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post #91 of 9616 Old 03-19-2003, 02:03 AM
 
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The San Diego KPBS-HD is different from the other PBS stations. KPBS has 20hours of all HD programming every day with a lot of special HD programming they have gathered. I don't think there is another HD station in the entire country that is so committed to HD. When there is nothing in HD on all the other stations, you can always count on KPBS-HD. And they have full DD5.1 audio too!
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post #92 of 9616 Old 03-19-2003, 10:13 AM
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Thanks for the info, Don! That actually raises a question. I've been flipping through the available HDTV programming for the last couple of nights, and not once has my AV receiver flipped over to DD5.1. My DTC-100 and Denon 3802 are connected with a toslink optical cable and set correctly for 5.1, but no dice. I assume that not all HDTV programs include a 5.1 soundtrack, but I'm suspicious that I haven't found a single one. Is there any way to know when an HDTV broadcast will use DD5.1 so I can confirm whether I have a problem here? Thanks!

-- Steve
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post #93 of 9616 Old 03-25-2003, 06:55 PM
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So the latest (discouraging) results from Aliso Viejo are in:
After a few weeks pointing my SS towards San Diego (and receiving reasonable signals from 2-3 stations) I decided that I'd messed around enough and it was time to look at getting the LA stations (San Diego is missing some of the networks I'm looking for, such as UPN).

I purchased two RS 15-2160 and installed one of them in my attic pointing towards Mount Wilson. I'm feeding this into an RS 1171 pre-amp and pushing it into my MyHD card.

Even with the additional height afforded by mounting it in the attic I only receive one signal - KCBS-DT (ch. 60) at around 20%. To be fair this is one more channel than I was able to receive from Mount Wilson with my SS, even with the SS mounted outside, but it is dismal nevertheless.

My question is: is there andy point at all in co-phasing the second antenna with the first one, either horizontally or vertically? Both mounting options are a real problem (you know the deal with attics in modern houses....) but I'd give it a bash if I thought it would help. I think I'm just missing the stucco on the end of the house, but it is possible I'm firing through that a little - I understand the ramifications of this....

My feeling is that until I can get the thing outside I'm not likely to get a reasonable picture. Even then I'm not hopeful at this point that I'll get reasonable reception from the majority of signals from Mount Wilson.

I'd really like someone to tell me I'm being pessimistic here and that I have a good chance of fixing my reception issues, but somehow I doubt that's a true statement. What do you guys think?

Andy.
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post #94 of 9616 Old 03-25-2003, 11:14 PM
 
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Try a real antenna,not a Radio Shack. Get a Channel Master 4221 or 4228 plus a Channel Master preamp!
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post #95 of 9616 Old 03-26-2003, 12:14 AM
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I disagree with Don's comment. I have better luck with a pair of 2160s mounted/stacked horizontally (using PVC...) and this same amp then I did with the 4228 and 7775 combo. The 4228, and its half-sized sibling, the 4221, are good at pulling in weak signals but I was having dropout problems with the 4228 occasionally, due to fluctuating multipath problems. The dual 2160s are extremely directional but my dropout problems went away completely. I haven't had a single one for the last two months that they've been up.

I think Andy's problem is attic-related. You really need to get the 2160s outside. If you want to try the stacking route, PM me and I'll help you get the right stuff. It really isn't that hard.

-- Gary
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post #96 of 9616 Old 04-06-2003, 07:32 PM
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Update -

I finally managed to get the 2x2160s on the roof this weekend, and I'm getting 40%-ish on nearly all the LA-based channels now. I used the PVC cross-member solution (thanks Gary!) which makes it adjustable but I'm not sure how well the directional settings will hold up in the wind, and with birds landing on the antennas.

I ended up putting the antennas about 1 foot below the top of my chimney-stack, so it doesn't look too bad. The only problem that still remains is our old friend KABC. Their signal is (as we know) weak, but it's also quite variable. It can be 25% with no dropouts one minute and totally vanished the next. I guess weather conditions may have something to do with it but I'll keep an eye on that channel and report back.

So - thank you all for your help! I'll try and post pictures if anyone's interested.

