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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

Hopefully I am posting in the right spot.

Here is my tvfool report.

My old Samsung Slimfit, circa 2006, finally gave up the ghost.

I bought a Vizio E32h-C1 at Walmart. Seemed good enough to hold me over and it will probably go to the bedroom at some point.

Here's my issue: All other TV's past and present are able to receive WGRZ, WIVB, WNLO and WKBW (on and off) out of Buffalo - even on a cheapo "Craig" TV my wife had from several years ago.

I was able to pick up some of the weak Canada stations yesterday.

Are Vizio tuners quirky? Should I try to attenuate signal incase of overload?
 

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Seems like we have addressed reception issues on multiple TVs here before so I'm going ahead.......


You're telling us that other TVs in the house are receiving those weak stations at the same time that the Vizio isn't?

If that's the case then the Vizio tuner is not as good as the others.

If that's not the case and you have no other TVs to compare in real time then it may be simply conditions. I would expect those distant 2 edge stations never to be 100%. I can't tell you how many times I've made an equipment change and thought I observed a performance change only to find out over a couple of weeks that it wasn't so.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Seems like we have addressed reception issues on multiple TVs here before so I'm going ahead.......


You're telling us that other TVs in the house are receiving those weak stations at the same time that the Vizio isn't?

If that's the case then the Vizio tuner is not as good as the others.

If that's not the case and you have no other TVs to compare in real time then it may be simply conditions. I would expect those distant 2 edge stations never to be 100%. I can't tell you how many times I've made an equipment change and thought I observed a performance change only to find out over a couple of weeks that it wasn't so.
Correct, other TV's in the house are receiving the weak stations, most of the time.
 

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Correct, other TV's in the house are receiving the weak stations, most of the time.

Okay. I would suggest using a distribution amp in place of your splitter if you don't already have a preamp or distribution amp. That will take care of any tuner noise figure issues.

If you already have a preamp and/or DA then there is some other problem getting the signal to the Vizio.
 

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Topic title edited. See sticky notes.
 

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The Vizio tuner may be overloading from the strong locals. Try attenuating the signal with an additional splitter before the Vizio. Had to do this with a Centronics tuner that suffered from the same issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Vizio tuner may be overloading from the strong locals. Try attenuating the signal with an additional splitter before the Vizio. Had to do this with a Centronics tuner that suffered from the same issue.
I do have the suggested RCA amp to compensate for an 8 way splitter, plus 2 other splits and long cable runs. I have an unused 3 way and 4 way splitter that I can use.

I point my Winegard 8200 away from the strong local stations.
 

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Hi all

Hopefully I am posting in the right spot.

Here is my tvfool report.

My old Samsung Slimfit, circa 2006, finally gave up the ghost.

I bought a Vizio E32h-C1 at Walmart. Seemed good enough to hold me over and it will probably go to the bedroom at some point.

Here's my issue: All other TV's past and present are able to receive WGRZ, WIVB, WNLO and WKBW (on and off) out of Buffalo - even on a cheapo "Craig" TV my wife had from several years ago.

I was able to pick up some of the weak Canada stations yesterday.

Are Vizio tuners quirky? Should I try to attenuate signal incase of overload?
bigdaveyl, I'm not sure you say you're getting anything on the Vizio; are you scanning ANTENNA or CABLE?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
bigdaveyl, I'm not sure you say you're getting anything on the Vizio; are you scanning ANTENNA or CABLE?
Antenna, I get all locals and some Buffalo stations. It is odd because I have tried several different tuners, including cheapo TV's that are able to pick up the weaker Buffalo stations.
 

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I do have the suggested RCA amp to compensate for an 8 way splitter, plus 2 other splits and long cable runs. I have an unused 3 way and 4 way splitter that I can use.

I point my Winegard 8200 away from the strong local stations.

Let me get this straight...... You are splitting the signal 8 ways and then two of those outputs each have another 2 way splitter with long cable runs? Then there's a run of cable between the preamp and the 8 way splitter? It's possible the RCA doesn't have enough gain to overcome all this loss.

I think we need to start over. I think we're missing some crucial details. Please provide a detailed diagram of everything in your system including all splits and cable lengths including which TVs are connected where. With this I can give you a detailed analysis of your system.

