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post #11461 of 11490 Old 11-15-2014, 03:35 PM
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Conditions have been the same here... normal to slightly worse than normal. The Walnut Grove VHF stations that I usually get, KVIE and KXTV, have both been missing for the past few days, and KOVR has been iffy. Only KMAX and KQCA have been coming in.

I asked Keith about KTVJ 4 a while back and he wrote that he's been extremely busy with his regular job and hasn't had much time for working on the TV stations. He did get new software installed, so there is now a x-9 channel on all of the One Ministry channels, like K03HY here on Mt. Tam. He also put in a better receiver for North Bay TV on channel x-8. (It does look a lot better and no longer has break up.) He is going to add programming information to his stations next, then he says he has to work on San Jose channel 2 up at Loma and 5 in Monterey to get those on the air before he has time to work on 4. He has no idea when he'll get that on the air.

Edit: Oh, he also is working on improving the signal between his studio in Santa Rosa and Mt. St. Helena to help stop the signal from pixelating and sometimes disappearing on his stations. Conditions this past week caused him to lose signal several times.

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post #11462 of 11490 Old 11-15-2014, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 888CALLFCC View Post
Not anymore...
For the past week, everything has been normal with almost no changes on any channel here.

I guess it depends on where you're located. Conditions have been anything but nominal here this last week. I've had more trouble with the locals this week than at any time so far this fall. Conditions to Salinas have been especially good. Sutro has been up and down like crazy.

Chuck
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post #11463 of 11490 Old 11-15-2014, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Kenney View Post
He is going to add programming information to his stations next, then he says he has to work on San Jose channel 2 up at Loma and 5 in Monterey to get those on the air before he has time to work on 4.

That'll be interesting. K02QX is predicted by TV Fool to be 10 dB stronger than KFTY. If that turns out to be true I'll lose KFTY and gain K02QX. The only previous experience I had with a TV station on/near Loma was KKPX analog on 65 and it wasn't very strong.

Chuck
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post #11464 of 11490 Old 11-16-2014, 06:02 PM
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Distant signals are waaaay down here today. KMAX and KQCA are just making it over the cliff edge at 16-17 dB, when they're normally 22 dB or higher, KEMO is only coming in at 17 dB and it's normally 22 to 23, KRCB is pixelating at 15 to 16 dB and KTNC from Mt. Diablo is only 19 dB when it's normally about 23. KDTS from Mt. Diablo and all of the other stations from Walnut Grove are all below the cliff edge, and there's no sign of KAXT and KEXT from the South Bay either.

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post #11465 of 11490 Old 11-16-2014, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Kenney View Post
Distant signals are waaaay down here today. KMAX and KQCA are just making it over the cliff edge at 16-17 dB, when they're normally 22 dB or higher, KEMO is only coming in at 17 dB and it's normally 22 to 23, KRCB is pixelating at 15 to 16 dB and KTNC from Mt. Diablo is only 19 dB when it's normally about 23. KDTS from Mt. Diablo and all of the other stations from Walnut Grove are all below the cliff edge, and there's no sign of KAXT and KEXT from the South Bay either.

Larry
At 6:20pm here in Hayward. Everything (all channels) seems normal. Except KTLN & KEMO are slightly less signal, but no dropouts.
KEMO is 39% when normal is 52% , KTLN is 50% normal is 90%
As strong as KEMO is, KRCB is gone.
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post #11466 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 01:03 AM
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The low dip in signal strength mentioned earlier slowly improved over the course of the evening and signals as of 11:30 pm pretty much back to normal. Both KEMO and KTNC have actually gone above normal. KEMO is up to 25 dB, 8 dB better than it was earlier this afternoon, and KTNC is at 24 dB, a 5 dB improvement.

I wish I knew more about what causes these large changes in signal strength. I find it really interesting to follow.

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post #11467 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Kenney View Post
I wish I knew more about what causes these large changes in signal strength. I find it really interesting to follow.

Larry

I made a couple of graphics to illustrate what I think is going on. I used the terrain plot between me and KION on Mt. Toro. I used colors similar to what TV Fool uses for signal strength. Green is the area that is LOS to the transmitter. Magenta is the area that relies on signal refraction. Dark magenta is the strongest and pale magenta is the weakest.

The first graphic shows how much signal is getting to me with atmospheric bending of the signal. KION typically runs SNR 20 dB under these conditions.

