Category Archives: Ask the Expert

Jan
14

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Installing a Clearstream2 Antenna in San Jose, CA

Question: I have a 1996 Magnavox Analog TV, and I connected the Clearstream2 antenna to it. However, I’m not getting any reception or channels after rescanning the TV. Do I need a special tuner or any other equipment to get the channels?  Thanks, Mel

Hi Mel,

The reason why you are not receiving any reception when you hook up your Clearstream2 to your 1996 television is because your television does not have a digital tuner built in, so it can not read the over-the-air signals that are now broadcasting digitally. Your older television was made to pick up analogue signals. Since the digital switch in 2009, you need a converter box to convert these signals on your specific television.

So you have two options. The cheaper option is to go find/buy a digital to analog TV converter box that hooks to your television and your antenna. Converter boxes can range in price from around $40 – $70. Now you can even find some used on Amazon.com.

The other more expensive option is to buy a new television that has a digital tuner already built in. All new televisions in stores should be ready to pick up digital signals. Most television made after 2007 also have digital tuners. However, even with a new television you will need to hook up an antenna to it to receive free over-the-air TV.

Hope that helps! Thanks!

Dec
23

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert, Uncategorized | Comments

How to Receive UHF and VHF OTA Channels

Question 1: I’m not sure which antenna is best for my area since most channels are UHF but two of the popular ones are High VHF. Also I need a digital converter box, do you know where I can get one? Thanks. From Anton, in Alhambra, California.

Question 2: I need an antenna that will give me both VHF and UHF reception. What is the best antenna that you recommend? – The length of cable will be about 50 or 60 ft. Do I need PreAmp? From Aubre in Howell, Texas.

Hi Anton and Aubre,

Since you both had questions regarding how to receive both VHF and UHF reception, I can address both of you in one answer.

We would recommend going to www.antennapoint.com. Here you are prompted to put in your location and you can see exactly where your broadcast signals are coming from. To recommend an antenna we have to factor in how far you are away from your broadcast towers and also the geographical terrain near by. For instance, someone living in the city close to the broadcast towers might experience more interference because of the tall buildings, as opposed to someone living outside the city, but without all those tall buildings, might receive better reception.

For the most part, all of our antennas can function as UHF/VHF antennas, but their success may be limited especially if you are trying to get channels on the very low end of VHF (channels 2-6). So Anton, since you indicated that you have high VHF in your area we would recommend you consider the distance between you and your broadcast towers and any impediments you may have.

Otherwise, we would recommend using the ClearStream5 antenna as a great high powered antenna that can pick up both of these signals.

And for Aubre who is using a 50-60 foot coaxial cable, you will probably need to use an amplifier to overcome the length of your cable. Here are a few blog posts about amplifiers that we recommend.

Do I Need an Antenna Amplifier with my Antenna?
What is the Difference Between an A Distribution Amplifier and a Preamplifier?

Dec
21

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert | Comments

Setting Up a Television Antenna on a Truck

I am trying to set up a TV in my hot dog truck. I recently bought a clearstream2, I live approx 35 miles north of New York City. Just tonight I bought a new 19″ sylvania HDTV. I only get 3 channels. Does it matter where I am located for a good signal? From Joseph in New York.

Hi Joseph,

Unfortunately the digital transition in 2009 was not kind to people watching over-the-air television while traveling in cars, trucks and RVs. From what we have heard is that most people can receive digital signals when they are stopped, but almost none when they are in motion (which is probably a good thing).

Yes it one-hundred percent matters where you are located. This will determine how good of a signal you receive. It not only matters where exactly your truck is parked but also what direction your antenna is pointing and what structures might be in the way of the signal path such as buildings and trees.

Sorry Joseph, you have many things working against you here. We would recommend putting your ClearStream2 digital antenna in your house and looking into RV antennas that can be elevated above your truck roof.

