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post #1 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Chicago: Help with Antenna selection

I live about 30 miles southwest of Chicago. Below is my tvfool report.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e1c60c3095920d

Right now, I have an 'antennas direct' 'csm-1' flat antenna. I wasn't receive reception on the 1st floor so I moved it into the attic. When I moved it up there, I received a lot more channels (2, 5, 32, 26, 50...), but two that are missing are WTTW (11) and WLS (7). Looking at tvfool, I'm most concerned with the signal at 46*.

I'm thinking of getting rid of DTV and going OTA, but kind of want to receive the channels above. I was hoping somebody could recommend a good antenna for me. The only thing is that it has to go up in the attic and there are no trees that are in front of the antenna. The bad is that we live sort of in the middle to the top of the hill. Pretty much where the attic is-is where somebody's 2nd floor is about maybe 500 feet away.

Thanks in advanced for any help.
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post #2 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 11:01 AM
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Swap the Micron for the C2V.

Be sure to try different spots in the attic, there are usually "hot" and "cold" spots, often for a single channel. Find the best over-all compromise.

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Last edited by ADTech; 06-24-2014 at 11:19 AM.
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post #3 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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antenna

I ran through antennaweb and they are saying choose a 'violet'. The violet one came up as:

HD / Digital TV Antenna for ALL CEA coded stations - Channel Master (CM-4228HDAW)

I saw some people on the forum say that CM is junk now. Is it unwise to buy this one? The CM one is a few bucks more than the one you mentioned.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 11:51 AM
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Antennaweb's calculations and recommendations are close to useless.

Your TVfool plot says that all the the signals are moderately strong and there are no identified terrain obstacles in your signal path. All you need is a modest-sized UHF/high-VHF antenna

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post #5 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post
Looking at tvfool, I'm most concerned with the signal at 46*.
What is your concern about this station? The FCC shows no records for this analog station but I did find a letter where the FCC ordered W46EB off the air in 2007.
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post #6 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 02:34 PM
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Just for reference take a look at this thread.
Antenna Mount Question: GE Attic Mount Indoor Antenna

I don't know if the GE antenna will work for you. My friend is slightly further away from Chicago than you are (according to TV Fool) but has minimal obstacles in his signal path.His antenna is mounted in the garage attic & the garage is only single story high. He gets all/most of the Chicago stations, at least the major ones, including WTTW (11), WLS (7) and also WYCC (20) from the Hancock building. Newegg has it for $40.95 with free shipping. IIRC he paid a couple bucks less for it just a few weeks ago. It also comes with a mast. For the price it might be worth trying.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...0002-_-Product
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post #7 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
What is your concern about this station? The FCC shows no records for this analog station but I did find a letter where the FCC ordered W46EB off the air in 2007.
Let me rephrase. I'm most interested in 46*. Almost all the channels are there and I don't care much about the other stations.
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post #8 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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One last question. In order to be certain that I'll get the signal, will the C2V be big enough? I really had my mind on the HD7698P or the HD7694P. I'm just concerned that the C2V would fade with the rain or other obstacles.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
What is your concern about this station? The FCC shows no records for this analog station but I did find a letter where the FCC ordered W46EB off the air in 2007.
I think me meant the signals at 46°, not channel 46.

Last edited by Phane; 06-24-2014 at 05:47 PM.
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post #10 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post
One last question. In order to be certain that I'll get the signal, will the C2V be big enough? I really had my mind on the HD7698P or the HD7694P. I'm just concerned that the C2V would fade with the rain or other obstacles.

Thanks!
Obviously I wasn't thinking about degrees. I think this will work here.... 46°.

You have a wide range of signal strengths and not all your stations are LOS. If you're only concerned about the strong LOS stations the C2V should be enough. If you want to get those weaker 1 edge stations you'll likely need something larger outside.

There's no such thing as rain fade on UHF. If you find some signals to be weaker in the rain or in the afternoon, and better at night and the morning it is because of temperature inversions that form at those times that extend the range of the signals. Storms wipe those out. They don't attenuate the signal. You want an antenna system that receives all the desired stations during a storm.
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post #11 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 05:56 PM
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Problem with attic installs is sometimes just location within the attic...have you tried moving your flat-panel to other parts of the attic? Move it away from the edge of the attic (metal flashing on the edge of the roof is not signal friendly)? Move it away from the top of the attic ceiling as roof peaks may have metal flashing too? And why does it have to go in the attic? Outside installs are always the best option.

