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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Fort Collins which is North of Denver and South of Cheyenne.


My attic antenna (came with the house) is hanging from the rafters and is pointed South. RCA DTTA800 receiver.


My Winegaurd AP-8700 pre-amp just arrived but I will wait for your response before I install it.


PBS 6 and PBS 6.3 come in great.

ABC 7 and NBC 9 have occasional reception problems...app. 10% of the time.

CBS 4 nothing since the digital switch. CBS 5 out of Cheyenne used to come in better then the Denver affiliate.

PBS 12 used to come in at my other house (six years ago) three miles east of here with a roof antenna but PBS 6 did not. I never could receive PBS 12 in this house but would like to.

FOX no reception on either 27 or 31.

I receive perhaps a dozen other stations up to channel 59 but do not care for them.

Most of the Denver antennas are located in Golden just West of the Coors Brewery.


According to the Tv Fool site my readings are as follows...



STATION CHANNEL NM(Db) Pwr(dBm) MILES DEGREES


PBS 6 -3.4 -94.2 63 184


PBS 12 -6.9 -97.7 65 197


ABC 7 10.2 -80.7 59 185


CBS 4 3.5 -87.4 59 185


CBS 5 31.5 -59. 37 10


NBC 9 8.7 -82.2 59 185


FOX 27 42.2 -48.6 35 21


FOX 31 4.9 -85.9 59 186


Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Point of clarity: KRMA is most likely being received from the channel 47 transmitter (last green line in the list) rather than the channel 18 transmitter that you've listed here.


In addition, Fox 31 is mirrored 100% on KFCT 22-1. If you get 22-1, you do not need 31-1, though getting KCNC would likely bring in the main 31-1 signal as well anyway.


- Trip
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should note that there are not many trees here on the front range outside of the cities and Boulder sits directly North of the towers in Golden. There are not many tall buildings in Boulder, though.


I do not know what brand of antenna I have but may try to get up in the attic today and report back.
 

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It could be your converter box. Those RCA DTA800 tuners are not known for being very good. I've known of several instances where ditching the RCA for something better resulted in more channels being received. A Zenith/Insignia, Artec, Apex or ChannelMaster converter box may work better. All still available on eBay.


If your TVFool is correct, you shouldn't need a preamp unless you are splitting to a bunch of TVs.


You mentioned your antenna is in the attic. What is your roof made of?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel /forum/post/19507709


I do not know what brand of antenna I have but may try to get up in the attic today and report back.

That's the first thing I would check. It should be a VHF/UHF combo antenna. And you should have RG6 coax feeding the receiver.


I think you would benefit if you put the antenna outdoors with a rotor. You would get more channels more reliably, and plus you might not need an amp.


But if you want to keep it indoors, see if you can bring a small tv/monitor with the receiver up to the attic and connect to the antenna with a short coax. See what you can get. Try adjusting the antenna If you don't see any improvement as far as signal or getting more channels, than an amp is not going to help you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepier
That's the first thing I would check. It should be a VHF/UHF combo antenna. And you should have RG6 coax feeding the receiver.


I think you would benefit if you put the antenna outdoors with a rotor. You would get more channels more reliably, and plus you might not need an amp.
All but 3 of the channels he appears to care about are on the same bearing, & one of those is within 10 degrees of the main group. Also, it doesn't appear (although I can't get the linked page to display quite right) that he needs VHF reception. So, I don't see the benefit in replacing a UHF antenna, if that is all he has (although that strikes me as quite unlikely VHF-only I wouldn't be too surprised at), with a combo, nor adding a rotor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheer Lunacy /forum/post/19511525


All but 3 of the channels he appears to care about are on the same bearing, & one of those is within 10 degrees of the main group. Also, it doesn't appear (although I can't get the linked page to display quite right) that he needs VHF reception. So, I don't see the benefit in replacing a UHF antenna, if that is all he has (although that strikes me as quite unlikely VHF-only I wouldn't be too surprised at), with a combo, nor adding a rotor.

According to his plot, I see 2 VHF stations: KMGH-DT ABC (real Ch 7), and KUSA NBC (real Ch 9).


Also he has a CBS station to the North which is about 20 miles closer to the CBS to the South. Also as Trip says, Fox is mirrored on KFCT, which is to the east. Thats why I thought a rotor would be helpful.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw /forum/post/19512551


The TVFool shows VHF chs 7, 9 & 11.