Lessons learned:
1. The Silver Sensor is an awesome antenna for its size.
2. The SS can't pick up any LA stations from my Aliso Viejo location.
3. The SS can easily pick up high-strength San Diego Stations from A.V.
4. A preamp is required to get anything with a good signal.
5. The RS-1171 preamp seems to work really well.
6. The Lutron preamp available in Home Depot seems useless.
7. I get a single LA station with a single 2160 in the attic.
8. I get multiple low-strength stations with a single 2160 outdoors.
9. I get most medium-strength stations with dual 2160s 15ft AGL.
10. I get all LA stations medium-good strength with dual 2160s on the roof.

Good luck to all you other South-County HDers!

Andy.
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post #97 of 9616 Old 04-07-2003, 01:21 AM
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Wow, this thread has been great reading, I thought I was out of luck for OTA HD but it looks like there is hope!

I Live in Portola Hills and have got tired of waiting for COX HD and decided to give my money to DirecTV and am very pleased, HDNET is AMAZING, HBO-HD and SHO-HD is almost better than watching a DVD, really, amazing. I have to have OTA HD now.

I would sure like to hear any comments on installation/antenna ideas in my location. I sounds like a dual SS setup with a RS15-1711 will get me San Diego Channels for sure? Any ideas on setting this up, buying the needed items etc...would be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seems that are some very knowledgeable people here like Gary and a few other from my area, I would sure appreciate your time and comments!
Thanks,
Tom
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post #98 of 9616 Old 04-07-2003, 01:54 AM
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Andy --

Glad to hear you are finally getting some LA reception! One other thing that might help is to switch to a CM 7775 "preamp" setup if the cable run from your new "stack" to the 1171 preamp is greater than about 30-50 feet. The 7775 has separate amp and power supply units so you can mount the amp portion up on the roof, near the antennas.

BTW, I'm curious. What elevation angle did you end up with that works with the hill blocking your "view"?

Hi Tom --

Welcome to our growing group of South OC HD "receptors"! Where in Portola Hills are you? I'm guessing you will have better luck getting the LA stations, as Mount Wilson is quite a bit higher than where the SD transmitters are located. If you have a handheld/portable analog TV, try taking it outside and move it around to see what kind of analog UHF reception you are getting. You should be able to get LA channels 28 and 34. Also try 39, which is NBC in SD. This will give a pretty good indication of how good your digital reception will be. If you can get any picture at all on these channels, even if the picture is very snowy and lacks any color, chances are good a setup can configured to get good digital OTA reception, especially if you don't have multiple images/ghosting, which is an indication of multipath - the bane of digital receivers.

Anyway, we'd be happy to help. I haven't seen a problem/case down here yet that wasn't solvable. Andy's situation is one of the most problematic and even he's now getting "decent" reception.

-- Gary
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post #99 of 9616 Old 04-07-2003, 08:23 AM
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Gary,

I'll check the elevation but it's not severe - probably 10-15 degrees. As you mention above my location has been a problematic one to resolve and now I'm doing okay (40-50% on most channels), so it's certainly encouraging for people wanting to do HD in South County.

Tom - I'm high up on the side of the hill with a clear view over the entire Saddleback Valley towards San Diego, which is a good reason I get great SD reception here. I think you're the other side so as Gary says you'll just need to try things out and see. Your suggestion is a good one - you should start with a SS (and make sure you have a preamp - the RS 15-1171 is generally noted to be an excellent preamp) and a compass and see what happens! A couple of things to help you:
1. I went to Home Depot and picked up a long piece of 1-inch PVC tubing (I guess it's 12-15 feet long). I also bought a 1-inch 90-degree adapter that has (I think) a 3/4-inch hole on the other side. If you remove the SS from the stand and feed the cable through the adapter and then down the main tube you have a tall 'mast' that will help you with your testing for about $2 ! I put a couple of turns of electrical tape on the back of the boom of the SS to keep it in place, and mounted it in the cast-iron base of an umbrella-stand. It held its position towards San Diego without a problem for over two weeks - longer than you'd need to do some testing. The SS is so light that you'll get little bending - it seems safe and it's CHEAP!
2. Check out Gary's dual-SS mount. He's had success with a dual-offset configuration. For the cost it's worth trying if you don't get good reception on a single SS.

