Choosing an Outdoor TV Antenna?????

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by Shuckapeafarms, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Jul 7, 2012 #1 of 12

    Shuckapeafarms New Member

    Jul 7, 2012
    Ok, so I dumped Directv like millions of others have done. Now I'm going to go with an outdoor antenna but clueless as to what I should get.
    I live in SW Florida where it is relatively flat and pretty much unobstructive. My home is only 5 years old and is prewired for cable TV. I have a tv in the livingroom and one in the bedroom both only about a year and a half old.
    So this is what I have so far...........visited several of the antenna signal sites and found that we have 82 available stations within a 100 mile range both in UHF and VHF. Signals vary in strength from poor to excellent however, if I can get 20 of these I would be very satisfied.
    Now for the antenna..........I did some research and found 2 antennas claiming they can attain signals as far away as 150 miles although I have my doubts given the earths curvature which would indicate a distance of 50-65 miles would be a more accurate expectation???? Any comments??
    These two antennas.......The Spectrum AX969 and the Orca AX909-G5 is what I inquired about. They are both amplified and rotors mounted for total directional capability. I cannot find any information on their manufacturers indicating they may be Made in China which I would be sceptical buying them.
    My other two possibilities are Channel Master and Windguard which are American owned but may also be MADE IN CHINA........however, using American specifications and technology. My only concerns with these are their massive size........and we do get REAL wind here at times!
    I'm looking for advice as to what outdoor antenna is of premium quality and can handle the job at task?? I'm willing to pay for premium but hoping not to require additional items like amplifiers, specialty transformers, rewiring the coax and turning this into a huge expense.
    One more question, from an antenna, can I just connect to the houses pre wired connector on the outside of the house and make my system live through out the home or do you have to run a new separate coax from the antenna to the tv and not use the prewired system built with the house??
    Thanks for any advice as it will be well appreciated. I would just ask that ONLY those with EXPERTISE respond, I have plenty of ameteurs right here in the neighborhood.......all more than willing to add their unprofessional two cents!:):sure:;):p
  2. Jul 7, 2012 #2 of 12

    kenglish Icon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    I'd stay away from the "cutesy" whiz-bang antennas, and go with something like Winegard or Channel Master. If the website you used shows that the stations near you are all above 13 in the "Real Channel" column, you can get by with a UHF-only antenna, which is smaller.
    If the "Real" channels include 2-13, you'll need something more like a "traditional" VHF+UHF combo antenna....often available at places like Lowe's or Home Depot. Radio Shack also may have them in the back room of their stores. Get a name-brand one for best immunity to wind damage.

    You'll need to see if there are any satellite-specific devices. like switches, in your existing wiring. Splitters, if they are rated for frequencies that include OTA TV (50 to 700 MHz), you should be OK. You might have to remove the switches and just put in TV-type splitters. The cabling and connectors should be OK. (Satellite-only switches and splitters usually say something like "950-1450 MHz" or "950-2150 MHz", and do not include the ability to pass TV frequencies. Some do both.

    Any fewer than about four sets should work with a good antenna, without additional amplifiers. If you are within 15 or so miles of TV (or FM) transmitters, amplifiers may get you in trouble, due to too much signal.

    If you have signals coming from widely-spaced directions, you may want to add a rotator. These are often available at the big stores, as well.

    If you are trying for stations more than 30-50 miles away, you'll need luck and patience.
  3. Shuckapeafarms

    Shuckapeafarms New Member

    Jul 7, 2012
    Yes, I did some more research and it appears that many antenna manufacturers over state their products capabilities. The first two I mentioned in the original post seem to be "made in China" products and that alone raises reg flags for me!
    Further research indicates a Winegard HD8200U is a powerful unit with manufacturer rating at 65 miles however, I read reviews from others that stated they had recpetion from over 100 miles away and that's a good sign!
    I think this antenna coupled with a HD Channel Master Rotor, a good attenuator and amplifier, and I should be good to go! Just need to get a wire through the attic and down the wall so it's done correctly. Here in Florida, you don't want holes in the wall or widows half open with wires because there's too many other undesirables who will also find their way inside!
    Open to any more suggestions as I'm not tackling this until it cools down a bit, summer in the attic isn't in my cards!!
  4. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 7, 2004
    Your best bet for reception is to look within 35 miles, further than that and you have to elevate the antenna quite high and put a strong pre-amp on the system (which may overload your tuner if there are other stations withih 10 miles).

    For us to hilp you we need to know as precisely as you feel comfortable where you are. this can be done by you running and attaching the url for a report at, or you can post your latitude and longitude or you can post your address.

    Without knowing where you are we cannot recommend any antenna because you may have only UHF stations, uhf and VHF high band or UHF and both vhf high and low band VHF stations - each needs a different antenna or a mix of different antennas.

