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This may be a dumb question as I do not have experience with OTA antenna's (actually 30 years ago we were forced to use antennas before cable/sat) ..... do HD antennas need to be rotated to point to the channel to get reception?

If so, how does this work with a DVR? Do you have to "pre-rotate" the antenna before scheduled recordings? Or, are there antennas that are 360 degrees that do not need rotating. Otherwise, this would seem to be a huge issue that makes recording HD OTA kinda ... well .... useless. Please shed some light ...
 

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jayvista said:
This may be a dumb question as I do not have experience with OTA antenna's (actually 30 years ago we were forced to use antennas before cable/sat) ..... do HD antennas need to be rotated to point to the channel to get reception?

If so, how does this work with a DVR? Do you have to "pre-rotate" the antenna before scheduled recordings? Or, are there antennas that are 360 degrees that do not need rotating. Otherwise, this would seem to be a huge issue that makes recording HD OTA kinda ... well .... useless. Please shed some light ...
Actually, there is no such thing as an "HD" antenna. Some are marketed as such, but antennas that recieve ATSC are the same as any antenna used for TV reception. An antenna needs to be oriented towards the source of the signal. Most cities locate their transmitter antennas in about the same geographic location so the recieving antenna only needs to be pointed towards this "antenna farm". If one has signals that come from multiple points on the compass then one would need a rotor to change the antenna direction. I live 63 miles from our antenna farm and pointed my antenna towards it once and have never touched it since. I could maybe pick up two other cities that are of an equal distance but would need a rotor to do that.
 

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There are two types of antennas, directional and multi-directional. Go to http://antennaweb.org and figure out which you need. Generally, an multi-directional will work unless the towers are beyond the range of a typical multi-directional.

There is also the possibility of getting a multi-directional for most of your channels and a directional for one or two distant channels and combining the signals. There has been some discussion around about that but I have not tried it.

Over at AVSForum, they go into detail about HDTV Antenna reception.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=45
 

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You may get lucky like me. Just about all of the OTA channels I receive are broadcast from the Empire State Building. I have a Wineguard SS-2000 (directional) antenna pointed directly at the ESB. On my H20 receiver I got all of my channels with signal levels of 90 or above. Like others said above, it is highly dependent on how far away the broadcast towers are and if they are all in the same direction or not.
 

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I guess I was thinking from my own perspective here. I live far enough away that my antenna is highly directional. Some people are lucky enough to live so close they can use omni-directional rabbit ears.
 

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nocaster said:
Actually, there is no such thing as an "HD" antenna. Some are marketed as such, but antennas that recieve ATSC are the same as any antenna used for TV reception. An antenna needs to be oriented towards the source of the signal. Most cities locate their transmitter antennas in about the same geographic location so the recieving antenna only needs to be pointed towards this "antenna farm". If one has signals that come from multiple points on the compass then one would need a rotor to change the antenna direction. I live 63 miles from our antenna farm and pointed my antenna towards it once and have never touched it since. I could maybe pick up two other cities that are of an equal distance but would need a rotor to do that.
I'm curious what kind of antenna your using to pull in OTA? Obviously it's an outdoor antenna but how far above your house is it?

Just curious on the details. :)
 

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Radio Enginerd said:
I'm curious what kind of antenna your using to pull in OTA? Obviously it's an outdoor antenna but how far above your house is it?

Just curious on the details. :)
I have a Channel Master 3020 VHF/UHF combo. I have it mounted on a telescpoing mast and it is only about 16 feet above grade. At my previous house (in the same town) I had it mounted in my attic and it still worked pretty good. All the UHF stations work flawlessly on both the pole and when it was in my attic. Our ABC affiliate is using VHF channel 7 and it was a bit flakey in my attic but works really good now that I have it mounted outside. I live in Oklahoma so the terrain is very flat and the TV stations in OKC have ~1300 ft. towers.
 

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Bad Rex said:
63 miles? Wow! That's impressive. Anyone picking up OTA farther away than this?
I live in San Diego and I have been getting HD OTA from LA, a distance of 103 miles, for over 5 years. This was with an antenna in the attic on a rotator. All LA channels broadcast from Mt. Wilson with an elevation of 6,000 ft., which explains how I can receive the signal from that distance.

For more information, see My Attic Antenna Installation. This page was done shortly after mounting the antenna in the attic and parts of it may be outdated with bad links.