Otherwise Antennas Direct's - ClearStream 2V which I think was already recommended should pull in the stations you're looking for.
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post #12 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I'm pretty handy around the house, but will take everybody's advice here and get the C2V. I'm a little leery about it, but will put my faith in the experts here. After all, this is why I came to the forums.

Last question that I failed to mention is that I want to split this up into 3 TV's. Any problem with using a decent splitter with this thing? Would I have to look into a amp?

Last edited by wiz561; 06-24-2014 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Added splitting the signal piece.
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post #13 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post
Last question that I failed to mention is that I want to split this up into 3 TV's. Any problem with using a decent splitter with this thing? Would I have to look into a amp?
I'd use a CM3414 or equivalent and terminate the unused port. Besides negating the 7 dB loss in a passive splitter this amp has about a 4 dB better noise figure than your TV so you'll pick up a little there.
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post #14 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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All,

Thanks for the response and recomendation. I ended up getting the C2V like the people here said. It works well, but had a question. I got the antenna plugged into my tv capture card on a PC running MythTV as a backend and xbmc as a frontend. I have it connected using a quad-shield RG-6 cable (it's what I already had run).

Using the signal quality and SNR through the capture card, I get the signal in the high 90's (between 95 and 99%) and the snr shows between 80 and 90%.

Is there a way to increase the SNR? It works, but every now and then, there will be a digital artificer/pixelation.

Thanks
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post #15 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post
Using the signal quality and SNR through the capture card, I get the signal in the high 90's (between 95 and 99%) and the snr shows between 80 and 90%.

Is there a way to increase the SNR? It works, but every now and then, there will be a digital artificer/pixelation.

Thanks
The irony here is that the you might be overdriving the signal because the antenna is working too well!
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post #16 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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The irony here is that the you might be overdriving the signal because the antenna is working too well!
Interesting... How do you know if it's being overdriven? Is there anything that I can do to test the signal that's more professional/better than a linux computer program?

I have a feeling that I could probably add a splitter and distribute it to the other tv's because that's what I planned to do in the first place. I assume this would drop the signal a bit and maybe less overdrive it. But I would also assume there's a more 'scientific' way to figure out if you're overdriving the signal than to add splitters.
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post #17 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post
Using the signal quality and SNR through the capture card, I get the signal in the high 90's (between 95 and 99%) and the snr shows between 80 and 90%.

Is there a way to increase the SNR? It works, but every now and then, there will be a digital artificer/pixelation.
What are you using for a tuner? Signal Strength and SNR mean something for the tuner you are using. The Signal Strength will correspond to a dBm level and SNR will correspond to dB. The signal strength you're getting sounds like it's plenty strong and the SNR appears to be okay but is likely limited by some multipath. It's frequently difficult to get 100% SNR without an outdoor antenna up in the clear. A signal strength of 100% does not mean the signal can't be any stronger and it's unlikely you're getting overload at less than 100%.

Brief pixelation is usually some kind of interference. It could be from thunderstorms. What channels are you seeing the problem on?
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post #18 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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It's kind of technical, but I guess this is a technical forum. It goes...

C2V -> grounding block -> KWorld ATSC 115 PCI Card

I am using a quad-shield cable that I crimped my own connectors on using compression fittings and a crimper. From what I recall, it was difficult crimping because of the quad shield cabling. I was going to rerun it using regular rg6. I forget what I have...maybe truevision? It's one of the better brands.

On the card, I'm using Ubuntu Linux with MythTV as the backend. I then have another box running XBMC and I can use that as the client/frontend to MythTV.

I'm not sure about the SNR and Signal Strength within XBMC. I used it probably about 10 years ago as a PVR and going to start using it again. It's been a long time and I don't know if it is a real representation or if it's something else.

All in all, I think it's working pretty good. If anybody has questions about my setup, feel free to ask. I'd be glad to help.
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post #19 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Swap the Micron for the C2V.

