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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:35 PM
obbn obbn is online now
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Large Antenna on side of house and bonus bathtub question

Hello everyone again,

Well, we were looking at and put a bid on an historic home that was a short sale, but unfortunately the bank rejected our offer and came back so far from what we offered we withdrew. So back to house hunting again, sigh. We came across one today built in the 70'$ that we like and are considering. The one thing on the side of the house that I am not all that familiar with is a very large TV antenna on the side of the house. This thing is about 25ft tall and at first I thought it might be an antenna for short wave radio, but the top of the antenna was definitely for TV and at the base there was co-ax (sp?) cable that lead into the home. The question is, can this setup be used to pull HD stations from the air and do they work well? I realize that it depends a lot on the area, but if you can pull a singnal is the picture of decent quality on a newer flat TV?

Bonus round: We are probably going to remodel the bathrooms if we buy this,'including replacing the tub. How are the tubs mounted to the floor/wall? I really can't seem to figure it out. Is reolacing a tub a simple deal or a nightmare?
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:57 PM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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The antenna may work very well depending where you are in relation to the nearest TV stations. If you haven't tried antenna TV lately, you may be surprised. My parents' house (in central IN) used to get 3 VHF and a few UHF channels on rabbit ears. Now, using rabbit ears and a converter box, I can get about thirteen channels. Here in south Georgia, it went from three stations to ten using a good rooftop antenna. If you have an HD TV, you won't need the converter.

Distance and terrain are the main factors. The closer you are the better and flatter land is better. My examples above are over flat terrain and about 40 miles maximum for the rabbit ears. It's gently rolling terrain and maximum 60 miles for the rooftop antenna. The picture will either be great or unavailable- there's not much of a snowy in between area. You'll either get it or not.

The bathroom stuff I'll leave to others.
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:30 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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You'll get a totally uncompressed HD picture if you tune it over the air. A better picture of the same channel than if you tune it over a satellite or cable service. The first time I watched a live Cubs game over the air on my HDTV it was stunning. I just have rabbit ears in a 4th story apartment in the city.

I'm pretty sure tubs are just caulked in. They're heavy, it's not like they're going to walk across the bathroom. There are also those fiberglass cover dealies that are simply placed over the old tub and surround, you get a smaller tub, but new tub and walls for far less work.

The TV info I'm sure of, the tub info may be crap.
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:36 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Most of those type of tall antenna masts were used by amateur radio enthusiasts, but it was not unknown to have them for TV antennas in rural areas. Sometimes they could be rotated to point to different cities or transmitters. Apparently my uncle had one of Texarkana's first TV sets, and pulled in Dallas and Little Rock signals with such a device.

I've only replaced one bathtub, but I was surprised to discover that it was held in place only by the tile walls above it and the drainpipe. This was a tub in an alcove precisely its size. Obviously it would be different for a clawfoot tub in the middle of a huge Victorian bathroom.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:48 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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need a photo or better description on the antenna. there are dozens of reasons to have an antenna. a home made antenna could exist for many reasons. i've made radio and tv antennas and some look very different. look at the coax cable and report what numbers are on the cable, that will be a clue.

tubs sit on the floor, they can be on legs or in a bed of material.
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2012, 11:27 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
You'll get a totally uncompressed HD picture if you tune it over the air. A better picture of the same channel than if you tune it over a satellite or cable service. The first time I watched a live Cubs game over the air on my HDTV it was stunning. I just have rabbit ears in a 4th story apartment in the city.
What are we of the Dope if not pedantic?

Specifically...you'll receive a less compressed HD picture than the one being offered via your local cable system of via commercial satellite providers like DirecTV or Dish. The broadcaster has 19.2 megabits of bandwidth, and can devote all of that to an HD picture, or steal some for a SD subchannel like a weather one, or a 24 hour local news one. But the cable companies will take that signal, or a less compressed one supplied via fiber and compress it to fit into as little as 6 megabits.

By the way, the networks distribute shows to the local channels in a far less compressed (but still compressed) 35 megabit format. And that looks amazing.

