Newbie Cord Cutter - need advice ... please!

So our subscription to DISH is about up … and we are seriously pondering joining the cord cutting craze :wink:

I love research … I research everything before I buy … in this case … I am just getting more confused!!! 

What I think we have narrowed it to are:
Mohu Sky 60
or the AmazonBasics Amplified Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna - 60 Mile Range
or Winegard FL6550A FlatWave Air Outdoor HDTV Antenna
or even the DB4e HD TV Digital Antenna - with VHF Retrofit Kit

We live approximately 25-30 miles from Wichita KS … most of the towers are clustered, what looks like, within 30 degrees of each other and within 40 miles.

Since we already have DISH … I will probably take down the dish and install whatever antenna on that pole - on the roof.  We do have a few trees within immediate distance - neighbors - but other than that - its not all that blocked that I can tell, but then again … NEWBIE!!!

So … what to do???  :slight_smile:

Here is the TVFOOL link:

From AntennaPoint:
KSAS-TV FOX 26 24.1 UHF 350.0 kW Wichita 31.26 mi 287.14°
KSNW NBC 45 3.1 UHF 891.0 kW Wichita 31.39 mi 286.55°
KAKE-TV ABC 10 10.1 VHF 24.63 kW Wichita 31.78 mi 287.32°
KDCU-DT 31 0.1 UHF 570.0 kW Derby 32.49 mi 289.36°
KMTW MYTV 35 36.1 UHF 1000.0 kW Hutchinson 36.19 mi 304.33°
KWCH-TV CBS 19 12.1 UHF 1000.0 kW Hutchinson 52.25 mi 303.54°
KSCW CW 12 33.1 VHF 19.1 kW Wichita 52.25 mi 303.54°
KPTS PBS 8 8.1 VHF 9.28 kW Hutchinson 52.66 mi 302.82°

Any help - advice - words of warning - etc … would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

I am 58 miles from the towers and have a Mohu Sky 60 installed in my attic. I remove the amp that came with it and installed a better amp. I get great reception. You may not need to do this being closer.

Get an antenna and connect it to your hdTV directly to see what channels you get. No need to get a Tablo if you don’t get a lot of channels.

I have a Winegard Flatwave, it is amp’d. Works great. But if you can install an outdoor antenna I say get a massive one and stick it outside, def get the best OTA reception that way.

thanks guys for the quick responses!

@theuser86 … I am really trying to avoid any of those (and no insults intended), in my eyes, ugly arrow shaped antennas. 

@roraniel … My first instinct was the Winegard FlatWave, but then again the Mohu Sky (or even the AmazonBasics) 60 mile looked good as well.

this is part of my frustration … every time I think I have it nailed down, I read some more!!!  FRACK!  :slight_smile:

@DaveSmithe I did not want the antenna in my living room and my neighborhood does not allow outdoor antennas. I read reviews of Sky 60 and decided to just get it and do exactly what theuser86 said. My attic is off the second story loft so I installed the antenna as far into the peak of the roof in the attic as it would go and hooked it up to the TV upstairs. I bought the antenna from Amazon so I could easily return it if I did not get the channels I wanted.

I got the channels I wanted so I bought the Tablo, hard drive, and enough cable to run into the crawl space and over to the TV. Everything worked good but if it rained a little the weaker channels (ABC and FOX) were pixelated. I did some research and found a iOS App called SignalGH that works with a SiliconDust HDHomerun that shows live TV station signals. I went in the attic with my iPad and fine tuned the angle of the antenna.

This improved it but I still got pixelation when it rained heavier. I found out the amp that comes with the antenna was not very good so I got a pre-amp. The pre-amp, amps the signal prior to your cable run from the antenna to the TV. You lose signal strength in the cable run.This helped a little but it was still not bullet proof.

The thing that made it almost full proof was the addition of a distribution amp. The distribution amp, amps the signal right before the signal gets split by the Tablo. The Tablo has multiple tuners and the signal is split for each tuner. Now it pretty much has to be a thunderstorm before I get any pixelation.

Pre-amp I bought:

Distribution amp I bought:

HD Homerun I bought:

SignalGH app:

Not an endorsement for these products, just sharing my experience. I also knew nothing about OTA reception when I started.

@DaveSmithe - WFIF the amazon basics 60 mile is made by mohu and is the same exact antenna and amp as the sky 60 just cheaper. The only difference is a visual one and that is that the amazon antenna has rounded ends instead of the x wing look of the mohu but the internals are exactly the same just a cosmetic diff. save your money and get the amazon basics instead of the mohu. Hope that helps!

@roraniel … thank you again!  I actually had the PreAmp and homerun sitting in my cart during all of my research.

All of this is so much to take in and understand … give me a computer and I am golden, this OTA stuff is just about to drive me nuts!  but I have to learn it … and I suppose with buying thru amazon, I can at least return without too much hassle.  Even if I found some at best buy … I suppose it would be a matter of trial and error.

@sleeper … I did not know that, but I really suspected that ‘maybe’ they had a deal to make something similar!

@davesmithe Have you tried any antennas from local stores straight to your TV as a test? I’m about 20-30 miles from my stations and originally bought a 15x20 rectangle outdoor antenna in 2005 that I installed at the top of my chimney and have never had a problem. I didn’t even look at other antennas until 2011 when I finally cut cable for good and found a $10 RCA antenna at Walmart and after tweaking it works great.  In 2013 I ran across on Amazon a $7 6" extendable stick with a magnetic base that can extend to about 10" and depending on placement (actually on something metal works best) I get every channel available even below grade in the middle of the basement. I have three of those now and they are invisible behind the TVs.  I keep them connected since the Tablo isn’t quite 100% reliable yet for Live TV via the 2.4ghz wireless Roku 1s but works well. (Get as much on a 5ghz channel as possible to leave the 2.4 as open as you can for the lowly Rolu 1) But I even used it to program the Tablo initially as I hadn’t yet rerouted the coax for the roof antenna.  I did finally reroute it though and moved the little one back to the basement on a non-Tablo TV.  But try a little, simple, inexpensive one and see where in the house you get a great signal and put the Tablo there.  And if you need to simply move to the next level antenna until you find one that works. Just a thought and good luck!

