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Old 11-07-2015, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Amherst, NH antenna setup

I found an antenna and amplifier in my attic, and ran new coax down to my living room. I got my HDHomeRun Extend today and scanned the channels. I'm getting Manchester Stations but I need to get Boston stations to make this viable. I suspended the antenna from the attic trusses and pointed it towards Boston. What should I try next? Different pre-amp? Different antenna? Move the existing antenna outside?

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...8e0329f5bc7953
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:50 PM
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First thing to do is to replace that antique R-S Preamp (which never had all that good a Noise Figure to begin with....and MIGHT have degraded even MORE over the years). RCA TVPRAMP1R, CM3410 Distro Amp or Electroline 2100 (or multi-output series) Distro Amps are good, inexpensive choices and for a little more performance for a LOT higher cost, perhaps the CM7778 or A-D Juice (more stock expected "any day now").

I don't recognize your (Antique???) Antenna, but can see that it only has about a dozen 4-Whisker type Bowtie Directors (A-D 91XG uses 23 of these sort of Directors...plus a Corner Reflector). Based on performance of various OPTIMIZED Yagi's I'm going to guesstimate the UHF Raw Gain is Equal to or LESS than 8-10 dBi (higher on highest freqs)....which means it's not quite as powerful as the A-D C2 2-Bay or CM4221HD 4-Bay for UHF...so there is lots of room for improvement if you upgrade to A-D DB-8e 8-Bay Bowtie, which can ALSO be mounted on a Rotator in your Attic if you desire....and have sufficient clearance between Rafters.

It's hard to tell, but I think your Antenna covers Ch2-6 (Lo-VHF)....can you receive (Real RF) Ch3 and Ch4??? And do you "Need" to receive them???? If you upgraded your UHF Antenna, you could redirect the BIG Combo towards about 34-deg (re True North) to pick up Ch3/4, as well as Ch11 (PBS) and of course, nearby Ch9. Use VHF/UHF Combiner from either A-D or Radio-Shack (do NOT use Holland or Pico-Macom UVSJ, they do NOT have DC PASS on the UHF Port) to merge old antenna with the OUTPUT of the Preamp used with JUST the UHF Antenna. [Alternative if you are trying to drive more than say 4 Drops: Connect VHF Antenna to VHF Port on RCA Preamp...but this MAY or MAY NOT degrade reception of Ch11 due to Overload from nearby Ch9.]

FMFool Report for your Zipcode (probably Post Office) location:
http://www.fmfool.com/modeling/tmp/9...5/Radar-FM.png
Yes, there are multiple strong signals that can cause 3rd Order InterMod distortion problem WITHIN the FM Band [so avoid passing VHF thru Preamp if you have FM Receivers connected] but fortunately there are NO Second Harmonics that fall on top of weak Ch11, so it shouldn't be affected by whether you do or don't pass VHF signals thru Preamp.

And, of course, if you mounted the Antenna Outdoors above the Roof, the signal strength would "typically" improve by 13 +/- 7 dB....but YMMV...

Last edited by holl_ands; 11-07-2015 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:40 AM
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Also, outside install will 9 out of 10 times dramatically improve signal. I'm over in Epping NH about 10 miles further from the Boston stations than you are, but have no problem picking them up. I'm using a Clearstream CV4 with a pre-amp that I like because it looks a bit more modern than traditional antenna's. I have it installed on my roof peak that no one in the neighborhood notices.
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the feedback

yes, the antenna and amp are antique; I found them in the attic when I bought the house. The antenna is about 8 feet long in total. It has five pairs of long (3') elements, and then the smaller ones at the back. Should I keep trying to get this antenna to work, or go out and buy a DB8e right away?

I'm willing to spend some money to get a good setup here. Prefer attic installation if I can make it work, with outdoor as a last resort. Plenty of room between the rafters and a rotator is an option as well.