Using a preamp instead of a distribution amp for splitting is not really the best way to go about this. Sometimes it's okay and sometimes not. In your case it sounds like not.

If your setup is what I think it is, then you should use the Clearstream Juice preamp for high overload resistance (the RCA is poor in this respect) and replace the 8-way splitter with a CM3418 (also high overload resistance).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Let me get this straight...... You are splitting the signal 8 ways and then two of those outputs each have another 2 way splitter with long cable runs? Then there's a run of cable between the preamp and the 8 way splitter? It's possible the RCA doesn't have enough gain to overcome all this loss.

I think we need to start over. I think we're missing some crucial details. Please provide a detailed diagram of everything in your system including all splits and cable lengths including which TVs are connected where. With this I can give you a detailed analysis of your system.

Using a preamp instead of a distribution amp for splitting is not really the best way to go about this. Sometimes it's okay and sometimes not. In your case it sounds like not.

If your setup is what I think it is, then you should use the Clearstream Juice preamp for high overload resistance (the RCA is poor in this respect) and replace the 8-way splitter with a CM3418 (also high overload resistance).

I have an Winegard 8200U on top of a 5 ft tripod.

It is connected to a RCA RCATVPRAMP1R, with 6 ft. of quad shield RG-6, so I could swing the antenna around with a rotator. I have the FM trap set to off (I have the antenna also connected to my receivers for FM reception), and input set to UHF/Combined.

I then have 50' of cable going to my ground block, then into my house. It is connected to an 8 way splitter, which my TW Cable was connected to, but we cut that cord, and connected the antenna coax instead. The TWC feed now goes straight into the cable modem. Conveniently, the TWC feed comes right into the corner of the house in the basement and I put my antenna coax near where it comes in so I could use the existing splitter/wiring.

We have 1 TV in the basement, 2 TV's on the first floor, and one in all 3 bedrooms for guests. I also have 1 cable going into a PC in the closet for my MythTV set up. Another cable goes to a HDHomeRun. The last hookup on the splitter is terminated.

On 2 (one is the Vizio) of the TV set ups, I did split the cable again, one feed for TV and the other for the receiver. I did swap these out for the CM3412 a few weeks ago. I also did try a CM3418 in place of the 8 way splitter but I got worse results.

When the weather gets better, I may swap out the preamp and just use the CM3418 and CM3412's. I would just need to steal/borrow/rent a ladder.
 

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I have an Winegard 8200U on top of a 5 ft tripod.

It is connected to a RCA RCATVPRAMP1R, with 6 ft. of quad shield RG-6, so I could swing the antenna around with a rotator. I have the FM trap set to off (I have the antenna also connected to my receivers for FM reception), and input set to UHF/Combined.

I then have 50' of cable going to my ground block, then into my house. It is connected to an 8 way splitter, which my TW Cable was connected to, but we cut that cord, and connected the antenna coax instead. The TWC feed now goes straight into the cable modem. Conveniently, the TWC feed comes right into the corner of the house in the basement and I put my antenna coax near where it comes in so I could use the existing splitter/wiring.

We have 1 TV in the basement, 2 TV's on the first floor, and one in all 3 bedrooms for guests. I also have 1 cable going into a PC in the closet for my MythTV set up. Another cable goes to a HDHomeRun. The last hookup on the splitter is terminated.

On 2 (one is the Vizio) of the TV set ups, I did split the cable again, one feed for TV and the other for the receiver. I did swap these out for the CM3412 a few weeks ago. I also did try a CM3418 in place of the 8 way splitter but I got worse results.

When the weather gets better, I may swap out the preamp and just use the CM3418 and CM3412's. I would just need to steal/borrow/rent a ladder.

A few comments......

All the long elements on the 8200U are wasted because you have no low VHF stations. You'd get more out of a Winegard HD7698P.

You don't want to put a distribution amplifier after an 8-way splitter. You want the distribution amp to take the place of the first splitter. You also don't want a CM3418 followed by a CM3412. The CM3412 does nothing to improve the noise figure in this configuration and it adds unnecessary gain thus increasing the possibility of overloading the TV. One distribution amp in the correct place is enough. Two distribution amps may have been the source of the worse performance when you added the CM3418.

