Intermittent Rural OTA Reception-Solutions?
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Intermittent Rural OTA Reception-Solutions?


This is a discussion on Intermittent Rural OTA Reception-Solutions? within the DTV | HDTV Reception and Antenna Discussion forums, part of the Over-the-Air (Antenna TV) category.

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  1. #1
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    Intermittent Rural OTA Reception-Solutions?

    Our location is Brooksville, Maine--rural, coastal, hilly topography.
    We have a Winegard 7084 (?) directional antenna for 4 DTV stations ~25-30 miles away, all within 40 degrees azimuth. The rooftop antenna is ~ 30' high with a 10 year old coax (to be replaced when the GD rain stops here). The caox is ~ 40' total from the antenna to the TV with a FM splitter disconnected.
    Only 2 of the 4 stations come in with consistant signal strength; one, ABC 7, rarely operates.
    Softwood trees have been cleared that are in the path.
    I've oriented the antenna to face between the transmitters and often move it to try our various orientations as well as re-scanning both single and double scan methods.
    Could part of the problem be the transmitters varying the signal ? They say no.
    Solutions ?
    1. Pre-amp such a Winegard 8700 ?

    2. New RG6 shilede coax ?
    3. Raise the antenna ~ 5-8 feet ?
    Much Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downeast Chops View Post
    Our location is Brooksville, Maine-
    Go here TV Fool
    and put in your address. If you are very rural you probably want to go here first.
    Google Maps Latitude, Longitude Popup
    Then zoom down on your house, then switch to satellite mode and try and find your house.

    In both rural and very hilly terrain, TVFool works much better on coordinates than address.

    Be sure to put in 30 ft in your antenna height.

    Then at the top of the results page there is a link in bold you can share with us back here.

    Be much easier to evaluate your situation.
    The more I understand, the less I know.

    PORK... The Other White Meat....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggie View Post
    Go here TV Fool
    and put in your address. If you are very rural you probably want to go here first.
    Google Maps Latitude, Longitude Popup
    Then zoom down on your house, then switch to satellite mode and try and find your house.

    In both rural and very hilly terrain, TVFool works much better on coordinates than address.

    Be sure to put in 30 ft in your antenna height.

    Then at the top of the results page there is a link in bold you can share with us back here.

    Be much easier to evaluate your situation.
    Done all of the above plus antennaweb. Both address and lat/lon.
    I don't understand in non-technical terms how to evaluate gain for a pre-amp without buying a signal meter. The question for us is: what are the simplest (K.I.S.S.) things to try. e.g. pre-amp, height increase, new coax, tilt.....and how users' experience with these techniques succeeds in solving transmission problems ? I just rotated the antenna to a new azimuth: things are improved.

    The many problems with DTV kind of remind me of our early days with DOS and other OS' in the late 70's and 80's : mystery, secret info.

    Sidebar: for us, publishing personal address and location info on a public forum is not an option. Unfortunate reality of the internet.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downeast Chops View Post
    Done all of the above plus antennaweb. Both address and lat/lon.
    I don't understand in non-technical terms how to evaluate gain for a pre-amp without buying a signal meter. The question for us is: what are the simplest (K.I.S.S.) things to try. e.g. pre-amp, height increase, new coax, tilt.....and how users' experience with these techniques succeeds in solving transmission problems ? I just rotated the antenna to a new azimuth: things are improved.

    The many problems with DTV kind of remind me of our early days with DOS and other OS' in the late 70's and 80's : mystery, secret info.

    Sidebar: for us, publishing personal address and location info on a public forum is not an option. Unfortunate reality of the internet.

    Thanks.
    Solutions ?
    1. Pre-amp such a Winegard 8700 ?
    Don't know how strong your stations are if this is too much amp

    2. New RG6 shilede coax ?
    That is the best coax. Good coax is always better

    3. Raise the antenna ~ 5-8 feet ?
    Most of the time, higher the better, but not always.

    How users solve reception problems is often trial and error. Some live without perfect, probably most I know that did their own and when I said I would help they said don't bother. So from folks around me, I think they put up an antenna and good enough is good enough.

    Others seek advice as forums like this.

    TVFool gives engineering level specs on a users location. With those specs such things as antenna size, height, amp or not or which size can be all roughed in. Even with TVFool it just gives a good starting point.

    I have been building, testing, playing, using antenna for 40 years. Much of what I know is along term cumulative learning.

    But that is about as far as I can go with the data I have.
    The more I understand, the less I know.

    PORK... The Other White Meat....

  5. #5
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    We still need to see the TVFool report -- either as an attachment to a follow-up message, or as a link, which the site provides in boldface type on the report page (looks something like "www tvfool com ? option = x677322asvOV ? view = zzzwyyzzz7890") -- to give any more than general advice. (They redact the address so it doesn't appear online.)