@roraniel were you able to find any specs on teh Amazon Basics preamps?  The one I have for my 50 mile antenna looks just like the Winegard LNA-100.  I am curious if I upgraded to the LNA-200 if I would be able to lock in any of the channels that are really pixilated with my current setup.

@DaveSmithe millermj has a good point. There are people on here that are pulling in the stations they want with very inexpensive antennas. I really went for the high dollar Sky 60 because I did not what I was doing. I like it but I also don’t know if I could have gotten away something less expensive. In my case I had to be in the attic which was a major factor in choosing the Sky 60, only because it said suitable for attics on their website. But like I said, I did not know what I was doing.

My best advice is to not hog wild with buying everything you think you might need in terms of amps and such. I did it in phases to see if I needed to go to the next phase to improve reception. If you do end up getting a distribution amp I would suggest getting an adjustable one like the one in my link above. That way you can turn down the amplification if it is over amplifying the signal. Over amplification can also lead to picture degradation.

@jbanks25 To be honest I just went with the higher amp because I figured more is better. I have not looked at the Amazon Basics specs. Someone on here suggested that Wingard was a good product so I went the their website and chose the most powerful one. I guess I took the Tim Taylor approach. :slight_smile:

@roraniel I often take that approach as well.  I’m in between Cincinnati and Dayton, and while I get everything in Cincinati it bugs me that I can’t pick up Dayton better.  That is why I am considering boosting things.  Not a need as much as a curiosity.

@DaveSmithe - Lots of good advice from our community members here! 

Just wanted to jump in and say that if you haven’t read this series of blogs on our website it offers a good primer on this whole OTA thing:

I also agree with @theuser86 - Get a couple of antennas and plug each of them into your TV and see what you get. If one gets you more options, keep that one and return the other one. 

Happy cord cutting! 

I just called and they hooked me up…  I’m thirty something miles from Atlanta and get awesome reception and have my antenna mounted in the attic.

Products Ordered

SKU Product Item Price Quantity Total
DB4-E DB4e Extended Long Range Outdoor DTV Antenna $89.99    1 $89.99
VHF-1 VHF Retrofiit Kit $14.39    1 $14.39
STM1000 Universal J-Mount - 40-inch $31.49    1 $31.49
Subtotal: $170.86

@jbanks25 a signal amplifier will not increase the signal received by the antenna.  It makes sure that what is received is not lost AFTER the antenna.  

That’s a really important distinction.  If your antenna is not getting a strong signal an amplifier will do nothing to help you there. Best thing to do is hook up directly to the antenna with a short run of cable if possible, I use a USB adapter that captures the signal and a 20 ft run of cable to the ground.  Once you know you can receive the Dayton signals, THEN maybe an amplifier can make sure the TVs/TUners/whatever in the house see the signal as well.

Assuming you are in a straight line between the Dayton transmitter(s) and the Cincinnati Transmitter(s) that would mean you are about 24 miles between both.  A decent roof mounted 4-bay antenna should get both of those easily.

Yep - we are in a fringe area for cell data and voice, too. So 3 or 4 years ago I installed a Wilson amp on the roof antenna mast above the TV antenna. Like they said - if you cant’ stand on your roof and get any bars, then there’s nothing for their amp to grab and amplify and rebroadcast into the house!
IT goes for TV, too. If the antenna can’t get a decent signal at all then an amp has nothing but air to amplify and if the signal is noisy or distorted, you amplify noise and distortion. The amp is to push a weak but EXISTENT signal down a long cable better.

There’s some loss in all cables - longer = more loss. An amp give the signal a kick in the butt to make sure it gets to the end in better shape, stronger. If on a scale of 1 to 10 your signal from the antenna is a 4 and the cable causes a loss of 3 then you have almost nothing at the TV or Tablo, split nothing over 2 or 4 tuners and you have less than nothing. An amp takes that 4 and turns it into say a 7 or 8 so if the cable causes a loss of 3 you still have enough signal for each tuner in the Tablo to be happy.  
(OK so it’s not mathematically and technically correct but it sort of works, doesn’t it?)

I could stand on the roof and use my phone so I knew a cellular amp would work for us. If you can stand on your roof and watch TV then an amp has a chance. (but if you go up there to watch TV, please let us know so we can see that sight)
I am 58 miles from the towers and have a Mohu Sky 60 installed in my attic. I remove the amp that came with it and installed a better amp. I get great reception. You may not need to do this being closer.

Details on your amp modification? I have the SKY and am happy but live very far from stations so every little bit helps.


@ChrisWY27 The amp on the sky 60 in the sort peice of white cable with the USB cable attached. I threw that away and got a Winegard HDA-200 distribution amp. I also ended up installing a Winegard LNA-200 preamp at the antenna. I get just a little pixelation on a couple weaker channels when it is raining

@DaveSmithe - If you are interested in saving some money have a look at this build thread:

If you are into DIY - this is the way to go.  I built an attic mounted antenna with a hardware cloth back to make it more directional.  I am roughly 66 miles from the city of chicago and about the same distance to Rockford.  I pull about 70 channels.  Most of them come from Chicago, but I do pull a few down from Rockford as well.  Point is it works better than any antenna I have worked with that was prebuilt.

That being said, I have found recently that Antennas Direct make some really REALLY good stuff.