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post #14761 of 14952 Old 07-22-2018, 02:06 PM
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I hope this isn't too far off-topic, but how big a deal is lightning?

In other words, if you position your TV or satellite antenna beside your home (not in the middle of your roof (which an electrician told me probably violates the NEC, though all the satellite companies do it that way), ground your antenna right - i.e., that the wire from the mast comes down in a direct vertical line to the ground, and the resistance is within NEC rules, and use an ordinary surge protector (such as is built into an ordinary several hundred watt UPS), how likely is a lightning strike to damage your equipment or your home? E.g., are there any percentages available?

I know that there are "superbolts" with power comparable to atomic bombs (or at least they produce a comparable flash), but I assume those are extremely uncommon. I'm talking about ordinary typical lightning strikes on your antenna, or on the ground nearby.

If it makes a difference, I'm somewhat south of the University of Maryland / College Park, near the border with University Park, MD. We are about 10-15' lower in terrain our neighbors to the east. Add to that that I live in a basement, and don't have access to the attic, and you can guess why I am considering an outdoor antenna. (Where I used to live nearby, an attic antenna reliably picked up over 40 channels, including all the major broadcast networks.) There are trees on the property much taller (65 - 70'?) than any antenna I would install. So lightning strikes to the antenna aren't super-likely to begin with.

I'm not supposed to install an antenna, per landlord restrictions. But one wall of our home is covered with wires from a previous cable installation, along with telephone wires (I don't know if that could pass modern electric code; we also don't appear to have a grounding rod - though there is one on an electric pole at the end of the block. I guess the cable and phone installers did it because the wall is brick, which is hard to drill through) With all those wires, no one would notice if I replaced the terminator on the now-unused cable line with a simple bare wire antenna, and some sort of simple ground, especially since there are climbing vines.

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post #14762 of 14952 Old 07-30-2018, 11:50 AM
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Hello all,

I have an antenna in the attic (not sure which model, previous owner installed it a long time ago - definitely before 2010 when I bought the house, probably sometime between 2000-2010). The antenna looks sort of like this - but I haven't looked at it carefully enough to know for sure - https://www.channelmaster.com/Digita..._p/cm-2016.htm

The previous owner had a printout of an antennaweb.org map and used that to aim the antenna (unfortunately it is not on a mast, it is basically resting on the rafters of the roof).

I recently hooked it up to a WinTV QuadHD tuner to try to grab some locals and record them with Plex.

I get a good signal for all of the major networks (CBS, ABC, FOX, CW) - but I cannot receive WRC-DT (NBC Affiliate) at all. The annoying thing is both Plex and the WinTV software only allow me to scan for channels and tune to them if they're detected. If they're not detected by the scan then I can't try tuning to one or manually configuring a channel to attempt to tune to (anyone know how to force it to try to tune to Real Channel 48 UHF?)

I bought a Winegard LNA-200 to see if amplifying the signal would help, since the antenna is in the attic, I am losing a bit of signal with the coax run down to the basement where all of the coax cables collect and then the coax runs back up 1 floor to the office where my main PC is.

Anyone have any ideas or tips on what I can do to help receive WRC-DT? I found this old thread on TVFool.com (can't post there because my account isn't approved to post yet) - http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=14257 but nothing jumped out as the right solution to me. I don't think WAZW (now WAZT) in Winchester is still using channel 48 (according to TV Fool it says it is now using Channel 46).

The weird thing is Channels 35 (20.1 MyN) and Channel 50 (50.1 CW) both come in fine and are at roughly the same distance and same direction. I only live ~16-17 miles away from WRC-DT, so it should be possible to receive this station.

Here is a map of results from my TVFool Signal Analysis: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9038cf38889d41

The DC stations are all Southeast of my house, and there is a tall tree about 50 feet away from the house, southeast from the antenna. The house itself though is taller than average (10' ceilings and the basement is almost completely above ground, so it is almost like a 3-story house). The tree itself though is taller than the house...

Any suggestions? I watch a bunch of different NBC shows, so being able to receive WRC-DT would be really nice.

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post #14763 of 14952 Old 07-30-2018, 12:33 PM
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First, I'd check that your antenna is actually pointing to about 128 degrees, measured with a real compass. A cell phone compass is not all that accurate but can be used as a guide (moving it a bit each way until you find a sweet spot). While you're doing that check that all connections are nice and tight.

Second, I'd try different locations in the attic. Sometimes moving it a few inches or a few feet makes all the difference. Antennas work best when not looking though stuff that blocks signals, like asphalt shingles or trees. Also, if you have aluminum siding or a foil-backed wrap around the house it can interfere with the signal.

Many (maybe most) televisions allow you to tune to the real channel by entering the number. Enter "48" for WRC and see what happens. On my Samsung television it would tune in the channel, very quickly show 4.1 and then add it it to memory.