    Speaking of which... and since you brought up the KISS formula: Do the easiest, cheapest things first before rushing out to buy a bigger, badder pre-amp or other expensive stuff. Such as:

    * Replace that coax with RG-6. Buy cable in the black jacket only, as it resists UV damage better than any other color. Lots of rain, huh? Pick up some Coax-Seal and weatherproof all outside connections. Water infiltration short-circuits things in a hurry, and corrodes copper cable and aluminum braid almost as fast. This might be all you need to do.

    * It's maintenance time! Inspect the antenna for physical damage like bent, broken or missing elements. Even more important: Make absolutely certain the feedlines don't touch one another anywhere along their length. Feedlines are those criss-crossing metal wires running directly above the boom. If they touch, they short circuit. They can be separated by hand, gently, if need be.

    * Are you certain the pre-amp you have is working... and have you tried taking the pre-amp out completely (meaning both the amp and the power injector), running a cable straight from antenna to TV with nothing more than perhaps a barrel connector or two to splice cables, and then re-scanning for channels? Better reception after performing these steps means either the amp is bad, or it's working just fine -- and overloading either itself or the tuner, robbing you of stations. (Don't worry too much. Overload doesn't damage anything; remove the source and it goes away.)

    Doing these things first might save you a whole heckuva lot of embarrassment from having dropped a couple of hundred bucks buying stuff that turned out to be unnecessary, all for want of (for example) 30 bucks' worth of new coax and sundries!

  6. #6
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    Another great Pig-Don thread going here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Downeast Chops View Post
    The many problems with DTV kind of remind me of our early days with DOS and other OS' in the late 70's and 80's : mystery, secret info.

    Sidebar: for us, publishing personal address and location info on a public forum is not an option. Unfortunate reality of the internet.

    Thanks.
    As Don has mentioned, entering your info on TVFool will produce results that hide your address. If you're still a little skiddish about that, you can enter your zip code which will produce a little less accurate result but at least give us something to go off of.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don_M View Post
    We still need to see the TVFool report -- either as an attachment to a follow-up message, or as a link, which the site provides in boldface type on the report page (looks something like "www tvfool com ? option = x677322asvOV ? view = zzzwyyzzz7890") -- to give any more than general advice. (They redact the address so it doesn't appear online.)

    Speaking of which... and since you brought up the KISS formula: Do the easiest, cheapest things first before rushing out to buy a bigger, badder pre-amp or other expensive stuff. Such as:

    * Replace that coax with RG-6. Buy cable in the black jacket only, as it resists UV damage better than any other color. Lots of rain, huh? Pick up some Coax-Seal and weatherproof all outside connections. Water infiltration short-circuits things in a hurry, and corrodes copper cable and aluminum braid almost as fast. This might be all you need to do.

    Just got a new RG6 --when this silly rain stops, I'll replace the old one.*

    It's maintenance time! Inspect the antenna for physical damage like bent, broken or missing elements. Even more important: Make absolutely certain the feedlines don't touch one another anywhere along their length. Feedlines are those criss-crossing metal wires running directly above the boom. If they touch, they short circuit. They can be separated by hand, gently, if need be.

    The directional Winegard is only 4 months old. In fine shape. We got from Denny's: great advice and back up BTW ! $15. including shipping for RG6 w F connectors.


    * Are you certain the pre-amp you have is working... and have you tried taking the pre-amp out completely (meaning both the amp and the power injector), running a cable straight from antenna to TV with nothing more than perhaps a barrel connector or two to splice cables, and then re-scanning for channels? Better reception after performing these steps means either the amp is bad, or it's working just fine -- and overloading either itself or the tuner, robbing you of stations. (Don't worry too much. Overload doesn't damage anything; remove the source and it goes away.)

    I wasn't clear, sorry, there's no pre-amp yet.

    Doing these things first might save you a whole heckuva lot of embarrassment from having dropped a couple of hundred bucks buying stuff that turned out to be unnecessary, all for want of (for example) 30 bucks' worth of new coax and sundries!
    Super advice from all. Thanks again.
    Our GD rain and T-Storms have not let up for weeks ( where are you AlGore when we need some warming ? ) so it's not the best time to get up on a 10 pitch cape roof.

  8. #8
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    Good deal. Well if you find that some of the UHF channels come and go, in almost all environments without fear of overload, you can try a Winegard HDP 269 SquareShooter Pre-Amplifier for SquareShooter SS-1000 (HDP-269) | HDP-269 [Winegard]
    The more I understand, the less I know.

    PORK... The Other White Meat....

 

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