Question: Help with DTV reception (lots of edges)

#1
TV Fool

My location. I have a two story home with a full attic above that that's been converted into a bedroom so have option to place the antenna just about anywhere but up on the main roof (jagged edges, sharp inclines, not a good place to be unless you know what you're doing... and I don't.) I do have the ability to mount on the roof to my front porch as I have access through the second floor bathroom window.

I had a flat pancake dtv antenna from radio shack that managed to pick up a few more channels, (36.1, 36.2, 36.3, .2 and .3 aren't listed on the tvfool page, though I don't fully comprehend much of what I'm looking at here,) and it has recently stopped working. It's under warranty and going back today, but I'm hoping to scoop up fox with a homemade bow-tie antenna (as seen here: How to Make a TV Antenna for HDTV | TV Antenna Plans)

Before I venture down this road, I thought I'd throw this all out here to you fine people to see what you think my best option is. The report is leaving antenna height blank, and tweaking that height I've found some of the 2EDGE channels become LOS channels at 35-45 feet, which I can easily obtain, but not FOX. My goal is to have a wider variety of football games available to me :) Any and all help and insight is greatly appreciated.

A side note, a colleague of mine lives 6 blocks away in a second floor apartment and picks up the fox channels on his 14.95 walmart hdtv antenna, which he keeps inside. The elevation between my house and his only differs by a few feet, but I'm much closer to a very tall hill than he is (I assume this is my biggest issue... not sure how TV signals work; scattering over hills or more of a straight line effect, rendering anyone beyond those hills out of luck.)

Thanks ahead of time.
 
#2
Wanted to mention, while fiddling with the radio shack pancake antenna last night, I discovered that being hooked up to the power source that came with it (hooks to TV DTV/Coax in on tv, out to the wall for power, and out to antenna,) just touching the bare coax with my index finger picks up digital 18.1 and 18.2 as well as 26 (analog)... if that helps anything
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#3
I think the first thing is what does the higher (35-45) foot TV fool look like? I'd like to see the predicted signal strengths. Just because a signal may be an edge channel doesn't mean you will have problems picking it up. A large number of the channels I receive are 2nd edge. .2 and .3 channels are multicast channels that are all part of the same MPEG-2 data stream with the .1 channel on the same carrier. TVfool only lists the main channel. The channels in the "Real" column on the TVfool report are the actual Radio Frequency channel the channel is broadcast on (Channels 2-13 are VHF, Channels 14-69 are UHF). The "Virt." column is the virtual channel (display channel) and usually is the RF channel that the station broadcast on when it was analog.

I don't know what the Radio Shack "pancake" antenna is, but it may be a large part of your problem. Especially since it has an amplifier, which can scramble digital signals.
 
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#4
TV Fool

That's set to 40', which I know I can get without an issue either just inside the attic window or a simple task to mount outside the window.

Just got back from Radio Shack and the salesman that did my return told me I should turn 'that piece of garbage' in for the cheaper set-top model with ring and dipoles as he hadn't heard any good reports about it. So until I get my bow-tie antenna built, that's what I'm messing with now...
RadioShack Amplified HDTV Antenna : Indoor Antennas | RadioShack.com
Will fiddle with it tonight and update, see if it's any better than the last sad attempt.
 
#5
Before I venture down this road, I thought I'd throw this all out here to you fine people to see what you think my best option is. The report is leaving antenna height blank, and tweaking that height I've found some of the 2EDGE channels become LOS channels at 35-45 feet, which I can easily obtain, but not FOX. .
You have two options for FOX; WYDC in Corning and WICZ in Binghamton. The homebrew antenna with a preamp is capable of WYDC reception, but not WICZ.

Consider two antennas, the Y10-7-13 for WICZ and WBNG aimed at Binghamton plus a UHF antenna for the Corning/Elmira stations.
The selection of a preamp will be tricky. One possible choice is the Winegard AP 2870. That preamp will add the two antennas together.
 
#6
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#7
I'm thinking a reflectorless 4 or 8 bay pointed at about 290 degrees would get all the UHF stations pretty good.

Add a dedicated VHF-hi for channels 7 and 8 at 90 degrees.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#8
I had one of these Gray Hoverman antennas (http://www.diytvantennas.com/sbgh.html) without a reflector mounted in the attic of my old house. I had both weak stations coming from the north and strong stations coming from the south. It worked very well for UHF. I don't know how well it worked for VHF since I had it comboed with an Antennacraft Y5-7-13. The amp I use is an Antennacraft 10G201 which has worked well in my situation. I wouldn't use an amp unless you have long cable runs or are driving multiple TVs. I'm currently driving 4 TVs with my amp and have a 50+ foot cable run before the splitter.
 
