Detroit Area Attic Antenna Help

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
So I thought I did my homework, turns out I failed.

First, the TVFool:
TV Fool

Next, the details:
- Antennas Direct DB4E
- Attic install, typical OSB roof, tar paper, shingles
- Probably about 25-30 feet from ground
- 100 foot quad RG6
- 2 different tv's; a 2007 Panasonic, and a 2008-ish Samsung

After a couple days of running wires to the attic, I finally hooked up the DB4E and ran a scan on my Samsung. While I was afraid of not getting the hi-vhf station (WJBK), turns out that's 1 of the 2 that I can get a signal on (Strong and clear, BTW). The other is the CBC station from Windsor. That's it. Twisted all around in small increments and re-scanned for a couple hours to no avail (just lost the Windsor station)

The Panasonic picked up nothing.

I would really appreciate any advice. I didn't think it would be this hard to pick up stations 10-15 miles away.
What kills me is the guy across the street is using a 4 bay bowtie antenna at his place, which he has leaned in a corner of his living room on the first floor and he gets everything on a 5 year old Sony.

With the amount of cable between the antenna and tv, would an amp help or hurt?

Many, Many thanks in advance!
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Two possiblities that I see. 1. A bad cable. 2. Overload. You have a long distance antenna in a high signal strength area. Do a temporary run of a known good cable to one TV and see what you get. If you're still not getting everything try using a cheap indoor antenna. If the good cable works, you will need to figure out where the bad cable is. Overload is a real possiblity given your proximity to the towers. You may need to dumb your system down. Possibly a small 2 bay antenna.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
I'd be inclined to agree with the "overload" theory. Those are some pretty strong signals. One clue is that you get 7 on an antenna that isn't designed to get VHF-high.

Try this: go buy a cheap set of rabbit ears (with a UHF loop) and connect it in the attic in place of the DB4e.
 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to try the cheapo rabbit ears up there first (think i got one in the basement somewhere), and double check the coax with a known good one. I guess overload isn't necessarily a bad thing, if it means I can get my money back on the DB4!
 
#6
Predictions:

The Panasonic may be an analog-only tuner set. Check its specifications to see if it has an ATSC/8VSB tuner. Also, some sets of that vintage had very specific setup instructions including dual RF connectors and special buttons on the remote to select antenna vs cable signals.

The Samsung is likely still set on "Cable". You need to switch it to "antenna" prior to scanning otherwise you'll only get VHF channels 7-13 which happen to overlap between cable and antenna signals.
 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Predictions:

The Panasonic may be an analog-only tuner set. Check its specifications to see if it has an ATSC/8VSB tuner. Also, some sets of that vintage had very specific setup instructions including dual RF connectors and special buttons on the remote to select antenna vs cable signals.

The Samsung is likely still set on "Cable". You need to switch it to "antenna" prior to scanning otherwise you'll only get VHF channels 7-13 which happen to overlap between cable and antenna signals.
Panasonic's a PT-56DLX76 with an ATSC tuner, and the Samsung was *positively* set for "Air". ... :)
 
#8
Go back to each set's owner's manual and verify you've followed the correct setup procedure. If that doesn't pan out, try a "basic" antenna. If that does work, then the circuit board on the antenna is probably damaged. It's easy to replace - all you have to do is contact the manufacturer for a repair kit.

Signal overload is unlikely but a faulty coax is a good possibility.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#9
Garyz,

Look closely at the center wire inside the coaxial fittings to be certain they have not been bent over sideways. What are you using for a splitter to send the signals to your two TV sets? It could be a dud. Good luck,

Jim
 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
I guess that old rabbit ear setup got tossed when we moved, so the project will wait until this weekend. Right now, there's no splitter invloved, it's a simple female to female coupler I pulled from a keystone jack. The line from coupling to the tv was "tested" via hooking up an old VCR and watching the signal on channel 3 on the tv(s). I tried each TV individually.

The coax from the antenna to the coupling has not been tested in that manner so it could be suspect. I hope not though. It's a brand new Mediabridge premade cable i spent a couple hours fishing up from the basement to the attic. :(

At the old house (a mile west of here) I had a SquareShooter hooked up to the Panasonic with so-so results, so I know at least that ATSC tuner worked in the past..... Stay tuned.... :)
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#11
... Right now, there's no splitter invloved, it's a simple female to female coupler I pulled from a keystone jack...... Stay tuned.... :)
A female to female coupler does not explain how you are sending OTA signals to two TV sets. That part simply extends one RG6 or RG59 cable run.

Jim

 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
A female to female coupler does not explain how you are sending OTA signals to two TV sets. That part simply extends one RG6 or RG59 cable run.

Jim

Exactly. :) Only one tv is hooked up right now. That's what i meant by testing individually, that probably wasn't that clear from my text. No splitters as of yet. When I get one set working, I'll switch to the other, and when that works, I'll set up the splitter to feed two. Sorry for the confusion.

:)
 
#14
While I was afraid of not getting the hi-vhf station (WJBK), turns out that's 1 of the 2 that I can get a signal on (Strong and clear, BTW). The other is the CBC station from Windsor.
CBET? That's the only CBS station I can find from Windsor, but it doesn't even appear on your TVFR. If that's your second station, it's noteworthy since it's also VHF (RF 9).

Do you know for sure there's nothing in your roof that allows high VHF but keeps UHF from getting through? I thought you had to be a mile or three from the transmitter to get overload.

Rick
 

nbound-au

The Graveyard Shift
#15
I doubt its overload, penetrating a roof will be a good 15-20+dB attenuator in itself.

The roof will attenuate VHF signals MUCH less (5-10dB).

