Yes, it's possible to Combine a VHF antenna with the Silver sensor+use the same feedline -- I had thought the Silver sensor came with a VHF antenna input you could use? IF not, you would need to use a VHF/UHF combiner/joiner such as CM#0549 -- Radio shack has one too, but I can't think of the part # presently. A "Rabbit ear" VHF antenna will probably be sufficent for you. Keep in mind, Except for WCPO-DT on VHF 10(ABC Cincy -- 9-x) all the Cincinnati(and Dayton for that matter) digital stations currently broadcast on UHF -- WLWT-DT 35 (NBC Cincy) shows up on your receiver as 5-1 as they send out info so it will remap to 5-1 to be "next to" it's analog station #, even though they are really transmitting on UHF channel 35. Same with WKRC-DT 31(12-1).
Because of the way Fox sends its digital programming(including Fox WS) to its affiliates("basically" it is "anamoprhic" 16x9 480i - Just like anamorphic DVD -- Fox ads the black "sidebars" for 4x3 programming at the Network level), WXIX-DT has to switch between a certian setting on their Format/AR converter to send proper aspect ratio for (1) Fox Programming and (2) Local/Syndicated programming. Sometimes, they don't get that "switch"/button flipped correctly(I noticed that was the case during Fox 19 news at 10 when I looked last night too), or it might be a few minutes ... You'll notice during Fox programming when they have it set correctly FOR Fox programming, the locally inserted ads will be "stretched" to 16x9. This will no longer be an issue once Fox starts sending HD+WXIX-DT gets the Splicer installed.
Originally posted by jim tressler
Question - when is reception impaired the most? How much of an effect will weather have on the signals? Should I try to tweak it out a little more?
You guys ask tough questions sometimes
Weather or anything else really(except changes at the transmitting facility or on the receiving end) doesn't really have much(key word being "much") effect on the local(Key word being "Local") signals. Lightning is a source of impulse noise interference(as are many man-made sources - Ignition systems in vehicles, electric motors/etc), and a nearby strike can cause a dropout, especially given a weak signal from the station -- Impulse noise effects VHF more than UHF, and VHF Channels 2-6(2-4 especially) much more so than channels 7-13.
However, People who are using indoor antennas that aren't close enough to the towers/etc, or even if you have an outdoor antenna but are in a "fringe area" ---and, who may be only getting a few db of signal over the threshold necessary for Good DTV reception(or are just at that threshold), or people who are having a lot of multipath problems(uncorrectable multipath is seen by the DTV receiver as "noise", just as any interfererence, including NTSC analog signals is just seen as "noise" by the receiver) are probably effected more by weather+seasons -- or at least folks with these sorts of installations may "percieve" effects from the weather/etc. probably moreso than is really the case .... Snow on roof, Leaves on trees/etc can attunuate the signal a small bit or change the multipath echoes a bit. Also, The higher the frequency(RF Channel) the more attenuation you get from Tree leaves/etc.