The second graphic shows the atmosphere bending the signal putting me in the darker magenta area. KION often jumps to SNR 31 dB and I've seem the signal strength go up 20 dB or more.

It's also possible to bend the signal up making KION drop out.

I'm sure there are many factors that determines whether you can benefit from atmospheric bending or not. I suspect that the smaller the angle required to bend the signal to you the larger the swing in signal strength you're going to see. The mountain KION has to refract over is 80 miles away so it doesn't take much bending to see a big increase. I bet a few hundredths of a degree is all it takes.

OTOH, if the mountain the signal has to refract over is fairly close by, then the bending angle will have to be large and you won't see much if any difference.

I'm going to take a shot at making some graphics to illustrate what I think is going on between me and Walnut Grove, a path that seems to be affected mostly negatively by signal bending.

Chuck
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post #11468 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 02:00 PM
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Here's an analysis of KQCA when the signal bends down.

The first graphic shows the terrain path from KQCA to me. The red line is drawn to show the down tilt of the KQCA antenna intersecting the horizon at 60 miles out. Many broadcast stations are set up this way to put the most power at the edge of the service contour. Out to 25 miles you don't need as much power so it doesn't matter if you're not in the main lobe.

The second graphic shows what might happen with some bending of the signal by the atmosphere. The signal reaching my first edge 6 miles away is already reduced with no bending because the main lobe of the antenna is 2600 feet lower.

The third graphic shows the KQCA vertical antenna pattern. My first edge is about .6 degrees above the center of the main lobe of the KQCA antenna. This is shown by the green line. The signal is already 3.7 dB down from the peak. With such a steep slope on the vertical pattern it doesn't take much bending the signal down to drop the strength. Bending .45 degrees drops the signal 15 dB.

The only way to fix this problem is for the antenna to be lower gain which will produce a wider beamwidth so when the signal bends it doesn't drop as much.

I think this explains why the Walnut Grove signals often drop in strength and rarely go up much.

KVIE has the lowest gain antenna and is the only Walnut Grove station that doesn't have any drop outs.

Chuck
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post #11469 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for the diagrams, Chuck. (You do nice work!)

Now that you've explained the results of bending, what is it in the atmosphere that causes the bending? That's the part I don't understand. I know there are D, E and F1 and F2 layers in the atmosphere, which give us long distance reception on the lower frequencies, but I don't think they come into play very often for signals up in the TV bands... at least not out here on the west coast. So there has to be other conditions in the atmosphere that cause the bending of the TV signals. I know about inversions, but I don't think we are experiencing any right now, yet the signals are up and down like a yo-yo.

Like yesterday, the signals from Mt. St. Helena, Mt. Diablo and Walnut Grove were all way down again today, but are now beginning to go back up. Even KMAX, which is in here 99% of the time, dropped below the cliff edge for about 10 minutes at about 11 o'clock this morning. The channel 21 signal has varied from a high of 27 dB SNR last night to a low of 13.7 dB SNR in just a 12 hour period.

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post #11470 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 05:39 PM
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Larry,

I don't know the physics behind it but where different temperature layers in the atmosphere meet they cause the signals to stay within one temperature layer. The angle of incidence has to be very small, often <1 degree or the wave will pass right though the atmosphere out into space.

I used to receive real time images on 1700 MHz from the NOAA polar orbiting satellites. Large swings in signal strength were common when the satellites were under 2 degrees in elevation indicating the signal was interacting with the atmosphere. I never saw this above 5 degrees of elevation and rarely above 2 degrees.

I wish I could monitor some of the stations I get here and plot the results. You'd be amazed at the large variations over rather short time periods.

Chuck
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post #11471 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Kenney View Post
Now that you've explained the results of bending, what is it in the atmosphere that causes the bending?
It's the difference in the index of refraction between different temperature/humidity layers of the troposphere.

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post #11472 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 06:40 PM
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More reading material.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropospheric_propagation

Ron

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post #11473 of 11490 Old 11-17-2014, 07:29 PM
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Ron... Thank you! That Wikipedia information is exactly what I was looking for! It does a good job of explaining what's happening to the signals around here.

Larry

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post #11474 of 11490 Old 11-18-2014, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Kenney View Post
Ron... Thank you! That Wikipedia information is exactly what I was looking for! It does a good job of explaining what's happening to the signals around here.

Larry

In that article I found a link to WA5IYX's TV DX page:

http://www.qsl.net/wa5iyx/dtv-capt.htm

You might enjoy looking at TV DX from Texas.

