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Old 08-16-2015, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jaxstraww View Post
Just lost channel 6? For a few weeks been coming in fine but checked tonight and no joy. Everything else is in good shape.
A few weeks? Have you had problems with 6 before? Were you getting it well for a long time?
Where are you located (8 miles in which direction)?
I haven't had any problems, though it's always been "weak" for me.
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:31 AM
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Hi Everyone, first time poster here and I have a mystery that I'm hoping the experts here can help me solve.

Has anyone been able to get a reliable signal from the WTXF Allentown Translator (Channel 38)? I live in the Allentown area around 8 miles away from the translator. I have an outdoor antenna (DB4E) that has given me "ok" reception for the Philadelphia-based channel (Channel 42), at least during the winter when there is no foliage. During the rest of the year it's very unreliable. I was excited to see that they were adding a translator for the Allentown market, which would finally resolve my reception woes for this channel.

However, since the translator went on the air the reception has been very poor, in fact even worse than Channel 42 in Philadelphia! Constant glitching and there are often long periods of time (even days at a time) where I cannot get a picture at all from the channel.

Here's the interesting thing-- WLVT (PBS), which I believe transmits from the same location as the WTXF translator, comes in nice and clear without any problems year-round. WLVT is on channel 39. This is what kind of signal info I get when I tune to WLVT as opposed to the WTXF translator:

WLVT
Channel 39
Signal Strength: 100% (Consistent)
Signal Quality: 90% (Consistent)
Symbol Quality: 100% (Consistent)

WTXF
Channel 38
Signal Strength: 100% (Consistent)
Signal Quality: 90% (Consistent)
Symbol Quality: Fluctuates wildly; sometimes it's at 0% all day (channel is black) and sometimes it fluctuates between 50-100% with constant glitching

When I check my TVFool report it shows that I should be well within range to get channel 38 even with an indoor antenna.

I've also tried the channel with 3 different receivers, different cabling, and a smaller indoor style antenna (as mentioned above) to confirm that there isn't a problem with hardware somewhere along the line. I also tried hooking up the smaller antenna to a long length of coax and taking it around the house/yard to make sure there isn't some kind of local interference or multipath issue, and I still see the same glitchy behavior (Symbol Quality) on the channel.

I feel like I've exhausted everything I can think of to try and get this channel working so now I'm turning to you all to see if you have any thoughts on what else I can try.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:40 AM
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Interesting you ask about the WTXF translator. I was in Allentown on Saturday and while I had WTXF-38 at 100% signal strength and about 90% SNR on an HDHomeRun receiver, it appeared there was something wrong with the transport stream because the BER (bit error rate) was through the roof. I wasn't able to get a clean reading on it.

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Old 08-17-2015, 04:34 AM
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Trip,

Thanks for the reply!

I was using the exact same tuner (HDHomeRun) but I also tried it with an internal PCI tuner (Hauppage) and the tuner built into my HDTV. They all had the exact same problems with Channel 38, yet these tuners don't have problems with any of the other local channels broadcasting from the same location.

After I tried all the stuff I mentioned in my previous message, I started to strongly believe that there is a problem with the signal being broadcast instead of a problem with my equipment. I figured that since the translator is relatively new (it was put up towards the beginning of this year I believe) that not many people have actually tried tuning into it and noticed the problem.

So around a month ago I contacted the WTXF programming department through their e-mail address to ask them to look into it, and a few weeks after that I got a followup e-mail from someone in their engineering department. They basically just suggested that the signal might be too strong at my location and that it needs to be attenuated. That doesn't really add up to me because of the WLVT precedent. Nevertheless, I tried adding some splitters to attenuate the signal and tried moving the antenna around to locations where the signal was weaker, and although I was able to get the signal strength to drop significantly, I still had the same Symbol Errors problem.

Now that you mentioned you had the same problem, that makes me really believe something is wrong with the broadcast.

Thoughts on what I can do? Football season is right around the corner and I'm losing hope that I'll be able to catch the games on Channel 38.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:02 AM
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IMHO, FOX has the worst picture quality of the major networks by a wide margin. Football of FOX is nowhere near as good as CBS, NBC, or ESPN.

Another case of poor PQ is the Channel 29 morning show - it looks like it's a local cable access show.

That said, this might be why you're seeing issues on 38 up in Allentown. I just don't think they "get" it.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:36 AM
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Agreed on the picture quality. If only they would simulcast all the local games on NBC and CBS.
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Old Today, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by frank70 View Post
I wonder if something nearby (or even in your house) started generating significant noise impulses near the frequency of RF channel 6. As a crude test, you could tune a portable FM radio to the very low end of the dial (down below 88 MHz) and see if you hear any sort of persistent static there (when channel 6 was analog, it was possible to receiver their audio subcarrier on an FM radio; now all you should hear there is the gentle background random noise hiss characteristic of the ATSC bitstream that IS WPVI-HD now. With more sophisticated tools like SDR# and an Software Defined Radio dongle (re-purposed European TV tuner chipset) you could actually visualize what's going on in that 82-88 MHz band, but that's relatively tough to set up (gotta buy the dongle from China, then get the appropriate driver installed and do special configuration of a USB port). I have such a setup and the signal looks clean here in Lower Bucks County (a 6MHz hump of low level random noise).

There must be a reason for the sudden loss of the channel, and I don't think it's signal strength.

I did dump my FioS router for a Linksys with 5ghz band available. That and a PS4 are the newest things I bought.

All may be moot now anyway. Just got back from vacation and the VHF antenna came in. Sent my nephew up while I turned on the TV to watch the magic. Wouldn't you know it....Channel 6 was showing sharp as heck before the antenna was installed. Anyway, I still put the antenna up there even though I was now getting channel 6. Most of those lower channels are much clearer now so the $30 investment was worth it.

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Old Today, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxstraww View Post
I did dump my FioS router for a Linksys with 5ghz band available. That and a PS4 are the newest things I bought.

All may be moot now anyway. Just got back from vacation and the VHF antenna came in. Sent my nephew up while I turned on the TV to watch the magic. Wouldn't you know it....Channel 6 was showing sharp as heck before the antenna was installed. Anyway, I still put the antenna up there even though I was now getting channel 6. Most of those lower channels are much clearer now so the $30 investment was worth it.
Just to be perfectly clear, the only 3 channels in the Philly area that are on VHF are 2, 6, and 12.
2 and 6 are in the VHF-LOW band, while 12 is in the VHF-HIGH band. Channels 3, 7, and 10 are on UHF RF channels 26, 48, and 67 respectively.

With digital TV, there is no such thing as a "sharp" picture vs. a "fuzzy" or "snowy" picture. It's one of
a) Present and identical to what the station transmitted, or;
b) Completely absent, or;
c) Present (marginally/intermittently) with errors and dropouts perceived as seemingly random
pixelation, flashing, freezing, or temporary loss of picture or sound.
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