What can be a problem at times is enhanced signal propagation via "tropospheric ducting" or Tropo Scatter : "Tropo" for short --- (Tropo scatter allways happens to some extent at all times, and is the reason why "RF line of sight" - the "radio horizon" on VHF/UHF is FARTHER than optical line of sight ...) --- "enhanced" Tropo is solely weather related phenomna, and often involve radiational cooling, or Frontal passages -- basically, tempurature inversions and temp/humidity factors cause the "air" in certian low levels of the atmosphere(below 6 miles) to sometimes have a higher "refractive index" which allows signals to be "bent" well beyond curvarture of the Earth, rather than those portions of the signals escaping into space as is "normal'. This can bring in distant signals(sometimes at quite high "levels" - Especially via Tropo ducting, although the "norm" is for signals via tropo scattering effects to be weak) normally out of reach beyond curvature of Earth - If those signals are on the same frequency the locals are on, they can, obviously interfere with reception. There is a better explanation of "tropo" and other modes of Signal propagation(Such as Sporadic E propagation(E-skip, or Es), which only effects lo-VHF (TV ch 2-6), FM broadcast band, and very, very rarely sometimes Hi-VHF TV(7-13)) on VHF/UHF (Including how local reception works) in the "Signal Propagation" section at following site: http://www.dxfm.com
Especially being that the Sensar is a "bi-directional" design, signals off the "back side" from you location could especially potentially cause some co-channel interference(CCI) issues, and especially so given your location+direction to Cincy/Columbus, Ohio Towers, as there are some Columbus, Ohio stations operating on the same frequencies as Cincinnati Stations. WBNS 10/WCPO-DT 10, WTTE 28/ WPTO-DT 28, WOSU 34/WCET-DT 34. If the local signal is strong enough though, chances are good that at least a good percentage(hopefully allways) of the time, the local signal will be strong enough to overcome the more distant, occasional co-channel interference. The unfortunate part here however is just how close Columbus is to Cincinnati, and it probably wouldn't take much in the way of enhanced propagation for you to see the Columbus stations. In fact, I'd guess you are probably "getting" a "bit" of signal from the Columbus stations at all times adding to the noise level, even if it isn't enough to actually let you "see" them ... You might need a non-screen muting TV(one the shows "snow" or very weak signals on a "empty" channel), but I'd be surprised if you weren't getting WCMH 4(analog) Columbus to some extent, at least most of the time as well.
Unfortunetly, the amount of spectrum(channels) available to TV stations is so scarace (during DTV transistion especially), that stations have to be "squeezed in" quite close together to make them all fit(the full service stations anyway, not enough room for the LP stations to have a 2nd digital channel assignment). Things will get better in this regard after analog shut off -- At least, lets hope thats the case, if FCC allows unlicensed part 15 devices on so- called "vacant" TV channels IMO we're probably in for a real mess .... IMO BPL will really cause a mess on HF(shortwave/ham/etc.) and possibly Lo-VHF TV/DTV as well.
Anyhow -- I wouldn't worry about it too much though -- The Sensar outside is probably going to work better than anything you could put indoors. Other than to "tweak things" as you say to make sure antenna is orientated for best signal(the analogs can help there) and in a "sweet spot" for good reception -- Or, if you're using the GS1000A (the non amplified version) adding a preamp MAY improve things a bit if you should run into some "dropouts" from WCVN or WSTR .... Otherwise, If you need more signal, or if Co-channel interference does turn out to be an issue at times, You would probably need to get a more directional(to reject co-channel signals coming in from different directions -- such as Columbus), higher gain antenna(such as say, the VU90 - Which is a SMALL VHF/UHF combo meant for relatively strong signal areas)+install it outdoors in order to improve things.
I don't know about every model of receiver out there, but keep in mind, even though it might say "signal strength", in the vast majority of cases(again don't know about the Hughes HTL-HD) the "meters" on our receivers for the most part actually tell us very little about how strong the signal is -- It is more of a "signal quality" reading that tells how easy it is for the receiver to decode the datastream ... You could get a low reading and still have a strong signal from the local station due to interference/multipath issues, or you could have a weak signal(more prone to dropouts due to various issues than a actual stronger signal would be) and get high readings off the receiver(except when you're having the dropouts). The actual "signal strentgh" from the local station involved really doesn't change -- unless they change their antenna/transmitter/etc, or you get a bad connection in your feedline/etc.
I would imagine though from your location+given that you have the antenna outside that it is probably giving you "somewhat" of an indication that WSTR/WCVN signals are a bit weaker than the others --- In other words --- If you can improve the numbers -- Great -- but if you can't or don't want to, I wouldn't worry about it as long as you are getting good, dropout free reception. If you end up getting some dropouts on WSTR/WCVN, its probably the case that if you could get a bit more signal from those stations(with a higher gain, more directional antenna/etc - or more power from WSTR-DT - which will eventually happen) the dropouts would probably go away.
