Antenna comparison of yagi vs.bowtie for extreme range-70mi.

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-26-16, 11:03 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: US
Posts: 370
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Antenna comparison of yagi vs.bowtie for extreme range-70mi.

Hi everyone,
I'm looking for advice on a good quality Over-the-Air (OTA) antenna mounted on an outside, grounded, 20 ft. mast. We purchased one of the OTA Digital Converter boxes but never got it to work during the transition period as Analog TV signal stations were being converted to Digital. And, I heard later that many of the Digital signals were not ramped up to full strength until after or more closely to the final conversion date.
I currently have a Channel Master 110 inch long, dual VHF/UHF antenna with a signal amp; but two years ago, a heavy snow damaged the last two of the horizontal ties on the end. So, I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to replace the antenna for optimal reception.

What I've been looking at are either the 'Yagi' or 'BowTie' Extreme Range antennas and was hoping someone might know which would work best for our location. The main problem is that we live in a small valley, with the valley ridges running East-West and most of our local Pittsburgh PA area stations are due North.
I'm also thinking that unlike my Channel Master dual antenna, that the Yagi or BowTie style would enable me to raise the antenna another 8 ft or so for a total of 28' with the mast.

Appreciate your insight and reply.
Thanks,
greynold99
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-26-16, 12:10 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 3,138
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Your channel master sounds like one of the log-periodic models with many elements of decreasing length. It may not be toast as each element handles only part of the bandwidth range. So it may be worth trying at least.

Yagi antennas are generally high gain (meaning they capture more signal), so they are good for fringe areas. They are also quite directional and must be aimed well to capture the most signal. If all your stations are within 5-10 degrees (direction) you may get by without having a rotator.

Single Bow tie antennas don't have a lot of gain. The models usually sold for fringe area reception are usually bow tie arrays of two, four, or more bow ties. They have moderate gain and are less directional than yagis.

I suggest you drive around your area and see what your neighbors are using; the three types are easily identified by sight. That is often the best indication of what works in your area.

Otherwise, I'd probably start with a multi-bow tie but buy it from somewhere where you can return it if it doesn't do the job.

BTW, the antenna amps can be useful, but even a good amp won't help if your antenna isn't capturing enough signal.
 
  #3  
Old 10-26-16, 02:05 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,472
Received 11 Votes on 11 Posts
If one of the VHF elements (the longer elements) broke then that would not impair the UHF reception. Th majority of commercial and public TV stations broadcast on UHF channels (14-59) nowadays even if a lower number is shown in their logo.

But it is possible for the joints (usually riveted) to corrode over time. So there is some truth to the idea that simply a new antenna can make reception better.
 
  #4  
Old 10-26-16, 03:39 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,982
Received 271 Votes on 253 Posts
Unfortunately due to the extremely small and rapidly shrinking market..... quality built antennas are almost impossible to find.

I've installed hundreds of Channel Master antennas. They were made here in NJ and were the best of the best. Their blue and gold antennas were easily recognizable. I still have customers using them after 30+ years.

They're still in business out in the Southwest now.

Try yours first. If it works it would be a good choice to keep.

I'm only 25 miles from NY city but there is a mountain between us.
My reception is spotty at best even with a quality antenna.
 
  #5  
Old 10-26-16, 06:15 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,478
Received 22 Votes on 17 Posts
Television signals are mostly line-of-sight and higher frequencies have a lesser range. Antenna location is as much art (or luck) as it is science. Digital signals, for the most part, are but a fraction of the power that was used during the analog signal days which further lessen range.

I can "recognize" about fifty stations where I live although many of them do not have a strong enough signal to actually watch. Then there are the stations that I have no desire to watch such as the religious, shopping and the foreign language channels. This leaves me with about eighteen different channels to watch or just over 1/3 of those theoretically available. Rain and wind most assuredly have a detrimental effect, generally a greater effect on the higher frequencies than on the lower frequencies.

Here are a few links you might find interesting.

TV Antenna FAQs - Get Answers to your questions about TV Antennas

TV Antenna Range

DisableMyCable - Free and cheap alternatives to cable TV

All of the channels I watch are within about ten degrees azimuth and most about ten to twelve miles distant with one (PBS) station about 35 miles distant. The PBS station is difficult, impossible most of the time with inclement weather, but often better than the closer PBS station. Contrary to popular thinking I generally do NOT get better reception the higher I mount my antenna. I have mine about eleven feet off the ground but if I raise it to twelve feet I lose one or more channels. On the other hand if I drop it to ten feet I lose channels, albeit different channels from what I lose going higher in altitude. Still, I get more channels than the maps state I should.

But this may be coming to an end. In a different thread a day or two ago someone asked when over-the-air broadcasting will end. I did a Google and came up with some disturbing, at least to me, information. It seems the government is pushing for maximum economic return in the licensing of broadcast stations and this could be the death of OTA broadcasting in a few years. The industry has come up with some new technology but like the switch to digital broadcasting it will make present equipment incompatible and obsolete. It seems the direction in "broadcasting" is likely to be via the Internet AND there most assuredly will be fees to the subscriber over and above the Internet service itself.
 
