from your local stations.

And stay away from the most expensive antennas like Terk, the fancy things you'll see at Best Buy, etc. A basic antenna from Radio Shack that matches AntennaWeb's recommendation will do fine.
This is great stuff! Due to extreme iincreases from my cable company, I've been thinking about going to an antenna to save bucks, since I don't watch all that much TV anyway (and MTV just plain sucks anyway!). The antenna link let me know what type antenna I need and what channels I'll get!

Thanks!!!
Old 09-17-03, 01:10 PM
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Oh yea.. Thanks!!

Man I love that banana..
Old 09-18-03, 09:41 AM
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Well I bought a $15 RCA indoor antenna from Wal Mart yesterday and it didn't do crap for me. I had better picture just plugging my coax into the wall...

Wonder what the deal is with that??
Old 09-18-03, 10:54 AM
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Indoor antenna are very hit and miss, it's not so much the antenna as the location. When trying to pick up over-the-air signals it's important to consider a number of factors:

* Radiowaves travel (primarily) line of sight. So if you are very close to a hill that lies between you and the TV tower you're going to have to get your antenna higher in the air to come closer to having a clear line between your antenna and the broadcast tower. And it doesn't need to be a hill, a large building, tree, interstate overpass, or anything else that obscures line of sight can have the same effect.

* Radiowaves can be reflected off of buildings, trees, etc. So moving an antenna 10 feet to the left or right might improve your reception.

* Even omni-directional antenna gain can be effected by the way the antenna is pointed, rotating an antenna left-right, up-down might improve reception.

* A house can pose a very formidable barrier to receiving signal. A simple plywood wall with drywall will typically allow enough signal to pass to get good reception. But run some electrical wiring through that wall and now there's a electromagnetic field that might interfere. Put insulation with foil backing and now you've got a surface that will reflect a lot of signals, put up aluminum siding and the amount of signals reflected increased even more. Typically the wall between your indoor antenna and the TV tower is the most critical, but if your antenna is located on the opposite side of the wall where your circuit breaker box is, you've introduced the potential for a lot of EM interference. If the closest wall has foil back insulation you might be getting a lot of interference due to reflected signals.

Attic mounted antennas sometimes reduce these problems, but if you have foil backed insulation or a lot of metal flashing, duct work, etc. you might be no better off. Which is why the best place for an antenna has always been on the roof...
Old 09-18-03, 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by tbird2340
I just looked on tvguide.com. It gave me these when I chose broadcast for my city:


Does this mean ALL these stations are suppost to come in with an antenna??
Nope. These online guides frequently include any station you might get. It is rare in any particular area for adjacent channels to be used, and I guarantee that you won't get good reception of both channel 17s.

Your local newspaper's tv guide is probably a better indicator of what you might actually get.

There is a site somewhere (sorry I don't have it bookmarked) that calculates distance and bearing to all the channels in a specified radius from your zipcode or latitude longitude. I believe it is one of the "antenna" sites and it makes recommendations on what antenna would be required for the more distant stations you specify.

Are you in apartment? "Indoor" antennas don't work too well in buildings with a lot of steel, unless there are also a lot of windows. They often work OK in homes of mostly wood construction. Even a simple rooftop antenna will outperform "rabbit ears," Coax from the antenna to set generally works better than "twin lead" however, you may need to worry about impedance match. Is antenna output impedance 300 ohms or 75 ohms? Is set input 300 or 75 ohms? Twin lead is 300 ohms, video coax is generally 75 ohms, but other coax is often 50 ohms.

You can buy "balun" to convert 300 ohms to 75 or 50. Generally all three need to match intrinsically or you need baluns as adapters for best results.
Old 09-18-03, 11:15 AM
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The problem is... I want to install an outdoor antenna but I don't know how I would get the wire from the antenna to the TV. I would have to drill through the roof, go through the attic, then somehow get it down through the second floor, and then into my living room..

Hmm...
Old 09-18-03, 11:42 AM
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I have found this antenna to be the best indoor antenna I have ever used. Radio Shack has relabeled this as an HDTV antenna, but it is the exact same model I bought a few years ago that didn't say HDTV on the box.

http://www.radioshack.com/product.as...Fid=930%2D0998

I was surprised to find an antenna in the crawl space above my second bedroom in the apartment I rent. I have been using that with very acceptable results. I do have a question maybe someone could answer. It's one of those V-shaped UHF antennas that has twin lead leading downstairs through the floor/ceiling into the livingroom closet (that's how I found the antenna when I traced the twinlead back to the source). Over the weekend I took a broken RF 3-way adapter and hard-wired the twin-lead input to the f-type output and ran a new 75Ohm coax cable to a small amplifier to the TiVo downstairs. My question is... is my adapter limiting signal strength in any way? Should I just extend the twinlead all the way to the TiVo downstairs?
Old 09-18-03, 11:46 AM
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Originally posted by tbird2340
The problem is... I want to install an outdoor antenna but I don't know how I would get the wire from the antenna to the TV. I would have to drill through the roof, go through the attic, then somehow get it down through the second floor, and then into my living room..

Hmm...
Simple. Get a flat coax coupler. Hide the cabling along the rim of your house/vinyl siding and snake it through a window downstairs closest to the TV. These couplers are great if you have older windows because you'll be able to squeeze it through your window, shut the window completely and have the wiring come through into your house. I used these couplers for years for my satellite dish. Radio Shack sells them. They should work great in your situation if you window leaves the tiny bit of room it needs to allow the coupler to squeeze through.



$3.11 at MCM Electronics . $15 at Radio Shack :/

Last edited by BenCJedi; 09-18-03 at 11:49 AM.
Old 09-18-03, 12:22 PM
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Originally posted by tbird2340
The problem is... I want to install an outdoor antenna but I don't know how I would get the wire from the antenna to the TV. I would have to drill through the roof, go through the attic, then somehow get it down through the second floor, and then into my living room..
One option is to run the cable from the antenna along the outside of your house, bring it in through the exterior wall. This is very common (most professional installers do it this was as fishing cable through walls is extremely time consuming and can pose a risk when you don't know where electrical wiring is going.

Also consider how your house is currently wired. For example, my house was wired for cable. All the coax outlets in my house run into my basement store room, where the cable feed enters the house. Running my antenna wire down to the same entry point I can then split and distribute to any of the existing coax jacks in the house. If you have cable and are going to replace it with the antenna, use the entry point and distribution the cable already has established. Keep in mind, with the extra distance, adapters and splitters this introduces you may need to use an amplifier to keep signal strength at an acceptable level, but amps are fairly inexpensive. Radio Shack has a nice selection of amplifiers (antenna mount and in-line, variable and fixed gain) reasonably priced.

With all the variables, this information only gets you started on the right course, trial and error will be part of the solution...

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