11 displays as 33-n.


Yeah, I saw 11, that is a foreign station( Mexican?). I wasn't sure if the OP was interested in it. I was just looking for the major networks.
 

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[NOTE to HDTV Technical Forum Gurus: I'm kidding around with that title - just an 'Old Fart' injecting a little levity into this topic to break up the one-sided monotony (i.e. Suggest solutions; Ask questions; Receive more questions but NO answers)!
]
I'm glad to see that reeltoreel *FINALLY* moved his discussion to an appropriate forum (it took me THREE pushes!
) *AND*, it's been difficult getting answers to questions.



From the original DVD Recorders Forum thread:
  1. Quote:
    Originally Posted by ClearToLand /forum/post/19473824


    I like to first address a topic previous untouched by the other posters - the preamp. A preamp cannot CREATE signal where none exists - it can only AMPLIFY the existing signal AND noise. You don't mention any splitters - is there a direct connection between the antenna and the DTA-800? Coax or twinlead? Is the antenna VHF/UHF or VHF-only? Many older OTA installations were satisfied with VHF-only (Channels 2-13) while the majority of the major networks have now moved to UHF. You can learn much more on this topic over at:
    AVS: HDTV Technical (STICKYs!)

Over there you'll also find LINKs to sites where you can enter your location (street address or LAT/LON) and it will create a display of where the OTA TV stations are located, what frequencies they use and what 'type' and 'strength' antenna you'll need.


If you're handy, you can build your own antenna (from metal coat hangers, or copper wire, and a piece of wood):
AVS: How to build a UHF antenna
and 'Experiment' to see how much signal you have available to work with. If that works in the attic, you'll be set (it won't hold up outdoors). Otherwise, at least you'll now know how much 'commercially-made $$$' antenna you need to buy.


I'd suggest dragging the DTA-800 CECB and a small B&W CRT portable TV (if you have or can borrow one; or a small LCD HDTV) up into the attic and getting some 'Signal Strength' readings from the existing antenna. Especially if the existing antenna is VHF-only, you can build the ~$10 UHF Bowtie antenna (from the LINK above) and see what that can receive. It all depends on how far you are from the transmitting towers AND if there are any obstructions in the way...




Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearToLand reeltoreel,
...Have you done any further research / 'Experiments' regarding your OTA Signal Strength problem? How much 'Signal Strength' do you have on the DTA-800 CECB?
.
Did you look up your location to see 'How Much' antenna you need?
.
Did you build the 'Coat Hanger and Wood' antenna?
.
...etc...




Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearToLand reeltoreel,
You now need to move your discussion to an appropriate forum(s). Here are a few of my Bookmarks to get you started:
AVS: HDTV Technical (STICKYs!)
Local HDTV Info and Reception
AVS: How to build a UHF antenna
DHC: Over-The-Air Digital TV
HiDef Forum: Info & Reception
TVFool - Fort Collins, CO
I already responded, TWICE, regarding the pre-amp. Part of getting help from volunteers is answering their questions in a timely manner.
Good Luck!



One of his requirements is OTA (unattended) recording so a rotor would be out of the question. Whether his existing attic antenna is VHF-ONLY or VHF/UHF is another unanswered question. I suggested building a 'Coat Hanger and Wood' quickie UHF 4-Bay and dragging an old B&W portable TV and his DTA-800 CECB up into the attic to 'search' for available signals and note their strength. With the bulk of his stations between 187° and 199°, IMO, he COULD have an old VHF-ONLY antenna in the attic. *OR*, the antenna could have been accidentally NUDGED and just needs to be 're-pointed'.


As an "Old Fart", born-and-raised in NYC, and living in Central NJ for the past 3 decades, I'm simply AMAZED that TVFool believes that an attic-mounted antenna can pick up stations ~60 miles away.
Heck, I needed a roof antenna back in 1977, when I moved to Central NJ, to reliably receive 'old-fashioned' analog NTSC from the Empire State Building, ~24 miles away.


His QUOTE about the current weather:
Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel /forum/post/19476901


...due to the fact that we have temps here in the 30's with snow...

lead me to believe that he waited a bit too long to research AND correct his problem this year.