Chuck
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post #11475 of 11490 Old 11-18-2014, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
In that article I found a link to WA5IYX's TV DX page:

http://www.qsl.net/wa5iyx/dtv-capt.htm

You might enjoy looking at TV DX from Texas.

Chuck
I have that Digital Stream converter box too. The "Manual Tuning" mode is a great feature.
It will capture and save station ID,.... long after the signal is gone.
I do 24 hour tests with it to identify weak channels.
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post #11476 of 11490 Old 11-18-2014, 07:08 PM
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Reception in the flatlands of Fremont was much better last year. Might be trees or maybe the wire on the balcony is damp? Been out there for a few years...
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post #11477 of 11490 Old 11-18-2014, 10:42 PM
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FWIW, I haven't seen any issues at all down here in the Evergreen Area of San Jose, but then again I'm not looking at the stations some of you are. On a different note, what is the deal with the little scroll I'm seeing on KPIX about Dish dropping CBS and Showtime? I'm OTA only so I'm out of the loop as far as satellite shenanigans.
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post #11478 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 01:40 AM
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what is the deal with the little scroll I'm seeing on KPIX about Dish dropping CBS and Showtime? I'm OTA only.
It's a money thing.... Local networks charge pay tv carriers for permission to carry the channel (resale), pay tv companys charge customers for the service of pay tv.
Any disagreement on costs per channel / customer, and the pay tv company will dump that channel. It's the nasty current state of pay tv.

The only sure way to get local channels (free of charge) is with a tv antenna.

The days of counting on pay tv .. to deliver your local channels are over.
You can always watch the CBS networks, KPIX-5 & KBCW-44 over the air .. free of charge.

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post #11479 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 02:02 AM
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I received an email from Keith of One Ministries asking me to check to see how my Sony was functioning on channel 3. My Sony, and only my Sony out of all the TVs in the house, would lock up on any of the channel 3 sub-channels, go to black for about 5 seconds and then come back to life. It would last about 5 seconds and then lock up again.

Keith switched from static PSIP to dynamic PSIP tonight and it fixed the problem! So if anyone else out there was having a lockup problem, check your TV now.

Larry

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post #11480 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras
You might enjoy looking at TV DX from Texas.
He's pulled in some really good DX. I wish we had those conditions out here on the West Coast! We'd have a lot more fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 888CALLFCC View Post
I have that Digital Stream converter box too. The "Manual Tuning" mode is a great feature.
It will capture and save station ID,.... long after the signal is gone. I do 24 hour tests with it to identify weak channels.
I have that same "Manual Tuning" mode on my Insignia converter box. It's great for working with weak stations. As you said, it will save the PSIP information for a station even after the signal disappears. I wish TVs had that manual feature. That converter box still has the best receiver in the house, too. It can lock onto weak signals and pull them out of the noise better than any of the other tuners.

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post #11481 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 02:42 AM
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Larry has the mystery of RF 13
I have the mystery of RF 31 ... (It would be the first Sacramento UHF) station to pull over the rock hill. All others remain at zero 21,25,46,35 nothing.
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post #11482 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 08:29 AM
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Larry has the mystery of RF 13
I have the mystery of RF 31 ... (It would be the first Sacramento UHF) station to pull over the rock hill. All others remain at zero 21,25,46,35 nothing.
There's a slight chance that RF 13 could be KTNV in Reno but it's much more likely to be KCBA on Fremont Peak. There are no other choices.

In your case RF 31 is almost certainly KSMS on Fremont Peak. Hayward is within its service contour. It runs 1000 KW with nearly full power in your direction. It's the highest power UHF station by far in Salinas. If you can't receive the big gun UHF stations in Walnut Grove it is simply impossible to receive the low power KMUM 31 north of Sacramento. I've seen it just once here. I receive KSMS almost all the time and I'm only seeing 35 KW ERP off the side of its antenna.

Chuck
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post #11483 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 888CALLFCC View Post
It's a money thing.... Local networks charge pay tv carriers for permission to carry the channel (resale), pay tv companys charge customers for the service of pay tv.
Any disagreement on costs per channel / customer, and the pay tv company will dump that channel. It's the nasty current state of pay tv.

The only sure way to get local channels (free of charge) is with a tv antenna.