After all that it tried you could try an amplifier. The LNA-200 is an outdoor model. Since you're antenna is in the attic you can use an indoor model.
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post #14764 of 14952 Old 07-30-2018, 12:47 PM
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First, I'd check that your antenna is actually pointing to about 128 degrees, measured with a real compass. A cell phone compass is not all that accurate but can be used as a guide (moving it a bit each way until you find a sweet spot). While you're doing that check that all connections are nice and tight.

Second, I'd try different locations in the attic. Sometimes moving it a few inches or a few feet makes all the difference. Antennas work best when not looking though stuff that blocks signals, like asphalt shingles or trees. Also, if you have aluminum siding or a foil-backed wrap around the house it can interfere with the signal.

Many (maybe most) televisions allow you to tune to the real channel by entering the number. Enter "48" for WRC and see what happens. On my Samsung television it would tune in the channel, very quickly show 4.1 and then add it it to memory.

After all that it tried you could try an amplifier. The LNA-200 is an outdoor model. Since you're antenna is in the attic you can use an indoor model.
Thanks - I'll have to fiddle with it and see, do you have a recommended amplifier for an attic antenna?
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post #14765 of 14952 Old 07-30-2018, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks - I'll have to fiddle with it and see, do you have a recommended amplifier for an attic antenna?
In your situation, I'd try an 8 bay bow-tie antenna and move it around a lot. The exact aim is relatively unimportant. I've done antenna work for over 40 years and I don't use a compass. A map is every bit as reliable. You will need to do a disciplined job of recording your "results" at different spots, and you may find a more favorable region within the attic and should then confine your further tweaking to there.

Back in the analog day (pre 2009), we could see "ghost images" on our test TVs and steer the antenna to minimize them, but there is no comparable way to do that with digital signals... not even with a spectrum analyzer.

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post #14766 of 14952 Old 07-30-2018, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRG1 View Post
I hope this isn't too far off-topic, but how big a deal is lightning?.

Not a big deal to me! I've done antenna work for decades, including on over a hundred high rise buildings where the antenna is a more inviting target than on a home, and the only lightning damage I have incurred is that some lightening bolts have blown the impedance matching transformers to smithereens.


"The Code" is a fire and safety code that is not intended to protect your electronics from damage. The grounding of the mast theoretically makes it less likely to be hit by lightning (lots of physicists disagree) and the grounding of the coax is better suited to drawing off current from line voltage electrical wires that might contact your downlead.


The Code is almost universally unenforced. It's right up there with the tag on your mattress that you're not supposed to remove. If your landlord says you can't have an outside antenna, then I'd say your biggest problem will be mounting it where he doesn't notice it.
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post #14767 of 14952 Old 07-30-2018, 03:05 PM
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Splitting reception between markets in different directions

I’ve had a Clearstream 2V on my roof near Annapolis for a few years as a proof of concept and backup, but just started relying on it after cutting cable TV this month. I’ve settled on a configuration to receive parts of both D.C. and Baltimore markets. It’s an interesting case splitting two major markets including important VHF content, so I thought I’d share.

Here’s the TV Fool link: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9038adccc76608

The Washington, D.C., market has more stations, but Baltimore is closer and less obstructed. The markets are about 75° apart from my location. Pointing directly at DC wasn’t optimal, probably because of trees across the street. I actually got better reception of the generally good signal from WRC on RF 48 when pointed less directly, but with clearer line of sight. I also couldn’t get the ABC and CBS affiliates on high VHF reliably when optimizing for DC.

Baltimore doesn’t pose much trouble, but WBAL on RF 11 is the most vulnerable when I hedge direction for DC, even though it’s essentially co-located with the better WJZ signal, also high VHF at 13. On a good day I can pull in all the high VHF from both markets from one direction, but something inevitably drops out. UHF is much less sensitive, but exhibits similar traits.

The 2V antenna came with a separate VHF module (with a built-in diplexer) that can point in a different direction than the main UHF apparatus. But I had the module mounted to the reflector, committing it to the same direction as UHF, and the OEM mast wasn’t long enough to mount the VHF separately. Unfortunately the mast is not a standard 3/4" pipe that I could extend with metal electrical conduit or plumbing, and the manufacturer deliberately didn’t have an extender to avoid overloading the mount. I wound up sticking a 1/2" PVC pipe inside the mast, leaving just enough extension to clear the reflector and mount the VHF unit above.

I mapped out the channels and made a priority list, maximizing unique content, minimizing redundancies, and rejecting unwanted broadcasts. This taught me a lot about the virtual and actual channel relationships and network affiliations, many of which are unique to OTA. I decided to make do with the modest rig I had rather than go hog wild combining multiple Yagi UHF/VHF antenna combos just to maximize total reception.

