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post #1 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Northern NJ - basic help needed (tv fool included)

Hey all -

I'm trying to get started with pulling in broadcast HDTV signals, but I'm having trouble, and I can't seem to figure out where I'm going wrong.

1) I ordered a clearstream eclipse indoor antennae. It was listed as used, but the condition was very good, and i figured it's basically just a bundle of wires, so if it passes a visual inspection it's unlikely to be completely broken. Is this a bad assumption?

2) My TV is hd, but I don't think it has a digital tuner in it, but I'm not sure how to tell. When I plug the antennae directly into the TV, all the channels are snow. So, that made me think...

3) to buy an apex digital tv converter box (DT250A). I plugged this into the antenna and the TV, and got all of.... 3 channels. Two home shopping networks, and one chinese station. Not even an inkling of the local channels, which I assume would have the strongest signals (tv fool report). I live right outside of New York City, so I should be able to get more, no? I have the antennae in a second floor window, and all the channels listed in the tv fool report have 0% signal (according to the the DT250A)

All of this leads me to think that maybe the DT250A is too old to get the proper kinds of signals that they're broadcasting on these days? With all the standards I can't keep anything straight, and I haven't been able to find a quick-start guide leading me to what type of equipment I should even be considering.

Please help! I'm at a loss here, I don't know what's broken and I'm reticent to spend any more money on something I can't wrap my head around.

Thanks!!

-Mike
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 01:03 PM
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1) Since Eclipse is UHF, I'm not surprised by what you DO NOT Receive....i.e. Ch2-13.

2) To TEST whether Eclipse is good or not, try replacing it with some OTHER kind of Antenna, such as cheap VHF Rabbit Ears/UHF LOOP (which you'll probably need to receive Ch2-13 Channels anyway...Eclipse is UHF Only). Be sure to try it with an added length of Coax so you can walk around and find the BEST LOCATION....probably NEAR a Window. BTW: Amplified Rabbit Ears/Loops are better than Passive and Terk HDTVa is even BETTER, since it is Directional to suppress Multipath.

Alternatively, you could ALSO try some cheap DIY Antennas just to make sure the DT-250 is working, such as a DIY set of Hi-VHF Rabbit Ears (Two pieces of wire, each about 14.5-in long) and/or a DIY UHYF LOOP: a single Loop of wire 8.5-in in Diameter. Connect one or the other to a 300-ohm to 75-ohm Balun Transformer, such as fol. (you may have something like this already):
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=wmxfmr
https://www.amazon.com/Matching-Tran.../dp/B00VT54SY4
OR:
https://www.amazon.com/300-Ohm-UHF-M.../dp/B0002ZPIOG

It it turns out you need a MORE POWERFUL Antenna(s) than Terk HDTVa, let us know and we can make some recommendations.....


3) Let us know the HDTV's Mfr & MODEL number so we/you can use GOOGLE to determine if it has a Digital (ATSC) Tuner or not.

4) Apex DT-250 is usable as an ATSC Tuner....but ALL of the inexpensive CECB (Coupon Eligible Converter Boxes) were mandated to be LOW-RESOLUTION. IF it turns out your HDTV does NOT have an ATSC Tuner, you would be better served using the following, which also accepts an external USB HDD, turning it into a Hi-Def DVR:
https://www.amazon.com/3500STBII-Mul.../dp/B00GOILYB6
http://www.iviewus.com/index.php/iview-3500stbii.html

Last edited by holl_ands; 07-26-2016 at 01:18 PM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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This is insanely great advice, thank you!! I'll get back to you as soon as I have the chance to run these tests.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 01:24 PM
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you're going to need a real antenna, preferably outdoors mounted high.

if you desire the big networks, you're going to need an antenna that does UHF and hi VHF. the VHF part is where the antenna gets bigger. CW, ABC, and PBS are hi-VHF. if you need to get MeTV 3, then you need a lo-VHF antenna, and thats much bigger but you might able to pull that in with a good hi-VHF antenna.

You have eagle rock right in front of you blocking the Empire State Building so it can be tough to get everything.

Im just north of you and i have 3 antennas joined together:

UHF: antennas direct db4 roof mounted
hi-VHF: antennas direct cs5 roof mounted
lo-VHF: antennacraft y526 attic mounted

If i were you, i would try the Antennas Direct Clearstream 2V if you want a more "modern" look first indoors, if not outdoors. if that doesnt work, you need to go bigger but i think Eagle Rock will give you problems...

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post #5 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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more great advice, thank you! My plan was to start small, with cheaper equipment, to see if what I'm going for is even feasable. I'd hate to get a big antennae mounted on my roof only to find out I get one fuzzy channel. I think the biggest problem right now is that my antennae is designed for UHF, while most of the channels I'm interested in are VHF. I'm going to try adapting some rabbit ears in different parts of the house, and see what I get. If I can see something fuzzy, I know that I'm on the right track - right?
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
I have the antennae in a second floor window
Which way does the window face? The antenna aim should be 121 to 130 deg magnetic for NYC. A metal screen or low-E glass will block signals.


You will probably need a preamp, but try it without first. The RCA TVPRAMP1 is inexpensive.
Quote:
If I can see something fuzzy, I know that I'm on the right track - right?
right


I see a lot of trees in your area; trees will block TV signals.

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 03:46 PM
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Eagle Rock is definitely in the way.
Terrain profile for WABC:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...dALLTV%26n%3d4


WNBC
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...ALLTV%26n%3d18

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 03:51 PM
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Here is a map


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If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-26-2016, 06:39 PM
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And let's not also forget the simple stuff.