As always - let us know how it goes, and we're here if you have questions.

Andy.
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post #100 of 9616 Old 04-07-2003, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for the advice, I am going to Radio Shack and Circuit City at lunch to get these items (SS and Preamp) and will test it to see what I get. Glad the time changed and it is light longer! I will report back and let you know what I found..
Thanks Everyone!
Tom
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post #101 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 12:08 AM
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Well Gang,
I bought the SS from Circuit City and the 15-1171 from Radio Shack. I put a flat board on my Patio Cover and set the SS on the board and pointed South about 140degrees, I was able to pull in 4 DT channels and 2 HD Channels ,KPBS-HD (PBS) and KFMB-HD (CBS), and watched the San Diego CBS Broadcast of the College Basket Ball game in HD! WOW, just amazing. The patio cover is about 10' high. This seems like good news? I am mainly interested in HD Broadcast OTA, but DT broadcasts are okay too! I subscribe to DirecTV w/ Local Channels, so I am mostly interested in the HD OTA, with a nice byproduct of DT OTA!

I don't think I really care if I get San Diego or LA broadcasts OTA, and from an aesthetic point of view, my backyard would be a good place to mount an antenna. My back yard faces East South East, so San Diego and my Back Yard seems to be a real good option for mounting a bigger antenna with community aesthetics in mind. I was thinking of getting a 10' MAST (Fry's $10) and mounting it to one of my Patio Cover pillars (they are 4x4 into cement), this should give me a height of about 17', the SS worked at 10', so a better antenna and a better hight...I should be good?? Is it that easy?

Any comments? Antenna ideas?

Even though the FCC says I can mount my antenna, I would like to try and keep the peace with my neighbors.

Thanks for your comments!
Tom
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post #102 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 02:32 AM
 
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I did exactly what you are proposing last summer. I used two U-bolts from Frys and a 5foot mast from Frys to mount the mast to one of the vertical wood posts on my back porch cover. I used a Channel Master model 4221 4bay bowtie/screen antenna and point due south. I pick up all the San Diego digital TV channels from 25miles+ away with no preamp. You could use the higher gain model 4228 which has several times the gain of the Silver Sensor. My 4bay bowtie on the 5foot mast hasn't attracted any attention since its so low profile and can't be seen at all from the front of the house.
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post #103 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 08:24 AM
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Congratulations Tom!

FYI - all DT (Digital) OTA stations are HD (Hi-Def) capable. Most stations up-convert their SD (Std-Def) signals and transmit them on their DT transmission for the majority of the time - you'll see that programs transmitted in HD will automatically be picked up by you in HD. You should be getting 1080i or 720p for most of your channels (check by pressing 'OK' on your MyHD remote).

You are right - height is important. The higher the better. I'd really consider Don's suggestion though of a higher-gain outdoor antenna for your long-term installation. Remember that if you are low to the ground you are likely to get multipath reflections that can cause havoc with digital signals, so check that issue out using an analog station.


Andy.
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post #104 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 11:16 AM
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What an awesome group!
I was thinking about trying the RS 15-2160 Antenna? I saw Fry's has the Channel Master 3017, 3018,3019 and 3020, but that seems a bit large?

Any opinions on products that are available locally?

Thanks all,
Tom
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post #105 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 11:38 AM
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The RS-2160 is available at Radio Shack. I called my local retail store who was able to tell me which store had them in stock.
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post #106 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 12:37 PM
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I'd definitely start with the 2160/1171 combo. The 2160 is cheap ($22), readily available and you can return it if it doesn't work for your situation. From my experience, the 2160 will work a little better than the SS, across the board.

-- Gary
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post #107 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 02:55 PM
 
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CampMaster, those big Channel Master antennas at Frys are combo antennas - the big section is for VHF which you don't need for digital stations in LA and San Diego, they are all on UHF. A single UHF-only antena is smaller and higher gain and cheaper, though they aren't in most of the retail stores. I had to order one online. The CM 4221 is under $25 and the 4228 is under $50 online.
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post #108 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 03:28 PM
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In my tests, the 4221 and the 2160 performed about the same, with a slight edge to the 4221. Its big brother, the 4228 worked better than both the 2160 or the 4221, in terms of signal strength on the STB/PC card tuner. While the single 2160 wasn't quite as strong, signal-wise, it does do a better job in rejecting "occasional" multipath flareups, which seem to be a quite regular occurance for me. Even with the 4228, I was seeing dropouts nightly, even on the stronger LA channels like KNBC (36) and KTLA (31). In my case, dual 2160s solved that problem. With this setup I get the highest signal strength numbers I've ever seen and no more dropouts, at all. I haven't had a dropout since January.