The thing about compression is that it is designed to be less noticeable for the average person. But a professional can show you where to look and what to look for, and utterly ruin television for you.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:14 AM
obbn obbn is online now
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Thanks for the replies everyone. It never occurred to me to take a picture of the antenna when we were there today. If we go back this weekend I will bring my camera and post a picture. I am tempted to say it looked very similar to this one:

http://www.photos-public-domain.com/...ge-antenna.jpg

except it didn't have all the guy-wires and didn't seem to have anything on the sides of the mast like this one. The areial at the to looked like this one, I thought it was a TV areial (not sure if that is the right word for the horizontal structure at the top) but this picture is from a Google search for "home short wave antenna", so my first assumption might have been right. Assuming for a second it is a SW antenna, now what? I don't have a SW and don't plan on ever getting one. Can it be used for TV? I wonder how difficult it would be to dissasemble, certainly a two man job! This one appears to be taller than the one on the house, although that just may be prespective in the picture making it look so tall. The one at the house is 20' to 25' high.

As far as the tub, interesting to know they are basically just set in there. I guess they aren't going anywhere, the remodel of the bathroom should be fun, haven't done one of those yet, It will give me a chance to use my sledge hammer again, and I do like using that thing. There just never seems to be enough things to "sledge" in my world!

I do have some other house related questions, but I will create a new thread for those to keep the discussion focused. As always, thanks a million for the answers!
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2012, 02:02 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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Yeah, the TV antenna in that picture is the much smaller one closer to the roof! The guy in the house across the street from where I grew up had a SW antenna much like that one. He must not have had it motorized, or the motor burned out often or something, he was always dangling up there doing adjustments or something. We called him Superman Dan. Still refer to him that way, 30 years later and 20 years after he moved!
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:25 AM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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If the tub fits into an alcove, and is steel rather than cast iron, there will be nailing flanges on the sides against the wall. The backer for the tile comes down to those flanges and the tile is applied down to about 1/8" of the tub surface. Then it's caulked after the tile's all grouted etc. you may need to remove much of the tile and backer to get the old tub out and the new one in.

Check this video

This link says it's a professional job. Of course they are selling refinishing rather than replacement, but the information's good.

You choose.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:34 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obbn View Post
http://www.photos-public-domain.com/...ge-antenna.jpg

except it didn't have all the guy-wires and didn't seem to have anything on the sides of the mast like this one. The areial at the to looked like this one, I thought it was a TV areial (not sure if that is the right word for the horizontal structure at the top) but this picture is from a Google search for "home short wave antenna", so my first assumption might have been right. Assuming for a second it is a SW antenna, now what? I don't have a SW and don't plan on ever getting one. Can it be used for TV? I wonder how difficult it would be to dissasemble, certainly a two man job! This one appears to be taller than the one on the house, although that just may be prespective in the picture making it look so tall. The one at the house is 20' to 25' high.
to my eye that example is a couple different ham radio antennas. ham radio antenna also can be the Yagi type. so looks might be similar. size and design will change with its use.

need a photo of yours. look at the coax cable(s) and give the numbers on those. the photo is a large installation, you describe that yours is smaller. need real details to make useful comments.

taking down or doing anything with antennas that size on a tower your size takes more than one person for safety.

if it is not a tv antenna then the antenna is not useful to you. unless you are extremely far or low in elevation from tv stations then the tower is not useful to you. yes you could take the ham antennas down and put a tv antenna up there, but then to do any work safely (which could be every couple years) is a major effort. it doesn't make sense to use more tower than you need. if it is a ham antenna then some ham radio people would safely take the antennas and tower down, make a deal with them.

you may need nothing higher or bigger than the tv antenna lower in the photo on a short mast.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:03 PM
Thin Ice Thin Ice is offline
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I replaced my old cast iron tub with a new steel one a couple of decades ago in a complete bathroom remodel. The hardest part was getting the old tub out. A cast iron tub is very heavy and you must take out enough surround to have room to maneuver it. My bathroom is small so the tub had to be upright to get to and through the bathroom door.
Tubs are mainly held down by gravity, though the walls/tile do lock them in place, as does the plumbing, to a lesser extent.. There is only one side to an alcove tub, the front side facing into the bathroom. The ends and backside are open since they will be hidden during installation. The load-bearing surfaces on both of mine were the bottom edge of the finished front, which rests on the floor, and the underside of the back top edge that rests on a ledger board nailed/screwed to the wall studs at the proper height. I don't think either tub had any holes in the flanges for securing to studs. A fiberglass tub might have nail holes and may need to be set on a bed of mortar as well.
Then it's just a matter of hooking up the plumbing and closing up the walls. I do remember having a very hard time getting the drain flange that sits on/in the tub drain hole to screw into the drain pipe underneath. I had the proper tool but I just couldn't get them to line up quite enough for the two pieces to catch. I even asked the guys at the plumbing supply house where I bought the tub if there was something I was doing wrong or if there was a certain tool/technique to it. They said no, just keep trying and eventually you'll get it. They were right, I kept trying and eventually got the two pieces screwed together.
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:42 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Regarding the antenna, what town is this house located in? That might give a good clue whether it was for TV or not.

