Moving to College Town, Figuring Out Reception

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by Ubertrout, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. Ubertrout

    Ubertrout New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    After living in major cities for the past decade, I'm moving to Carbondale, IL, a small city in southern Illinois. I'm loving the cost of living, and I'm thinking I'm going to cut the cord on cable (I have it at my current place because it's free). I'm trying to figure out broadcast TV though, and it's kind of a puzzle.

    St. Louis is about 100 miles away. I'm guessing that's not going to work. There's all the major broadcast networks in a 30-40 mile circle around Carbondale, but there isn't one place to point an antenna. Should I look at getting an outdoor omnidirectional antenna? Any one in particular?

    The land is pretty flat around Carbondale except to the south, where there are hills in the way, for what it's worth.
     
  2. jscudder

    jscudder Legend

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    Go to tvfool.com , choose ‘tv signal analysis’ and plug in your new address. That will show you the strength and direction of the stations available. I took a general look at Carbondale and there are several strong stations but unfortunately not in the same direction. You may need a rotor.
     
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  3. Ubertrout

    Ubertrout New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    Hrm, a rotor kind of sounds like a pain - is an omnidirectional antenna really going to be that much worse?

    The house I'm buying has a DirecTV antenna, I suspect I can replace the dish with an omni on the mast. Or a rotor I guess, but I'm wary.
     
  4. grover517

    grover517 AllStar

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    Antenna.jpg While with D* and not wanting to use a rotor with my AM21's (or later with the LCC), I had an array installed that allowed me to get reception from 3 different directions without a rotor. Now feeds my FireTV Recast OTA DVR to supplement my streaming services. Not the cheapest solution but it works well for us and I get over 50 channels from 3 different DMA's between 20 and 70 miles away.
     
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  5. Ubertrout

    Ubertrout New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    Man, that's intense. Cool that it works so well though. I mostly just want to get the major networks, but sadly it seems like those are at similar distances and different directions.
     
  6. RBA

    RBA Well-Known Member

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    Distance to broadcast towers is important with Omni antennas. Broadcast strength is also important, too much signal can cause ghosting on omnis. See if you can find a good installer in your area.
     
  7. Ubertrout

    Ubertrout New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    It looks like there isn't one strong signal in the area, but rather that every single tower is 15-40 miles away, most at 25-30 miles. How would that play into it? I'm also realizing that except for PBS, all the towers are in a roughly 110 degree arc south-southeast from me, but not sure if a 180 degree antenna would work well?
     
  8. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    Dripping...
    I went to SIU in the 70's, I got TV reception for 3, 6, 8 and 12 (that's all we had back then) with rabbit ears. But then again I wa on the 13th floor of one of the towers.

    You might want to send a PM to lparsons21 he lives down the road from there and might be able to help.
     
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  9. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    I just recently saw this thread. I live in Herrin, IL which is a town or two over from Carbondale. I use an omnidirectional antenna mounted on the Dish TV mount. It works somewhat OK. I can get ABC and Fox all the time, but NBC and CBS are a bit on the iffy side. Most of the time I get them fine, but now and then just nothing.

    PBS is right there in Carbondale so shouldn’t be an issue. And if you like religious channels we got a slew of them and all easy to get.

    Indoor antennas just don’t work well in my experience. So here’s some suggestions.
    1. Get an Omnidirectional antenna and use that DirecTV mast and take what you can get but know that it will be twitchy at times.

    2. Subscribe to Hulu basic which has ABC, Fox and most NBC shows the next day. With ads, about $6/month which is what I sub to.

    3. If CBS is important, then just sub to CBS All Access @$6/month with ads.

    Or finally consider what I’ve done. Just cut the TV cord and sub to either YouTubeTV or Hulu+Live depending on which channel lineup suits your fancy. Not the cheapest way to go, but both work OK. BTW, cable internet is around here and very good IMO but a little on the high side of cost though as a new customer you can get it for far less than I’m paying. Don’t know what the current new customer offers are. Mediacom is the cable provider in this area for the most part.

    Edit: With all this stay at home plus I’m retired, my TV is on about 10 hours a day streaming. So the 200Mb level is needed, not because of speed but Mediacom has data caps. 200Mb gets you 2TB, I use about 1.2TB. You could get the 100Mb which gets you 1TB and if you stay mostly away from 4K streams, would be enough IMO.

    2nd EDIT: My Dish mount is an eave mount which is pretty low. Possibly a higher mount would make things less twitchy?

    I’ll try to figure out where I got my Omnidirectional antenna. As to installers for doing stuff like this around here? Well I don’t think there are any more left though I could be wrong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
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  10. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I put two antennas at my house when we moved in, both rotary. I'm about 30 miles from NYC and 65-70 miles from Philadelphia. I was gonna use the antennas and wasn't gonna bother with cable. What a PITA that was! I never tried an omnidirectional antenna. Ended up going back to cable. Vowed I'd never use an antenna again.

    Rich
     
  11. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    Yeah, after I got the antenna up and connected to my Tivo I found I really didn’t like switching boxes and the few streaming apps that are on the Tivo are just old sucky versions.

    So I ended up playing around with various streaming services and now I’ve been on YTTV for a bit now.
     
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  12. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

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    OTA can be a bit of a B**** when you're not in the primary city of the market (like Carbondale probably is). Those "Omnidirectional" antennas really aren't, and with your primary networks in different directions - I'd just go with outside mounted directional antennas for each direction (and aim them close). The streaming alternatives have been given to you, and you might check if the cable company has a "lifeline / locals only" package you can subscribe to (they will not be advertising this). Dish does have Flex packages that you could get just locals (maybe), but you would want a receiver for each TV you want to see them on.
     
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  13. Ubertrout

    Ubertrout New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    Thanks for all the replies - it's been a maelstrom on my end with moving and more. To be clear, I have plenty of streaming services - Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, but I like having OTA for late night TV and sports, although I'm not fanatical about either one. I also donated to PBS this year, and apparently that not only gives me a tax writeoff, I get access to all their streaming content.

    It looks like the only tower to the north is the PBS one, which is short range anyway. I'm thinking of putting the Channel Master UltraAntenna on the existing DirecTV mount on the garage and seeing what I get facing south / southeast. Even with the PBS antenna in the opposite direction, if it's local will it still be picked up?
     
  14. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

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    It depends on the antenna's characteristics. Some can do amazingly well off the back ( especially if you remove a back screen).
     

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