Originally Posted by afiggatt
Which specific Channel Master antenna do you have? If I follow this, you don't get WETA-DT at all, even if you rotate the antenna towards Arlington and do a scan, correct? Depends on how your tuner works, but do you get anything if you enter channel 27 (the actual broadcast channel for the digital signal for WETA-DT)?
The Sony HD TVs have been reported to have good ATSC tuners. Given the Sony -Samsung collaboration on the LCD plant, it is likely that the Sony uses the same chipset as in Samsung ATSC tuner STBs. So you should be ok on the ATSC tuner.
For starters, I wonder if your Channel master is too directional for your location. In Silver Spring, Baltimore is in close to the opposite direction. With the right antenna, you should be able to aim the front of the antenna at Baltimore and pick up the DC stations in the backlobe without having to use a rotator most of the time.
I can get WETA-DT along with the rest of the DC and the Baltimore stations (and other stations in the region) from out here in Sterling with a Channel Master 4221 4 Bay bowtie UHF antenna without a rotator. The 4221 4 Bay is multi-directional with a broad pickup pattern to the front, but can also pick stations from the backside. I get WWPX-DT Pax/i 60 (DT=12) station way out in Martinsburg at 46 miles with my CM 4221 aimed in the other direction just south of Baltimore.
If you can't get WETA-DT at all from where you are, you may be blocked by the terrain, the city between you and the not that high a broadcast tower. If WETA-DT is still at Arlington, then the station is only at 75 kW, which would normally put you withing range, is not that powerful a signal for UHF. The FCC database for WETA is at http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?call=WETA
if you want to look at the locations and tower heights. There is a lack of information over when WETA-DT will move it's digital broadcasting to the same DC area as the other DC towers. But I may be wrong and they already have. Maybe I should break out the very directional Radio Shack U-75R and find out where WETA-DT is broadcasting from just to be sure.
I've visited the FCC database but, frankly, got confused about what I was reading re WETA. There were three antenna entries for them, not two. Maybe two of the listings were on the same tower -- not sure. From the lat and long data, they have at least two towers, but it wasn't clear to me if the digital site is in Arlington. If it is, you might have a line of sight to it, and maybe I do not.
Sorry, but I can't quote a model number for my antenna since the documentation is long gone. All I know is that it's a combo VHF/UHF log periodic with a boom length of 11-12 feet. Channel Master called it a "fringe" or "deep fringe" (like that's a lot of help ), but judging by what we've seen over time with analog station reception, it seems to be a decent array.
Right... I cannot get the digital WETA no matter what. Just as you said, it so happens that two days ago I experimentally tried pointing the ant toward Balt and found we could get every VHF and UHF digital station up there while still maintaining perfect reception of all the DC area stations off the back of the antenna (but not WETA). Then we tried moving the antenna slightly east of Balt and found we could also receive digital Ch 22 in Annapolis perfectly along with all the rest. When analog ends on 2009, that compromise antenna bearing is so convenient, like you suggested, we may never need to use the rotator again.
In all the above, WETA is always impossible to get. I've tried auto-program scans and rescans so many times, the menu key on the TV's remote is in danger of wearing out. Instead of auto-program, I've tried entering via the numeric keypad every channel number in and around 26.1. No matter whether 26.1, 26.2, 26.3, etc., 27.x, etc., the tuner never finds WETA.
While doing this last night, I decided to keep looking higher in frequency. WETA never appeared, but when I got up to 34.1, the tuner locked onto what appeared to be a simultaneous UHF broadcast of VHF CBS channel 9.1. According to the TV set's diagnostics, this signal at 34.1 was super loud. After spending a lot of time on the internet I could not verify if CBS is actually transmitting on that UHF channel, but I'm suspicious that they are not. So once again, I'm wondering if this tuner is somehow defective.
Here's another symptom... I wondered why all the auto-scans had never picked up this 34.1 station, so I tried auto-programming several more times. The tuner ~never~ finds 34.1, but if I manually enter 34.1 via the keypad, it is always reliably there, almost pinning the scale on the signal strength diagnostic screen. Whether this station is real or some kind of overload product, I'd have thought that the tuner should find it during an auto-scan.
Getting back to the antenna, I've tried pointing it to every bearing, with and without a relatively low noise/high overload point Chan Master preamp, with and without a 4:1 splitter (6-7 dB loss), and even tried an inside bow tie as well as a loop. The other stations can be received in most of these tests, but never WETA. Still suspecting a tuner that's fouled up in some odd way, we even tried an auto-programming scan in Cable mode, but of course this was a waste of time. But now I find this powerful station at 34.1 and can't seem to verify if it's "real" or not.
Thanks for the info about the Sony ands Samsung tuners having much in common. That's good to know. However one thing they seem not to share is a user-electable low noise RF amplifier that's part of some Samsung DTV sets. I couldn't find any technical specs on this amp, but the fact that it might help my situation has me wondering about returning this Sony and instead getting a Samsung.
Prior to this odd channel 34.1 discovery, I was starting to accept that this is probably a low signal problem without a fix. We are up high (305 ft), but maybe we are co-level with downtown Silver Spring and the buildings there are blocking the wee little signal that WETA seems to be sending out. But the ch 34.1 thing gives me pause about there being no fix. As does the fact that a Samsung set with the LNA just might make the difference.
If you have any more thoughts/advice on all this, I'd sure appreciate hearing it! Thanks....