This is topic Going Geeky With TV Antennas! in forum Our stupid lives at The Geek Culture Forums!.


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Posted by Colonel Panic (Member # 1200) on August 29, 2006, 02:13:
 
I live in a part of SW Michigan where the Detroit Lions football team is not broadcast over the air (OTA). (I know this is a sick obsession bordering on addiction, but that's just the way it is.)

At least I have been told I cannot receive the stations that broadcast this team. The problem it seems is that the team is broadcast on WXMI HD 19.1 in Grand Rapids, 53-degrees from north, and 63 miles away (60 miles is generally the FCC protected area for a signal on HD, and anything more is considered deep fringe for UHF). 260-degrees from north and 57 miles away is WGN also broadcast on HD 19.1, and the two stations can wreak havoc on each other in this veritable no-mans land of OTA signals.

I do some reasearch on the subject -- gain numbers, front-to-back ratios, topo maps, antenna.org, FCC license information and have my antennas narrowed down. Two facts really impress me: 1) That antenna installers will take back an antenna and make a switch if the first one doesn't work, as opposed to me ordering one off the internet, and 2) I could break my neck installing this thing.

So I call some antenna installers and they tell me that they doubt I can get WXMI. I'm not the only one who wants the Lions, Many have tried, many have failed. So I jump in an abandon phone booth and declare that this is a job for geeky guy.

They come out and attempt to install a Winegard 9095, a very well-built corner-yagi UHF antenna. No go. At best the HD locks on momentarily -- with a little breeze in the trees, it locks into WGN, and I can't get WXMI out of GR for the next two hours of messing with it.

Why not the Winegard 9032? I ask. It seems like a monster directional UHF corner yagi. They say it's not as well built and not many people stock them. I insist.

I point out that at the frequency I want the 9032 has about 3db more gain (in deep fringe dbs are precious). But that's not what really gets me. They told me all afternoon that the real problem was WGN sitting practically 180-degrees (well 27 from 180) from WXMI. I point our that the 9032 has almost a 20-db front to back ratio, and the "better" 9095 has only about an 12-db front to back ratio -- meaning this will do abetter job shutting down WGN when I want WXMI.

After a bit of hemming and hawing they agreed. They came back a week later. We set it up and BAM! First night I'm not only locked in, I'm getting about 70 percent signal strength on WXMI. Then zip the rotor around and point it at Chicago and I get WGN at 100% strength. So with the directionality of this antenna I can get different stations in virtually opposite directions on the same frequency.

Antenna guy was dumbfounded, and told me he'd be calling on some customers who also wanted the Lions games but hadn't tried this set up. I should charge commision I think.

OTA HD is head and shoulders above cable (which I recently cancelled) and above digital sattelite (which I ordered) both of these media have a tendency to overcompress their HD signals, leaving a lot of artifacts -- mostly really blocky, pixelated color.

Anyway, that's my geeky antenna saga. And, oh yeah, my cute little cape cod now looks like a CIA observation post.

I settled on UHF only because I wanted that one channel, plus with HD, there won't be much left in the VHF band.

Oh, I also switched from cable modem back to dsl. The cable is rated faster, but gets too congested in my area to give me the speeds I prefer. Overall, while rated slower, the dsl is more consistent and seems snappier.

CP
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on August 29, 2006, 04:12:
 
Colonel Panic________________________I have a simular problem only on two meter FM Repeaters. I live almost on the line from the Owosso to Rogers City Repeaters. Now I want to contact some old work buddies from before I retired. So I put up a Big Yagi beam antenna and point it at the Owosso repeater great I get right into the repeater, try again the next day lots noise I am also waking up the Rogers City repeater. Now unlike you I can't call the antenna installer and ask about their return policy because there isn't one, so now I am trying to find an antenna with better front to back than the beam I have and get it up the tower.
 
Posted by Rednivek (Member # 1148) on August 29, 2006, 21:00:
 
DirecTV will give you $5 per month off your bill (for a year), if you also get DSL from AT&T (and other companies).
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on August 30, 2006, 06:05:
 
Rednivek__________________One of the problems with DirecTV is that when you buy the local package you some times get a local city that is in the black out area. I live near Standish, My local package includes Flint, ergo I can not watch the Lions unless I buy the NFL Season Pass. I do not want to pay $160 to watch the Lions fail.
 
Posted by Colonel Panic (Member # 1200) on August 30, 2006, 19:45:
 
MoMan,

It's $260 to watch the Lions fail on Sunday Ticket, which is still cheaper than all the alcohol I used to buy watching them at a bar and drowning my sorrows.

Colonel Panic
 
Posted by Rednivek (Member # 1148) on August 30, 2006, 21:18:
 
The only thing I dont dig with DirecTV is that I cant get Channel 9 in Windsor (CBC) to watch a real hockey broadcast.

Other than that, its Channel 636 to watch the playoffs bound Detroit Tigers.
 


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