  1. Quote:
    Originally Posted by arxaw /forum/post/19507974

    It could be your converter box. Those RCA DTA800 tuners are not known for being very good. I've known of several instances where ditching the RCA for something better resulted in more channels being received. A Zenith/Insignia, Artec, Apex or ChannelMaster converter box may work better. All still available on eBay.

    If your TVFool is correct, you shouldn't need a preamp unless you are splitting to a bunch of TVs.


    You mentioned your antenna is in the attic. What is your roof made of?
  2. Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikepier /forum/post/19508014


    That's the first thing I would check. It should be a VHF/UHF combo antenna. And you should have RG6 coax feeding the receiver.

    I think you would benefit if you put the antenna outdoors with a rotor. You would get more channels more reliably, and plus you might not need an amp.

    But if you want to keep it indoors, see if you can bring a small tv/monitor with the receiver up to the attic and connect to the antenna with a short coax. See what you can get. Try adjusting the antenna If you don't see any improvement as far as signal or getting more channels, than an amp is not going to help you.
  3. Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sheer Lunacy /forum/post/19511525

    All but 3 of the channels he appears to care about are on the same bearing, & one of those is within 10 degrees of the main group. Also, it doesn't appear (although I can't get the linked page to display quite right) that he needs VHF reception. So, I don't see the benefit in replacing a UHF antenna, if that is all he has (although that strikes me as quite unlikely VHF-only I wouldn't be too surprised at), with a combo, nor adding a rotor.
  4. Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikepier /forum/post/19511685


    According to his plot, I see 2 VHF stations: KMGH-DT ABC (real Ch 7), and KUSA NBC (real Ch 9).


    Also he has a CBS station to the North which is about 20 miles closer to the CBS to the South. Also as Trip says, Fox is mirrored on KFCT, which is to the east. Thats why I thought a rotor would be helpful.

The Magnavox 2160a/513/515 that he's looking into has an ATSC tuner so he shouldn't need another CECB, unless the DTA-800 is THAT BAD for aligning his current antenna and/or 'Coat Hanger & Wood' antenna and getting some baseline signal strength readings.


Looking forward to following this thread and reading the final resolution...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry about the delay in my response but I was luckily busy this week with work and had to wait until yesterday to get into the attic. That part of the attic is above a cathedral ceiling and is very difficult to access. If I were 10lbs. heavier or 10 years older, forget it.


I apologize for giving erroneous information on a previous post stating that a cable ran directly from my tv to the antenna. I had not been up there for six years and my memory had faded. The antenna had about 75' of coax coiled up and connected to another cable which runs to the center of the house, drops down and is split in the crawlspace. It then ran to my tv. I connected the 75' cable to the wall jack and another to my tv. ABC was still loosing signal so I decided to install the pre-amp. At six o'clock I sat down to watch some football and ABC cut out. I did another scan and ABC was not picked up. I scanned again 30 minutes later and ABC was picked up but it would cut out for up to 5 minutes during the rest of the game. One time the screen went black. I turned off the tuner and turned it back on and the picture was okay for a while.


This morning CBS is gone but FOX is not. PBS 6.1, 6.3 and 6.5 are all duplicates, two of each. I checked the signal strength through the tuner and last night it was 35 and this morning it is 30. That seems very low.


The connector on the antenna is coax on one end and has two pigtails that connect to the antenna with screws. One of the pigtails sheathing is broke but the copper underneath does not appear to be frayed.


I would take a tv up to the attic if I owned one but I need to find a loaner.


Maybe the RCA tuner is inferior. I should have done some research before making the purchase. I will explore my options on Ebay in case I decide not to purchase the Magnavox


I enclosed a photo of the antenna so that someone could tell me if it where both VHF & UHF. I could not find any markings on the antenna so I do not know who manufactured it.(I wish the photo was larger.) I also wish that I lived out in the country so I would not have to "worry what my neighbors think" . A roof-mounted antenna is a very rare site these days. Maybe it is time to change that



I do not see any markings on my coax. How can i tell if it is RG6?


Thank you all very much for your patience while I learn my way around these new-fangled forums! They are invaluable but there is definitely a learning curve
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I just now found the 2nd page on my other thread.
I would reload that thread multiple times a day and thought that there was no activity. I now know to check to see if there are multiple pages.
Sorry



My roof has two layers of asphalt shingles.