My top priority came down to preserving the high VHF CBS affiliate WJZ in Baltimore and hedging the UHF content between markets as best I could. I could concede WBAL given NBC and MeTV coverage elsewhere, but hedging the VHF toward DC wasn’t worthwhile, because WJLA and WUSA signals are too unreliable, and I can get most of their programming over stronger signals.

Rather than rely solely on an iPhone compass, I used the distance function in Google Maps to triangulate the stations with my house, then calculated a weighted average of the station’s distance apart (roughly 60/40 favoring DC), and plotted that bearing over a nearby landmark using the satellite view to aim the antennas. The calculated bearing also matched a pretty clear line of sight. I pointed the UHF unit there, and the VHF directly toward the two Baltimore stations in that band.

I’m not sure how much the reflector was contributing to the VHF performance, but I suspect the reflector primarily aids the UHF section. I get the signal I need from Baltimore, even with the VHF misaligned with the reflector.

Here are some notes about the reception, including references to my TV’s signal meter on a day I tested, plus a bit more short term viewing observations. I don’t know what the meter measures, but steady readings above 60% stay intact, yet volatile readings become more prone to dropouts when the low end dips below 70%. Readings below 50% are unwatchable.

VHF:
  • DC’s RF 7 WJLA is detectable but unwatchable, RF 9 WUSA doesn’t come in. So much for ABC and CBS in DC.
  • WBAL on RF 11 is very good, 84%-92%, but not totally immune to blips of degradation
  • WJZ 13 is bang on 100%, as desired

UHF:
  • WWTD on RF 14 comes in poorly, as expected from broadcast data. I’m missing a bit of unique content here, but not wildly desirable. It’s not worth sacrificing reception from Baltimore to improve it to “almost watchable”
  • WFDC/WDCW on RF 15 is among the weaker of the strong UHF signals—but steady. Meter stayed 75%-77%. Shows degradation depending on conditions
  • WETA on RF 31 has more upside than 15 but also a bit more downside. Reads 73%-85% and degrades/drops at least as often as RF 15
  • I don’t get a trace of WRZB on RF 32, unsurprisingly, but I’m not missing anything here. I’ve pulled traces in other configurations
  • WHUT on RF 33 is excellent, as suggested by TV Fool, but better than Antennaweb’s “blue” categorization (most are red)
  • RF 34 & 36, WPXW/WTTG/WDCA in DC, very good (92%-96%) and excellent (100%), respectively.
  • WMAR on RF 38, key ABC affiliate lacking WJLA in DC, comes in very well, 83%-92%
  • WNUV and WBFF on RF 40 & 46 are flakier than I’d like given their robust profile on TV Fool, 66%-79% & 63%-92%, respectively. I may fine tune direction back toward them, as some of the DC content I’d degrade is redundant and the less reliable of the two.
  • WRC is good at 67%-92% and a high quality station with some unique subchannels.
  • WMPT on 42 is a slam dunk, 7 miles away in the direction of the hedged UHF (but not too close)

Other directions:
  • I do get WMDE off the back of the VHF unit, in the low VHF on RF 5 at that, and I always stop by the Korean channel it carries. It’s come in better in other configurations. Watchable but low quality, steady at 75%-77%
  • I don’t get WQAW RF 20 in the same direction.
  • I’ve received WBOC on 21 off the back, but not in this configuration.

I did re-cable the antenna with a single run of new cable rather than the two spare segments I had initially. I also have access to the wiring in a crawl space, so I tidied up a few of those with home runs and proper terminations. From antenna to house entry is roughly 75 feet, with runs to each of three TVs of 50-100 feet. I have a Winegard LNA-200 preamplifier and use a 3.5 dB two-way splitter to serve the longest run (that also has an extra splice) on one port, then the other two shorter runs from the other port via another cascaded two-way splitter. That saves the long run a few dB vs. the 7.5 dB four-way splitter I have on hand. I even shortened the jumper cables between splitters (teach a guy to use a compression tool, and every problem becomes a termination).

Not much else on my agenda, although I’m tempted to extend the mast height a bit. I may try the very small direction bias back toward Baltimore, but it’s pretty well dialed in, and I’m already splitting fair-to-good reception on RF 15 in DC and RF 40 in Baltimore, for instance, and I'd rather not degrade WRC.

Hope you enjoyed reading if you follow the local thread and that this informs a few searches about various aspects of the project.
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Last edited by Aerocraft67; 08-01-2018 at 08:53 AM.
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post #14768 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 04:50 AM
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So I took a small TV upstairs that had a built in Signal Meter for Digital TV and moved the antenna around - and I was able to get >80% signal strength from CBS, ABC, FOX and CW and what seems like a solid 65-70% signal from NBC (WRC-DT). At first it seemed like it was dropping out a lot, but after adjusting it, I watched for maybe 5 minutes with a signal staying in the 60-70% range. I wasn't able to ever get WRC-DT to a higher signal strength than 70% though.

