OTA Reception Story - Connecticut - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-06-2002, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's my story:

My location is in western CT, 54 miles from the Empire State Building (for WCBS-DT channel 56 and WNYW-DT channel 44), 40 miles from WFSB-DT channel 33 (Hartford) and 14 miles from WTNH-DT channel 10 (New Haven).

I started with a roof fix mounted RS VU-90 with no pre-amp and 50 feet of RG-59 to the Samsung SIR-T150 receiver. WTNH comes in great (I don't even need the antenna - just the coax!) but nothing from Hartford or New Haven.

So after reading a number of threads on this forum, I bought a Blake JBX21B, CM7777 pre-amp and a CM rotor. I also replaced the RG-59 with RG-6. I removed the UHF portion of the VU-90 and fixed mounted it in the attic pointed at Channel 10. The pre-amp is mounted on the mast with about 5 feet of RG-6 from the Blake. I have it set for separate UHF and VHF inputs. I then hooked up the coax to the TV set first and tuned into a analog UHF channel that broadcasts from the ESB. I then rotated the antenna to get the best possible picture - the picture has no ghosting but quite a bit of snow. I then hooked the coax to the Samsung and tried tuning to 56. Nothing on the Samsung signal meter at first. I left the room and when I came back, I had a picture!! No more than 30 seconds later, the signal was completely gone, never to return. I know I didn't imagine it as the samsung mapped 56 to 2-1. I then tried 33 but nothing on the signal meter but the red signal light on the front of the STB flashes orange which indicates to me something is there - weak but there. Oh, and channel 10 comes in great.

So today I plan on playing with the vertical angle of the antenna, disconnecting the VHF antenna, switching the FM filter on and off and maybe shortening the length of cable from the antenna to the pre-amp. If anyone has any bright ideas I'd love to hear them. If I don't get something soon, either I'll jump off the roof or my wife will push me!!!

Bruce
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-06-2002, 09:48 AM
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You will never, ever get WFSB at your location. They are at less than half power. My father cannot pick them up in Naugatuck on top of a bloody hill with no obstructions! I cannot pick them up in New haven either.

With your location, you should qualify for locals through DISH Network and can get CBS-HD.

Vimeo is the home of the Super8 Shooter...
http://vimeo.com/super8shooter
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-06-2002, 11:59 AM
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Give it try without the preamp, with just 50' of coax, you probably don't need it. If you get something working on CBS, you can re-connect it to combine your VHF.

How tall is your house and mast? What kind of terrain is around you? You might try experimenting with different mast heights. Vertical angle can be critical with multipath and also to find the peak gain from a weak signal.

Do you have the 'B' version of the JBX? The channel range is 33-57, so it should work, but you might be pushing it to get both 33 and 56. I have never tried a 'B', but it may drop off in gain towards the top end. I have some coax baluns that opened up the range on a 'C/D'.

I have tried a DY28A that covers channels 14-35 and found it drops off in performance after ch 30.

-Glenn
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-06-2002, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Glenn,

House is about 25' tall. Using a 5ft mast (going higher is not an option - my family is embarrased enough with what's on the roof now!). Terrain is rolling hills and although I'm not on a hill, I'm also not in a valley. Lots of tall trees nearby, but no leaves on them yet.

I do have the B version - I choose that one over the WB because it had better published gain figures in the freq band I was after.

It's pretty cold and windy today so I think I'll wait until tomorrow to venture back on the roof to try disconnecting the pre-amp and trying different vertical angles. Question though - why would removing the pre-amp improve my chances of getting a signal?

Thanks for the suggestions.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-06-2002, 02:05 PM
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That mast could be the problem. With the stacked JBX21's, I was finally able to get all channels from Mt. Wilson except ch 60. So I thought that with this super antenna setup maybe I can now lower my mast. I went from 13' to 8' and lost all but a couple channels. Going above 13' raised my signal on some channels. There was nothing in my way that was blocking the signal, except a large mountain a few miles away, you just need to get the antenna to where the signals are.

Bypassing the pre amp just eliminates a potential problem. The amp also adds noise to the signal, the receiver works off a noise floor, why add noise if you don't need it.

-Glenn
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-07-2002, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Well tried a straight run from the antenna to the STB - no luck. Also tried various tilt angles at various antenna positions - again, no luck.

After much thought and thinking what I was trying to accomplish, it seems that it's either Dish or settle for WTNH-DT only. Putting up a bigger mast just isn't practical for a lot of reasons. All I was really going to get with this setup was CBS-DT and FOX-DT (if you can call it that!). I can get that from Dish. Of course this probably means you'll see a JBX21B and a Samsung STB on E-bay soon. :)

But it was an interesting project and kept the neighbors wondering if I was too cheap to pay for cable or just crazy!

