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mattrixx

join:2004-02-18
Orland Park, IL

O.T.A. Broadcasts

What is the realistic and foreseeable time frame before the Govt. sells our O.T.A. bandwidth to the highest corporate or other bidder?

Just wondering if it would be worth the effort and expense to erect a small tower with antenna to be able to receive OTA digital signals from a rural environment.


Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
The FCC is eager to chop away at the broadcast spectrum and consolidate broadcasters onto near-colliding frequencies, but they'll fight it for a while and there will still be some form of usable OTA signal (even if it means sharing the same frequency on lower quality sub-channels). You're probably pretty safe to put up a tower.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.

davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:3
reply to mattrixx
The OTA spectrum is probably safe until 2025.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
said by davidhoffman:

The OTA spectrum is probably safe until 2025.

Agree...you're not going to see much change for a good while.

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1
reply to mattrixx
The FCC has already changed OTH: A few years back they required TV broadcasters to switch to all-digital transmissions to reduce bandwidth. The freed-up space will be sold, if it hasn't been already. This should keep things calm for long time, I predict for at least decade probably longer.

Go ahead and put up that antenna.


ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1
reply to mattrixx
OTA will not be going away anytime soon.


plk
Premium
join:2002-04-20
united state
reply to mattrixx
A tower is always nice to have. Nice spot for a PTZ IP camera. High power LED yard light. Throw in a analog antenna for ham radio as a backup etc. Lots of other stuff too. WIFI white space

85281231

join:2014-02-01
reply to mattrixx
Don't fall for the "Digital Antenna" scam, antennas are designed for the frequency they are to work, at NOT the mode of transmission.


Hayward
K A R - 1 2 0 C
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Key West, FL
kudos:1
reply to ilikeme
said by ilikeme:

OTA will not be going away anytime soon.

The public airwaves are public property, for the public interest. They have been re aligned, (Ch 1 went long ago and UHF was reduced from 83 to 69) and actually since digital has led to more channels as most stations have added 1-3 SD sub channels, and a few independents have forgone HD entirely and do 6 SD in the old 7mhz analog channel space allotment.

Actual frequencies often have changed though many still ID'd by their old analog VHF numbers while actually now UHF. No channels were done away with just shuffled in some cases, and again actually it added more OTA channel choices. The sub channels now the place to put the old SD syndication stuff allowing the main channel to be all current and recent past HD content.
--



captylor

@bellsouth.net
reply to mocycler
one good page to use for a guide on which channels you could pickup with an antenna is
»tvfool.com which has better results vs »www.antennaweb.org site which doesn't give good results. Depending on distance a 4 bay might work or even an 8 bay antenna.
Example of 4 bay
»www.diytvantennas.com/bowtie.php
In most areas channels have moved from being half in VHF and half in UHF to mostly being UHF.

Yes that was the "700 MHz auction" ...
Wikipedia page on it.
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta···_auction
FCC Page about it..
»wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/defaul···ry&id=73

»gigaom.com/2007/03/14/700mhz-explained/

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1
reply to 85281231
said by 85281231:

Don't fall for the "Digital Antenna" scam, antennas are designed for the frequency they are to work, at NOT the mode of transmission.

This is incorrect. There is also horizontal, vertical, and circular polarization, FM, AM, and digital. This is why not all antennas look the same. The frequency usually determines the physical size of the antenna but the rest depends on what it will specifically be used for.

If you are close enough to the transmitter almost anything (even a coat hanger) will pick up some kind of signal, but to get real performance everywhere else you need a proper antenna.

And yes, there are cheezy gizmos out there that are complete junk. That's a separate issue.

I don't think they still sell the old analog antennas anyway. If digital/HD antennas are a "scam," then what do you recommend instead?


printscreen

join:2003-11-01
Juana Diaz, PR
Reviews:
·Choice Cable TV
·Coqui/PRTC
said by mocycler:

I don't think they still sell the old analog antennas anyway. If digital/HD antennas are a "scam," then what do you recommend instead?

An antenna is not analog or digital. It just picks up signals at their design frequency. It doesn't matter if the information carried in the signal is analog or digital.

I have a rooftop antenna older than 30 years that is even missing two elements and works wonderfully well with digital TV. It picks more stations now than in the days of analog TV. Not just more channels, but more actual stations that could not be watched as analog TV.

