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Old 01-15-2010, 08:59 PM   #1
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Question about using an old TV antenna


We live in a rural location and have a new, LCD HD digital TV, no cable or satellite, just an old (1970s) huge bi-directional antenna with different length cross bars we had hooked up in the attic. Sorry about the poor description, don't know antenna lingo. We are only able to get a couple of channels and are considering placing the antenna on the roof instead for better reception. Is this old style antenna OK to use with our modern TV? Or is something better and more appropriate available now that the signal is digital? Thanks for any help!

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Old 01-15-2010, 10:04 PM   #2
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Question about using an old TV antenna


It is my understanding that the old antennas would work. I believe the new digital signals are all in the UHF band, so much of the older antennas longer sections are unnecessary, but so long as it has UHF capability, then all should work.

Also, if you are not getting good reception, you may be able to tweak this a bit by being very precise with your antenna orientation. Pointing the antenna exactly towards the broadcast towers may get you the extra gain you need. Hopefully, they are all near each other. If you are unsure the best direction to point it, there are web pages available to help. I think one is: antennaweb.org, or something like that.

I missed where your antenna is currently located, but outside is generally better than inside, higher better than lower. Trees can also be a problem, as can hills. In my case, I was not able to get consistent reception with an antenna in an attic, but putting it outside solved the problem.

Many TVs have a signal strength indication. Try to find that in the menu system and use it to optimize signal strength, based on antenna direction.

If all this fails, it could be that reception is not good enough in your area with your existing antenna and a better one is in order. The previously mentioned web page has some help with this, also.

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:38 AM   #3
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Question about using an old TV antenna


We'll try the antenna we have and if it doesn't work go from there.
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:53 PM   #4
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Question about using an old TV antenna


If your antenna looks like this:


You have what is called a Yagi antenna. The size of the elements determines the operating frequency of the antenna. If you got UHF channels before, you're probably ok. Placing it on your roof and pointing it towards the TV broadcast towers will really help.

A typical pickup pattern of a Yagi antenna looks like this:


The lines coming from the middle of the circle indicate the direction in which the antenna picks up signals. Notice the largest bulge is coming from straight forward of the antenna, and along the sides there are large gaps.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #5
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Question about using an old TV antenna


You may find that connecting the TV to the antenna UHF terminals gets you different channels compared with using the antenna VHF terminals. The vast majority of TV stations nowadays are picked up using a UHF antenna. Combination UHF/VHF antennas have two sets of fins, the UHF fins are in the three to six inch length range.

If your area has both VHF and UHF stations, you can get a combining gizmo (perhaps the shape of a deck of playing cards and usually smaller) to connect the antenna wires to so just one cable runs down to your TV. The number in the station's on screen logo or which you use to select the station on your remote does not tell you whether a U.S station broadcasts on a UHF or a VHF channel.

As you get farther from the broadcast tower, digital signals tend to break up into checkerboards and blue screens sooner than analog signals become unwatchable due to increasing snow and rolling pictures. What this means is that you generally need a "better" antenna for digital broadcasts compared to what you used years ago.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-05-2010 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:45 AM   #6
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Question about using an old TV antenna


It is my understanding that all ATSC broadcasts are in the UHF band. I thought they sold off the old VHF band for other uses. As such, I believe there is no value in using the VHF antenna and expect to get all currently-available channels through the UHF antenna. For those channels formerly in the VHF band (2-13, or whatever it was) I believe they are actually broadcast in the UHF band with channel numbers mapped to the old channels.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #7
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Question about using an old TV antenna


Didn't know you could use a regular antenna. The local TV stations said we needed a digital antenna.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:40 PM   #8
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Question about using an old TV antenna


i gots an old one with the digital box and power direction remote. came with the house works well except for heavy rain
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:39 AM   #9
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Question about using an old TV antenna


Technically there is no difference between a digital TV antenna and a "regular" TV antenna.

Some manufacturers take an ordinary UHF antenna (most stations broadcast on UHF channels), label it "digital", and put a higher price tag on it.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:19 AM   #10
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Question about using an old TV antenna


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Technically there is no difference between a digital TV antenna and a "regular" TV antenna.

Some manufacturers take an ordinary UHF antenna (most stations broadcast on UHF channels), label it "digital", and put a higher price tag on it.

What he said.

So long as you have a UHF antenna and have it pointed the right direction, there is no need to go buy a new one.

Unless you have a small UHF antenna and need one that is bigger with more gain.

Check out the links in the first few threads for more details. Most any antenna Radio Shack, Lowes/HD sells will work.

http://www.antennaweb.com

Using this link, will tell you where the broadcast towers are, so you can aim your antenna better.


http://www.antennaweb.com

My antenna is in my attic and I get my stations just fine...including some that are 35+ miles away.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:30 PM   #11
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Question about using an old TV antenna


Quote:
Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
It is my understanding that all ATSC broadcasts are in the UHF band. I thought they sold off the old VHF band for other uses. As such, I believe there is no value in using the VHF antenna and expect to get all currently-available channels through the UHF antenna. For those channels formerly in the VHF band (2-13, or whatever it was) I believe they are actually broadcast in the UHF band with channel numbers mapped to the old channels.
Incorrect. In Philadelphia, we have channels 6 and 12 broadcasting their digital signal in lo-VHF and hi-VHF respectively.

It's an absolute nightmare.

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