lost channels on antenna

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#21
... You would think that today's technology would have come up with a great small and sturdy antenna.
rbf,

There are many excellent quality small antennas available but in spite of some manufacturer claims about their 'miracle antenna' the laws of Physics still applies to RF signals: a small antenna is a poor device to receive a long wavelength or 'lower REAL channel'.

I have two concerns about your antenna being mounted in a tree. How much does the tree sway in the wind and do you lose reception when its windy? Secondly, trees are often victims of lightning strikes and if that tree is hit ...

Please search our Forum regarding lightning protection of your equipment.

Jim
 
#22
I do have it outside mounted up 20 feet on a tree. It is not directly pointing at a tree but there are trees off in the distance.
Must not be a thick forest, or you wouldn't be getting as good as you got. ;)

I try not to use the rotor but on occasion I catch myself tweaking the direction.
That's why you need an antenna with a little wider beam width. The Yagi is very directional.

I would love to get it higher but tough to go up the tree any higher on an extension ladder without it getting hairy. For the most part I have been happy with the 38 plus channels I get.
Understood. Don't risk life or limb(s). I wish you could try a tall pole, but probly not worth the investment, just on the off chance... Wait! Did you try different heights in the TVF Report?

I have it set at around 55 degrees but not too sure. I am using a compass on my smartphone and seem to get different reading all the time. I do pull in the stations around the 55 degrees mark but also pull in those Spanish stations above me that I would rather not get. I wish I could pull in the stations at the 125 degree area but as soon as I move the antenna to the right more, I lose the Boston stations.
Gotcha. Ouch, that means you can't get NBC! I think Steve and I are hoping to get you Boston as well as the the 125 degree stations -- with no need to rotate. (No guarantees.)

If you want to get obsessive, you could find the exact direction with Google maps, provided you're close to a public road. That would be the "True" direction headings on the report. OTOH, some trial and error will come into play anyhow with the direction.

So why am I getting the Spanish stations to the left?
Ah, there we go into the realm of witches brew and magic dust... WAIT! The Spanish WUNI is 1 edge, and the 125 degree stations are all 2 edge. That might be the super-scientific reason, or it might just be a load of :deadhorse:

Sometimes my signal has been weak and I tried adding a signal booster but it interfered with the antenna built in one and I got no signal. I then moved the booster to the line running into my living room TV and the signal was too strong and I lost channels.
What kind of booster? What you need to overcome the splitting, and long coax run, is a pre-amplifier, and it should be as close to the antenna as possible -- has to be outside, long before coax meets the splitter. Splitter is inside, I assume.

How come? I then ran it through a splitter before it reached the TV and it knocked the signal down some and seems to work better.
That's too nutty for me. STOP IT! :daffy:

The amp is adding all kinds of noise to the system. We gotta get something better set up.

Forgot to mention that I have the cable wire coming into the bedroom and then feeds the TV there and then on to the living room. I have a Vizio TV in bedroom that gets more channels than my Samsung in the living room. The tuner on my bedroom TV works great even though it is a cheap TV. Crazy! I ended up buying a iview 3500II converter box which I really like and that has helped the signal to my Samsung. I use that as my tuner. Still does not get all the channels my Vizio TV gets. Weird.
Well, that's what you get with a weird setup like that! Or it could just be the extra length of coax from the bedroom to the living room. Or the Vizio might have a really good tuner. I have a $60 Walmart TV -- tuner seems PDG.

I think I would go with this: Stellar Labs HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Bowtie Television Antenna | 30-2425 (302425) | Stellar Labs which is the same antenna Steve first recommended, but $17 cheaper, after you add shipping. If you think you want high VHF WNAC and WPRI let us know now. Fox and CBS are duplicated elsewhere, but they might have subchannels or local programming you want, so that's your homework assignment. I have another antenna in mind, if those two channels are important.

I also think you'll probably need a pre-amp, since you're splitting some marginal signals, but try it first with no amp, and just one two way splitter (two way -- that's important) to feed the two TVs. Then if you don't get all the green and yellow UHF stations you want (excepting WUNI, WNAC and WPRI), get back to us with the model number of your amplifier. Might have to scuttle that one and get a nice, low noise pre-amp.