Here is the list of channels I'm currently receiving. I need to receive real channels #9 ,11,19,30,42,31
I don't need #3 ,4 (not sure what they are)

I looked up the part numbers you suggested; they're all well within my budget for this project. Should I start with the CM7778 ? Do I need a preamp AND distribution amp, or one or the other?
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:05 PM
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First thing to do is replace the Antique (and hence suspect) Archer/R-S Preamp....if you get all the stations you want after THAT, you MAY be DONE....be sure to report back one way or another....

Only a few, very rare installations benefit from a Distro Amp in ADDITION to a Mast-Mounted Preamp....it's an invitation to OVERLOAD problems. CM7777, as well as most other Preamps, have PLENTY of Gain to overcome Losses in Coax/Splitters & attached TV Tuner [Chart based on Mfr Specs, rather than actual measurements....YMMV]:


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Old 11-08-2015, 12:25 PM
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WORK (Ch3) is a repeater for WBIN (Ch35) out of Derry on Merrill Hill....so you shouldn't NEED it.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBIN-TV

W39AR (Ch4) is a repeater for WYCN (Ch36) out of Nashua....so you shouldn't NEED it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WYCN-CD

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Old 11-08-2015, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I will replace the old amp with a CM7777 and see if that helps
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twd000 View Post
Ok I will replace the old amp with a CM7777 and see if that helps

NO! The 7777 is the wrong amp and probably will overload. Channels 9 & 34 are strong enough that they probably will cause issues with the 7777. Get the 7778 instead, if you're stuck on the CM amps.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not stuck on CM amps, just trying to do what I'm told! CM7778, or something else?
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Old 11-08-2015, 10:46 PM
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I would suggest you use one of the MUCH LOWER COST Preamps or Distro Amps listed in my first post.

If you prefer, I do not foresee any problem with the higher cost, higher Gain CM7777 (although lower Gain CM7778 WOULD be a more suitable than CM7777 if you have a choice). There is only ONE Strong Hi-VHF (Ch9) and ONE Strong UHF (Ch34) signal, each going through the VHF or UHF Amplifier part of the split-amp type CM7777 (or CM7778). The signal levels are MUCH lower than would cause a SATURATION problem with a single strong input signal. And it takes TWO OR MORE Strong Signals to generate Third Order Intermodulation Noise...the PRIMARY source of Preamp Desensitization. Also bear in mind that signals INSIDE an Attic would be about 13 +/- 7 dB LOWER than Outdoors, as presumed in TVFool calculation.....

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Old 11-14-2015, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, I got my CM7778 and plugged it in today. Some progress, but not all the way home yet I'll post pictures of the channel lineup and antenna setup. Some channels seem intermittent when Rescanned by my HDHomerun. I picked up channel 5 (real 20, ABC Boston) which gave me hope, since the other channels I need are also in Boston. I still need real channels 30 and 42. They seem to be very close in signal strength in TVFool report. Is there any way to gauge how close I am to picking them up? I want to design the system to have some margin even on a non-optimal day (leaves on trees, storms, etc.).

Based on the photos of my antique antenna, can you estimate how many dB of gain I would expect by switching to a modern directional UHF antenna?
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twd000 View Post
I found an antenna and amplifier in my attic, and ran new coax down to my living room. I got my HDHomeRun Extend today and scanned the channels. I'm getting Manchester Stations but I need to get Boston stations to make this viable. I suspended the antenna from the attic trusses and pointed it towards Boston. What should I try next? Different pre-amp? Different antenna? Move the existing antenna outside?

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...8e0329f5bc7953

Your TV Fool report shows a lot of 2 edge stations. Those almost always require an outdoor antenna for reliable reception. An attic antenna is a handicap.

I implore anyone making a post here with stations in more than one market to tell us which market is in which direction on the TV Fool report. We're all over the country and we don't know where every station is located.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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The Boston stations are the ones showing up at 43 miles range and 154 degrees true azimuth
Manchester is 7.8 miles and 7 degrees; those are a slam dunk

I feel like I'm tantalizingly close with the attic installation, but I am willing to do an outdoor installation if I can compile some evidence that it will justify the additional complexity/expense.
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:21 PM
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Your additional photos reveal that the Front (UHF) Section of your Antenna is a Twin-Boom LPDA, rather than a higher Gain 4-Whisker Yagi (like 91XG) I initially guessed it was.....