To put this in perspective, when I first set up my antenna, there was only one station in San Diego broadcasting in HD. There was no cable or sat HD. All of the major broadcasters in LA were broadcasting in HD, including one PBS station. I did this to get more HD content. Of course, there were no HD DVRs at the time, so the rotator was used to watch HD in real-time. With a DVR, a rotator would be problematic, especially when recording two channels from two different locations.

About two years ago I moved the antenna outside and mounted both the antenna and rotator on my chimney. I know that this sounds contradictory to everything you may have read about antennas, but I actually got worse reception and lost KPBS and KSWB, both of which broadcast from the same location. The rotator broke a few months ago and I really don't need it anymore so I'm thinking of putting the antenna back in the attic.
 

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jayvista said:
This may be a dumb question as I do not have experience with OTA antenna's (actually 30 years ago we were forced to use antennas before cable/sat) ..... do HD antennas need to be rotated to point to the channel to get reception?

If so, how does this work with a DVR? Do you have to "pre-rotate" the antenna before scheduled recordings? Or, are there antennas that are 360 degrees that do not need rotating. Otherwise, this would seem to be a huge issue that makes recording HD OTA kinda ... well .... useless. Please shed some light ...
San Diego stations are broadcast from three different locations, which at my location, is a 77 degree span (see the link in a post above for a map). I've had a ChannelMaster 3021 (also known as the 4221), along with a CM-9521 rotator for more than five years. The CM-4221 is a four-bay omni-directional antenna, but since the farthest and weakest signal at my location is at one side of the span, it won't pick up signals from all three locations at the same time. This wasn't a problem before HD DVRs when we watched HD in real-time, but it would be a problem with a DVR, especially when recording two channels from two different locations. I have been able to point my antenna to a spot between the strongest signal and the next strongest signal, a span of 53 degrees, and get signals from both locations, but the signal strength goes down and is more susceptible to atmospheric conditions. The Marine Corp Air Station at Miramar (former home of Top Gun) is also in this space, so the jets can occasionally cause some reception problems.

If you're not fortunate enough to have all of your local stations broadcasting from one location, OTA can be a problem. If you're only recording a program from one station and are able to set the rotator prior to the recording, no problem. But if you want to record two different stations broadcast from two different locations, the best you can do is pick which one you want in HD and record the other one in SD. This is what we did when we watched one HD program in real-time and recorded another program at the same time in SD on our DirecTiVo.
 

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I remember years ago seeing ads in the Popular Mechanics or something similar about antennae that were plugged into your house electrical circuit that would "turn your whole house into an anntenna"

Has anyone ever used those and had any luck? I always figured it was a scam and wouldn't work that well, but then again I'm not in the radio bidness.

The reason I ask is that because the way my house was pre-wired with coax, I can't get another cable to my HR20 (without drilling holes and stuff, which I'm not willing to do). So I'm left requiring some sort of antenna I can hide behind my TV. I know from previous tries that rabbit ears won't get it done in my location.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Steve
 

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WIth respect to receiving OTA I have an antenna rotor on my mast. The unique scenario I have is that I can receive OTA signals from 4 markets givn my geographical location. Unfortunately D* has limited my ability to access OTA markets to any 2. Can anyone describe the logic behind that? Since D* builds the access list from a DB of stations based on zip code why not give me access to build my own accessd list from info I can retrieve from their national one? This can't be an FCC restriction since it's OTA and if I have an antenna that can receive it, it's mine for the viewing.

Earl, do you have any contacts at D* that could/would answer or otherwise look into solving my issue?
 

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Yankee-Giant-Fan said:
WIth respect to receiving OTA I have an antenna rotor on my mast. The unique scenario I have is that I can receive OTA signals from 4 markets givn my geographical location. Unfortunately D* has limited my ability to access OTA markets to any 2. Can anyone describe the logic behind that? Since D* builds the access list from a DB of stations based on zip code why not give me access to build my own accessd list from info I can retrieve from their national one? This can't be an FCC restriction since it's OTA and if I have an antenna that can receive it, it's mine for the viewing.

Earl, do you have any contacts at D* that could/would answer or otherwise look into solving my issue?
They have seen the discussions about people accessing more then two DMA's, and access OTA broadcasts that are not assigned to a DMA.

As of right now, there is nothing you can do to "solve" the problem.
 

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Earl Bonovich said:
They have seen the discussions about people accessing more then two DMA's, and access OTA broadcasts that are not assigned to a DMA.

As of right now, there is nothing you can do to "solve" the problem.
Is it purely a D* limitation (meaning the next step is to complain to D*) or is it some sort of mandated limitation?
 
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