View Full Version : Digital (ATSC) reception in Dallas area


kx250rider
05-26-2013, 10:59 AM
Although I've had decent luck with Over-The-Air digital TV in the Southern California area, I can't seem to get anything on rabbit ears in Dallas (North Dallas/Collin County area). I have cheap RCA coupon-type boxes, and the same rabbit ears I use in LA. I get one or two channels with poor reception and freeze-up, and can't get others at all.

The house is brick with an asphalt roof, and it's against the rules to have antennae on the roof higher than the highest point of the gable. We have a neighbor with a 2-story house, which blocks our southern sky (unless we put up an illegal-length mast), so DTV & Dish are poor options. Question: Will ATSC signals do OK on a roof antenna mounted in the attic, if I don't get diddly-squat in the house on rabbit ears? If so, any input on what kind of antenna?

Thanks,

Charles

Chip Chester
05-26-2013, 11:23 AM
Might want to go to antennaweb.com to see how your actual location compares to local signal sources. That would help determine whether other structures are in the way or now.

Keep in mind that the reception angle for DBS satellite is not the elevation that the arm is pointing -- it's significantly higher. So things that look like they would be in the way may not be, based on a site survey.

You can also mount a dish on a pole or structure away from the house, and shield it with landscaping if the local govt. demands it. There might even be "fake rock" mounts out there...

Chip

N2IXK
05-26-2013, 11:27 AM
Under federal law, municipalities, homeowners associations, condo boards, landlords, and the like are generally NOT ALLOWED to restrict antennas used for broadcast reception, including DBS dishes. See the FCC website here:

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule

You might want to point this out to whoever is trying to prevent your installation, and see if their opinion changes.

dtvmcdonald
05-26-2013, 11:41 AM
You don't want rabbit ears. Most full-power stations there are UHF and the VHF
ones will likely work too on a UHF antenna. You want
a quad bowtie. As mentioned, FCC rules allow you to mount your antenna higher than
the roof if needed. Homeowner rules are not enforceable, and the FCC is VERY
ruthless in enforcing this. However, just getting a bowtie outdoors may well work
perfectly. I'm 35 miles from stations on much lower towers and all work fine on
a double bowtie indoors.

Doug McDonald

jr_tech
05-26-2013, 03:19 PM
"Question: Will ATSC signals do OK on a roof antenna mounted in the attic, if I don't get diddly-squat in the house on rabbit ears? If so, any input on what kind of antenna?"

The problem with trying to answer this question is that the amount of additional gain needed is unknown... You may only 2-3 dB below the threshold for a perfect picture or 20dB below! Does your DTV box indicate signal strength for signals below the threshold?
In the past, I have found it helpful to take the box to a location closer to the towers and perform a "scan" so that the box can determine the available channels, then at the more remote location the signal strength of "known" channels can be measured as the antenna is moved around in the room. You might locate some "hot spots".

jr

Don Lindsly
05-26-2013, 03:38 PM
My experience is the RCA boxes are among the worst performers and the Insignia and Zenith among the best. Philco-Phillips were in the middle.

Try another box brand before giving up.

Go to FCC.gov. There is a program that calculates signal expectations for a given address.

An attic antenna will be a marked improvement over rabbit ears. Install a Winegard or Channel Master antenna with a built in preamp.

Avoid the Asian knockoffs, with or without a preamp. When installed outdoors, they perform about the same as rabbit ears. Total waste.

There are some decent Internet full line suppliers. Measure and get precut cables with factory installed connectors. There is a big difference over home installed connectors unless you have the proper tools and connectors.

Ed in Tx
05-27-2013, 09:47 AM
I know a guy in Frisco that gets all the Dallas channels plus KXII from Oklahoma with attic mounted antennas, so it can be done. I'm in Farmers Branch, use an old Radio Shack antenna my neighbor was throwing away, mounted it in the attic of the garage, I get over 80 channels most in the 90-100 signal strength range. Do you have aluminum foil lined roof decking? That can be a problem.
A link to the channels being received in Frisco, updated every 5 min.
http://www.rabbitears.info/tvdx/one_tuner_map/101A67C8/tuner0

kx250rider
05-27-2013, 11:09 AM
Thank you for the replies, and especially the tip on the RCA boxes being not-the-best. That's exactly what we have, and I do have a Zenith in CA that I'll bring and try later.

Under federal law, municipalities, homeowners associations, condo boards, landlords, and the like are generally NOT ALLOWED to restrict antennas used for broadcast reception, including DBS dishes. See the FCC website here:

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule

You might want to point this out to whoever is trying to prevent your installation, and see if their opinion changes.

I'm sure I could argue that with the HOA, but it's one of those cases where I don't want to be the neighborhood troublemaker or start wars. Nobody else has a dish or antenna above the roofline, and I'm probably one of the few who doesn't want cable. My wife got in a fight with the HOA several years ago, over an issue with her wanting to pay the HOA fees annually (as opposed to sending in a coupon and check monthly). There was nothing in the rules either way, so she paid a year up front despite that they said they'd rather we just keep sending it in monthly. They said it cause a bookkeeping nightmare, and they then ticketed us for a water stain on the chimney visible from the street, and unapproved shrubbery.