Theoretically, the threshold for Good DTV reception is 15.3db of Signal over noise(somewhere between 16~19db of signal over noise is probably more of a "real world" practial figure), and theoretically If you have that, then reception isn't going to get "better" beyond that point .. BUT -- since the "noise floor" can change due to various issues(such as co-channel interference), IMO, it isn't all that bad of an idea to have a little "extra insurance"(more signal) .... And, I'd WAG you probably have plenty of extra insurance, except perhaps where WCVN-DT/WSTR-DT are concerned. Keep in mind, WSTR is at Low power presently -- and, also its directional antenna pattern doesn't favor the E/SE, and to a lesser extent your direction --- NE ... WCVN/DT is on a tower much shorter than the others, and, in Mainville you are probably just a tad "outside"(or near the edge) of its predicted coverage area -- So am I, of course --- By about 12 miles --- But I get them fine, although it takes a hi-gain directional antenna w/preamp mounted on a 40 Foot tower
Only one time can I recall(in Feb 2002) here did WNWO 24 Toledo blast in strong enough off the back side of the antenna to cause a dropout or two to WCVN-DT -- Although I see BOTH WCVN-DT AND WNWO fairly often at the SAME TIME(given proper antenna aiming of course) ... If my antenna was less directional, however, I'd likely have WNWO causing problems to WCVN-DT more often ...If it had better directivity, the one time I got dropouts probably wouldn't have occured(even though that night WNWO was pretty much a "city grade" signal here). Only once have I seen WBNS 10 Columbus cause a dropout to WCPO-DT, although Just about 100% of the time my analog receiver will "lock on" to WBNS's analog signal if I aim the antenna towards Columbus(I do recall we had a fellow from Hillsboro here once however who, it seemed no matter what he did could not cure his Co-channel interference problem from WBNS 10 to WCPO-DT 10) .... I've also already seen WTTE 28 "through" WPTO-DT's "DT snow" several times, but with proper antenna aiming+directional antenna, WPTO-DT(so far anyway) has never dropped below 95% on the "signal quality meter" ... WSKO 29, Somerset, KY has come close to causing Dropouts to WXIX-DT, but its never happened -- Not much I can do about that, since both stations are in the SAME direction ... "Way back when" WCET-DT was running 7KW ERP, on a couple of occasions, I had CCI issues with them and WBKI 34, Cambellsville, KY(in same direction from me). Never been an issue again since WCET-DT went to 215KW ERP -- What did my "signal meter" on my DTC-100 say when WCET-DT was at 7KW ERP? "88"(well, except when it was bouncing around and was generally lower when noise from WBKI was coming in via tropo) -- What does it say now? "88" (That should give you an indication of how these things aren't really "signal strength" meters) .... By far, the most difficult Co-channel interference issue(for many, many years) I've had concerns WPXK 54 analog/WCVN 54 analog -- Even though its over 200 miles away, WPXK is Up on a High Mountain near Jellico, TN and in the Same direction as WCVN, and a little "tropo enhancement" can sometimes go a long way --- Although I haven't seen it much lately for some reason(well, I do see some "hints" of slight CCI(intermittant horizontal lines, basically) to WCVN 54 analog from likely, WPXK pretty much on a daily basis) -- on average of about 5 or 6 times per year, WPXK has wiped out WCVN competely for hours on end and instead of KET I was getting PAX on 54 with some interference from WCVN ....
Probably more than you wanted to know, and of course, if it ain't broke - don't fix it --- Oh -- BTW -- I remember first seeing the Sensar going on RV's in the Late 70's. Probably a good solution to the WAF for both VHF/UHF(although I'd guess its actual performance especially on UHF probably isn't so great), so you can get the antenna outside if it works "well enough" and you're in a relatively strong signal area. Probably works better even on UHF than the CM3010, I'd think, I just hope you don't have too much problem with Co-channel interference from the Columbus stations, given its "bi-directional" design.
Update: I'm just curious, did you/have you had any luck with the Dayton stations? You'd probaby need to aim the antenna approx. NW/NNW for Dayton, though.