After cancelling Cable I scoped out an antenna to use in my Suburban location. I did some research and found the RCA ANT800 to be a modestly priced device that is not overbearing in it's looks. I live in a subdivision, so mounting a huge antenna on my house would be gaudy (and probably provoke the HOA to ask me about it, which, btw can not be banned, see [...])
Anyway, I went to antennaweb.org and got the following listing of possible channels:
vhf WOOD-DT 8.1 NBC GRAND RAPIDS, MI 192° 17.8 7
uhf WOLP-CA 27 MNT GRAND RAPIDS, MI 283° 9.5 27
uhf WXSP-CD 15.1 MNT GRAND RAPIDS, MI 296° 14.6 15
vhf WGVU-DT 35.1 PBS GRAND RAPIDS, MI 279° 21.6 11
uhf WTLJ-DT 54.1 TCT MUSKEGON, MI 278° 21.9 24
uhf WXMI-DT 17.1 FOX GRAND RAPIDS, MI 196° 17.9 19
vhf WWMT-DT 3.1 CBS KALAMAZOO, MI 195° 21.7 8
uhf WZPX-DT 43.1 ION BATTLE CREEK, MI 137° 27.3 44
vhf WZZM-DT 13.1 ABC GRAND RAPIDS, MI 324° 33.8 13
Ecouraged, I bought the RCA ANT800 due to it's alleged multi-directional capability (which I needed based on the above listing that shows the stations are basically in a 180 degree span behind my house) and the antenna's reported range of about 30 miles.
First, let me say going to over-the-air TV is not a plug-and-play situation. If you think you are going to just plug the thing in and be watching TV, you are wrong. You will need to spend time playing around with the antenna to get it working.
I was able to plug the antenna into my cable jack (and then re-route that jack into 'feed' part of my whole house splitter) in the highest point inside my home and get 2-3 channels ( 3.1 and 8.1 and 54.1 ). I wanted more channels so I spent some quality time on my roof... This is a 2 person without a doubt, preferably with a 2-way radio (cell phone created interference). I learned the hard way that A.) You can not be near the antenna because the human body actually will increase performance of the antenna. B.) You must have your TV set to "Antenna", not "Cable". C.) Always set your TV to re-scan after you futz around with antenna.
The multi-directional aspect of the antenna is OK, but slight changes to the orientation/position of the antenna does make a difference, a big difference in fact. Subtle changes matter... literally inches. If I had the antenna too low on the roof it would not pick up 1 or 2 channels, a couple of inches another way (higher) and eureka! In the end I found a sweet spot on my roof that allows me to pick up the major channels (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, and PBS). I get some other channels mixed in (i.e. 3.1, 3.2, 3.3) plus some other weird channels that I don't plan on watching. The best bet will be to put the antenna on the roof that has no other roof sections coming near it and well away from ANY sort of metal (like the flashing beneath shingles were valleys form, or metal siding pieces). Metal is bad for antenna's, find a clear spot.
The instructions do not give solid information on mounting to a roof, specifically, what (if anything) do I need to do to make sure I don't get a roof leak after I screw this thing into my roof? I also am wondering how snow/rain will effect the performance. I have not permanently mounted the antenna yet, I want to consult some more "experts" on how to make sure I don't get water leaking into my house after I screw this thing in, as the instructions say absolutely nothing on this subject, unless of course that is only covered in the Spanish or French section :)
For the size, looks and the price, it is a good deal. It will require a little investment in time, and will need to go on the highest part of your house that you can safely get to in order to get the most/best reception.