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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After sitting on the sidelines and contenting myself with analog cable for a while, I decided I would give the RCA DTC100 a try. I found an open-box model at Circuit City with 30 days return privilege, so I'm trying it out.


I live in a condo in a canyon in San Carlos, CA, about 25 miles from Sutro Tower in SF where they broadcast. Unfortunately there is a hill rising a few hundred feet up, blocking line-of-sight with the tower. I was hoping I might be able to catch a reflection signal off one of the other canyon hills. I got a huge VHF/UHF Radio Shack antenna, normally about 15 foot long, and I have the smaller end (with the UHF section) on my patio. My HOA won't let me put an antenna on the roof, so the west-facing patio is the only possible place for it. And I have looked into the FCC ruling and no it won't let me challenge the HOA on this because it is a condo.


I am able to get analog channel 48 fairly decently (just past the point where color appears, but lots of ghosting) if I aim the antenna either towards Sutro (North-Northwest) or west. And I can get 4-5 or so other analog UHF channels very poorly but enough to make out what's on the screen. But I don't get any digital channels at all when I do the "Quick Search" on Antenna A where I have it connected, with the antenna pointed at either of the directions that maximize analog 48, or when aimed at a compass-determined Sutro direction.


I'm curious if anyone has other suggestions for how to proceed. I suppose just returning this stuff and waiting for HDTV cable is one way to go, but I wonder if I'm missing anything. Please give me your suggestions for how to aim the antenna when there is no digital channels registering on the DTC100.


This evening I'll try to find a dedicated UHF antenna of some kind. I notice on the behemoth I have that the lead-in goes into a rather small bow-tie which is electrically isolated from the rest of the UHF elements. I wonder if that isolation (probably designed to prevent VHF interference) is reducing my signal.
 

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I live in Palo Alto and have finally gotten reception. San Carlos is closer, but you have some other problems.


You might try UHF-only antennas. I am using the Channel Master 4248, which I found to be a lot better that RS models. I use it with the CM 7775 preamp (which you may not need).


Another antenna that people like a lot is the Silver Sensor. There are a lot of posts about it on the forum. It is British but there are some distributors. It is UHF-only, very small, and apparently does a great job for its size.


I have noticed posts from people indicating a variety of successes with very different equipment. Apparently, you just have to keep trying.


There is a gentleman named John Stephens on this forum. He lives in San Jose, and appears to have a lot of knowledge about this and the ability to diagnosis location-specific issues over the net. You might try to find him.


Good luck. Let me know if I can help.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the replies.


I got the double-bowtie with cooking grille antenna from Radio Shack and gave that a try. It seemed to give comparable performance to the huge outdoor antenna. I get 5 or so analog channels but no digitals.


btw, in case it matters I found that I have version 4.0.37 of the software o my DTC100, which I understand is the latest version.


I have a couple of questions that perhaps someone can help with.


1. My open-box unit didn't come with a directv access card. Is it possible that might be necessary to get OTA HDTV signals? I doubt it since it pulls in the analog OTA signals, but just wanted to confirm.


2. What is the procedure for checking the results of antenna aiming. My process has been to aim in one direction, then do a 'quick search' function which takes a couple of minutes, and then repeat. Is there any quicker way for my situation of not having any digitals acquired? I know that if some were acquired then I could look at the signal strength, but I don't even get the signal strength cause they aren't acquired. One possible method would be to manually enter the numbers of known digital stations with each movement, but I'm not sure if that would work since they haven't been inited in the Quick Search.


I'm going to try adding an amplifier next.
 

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You do not need a directv access card to get OTA on a DTC-100. I would pick an analog tower that is near a digital tower. I would then adjust the antenna to get the best picture you can for that analog signal. Next, go to the signal strenght screen for OTA and select the digital channel that is near the analog one and slowly moving the antenna, look for a signal to show up. I would do this very slowly. There is a location map on the internet that shows were all the towers are located in your area. You can use that guide to help locate the general directions from your home. Hopefully someone can post that URL.

Good luck.
 
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