However, when I reconnect the antenna back to the long coax run down to the basement and back up to the office where the WinTV QuadHD is - the other channels seem fine (The WinTV SNR reports 20-25 for CBS, ABC, FOX and CW) but NBC reports a SNR of around 18 with it dropping down to 15 or below on occasion which causes errors and the video to dropout.

I tried removing the LNA200 but the signal was significantly lower without it (I didn't receive WRC-DT at all on the WinTV). I moved the LNA200's power inserter up into the attic instead of being in the basement and that seemed to help - but WRC-DT is still not stable and cuts out while watching TV.

Is there a better pre-amp / amplifier I should buy instead of the LNA200?

I feel like the signal is pretty strong in the attic but not strong enough once it gets to my WinTV.

Thanks!
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post #14769 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 10:46 AM
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Aerocraft67: Very nice, well-composed write up.


Some thoughts:
- The C2V is an excellent antenna, but a bit out of its depth for the VHF stations in DC. The single bar that serves as a VHF antenna has only ~2.6 dBi gain (compared to ~8.7 for UHF). Something like an Antennas Direct C5 with a gain of 7.5 dBi aimed at or just above DC might just give you the DC Stations 7-ABC & 9-CBS. The Baltimore stations 12-NBC and 13-CBS are much stronger and should be picked up from the side of the antenna. There are also other options.
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post #14770 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiQiCE View Post
So I took a small TV upstairs that had a built in Signal Meter for Digital TV and moved the antenna around - and I was able to get >80% signal strength from CBS, ABC, FOX and CW and what seems like a solid 65-70% signal from NBC (WRC-DT). At first it seemed like it was dropping out a lot, but after adjusting it, I watched for maybe 5 minutes with a signal staying in the 60-70% range. I wasn't able to ever get WRC-DT to a higher signal strength than 70% though.

However, when I reconnect the antenna back to the long coax run down to the basement and back up to the office where the WinTV QuadHD is - the other channels seem fine (The WinTV SNR reports 20-25 for CBS, ABC, FOX and CW) but NBC reports a SNR of around 18 with it dropping down to 15 or below on occasion which causes errors and the video to dropout.

I tried removing the LNA200 but the signal was significantly lower without it (I didn't receive WRC-DT at all on the WinTV). I moved the LNA200's power inserter up into the attic instead of being in the basement and that seemed to help - but WRC-DT is still not stable and cuts out while watching TV.

Is there a better pre-amp / amplifier I should buy instead of the LNA200?

I feel like the signal is pretty strong in the attic but not strong enough once it gets to my WinTV.

Thanks!
I'm using a 29dB Winegard pre-amp in my setup. With a less pre-amp, I don't get some of the stations. But I got it back in 2004. So I'm not sure if Winegard still makes a preamp with that much gain.

EDIT: maybe it was a channel master pre-amp? Not sure. I haven't touched it in fourteen years and has been outside working great all this time.

EDIT: I just checked one of the old threads here. I have a Winegard 8275 preamp.

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post #14771 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 11:57 AM
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Something like an Antennas Direct C5 with a gain of 7.5 dBi aimed at or just above DC might just give you the DC Stations 7-ABC & 9-CBS. The Baltimore stations 12-NBC and 13-CBS are much stronger and should be picked up from the side of the antenna.
I had called Antennas Direct about my project, to see if they had an extender for the 2V mast, and explore my options. The rep did mention the C5, along with suggesting the separate direction for the VHF module on my 2V. He noted that a C5 would have to be a few feet from the C2 (or maybe he meant the 2V combo). He otherwise didn't sell it too hard and seemed to think the 2V should suffice--which it does, in one direction or the other.

Mounting another antenna was more involved than I wanted to get at the time, but the nearly 3x increase in VHF gain could indeed be worthwhile. I've already shown I can get all the high-VHF channels, just not reliably and all at once. But I've also shown I can't reliably get all the UHF either, even with that 8.7 dBi gain. Which gets me thinking hog wild with big combos in both directions again. The C5 does have a UHF section, maybe I could combine both the UHF and VHF sections from the C5 to DC and 2V to Baltimore.
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post #14772 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 02:26 PM
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I'm using a 29dB Winegard pre-amp in my setup. With a less pre-amp, I don't get some of the stations. But I got it back in 2004. So I'm not sure if Winegard still makes a preamp with that much gain.

EDIT: maybe it was a channel master pre-amp? Not sure. I haven't touched it in fourteen years and has been outside working great all this time.

