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Old 01-29-2014, 08:45 PM
 
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Increasing cable bills have renewed my interest in antenna TV. The FCC prediction for my address does not look promising. I have no trouble getting the three local stations with a $5 antenna. The prediction for the Scranton signal says "weak signal", but I am not sure if I want to spend hundreds of dollars on an antenna on a possibility.

FCC Digital TV signal
Strong Signal WBPH IND 60-1 Hi-V (-19 dBm)
Strong Signal WLVT PBS 39-1 UHF (-33 dBm)
Strong Signal WFMZ IND 69-1 UHF (-34 dBm)
Weak Signal WPVI ABC 6-1 Lo-V - Philadelphia (-78 dBm)
Weak Signal WBRE NBC 28-1 Hi-V - Scranton (-81 dBm)
Weak Signal WYOU CBS 22-1 Hi-V - Scranton (-82 dBm)
Weak Signal WNEP ABC 16-1 UHF - Scranton (-84 dBm)
Weak Signal WVIA PBS 44-1 UHF - Scranton (-85 dBm)
Weak Signal WOLF FOX 56-1 UHF - Scranton (-86 dBm)
No Signal KYW CBS 3-1 UHF (-90 dBm)
No Signal WPHL MYTV 17-1 UHF
No Signal WCAU NBC 10-1 UHF
No Signal WHYY PBS 12-1 Hi-V
No Signal WUVP UNIVISION 65-1 UHF
No Signal WGAL NBC 8-1 Hi-V
No Signal WYBE ETV 35-1 UHF
No Signal WPPX ION 61-1 UHF
No Signal WNJT PBS 52-1 UHF

If you anyone is getting stations in the -75 dBm to -90 dBm range can you suggest a model antenna and tell me how you have it mounted.

Thank you
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:31 AM
 
Location: Arizona
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I didn't try it when we still lived in LV, because it didn't look promising.

Unfortunately, you're far from both Philly and Scranton. A good site for details on what type of antenna you'll need is antennaweb.org. I'm sure you're looking at needing an outdoor antenna on the roof.

As an aside, I tried it here in AZ, and even though I'm a decent distance from the transmitters, with an outdoor antenna I'm able to get great reception. The HD is noticeably better than my satellite reception, which itself is pretty darn good.

I haven't cut the cord yet, though. The whole house DVR has us hooked.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnp292 View Post
Unfortunately, you're far from both Philly and Scranton.

I haven't cut the cord yet, though. The whole house DVR has us hooked.
The antenna towers in Philadelphia are 1276' tall, unfortunately the elevation on Roxborough hill is only 246'. That would give you a line of sight of 47.7 miles in the ocean. But we live in the shadow of South Mountain, not on the ocean. I've looked at websites, but nobody can guarantee any reception with antennas. A 100' steel tower costs in the neighborhood of $1K and would probably not be popular with the neighbors.

A forum poster here ran a test run with a device called Simple.TV . This device costs $150 with lifetime software support (for an obsolete model with single tuner). You coerce a family member who lives in a big city to hook it up to his antenna and network, and you can receive it on your Roku box (or similar device). We tried it from Atlanta and it works (but not with perfect clarity as the signal is compressed). For another $100 you can buy a 1 terabyte USB drive that will give you DVR capabilities.

I emphasize the obsolete model. The current model has a second tuner, and costs $400 (instead of $150).

A decent outdoor antenna costs $100 to $150, plus the huge expense of trying to mount it on a tower. There is no guarantee that the tower will work in the worst reception areas of the Lehigh Valley.

The "whole house DVR" has been an effective weapon in the arsenal to keep families hooked on cable.

For your|family use, if you decide to cut the cord, you would probably need the $400 simple.tv model with two tuners plus a large hard drive (say $150 for 2 terabytes). Then up to 5 people at once can watch the recorded shows. Simple.TV only works with broadcast networks. You will need Roku or Chromecast on all the TV's in the house.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:53 PM
 
Location: state of enlightenment
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In Easton the TV reception is lousy. My house is on one of the higher areas in Easton, my antenna is on the chimney and I still only get a few channels, none from Philly or NYC. Look into XBMC SUPA CHARGEDiOS - YouTube
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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The mountains are a TV killer. There's a reason why cable TV was invented not too far from the Lehigh Valley.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnp292 View Post
The mountains are a TV killer. There's a reason why cable TV was invented not too far from the Lehigh Valley.
Actually according to the Fcc database my best signals are actually down 10 dBm from the birthplace of Cable TV.

Mahanoy city (birthplace of Cable TV)
WBRE NBC (-70 dBm)
WYOU CBS (-71 dBm)

My place (50 miles from Mahanoy City)
WBRE NBC (-81 dBm)
WYOU CBS (-82 dBm)

Of course in 1948 when cable TV was invented the signals may have been worse since WBRE and WYOU were not launched until 1953. So they would have been trying to pick up Philadelphia, over 70 miles away.