    Awaiting your reply.
  5. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    If you can eliminate Low VHF (channels 2-6) from the available channels you are trying to pick up, you can get a very high gain VHF-Hi/UHF antenna that will survive strong storms and higher mounting elevation than the Winegard 8200, with the same results.
    Couple that with a Channel Master 7777 preamp which mounts at the antenna and is excellent to picking up far away stations without overloading on locals. A good rotor will also be essential. This should get you any station possible to get at your location, and several more during evenings when tropo bending extends the range out to about 100 miles.

    If you do need low VHF 2 thru 6, the 8200 would be the best choice. Avoid any antenna with a "built in rotor" or "built in amp". Its a gimmick, and a waste of money.
  6. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

    Apr 22, 2002
    Kansas City KS
    +1 on - I ALWAYS recommend using them to get an idea of the reception issues someone is asking about and what kind of antenna will work best.

    In GENERAL -
    #1 - High and outside is best - outside (where god meant antennas to be - closest to freespace) and as high as you practically can get it (however, OTARD only covers you to 12 feet above the roofline).

    #2 - GOOD quality RG6 (not that RG59) coax cable with good connectors (waterproof for outside.

    #3 Use as few splits as possible. If necessary, use a medium powered distribution amp (around 10dB) if you need more than 2-3 splits. I use this to distribute OTA and satellite around the house - and yes - it works great on ATSC (digital OTA) as well as analog.

    #4 Bigger antennas will pull in signals from farther away - but to do this, the beam for effective reception gets smaller, so you may need a rotor if you have TV stations coming in from different directions.
  7. Scott in FL

    Scott in FL Godfather

    Mar 18, 2008
    Not sure where exactly you live in SW FL. I have experience both on Sanibel, and in S Ft Myers (zip code 33919). If you're only going for local, Ft Myers stations, we have a pretty good situation here. All the transmitters are located together NE of downtown, and all are on UHF (WINK recently changed from Ch 9 to Ch 50).

    I use the Channel Master 4-bay bow tie in the attic, split 4 ways, with the longest cable run about 50 feet, and have never had any problems receiving all the locals. Its model number is 4221HD.

    I've also used the Antennacraft AC-9 with excellent results. It's not necessary any more now that WINK changed frequency, but it makes a great FM antenna in addition to receiving UHF.

    You don't need a huge antenna, outside, on a tower, with a pre-amp to get our local channels. If you're down in Naples or Marco, you should look at to see how signal strengths compare to my location.

    As far as going for distant channels, just one question: why? These days, with tight budgets and disappearing ad dollars, all stations carry the same programming anyway. Most of the subchannels are the same in every market, and the odd different subchannels aren't worth going after anyway. The major networks are all the same. Except for local news and sports coverage, you'll receive the same channels. You might be able to receive Sarasota, Tampa, Miami, or Ft Lauderdale depending on where you live, but it's not worth going to all that trouble in my opinion.

    And remember where we live... tall antennas get struck by lightning or damaged by high winds.
  8. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    First thing you need to do is get past that. Nearly everything is made there, including items used by the US military, so that's really no indicator of quality either way.
  9. pmano

    pmano New Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    I too need some advice for an outdoor TV Antenna, we recently hooked up our new antenna the Spectrum Antenna model sp-813, accoring to tv fool we should be able to recieve 20 or 30 channels but to our dismay we could only get two channels. It is in hd and is very good but we were expecting more. We have the antenna at least 25-30 foot in the air and it is facing the right direction.
  10. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 7, 2004
    All of your major networks are line of sight from your location to the NNW.

    Which channels are you able to receive.

    That antenna may not be installed properly, or my suspicion, it may not be all its cracked up to be.

    My experience has been of it does not look like a TV antenna, it probably will not perform like a TV antenna - you can't repeal the laws of physics even by over charging for your product.

    Double check each component of the unit and make sure it is actually working,

    If you are only able to get 2 channels pointing NNW then I suspect a problem with your antenna itself - this is what I would try to solve first, you have already invested quite a sum in this thing.

    If it is defective, get it replaced or your money back if you can.

    I would recommend either the Winegard HD7694P (~$80.00) or the Channel Master CM-2081 (~$70.00) for a 1 TV installation.

    If you have multiple TVs, you may need a little but bigger antenna.

    Winegard ( and Channel Master ( websites.

    You have one VHF-high band channel (NBC - 2.1 on channel 11) the rest are UHF but most are about 40 miles away, so you need a VHF-high/UHF combo antenna.

  11. renegade

    renegade Cool Member

    Jul 28, 2011
    If someone prefers an American-made product, that's their perogative. You can't fault someone for their beliefs regarding country-of-origin. Pure Michigan, made in Ithaca
  12. RBA

    RBA Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    Both Winegard and Channel Master have been in business for 50 years you don't do that by making and selling JUNK.
    I know Channel Master has made in China products but to their specs. Antenna Craft is another American manufacturer they don't have a 50 year history but they do make good products.

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