As for the tub, I don't think you'll have need for a sledge. Much easier to just break away the tile and drywall with your hands, folding/breaking it into pieces that will fit into the modest-sized trash boxes you have at hand, used for carrying the debris out of the house.
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:59 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Make sure you have room to get the old tub out of the house, and the new one into the bathroom, before you break out the sledge. I bought a house where the remodeler didn't do that, tore up the tub with a sledge and couldn't fit the new tub up the stairs, so he built a bathtub out of plywood and epoxy boat paint. This was less than ideal, in the long run.
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2012, 01:04 AM
obbn obbn is online now
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Thanks for all the replies and advice. I took some pics of the antenna today and will post them tomorrow as it is very late here. I was thinking about selling it, do these things have any value? I suppose there is a SW radio guy somewhere that needs an antenna, come get it and it's yours for cheap. The house is in Leesburg, FL btw.

ETHILRIST, great advice on sizing the tub prior to trying to remove it. Something so obvious, but I probably wouldn't think to check. We are submitting an offer tomorrow. It is bank owned, so hopefully a quick answer and not the three months and rejected like the last short sale we tried to buy. Getting tired of house hunting!
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  #15  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:55 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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A homeowner in Leesburg might well have wanted a masted TV antenna with rotor, so he could take his pick of Tampa and Orlando stations, especially the UHF ones. Had the house been in the suburbs of a major city, it would more likely have been for a ham radio operator.
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  #16  
Old 04-15-2012, 01:25 PM
obbn obbn is online now
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Well, we went to the house yesterday and I got a few pictures of the antenna. If it is as I suspect, a SW radio antenna, can it be used for TV? If not, does it have any value and would it be a good idea to sell it or should I just take it down and take it to the dump?

First time linking through Dropbox, so I hope it works.

http://db.tt/ScI3nAU3 and http://db.tt/ScI3nAU3



Thanks again everyone.
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  #17  
Old 04-15-2012, 01:46 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Television antenna, but from the days of analog. I don't know that you'd find it all that good for reception now that the frequencies have changed, and you probably don't need it for digital reception. But you can wait until you move in and see.

As for taking it down, contact your local ham radio club to see if anyone wants it enough to help you with taking it down. If you have ropes controlling it from a couple of different angles, I don't think it will be difficult. Just choose a day when thunderstorms are unlikely.
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  #18  
Old 04-15-2012, 01:47 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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antenna looks to be a tv antenna on a rotor for long distance reception. it is what you might need, you have signals coming from about five directions.

lower antenna looks to be a FM radio antenna.
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  #19  
Old 04-15-2012, 01:58 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Television antenna, but from the days of analog. I don't know that you'd find it all that good for reception now that the frequencies have changed, and you probably don't need it for digital reception. But you can wait until you move in and see.
the frequencies have not changed. all the frequencies in use before are in use now. any antenna that worked before can be used now.

there are fewer channels in use now than before but all were used before.

in this situation a full range tv antenna (VHF LO, VHF HI, UHF) is needed for the stations available. some stations are such that a large antenna on a rotor like this is needed.

with digital tv too much signal can be as bad as too little signal. with this antenna and rotor you will have no problem. you have some strong stations and some weak stations and so need a good antenna to get all of them. if it is too strong a signal then point the antenna a bit off than straight at the station to weaken the signal as needed.
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  #20  
Old 04-15-2012, 07:04 PM
obbn obbn is online now
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Sorry for being ignorant to the whole thing, but what do you mean by the term "rotor"?
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  #21  
Old 04-15-2012, 07:14 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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A rotor allows you to rotate the antenna. You have an inside dial that you can spin 360 degrees, and the antenna is mounted on an electric motor that will rotate the same. An antenna like in the picture picks up much better in one direction, so you may need to rotate the antenna to different directions for different stations.
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  #22  
Old 04-15-2012, 07:23 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is online now
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
the frequencies have not changed. all the frequencies in use before are in use now.
But not necessarily in the same places.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 04-15-2012 at 07:24 PM..
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  #23  
Old 04-15-2012, 07:33 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
the frequencies have not changed. all the frequencies in use before are in use now. any antenna that worked before can be used now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
But not necessarily in the same places.
what is not in the same place?
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  #24  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:00 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Many (most?) stations changed frequency. We don't have any VHF Low stations in the Detroit, Toledo, and Lansing areas any more, for example. Channels 4 and 6 moved to UHF, and 2 moved up to 7, which in turn moved to UHF. I didn't think there were many stations that stayed in the VHF low band across the country, although I know there are some.