If you replace the 8-way splitter with a CM3418, your preamp only needs 13 dB of gain. The RCA has 24 dB average gain on UHF which is far too much and only serves to increase the possibility of overload. A much better choice is the Juice preamp with 18 dB gain and is far better overload characteristics than the RCA. An even better choice is to use a CM3410 as a preamp. It has 15 dB gain, a low noise figure and has good overload characteristics. It does need to be placed in a box to be shielded from the weather though. You can add a full band FM trap ahead of the preamp if that's necessary in your case.

I think there's a number of things you could do to optimize your setup and increase the chances of receiving those weak Canadian stations.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A few comments......

All the long elements on the 8200U are wasted because you have no low VHF stations. You'd get more out of a Winegard HD7698P.

You don't want to put a distribution amplifier after an 8-way splitter. You want the distribution amp to take the place of the first splitter. You also don't want a CM3418 followed by a CM3412. The CM3412 does nothing to improve the noise figure in this configuration and it adds unnecessary gain thus increasing the possibility of overloading the TV. One distribution amp in the correct place is enough. Two distribution amps may have been the source of the worse performance when you added the CM3418.

If you replace the 8-way splitter with a CM3418, your preamp only needs 13 dB of gain. The RCA has 24 dB average gain on UHF which is far too much and only serves to increase the possibility of overload. A much better choice is the Juice preamp with 18 dB gain and is far better overload characteristics than the RCA. An even better choice is to use a CM3410 as a preamp. It has 15 dB gain, a low noise figure and has good overload characteristics. It does need to be placed in a box to be shielded from the weather though. You can add a full band FM trap ahead of the preamp if that's necessary in your case.

I think there's a number of things you could do to optimize your setup and increase the chances of receiving those weak Canadian stations.
I got the 8200 off CraigsList - saved some money. The person bought it a few years ago and never got around to installing it. I was considering swapping it out anyways.

But, that project may have to wait (car issues - may have to buy a new one if my fix did not work). Luckily, I think the hard work is done of putting up the tripod/mast/wiring. I was thinking of putting up a second tripod and mast anyways or putting a bigger mast in and doing some stacking or even pointing different directions and then connecting them to seperate HD Homeruns. The wife and I argue about antenna placement sometimes :)

Stupid question/observation: I vaguely remember seeing that the published specs for the 8200 and 7698 were the same, except that the 8200 had gain on VHF Lo. Is this not really the case in reality? (My physics is a bit rusty)

I will consider the Juice, that sounds like the easiest solution.

Thank you for giving me something to think about and some suggestions.
 

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Stupid question/observation: I vaguely remember seeing that the published specs for the 8200 and 7698 were the same, except that the 8200 had gain on VHF Lo. Is this not really the case in reality? (My physics is a bit rusty)

The UHF portion of both antennas is the same. Despite the gain claims I'm not so sure about VHF. The 8200 has 34 VHF elements and the 7698 has 29 VHF elements. In order to be the same on high VHF the 8200 can only have 5 elements for low VHF. Is that true, only 5 long elements? I was always under the impression that the 7698 was better on high VHF. I can't tell from the picture which elements are for low/high VHF.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The UHF portion of both antennas is the same. Despite the gain claims I'm not so sure about VHF. The 8200 has 34 VHF elements and the 7698 has 29 VHF elements. In order to be the same on high VHF the 8200 can only have 5 elements for low VHF. Is that true, only 5 long elements? I was always under the impression that the 7698 was better on high VHF. I can't tell from the picture which elements are for low/high VHF.
I believe so. But don't quote me on it ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've done some experimenting with my HD Home Run that I just got.

I hooked the antenna feed directly into it, and I've been running some experiments. I still need to borrow/rent a ladder from someone to test if the preamp makes any difference or not.

I think there must be some weird atmospheric conditions going on now - All winter I've gotten most of the strong Buffalo stations, none of the Canadian stations (Except RF 27). They were rock solid. Now I am regularly getting the weak Canadian stations but not Buffalo. It appears that I am receiving some signal from Buffalo but not enough to get a lock. I am primarily a Linux user so I basically wrote an infinite loop to get the signal strength as I turn the antenna with the rotator. I have been getting signal from Watertown/Kingston as well, but can only lock on WPBS.
 