I have not yet tried to make a bow-tie antenna as I do not yet know if it is needed. Hopefully, the photo will help answer that question.


I only installed the pre-amp as a last resort because the game was set to start at six and at five ABC was still loosing signal. The install only took about 15 minutes but it did not appear to help as ABC continued to lose reception all evening.
Maybe it is helping to pull in FOX? I failed to check the FOX reception before the install.


I hope that I have answered all of your questions.
 

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That antenna is definately a VHF-UHF antenna, possibly the Radio Shack VU-90 since I see at least 4 VHF elements.


If you cannot see any markings on the coax, chances are its old, possibly RG59, and thats whats killing your signal, on UHF channels especially. I would replace it.


Also , get rid of the extra coax in the attic you do not need, as the signal is decreased for every foot of coax.


Get rid of the splitters for now until you get a good signal to one TV.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel /forum/post/19523977


...I scanned again 30 minutes later and ABC was picked up but it would cut out for up to 5 minutes during the rest of the game. One time the screen went black. I turned off the tuner and turned it back on and the picture was okay for a while.

If this is an RCA converter box that recovered after turning it off & back on, I would seriously consider trying another tuner, preferably a known good one of another brand.


Also, mikepier's suggestion to eliminate all splitters is very good. If possible, run a temporary single piece of coax directly to the TV, to rule out problems with splitters, splices, etc.


Quote:
I enclosed a photo of the antenna so that someone could tell me if it where both VHF & UHF.

It is an all channel antenna. Is it aimed South?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The cable runs directly from the pigtail connector on the antenna, which has a crack in the sheathing, (is that an issue?) to the wall jack. From the wall jack, another 3' cable runs to the tuner. I eliminated the old splitter and maybe 100' of cable.


I think that I may replace the old 75' cable with a 50' RG6 and run it directly to the TV by removing the connector on the wall jack, increase the size of the hole on the plate and run the cable directly to my tuner.


I will also start shopping around for a replacement for the RCA.


The antenna is aimed South.


Is signal strength of 30-35 considered low?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel /forum/post/19527518


The cable runs directly from the pigtail connector on the antenna, which has a crack in the sheathing, (is that an issue?)...

Shouldn't be an issue. But since baluns are cheap - you might want to go ahead and replace it while you're up there.

Quote:
I think that I may replace the old 75' cable with a 50' RG6 and run it directly to the TV by removing the connector on the wall jack, increase the size of the hole on the plate and run the cable directly to my tuner.

Whenever practical, shortening the coax and removing any unnecessary connectors in the line is usually a good idea. If you're not familiar with putting connectors on the ends of the coax, purchase a pre-cut length with factory installed connectors.

Quote:
I will also start shopping around for a replacement for the RCA.

Check eBay for a Zenith, Insignia or Artec converter box.

Quote:
Is signal strength of 30-35 considered low?

Probably. But it depends on the brand of tuner. The numbers are for reference and won't necessarily be the same across brands.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltoreel /forum/post/19524572


I just now found the 2nd page on my other thread.
I would reload that thread multiple times a day and thought that there was no activity. I now know to check to see if there are multiple pages.

As an old NNTP fan, it took me a long time to begin to learn the forum software. Are you aware that the little triangle on the left beside the title opens to the 1st new post in the thread. It took me WELL over a year to learn that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I just removed the pre-amp, replaced the balun at the antenna and the 75' of unknown type and age coax cable with 25' of RG6. It was two feet short of connecting to my converter
so I connected it to the wall jack and used a patch cable.


I ran a channel scan and neither CBS stations came in but 3.1 , 3.3 were added and FOX 27.1 transmits nicely. I still saw some static on ABC 7.1 .



I purchased the coax at Home Depot for $9. I just found a website that explains the differences in coax. Maybe I spent too little?


http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/rg6.htm


Or maybe it is the RCA converter box. Zenith, Apex, Artec, Insignia and Channelmaster have all been recommended with the latter getting good reviews but I will continue to research.


Signal strength was 35 Saturday evening, 30 Sunday morning and 23 now, Tuesday evening.


I never noticed the arrow before. thanks for pointing it out! I am simultaneously researching reception, coax, converter boxes, blurays, a myriad of other streaming devices, electronic acronyms that I see on these forums and last but not least...how to manage the forums themselves. Thanks for the help!
 
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