#9
Well, after forking out cash for two separate interior antennas, not knowing what I was getting into, too broke to invest in a preamp or additional antenna, but the homemade job stuck up on the porch roof has got me back in business picking up the 18's and 36's so can at least watch the majority of the games this Sunday. The cable from the antenna to the TV is about 40'. In the long run, I'd like to drive the other two TV's in the house, so assuming from my limited understanding of this all, the preamp will be necessary? The antenna is pointing directly towards the Fox (wydc) tower and still no hint of a signal. Will try the attic this weekend and see if another 15-20' of height on the antenna gets me a trace or even some other channels to entertain the kids.
Can anyone tell me what exactly a preamp is/does? Does it just run voltage through the antenna to increase the signals it's picking up? If that's the case, is it just a D/C current?

Thank you all for your insight and help... who know a nearly free bunch of scrap crap I had around the house would pick up a better signal than a $60 antenna from an electronic store.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
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... Can anyone tell me what exactly a preamp is/does? Does it just run voltage through the antenna to increase the signals it's picking up? If that's the case, is it just a D/C current?

Thank you all for your insight and help... who knew a nearly free bunch of scrap crap I had around the house would pick up a better signal than a $60 antenna from an electronic store.
Matt,

All coaxial cables lose signal strength and the longer a cable is the more loss there is, much like a lengthy small diameter garden hose. Antenna signal splitters divide the remaining signal much like a garden soaker hose ... and there isn't much pressure remaining at any of the holes.

An antenna signal pre-amplifier is usually mounted near the antenna and is powered by direct current that is 'inserted' into the coaxial cable lead-in wire from a power supply located elsewhere (inside the home). The purpose is to increase received television signal levels, so there is 'enough' useable signal present at the opposite end/s of the coax for your TV tuner to be able to detect and reassemble into video and audio.

However, in the process of increasing the received signals, all pre-amplifiers and amplifiers add some 'noise' to the data stream and sometimes it can change or damage the signal so much it becomes unuseable. Also, if a stong received signal is amplified it may become too strong for your TV set to work with.

You can think of a pre-amp in terms of an older home stereo system with separate components: a tuner, an amplifier and speakers. Add a record turntable which provides an extremely small signal from its stylus or needle and it requires a pre-amplifier to raise that signal level enough for the amplifier to be able to work with it.

In my situation, I split signals 4-ways around my home using no amplifiers or pre-amplifiers and my coax runs are about 110 feet. I am using new RG-6 coax rather than RG-59 because it has roughly half of the signal loss over the same length.

I applaude you for building your own antenna. Except for an old-style CM-4221, all of mine are home-brew.

Jim
 

scandiskwindows9x

Moderator of DTV Latino
#11
Any coaxial cable can loose strenght but if you use an coaxial cable with quad shield, I admit are more expensives but have a better performance and avoid interferences in the cable line.



Sent from my LG-P500h using Tapatalk
 

Chips

DTVUSA Member
#12
I don't know if this will help you, but WYDC Fox, and WENY, plus WSKA PBS, are all broadcasting from the same tower and antenna, from Corning, but at different power. WENY at 75 KW, then WSKA at 25 KW and then comes WYDC at just under 8 KW. So if you get WENY you should have a shot at WYDC. The problem you can run into, especially at your location, with a pre-amp, is multi-path signals, that is when the signal bounces off hills and comes at your antenna from different directions, in the analog days you would see a ghost picture, sometimes a pre-amp will magnify the multi-path signals, so if you go the pre-amp route, you might want to get one that allows you to turn down the gain (digital TV doesn't handle multi-path signals very well). I suspect you have probably try tuning your TV or box, directly to Ch.48 and then move your antenna at different angles (some TV's won't let you directly tune to a channel, but most do). Here is a web page that will give you some specs on the Elmira stations.
RabbitEars.Info
I look forward to hearing how things go, hope you the best.
 

scandiskwindows9x

Moderator of DTV Latino
#13
i was watching the info of rabbitears and i have a question , why in a same physical channel 36.1-36.2-36.3- is three differents televisions channels of differents television networks, just to me looks strange, we here in the same frequency the ownership of that frequency must be the same channel not 3 differents chains. ie channel 24UHF virtual one channel 13 HD 13.1- 13.2 Channel 13 Cable- and 13.31 channel 13 Mobile (for handheld receivers and cell phones with one sec system)
 

Chips

DTVUSA Member
#14
i was watching the info of rabbitears and i have a question , why in a same physical channel 36.1-36.2-36.3- is three differents televisions channels of differents television networks, just to me looks strange, we here in the same frequency the ownership of that frequency must be the same channel not 3 differents chains. ie channel 24UHF virtual one channel 13 HD 13.1- 13.2 Channel 13 Cable- and 13.31 channel 13 Mobile (for handheld receivers and cell phones with one sec system)
WENY is owned by Lilly Broadcasting, and has the ABC, in HD on 36.1, then the CW and CBS networks on the other sub-channels in standard definition, except on Cable, they are all HD. It gets complicated as to why WENY got CBS. Elmira never had a CBS affiliate, it was served from Binghamton NY, but because of what was suppose to be a stronger station, from Buffalo on RF 7, they decided to power down the the Binghamton station. There is more to it, but yes WENY has 3 affiliates.
 

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