EDIT: I just checked one of the old threads here. I have a Winegard 8275 preamp.
In doing some reading - right now with the LNA-200 at the antenna along with the power inserter, it seems like the 20dB gain is OK for my distance, but the signal is becoming weak by the time it gets to my tuner. Would it make sense to buy an amplifier instead of a pre-amp and place it in the basement where I'm connecting the antenna to the coax in my office?

The recommended replacement from solidsignal for the Winegard 8275 is this: https://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=cm-7777 which has a 30dB Gain but on Amazon's page for the same product it warns that it should only be used for 80+ mile distances to stations and that it will over amplify any strong signals.

(this is what it says: Warning: Because of the high gain output, the CM-7777 is recommended for applications where ALL broadcast towers are 80+ miles away. Just one high power signal or broadcaster in close proximity can cause over-amplification, which can result in the loss of reception. For 98% of (short range) consumer applications, the CM-7778 Medium Gain Preamplifier is recommended. )

Or should I ignore that since I am using an attic antenna instead of a roof mounted one?
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post #14773 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 02:45 PM
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Aerocraft67:

- What does your antenna look through? Oftentimes with an attic antenna moving it a few inches or a few feet can do wonders. I also have an attic antenna. If it is placed where it looks through the vinyl siding the signal is good. But if it's looking through the shingles channels are lost. Also, if there is anything metal in front of it (even off to the side) it can cause interference as signals can bounce and get confused.

- If you're looking to go bigger, combining two UHF antennas can be a pain. I'd first try something like the Antennas direct DB-4e or the Stellar Labs 30-2426. Both have about an 11-14 dBi gain on UHF (depending on channel) and (like your C2V) can "see" a 60 degree area. The longer monsters usually have a much narrower area that they can "see".

- As to your VHF Hi stations, if you are up to a cheap experiment pick up an old "rabbit ears" type antenna from Walmart and connect it where your VHF stick antenna from the C2V connects to the main part of that antenna. It does not have any more gain than the VHF antenna on the C2V but would allow you much more flexibility in aiming and positioning. Plus, if you are careful and the experiment is a bust you can always take it back.
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post #14774 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 04:00 PM
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Jake—thanks for the suggestions. My antenna is on the roof, not the attic.

I've managed to point the VHF module of the 2V anywhere I'd like in the horizontal plane. I tried logical directions and got the results I reported.

I do have an old set of rabbit ears (replete with the forked wire terminals that require a coax adapter—which I also have), so I could try some directional fine tuning on a TV indoors without busting out the ladder for the umpteenth time—assuming I could get any signal at all indoors. The rabbit ears telescope, so I could even match the wavelength fraction of a specific VHF channel.

Single-channel VHF add-on was yet another dimension I explored. Turns out there's nothing commercially available (Blonder Tongue used to offer them). Homemade dipole didn't seem worthwhile. But, perhaps I could rig a crude half-wave contraption and keep it in the attic rather than make it weatherproof and all. But then I'd have coupling problems with the roof rig.

That's the vexing thing about our markets, critical channels in high VHF, but with the bulk of content in UHF, and the antenna market focuses on the latter. I've considered the EZ HD Dual TV Antenna System from Denny's, which kept coming up in my searches. In the meantime, I'm trying to hedge something simpler with the kit I have.
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post #14775 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 04:58 PM
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My antenna is on the roof, not the attic.
I have been following your plight with interest. Why not buy an antenna rotator instead of possibly buying a second antenna? My first rotator lasted 13 years, and I have a heavy antenna. Is there a problem in getting a professional to install one?
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post #14776 of 14952 Old 07-31-2018, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian in CT View Post
Why not buy an antenna rotator instead of possibly buying a second antenna?
Another reasonable suggestion. I barely considered a rotator because I want to minimize active components in the system. I also flit through the channels a lot, and I doubt a rotator would fit well with my watching habits. Nearly all my content is grouped tightly in just two directions, so I only need two bearings or a compromise split, rather than 360° of freedom. I'll reconsider if I get serious about a second antenna, though.
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post #14777 of 14952 Old 08-01-2018, 04:19 AM
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Would it make sense to buy an amplifier instead of a pre-amp and place it in the basement where I'm connecting the antenna to the coax in my office?
Adding a distribution amp to your preamp may be your best bet. You've got a good preamp for your long run to the hub; not sure you can improve much on that. If that's not powering the good signal you've confirmed through to your TVs well enough, adding a distribution amp should compensate for your long runs from the hub without adding too much noise. At least that's what it's designed to do.

I've considered a distribution amp myself for a fairly long run from antenna to hub, splits, and long home runs to TVs. I may test one of my TVs again without the splits in the line to see if that helps. If it does, that strengthens the case for distribution amp.