Thanks for the suggestions and support.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-08-2002, 07:56 AM
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Sorry to hear you had no luck with the Blakes. I use them and can tell you they are among the best available for the range you indicated.

But I use 2 in a stack to bring in my 60 mile away stations along with a high gain preamp. Take away either and I would have big problems.

But for your area, with channel 10 local, I expect there may be some local UHF as well. These probably overload your preamp.

As to using a stack, that would be dependent on how line of sight you are, and the station powers. FYI: My distant station is not line of sight at 589 KW on channel 57.
I get good reception with a few glitches per hour about 90% of the time.

Also, I see you had no rotor. Without one I would get zip. I have to aim within 2 degrees or so each evening, and the proper aim changes with the weather, so each night can be different.

The Samsung tuner is great, but it has a lousy meter. It drops to 0 too fast, so you can't even tell from that if you are close to pulling in a signal.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-08-2002, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Also, I see you had no rotor. Without one I would get zip. I have to aim within 2 degrees or so each evening, and the proper aim changes with the weather, so each night can be different.
Actually I do have a CM rotor - like you say it is critical to tweaking.

I like the Samsung tuner as well but signal meter does leave a lot to be desired. You are absolutely right - it goes from 50% to zero and nothing in between. It would be nice to see the signal level change as you tune the antenna even if you're not getting a lock. Also, the program guide takes way too long to load.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-08-2002, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bfogelstrom

Actually I do have a CM rotor - like you say it is critical to tweaking.

I like the Samsung tuner as well but signal meter does leave a lot to be desired. You are absolutely right - it goes from 50% to zero and nothing in between. It would be nice to see the signal level change as you tune the antenna even if you're not getting a lock. Also, the program guide takes way too long to load.
At least your guide loads! Around Boston my Samsung just hangs and locks up if I try to use the guide.

As to the meter, you might try to find someone with a signal meter to measure how much signal you are getting (or even better a spectrum analyzer): Then you could check for overload, weak signals, etc. If all checks out then multipath is left. Or maybe you could borrow a RCA DTC-100 locally to check your readings, as it gets a bit more when not aimed exactly on the channel, and makes antenna aiming easier, though scanning for channels is a problem. So you still have to aim a bit before you can scan and then check.

RCA readings above 30 tend to come in at least a bit on the Samsung. My RCA used to need more to get a picture.

If you can get RCA readings around 40-50 you are at least close to reception. Readings depend on signal strength a bit. 50 could be great on a weak signal, and unreceivable on a local channel.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-11-2002, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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OK OK OK... I know I said I wouldn't do it, but desperate for the Masters in HD, I ventured onto the roof today and replaced the 5 ft mast with a 10ft mast. GUESS WHAT??? Still no signal! I spent 2 hours moving the rotor 1 degree at a time.

Tomorrow I will be back on the roof - either to take the whole freaking thing down or to jump - I'll decide when I get up there. If I went up now I'd jump. :)

Hey! The good news for me is that even if it did work, CBS-DT in NY didn't carry the HD feed today.

Let's just say HDTV isn't quite user friendly yet...
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post #11 of 13 Old 04-12-2002, 08:28 AM
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Before you jump, be sure to try stacking horizontally a pair of Blakes. It is the only thing that worked for me other than double length Channel Master 4248's also in a horizontal stack. And I tried 3 kinds of Winegards, and 1 4248 Channel Master, 1 Channel Master Parascope, plus other custom antennas with no luck. You're just getting your feet wet! But I do everything on the ground, and use a tower I can winch over, so it is easy and safe!

And also read about the new Casper solution coming soon hopefully. Start here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ight=multipath
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-14-2002, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Samsung SIR-T150...............$550
Blake JBX21B........................$150
RS VU-90XR...........................$ 50
CM Rotor...............................$ 60
CM Pre-amp..........................$ 65
Masts, cable etc...................$100
HDTV channels received.............1 (if you can call ABC HDTV)

All this to avoid paying Dish 50 bucks a month!
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-14-2002, 06:31 PM
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Sorry to hear about your troubles,I also struggled to recieve wfsb hd,but with patience and ALOT of advise,from people on this forum,I watched the Masters in HD and will continue to watch all the other HD that they air!! You have to just keep trying and you just might be rewarded with OTA HD from this station it's not easy because of the low power their using,but it's possible. Keep trying it's worth the effort!!! Jim
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