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OTA signal not strong enough - set-up help needed! - Page 2

post #31 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

Which I can't take back because it has been too long since I purchased it. It is the one pictured on the radio shack homepage as an example indoor antenna

Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Wrong antenna.

See: http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2103077

I know which antenna you are referring to.

What I was saying was I already have a RS antenna I have had for more than 30 days - the one referenced in my previous post.

Are you saying the one I have isn't worth trying in the attic and only the one referenced will work?

If so, maybe they'll let me exchange it?
post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

So, I need a NON-amplified antenna and the one I have with it's 20db of amplification is doing what exactly? Over-amplifying? If you can help me understand, that would be great.

That's right.

A overdriven preamplifier does the same thing to an RF signal that a fuzz box does to the sound of a guitar amplifier.
post #33 of 65
If you want to save money you can build the same (as the CM 4220 or the Antennas Direct DB2) with some coat hangers, screws, washers, and if you need a reflector something like a cookie rack or cardboard and tin foil (for indoor use). You can check the thread "How to build a UHF antenna" in the HDTV Technical forum, or this one, which might have simpler plans:
http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index...showtopic=9613
post #34 of 65
Forget the previous post. I didn't see your post: "I don't have the time to devote to making an antenna." (But it 's pretty easy and might be faster than a trip to the Shack or an online order.)
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

Are you saying the one I have isn't worth trying in the attic and only the one referenced will work?

You said you tried it and it only worked intermittently. Of course, you should try it in the attic, if you haven't already done so.

If you can't remove the dipole rods, just collapse them as far as possible and put them in a "V" or horizontally, if possible.
post #36 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

You said you tried it and it only worked intermittently. Of course, you should try it in the attic, if you haven't already done so.

If you can't remove the dipole rods, just collapse them as far as possible and put them in a "V" or horizontally, if possible.

Ok. Here's what I did tonight:

1) Removed the splitter
2) Removed the drop amp
3) Hooked up an old RCA UHF inside the attic right next to the wall facing due east (Dipoles not removable)

Result was better, but still not watchable. More picture consistency, but "blocked" out very badly (not sure that is the right term - checkerboard like effect)

4) Hooked up the Radio Shack UHF same location as the RCA (Dipoles not removable)

Better than the RCA, but more of the same "blocking"

Therefore, I am concluding at this point that I should order the Channel Master antenna and give it a shot. Feel free to disagree and let me know why.

I will most likely be mounting it inside the attic, so I could possibly go with a bigger antenna if anyone thinks that will help.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I really appreciate it!
post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

...I am concluding at this point that I should order the Channel Master antenna and give it a shot.

That's what I would do. You really shouldn't need any more antenna than a 2bay like that channel master, assuming your TVFool page was for the right location.
post #38 of 65
One thing to keep in mind is that indoor areas (whether downstairs or in an attic) usually have "hot" and "cold" spots for antenna reception. Reflections from walls, angled roofs, and large objects cause multipath interference. If you haven't done so already, try various locations in the attic, and orient the antenna in different directions. This is obviously easier to do if you can take a small TV into the attic with you.

A directional antenna has an advantage here, even if it's stronger than you really need, on paper, because you can aim it to reduce the effect of the reflected signals. But even a simple UHF loop is somewhat directional (less sensitive along the plane of the loop) so it can benefit from playing with the location and orientation.
post #39 of 65
The UHF loop should work because you are only 7 miles away. My mom has UHF loop that picks up my PBS station from 30 miles away. The only thing else I can think of is there something that your house is made with or something around your house that is interfering with the signals. Or do you have two faulty antennas.

I use the Terk TV5 indoor antenna. It works better than rabbit ears. You might want to give it a try.

http://www.amazon.com/Terk-Low-Profi.../dp/B000069106
post #40 of 65
Thread Starter 
Got the antenna today and hooked it up. Signal was better quality, but just as intermittent, so still unwatchable. I am pretty stumped at this point. And once again, the signal was fine with the EyeTV.