  #6  
Old 10-28-16, 09:46 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Alright, I don't know enough about antennas to help with this discussion, but you raise kind of an interesting point about the disappearance of OTA broadcasting. Are the licensing fees beginning to rise or something? Considering how many people are cutting the cord these days, I almost wouldn't be surprised to see an upswing in people buying OTA equipment over the next few years, which might help bolster the numbers in favor of traditional broadcasting versus cable.
 
  #7  
Old 10-28-16, 11:26 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,478
Received 22 Votes on 17 Posts
Ellen, it is a political issue. According to various surveys (nobody ever asked me) only about 15% of the population use OTA broadcasting to receive their television programming. The switch to digital from analog broadcasting was done to "free up" the limited airwaves for more services including cellular telephones and wireless data transmission. Since the airwaves are finite, that is to say there is a limit to how much data may be transmitted, the government has seen fit to license any transmission device that is over a certain (very) limited power or range. That is a good thing.

However, with more and more services wanting the air space the government decided to auction off the rights to various frequencies. By going to digital TV broadcasting it "opened up" a large segment of the airways (because digital signals use much less bandwidth) for other services. Naturally, these auctions are about money, what the users will pay and what the government collects. Over the last few years it is a certain political party that has been more interested in maximum return to the treasury than in serving the needs or desires of every last constituent. Whether or not free OTA television will continue is really in the hands of the Congress.

The switch from analog to digital TV signals took several more years to accomplish than was originally planned, mostly because the new system is incompatible with the old. Many people had bought new televisions that met both the new and old standard and therefore had little to no trouble in the switch. Those that retained older TVs, mostly older people and those on limited incomes (couldn't afford or justify a new set) had to purchase a converter module which added another layer of hardware on their television sets. It made most video recorders obsolete overnight unless a person bought a converter module for the recorder as well and in most cases the recorder was still crippled in unattended recording because it could not automatically change the channel being recorded.

Engineers have come up with a new system that would allow OTA broadcasts to continue and still reduce the amount of the electromagnetic spectrum (the airways) used but like the initial digital revolution it is incompatible with today's system and would require at the least a whole new generation of converter modules to use the receiving equipment of today. The transmitters (broadcasters) would, of course, also need to do a major revamping of their equipment at a huge cost. All of this for a minority of the population.

Here is a Google search with some interesting, and sobering stories.

https://www.google.com/search?q=end+...utf-8&oe=utf-8
 
  #8  
Old 10-28-16, 11:46 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,478
Received 22 Votes on 17 Posts
I will add that I was hit hard by the digital switch. I had three video recorders that I used on a fairly regular basis. I was on cable service at the time and the cable company was adamant that their customers would NOT be affected by the switch in OTA services.

They lied, big time.

First to go was the TVGuide on-line service that allowed one touch programming of the video recorders. Then certain channels were digitized (over the cable) making them unavailable to any subscriber that did not use a "set-top box" (STB) supplied by the cable company. Then entire blocks of programming (everything but ultra basic, essentially the same channels supplied by broadcast OTA programming) were digitized. Finally, within about a year of the digital switch my local cable company (a nationwide company whose name I won't mention) had digitized ALL their programming, making it impossible to watch anything UNLESS you had one of their digital converters.

There WAS, however, an out. A few electronics companies were selling STBs that not only changed digitized OTA signals to analog for the older receivers but also had what was called "clear QAM" translation. Since the cable companies were using the QAM system of digital signals this meant that if one wanted to purchase a clear QAM tuner module they could still watch their cable programming without having to lease a STB from the cable company. Naturally the cable companies were up in arms over this loss of revenue so their next step was to "scramble" all but the ultra basic programming and eventually scrambling ALL programming. They gave as an excuse that this was actually good for the subscriber as it allowed them (the cable companies) to offer more programming choices and to change a customer's programming blocks remotely, eliminating the necessity of a service person from having to make a personal visit to the subscriber's home. They also stated that it would reduce significantly the amount of service theft from people using pirate STBs or the like.

That is when I had had enough. My cable bill for basic services had started out at less than twelve dollars a month and in a ten year period had more than doubled while giving not one iota of more or better service. I think I have about the equivalent of four months of BASIC service fees in all of my antenna equipment. I will NEVER go back to cable TV.
 
  #9  
Old 11-01-16, 09:52 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Alright, I don't have nearly the experience with OTA broadcasting that you do but that really does just sound like some pretty typical cable company BS to me. I'm sure there's a lot of companies that still consider OTA a threat, especially as they keep losing a younger audience to 'cord-cutting' and they want to try and crush as many TV alternatives as they can to hang onto their supremacy for just a little longer.
 
  #10  
Old 11-01-16, 12:07 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,478
Received 22 Votes on 17 Posts
I don't think the cable companies are the least bit concerned with the OTA crowd because (1) there is a huge amount of programming that is NOT broadcast over the air and (2) it is the Internet that is REALLY the competition for the cable companies. That is just one of the reasons why so many cable companies also offer Internet service.
 
  #11  
Old 11-25-16, 08:03 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: usa
Posts: 603
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
"What I've been looking at are either the 'Yagi' or 'BowTie' Extreme Range antennas and was hoping someone might know which would work best for our location. The main problem is that we live in a small valley, with the valley ridges running East-West and most of our local Pittsburgh PA area stations are due North."


Try this website --You can input your address to get recommendations.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: