TLDR: I get everything but Channels 4 and 9 (and their subchannels) using my cheap flat antenna or my old rabbit ears, even though those used to come in fine. Tried a distribution amp to no effect. Should I try an attenuator next? A different antenna? Maybe the Clearstream that Wirecutter likes? I need an indoor antenna that's not too bulky.
We're on the Lower East Side (zip 10002) with line of sight from our living room to the ESB and (if we press our faces to the window) WTC1. For several years we used a basic rabbit ears antenna (RCA ANT111E) with our TV's internal tuner and rarely had reception problems on any of the major channels (2,4,5,7,9,11,13) or plenty of other channels we never watched.
We've been out of our apartment for most of 2018 during a renovation where we rearranged things a bit. We now have a projector with an outboard tuner in the room where the TV previously lived, and moved the TV to another room. I bought the outboard tuner and a flat antenna before we moved out and tested them, and at that time they seemed to pull in all the channels fine, too.
Fast forward to December 2018. The renovation is almost done and I've been installing the electronics, and I can't seem to get channels 4 or 9. Everything else comes in clear using any combination of rabbit ears or flat antenna, TV tuner or outboard tuner. But it's like 4 and 9 (and their subchannels) don't exist.
I've tried adding a distribution amplifier to the mix since the antenna location (just a few feet from where the rabbit ears used to live, along the same wall of windows) is now separated from the TV and outboard tuner by a couple of long-ish coax runs and splitters. The amp didn't help at all. In fact, when I cranked up the amp's variable gain, other channels dropped out (presumably the signal got too noisy).
I find it particularly strange that 4 and 9 are the only channels I can't get, since they have much more in common (in terms of frequency and transmitter location) with other channels that we DO get than they have in common with each other.
Any thoughts on what we should try next? Is it possible that 4 and 9 are TOO strong and we should try an attenuator? I assume an FM trap won't help as neither 4 nor 9 is anywhere near FM frequencies. Should I try a different antenna? TheWirecutter seems to like the Clearstream Eclipse, which I think would work well aesthetically in our apartment. I don't have the ability to mount anything outside, and the best antenna location (with the line of sight to ESB and WTC) is in the middle of our living room so an indoor metal monstrosity isn't going to work, either. At the end of the day we could live without 9, but we'd really like to have 4 as there are occasional NBC programs we like to watch.