I placed the antenna right behind an air vent, thinking that would be better than behind a solid wall. The wall is facing the right direction as indicated by TVfool results.

Other suggestions as to what I can try? I really thought this would be easier.
post #41 of 65
Maybe rescanning your channels, making sure you have a good antenna cable, put the signal strength indicator on your TV and move your antenna around to find the strongest strength.

But if the signal was fine in your Eye TV and and not working right in the TV there maybe something wrong with the tuner in your TV. If it was the antenna the Eye TV wouldn't be working right.
post #42 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

Maybe rescanning your channels, making sure you have a good antenna cable, put the signal strength indicator on your TV and move your antenna around to find the strongest strength.

But if the signal was fine in your Eye TV and and not working right in the TV there maybe something wrong with the tuner in your TV. If it was the antenna the Eye TV wouldn't be working right.

I am beginning to think it is the TV, but I don't know why. I am thinking that it would be pretty uncommon for those QAM tuners to go bad, esp. when I have hardly used it. Is there a way to test those other than just hooking up an antenna?

I will try taking the antenna outside today and seeing what happens. I guess I will need some guidance on grounding if I have to mount outside.
post #43 of 65
Try listening to an AM Radio for a bit. See if you hear any "pops" or "statick-y" noises, when tuned to a spot where there are no stations (highest or lowest frequency on the band is often a good spot to listen).

With a weak signal, or VHF signals, intermittent noises...like from a thermostat cycling on and off, from a computer or modem, light dimmers, etc, can cause sudden dropouts. I've noticed with my fancy radio, that switching transients from the washing machine, heat thermostat, even static discharges from touching the radio or it's speakers, will cause the AGC to react violently, dropping the signal to zero for a split second. I suspect that some Digital Boxes may have a fast enough AGC (Automatic RF Gain Control) that they may get hammered by static pops, or the signal is just overridden momentarily by the static.
With the radio, I just have to set it for a slower AGC Attack time. But, to really "fix" the problem, I'll probably have to clean some electrical contacts, or use an outdoor radio antenna.
post #44 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

Try listening to an AM Radio for a bit. See if you hear any "pops" or "statick-y" noises, when tuned to a spot where there are no stations (highest or lowest frequency on the band is often a good spot to listen).

With a weak signal, or VHF signals, intermittent noises...like from a thermostat cycling on and off, from a computer or modem, light dimmers, etc, can cause sudden dropouts. I've noticed with my fancy radio, that switching transients from the washing machine, heat thermostat, even static discharges from touching the radio or it's speakers, will cause the AGC to react violently, dropping the signal to zero for a split second. I suspect that some Digital Boxes may have a fast enough AGC (Automatic RF Gain Control) that they may get hammered by static pops, or the signal is just overridden momentarily by the static.
With the radio, I just have to set it for a slower AGC Attack time. But, to really "fix" the problem, I'll probably have to clean some electrical contacts, or use an outdoor radio antenna.

What's an agc? Forgive my ignorance, but how does this relate to my situation? I am not making the connections.
post #45 of 65
Thread Starter 
What do you all think? Is it worth it to buy an external tuner? I was looking at this http://www.epvision.com/HDTVSTB/phd205LEmain.htm as it was really well rated by buyers on Amazon.com that used it with their home theater projectors. I am not sure if the TV is still under the Best Buy warranty or not.
post #46 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

What do you all think? Is it worth it to buy an external tuner? I was looking at this http://www.epvision.com/HDTVSTB/phd205LEmain.htm as it was really well rated by buyers on Amazon.com that used it with their home theater projectors. I am not sure if the TV is still under the Best Buy warranty or not.