The days of counting on pay tv .. to deliver your local channels are over.
You can always watch the CBS networks, KPIX-5 & KBCW-44 over the air .. free of charge.
Thanks. I saw an article in the paper this morning stating that. It's been crawling along the bottom of my tv for about a week now. Fortunately, we've never had cable or sat cause OTA reception for us is dead-on-balls and trouble-free. Gotta feel for the folk who are paying for their television only to end up being used to play one corporation against another.
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post #11484 of 11490 Old 11-19-2014, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
There's a slight chance that RF 13 could be KTNV in Reno but it's much more likely to be KCBA on Fremont Peak. There are no other choices.

In your case RF 31 is almost certainly KSMS on Fremont Peak. Hayward is within its service contour. It runs 1000 KW with nearly full power in your direction. It's the highest power UHF station by far in Salinas. If you can't receive the big gun UHF stations in Walnut Grove it is simply impossible to receive the low power KMUM 31 north of Sacramento. I've seen it just once here. I receive KSMS almost all the time and I'm only seeing 35 KW ERP off the side of its antenna.

Chuck
RF 31 shows up when KVIE, KEMO, KTLN and others show surges. So the signal enhancement must be local bending down ALL signals in the canyon area.
I am "behind" Cal state Hayward at a lower elevation. Fremont Peak is totally blocked from here. VHF does work, UHF is a mess. Including KICU & KTEH

A few years ago, I contacted both KICU & KTEH about signal service problems here only 9 miles away.
They only could boost power to maximum allowed. And they did.
Still, If you "walk in front of" the yagi on the roof, the signal will drop out.
Thats UHF signals in a canyon for ya.
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post #11485 of 11490 Old 11-20-2014, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
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Larry has the mystery of RF 13
I thought I might have a good chance of finding out what the mystery station was earlier tonight. The channel 13 signal was getting stronger, bit by bit, but peaked at 14.3 dB SNR and then started going back down. Sometime I'll find out.
Larry

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post #11486 of 11490 Old Yesterday, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
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A few years ago, I contacted both KICU & KTEH about signal service problems here only 9 miles away.
You must be in a deep hole to have problems with those high power stations just 9 miles away. What does your terrain plot look like to KICU?

I've attached my terrain plot from KUVS to my house which is located a bit over 100' down the hill so I'm severely blocked to it. KUVS has about 60KW in my direction and is 14 miles away. The plot accurately shows the hill I'm behind. I have no trouble at all receiving KUVS at my house with even a small outdoor antenna. My antennas are located about 20' down the hill so at 70' the antennas stick up above the hill by 50'.

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post #11487 of 11490 Old Yesterday, 03:14 PM
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What does your terrain plot look like to KICU?
Ben sent me the info needed to make the plot which is attached.

Looks to be a 2 edge path but barely. Unfortunately your antenna would have to be at 150' to get a 1 edge path according to TV Fool.

A 2 edge path is much more difficult than a 1 edge path.

Chuck
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post #11488 of 11490 Old Yesterday, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post
Ben sent me the info needed to make the plot which is attached.

Looks to be a 2 edge path but barely. Unfortunately your antenna would have to be at 150' to get a 1 edge path according to TV Fool.

A 2 edge path is much more difficult than a 1 edge path.

Chuck
You notice the difference ? My plot is mostly downhill .... skimming the ground clutter edges.
Your plot has a elevation advantage.

The high power stations are do-able. The low power ones are not.
I would expect the same type of plot for Walnut Grove UHF ... that is totally cut off to zero signal.
I have found a sweet spot to KEMO that works well. With no issues.

Not a good location for DX 'ing long range signals.
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post #11489 of 11490 Old Yesterday, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 888CALLFCC View Post
I would expect the same type of plot for Walnut Grove UHF ... that is totally cut off to zero signal.

Yes, and I can see why. After seeing your terrain plot to Walnut Grove there is no doubt in my mind that whatever signal you're seeing on RF 31 has to be KSMS.

Chuck
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post #11490 of 11490 Old Today, 12:33 PM
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FWIW, I haven't seen any issues at all down here in the Evergreen Area of San Jose, but then again I'm not looking at the stations some of you are.
Replacing the outdoor cable fixed it. The insulation was deteriorated. Apparently the installer did not bother to use exterior cable.

BTW I am using an 8-bay channel master on a 3rd floor balcony of a northish-facing apartment in the flatlands. Tricky to aim and subject to weather leaves etc. disturbance, but otherwise working OK again.
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