Recently I ran a large number of Optimization Runs for UHF Twin-Boom LPDAs, Charting Raw Gain vs Number of Element Pairs and various other Performance Parameters, but thus far only posted DETAILS for 7-El Pair and 14-El Pair LPDAs [Excel S/S covers ALL of them]:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/zigz...dawedgelayered

I count (at least???) 14-El Pairs in the Front (UHF) section and 5-El Pairs in the Rear (VHF) "VEE" LPDA.

My Chart of Raw Gain vs Number of Elements indicates that an OPTIMIZED LPDA would have as MUCH as 9.3 to 9.7 dBi (presuming Relem=0.125 or 1/4-in Diameter Elements..and perhaps 0.5 higher if 3/8-in Diameter). So your Antenna COULD have AS MUCH AS 7.1 to 7.5 dBd of Raw Gain across the UHF Band....although I would guess that your Antique is probably NOT an Optimal design, so it MIGHT be 1 dB Lower....which means it is a MEDIUM GAIN UHF Antenna, with not quite as much Gain as A-D Clearstream C2. Upgrading to CM4221HD 4-Bay would provide 2 dB improvement on Ch13 and about 5 dB improvement on Ch51. An 8-Bay Bowtie (e.g. A-D DB-8e or CM4228HD) would be needed to provide significant improvement.

The obsolete CM3017 VHF/UHF Combo Antenna also had 5-El Pair "VEE" LPDA as the Rear, VHF Section, Gain in dbd (add 2.15 for dBi) are given here. So your Antenna probably has about 2-3 dBd on Ch3-6 (less on Ch2) and 8.5 to 6.5 dBd on Ch7-13:
http://www.starkelectronic.com/cmg4.htm

So, if you don't NEED Ch2-6, even the Low-End W-G HD-7694P and HD-7695P Hi-VHF/UHF Combos would be an improvement....and HD-7697P or HD-7698P would be even MORE:
http://www.winegard.com/kbase/uploads/HD7694P.pdf [Note use of dBd vs dBi]
http://www.winegard.com/kbase/uploads/HD7695P.pdf
http://www.winegard.com/kbase/uploads/HD7697P.pdf
http://www.winegard.com/kbase/uploads/HD7698P.pdf



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Old 11-15-2015, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I count (at least???) 14-El Pairs in the Front (UHF) section and 5-El Pairs in the Rear (VHF) "VEE" LPDA.
Yes, your counts are correct. I have the point of the VHF section pointed towards Boston, but you are referring to that as the "Rear" section. Should I turn my antenna around 180-degrees?

The (real) channels I need are:
9 OR 20
11 OR 19 OR 43
30
42

If we use 7 dB as the estimated gain for my current antenna, what could I expect for the best antenna I can buy (is that the DB-8e?). The DB8e advertises 17 dB gain. Can I use my HDHomerun tuner to tell me whether I am within 10 dB of my desired channels with my attic installation, to help me decide whether to buy a new antenna, or move outside?
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Old 11-15-2015, 11:20 PM
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Your existing Antenna is POINTED along a line drawn from the Longest to the Shortest Elements...whatever THAT is....it would help to know how well your current system works, if indeed it is even pointed in the right direction to pick up UHF (Only) Stations in Boston...

To pick up (ALL UHF) Stations located in BOSTON (abt 43-mi away), it SHOULD be pointed towards 153/154-deg (re True North)....which means it is NOT orientated to pick up Weak Ch11 (44-deg)....but will PROBABLY pick up Very Strong Ch9 on the Rear Lobe of the Antenna Pattern...and MAYBE also Ch11 (but I doubt it).

I recommend a new Hi-Gain UHF (Only) Antenna (such as DB-8e or CM4228HD) pointed towards Boston (144/145-deg) [will also pick up Strong Ch35 & Ch36 towards 130-deg] and point your existing Antenna towards 44-deg to pick up Ch11....and Ch9 is so strong it should come in pretty much any direction it is pointed. If you ALSO need to pick up Spanish language Ch29 Univision and Ch27 Telemundo, you MIGHT have to widen the Beamwidth of the DB-8e a bit by pointing them somewhat wider than both straight ahead.