Be sure to try different spots in the attic, there are usually "hot" and "cold" spots, often for a single channel. Find the best over-all compromise.
I'm about 20 miles outside of Chicago as mentioned in this thread.
Chicago: Signal Strength varies on only one OTA channel

In that thread I mention my attic antenna is similar to but smaller than theWinegard HD7015.
http://www.winegarddirect.com/viewit...5%29&p=HD-7015

If my antenna was the Winegard HD7015 how would the C2V UHF/VHF compare to it? The C2V would be easier to move around in the attic but would I take a hit on performance? IOW do all those elements of my antenna add up to any significant improvement in gain or other aspects of performance compared to the C2V?
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post #20 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post
It's kind of technical, but I guess this is a technical forum. It goes...

C2V -> grounding block -> KWorld ATSC 115 PCI Card

I am using a quad-shield cable that I crimped my own connectors on using compression fittings and a crimper. From what I recall, it was difficult crimping because of the quad shield cabling. I was going to rerun it using regular rg6. I forget what I have...maybe truevision? It's one of the better brands.

On the card, I'm using Ubuntu Linux with MythTV as the backend. I then have another box running XBMC and I can use that as the client/frontend to MythTV.

I'm not sure about the SNR and Signal Strength within XBMC. I used it probably about 10 years ago as a PVR and going to start using it again. It's been a long time and I don't know if it is a real representation or if it's something else.

All in all, I think it's working pretty good. If anybody has questions about my setup, feel free to ask. I'd be glad to help.
My setup is similar you yours (XBMC as FE & Mythtv as BE) and from time to time I have a similar problem where I'll get brief pixelation on one of my stronger channels, although I'm using a Hauppauge capture card.

The measurements XBMC makes is not necessarily accurate, I had to hack some of the dvb-utils source code to get more accurate numbers on my Hauppauge. You may be clipping out at times from too strong of a signal since you mention you're seeing 99% strength at various times. You could try throwing a 2-way splitter in front of your capture card, it will attenuate the signal by 3.5dB, but might be enough to fix the problem or at least rule out over-driven turner...if that is the problem...sometimes tuning in OTA is as much a fine art as it is science. You could also have a problem with a nearby FM station that is interfering with the signal.

Also are you seeing similar signal strengths on your TV's signal strength meter?

Quote:
If my antenna was the Winegard HD7015 how would the C2V UHF/VHF compare to it?

They are about the same gain wise.

Last edited by bac522; 06-27-2014 at 04:26 PM.
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post #21 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. I haven't plugged it into the TV just yet. To tell you the truth, I don't even know if my Samsung TV has a signal meter. I know it has an 'energy meter' but I think that's it.

I have to get my key bindings corrected in XBMC first, and then I'm going to fiddle around with the signal. It's all working well, I just want to make sure it's working the best.

Thanks all for the help!
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post #22 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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My setup is similar you yours (XBMC as FE & Mythtv as BE) and from time to time I have a similar problem where I'll get brief pixelation on one of my stronger channels, although I'm using a Hauppauge capture card.
Which Hauppauge card do you have, and do you like it? Why didn't you go with the HD HomeRun box instead? If this all works good, I might get the HomeRun because it's standalone and has two tuners. Just wondering why you picked hte Hauppauge one.
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post #23 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 06:48 PM
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Which Hauppauge card do you have, and do you like it? Why didn't you go with the HD HomeRun box instead? If this all works good, I might get the HomeRun because it's standalone and has two tuners. Just wondering why you picked hte Hauppauge one.
I went with the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 that I got of off ebay for $15, basically I wasn't sure how my situation with OTA would work out because I'm shooting though a lot of trees and 50 miles of distance to the the majority of towers I was interested in. Heck currently using one of those el-cheapo Lava antennas that I thought would fail over a rough New England winter (it didn't)...so my thinking at the time was do it on the cheap just to see what I would get..ended up getting 48 channels (including sub channels).