Maybe try the HDA-100 to complement your LNA-200. That's what I'll do if my experiment pans out.
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post #14778 of 14952 Old 08-01-2018, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Aerocraft67 View Post
Adding a distribution amp to your preamp may be your best bet. You've got a good preamp for your long run to the hub; not sure you can improve much on that. If that's not powering the good signal you've confirmed through to your TVs well enough, adding a distribution amp should compensate for your long runs from the hub without adding too much noise. At least that's what it's designed to do.

I've considered a distribution amp myself for a fairly long run from antenna to hub, splits, and long home runs to TVs. I may test one of my TVs again without the splits in the line to see if that helps. If it does, that strengthens the case for distribution amp.

Maybe try the HDA-100 to complement your LNA-200. That's what I'll do if my experiment pans out.
Thanks! I ordered an amplifier - hopefully it helps keep the signal stable.
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post #14779 of 14952 Old 08-01-2018, 02:24 PM
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the other channels seem fine (The WinTV SNR reports 20-25 for CBS, ABC, FOX and CW) but NBC reports a SNR of around 18 with it dropping down to 15 or below on occasion which causes errors and the video to dropout.
I just realized that WRC is on the highest frequency in the market, which is most prone to signal attenuation from cable length. For 100' of RG-6 cable, the attenuation for channel 48 is 5.2 dB, whereas for channel 7 it's only 2.2 dB. Granted, WDCA is on channel 36 with 4.9 dB loss at 100' and you're getting that fine, but the WRC frequency might be contributing to your problem receiving it over the longer runs vs. the others.

Let us know how the amp does!
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post #14780 of 14952 Old 08-02-2018, 07:01 AM
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Regarding preamps, I have found the Channel Master Amplify to be a solid performer with better results than the LNA200. It has adjustable gain, as well as an FM trap and LTE filter. Sold directly from Channel Master website for $69. I also use a Channel Master 3414 distribution amp further down the line. Works very well.

Also it may be of benefit to combine separate UHF/HighVHF combo antennas for DC and Baltimore since the signals are located in different directions.Although sometimes combining antennas can be tricky and must be done very carefully. Perhaps Winegard 7694 antennas.
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post #14781 of 14952 Old 08-02-2018, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Aerocraft67 View Post
I just realized that WRC is on the highest frequency in the market, which is most prone to signal attenuation from cable length. For 100' of RG-6 cable, the attenuation for channel 48 is 5.2 dB, whereas for channel 7 it's only 2.2 dB. Granted, WDCA is on channel 36 with 4.9 dB loss at 100' and you're getting that fine, but the WRC frequency might be contributing to your problem receiving it over the longer runs vs. the other.
Don't forget, though, some of the stations in our market will be moving to lower frequencies shortly. WRC is moving from 48 to 34.
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post #14782 of 14952 Old 08-02-2018, 02:14 PM
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In doing some reading - right now with the LNA-200 at the antenna along with the power inserter, it seems like the 20dB gain is OK for my distance, but the signal is becoming weak by the time it gets to my tuner. Would it make sense to buy an amplifier instead of a pre-amp and place it in the basement where I'm connecting the antenna to the coax in my office?

The recommended replacement from solidsignal for the Winegard 8275 is this: https://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=cm-7777 which has a 30dB Gain but on Amazon's page for the same product it warns that it should only be used for 80+ mile distances to stations and that it will over amplify any strong signals.

(this is what it says: Warning: Because of the high gain output, the CM-7777 is recommended for applications where ALL broadcast towers are 80+ miles away. Just one high power signal or broadcaster in close proximity can cause over-amplification, which can result in the loss of reception. For 98% of (short range) consumer applications, the CM-7778 Medium Gain Preamplifier is recommended. )

Or should I ignore that since I am using an attic antenna instead of a roof mounted one?
In my situation I'm only around 25 miles from the DC area antennas. Using a lower gain preamp resulted in reception of fewer channels. The higher gain one was the only way for me to reliably get all the DC channels with my two combined square shooter antennas.

I have a three way split after it enters my home and I've been using it for over fourteen years now. So at least in my setups it's never caused any issue.

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post #14783 of 14952 Old 08-02-2018, 02:21 PM
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Don't forget, though, some of the stations in our market will be moving to lower frequencies shortly. WRC is moving from 48 to 34.
I hope that doesn't negatively affect me. Since right now, WRC is very strong and a solid signal.

I only wish WJLA and WUSA would move back to UHF. I have a low signal strength on WJLA and WUSA. But WJLA is still rock solid all year round. WHile WUSA will sometimes have issues, depending on the amount of foliage on the trees.