When you put the coax on the TV & looked for channels, was it set to scan for over the air (ATSC/NTSC) or cable (QAM) ?
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-27-2016, 07:50 AM
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I agree with Aero1 that you're going to need a real antenna mounted outdoors if you want to receive the NYC stations. TV Fool shows the NYC stations as 2 edge. I've attached the terrain plot for WCBS from TV Fool. You are on the far right in the image. Your antenna will need to be located in a spot where you can see the edge labeled "2." This means no buildings, trees or other vegetation blocking the view. It must be true line-of-sight. If you can do that then you'll have a good chance of getting all the stations.
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-27-2016, 12:26 PM
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I strongly disagree with Calaveras comment "It must be true line-of-sight"....lots of people regularly receive 1Edge and 2Edge signals.....
TVFool Calculations INCLUDE the extra Loss caused by the 1Edge and 2-Edge Diffraction Paths.

With an INDOOR Antenna, only the GREEN Zone stations are likely possible to be received....and to receive CBS in YELLOW Zone an OUTDOOR Antenna Location will be required with a Medium to High Gain UHF Antenna with a Preamp, such as W-G HD-7697, HD-7698 or a 4-Bay (or Better) with a separate Hi-VHF Antenna (e.g. MCM/Stellar Labs 9-Element Yagi). To receive stations other than from 106 thru 117-deg (re True North) you MIGHT also need a ROTATOR....but you should try without to begin with....you just might get lucky and pick up stations NOT directly in the BEAM:
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/30-2475

I would NOT recommend the W-G HD-7694 (only 10 dBi UHF Gain) or Low Gain C2V (only 10 dBi UHF Gain and no better than Rabbit Ears for Hi-VHF). NBC in RED Zone is unlikely unless using Very High Gain UHF Antenna, such as DB-8e with a Preamp...and even then it might be IFFY...no guarantees, esp. given all of the OTHER Unknowns related to OTA reception.

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post #12 of 16 Old 07-28-2016, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
I strongly disagree with Calaveras comment "It must be true line-of-sight"....lots of people regularly receive 1Edge and 2Edge signals.....
TVFool Calculations INCLUDE the extra Loss caused by the 1Edge and 2-Edge Diffraction Paths.

You completely misunderstood what I said. I thought I was clear but maybe not. I did not say people cannot receive 1 or 2 edge signals. Of course they can. Almost all my stations are 2 edge. Let me try to clarify what I said.

Take the graphic I included in my post above. If you have a 2 edge path your antenna needs to be true line of sight to the 2nd edge. Any buildings, trees or other vegetation in the path further reduces the signal from the TV Fool predictions. This is likely the main reason people are unsuccessful with 2 edge paths.

In every case I have personal experience with, if the antenna was LOS to the closest edge, reception was successful except in cases with severe multipath issues.
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-28-2016, 12:14 PM
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Clarification helps....but TVFool (ie. Longley-Rice) Predictions are based on a STATISTICAL MODEL, derived from many thousands of ACTUAL REAL-WORLD signal level measurements....which INCLUDED "stuff" such as TREES as well as rooftops/irregular Terrain (important with Earth Skimming Paths), although I doubt that it included very many Rural/Sub-Urban paths with actual BUILDINGS in the way....and Urban "Skyscraper Canyon" paths were never calculated in the models. After careful consideration of Longley-Rice vs latest data (and OTHER Models), in OET-69 FCC adopted some (small) Clutter Loss guesstimates that should be subtracted from TVFool calculated NM and signal levels [incl. LOS if path is "close" to the Earth]. FYI: some Professional Propagation Prediction Programs include a proprietary Data Base of Clutter Loss vs LAT/LONG Location, which is of course higher as buildings become higher and closer together.

When I say that the Calculated Fade Margin needs to be AT LEAST 10 dB for long term reliability, Clutter Loss is just one of several "unknowns" not included in calculation of NM for which the extra margin is needed to counter.

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post #14 of 16 Old 07-28-2016, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
When I say that the Calculated Fade Margin needs to be AT LEAST 10 dB for long term reliability, Clutter Loss is just one of several "unknowns" not included in calculation of NM for which the extra margin is needed to counter.

I agree 100% with your fade margin estimates. 10-20 dB is a realistic range for people with 1 or 2 edge paths. LOS paths rarely have low NM values unless the station is extremely low power.

I wish fade margin was the only thing to worry about. The measured NMs on my local stations run 20-40 dB. Sometimes a signal drop as small as 10 dB can drop my stations out but sometimes not. I've looked into this and it appears that multipath can change independently of the direct path signal. If the direct path signal and the multipath go down together then there's no problem. But sometimes the signal goes down and the multipath goes up and that's when there's a problem. It's very rare that my signals drop so much that in the absence of multipath I would lose them.
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-02-2016, 09:20 PM
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Agree with others that you should use an outdoor antenna. I am in West Orange which as you know, is next door to Roseland . Most of Roseland sits in the shadows of the two Watchung mountains . These peaks are between you and the Manhattan Transmitters of the NYC stations . As you go west of Laurel Avenue down to Becker Farm Road and Passaic Ave. the signals will get weaker as the elevation lowers in those areas . If memory serves me right I was shown a map by WABC about 20 years ago and it showed a white area for NYC signals in a tiny strip from Livingston into Roseland . A white area is an area where there is not a usable signal .
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post #16 of 16 Old 08-03-2016, 09:25 AM
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TVFool also has that On-Line [and off-line via Torrent Download] MAP Capability.....
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