Dec
16

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert, Installation | Comments

Using Existing Cable Units for Your OTA Television Antenna

I have the same situation as with Helena. Mom of four boys and just tried to make ends meet got rid of cable expense. Interested in the DB2 with the J post to be located in the attic. My house was pre-wired so cable company just came in and connected service. Now that my service is gone…can I use that same box on the side of my house where they hooked up their cable and connect it to the DB2 up in the attic? There are 8 cable outlets in the house…would it still work and what kind of amplifier should I use? From Mariel in Richmond, VA

Hi Mariel,

Since it sounds like you already have coaxial cable running through the house it might be worth it to see if there is or is not a single network of coax inside the house. If it is not a single network, you may not receive reception on all of your TVs.

Also, when using the leftover cables you must ensure all of the distribution items installed by the Dish company are removed such as splitters and diplexers because they could interfere with your reception.

Amplifiers are sometimes necessary to overcome signal loss related to splitters and junctions. Remember that an amplifier does not create a signal. It will only enhance a signal that is already there, but may be weak when split to different televisions. Here are some previous blog posts that might help.

Do I Need an Antenna Amplifier with my Antenna?

What is the Difference Between an A Distribution Amplifier and a Preamplifier?

How to Cut, Strip and Terminate Coaxial Cable

Dec
14

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert, Uncategorized | Comments

Difference Between a Distribution Amplifiers and a Preamplifier

What is the difference between your PA18 and CPA19 preamplifiers and what is the difference between a distribution amplifier and a preamplifier? Thanks! From Paul in Union, MO

Hi Paul,

A distribution amplifier is helpful if you have a good signal at the splitter, but not after splitting. Distribution amplifiers are usually one piece and are meant to be used indoors. They are used to overcome splitter loss and meant to “distribute” TV signals to multiple locations.

A digital antenna preamplifier can be used outside with your outside antenna. It usually comes as a 2 part unit with the amplifier mounted at the antenna and the power supply mounted in the house. A preamp is meant to overcome signal loss due to long cable lengths between the antenna and your TV or splitter.

The CPA19 has a slightly lower noise figure than the PA18 and was designed specifically to compliment the Clearstream line of antennas.

View some of our most popular television amplifiers and click on images below for more information.

Pre-Amplifier Kit

CPA19 ClearStream Pre-Amplifier Kit

Pre-Amp KitPA18 UHF / VHF

PA18 UHF / VHF Antenna Pre-Amp Kit

Dec
9

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert | Comments

Cellular Antenna Help and Products

I have a very weak AT&T cell signal even with a booster w/ outside antenna. I do also have DSL but would prefer to cancel that in favor of cellular. What products do you have that may help? From Jim in Innsbrook, MO

Hi Jim,

We have been working on products to boost cell phone signals. Our Wi-Fi antennas will replace a router’s existing antenna and distribute the Wi-Fi signal through four to eight ports plugged into cable outlets. The Clearstream Microsite is a cell phone booster that features built-in safe guards against interference. However, it is still in public testing phase and will not be on the market until 2011.

This new product was actually featured in the New York Times recently. Stay tuned for the release date. In the mean time, check out the NYT article.

Sean Kirkland, an executive vice president for sales and marketing for a company that plans corporate meetings and events was featured in this article and is one of the few that is using the Clearstream Microsite while it is in its testing phase. Check out what he said about it on Facebook.



Nov
10

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert, Uncategorized | Comments

How to Cut, Strip, and Terminate Coaxial Cable

We receive many questions about how to cut, strip and/or terminate coaxial cable. Long coaxial cables are a pain to deal with and create a mess of wires in your home theater system. Instead of having to get a cutter and a stripper and a crimper, we have a tool that does all of these — The CoaxMax. You can make coaxial cable cuts with solid, reliable sealed connections and that look like you paid a professional installer to make them for you! Literally cut the cable cord with the CoaxMax!