I'm starting to think about making changes to my setup and have had an eye on the Homerun Plus as I like the DLNA, streaming, and 2-tuner option. Eventually I plan on replacing the Lava with a ClearStream 2V and preamp. I have seen the problem you mention with occasion pixelation on my MythTV recordings, although not too often, it's possible that MythTV is the problem, but I don't watch enough live TV to see if it happens there too.
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post #24 of 34 Old 06-29-2014, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I have seen the problem you mention with occasion pixelation on my MythTV recordings, although not too often, it's possible that MythTV is the problem, but I don't watch enough live TV to see if it happens there too.
I wonder if it has to do with LAN bandwidth/errors and not the antenna. On wireless, it seems more broke. On a cabled LAN, it seems to work a lot better. Maybe make sure your duplex is set properly on the NIC and that you're using gigabit.
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I wonder if it has to do with LAN bandwidth/errors and not the antenna. On wireless, it seems more broke. On a cabled LAN, it seems to work a lot better. Maybe make sure your duplex is set properly on the NIC and that you're using gigabit.
For me, it's a signal problem and happens only on the station that is rather strong and generally only in the Fall once the leaves have dropped off the trees, thus losing some attenuation of the signal....also my XBMC and MythTV on are on the same box so that would take the network out of the question.
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post #26 of 34 Old 06-30-2014, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Getting back to my original problem....

We had a good amount of rain in the Chicagoland area tonight with some lightning. After the rain went, Channel 2 (WBBM-DT) was showing a lot of pixelation. Other channels (like NBC5 and WLS7) were fine. The signal quality for WBBM is 94% and the SNR is 77%. As the storm is passing, there's some drizzle out and it has now gone up to 96% for quality and 80% for SNR.

WLS7 is showing 99% for Signal Quality and 90% for SNR and there's no pixelation or problems with it. WTTW is 99%/88% with some pixelation.

Basically, it looks like anything under 90% for the SNR and the pixelation starts and the audio drops.

It looks like somebody mention overdriving the signal, but I don't think that's happening. Another person mentioned adding an amp/splitter since I will be splitting the signal in the future.

Do you think it might be an aiming problem, cabling problem, or antenna problem? Where should I start trying to fix this problem?

Sorry for asking so many question...I'd just like to get this resolved.
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post #27 of 34 Old 07-01-2014, 07:19 AM
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I agree at this point it's probably not the tuner being over-driven, but more of a interference problem. As mention earlier, attic installs can be tough, if you could move the antenna outside you would see an improvement.
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post #28 of 34 Old 07-01-2014, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I agree at this point it's probably not the tuner being over-driven, but more of a interference problem. As mention earlier, attic installs can be tough, if you could move the antenna outside you would see an improvement.
Yeah-----I don't know if the wife will approve. I know it's not illegal, but I don't think that's going to fly.

I also don't want to move around too much in the attic to disturb the insulation. I could probably move it 4' in one direction and 4' in the other, but that's really about it.

Would getting a bigger antenna fix the problem?

Thanks!
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post #29 of 34 Old 07-02-2014, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiz561 View Post

Would getting a bigger antenna fix the problem?

Thanks!
No, while a bigger antenna will give you more gain it will provide that gain on both the signal and what is interfering with the signal, so your SNR would change little if any...And from what you are saying signal strength looks good, just noise is the problem. Although personally I don't get what XBMC is showing for SNR, since it's a ratio (Signal to Noise Ratio) and shouldn't be showing a percentage, but a whole number. In any case the C2V you have is more than adequate based on your TVFool report.

The channel you're having trouble with (WBBM-DT) is a high VHF channel and VHF signals are more susceptible to interference than UHF signals.

I've never done this, but you could use an AM radio to see if the VHF interference is local
http://www.dennysantennaservice.com/...erference.html

Personally I still think the attic install is the problem, but if you can move it, even a little, it might help.
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post #30 of 34 Old 07-02-2014, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information and this is good to know. Kind of a relief too so now I don't have to stress about returning the antenna.

You mentioned you hacked dvb-utils. What are you using for signal strength with the hauppauge card? There were some cards that were out awhile ago that had some great utils for signal strength. The URL is here:

http://pchdtv.com/downloads.html

I'm trying to get it to compile on Ubuntu but running into issues. I haven't spent much time trying to fix it, but might try tonight...unless there's a better package out there to see this stuff.

Thanks again for all of your help.
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