Antenna advice - CM4228 not working

geaux

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
Hello all, long time reader and first time poster. I have a CM4228 (not the new HD version, but the old one) mounted on a telescopic pole approximately 20 feet up. I can only receive the local NBC (and its two additional subchannels) and PBS (and its two additional subchannels). Here is my tvfool information:



There are several trees about 100 feet east of the antenna, and 200 feet north of it, and another 200 feet south of it. I do not have any preamp on the antenna, but the entire run of cable is RG6. Raising the antenna at its current location does not assist the reception, so perhaps I need to relocate it.

I am thinking about swapping out the CM4228 for a Winegard HD-8200U. I just don't know what to do. Any thoughts/advice would be tremendously appreciated.
 

geaux

DTVUSA Rookie
#3
It's RG-6, and the run is a bit long - prob 50-75 feet if not a bit longer.

I get very inconsistent low 20's-30's at best for KVHP and KATC. The only channels I pick up are KPLC and KLTL. No other channels come in.

ETA - I have adjusted the height and turned the antenna toward the respective towers at different times, to no avail. Very frustrating.
 
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EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#4
You have a highly directional antenna, you need an omni directional antenna. You also need VHF High antnenna ability and bidirectionally.

I would try a Rabbit Ear and Loop Amplified. Like maybe the Radio Shack 1874 Budget up on the pole with a Winegard 269 amplifier.



Or the reflectorless 4 bay combined with VHF Dipoles (Rabbit Ears) using a UVSJ combiner. With an amplifier like the Winegard 269. (and possibly an FM Trap)



Can you post your FMFool as well?
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#5
You could point a combo antenna (4228 is kindof comboish) at 60ish degrees and should be able to pick up everything in yellow and green at 38, 59, 89. An amp might help that particular antenna with the VHF High stuff.

If you are going to get pretty involved, then Id say go try for both directions with the above recommendations.

But you could also just go with a combo antenna that is much better on VHF and point it at 60ish degrees.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#6
An undamaged, original 4228 mounted outdoors should be performing almost flawlessly all the way down to KADN Fox 15.1, and perhaps beyond. This sounds like it's happening in the downlead -- worn-out cable, a bad connector, or moisture that's basically short-circuited the antenna system at the coax transformer or elsewhere outdoors. Check everything carefully; if you see badly corroded metal anywhere in the cabling, that's a strong hint of moisture ingress. Replacing the cable and balun may well solve this problem inexpensively.

Given the length of that cable run, you'll probably benefit from a pre-amp. I'd recommend the high-input Winegard HDP-269 only. Other W/G and Channel Master pre-amps, good as they may be, could well overload on those three stations at the top of this list as all their signals are rather strong.

EDIT: If the cable needs replacing, be sure to seal all connections using Coax-Seal or equivalent, and protect the sealed connections with weather boots. That way, this won't happen again so quickly.
 
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geaux

DTVUSA Rookie
#7
The antenna itself is only about a year old, as are the wires and all connections. (It was a new construction house.) I have changed the balun once to see if it was the problem and it was not. I'll check the connections this evening.

The antenna is perhaps not in the best condition though - it appears that the grill on the back has a slight curvature to it on one side, though the bowties are all seemingly intact and straight.

Any thoughts on switching to the Winegard HD-8200U?
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#9
Unless you want to use the antenna for FM as well as TV reception, you have no need for the big, bad 8200 since there are no TV stations to speak of on channels 2-6 in your area. Winegard's equivalent 7-69 model is the HD-7698P, but you don't need quite that much gain, either.

A "slight" bend in the reflector by itself wouldn't kill reception of all but your two strongest stations. As long as the bowties aren't touching the screen or the boom anywhere, and the balun is connected properly to both terminals, the antenna isn't the problem.

Let's start with the basics:

• You are using RG-6 coaxial cable, right? RG-59 coax can be used, but loses much more signal than RG-6. (The cable type should be stamped on the outer jacket in contrasting ink.) Any other type of wire is totally unsuitable for over-the-air reception.

• Perhaps the cable has a poorly attached F-connector somewhere, or maybe it sustained internal damage when it was installed. Coax can be damaged by yanking it hard through a hole, for example. Check for obvious signs of injury or stress. Permanent kinks, dents or bulges are bad news.

A Winegard HD-7696P would be more than sufficient with those signal strengths if you really want to swap out the 4228, but my hunch is that a new antenna won't resolve this issue. That 4228 iteration was a peerless antenna. It really sounds like it's either a short or broken conductor, faults that usually crop up in the downlead cable. If you're certain everything is in good working order, I'd install a pre-amp before putting up a different antenna. You may just need to overcome loss in the cable, and that would do the trick.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#11
If the OP turned the antenna at KVHP and KATC and could not get a signal, then I agree, it's most likely bad coax, since the balun was changed.

Go to the store and buy a piece of coax, RG6, and replace it. That is much less than an antenna. If it doesn't fix it, either find someone with a liberal return, or store it inside. Coax out of the weather lasts decades.

I also agree with EV, with every thing working perfect, you have the back of the antenna at KVHP and KATC unless you turn the antenna. 4228 has 20 db or so of front to back, lowering the NM figures seen by that amount. Then another 6 db of loss in the length of coax you are using would make KVHP and KATC right on the edge I would think pointed at KPLC / KLTL
 

geaux

DTVUSA Rookie
#12
Thanks guys for all your help. It is definitely RG6 all through the wiring. I pulled the antenna down yesterday afternoon and checked everything, and replaced the coax connector into the balun and cleaned the connecting point into the house. I also checked for any bends in the antenna and it was all fine.

I think I will try to relocate the antenna this evening; maybe that will help.

Also worth noting: My telescopic pole won't extend higher than 20 feet because it is stuck; I'll be trying some WD40 on the affected part, to try and get the antenna higher.
 

Eureka

DTVUSA Member
#13
20 ft should be more than sufficient based on your TVFool report. Raising it higher may help with KBTV, KADN, or channels below those, if you're trying to get them.

Something else major is wrong, though.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#14
Thanks guys for all your help. It is definitely RG6 all through the wiring. I pulled the antenna down yesterday afternoon and checked everything, and replaced the coax connector into the balun and cleaned the connecting point into the house. I also checked for any bends in the antenna and it was all fine.

I think I will try to relocate the antenna this evening; maybe that will help.

Also worth noting: My telescopic pole won't extend higher than 20 feet because it is stuck; I'll be trying some WD40 on the affected part, to try and get the antenna higher.
It is possible something was built that is causing a reflection, which would wipe out channels. I have seen it here at my house, where suddenly WOGX on RF31 digital just started going nuts up and down with signal, freezing. That is when I went back to using yagi antennas, and have read of similar situations.

Also on the pole. If you have the man power, take the pole down, unmount everything, and get 2 to 4 people pulling and turning. Use WD40 and or oil. I have pulled apart many a telescoping pole that way.

The one I was using now was stuck. I pulled it out about 2 feet with three people and that was it. I put it up vertical so it could dry, and poured oil down it. About 2 months later I had to take it down and we got it all the way unstuck.
 
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