A VHF/UHF Combiner is needed to sum the signals from the two Antennas...bearing in mind that ONLY those from Antennas Direct and Radio Shack have DC PASS on the UHF Port if you decide to only Amplify the UHF signals (as I recommend if you are only driving a couple drops, with VHF/UHF Combiner Inserted on the OUTPUT of the CM7778 vice INPUT).

The Second Harmonic of your strongest FM Station falls on top of Very Strong Ch9....which means it is NOT a problem....but Second Harmonic of your NEXT strongest FM Station (101.1 MHz) falls on top of Weak Ch11...which means you SHOULD insert an FM Full Band Filter aka "Trap" (from Antennas Direct or MCM...and NOT R-S) on the Input to the Preamp, IF it used to amplify VHF signals. [NOT required if you use Preamp ONLY on the UHF signals, as recommended above.]

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Old 11-18-2015, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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well, whatd'ya know? pointing the antenna the right way makes quite a difference

I'm now getting 42 channels. I'm tantalizingly close to being done here. The only holdout is an NBC affiliate. Was hoping to get WHDH on channel 42, but I'll take a Hartford or VT NBC if that's possible. I'm surprised that I would be able to get 30, 31, & 43 (which are in the same direction and equal or less signal power than 42).

Signal Strength: 60%
Signal Quality :40%
on my HDHomeRun Tuner
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twd000 View Post
well, whatd'ya know? pointing the antenna the right way makes quite a difference

I'm now getting 42 channels. I'm tantalizingly close to being done here. The only holdout is an NBC affiliate. Was hoping to get WHDH on channel 42, but I'll take a Hartford or VT NBC if that's possible. I'm surprised that I would be able to get 30, 31, & 43 (which are in the same direction and equal or less signal power than 42).

Signal Strength: 60%
Signal Quality :40%
on my HDHomeRun Tuner
WHDH's antenna is at a height of about 300 feet lower than the others and may be the problem, especially with 2-edge signals.
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Old 11-18-2015, 11:54 PM
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I don't know how much wiggle room you might have with that Antique Beast of an Antenna.....you might want to try raising or lowering it as much as you can.....and also move it Left and Right in the Attic, trying to get it out of a possible "Dead" spot (i.e. a signal NULL).
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Old 11-19-2015, 05:53 AM
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I played the attic game for awhile...I eventually gave up and went to the roof...dramatic improvement, all Boston stations without any fade during leaves in spring or during heavy rain...an I'm 10 miles further north than you are.

Threw up a Clearstream CV4 as it's a bit easier on the eye's and haven't looked back. Attic installs are great for ease, but for the most part, just too many variables to contend with.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to debug my system, and understand if my antenna is the limiting element, or the tuner or streaming box.

I am running the antenna coax cable into a SiliconDust HDHomerun Extend tuner, which connects via CAT-5 cable to my TP-Link Archer C7 router. Then it connects to an Nvidia Shield (android TV) box, which I use for streaming OTA and internet streams. All the hardware is less than 6 months old, with the exception of the antenna. I use the Shield HDHomerun app, as well as the Kodi HDHomerun View app to watch OTA TV. Sometimes it works fine, other times the signal periodically freezes then resumes. Sometimes the Android operating system reports "buffering...01:01:01"
I have never seen pixelation, just audio dropouts and video freezes.
I also hear the HDHomerun tuner fans get very loud, spinning noisily.
I've tried to correlate the dropouts to weather events, but it doesn't seem related.
I've tried to diagnose the problem using the Config app on my PC, which is connected to the tuner via the same router. I read this FAQ on the manufacturer website: https://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4474
This indicates that Signal Strength is irrelevant; and only to interpret Signal Quality and Symbol Quality. Sometimes Symbol Quality is 100%, other times it drops to 85% on certain channels.
Given these symptoms, should I assume that my antenna is limiting the system performance, or is there any further troubleshooting I can do to isolate faults to the Shield or tuner?
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Old 03-01-2016, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twd000 View Post
I am running the antenna coax cable into a SiliconDust HDHomerun Extend tuner, which connects via CAT-5 cable to my TP-Link Archer C7 router. Then it connects to an Nvidia Shield (android TV) box, which I use for streaming OTA and internet streams. All the hardware is less than 6 months old, with the exception of the antenna. I use the Shield HDHomerun app, as well as the Kodi HDHomerun View app to watch OTA TV. Sometimes it works fine, other times the signal periodically freezes then resumes. Sometimes the Android operating system reports "buffering...01:01:01"
I have never seen pixelation, just audio dropouts and video freezes.
Most likely network issue, how are you connecting the Shield? Through Ethernet or Wi-Fi? Also since you have the Extend you can try changing (if you haven't) the transcoding to Heavy. That will transcode the incoming mpeg2 video into h.264 which is a bit more network friendly as it doesn't require as much network bandwidth.

