Kansas HDTV reception problems

OhnoToto

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
I'm having a bit of a problem with HDTV reception of PBS in Milford, KS. Here's my TV Fool results...



I've got an 8 Bay antenna mounted on the side of our barn that I've tried adjusting to clear up PBS but I still get pixelation. The only time I watch antenna television is when we want to watch PBS so the other channels are no big deal. What can I do? Thank you in advance.
 
#2
first thing I see is it is 2 edge so that means there is something between you and it like a hill. the best thing to do is raise your antenna to improve your reception. also it is High VHF your antenna is UHF so it is weak on that side. my suggestion is if you want only this channel get a Wineguard YA 1713 and place a channel master 7777 pre amp under it and attach both antennas to it. place the 1713 4ft under the 8 bay, set them to about 25 to 30 ft maybe 40ft should solve the problem.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#3
I'm having a bit of a problem with HDTV reception of PBS in Milford, KS. Here's my TV Fool results...

I've got an 8 Bay antenna mounted on the side of our barn that I've tried adjusting to clear up PBS but I still get pixelation. The only time I watch antenna television is when we want to watch PBS so the other channels are no big deal. What can I do? Thank you in advance.
You have a challenge there, more so than a problem. I plugged in your zip code at 400 ft, like you had huge tower by the barn, and there is still ground in the way at 1 edge.

At 20 ft you are hitting the ground twice in a line between you and the broadcast tower. Considering radio waves don't go well through dirt or rock, only what squeaks over the edge and follows the curve of the earth gets to your house, which is a fraction of the power.

I agree with Cowboy, the Winegard YA-1713 is the best VHF high band only antenna for the money (about $50 shipped).

However WKTU may be too weak to do much. But if you are seeing it pixelated that is good sign.

You could take down the 8 bay if you really don't ever watch the other channels if you need to lighten the load, but a YA-1713 doesn't add much load.

TVFool lists WKTU at 1.2 NM (db) which is very very very low signal. However TVFool is just the best approximation Andy Lee could do with the FCC data and terrain maps. Hats off to him for his site, none of the "commercial" sites come close.

===

Compare to my situation.

I am in an NBC void.

I have three NBCs to choose from.

WNBW 37 miles 14.8 NM (db)
WESH 81 miles 5.9 NM (db)
WTLV 61 miles 5.5 NM (db)

One would think easily that WNBW would be the best, then WESH, then WTLV.

But that is not the case. WTLV has the most (but not consistent) signal. WESH and WNBW turn out to be about the same, with maybe WESH being more reliable.

Because there are other factors, like other stations on the same channel, local terrain not included in TVFool results and just plain the fact there is some magic (trial and error) in TV reception.

I have a pair of YA-1713 antennas stacked vertical (one over the other) up about 30 ft without satisfactory results. Everything double checked, phased correctly, same length coax.

I also have a CM7777 preamp on my VHF stack.

You might find you need two of them. It doesn't help a lot but it helps. Two doesn't make the difference of picking up a channel or not, but it cuts down on fading (pixelization).

So give it a try, and you never know, the VHF on top might work better. The VHF might work better with the 8 bay taken down.

One thing is you really can't tell on signals that weak without leaving the change you make up a week or two during changing conditions. What seems like works one day or doesn't might the next.

You might like I, live with the fades on WTLV, as the NBC that fades the least for me. It's solid 90% of the time for me. The second YA-1317 took out a little of the fades, but didn't make day and night difference.

So maybe after trying combination you will find after a while your best installation.
 

OhnoToto

DTVUSA Rookie
#4
Thank you so much gentlemen.

Piggie: in regards to stacking the Winegard YA-1713, how far apart do they need to be? I realize it would be a gamble getting two and stacking, but I may try it.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#5
Thank you so much gentlemen.

Piggie: in regards to stacking the Winegard YA-1713, how far apart do they need to be? I realize it would be a gamble getting two and stacking, but I may try it.
Sorry I missed this reply for days.

That is a good question. There is a LOT of data on stacking, mostly from the 1970s era. And most of it interpolated from 2 meter amateur radio beams being stacked (144MHz, where at Ch7-13 is 174 to 216 MHz).

So in the late 60 and early 70's the most common answer kept coming up 50 inches (actually centered on ch 9 and 10) since the antenna is also.

Then some said as much as 60 inches.

I contacted Winegard and they said 41 inches for Ch9, which in your case of ch11 would be 38 1/4 inches. (I doubt the 1/4 would ever be seen in the real world.)

Winegard also matched the last copy of the ARRL antenna book that was last published late 70's early 80's.

==========

Now my experiments.

I tried 60 inches when I first put them up.

Then decreased to 50 inches. 50 inches was clearly better.