You just need an antenna that can pick UHF. No such thing as a "digital" or HD antenna.

Selling the antenna is not the scam. Advertising as a "digital" or HD antenna is.


printscreen

join:2003-11-01
Juana Diaz, PR
Reviews:
·Choice Cable TV
·Coqui/PRTC
reply to mocycler
And I am not an expert in this but I don't think polarization, FM and AM has anything to do with digital. Polarization and modulation are not forms of transmitting data. You can have either digital or analog over AM, FM or different polarization angles. If digital TV used a different polarization than analog TV I doubt my old trusty rooftop antenna would be able to pick anything.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
All TV in the US is horizontally polarized.

As you pointed out, modulation type is not a factor in antenna design. Frequency of operation is a consideration, however, and there are optimum designs.


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications
reply to mattrixx
As has been posted OTA TV is not going away anytime soon. The FCC is making rumblings about selling off a few more channels - at the behest of the cell phone carriers but they are getting a lot of pushback.

Over the air broadcast is a great way to disseminate information to lots of people. Evolution has taught us that diversity is good. I would hate to see OTA go away.

TVfool is a great resource.
I plugged your town into TVfool:
»www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapp···82041f4a

Looks like you have lots of strong nearby stations. I grew up in Chicago, Illinois is pretty flat so probably not much different then your exact location.

A good site for antenna info is:
»www.avsforum.com/f/25/hdtv-technical

Lots of technical help and there is also a local forum to see what other nearby folks are experiencing
»www.avsforum.com/t/1269188/unite···ead-here

I'm in a deep fringe area and love OTA, see no reason to pay $100 or more a month to watch commercials.

/tom


mattrixx

join:2004-02-18
Orland Park, IL
Thanks guys for all your responses to my OTA question.
I guess the consensus is that OTA broadcasts will NOT disappear anytime soon.
This is GOOD NEWS for anyone contemplating ditching cable or Sat. TV.

My question was actually asked for my son who lives in Lockport ill, which is due west of where I live, approx 30 miles from downtown Chicago transmitters as the crow flies.
He has a tower (relic) of sorts from the time when that was THE ONLY way to receive any ANALOG TV broadcasts with an antenna from the Canal "gully" in which he lives.

The antenna that used to be on top of the tower is long gone, put there by the original owner and removed or destroyed since the advent of Cable I suspect? The existing old (300 Ohm?) cable would have to be replaced as well I`m certain.

His problem is: The tower was installed WITH the antenna attached, and BEFORE it was up righted and fastened to his house? There is NO way he could reach the top of the tower to re-attach a new antenna and cable safely and/or correctly without some sort of lift of some kind.

A solution would be to bring down the existing tower (problematic), and put up a new one with antenna etc. already attached. OR, hire someone with a lift to re attach an antenna, cable and amp to his existing (good shape) house fastened tower.

Any further suggestions or ideas would be appreciated

85281231

join:2014-02-01

1 recommendation

reply to mocycler
A REGULAR antenna as shown on TVFOOL. AGAIN, there is no such thing as a DIGITAL antenna for TV.


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications
reply to mattrixx
Just for fun plugged Lockport into TVfoo at only 10 feet above ground level, doesn't look too bad.
»www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapp···93ce6b10

Need precise street address to know for sure.

1) Ignore the tower and mount the antenna on the roof, either with a guyed mast at the peak or if gable roof with a gable bracket. Try to sell the tower on Craigslist.

2) Use the old tower but simply mount the antenna as high as You can safely reach.

3) If you know someone who is not afraid of heights and the mast is safe enough to climb use a gin pole to install the new antenna.

4) Is the mast accessible with a bucket truck? Have no idea how costly that would be to rent one for a few hours.

300 ohm twin-lead is definitely out, use 75 ohm coax. Perhaps a mast mounted preamp depending on how far down the list you want to go and how many TVs in the house.

The nice thing is most all the stations are at the same heading, eliminating the need for a rotor unless you really want one of the odd ball station. Rotors are the bane of multi TV households.

Here is my setup, may give you some ideas. We are a lot further away then your some in topographically challenged hilly New England. In my case VHF and UHF stations are in different directions so I used separate VHF and UHF antennas. Your son's situation is probably not as bad as you think.
»www.tschmidt.com/writings/Outdoo···enna.pdf

/tom