If it was a signal problem at the antenna, you would get pixelation follow by a drop out..freezing video seems to point more towards a network problem.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Most likely network issue, how are you connecting the Shield? Through Ethernet or Wi-Fi? Also since you have the Extend you can try changing (if you haven't) the transcoding to Heavy. That will transcode the incoming mpeg2 video into h.264 which is a bit more network friendly as it doesn't require as much network bandwidth.

If it was a signal problem at the antenna, you would get pixelation follow by a drop out..freezing video seems to point more towards a network problem.
I have a 3 foot Ethernet cable connecting the tuner to the router. Is there any way for me to monitor network traffic bandwidth in realtime, to see if it's getting saturated?

In the HDHomerun Config GUI I can set each channel to "heavy" but it defaults to "native" each use, and I don't see any way to save settings, or apply to all channels
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Old 03-02-2016, 03:47 AM
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I have a 3 foot Ethernet cable connecting the tuner to the router. Is there any way for me to monitor network traffic bandwidth in realtime, to see if it's getting saturated?
I don't think the problem is with the Extend to the router since that's hardwired. I'm thinking you're running into trouble with connectivity to the front ends if they are connecting via wi-fi, IE the Shield. Sometimes making adjustments to the Wi-Fi channel will correct that, but generally it's better to run Ethernet to all devices if possible.

Quote:
In the HDHomerun Config GUI I can set each channel to "heavy" but it defaults to "native" each use, and I don't see any way to save settings, or apply to all channels
My setup is similar to yours except I used MythTV to record in the backend and I use Kodi with the Mythtv add-on as a front end. I know if I web into my Extend and I set transcode to Heavy then all video will be recorded in Mythtv as h.264 format. I believe with the Kodi HDviewer app you can set the transcoding type in the app itself via the context menu.

You might want to post on the SiliconDust forum for more help.

But I will say that at this point I don't think you have a signal problem...generally if your signal quality stays above 70% then you're receiving good signal to the HD Extend.
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
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All devices are Ethernet wired, with the exception of the PC that I'm using to scan channels. I'll try setting Heavy in the HDHomerun Kodi app

Last edited by twd000; 03-02-2016 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twd000 View Post
All devices are Ethernet wired, with the exception of the PC that I'm using to scan channels. I'll try setting Heavy in the HDHomerun Kodi app
Hhhmmmm...odd then. I used Nexus Players on wi-fi and can easily stream 1080i mpeg video without problems...not sure what is causing your issue since your on Ethernet. Might want to review the kodi log file to see if anything odd shows up when the problem occurs.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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update: I was able to solve most of the local media buffering issues by re-seating the ethernet cables. There was still some break-ups and buffering on certain OTA channels, and I still want to get WHDH Boston, so I bought an 8-element bowtie DB-8e antenna. I connected it to my CM7778 preamp and scanned the channels. The HDHomeRun app seemed to have some problems completing the rescan. Sometimes it would only show 3-4 channels, other times it would show 40+ channels but the app would lock up and not tune the channels. Is this a sign of over-amplitude signal? Do I still need the CM7778 preamp, or should I try running the coax straight into the tuner? Antenna is still in the attic at the same position as the old UHF/VHF antenna.
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