I want soooooo badddddd to try 40 inches since I have CH 7,9,10,11,13 here (they are all a long haul). And 40 inches is the middle of the band if you use either Winegard's specs or the most current information from ham radio sources. I am guessing Winegard read the same book (seems like old information but it still applies).

My problem is I need my kids to help me, but I don't want to get into how lazy they are when it comes to helping me, but long story, I guess I need to hire some neighbor kid then charge my kids for it.

So I have not tried 40 inches. But I suspect from reading and resources I found since setting them at 50 inches, that I expect 40 inches to be better. If I ever get their lazy rear ends on the roof with me, I will let the world know, as I can't find another soul on any forum that has stacked two for more gain.

Be sure they are pointed just as close as humanly possible in the same direction. 5 degrees off would be a disaster. Just a few messes things up.

Another EXTREMELY important part is the cable from each antenna to where they join, must be made from the same roll of cable and again exactly the same length. Errors over an 1/8 to 1/4 are way too much in being the same. If you can't do your own cable ends, buy them precut for vertical stacking to 4 feet each.

I placed a Winegard 7870 combiner between the antennas. I choose it because most combiners at VHF are about the same loss (not so on UHF). Also it mounts to the mast with the connections on the bottom to protect it and also making drip loops from each antenna easy. Also because it's not sealed. This seems odd, but I found in Florida weather, outside enclosures get hot in the day. Then cool at night when the humidity and dew point rise. As the air temp falls inside the enclosure it pulls in outside air and moisture, even if you think it's sealed. Then it doesn't out vent the next day because it's 99% sealed. Where as if it's not even attempted to be sealed but has a rain shield type top, it breaths and drys out every day inside.

The enclosures I have tried to seal with everything in the book had tremendous corrosion inside in very short amount of time.

I have even found it to be true on the old crimp style F connectors for TV. I found the ones I "sealed" corroded faster than the ones I didn't. However these newer compression fittings are far superior and last a lot longer.
 

dxndallas

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
Sorry I missed this reply for days.

That is a good question. There is a LOT of data on stacking, mostly from the 1970s era. And most of it interpolated from 2 meter amateur radio beams being stacked (144MHz, where at Ch7-13 is 174 to 216 MHz).

So in the late 60 and early 70's the most common answer kept coming up 50 inches (actually centered on ch 9 and 10) since the antenna is also.

Then some said as much as 60 inches.

I contacted Winegard and they said 41 inches for Ch9, which in your case of ch11 would be 38 1/4 inches. (I doubt the 1/4 would ever be seen in the real world.)

Winegard also matched the last copy of the ARRL antenna book that was last published late 70's early 80's.

==========

Now my experiments.

I tried 60 inches when I first put them up.

Then decreased to 50 inches. 50 inches was clearly better.

I want soooooo badddddd to try 40 inches since I have CH 7,9,10,11,13 here (they are all a long haul). And 40 inches is the middle of the band if you use either Winegard's specs or the most current information from ham radio sources. I am guessing Winegard read the same book (seems like old information but it still applies).

My problem is I need my kids to help me, but I don't want to get into how lazy they are when it comes to helping me, but long story, I guess I need to hire some neighbor kid then charge my kids for it.

So I have not tried 40 inches. But I suspect from reading and resources I found since setting them at 50 inches, that I expect 40 inches to be better. If I ever get their lazy rear ends on the roof with me, I will let the world know, as I can't find another soul on any forum that has stacked two for more gain.

Be sure they are pointed just as close as humanly possible in the same direction. 5 degrees off would be a disaster. Just a few messes things up.

Another EXTREMELY important part is the cable from each antenna to where they join, must be made from the same roll of cable and again exactly the same length. Errors over an 1/8 to 1/4 are way too much in being the same. If you can't do your own cable ends, buy them precut for vertical stacking to 4 feet each.

I placed a Winegard 7870 combiner between the antennas. I choose it because most combiners at VHF are about the same loss (not so on UHF). Also it mounts to the mast with the connections on the bottom to protect it and also making drip loops from each antenna easy. Also because it's not sealed. This seems odd, but I found in Florida weather, outside enclosures get hot in the day. Then cool at night when the humidity and dew point rise. As the air temp falls inside the enclosure it pulls in outside air and moisture, even if you think it's sealed. Then it doesn't out vent the next day because it's 99% sealed. Where as if it's not even attempted to be sealed but has a rain shield type top, it breaths and drys out every day inside.

The enclosures I have tried to seal with everything in the book had tremendous corrosion inside in very short amount of time.