I would suspect a shorted crimp (make sure the core does not touch the braid at all), or a bad kink in the cable

Just for fun, attach a bit of unshielded cable (speaker cable/etc.) onto the core only of the cabling at the attic end, and see if you can pick up anything off that.

If your report is that good, you would probably get a few stations with the antenna temporarily setup outside at or near ground level. At least then you can confirm that your TVs are working correctly and that you have connected everything correctly for the test. If the test goes well, it would be worth rechecking the internal cabling/crimps.

If nothing goes to plan in the attic, an on roof install is always good option (and much better signal wise)
 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
CBET? That's the only CBS station I can find from Windsor, but it doesn't even appear on your TVFR. If that's your second station, it's noteworthy since it's also VHF (RF 9).

Do you know for sure there's nothing in your roof that allows high VHF but keeps UHF from getting through? I thought you had to be a mile or three from the transmitter to get overload.

Rick
CBET indeed, from Windsor Canada. I noticed it wasn't on the TVFR too. That's actually one of the stations I would love to get a clear signal with since here in the US, on DirecTV we don't get it as part of our "locals", but growing watching Canadian TV including Hockey Night in Canada and Don Cherry has really made me miss it the past 10 years on the dish. :)
 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
UPDATE: It's working, thanks for all who offered help. The solution, I have no idea..... Long boring description, so those not interested, click your back button now.

So, first, I checked the cabling. I make my own cables and drops, including data (Cat5, Cat6) but never had a decent way to test them without dragging my laptop around to new jacks or swapping patches between router and patch panel. So I finally broke down and spent 30 bucks on a Gardner Bender tester that has coax and RJ45. Tested the run from the coax distribution to tv - fine. Run from distribution to attic - fine. No shorts, good continuity.

Took the antenna down, and walked across the street to my neighbors house (who's using the 4 bay leaned up against a wall) and hooked up mine to his TV. Worked great leaned against the couch on the 1st floor.... now I'm baffled.

Took it home, did one last ditch attempt at hooking up the antenna to Panasonic tv with 5 foot patch (which I've done previously), scanned channels and guess what. CRYSTAL CLEAR, all my locals at strong signal. What the ????

So.... take it to basement. Hook up antenna *in the basement* to the feed up to Panasonic. Signal! Not great, but enough to see pixelated picture. What the What the ??

OK, back to attic then. Join attic feed to living room feed, hook it up in attic, climb down ladder, check Panasonic, *works GREAT*

I'm dumbfounded. The *only* thing that's different through each successful test was that the coax connector on the antenna was (is) pointed up. Since this seems like a gremlin, I ain't moving it. I twisted it a couple degrees back and forth to try and get CBC and WADL but that's it. It works.

Maybe I bent the center copper on three different connectors and they magically straightened out today. Maybe there was a short in the antenna balun that went away when it was flipped, Who knows. I'm going Ron Popiel; I set it and I'm gonna forget it.

:)

Now, any suggestions for maybe using a 2nd antenna pointed to the east so I can get WADL reliably? I really want my Antenna TV :) :)
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#18
UPDATE: It's working, thanks for all who offered help. ...
Now, any suggestions for maybe using a 2nd antenna pointed to the east so I can get WADL reliably? I really want my Antenna TV :) :)
Gary,

It seems you are satisfied with the channels you are currently receiving and congratulations!

You could add a second antenna dedicated to the East and an A-B switch, or add an antenna rotor to spin your existing antenna. In my terrible TV reception area, I had to build three independent antenna systems (A-B-C switches in every room).

One of the antennas is on a Channel Master rotor with a programable remote control unit. Push button '7' and the rotor automatically goes to the compass point for channel 7. A dozen other channels received here (different compass directions) are as easily aimed.

The only other option I can think of is questionable: if you can find a device called a "Jointenna" specifically for channel 39 then an easterly facing UHF antenna can be added to your existing antenna. They were discontinued years ago, but do appear from time to time on eBay.

Jim

Edit: Their may be a channel 40, available here:

http://www.warrenelectronics.com/Antennas/Jointennas.htm
 
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#19
Maybe there was a short in the antenna balun that went away when it was flipped,
Wait! Would the two VHF stations (RF 7 and 9) come through without the balun? If I were you, I'd take the balun out of the loop, to see if that's the case. If you have to replace it, it's what -- $1.50? I'd have to know!

Interesting to me that the cheap "loop / rabbit ear test" would have given you a good clue.

Now, any suggestions for maybe using a 2nd antenna pointed to the east so I can get WADL reliably? I really want my Antenna TV :) :)
I would try joining a second antenna with a plain old splitter first. I don't see anything below NM = 40 dB worth worrying about on your TVFR, so you probably can take an extra 3 dB loss over the A/B switch -- UNLESS, are you still getting CBET on RF 9?? (Make sure it's 9. There's another channel, RF 32, that's licensed to Windsor, though it technically doesn't "come from" Windsor.)

Rick
 

garyz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#20
Wait! Would the two VHF stations (RF 7 and 9) come through without the balun? If I were you, I'd take the balun out of the loop, to see if that's the case. If you have to replace it, it's what -- $1.50? I'd have to know!

Interesting to me that the cheap "loop / rabbit ear test" would have given you a good clue.



I would try joining a second antenna with a plain old splitter first. I don't see anything below NM = 40 dB worth worrying about on your TVFR, so you probably can take an extra 3 dB loss over the A/B switch -- UNLESS, are you still getting CBET on RF 9?? (Make sure it's 9. There's another channel, RF 32, that's licensed to Windsor, though it technically doesn't "come from" Windsor.)

Rick
I'm thinking of just trying another antenna pointed that way for WADL and joining them. Might make one of them coat hanger DIY bowties I see on YouTube for fun. :)

I am getting CBC 9 solid right now with a "60%" signal according to the TV. No fluctuations.
 
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