Since you are going for the SD stations, I really don't know which is going to be the bigger problem, signal strength or multipath. I have an "extra" 4221 that I'm not using right now if you want to try that. I also have a couple of "spare" 2160s if you can't find any local. In any case, your problem sounds easier than Andy's was so this should be fairly easy to solve.

Good luck!

-- Gary
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post #109 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 06:26 PM
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Well, the DirecTV guy was here doing my "FREE" 2-room install and did an outstanding job, if you looking for an installer, they were great, PM me if you want contact info. He gave me ideas for my antenna and ran an extra RG6 wire for me from my HD-STB to my new RS-2160. I used a 10' MAST with Radio Shacks Antenna Wall Mounts to my vertical 4x4 on my patio over, so it stands about 15ft high, I am able to get 6 DT/HD San Digeo Stations (The HD channels are 100% signal Strengh;
8-1 KFMB-HD (CBS)
10-1 KGTV-DT (Local)
15-1 KPBS-HD (PBS)
15-2KPBS-DT (PBS)
19-1 KSWD-DT (WD), they say they send out HD? Is that show specific?
23-1 XETV-DT (FOX)
39-1 KNSD-DT (NBC)

and a few Analog air stations..I am very pleased and the install is not obtrusive to the neighbors (I Hope)..I am using the RS 15-1171 Preamp also...would there be any significant gain by trying another antenna?
Anyone know if I am missing any San Diego OTA DT/HD channels?

Did I do it? Did I really do it ?

I went to return my COX digital box today, and they did not even ask why I was canceling? I still have COX HSI and Telephone...but no TV!

Guess I will return the Zenith SS to Circuit City unless some one needs one?

Wow, Disk is mounted and 2160 is mounted, I am done....I think?
Guess I better go to work tomorrow to pay for the toys!

I am happy to hear any thoughts, comments or ideas!
Tom
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post #110 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 07:40 PM
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Goodness Gracious Tom - you DO move fast! It took me weeks to get where you got to in a couple of days!

I'm impressed with the massive signal-strength you get from the SD stations - I was getting pretty good figures with my SS but not close to your 100%s!

The best way to check out the stations available to you is to go to
http://www.antennaweb.org and punch in your information. I printed out my station list and use it for a reference. The list includes all the SD and LA stations so it's nice to have handy. I don't see any channels missing from a quick glance at your station list above.

One thing to consider - you may want to hold on to your SS - you might just get the bug to watch LA stations at some point and it's great for testing. Bear in mind that there's no UPN being broadcast from SD at this point so (for me at least) that alone makes it worth trying to get the LA stations.

Again - congratulations Tom.

Andy.
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post #111 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 07:45 PM
 
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KSWB-DT(19) carries the WB network HD programs, but there is only a few. One of them is on tonight Tuesday 9PM - Smallville. The others are Monday night 9PM Everwood and Friday night Reba.
There is one more San Diego digital TV channel, but its not HD, its channel 18 (51-1) KUSI-DT an independent channel. Are you able to get all the San Diego digital channels from one antenna position, no rotor? Now just check the antenna strength at different times and varying weather.
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post #112 of 9616 Old 04-08-2003, 11:55 PM
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Yea, I did do it fast, I wanted to be here when the DirecTV installer came and monitor the cable and the install so I decided to take the day off and do it! So far so good, I do see a bit of signal strength fluctuation on SD channel 39-1 KNSD (NBC), it was breaking up a bit for a short while at 30%-35%, then later (10 minutes or so) is back at 75%-77%...but I will monitor.. I want to watch Jay Leno, hopefully in HD!

