Mounting Antenna for OTA HD/Digital/FM Signals

I first mounted the antenna in back of the house on a 35-40 ft pole. Pole is 40ft but buried quite a few feet into the ground.
This was not the original plan but due to wanting a solid ground I decided on the long pole option.
Issue I ran into was signal reception. Was only grabbing a maximum of 12 channels. This would be fine if it was 1970 but here in Florida in Tampa Bay area I should be getting at minimum 22-25 channels.
And the 12 channels I was getting had medium to weak signal quality. I figured the issue was length of cable used and it being split before entering the house.

So I went back to figuring out where to mount the antenna and what option to use for the mounting pole. These antenna’s are small and can be mounted in the attic. I did do a dry test run in attic without mounting antenna. Unfortunately this antenna does not do well indoors. It grabs the UHF channels great but the VHF channels do not even register. Not all antenna’s are created equally my antenna did not do well indoors this does not mean others won’t.
Went with the J-Pole as I had originally planned in the first place and decided to mount in front of the house off the side of the patio. This way it isn’t protruding right from the front of our home.
When buying your pole or J-Pole make sure that the Pipe outer diameter will fit your antenna. Antenna I purchased is 1.25″ round in diameter so had to get a J-Pole that was 1″ in diameter around.
You can mount on the roof of your home if this is what you want to do. Me personally do not like the idea of putting holes in my roof top. Side of house or on a pole is a better option in my opinion.
I must say the mounting and cable running took me 1 hour time. Setting up an antenna is very easy. So those not sure be confident it is a very simple installation.
Easy as long as you have all the materials and tools needed for the job.

Tools Needed:
Pliers & Needle nose pliers
Crescent wrench
Screw drivers Flat & Philips head
Compression Tool Coax RG59 Rg6 RCA BNC F connector Coaxial compression tool
Cordless Drill
Socket set
Level
Drill Bits sizes may vary depends on what mounting kit you purchase.
Cable cutters & Utility knife “Razor”

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Hand Tools from left to right Wire Cutter, Coaxial Compression tool, Pliers, Crescent Wrench, Needle nose pliers.

Materials:
Di-Electric grease
Coaxial cable length depends on where you mount your antenna. I purchased 100 ft and maybe used 50ft of it.
Plastic zip ties
Mounting pole again depends on where you mount your antenna at and what type of Antenna you get.
#8 or #10 Grounding wire “Copper” coated. If you can’t find coated  just use the stripped ground they sell at Home Depot.
Coaxial ends
Splitters if needed.
And lastly surely not least the Antenna you plan to install:-)

Total cost for Antenna and materials. I am not adding any shipping cost or taxes I spent because this will vary for everyone.

Boost Waves-Outdoor Amplified HDTV/UHF/VHF Antenna w/ Remote Control – 360 Degree Motorized Rotation Kit (125 mile)  -$27.49- Amazon
100 ft Coaxial cable $19.97- Home Depot
Coaxial Cable Compression tool $8.95  Purchased on Ebay local cost for this tool is $40
Di-Electric grease-$10 -Home Depot. Lowes did not carry item in store.
Coaxial ends (25) $10-Home Depot
30ft Grounding Wire -$15-  Home Depot
Coax couplers (25)-$8-Walmart
Splitter- $10 Can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart or any local hardware store.
J-Pole -$21.93-Ebay. I shopped around a bit Ebay was most affordable. When buying from Ebay buy from dealer in your state.
Inline Coax surge Protector -$3.39 On Ebay locally costs $39 “This is an optional part” Honestly doubt it will help much from direct lighting hit. A good ground should be sufficient.

Total: $134.73
Most antenna’s sold locally cost $100 alone.

First I went and drilled 2 holes with a drill bit for the bolts that mount the J-Pole.
Once the holes were drilled I bolted down the top used level to make sure it was not off center.
completed the base.
“Make sure that the base is up high enough to be on wood base under the aluminum siding.”
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Once the base is mounted it’s simple just put J-pole on with Antenna mounted on the pole and bolt down tightly so it is nice and solid.
You can go ahead and connect the Coaxial cable to the antenna if you want to. But I’d run your wire first then connect to antenna.
Any cable end that is  outside make sure to drop a little Di-Electric grease in then tighten down. When tightening the cable to antenna make it firm do not over tighten chances are you will crack the base. The di-electric grease is to keep water out of the lines and preserve it as well.
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Once you have your antenna mounted it’s very important to ground the antenna. This is a must do!
If you are close to where your ground rod is you can mount directly to it. The main ground is where your electric box and cable is grounded to.
If you decide to buy a ground rod it must be 4ft in the ground.
Will look something like this:
WP_20160508_18_28_26_Pro[1]
To connect to this ground you will want a Grounding Coax bridge or a Splitter that has grounding.
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Since I mounted our antenna on front of the house close to the garage. There was not a ground rod available. In this case I had to use the hot water heater as my ground. I did not like this option but it is what I had to work with.

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Ground clamp attached to Hot Water heater.
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in line ground using coupler with ground wire wrapped around it then ran to hot water heater.

Cable wire then runs into wall through to living room.
It still bothers me that I did not ground the Mast aka: J-pole as well.
Grounding to the water pipe works as long as the ground to it is under 5ft from the grounding rod which mine is.