Charles

mstaton
05-27-2013, 01:04 PM
Once they start ticketing you, it never ends. I used to live in a subdivision that had HOA. Even though it was only a $100 a year, they acted like it was a $100 per month. I left my trash can out overnight, the next day a letter. I had my 62 Caddy parked out front. It was a running driving registered and insured car with a decent paint job. A neighbor complained to the HOA and said there was an abandoned vehicle parked in front of my house for at least 2 weeks and it was distracting potential sales of their home. The HOA people called a police officer that lived in the same neighborhood and gave me a ticket for abandoned vehicle. Needless to say, if the officer ran the plate, it would of told him that the car was registered to the house it was parked in front of(DUH). I got it all straightened out but what a hassle. After I sold the car, they still did not sell their house, in fact it got foreclosed on. I moved away from that area and live in a much better place. No one cares if the trash can stays out all night or all week or your car is parked on the street. Try an attic antenna.

Electronic M
05-27-2013, 01:10 PM
In a place I used to live in Florida the HOA made such an annoyance of them selves that someone went and discovered the morons had apparently never set up the proper legal registration with the county and had no authority to exist....This was about 5 years back and had been going on since the 70's! They darn near dissolved from it.

Interesting thing was that, despite them disliking antennas and about 270 degrees of our roundish property being encircled by roads, no one ever complained about the 100'+ long wire antenna I strung between my second story bedroom window and a tree.....The neighbors that could best see it actually saw me install it and did not mind at all; they actually thought it was neat that I listened to SW!

dieseljeep
05-27-2013, 01:50 PM
[QUOTE=Don Lindsly;3070428]My experience is the RCA boxes are among the worst performers and the Insignia and Zenith among the best. Philco-Phillips were in the middle.

Try another box brand before giving up.

Go to FCC.gov. There is a program that calculates signal expectations for a given address.




QUOTE]

I always found the Digital Stream, to be one of the better ones. I found the RCA's to be pretty decent.
The GE's and Magnavoxes were toward the bottom.
The RCA prison-visions, with the built in DTV board seem to be good performers, as well.
Right now, I'm running a couple of Zenith's that seem to do a good job. :yes:

Username1
05-28-2013, 01:48 PM
Zenith's and Insignia's (same unit, different name) are the best, run cool, good picture and sound. I have 3, one on all the time that is set up for the vcr. never any problems, built in power supply a plus too.

Jeffhs
05-28-2013, 02:22 PM
Thank you for the replies, and especially the tip on the RCA boxes being not-the-best. That's exactly what we have, and I do have a Zenith in CA that I'll bring and try later.



I'm sure I could argue that with the HOA, but it's one of those cases where I don't want to be the neighborhood troublemaker or start wars. Nobody else has a dish or antenna above the roofline, and I'm probably one of the few who doesn't want cable. My wife got in a fight with the HOA several years ago, over an issue with her wanting to pay the HOA fees annually (as opposed to sending in a coupon and check monthly). There was nothing in the rules either way, so she paid a year up front despite that they said they'd rather we just keep sending it in monthly. They said it cause a bookkeeping nightmare, and they then ticketed us for a water stain on the chimney visible from the street, and unapproved shrubbery.

Charles

I don't want to cause problems in my neighborhood either, so I've had cable since I've been here (13 years). Actually, I'm stuck with cable because of a contract I signed when I had the cable service installed. I've tried to have my service downgraded to bare-bones (broadcast channels only) basic, but since my cable service is part of a bundle, the cable company (Time Warner) will not allow me to downgrade the service without incurring an early termination fee, which is somewhere in the area of $150 or so. I guess the cable company got tired of getting requests from people to connect and reconnect their cable service every so often; my barber in my hometown used to do that with the TV in his shop during football season--he would have full cable service (including ESPN, et al.) during the season, then in the spring he would call the cable company and go back to basic (broadcast only) service until fall, then the whole cycle started all over again. Under these new rules (no downgrades before the contract expires), he can't do that anymore. The last time I saw him (I still get my haircuts at his shop every few weeks in the summer), he had basic cable.

DavGoodlin
06-14-2013, 01:37 PM
I lived in Flower Mound, Farmers Branch and Denton. There was a huge difference using the rabbit ears/ clip-on bowtie on my 1967 Philco 19" color set, 30 years ago. The first two places had very good signal, but Denton had lousy.

I did get KXII in Denton but the DFW channels were not good at all, and a medium sized attic antenna probably would have been adequate. I expect digital would be tough as well.
If you are over 35 miles away from DFW's transmitters in Grand Prarie, there is a drop-off point where no set-top antenna would be acceptable.

As Don says above, this website http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/ is a good start. I would try a 4 bay bowtie, move it around for hot spots and use a Channel Master 7777 preamp if you dont get all the channels.