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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after asking questions and pondering all the necessary hardware and costs, this weekend I made the attempt at receiving the bay area channels from Sacramento. Before I started, the best signal I could get from the bay area was an unlocked 13 on a HD5. This was with a 15 foot antenna that could only be adjusted to the left of center due to the way it was mounted.

I bought an additional 25 feet of mast (for a total of 40ft), all the wiring hardware and a radio shack inline amp, the one that goes up by the antenna.

Well, with two friends and myself, using every once of energy and brain power, we could not figure out out to stand 40 feet of mast and antenna up. We tried 30ft, still no luck. I still have no idea how installers do this stuff, but they are earning their money!!

We were eventually able to haul up a meager 20 feet, five feet from the previous mounting spot, but with plenty of adjustment room left and right of "center".

When down, I fired up the receiver, and was appalled. The best signal I had was from a Sacramento feed, and it was only in the 30's. Normally, all Sac channels are in the 100's.

I figured it was the crappy radio shack amp, so we took the whole thing down again, and removed the amp. It was the amp. Now all locals are again 100, plus I am receiving all bay area digital feeds, without any amp.


After brief fine tuning here are my signal strengths: (8 PM)

WB 20-1 (19) = 58%

ABC 7-1,24-1 (24) = 65%

?, ? (29) = 58% (CBS or Univision)

PBS 30-1 (30) = 65%

UPN 44-1 (45) = 24%

FOX 2-1 (56) = 33%

NBC 4-1 (57) = 24%


Notes -

WB at 58% was a very messed up. (Pixelated)

KQED was perfect.

UPN at 24% was unwatchable (Pixelated)

I want to work on NBC and UPN to get them a little better.


I also noticed about 11-11:30, most signal strenghts weakend quite a bit. Do the stations reduce power after primetime?


Well, for those in Sacramento, there is hope for a couple more channels and some backups. Good luck!


Steve

 

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In my younger years in the TV repair business, we NEVER put an antenna up over 20' using single poles. For the 30 to 50' (higher with a rotator) range, we ALWAYS used telescoping masts. Single masts don't have the strength to support themselves at that height.


With a "push-up" (telescoping) mast, you have people hold the guy wires to keep it vertical while raising it.


I just bought a push-up 30' mast a couple of months ago. I like the Channel Master brands better than the Radio Shack ones, though I've used them with no problems either.


BTW, Channel 29-1 is KPIS-CBS in the Bay Area, about the only digital channel worth getting (for HDTV).


Bob Smith
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm sure my neighbors got a good laugh watching this 40ft long pole pending all over the place with wires flying all around. Your right about them single masts not having enough strength!! It was very funny though. I only broke two parts off of my antenna :)


Steve
 

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I am afraid at the distance we are, height of the antenna may not be critical, as much as the time of day and weather condition. During the time you reported good reception, I could gain similar signals with my 20' CM 2428 fixed to SF, as well as a 6' $15 Yagi I bought from Home Depot. After the evening window of opportunity passed, no reliable signals can be received with either antenna. I don't think this has anything to do with the power levels of broadcasts.


At this point, I only hope to catch some HDTV from KQED, with the bless from above, until such time our own PBS KVIE gets their butt kicked into digital broadcast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jacmyoung - I think you may be right. I just went home for lunch to check out the signals and they were all pale shadows of last night :-( None would come in at all. Well, maybe in the evenings (when Im actually home) the signals will return. I was hyped about UPN in digital with the new Star Trek show coming.... and of course KQED. At least now I have a signal to work with, as before nothing.


Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Taron! Good hearing from you. I just checked all the bay area feeds again and they are all at 100% except WB, 72% (20-1) and CBS 79% (5-1). It sure is weird that the signal strength could vary so much from 12:30 this afternoon to now. I still wonder about the bay area station increasing power in the evenings...


Steve
 

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Yep, signals are HIgh right now. I get all the channels you get in the 70%


By the way KQED has a complete program guide like KXTV10.1.
 

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Those radio shack amps are more of a pain than they are worth. I had the same problem. I got my 15' antenna up and stays tightened only to find out that it worked like crap. After taking out the Radio Shack amp, it worked much better.
 

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Actually, the fact you tried to use it in Palo Alto is the problem. Radio Shack amplifiers aren't exactly "state of the art", but are not really that bad if used in the right circumstances. An overloaded amp in Palo Alto is just as bad as no amp in a fringe area.


Radio Shack amplifiers have about the same noise figure as STBs, 6 dB. The reason to use them is to overcome cable or splitter loss in the installation. For true fringe area reception, a noise figure of 2 dB makes more sense.


A UHF only amplifier has better overload capability than a combined VHF/UHF amplifier, especially if there are many FM stations around.


Bob Smith
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Would the DC block on the amp I had cause a problem with the digital signal? Because when I had that amp on, I lost 90% of my locals signal strength. It was like I was hitting a wall or something. I used the "Antenna-Mounted Inline UHF Signal Amplifier, boots UHF by 20db. (15-1115)" If I was overpowering my locals, would I get a picture or signal strength still? Also would unplugging the power plug just pass the signal through or stop it dead? (I tried both ways and saw no difference in my problem)


Steve
 
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