After making sure cable wire was not pinched and concealed turned on the television to see what channels I pull.
Am getting a total of 53 channels all of them are clear.
The quality is better than what cable produces due to not having to compress.
I do notice signals for UHF are stonger on this antenna than VHF signals.
Wanted to touch down a little regarding VHF broadcasts not pushing signals as strongly as UHF.
Having spent more time on antenna I should note that VHF signals are strong but not as strong as UHF.
All channels I do get are solid and not digitized from overly weak signals. Channels 30.1,30.2, 30.3 seem to only come in at dusk.
30.2 comes all the way from Pensacola, Fla which is almost at the end of panhandle.
Majority of channels come from Tampa, St. Petersburg.
Listing starts with Channels numbers “in RED”  then call sign name and location.

3.1-3.4 :WEDU-PBS-Tampa

8.1-8.2:WFLA-NBC-Tampa

10.1-10.3:WTSP-CBS-St.Petersburg

13.1-13.4:WTVT-FOX-Tampa

16.1-16.4:WUSF-PBS-Tampa

17: Family Net-Not listed ??

18.1:WNYI-Daystar-Ithica, NY  I do not get this channel.

22.1-22.4:WCLF-CTN-Clearwater

28.1-28.3:WFTS-ABC- Tampa

30.1:WSTY-My Family TV-Hammond, La

30.2:WBQP-PUNCH-Pensacola, Fla

30.3:WATV-Mira TV-Orlando, Fla

32.1-32.3:WMOR-IND-Lakeland, Fla

35.2:WSPF-BizTV- St.Petersburg, Fla

38.1-38.2:WTTA-MyNet-St.Petersburg

39.1-39.2:WTTA-Cozi-St.Petersburg

40.1:WWSB-ABC7-Sarasota, Fla

44.1-44.2:WTOG-The CW-St.Petersburg

47.1:WYKE-YouToo America-Inglis, Fla

49.1:WRMD-Telemundo-Tampa Bay

50.1-50.3:WFTT-UniMas-Tampa Bay

50.4:WFTT-Escape-Tampa Bay

62.1-62.2:WVEA-Univision-Venice, Fla

66.1:WXPX-ION-Bradenton, Fla

66.2:WXPX2-QUBO-Bradenton, Fla

66.3:WXPX-DT3-ION Life-Bradenton, Fla

66.4:WXPX-DT4-SHOP-Bradenton, Fla

66.5: QVC-Clearwater/???

66.6: HSN- Clearwater/St.Petersburg

Depending on your antenna and mounting location you may get all of the channels listed or may only get 12 channels. Chose mounting location wisely and know where your broadcasts are coming from in your state to make sure you get an antenna that will get the signals.
A rotating motored antenna like mine may not be good for some areas especially if broadcast are coming from  many different locations.
I touch base on all these on my blog. So read and do your homework google is a great place to do research.

Good news is Tampa Bay is #10 nationally for the number of HD OTA channels available.
That does not include all the non-HD channels available in our area.
Networks are taking notice of OTA and are featuring specialty programming like Movies, Weather, Criminal like ID channel and others.
I think it’s only a matter of more time and cable/satellite will have to come up with new gimmicks to keep people buying in and staying with them.
Antenna has me very impressed not just the picture quality but also the number of channels I am getting. And not to mention the ease of mounting and installing the hardware. Wonder why I did not do this so much sooner.
This may not be for everyone but I do suggest everyone at least give it a try.
top_ota_tv_markets_north_america_list

 

UHF
UHF Signal max

 

VHF
VHF signal weaker

 

 

Spent $135 to save $100 a month on cable.
I went through all my recorded shows that we as a family watch and the majority of them are the free channels I get over the air. Why have I been paying them a $100 a month?
For now Cable will stay connected until I get a few OTA tuners for HTPC and to see how signals handle in bad weather.

If you are using a HTPC and have Netflix or Hulu or maybe both you already have more options than cable offers.
Since FM runs on VHF signals you can use dual as TV Antenna & Radio antenna.
With a 150 mile radius can get some stations that aren’t normally available to you. Example: Gainesville, Orlando.

Places to shop for tools, Antenna’s and other materials:

http://www.sears.com/tools/b-1020000?gclid=CjwKEAjw6sC5BRCogcaY_dKZ2nESJABsZihx6pIdKNE3qL5_WoAM-myg4uf9PNWUHZwks2pf8fhomhoCp8fw_wcB&sid=ISx20140327xNonBrand&psid=g_ae68412f9463ebc244d0ff3f35e41f3f&knshCrid=34800&k_clickID=_kenshoo_clickid_&s_kwcid=AL!4531!3!47616894697!e!!g!!sears%20tools&ef_id=VjypjAAABJFMbFvQ:20160509121759:s

http://www.lowes.com/
http://www.homedepot.com/
http://www.ebay.com/
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.walmart.com/
http://www.kmart.com/
http://www.homeantenna.org/
http://www.staples.com/
http://www.solidsignal.com/

Tips & How to Grounding page:
http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/1171010.html
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ATSC: http://atsc.org/standards/

QAM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrature_amplitude_modulation

ClearQAM – What It Is And Why It Matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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