I have even found it to be true on the old crimp style F connectors for TV. I found the ones I "sealed" corroded faster than the ones I didn't. However these newer compression fittings are far superior and last a lot longer.
Wonderful detail. I see some recommendations for 1-2' apart, but the best "luck" I've ever had with combining antennas was at a distance of 50" apart.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#7
Wonderful detail. I see some recommendations for 1-2' apart, but the best "luck" I've ever had with combining antennas was at a distance of 50" apart.
Which antennas, which band, where they the same band, where they the same antenna?

All that makes HUGE difference. Even which channel on UHF will make a difference because of the size of that band.

I was only referring to High Band, Ch7-13 in my post above.
 

OhnoToto

DTVUSA Rookie
#8
I'll start at 40" separation between the stacked antennas, and then move up to 50" just to see the difference between the two. Thank you so much. Channel Master 7777 on order.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#9
I'll start at 40" separation between the stacked antennas, and then move up to 50" just to see the difference between the two. Thank you so much. Channel Master 7777 on order.
If you stack two YA-1713s, then you and I will be the only two people I have found that did it. That is across about 4 DTV forums I read.

I doubt seriously I am the first. But I just can't find anyone else that has done it, not even the heavies over at AVS or Digital forum from Canada.

So you could be the second person to be so crazy.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#10
Upate on my stacked YA-1713s

I'll start at 40" separation between the stacked antennas, and then move up to 50" just to see the difference between the two. Thank you so much. Channel Master 7777 on order.
Just a couple of hours ago, it finally was cool enough and not raining and my kid helped me take down the mast.

I put the YA-1713s at 40 inches and YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Finally I get some gain over a single yagi. I tested all RF channels and it was clearly an improvement. From all the radio work I have done for the last 30 plus years, you never see improvement unless you approach or achieve 3db more gain.

40 inches is the key if you use the antenna across all high band. I have a 7, 9, 10, 11 and 13 here. I tested in Jacksonville 12 analog and channel 8 analog out of Tampa.

Now the only problem I have which I can't fix is the danged FCC assigned the same VHF high band in Jax as Tampa. Even though I am 61 mile from Jax, right on the edge of their FCC coverage, and Tampa is over 100 miles away, it eats me up after the sun goes down. Analog 8 from Tampa and Analog 9 from Orlando at 82 miles are so strong I can watch them in black and white snow off the back of the beams.

But the system works as well as it should on paper, finally!

-------------

another thing I learned today. I took down my CM4221A 4 bay and replaced it with an unknown little UHF corner reflector like the Radio Shack U75-R, but I think mine is even shorter. Someone gave it to me back about 1993, and I have experimented with it but never mounted it up high. It killed the ghosts I had with the 4221A. And it has a broad front beam width, since my digital UHFs are over 52 degrees. And it picks up W29AB analog translator for WKMG which is 50 degress counter clockwise off the main lobe looking down on the antenna from space. I think there is a lobe there, but it got dark and couldn't experiment with turning it. But a lot of antennas have a second lobe at 50 to 60 degrees. Amazing what something that was a breath away from my trash pile out performed my $45 antenna.

So now I have two 4221As to experiment with.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#11
Radio Shack use to carry a nice selection of corner reflector antennas and they were worth the price. I still have their top of the line model which I purchased around '86 or '87 in order to pic up the late night saturday wrestling matches on ch. 53 out of Chillicothe, Ohio. The reception on the channel was fuzzy but viewable so of course I needed a better antenna.

I went to a local antenna shop which sold Winegard models and the guy there assured me that Winegards bottom of the line corner reflector would out perform Radio Shacks top of the line model. I didn't believe it but thought maybe they were somewhat better so I ordered Winegards 2nd best uhf corner at a cost of about twice as much as the RS model.

It arrived at the store a week or two later, took it home and hooked it up in place of the RS and guess what? Damn thing didn't work nearly as good as the RS model on any distant channel! :(

One thing I will say about the Winegard antenna was that it was built far sturdier than the flimsy RS antenna. 'Course that wasn't really a factor since they were being mounted in an attic. I ended up giving the Winegard to my brother.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#13
Radio Shack use to carry a nice selection of corner reflector antennas and they were worth the price.

One thing I will say about the Winegard antenna was that it was built far sturdier than the flimsy RS antenna. 'Course that wasn't really a factor since they were being mounted in an attic. I ended up giving the Winegard to my brother.
This is not a recommended antenna for the OP, as we are a little off topic now.

They still carry one, the U-75R and recently it went up $5. to $34.95, still worth the money. I might be repeating myself, but it's the only UHF like it built. All the other manufacturers (actually RS doesn't make anything, just brands it), dropped their shorter corner reflector yagis, which is a shame. The longer ones sold by the other companies don't have the beamwidth of this one with the ghost killing and front to back of a corner reflector yagi.


40" Boom Length, 17 Elements Outdoor Antenna for UHF-Only - RadioShack.com
 
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