That external tuner will work. But you might want to see the others that are available at the link below. There is the Dish DTVPal DVR that has 2 HD tuners and works with OTA with no monthly charge if you want a DVR. My mom uses one and doesn't use the HD tuner inside her HDTV.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095
post #47 of 65
"AGC" is "Automatic Gain Control", which all radio/TV (of any kind) receivers use to maintain the proper signal level within their circuitry. I was just making the point that I can hear the results of any static and interference on a radio like mine, and can somewhat compensate for it with some radio settings.
A TV or converter, of course, won't have any external means of adjusting parameters like AGC, but you do have control over things like the antenna position, and external noise sources.

Using the AM radio, you should be able to note any sudden "pops", static bursts, or other interfering noises that would affect your TV reception. Sometimes the noise will over-ride your TV signal, sometimes they will overwhelm the receiver entirely...like the radio AGC I was talking about.
The spaces between AM radio stations should be fairly quiet. If you hear buzzing and crackling, or pops, that interference may be causing the dropouts of your TV.

Moving the radio around the house will allow you to locate the offending source of interference...thermostats, refrigerator compressor, dimmers, light switches, loose wiring connections, etc.
post #48 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

That external tuner will work. But you might want to see the others that are available at the link below. There is the Dish DTVPal DVR that has 2 HD tuners and works with OTA with no monthly charge if you want a DVR. My mom uses one and doesn't use the HD tuner inside her HDTV.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095

Great list! May be a little out of my price range, HOWEVER it would allow us to not lose DVR convenience, which would be very nice.
post #49 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

"AGC" is "Automatic Gain Control", which all radio/TV (of any kind) receivers use to maintain the proper signal level within their circuitry. I was just making the point that I can hear the results of any static and interference on a radio like mine, and can somewhat compensate for it with some radio settings.
A TV or converter, of course, won't have any external means of adjusting parameters like AGC, but you do have control over things like the antenna position, and external noise sources.

Using the AM radio, you should be able to note any sudden "pops", static bursts, or other interfering noises that would affect your TV reception. Sometimes the noise will over-ride your TV signal, sometimes they will overwhelm the receiver entirely...like the radio AGC I was talking about.
The spaces between AM radio stations should be fairly quiet. If you hear buzzing and crackling, or pops, that interference may be causing the dropouts of your TV.

Moving the radio around the house will allow you to locate the offending source of interference...thermostats, refrigerator compressor, dimmers, light switches, loose wiring connections, etc.

Using the AM radio would be a kind of "test" for interference? Just set the radio to a point on the dial that does not have a signal and then listen for "pops" and "crackles?"
post #50 of 65
Thread Starter 
Tonight I took the Channel Master antenna outside and hooked it up. I thought it should work outside because I was getting a picture on the TV without ANY antenna hooked up and just pointing the open end of cable up and to the east!

Once I replaced the Monoprice amp'd antenna with this one, I hooked everything back up and lo and behold, I got a good strong picture......................and then it started acting up. I switched out one of the cables and I got a great picture, pushed the TV console back up to the wall and.....................lost the picture completely.

I am a little stumped for sure. It doesn't seem to be the cable and the tuner works, but not consistently or for long when it does.

I have a Best Buy repair person coming on Thursday to check out the TV. I purchased the service plan, so it is covered until 2012.

Feel free to throw any other suggestions my way and I will update everyone after the appt. on Thursday.
post #51 of 65
Quote:


I got a great picture, pushed the TV console back up to the wall and.....................lost the picture completely.

What would happen if you didn't push the TV back up to the wall. Could there be something inside the wall interfering with the signal.
post #52 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

Great list! May be a little out of my price range, HOWEVER it would allow us to not lose DVR convenience, which would be very nice.

A DVR with no subscription fees is cheap once it's paid for. And averaging out the cost over a year or two, it's still much cheaper than paying the cableco.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

Tonight I took the Channel Master antenna outside...
Once I replaced the Monoprice amp'd antenna with this one, I hooked everything back up and lo and behold, I got a good strong picture......................and then it started acting up. I switched out one of the cables and I got a great picture, pushed the TV console back up to the wall and.....................lost the picture completely...