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The UHF portion of both antennas is the same. Despite the gain claims I'm not so sure about VHF. The 8200 has 34 VHF elements and the 7698 has 29 VHF elements. In order to be the same on high VHF the 8200 can only have 5 elements for low VHF. Is that true, only 5 long elements? I was always under the impression that the 7698 was better on high VHF. I can't tell from the picture which elements are for low/high VHF.
W-G HD8200 has an LPDA using 9 Long [3/2-wavelength] Element Pairs plus 2 Long Directors, designed for the ENTIRE VHF Band (Ch2-13) PLUS 5 or 6 (difficult to see) Shorter [1/2-wavelength] Element Pairs to further improve Hi-VHF (Ch7-13). From other 4nec2 simulations, I don't think the Elements in the UHF Corner Reflector help VHF performance very much. Note that the LONG Elements will ALSO resonate as 3/2-Wavelength structures in the Hi-VHF Band. So there are 11 Lo-VHF Elements (I consider Pairs on either side of the Feedline as just ONE Element...same as a Yagi) and 17 to 18 Hi-VHF Elements:
http://www.winegard.com/kbase/uploads/HD8200U.pdf

W-G HD7698 is a Hi-VHF+UHF Antenna with a Hi-VHF LPDA (ALSO!!!) using 9 "Shorter" Element Pairs plus 2 "Shorter" Directors, designed for the Hi-VHF Band (Ch7-13).
http://www.winegard.com/kbase/uploads/HD7698P.pdf

So from an Element count and 2+ dB enhancement due to use of Longer (3/2-Wavelength) Elements, the HD8200 "SHOULD" be the clear winner for Hi-VHF....unfortunately, I've never seen a model for HD8200.

=============================================================
I once modeled R-S VU-90XR and VU-190XR with the original 3/2-Wavelength LPDA and then did a Re-Optimization with TRUNCATED Element Lengths...it not only eliminated Gain in Lo-VHF Band, but also LOST 2 dB of Gain in Hi-VHF Band....so NO, cutting back the Element Lengths in a Ch2-13 Antenna for operation on only Ch7-13 is NOT recommended.

The higher Gain of a 3/2-Wavelength Antenna vs a 1/2-Wavelength Antenna is clearly evident in the fol. Simple "VEE" Dipole, which operates 1/2-Wavelength Mode in Hi-VHF Band (abt 2+ dBi as expected) and 3/2-Wavelength in UHF Band (abt 4+ dBi)....illustrating the "Bigger is Better" rule:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/dipoles/hivhfuhfveestickdipole
BTW: Without the "VEE", a simple Hi-VHF Stick Dipole has higher Gain on lower freqs in the lower UHF Band (3/2-Wavelenght Mode)...but mid-band the Pattern forms 4-lobed Clover Leafs:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/dipoles/hivhfuhfstickdipolenoreflector

The extra Shorter [1/2-wavelength] Element Pairs in the HD8200 enhance the Hi-VHF performance, just as the "VEE" shape enhances performance for the fol. Hi-VHF+UHF 8-El "VEE" LPDA in the the higher UHF [3/2-Wavelength] Band, as shown here for a Hi-VHF+UHF "VEE" LPDA [sorry, I don't have a Lo-Hi VHF LPDA example]:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/zigzaglpa/hivhfuhflpda/hivhfuhf8elveelpda
Note that some UHF Directors (or whatever) is needed to help fix that 4 dB Gain Hole at 524 MHz....
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just an update.

I've been playing around with my HD Homerun Extend that I got a few weeks ago, and it seems that I am able to receive stations if my signal to noise quality is above 45-50% from my observations.

Most all of the weak Buffalo/Canadian stations run at 41-42% when I do not get them.

I'm figuring I can run some of the experiments that Calaveras suggested once I get my hands on a big enough ladder. I am considering trying a Clear Stream Juice and an FM filter. I will also try no amplifiers at all and only the CM3418. I figure I am very close.

As a last resort, I think I will try a separate 91xg or DB8e, and maybe stacking them to at least boost my UHF gain.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh, one other thing....

I have a Raspberry Pi sitting around. I have seen WiFi antenna projects around that control/rotate antennas.

I would have to research on how feasible it would be to have it control my rotator so that I could log signal strength/quality vs position.
 
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