Last edited by PacoMartin; 02-06-2014 at 10:01 PM..
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:24 AM
 
Location: Eastern Pennsylania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnp292 View Post
The mountains are a TV killer. There's a reason why cable TV was invented not too far from the Lehigh Valley.
Not too far? :P

Well, it was initially thought of in Mahanoy City, and invented there when Walson ran cable to his appliance store, from the warehouse. But after that, was housed in Bethlehem, PA.

So it is basically both places, due to having the company in Bethlehem.

The reason why Walson thought of cable was because of the mountains corrupting the signal from Philadelphia.

I didn't know all of this until my professor told us about 3 years ago. It is kind of cool to know that we live close to the first cable company ever, and now it is used daily by millions of people. We should be getting perfect TV, cheap too.

It's a shame that Service Electric has very low Internet packages, and uses PenTeleData. Being the first cable company, they should beat RCN (my 75Mbps) by laying fiber down and putting 100Mbps with Internet packages. They are the first cable company to ever start in the U.S.A., but they kind of lack with services.
It's a bummer. I could enjoy bragging rights, telling people that I have the best TV provider ever because it was the first. :P
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rowebil View Post
Well, it was initially thought of in Mahanoy City, and invented there when Walson ran cable to his appliance store, from the warehouse. But after that, was housed in Bethlehem, PA.
Without Walson, the people in Eastern Pennsylvania would not have seen the big shows of the era.

NBC November 6, 1947 Meet the Press
CBS June 20, 1948 The Ed Sullivan Show
ABC August 10, 1948 Candid Microphone with Allen Funt
DMN October 20, 1948 The Growing Paynes (TITLE STOLEN FOR 1985 SERIES)

In June 1948, Walson ran a length of heavy duty, twin-lead Army cable, purchased at a surplus store in Philadelphia, from the top of the mountain into his store, and then fixed it to what he called an "ordinary antenna." For a month Walson strung the cable in trees; later he secured permission to use PPL's transmission poles in Mahanoy City. Because the signal had a tendency to lose power as it descended the mountain, Walson attached modified "boosters" at 500-foot intervals to amplify the signal. In 1949 local engineer Luther Holt improved the amplifier design.

The clarity and quality of images on the televisions in Walson's store astounded residents of Mahanoy City. "When I first put those three channels on," Walson said later, "the street was completely blocked with viewers, people watching the pictures in the window." Enraptured by the images, crowds loitered at his store until midnight.

Last edited by PacoMartin; 02-10-2014 at 09:31 AM..
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:54 PM
 
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Very cool discussion. I have relatives from a borough about 5 miles from Mahanoy City and I loved visiting them back in the day because their cable lineup was awesome. They had Philly, NYC, and WB/S tv stations which seemed so cool to me. I now realize that was due to the rural location, since most people are within a designated market and can now only see 1 local market's major affiliates (sucks). I had no idea how cable actually was born though, thanks for the story.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chelito23 View Post
Very cool discussion. I have relatives from a borough about 5 miles from Mahanoy City and I loved visiting them back in the day because their cable lineup was awesome. They had Philly, NYC, and WB/S tv stations which seemed so cool to me. I now realize that was due to the rural location, since most people are within a designated market and can now only see 1 local market's major affiliates (sucks). I had no idea how cable actually was born though, thanks for the story.

Walson was in his early 30's and he had some experience in the war with cabling. His original thought was just to wire the televisions in his store, but then he found that residents would gladly pay him $100 installation fee and $2 a month for better reception. He added amplifiers every 500' the second year that the system was operating to get a better signal. He probably had to go less than half a mile.

In June of 1948 he went to Philadelphia and bought some heavy duty twin lead cable from Reliance Merchandising, and this twin-lead cable was run from the top of the mountain from an ordinary antenna and amplified every 500' with a top-of-the set booster made by ElectroVoice which is a broadband amplifier. The amplifier only had about 6 Db of gain.

It amplified 12 channels at a time, but there were only three channels available 3, 6, and 10 out of Philadelphia.

He started with the twin-lead cable in 1948, and what would happen with the twin-lead cable was that whenever it rained you'd get a different VSWR, (sometimes pronounced "viswar"), for voltage standing wave ratio. and you would have a condition where your impedance would change and you would have a condition where you'd get snowy pictures.

At that time he had 725 customers connected to this twin-lead cable. John Walson started me to think about running it into a coaxial cable which he studied about back in 1933. He selected a 52 ohm cable which is not the same thing that is presently used. The present RG-59 cables are 75 ohms. This solved the problem of losing pictures on a rainy day.

In 1950 by stacking as high as 32 antennas for one channel, Walson received channel 11 and channel 9 out of New York, so that he had a competitive edge on another system which could get three Philadelphia channels. The Scranton stations were built in 1953.

It took him 7 years (at the age of 40) when he sold the store and went into the cable TV business full time.

Our cable company only recently cut out the New York stations for CBS, NBC, and ABC. We still get Fox and CW from both Philadelphia and NYC. As both stations are owned and operated by the network, I am not sure why it matters.
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