Poor OTA reception with an indoor antenna

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by konakona, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. konakona

    konakona Diamond Member

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    After seeing good reviews on the radioshack bowtie antenna, I went out and bought one to pair it up with Visiontek HD650 tuner.

    With media center, only one of the channels were shown in green for signal strength, with a good half of them in yellow and the rest in red. But when it comes down to actually flipping through channels, the only one I can get good fix on is CBS. Even at that, I really had to twist the antenna in all different directions to find a very narrow sweet spot.

    I was hoping to get like a half dozen stations, but I guess that was a bit of a wishful thinking on my part. A cheap bastard I am, and wasn't planning on spending a whole lot on antennas. I had to get a 75ohm to 300ohm terminator to go with the antenna too, all excited about getting it to work :D Should I try to build one of those homemade antennas made from clothhnagers?

    Here is reception at my approximate location for what it's worth: http://yfrog.com/jqcaptureirj
    A bit too far for a tiny indoor antenna I have eh?

    I live on the first floor of a three story apartment complex; the one and only window at my place is facing north, blocked by another building to the north.
     
    #1 konakona, Jan 14, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
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  3. mmntech

    mmntech Lifer

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    [In Adam Savage voice] There's your problem.

    If it doesn't have an integrated one built into the antenna, get an amplifier. Get as much height on it as possible. Try moving it around. Close to an outside wall. Other than that, there's not much you can do. Indoor antennas are pretty limited.
     
  4. konakona

    konakona Diamond Member

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    haha yeah I figured. Since I do seem to be able to see the stations, just poor signal strength on those, is getting an amplifier likely to work well enough?
    The most height adjustment I could make is probably hang it close to the ceiling lol
    I guess this is one case where living in your own house beats apartments :D
     
  5. notposting

    notposting Diamond Member

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    First floor, another building in the way, long distance? Not gonna work for you.
     
  6. sivart

    sivart Golden Member

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    Try the balcony, it may work better. Try putting it in a window, that may help. Try to get it in the direction of the towers. If that isn't possible, you will have issues.

    My brother hung an indoor/outdoor antenna on their balcony facing away from the towers in an apartment and was able to get all but one local station at 25 miles from the tower. You may have to buy a better antenna. :)
     
  7. konakona

    konakona Diamond Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys. So I take I am really going up against the wall here. My apartment is an efficiency, so there is no balcony or other windows except the one already mentioned to speak of. This is the antenna I have, I guess I had too high hopes for the poor lil thing.

    Actually, there is a friend of mine that lives on the third floor (the top floor) of the same building. His windows are facing southward, and he doesn't seem to have any trouble getting good signal from several of the stations. His TV is an old fashioned CRT from the 80s. Hmmm...

    In the end, I wouldn't care so much if it doesn't work out. I have lived this long without TV just fine, not even sure if I will be watching enough even with good signal lol
     
  8. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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  9. kalrith

    kalrith Diamond Member

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    Being 30 miles away from the towers, you'll need an outdoor antenna for excellent reception or need a setup like your friend has (3rd floor with antenna pointing out window) to get mediocre reception. Without that you're SOL.
     
    #8 kalrith, Jan 14, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  10. Blazer

    Blazer Golden Member

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    an amplifier wont help.
     
  11. ProfJohn

    ProfJohn Lifer

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    Damn you really ARE cheap.

    Try to switch to one of the cheaper out door antenna WITH an amplifier and see if that helps, place it in window etc etc.
     
  12. Modelworks

    Modelworks Lifer

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    Make a antenna out of clothes hangers. I have one I use indoors in an apartment and I get all the stations possible for my area great and these stations are at least 35-40 miles away.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw

    The problem with indoor antennas is not that they are indoors, it is that they are usually too small. Antenna need to cover a larger area to get more signal and you can't do that with something that is 1 foot long.

    My antenna just sits with one end on the floor and the other end leaning against the wall. No elaborate placing by windows, hanging from ceiling or things like that needed.
     
    #11 Modelworks, Jan 14, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  13. konakona

    konakona Diamond Member

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    Well see, the thing is I got the tv card cuz it was so cheap, not a big TV watcher in the first place. So if I don't get it to work, I will probably keep the card till I move back home when I actually start putting it to good use :)

    Modelworks, I did see your endorsement on that cloethanger antenna in other threads. Didn't know about the size bit though, I guess I will try that for fun. After all, part of this is just to get it to work for fun. Good to know indoor antennas can work equally well once scaled up, outdoor ones simply are not an option for me - can't keep my windows open in this cold winter climate to have it hooked up.

    Sdifox, I did look at that site earlier, but there are several stations coming from different directions, not sure which one to aim for.
     
  14. kalrith

    kalrith Diamond Member

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    Going from the image you posted earlier, you should point your antenna to 197°.
     
  15. konakona

    konakona Diamond Member

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    Nope, that's a no go. Just tried it, but came up with nothing. The only window in the room is facing nearly in the opposite direction. DIY antenna might be the ticket to success, and if that fails then I would just forget about it.
     
  16. mshan

    mshan Diamond Member

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    Do you have an old set of analog rabbit ears around?
     
  17. Fox5

    Fox5 Diamond Member

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    Plug in a cable instead (even if you don't have cable service). It just might work and give you OTA channels.
     
  18. konakona

    konakona Diamond Member

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    Good call, actually I remembered I did have comcast internet (no TV but still) briefly before I found out it sucked hard and switched. Time to look for that coaxial cable :)
     
  19. sivart

    sivart Golden Member

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    When my cousin first moved in, he plugged into the coax input (no cable service) and there was enough coax to act as an antenna so he was able to pull in one channel just using the coax cable running in his house as an antenna...kind of funny.
     
  20. Fox5

    Fox5 Diamond Member

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    Haha, that can work.
    A lot of times though (especially in apartment complexes), comcast just doesn't bother to unhook the cable, so it still carries the unencrypted over the air channels.