aerial antenna for high VHF/UHF
May 6, 2008 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Appropriate aerial antenna to receive high VHF and UHF across 12 miles?

After the US digital TV switch, all the tv stations I want will be transmitting on channels 7-44 from one tower 12 miles WSW of me, without obstruction, so far as I know.

Antenna geek sites are full of recommendations for things that seem to be overkill for these close-to-ideal conditions. What's the best bang-for-the-buck aerial antenna (i.e., the cheapest one expected to yield excellent reception) for these circumstances? (Assume I can figure out how to mount it on my roof pointing in the right direction.)
posted by Zed_Lopez to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Lookee here
posted by Gungho at 1:02 PM on May 6, 2008

Honestly, unless it's purely for aesthetic reasons that you want a roof mount, even that much sounds like overkill. I use a decade-old set of unamplified Radio Shack rabbit ears, sitting behind the tv with jankily bent antennae, in circumstances just like the ones you describe, and the reception is excellent.
posted by mumkin at 1:26 PM on May 6, 2008

Any old antenna is fine. I use a 12 dollar one I got at Rite Aid & I have a lot worse conditions, but it works great. for my 42" Panasonic Plasma.
posted by valentinepig at 1:26 PM on May 6, 2008

If you're 12 miles away, unless your antenna is below the treeline / blocked by buildings, or somewhere absurd like in your basement, you can probably buy the cheapest antenna for that range that you can find an get perfect coverage. The stations put out thousands of Watts, so if you're 12 miles away, you're not going to need much of anything.

If they're all coming from one tower, a directional antenna would be preferable, as you could point it at the tower, both for higher sensitivity in that direction and to help eliminate any interference from the sides. But it's probably not necessary given your proximity.
posted by fogster at 1:32 PM on May 6, 2008

mumkin's post reminded me of something -- our HDTV antenna is inside our garage so it's not looking awful on our roof. The wood frame of our garage doesn't attenuate the signal much, and it's strong enough anyway. And we're at least 50 miles away from the source.

So an indoor antenna would probably work just fine, too.
posted by fogster at 1:35 PM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: Oops, I missed one: my NBC station is 45 miles south; will be channel 12 (is now channel 11.)

Cheap indoor antennas are currently doing great for a few stations, but lousy for others, including the aforementioned NBC.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 1:53 PM on May 6, 2008

Antennaweb let's you plug your address in and see a coverage map, with antenna recommendations to boot!
posted by rhizome at 2:08 PM on May 6, 2008

Ah, well then, your 45 miles puts it in a range beyond my experience. Pursuant to fogster's second comment, you could also install your antenna inside your attic, if you have one, instead of strapping it to your chimney/etc. if that seems daunting.
posted by mumkin at 2:26 PM on May 6, 2008

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