yeah... I'm feeling pretty dumb right now...... after lots and lots of reading, lots and lots (and did I say lots) of testing, I now have every single HD channel on the Garner towers. all are amazingly strong, steady signals, and get even better when tropo is advantageous.
It took a lot of tweaking of positionning, running plenum RG-11 and actually removing the preamp to get everything working just right. The lightbulb went on over my head when I was actually getting better reception during bad weather than during good. With the preamp in the mix, I was actually overdriving the input on my HD card. I'm an idiot because when I moved to the new house, I didn't even bother to try the setup without the preamp. In my old location, where I didn't really have line of sight and relied on reflection, the preamp was actually needed because the signal strength was so low. But high above the roofline on my new place, with direct line of sight to the towers, I got a much stronger signal. Throw the preamp into the mix and I was overdriving things a bit (the oscillations were not pretty to look at
hehehe).... by taking out the preamp all together, I got enough signal to lock onto all the stations. Replacing the crappy RG-6 coax with the RG-11 gave me enough gain back that it is just about perfect (this stuff only has about 4dB drop per 100foot run!)
ahhhhhhhhh.... it's so nice to watch all the high def shows without having to pay for them. It's so satisfying to know that I don't have to pay time warner cable to watch free OTA High Definition material.
Now each station still has it's quirks... NBC can not get their head out of their derriere to save their lives.... which makes it a good thing that I watch virtually nothing on NBC except a couple Thursday night shows.... I got so aggravated when night after night they wouldn't flip the switch for Leno, that I gave up. I sent email after email and didn't even get an acknowledgement that there was a problem and someone was going to do something about it.... I do like the various Law and Order shows... but they never seem to flip the switch for those either.... oh... and the gamma is waaaay off on their feed. Very noticable difference when directly comparing against the other stations.
ABC - still has the same issues they've had for months and months and months - picture dropouts. Every once in a while, regardless of signal strength, they'll drop the image for a split second. It annoyed the crap out of me during the hockey games last spring. Alias did it a few times last night as well. It happens on both of my HD cards. Maybe others don't experience the same thing.... the differences in audio level between programs and commercials is annoying as well....
anyways, enough rambling.... off to watch more high def stuff