Don - No rotor at this time, I am pointing at about 140degrees from my back yard. I did do a quick test with the SS out the front window of the house pointing about 300degrees (I know thats no good) and I was still able to get KPBS-HD at almost full strength..amazing, the SS is a GREAT unit. I don't seem to get (51-1) KUSI-DT do you know the location of the transmitter? Thanks from your clarification on the UHF-VHF Channel masters at Fry's, that was very helpful.

Rob, I saw your home and antenna, from a distance, from the road behind your house...looks good. I will take you up on your offer to come by and check it out!

Andy, I was also amazed at the 2 San Digeo HD (PBS and CBS) Signal Strength, but PBS must really be throwing out some wattage, I can get it from my SS in the front of the house..amazing unit (with 1171 preamp)

Gary, thanks for your help and insight. If you get a group of us together, count me in!

I will post and additional findings...wonder what the association will say about my antenna?? Good thing I got the FCC and Section 207 of the communications Act on my side!

Thanks again!
Tom
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post #113 of 9616 Old 04-09-2003, 12:21 AM
 
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KFMB-DT(55) and KGTV-DT(25) are together near the coast - that sounds like where you are pointing. XETV-DT(23) is over the border in TJ due south its the farthest away. The rest are all together inland and KNSD(40) is operating on the lowest power - so you might want to point straight at it probably a little more east than where you are pointing now. KPBS-DT(30) has the highest power so that is why you get it easiest.
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post #114 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 01:24 AM
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As I wtach signal strength on the OTA San Diego Channels for the last 24hrs, I had KPBS-HD (15-1) at 100% along with KFMB (CBS/8-1) at 100% last night. This evening, 8-1 is still at 100% but was having some odd audio dropouts tonight, but it NEVER fluctuated from 100%. The KPBS-HD (15-1) also had a 100% signal previously, now it's at about 54%-63% and I have lost KNSD-DT (ABC/39-1) which is now between 0-30%. I watched Jay Leno Last night on 39-1 in HD, it was awesome, no problems...

I am using the RS 15-2160 wit the RS-1171preamp.

Nothing has changed since yesterday, except maybe weather? I wonder if the CM4221 or the CM4228 would be a better choice?
What do you all think?

Anyone have an extra 4228 for sale?

Thanks for your input all!
Tom
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post #115 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 08:49 AM
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CampMaster,

I have an extra 4228 that did not work well for me that you are welcome to try. Send me a PM.

Bruce
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post #116 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 09:10 AM
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Hi Bruce,
Thanks for repsonding to my message. I am hopefully the CM4228 would give me that extra push in gain and distance that I need to get the channels that are just missing @ 30% reception?

I've PM'd you!
Tom
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post #117 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 09:31 AM
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I live on the west side of Aliso Viejo off of Glenwood and Canyon Vistas Down in the Harvest community. Has any one had any luck in this area getting the L.A. stations? If so what setup would you recommend me trying.

Thanks,
Scott
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post #118 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 11:22 AM
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Campmaster --

It sounds like your intermittent reception problems are multipath-related. In that case, the 4228 may not completely solve the problem. It will certainly give you a stronger signal but it also will give you stronger MP signals as it isn't as directional as the 2160. The SS readouts on the STBs and PC tuner cards are more than just a measure of how strong the "raw" signal is. It is really a measure of how well the receiver can pick out and lock onto the main signal over MP reflections and background noise.

Scott --

Sounds like you are close to where AndyS is located. What kind of obstructions are to the north?

-- Gary
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post #119 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 06:27 PM
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Thanks Gary,
How do you think I can solve the multi-path problem? I am currently using the RS 2160 on a 10ft MAST attached to my Patio Cover 4x4 beam..do I use 2-2160 in a vertical configuration and into a 2-1 splitter to my STB?

I am in the canyon area, so the winds can get very bad, so I need to try to keep that in mind.

Any ideas, I am sure open to your opinions!
Thanks!
Tom
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post #120 of 9616 Old 04-10-2003, 07:02 PM
 
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Try the CM 4228 bowtie - its wind profile is good and try adjusting its angle to reduce multipath. Sounds like you need more gain which the 4228 should provide. You might also want to try a Channel Master or Winegard preamp instead of the Radio Shack one too - less noise helps too.
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