The CoaxMax Cable Termination Kit

  • Includes 20 low loss, lock and seal compressing fittings
  • Plus a handy wrench for F-Connectors
  • Works with RG6 and RG6 Quadshield Cable
  • Packaged in a sturdy plastic storage case
  • Designed for both professional and home use
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Nov
10

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert | Comments

Help Receiving VHF Television Channels

I’ve installed the Clearstream2 antenna and aimed toward the broadcast towers. I receive most of the local stations except two. I’m most concerned about the local ABC affiliate. I should be able to receive its signal. According to their site they boosted their signal and range a few months ago to the maximum range & signal strength allowed by the FCC. What can I do? From Goody in Mustang, Oklahoma

Hi Goody,

From www.antennapoint.com you can tell what channels are available in your area and what frequency they are on (see screen shot below). It looks like KOCO is your ABC affiliate and is running in high VHF. VHF television channels are numbered 2 – 13; UHF channels are numbered 14 – 83.  Although the C2 has limited VHF capabilities it just isn’t enough to adequately receive the weak stations in your area. We would recommend adding a VHF antenna like the ClearStream 5 that comes with the UHF VHF combiner that will allow both antennas to be coupled together on a single coax.

Mustang, OK - Antenna Point

Nov
8

Posted in Antennas Direct, Ask the Expert | Comments

Help with Your Outdoor Antenna if You Live Near an Airport

I live close to an airport. When smaller planes fly over my house, I loose the DTV signal for a few seconds. Is there any was to resolve this? From Todd in Sanford, Florida

Hi, Todd, thanks for asking!

Planes and Antenna Reception

In the old analog days, the effect you’re seeing would have caused ghosting or vertical rolling of the picture and was referred to as “airplane flutter” interference or dynamic multi-path interference.

With digital, we still can get the same signal problem when the broadcast signal bounces off the moving aircraft and arrives slightly out of time with the desired signal.  It’s up to the tuner to try to sort out the problem but, many times, the tuner can’t handle the distorted signal.  This is when you see the loss of your digital broadcast.

From the antenna side, there’s really only one thing that we can easily do that might remedy this problem:  Select an antenna with the narrowest possible beam width in the vertical axis.  An antenna such as our DB4 Antenna (range: up to 55 miles) or the DB8 antenna (range: 70 miles or more) has a more narrow reception window in the vertical direction than do many other antennas for UHF reception.  This helps to reduce the signal strength of the reflected signal off the aircraft while still receiving the desired signal from the towers.  Hopefully, you can find an antenna aiming point that will allow this to be accomplished.

Nov
3

Posted in Ask the Expert, cable be evil, Cable company, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Cutting the Cable Cord Resources and Tips

Even the most technical savvy of people are deciding to cut the cable cord. National Consumer Electronics Editor Julie Jacobson recently blogged about her Journey to Cut the Cable Cord. However, cutting the cord is not as easy as the task sounds. In a recent survey: 11 percent of U.S. consumers had considered canceling their pay-TV service, through only 2 percent actually did.


If you are like Julie and sick of paying for cable we would recommend doing what she did in her blog post. That is to make a list of your must have TV shows, TV shows that you can live with out and list out the devices you currently have to work with.

You would be surprised about how many items you can scratch off your list just by having an antenna — which is going to be a necessity if you go through with cutting your cable.

Like Julie there are lots of people talking about and writing about how they are cutting their cable. From streaming Netflix to using Apple TV there are hundreds of different setups out there that cater to each person’s television and movie needs.

Another blogger that we like is called Cutting the Cord and Cutting the Bills. You can find it at www.cuttingthebills.com. This blogger posts “episodes” and great tips on how he receives all the television and movies he wants and the only monthly bill he pays is his internet.


So, find out what will work best for you! Then share with others who are just starting to cut their cable cord. And as always, Antennas Direct will be here with high quality antennas so you can receive your HDTV local channels.

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