WUSA used to be my strongest station until they went to VHF, then it became the weakest. But considering that my Square shooter antennas aren't even supposed to work well with VHF, I guess I can't complain much.

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post #14784 of 14952 Old 08-03-2018, 04:12 PM
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This is mostly just curiosity, because I'm not currently in a good location for antennas.

For all of these questions I would be looking for very reasonably priced systems, consistent with viewing OTA as a cheaper alternative to cable, etc., not expensive systems only a commercial cable system can afford.

1. All of the antenna signal amplifiers I've had apply one gain factor to all the frequencies. Thus, it is impossible to get both distant stations and nearby ones well. This seems to be a problem a lot of people share.

Is there a good quality signal amplifier that applies an automatic gain control on each frequency separately?

I realize TVs themselves apply an AGC to the current channel, but my impression is that the built in AGC in my TV and in my (Series 3 TIVO) DVR don't handle the less powerful signals very well. In addition, it really should be closer to the antenna, like a real antenna amplifier, before the cable to the TV degrades signal strength.

2. Also, is there a good quality signal amplifier that can take inputs from two or more antenna, pointing in different directions, and lets you choose which to use, or lets you permanently map which to use by frequency?

3. Taking it a step further, though I realize this is more like a commercial cable system, are there similar systems that can remap frequencies, so if there two stations of the same frequency, from different antenna directions, they will appear on different frequencies?

4. As a separate issue, TV's and DVRs don't seem to deal well with multi-path reception, where you receive more than one copy of the signal, including signals that have skipped off the atmosphere or bounced off a building, which add together to create a mixed signal that confuses these devices. In principle dis-entangling multi-path reception is a soluble problem, similar to standard signal processing algorithms - i.e., if you view receiving multiple as a weighted time-convolution of the signal, all you need to do is to apply the reverse convolution.

Are there devices that do this?

****

As stated, I"m talking about CHEAP solutions.

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post #14785 of 14952 Old 08-03-2018, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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1. Is there a good quality signal amplifier that applies an automatic gain control on each channel separately?

I realize TVs themselves apply an AGC to the current channel, but my impression is that the built in AGC in my TV and in my (Series 3 TIVO) DVR don't handle the less powerful signals very well. In addition, it really should be closer to the antenna, like a real antenna amplifier, before the cable to the TV degrades signal strength.

2. Also, is there a good quality signal amplifier that can take inputs from two or more antenna, pointing in different directions, and lets you choose which to use, or lets you permanently map which to use by frequency?

3. Taking it a step further, though I realize this is more like a commercial cable system, are there similar systems that can remap frequencies, so if there two stations of the same frequency, from different antenna directions, they will appear on different frequencies?
You can use a Johannson Profiler 6600. I've bought over half a dozen. The current price on "the 'net" is just over 200 Euroes, whatever that is. Plus any import tax that you-know-who might tweet onto it.

As far as frequency shifting, I've done it a lot in commercial systems for hotels and multiple dwelling units, but it is too expensive for home use.

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post #14786 of 14952 Old 08-03-2018, 05:40 PM
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The RCA preamp and the new Channel Master 7778 Amplify pro grade preamp have dual inputs for separate UIHF and VHF antennas. The RCA is much cheaper, although Channel Master may be designed better. But the Channel Master 7777HD Amplify is a solid performer for $69, but it only has one input but it does have adjustable gain.
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post #14787 of 14952 Old 08-05-2018, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerocraft67 View Post
I just realized that WRC is on the highest frequency in the market, which is most prone to signal attenuation from cable length. For 100' of RG-6 cable, the attenuation for channel 48 is 5.2 dB, whereas for channel 7 it's only 2.2 dB. Granted, WDCA is on channel 36 with 4.9 dB loss at 100' and you're getting that fine, but the WRC frequency might be contributing to your problem receiving it over the longer runs vs. the others.

Let us know how the amp does!
So I got the amp yesterday, it is a +8db 4-port amp. I put terminators on the unused ports - but the amp made no difference. My SNR numbers from the WinTV were the same.

Over time, despite adjusting the antenna to get a decent signal from NBC, when I checked again - I had lost NBC and CBS suddenly had a bad signal. I'm guessing this has to do with the time of day that I'm trying this (on weekdays it is normally during primetime, but on the weekends it is during the day). I seem to recall that stations increase their broadcast power during prime time - but maybe I'm wrong. It could simply be due to weather.

When I originally positioned the antenna is was during primetime, and I got a 70-80% signal from FOX, CBS, WB and settled for a 60% signal from NBC.

I tried another suggestion which was to hook the TV up at the end of the coax run to see if maybe the tuner was just better in the TV versus my WinTV tuner. The results were basically the same, NBC got 0 signal today, FOX, WB, CBS had a ~60% signal (so it was lower from the long coax runs).