Most of the VHF high stayed put, though; 10, 11, and 13 are still on those real channels, although they were temporarily UHF for digital while the analog stations were still up. Channel 9 from Canada switched to digital in the last year, and is still on 9.
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  #25  
Old 04-16-2012, 12:03 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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what is being discussed is if an old antenna useful for analog tv is now useful for digital tv. yes it is with very few exceptions. unless your antenna is falling apart there is no electrical reason to change it.

an antenna is made for a range of frequencies, that is unchanged from the transition from analog to digital. actually the range needed is smaller now (on the high end of UHF) though that is unimportant (with few exceptions) in cases of a working antenna.

for the most part recent (past 4 or 5 decades) rooftop antennas would be combination (VHF LO, VHF HI, UHF) antennas. you would get one with the gain (efficiency) needed expressed in miles maybe like 30, 50 and 70 miles.

there used to be many VHF LO stations, there are few now. the OP has one or more they can receive.

there used to be many VHF HI stations, there are still many.

there are many more UHF stations now though a smaller frequency range.

the stations may have changed the channels (real frequency) they are on but antennas that worked for those channel ranges before will work for them now.
so a tv station that was channel 2, and still calls themselves channel 2 (virtual channel) might really be on channel 36 (this is all transparent to the viewer, the tv set handles all this with its electronic smarts, you tell the tv set to get an antenna signals and it sets itself up) and if your antenna worked on channel 36 before then you will see this tv station now.

one example of where a new antenna might be needed is if a person had a 30 mile antenna and could watch a picture that some of the time might have snow in it. that antenna might not get a digital signal now all of the time and they might need a 50 mile antenna.

there are individual circumstances that would affect any person. a general rule would be that if you were able to get a good to excellent picture in the channel range needed before then you will get a digital picture now with the same antenna.
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  #26  
Old 04-16-2012, 02:22 AM
obbn obbn is online now
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I am glad to hear it is a TV antenna. At our current home we have dropped cable and sat. in favor of Netflix and Hulu. We are saving a TON of money and are quite happy with the selection. We found that when we had satalite TV or cable, that we were mostly watching movie rentals and whatever isn't found on Netflix, we can suppliment just fine with Redbox. I do miss having local and national news stations and live sports. I get my news now via the Internet and rarely watch sports, so it hasn't been a problem big enough to warrant paying "Big Cable" again. But if we could get local stations in now, that wold be great, especially since many are in HD now. Thanks again everyone, if we get the house I am sure technical follow up questions are sure to come.
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  #27  
Old 04-16-2012, 11:20 AM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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obbn, you can go to antennaweb.org, enter your location, and it will tell you what stations you should be able to get. It's really meant to help people choose an antenna, but it does give info on the direction to stations, and their frequencies.

I did that for one of the ZIP codes for Leesburg, FL, and all the stations that came up are ESE of you. You can put in your actual street address, to see if any more stations come up for there. If your antenna doesn't have a rotor, I'd expect it's pointing that direction. If it does have a rotor, you might be able to point it at other nearby cities, and get a few more stations. ETA: The stations are all about 50 miles away, so you may need that tower to get good reception. Certainly don't get rid of it until you've found a replacement that works, and have used it for a year to see how well it works in different weather and different seasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost
there used to be many VHF LO stations, there are few now. the OP has one or more they can receive.
What station is that? I played around on antennaweb, moving the location around near Leesburg, and couldn't find any VHF Low stations nearby. This site only lists one VHF low station in Florida, way down in Miami.

Last edited by ZenBeam; 04-16-2012 at 11:24 AM..
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  #28  
Old 04-16-2012, 11:57 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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doing a channel search based on address and antenna height is the way to get reliable data.

most of the easy stations (based on my search with just city name) are at 105 degrees. if i had an antenna without a rotor then i would point it there. this gets all the major networks.

there are a few reachable stations at near 30, 75, 118, 200, 330 degrees. the major networks are duplicated in this bunch. independent stations and subchannels on network stations can give a large variety of movie, retro tv, craft, outdoors/sports channels which can make getting these stations desirable.

there is a station on 4 that totally would depend on antenna height. though it is a network with stronger signal on other channels.
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