Good Luck,
Rick
 
#23
Here is a list of the channels I get:

2-1 WGBH
2-2 WORLD
4-1 WBZ
5-1 WCVB
5-2 METV
6-1 WLNE
6-2 WLNE-D2
7-1 WHDH
7-2 THISTV
10-1 WJAR
10-2 METV
12-1 WPRI
12-2 BOUNCE
25-1 WFXT
25-2 WFXT DT
27-1 WUNI
27-2 LATV
28-1 WLWC
28-2 WLWCSD
36-1 WSBE
36-2 WSBED2
36-3 WSBESP
38-1 WSBK
44-1 WGBX
44-3 CREATE
44-4 KIDS
48-1 WYDN
56-1 WLVI-DT
56-2 TCN
62-1 WMFP
62-2 WMFPDT2
62-3 WMFPDT3
62-4 WMFPDT4
64-1 WNAC
64-2 MYRITV
66-1 WUTFDT
66-2 WUTFDT
66-3 WUTFDT
68-1 ION
68-2 QUBO
68-3 IONLIFE
68-4 SHOP
68-5 QVC
68-6 HSN
 
#24
tree sways a little but I have not lost reception even in some of the bad storms we have had this winter. As far as lighting, I will have to look into that. It's not a tree all by itself.
 
#25
I did try the signal booster from the antenna to the box inside but since it had a signal booster already that send power to the antenna, it was messing things up and I got no channels. That's why I put it down the line in the living room near the TV. Just wondering why too much signal messes up the channels. I am using a DigiMAX Drop Amplifier AMP Part # DA1T 5-42/52-1000
 
#27
The stellar labs antenna when properly installed should out perform anything you have tried so far. None of your result surprise me at all considering the all of the creative, and unique ways the system is put together. I don't think you will be able to reliably receive both markets with a single antenna. To my way of thinking a 78 degree spread is stretching it a bit, but the strongest UHF signals I've ever worked with are from very low powered translators 30 miles away. I do think we have given you some good antenna advice.
 
#28
Here is a list of the channels I get:

2-1 WGBH
2-2 WORLD
4-1 WBZ
5-1 WCVB
5-2 METV
6-1 WLNE
6-2 WLNE-D2
7-1 WHDH
7-2 THISTV
10-1 WJAR
10-2 METV
12-1 WPRI
12-2 BOUNCE
25-1 WFXT
25-2 WFXT DT
27-1 WUNI
27-2 LATV
28-1 WLWC
28-2 WLWCSD
36-1 WSBE
36-2 WSBED2
36-3 WSBESP
38-1 WSBK
44-1 WGBX
44-3 CREATE
44-4 KIDS
48-1 WYDN
56-1 WLVI-DT
56-2 TCN
62-1 WMFP
62-2 WMFPDT2
62-3 WMFPDT3
62-4 WMFPDT4
64-1 WNAC
64-2 MYRITV
66-1 WUTFDT
66-2 WUTFDT
66-3 WUTFDT
68-1 ION
68-2 QUBO
68-3 IONLIFE
68-4 SHOP
68-5 QVC
68-6 HSN
Thanks for the list. So that's 44 channels on 19 stations. 19 separate transmitters. There's no need to count channels other than the main x.1 channel for each station. For instance, if you get 36.1, you're going to get 36.[anything else that exists].

But I'm confused. You said you weren't getting the stations at 125 degrees, but according to the above you're getting everything down to NM = 19 -- all the green and yellow on the report, including a few at 129 and one weak station at 19 degrees. A spread of 110 degrees!! Is that a misprint, or do you mean you get all these only by rotating (which I thought you were trying to avoid)?

Rick
 
#29
I did try the signal booster from the antenna to the box inside but since it had a signal booster already that send power to the antenna, it was messing things up and I got no channels. That's why I put it down the line in the living room near the TV. Just wondering why too much signal messes up the channels. I am using a DigiMAX Drop Amplifier AMP Part # DA1T 5-42/52-1000
I doubt it's too much signal messing things up, I think it's the added noise from an incorrectly placed amp.

