My main interest back in July was to get local content from the major networks Over The Air (I.e. OTA). We used a Mohu Leaf, which is a thin indoor OTA antenna and connected it to one TV in the Great Room. Since we are roughly 50 miles from Atlanta where most of the stations are located I really didn't expect much.
I was surprised that we could receive as many as 68 channels on a good day. Reception on the weak channels was spotty but the major networks have been consistently good.
Going Whole House
Since the small indoor OTA antenna worked pretty well, I decided to distribute the signal through the whole house.
During construction, we pulled RG-6Q coaxial cable to every point where we might put a TV in the future.
All the drops run down to the basement and are distributed using a PCT-VC9-U Drop Amplifier. This unit delivers unity gain to eight drops. Unity gain means that the output signal strength on each of the eight drops is the same as the input signal strength. This insures a good signal without distortion that could result from over-amplification.
I like this unit for a couple of reasons. First, it has a sturdy, cast aluminum case with integral mounting feet that make it easy to install. Second, with eight channels it handles the entire house in one, tidy unit.
The coax run from the Great Room (where we have the antenna) down to the distribution point in the basement is about 75 feet. To ensure a good signal I installed a single channel drop amplifier in the Great Room. For this application I used a Scientific Atlanta single channel amplifier because its thin and could be easily concealed in a small cavity inside the fireplace enclosure. But also because it was inexpensive on eBay.
Since I'm planning to eventually mount the antenna outside, I decided to upgrade to a Mohu Sky antenna. I admit that I mainly bought it because it looks so COOL... but the Sky does get very good reviews and we've had good results with the tiny Mohu Leaf.
For now, the antenna is just sitting in the Great Room next to the window. Eventually, I may mount it on the south wall outside.
Now for the big surprise... The Sky antenna is larger than the Leaf so I originally placed it in the window.
With the new setup (i.e. better antenna and drop amplifiers) we lost several of the weaker stations. I assumed it was due to the amplifiers or lengthy cable runs and spent hours swapping components and cables trying to diagnose the reduction in signal strength.
Then it occurred to me that the Leaf was just tacked up to the drywall while the Sky was sitting in the window. I moved the Sky about two feet so it is behind drywall instead of behind glass and all of our missing channels immediately came back!
In retrospect, this actually makes sense. Most Lo-E glass has a thin metallic film inside the glass to block UV. It seems that the Lo-E glass also blocks some of the HDTV signal.
With the antenna in the window the signal strength on Channel 11 was between 50-55.
Moving the antenna a couple of feet so it's not behind glass immediately increased the signal strength to 77.
Admittedly, most of this is crap (there are at least 10 Home Shopping channels now) but all of the majors and twp PBS channels come in great.
I can now say that I'm completely satisfied with the Mohu Sky antenna. It works so well that I just might leave it indoors permanently.