Did you get solid reception on all channels or did it just break up on certain ones? And did you pull the TV back away from the wall to see if the problem went away again?

You may have something near the TV that's interfering with the tuner. Routers, dimmers compact fluorescent lights, computers, phones and anything wireless may cause interference with reception. Try turning off everything within 25' of the TV that may be suspect.

Or, you may just have a defective tuner.
post #53 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

A DVR with no subscription fees is cheap once it's paid for. And averaging out the cost over a year or two, it's still much cheaper than paying the cableco.

Yep. Totally agree, but first I need to get this reception issue resolved and ensure that my signal is consistent enough to be worth-while for such an investment.
post #54 of 65
Thread Starter 
In response to the questions about the TV/wall - I can't really get the TV too far from the wall based on the set-up of our living room, so I am not sure what to do there.

Basically, I lost the signal as soon as moved the cable. I am assuming that a cable shouldn't be THAT sensitive (I tried with two different cables), so would you all guess that it is the tuner?

I do have an ATT Uverse wireless router right behind the TV. I will try turning that off and seeing what happens. If it is the router, you are suggesting I place it 25' from the cable?

Frustrating to know there is a kick-butt picture at my fingertips and I can't get it hauled in!!
post #55 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndurantz View Post

...Basically, I lost the signal as soon as moved the cable.

Sounds like a bad connector or cable.


Quote:
I do have an ATT Uverse wireless router right behind the TV. I will try turning that off and seeing what happens. If it is the router, you are suggesting I place it 25' from the cable?

If it is the router, you need to move it far enough away from TV to mitigate the interference. Since you said it was "right behind the TV" the wireless router is very high on the list of suspects.
post #56 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Sounds like a bad connector or cable.


If it is the router, you need to move it far enough away from TV to mitigate the interference. Since you said it was "right behind the TV" the wireless router is very high on the list of suspects.

Ok. So what about this?

Tonight I uplug the router and reconnect the cable - Perfect picture, pulled in about 10 more channels! Watched for awhile and checked all the channels - all looked great.

I then turned off the TV and reconnected the router, pulled out the laptop and started surfing. Turned the TV back on and everything still seemed to work great.

However, it seems that the picture is slightly, slightly degraded, but that is difficult to tell whether it is my mind playing tricks on me or a real difference.

Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback?
post #57 of 65
The router was probably operating on a channel that interfered with the some of the channels in the TV band. When you turned it off and back on, it may have selected a different channel to use.

Please define "slightly degraded" in your description of the picture.

Regardless, you need to get the router (and other wireless crap) as far from the TV & antenna as possible.
post #58 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

The router was probably operating on a channel that interfered with the some of the channels in the TV band. When you turned it off and back on, it may have selected a different channel to use.

Please define "slightly degraded" in your description of the picture.

Regardless, you need to get the router (and other wireless crap) as far from the TV & antenna as possible.

Other "wireless crap" would include anything that is receiving a wireless signal as well as anything that is transmitting a wireless signal?
post #59 of 65
Thread Starter 
Ok. So I have been watching for a few hours and it seem that everything is working fine. I will move the router eventually, but too late tonight to do that. From what I can tell, the signal indicator on my TV fluctuates between full power and 1/3 signal, but never below that. Concerns with that?

Misc. questions:

1) How would I go about grounding the antenna?
2) The rubber sheath that can go over the coax connection on the antenna - is it essential or can I get by with electrical tape?
3) When I paint the house this summer, can I paint right over the antenna without being concerned of signal degradation?

Thanks to all of you for your input. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!!
post #60 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Master View Post

That external tuner will work. But you might want to see the others that are available at the link below. There is the Dish DTVPal DVR that has 2 HD tuners and works with OTA with no monthly charge if you want a DVR. My mom uses one and doesn't use the HD tuner inside her HDTV.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095

On this DVR unit, does the unit split the signal for the two tuners or do I need a splitter?
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