Bad Reception: Fox 26 in SE Houston

#1
TVFool: TV Fool

Type of Antenna: Philips MANT900 20 Element. Mounted in the attic of my single story home.
Type of Wiring: I bought new coax. It was heavy gauge, outdoor stuff. Don't know the exact details.
Which Channel: Fox 26.1, KRIV-DT.
Setup: Antenna -> coax -> Motorola Signal Booster Amp -> coax -> HDHomeRun -> cat5 -> router -> cat5 -> MythTV

All the channels I care about (major networks) come in just fine and my MythTV box has no trouble recording shows. Except for Fox. Almost every time I try and record a show on Fox, the signal scrambles, cuts out, jitters, skips to a point where shows are unwatchable. I end up having to watch things on Hulu or torrent them. I'd prefer to get good clean OTA HD, though...

Using the HDHomeRun signal analyzer, my signal strength is great, even on Fox, even when Fox is jumping and skipping...

Help? Thanks.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Have you tried the antenna outside, even temporarily?

Indoor reception is difficult to predict unfortunately, and an attic antenna is definitely indoors.

Signal strength is one thing but you will find that signal quality is another whole different story. Multipath in particular tends to screw up DTV signals really bad. The attic may be causing reflections although it is difficult to say because indoor reception is unpredictable.

So try the antenna outdoors, without the amp if you can. At 21.5 miles the amp may be hurting more than helping.
 
#3
Did you ever test reception without the signal booster?

The antenna may also be mounted in a bad spot for FOX 26. Try a different spot in the attic to find a bettter swet spot. if that doesn't work, your only option is getting the antenna outside.
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#4
TVFool: TV Fool

Type of Antenna: Philips MANT900 20 Element. Mounted in the attic of my single story home.
Type of Wiring: I bought new coax. It was heavy gauge, outdoor stuff. Don't know the exact details.
Which Channel: Fox 26.1, KRIV-DT.
Setup: Antenna -> coax -> Motorola Signal Booster Amp -> coax -> HDHomeRun -> cat5 -> router -> cat5 -> MythTV

All the channels I care about (major networks) come in just fine and my MythTV box has no trouble recording shows. Except for Fox. Almost every time I try and record a show on Fox, the signal scrambles, cuts out, jitters, skips to a point where shows are unwatchable. I end up having to watch things on Hulu or torrent them. I'd prefer to get good clean OTA HD, though...

Using the HDHomeRun signal analyzer, my signal strength is great, even on Fox, even when Fox is jumping and skipping...

Help? Thanks.
Attic mounting of the antenna is most likely the problem with your reception, as that can be expected to drop signal levels substantially. The presence of the antenna in the attic could also be causing a multi path issue (Ghosting) from some of the building materials in the attic itself such as foil back insulation, heating ducts, etc. Normally when you have an acceptable signal level and are still suffering from signal drop out, that is a sure indicator of a multi-path or ghosting condition.

Try moving the antenna to a slightly different location in the attic, or better yet, take it outside and try it on that one FOX channel and see if that cures the problem. I would be willing to bet that if you were to try this antenna in a different location or preferably outside, your problem would go away.

Looking at your TV FOOL signal strength data indicates that you do not need an antenna amplifier either. Try removing the amplifier first, and if that does not solve the issue, move the antenna around in the attic, or move it outside. Your market is almost all UHF stations, and I would have purchased an antenna that favored those channels, as it looks like the VHF side of the current antenna is only used for one or possibly two channels.

My antenna of choice would be the C2 UHF design by Clear Stream at antennasdirect.com. I have spent many days using this antenna in a challenging reception environment, and it does a great job in dealing with multi-path signals. There are many good UHF antennas on the market today, but I do have hundreds hours of real world experience with the C series of antennas, and I can verify their performance with data plots and real world numbers obtained from professional test instruments.
 
Last edited:

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#5
All you guys have some VERY good suggestions, but....
I just never liked the Mant 900.

I think going to something like a CM-2018 if there is enough Room, would be the way to go here.
I personally am using a ACraft/RShack VU-90-XR in my Attic, and getting superb results on all channels.
I understand that it's a 2/69 where as the 2018 is a 7/69, but I think it would work well (either actually).

Have a good Day ! :)
S.W.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#6
My antenna of choice would be the C2 UHF design by Clear Stream at antennasdirect.com. I have spent many days using this antenna in a challenging reception environment, and it does a great job in dealing with multi-path signals. There are many good UHF antennas on the market today, but I do have hundreds hours of real world experience with the C series of antennas, and I can verify their performance with data plots and real world numbers obtained from professional test instruments.
Dunno about this. The OP has three VHFs: PBS on 8, CBS on 11 and ABC on 13. Given what Ken Nist wrote about the C2's element size and VHF-attenuating balun -- his model predicts an average 7-13 gain of something like -42 dBd -- it's not the best choice by itself for a 7-52 market like Houston. Nist does rave that it's an "excellent" antenna for channels 14-52, though, and so it would be a terrific choice when combined with a separate high-bander (AntennaCraft Y5-7-13, Antennas Direct C5, Winegard YA-6713).
 

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