So back to the drawing board - I noticed Winegard has an AR (altered reality) app called Winegard - TV Signal Finder that allows you to point your phone and it will show you where different stations are. Since NBC was the biggest problem child, I used that as the reference.

With the app, I was able to adjust the antenna a little further (the antenna itself is sort of trapped in the rafters of the roof, so it limits just how much I can move the antenna) - and using the small TV I brought up to the attic (this time hooked up behind the LNA-200) - I got a 70-80% signal with NBC, 90-100% signal with CBS, 70-80% with FOX but the signal for ABC and WB were down in the 60% range.

Kind of strange because ABC and CBS are the same direction, will see during primetime if ABC is better. WB makes more sense since it is a little bit off from the path of the other channels.

After hooking everything back up, on my WinTV I have a really strong signal with FOX and NBC (25+ SNR), a good signal with NBC (21 SNR) and ABC/WB both seem to still be decent too around a 20-21 SNR.

Will have to wait a few days and see through different times, weather conditions, etc if everything is stable - but hopeful that this will work!

Here is a picture of the antenna in my attic - before I moved it.

https://i.imgur.com/mqC5iem.jpg

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post #14788 of 14952 Old 08-06-2018, 12:32 PM
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>tylerSC wrote
Quote:
The RCA preamp and the new Channel Master 7778 Amplify pro grade preamp have dual inputs for separate UHF and VHF antennas. The RCA is much cheaper, although Channel Master may be designed better. But the Channel Master 7777HD Amplify is a solid performer for $69, but it only has one input but it does have adjustable gain.
I'm not looking to use separate UHF and VHF antennas - I'm looking to use broadband antennas for multiple directions.

Actually, an interesting possibility would be to have two crossed antennas. Different linear combinations of their signals would effectively create a synthetic antenna pointing in arbitrary directions. But that wouldn't be as high gain as a good directional antenna. One really should have something more like an antenna array.

Quote:
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You can use a Johannson Profiler 6600... The current price on "the 'net" is just over 200 Euroes, whatever that is. Plus any import tax that you-know-who might tweet onto it.
200 Euros=$216 [USD], plus shipping and import duties - quite a lot, when looking for cheap alternatives to cable, etc. I can't even find any English language pages selling it, which is odd.

What I'm look for seems pretty obvious, and it ought to exist off the shelf for the consumer market - but I guess OTA is now a pretty small market, compared to cable, satellite, and streamers, and doesn't attract companies willing to put much money into it.

While looking around I did find one amusing thing that surprised me - "flagpole antennas" which at first glance look like ordinary flagpoles, complete with flags - I guess the idea is that your nosy neighbors won't think to look twice and realize you have put up a tall antenna. In Japan they even have antennas that look like trees.
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post #14789 of 14952 Old 08-06-2018, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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There haven't been any "affordable" tunable bandpass filters made since the early 1990s. Even then, they didn't have width adjustments: they were simple, single channel bandpass, so none of those old products could pass, say channels 33-36 together, as this market needs. or 38 to 40, 41 or 42.


I tried to get Pico/Tru Spec to manufacture me some of their discontinued UHF-BPFs, but they said that they no longer had the "tooling" so I would have to order 1,000 to make it worth their while. I was willing to take maybe 200, and so I called a lot of installation companies I had relations with but none of them would commit to the purchase of more than a few, so for the next few years, I just scoffed up all the ones I could find on eBay, but they hardly ever can be found there anymore.

More recently, some European company was making tunable combiners, I think for under a hundred bucks, but I don't know what I'd use for search terms. If you go to the AVS Hardware thread and ask there, one of the regular posters might be able to furnish you with contact information. Tin Lee in Canada is the only other company I know of who will custom tune filters, but if you need two, you'd do better with the Profiler. I paid $700 for my first and second PFA-6600s, When North American Cable decided the product was a loser, they blew out their inventory of forty-something units for $100 each and had egg on their face when the demand for that product came back.

Back around 2005, I had one of the cable filter "trap" manufacturers make me up pairs of 7Hi/9Lo and 11Hi/13Lo cylindrical filters that they actually tuned together for me, but the 11/13 low end rolloff was not sharp enough to scrape off as much channel 9 signal as I needed for the Washington DC market, so I sometimes had to augment it with a rather expensive MWT-3 tunable notch filter.
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post #14790 of 14952 Old 08-06-2018, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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From Slovakia.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/jan_jenca/m...p2047675.l2562

The one on the left is Buy it Now for $37.90, the one on the right is $85.

I can make a two antenna array that would work with those because I have a spectrum analyzer and can make sure that the bandpassed signals overwhelm the undesired co-channel signal coming off an unfiltered antenna, but it would be a little harder to do that reliably without the proper measurement equipment.
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