I really need some help here. I guess I could've posted a separate thread for this, but since you Buffalo people are familiar with the stations and conditions, I thought I should try here first. I still consider myself to be somewhat of a newbie, so bear with me, and thank you in advance.
Okay, so this house I'm in had an antenna on the roof, chimney mount. I'm 1 mile NW of the airport in the Maryvale area. Here are some pics of the antenna.antenna1antenna2
Based on the pics, it looks like a Radio Shack VU-120 XR, although it certainly is not 120 in boom length (at least not from the naked eye, more like 70-90). It's mounted about 4 feet from the top of the chimney, a total of 25-30 feet off the ground. It does have a single coax connection (RG6) running down into the house, then to the TV/STB (approx. 100ft). No rotor yet.
I'm trying to get good, solid signals for both analog and DTV. I'm 60 miles as-the-crow-flies to Rochester, Toronto, and Hamilton. 87 miles to Erie. Prior to playing around with a new pre-amp, I was able to get most of my locals in DTV, when I was pointed towards Colden. However, PBS and FOX were always breaking up unless I went on the roof and pointed the antenna towards Grand Island. Of course, then I'd lose CBS and NBC to breakups. I've noticed the UHF analogs suffered from general interference, which alarms me.
So, while the snow fell, I bought a Winegard 8780 pre-amp (17db VHF, 28 db UHF). I also had a cheap RCA set-top antenna. Just to experiment, I put the RCA antenna on the second floor, connected the pre-amp, ran a 100ft RG6 connection, and tried it out. I was able to get
2,4,7, 17, 29, 49, and 51 analog almost perfect! I also got 55 (Global55, Niagara Falls), 56 (MTV2, the old BOX), 12 (WICU, Erie), amongst others, with watchable clarity.
So now I'm thinking, GREAT! Just wait until I get that pre-amp on the roof! Well, last Friday, installed the pre-amp on the mast. Checked out the signals and to my dismay, it's terrible. I turned the antenna towards Toronto with the hopes of getting better analog reception, plus a shot at Toronto 1, 66. 2, 4, and 7 analog come in perfect no matter where pointed. However, DTV signals must be suffering from amplified interference because they break-up despite a strong signal. Even pointed towards the Toronto, Grand Island way, PBS DTV breaks up. Here is a breakdown and pics of what I'm seeing (keep in mind, antenna pointed towards Toronto)
5 analog - strong picture, but diagonal lines fade in and out. Quite watchable. CBC 5
9 analog - strong picture, but more diagonal lines. Somewhat watchable. CTV 9
11 analog - picture there, but look at that interference. CHCH 11
17 analog - strong picture, interference from channel 23. PBS 17
23 analog - strong picture, but strong interference from 17. UPN 23
29 analog - same as above, but stronger interference from 17. FOX 29
41 and 47 - seems like a picture could be there, but way too much interference from somewhere, probably 17 and/or 23. GLOBAL 41 OMNI 47
In fact, channel 17 seems to interfere with just about everything in the UHF band. It even presents itself all distorted on analog frequencies such as 32 and 34, which, will be DTV here soon.
My questions are
1) Is this multipath or interference? I don't have any tall buildings, or trees within 50 feet. Some trees scattered after that 50 feet, but all of the houses are the same height.
2) Is this the antenna? Could it be too old and run down? Is it letting in interference? The connections seem okay, but I may take it down to examine them when it gets warmer.
3) Is the pre-amp OVER-amplifying the signals? If so, then how would I be able to pull in Toronto, Rochester, or Hamilton while reducing the locals so they won't conflict?
4) Would a new Winegard or Channel Master (near fringe - fringe) accomplish my goals, eliminate the interference if it's not the current antenna's problem?
I know, there's a lot to read here, but any help is critical right now. Obviously, pulling in the DTV is paramount to analog, so I'd be satisfied at eliminating VHF entirely and getting a good yagi for UHF.
Once again, thank you in advance.