I guess there are people who use those cable amps successfully for OTA reception, but not the way you're doing it. The first thing the RF signal hits in a receiver is an amplifier -- one that's specially designed for that tuner. On most modern TVs, it can ramp up a signal however much is required -- 50 fold or more if need be. When you put an amp in the wrong spot, you accomplish nothing except adding the noise of one more component. I looked up the noise figure for that amp and it's 3 dB on average -- probably fine for cable, but not so good for OTA. And especially no good after the splitter, close to the TV. That won't even help a cable signal. All bad, no good. Don't do it.

R.
 
#30
Does this
Stellar Labs HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Bowtie Television Antenna - See more at: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/antenna-r-d/54207-lost-channels-antenna-2.html#sthash.N6UpWfxx.dpuf
work better than the bowtie antenna I built myself? I was getting 19 channels with that.
I can't say for sure -- I don't even know how many elements you used, or what kind of reflector. It seems like the Stellar Labs 4 bay would be a good choice, or at least a good first choice. You might wind up with two antennas leading to a two tuner setup (or A/B switches) on each TV. That's still going to be cheaper / easier to use / less upkeep than a Yagi with a rotor.

I will say I don't get a lotta good vibes on your antenna design virtuosity. Don't take it personally. :hail:

@Steve: I guess you're right about the bandwidth. I was looking at the chart on solidsignal, and it looks like 78 degrees only takes off about 5 dB for UHF. But the beamwidth is probably narrower up at channels 49 and 51, where rbf needs it.

What would you think about bending back the reflector and the elements a little to increase the beamwidth?? The great EV suggested that for his Kosmic SuperQuad antenna.

EscapeVelocity said:
You can even bend the reflector backwards. Plus sweep the bowtie elements backwards about an inch or so. For even wider beamwidth.
Worth a shot? Man, 78 degrees is so close, but so far away. I don't think you can put the two halves of an 8 bay 78 degrees apart. Massive multipath. I think it has to be 90+ degrees.

Rick
 
Last edited:
#31
We can't really know what will work or not at an others location. I based my comment on half power beam width of antennas, and my experience with low powered UHF signals in my area. I do not have any actual hands on experience working with UHF signals that would show as green on a TFR. I do know that in my travels in this valley I've had to use some strange unexpected antenna aiming to make things work at some locations. If the OP is already receiving signals from both markets my comment was not correct for his location.
 
#32
Yes, Actually. I went back and looked at the TV Fool report and you are right. I do get those channels at 125 degrees. No I am not rotating the antenna at all. So that is good, right?
 
#33
I doubt it's too much signal messing things up, I think it's the added noise from an incorrectly placed amp.

I guess there are people who use those cable amps successfully for OTA reception, but not the way you're doing it. The first thing the RF signal hits in a receiver is an amplifier -- one that's specially designed for that tuner. On most modern TVs, it can ramp up a signal however much is required -- 50 fold or more if need be. When you put an amp in the wrong spot, you accomplish nothing except adding the noise of one more component. I looked up the noise figure for that amp and it's 3 dB on average -- probably fine for cable, but not so good for OTA. And especially no good after the splitter, close to the TV. That won't even help a cable signal. All bad, no good. Don't do it.
so why then when I use the splitter after the amp then into my 3500 tuner does it work better? Really weird.
 
#36
Yes, Actually. I went back and looked at the TV Fool report and you are right. I do get those channels at 125 degrees. No I am not rotating the antenna at all. So that is good, right?
It's more than good, it's flippin AMAZING! Only thing I can think is maybe the signals are bouncing around in the trees to get them all pointed in one direction somehow.

But you did say the one station went out for a few days, right? Was it just the one transmitter? (Think stations, not channels.) And did you really check every station in that list every day, to make sure there was no pixelation and no dropouts? If so, clearly we should be looking for a way to hold your Chinese wonder together, or a sturdier antenna of exactly the same design. Hey -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

More likely you just had three of four stations toward the top of your report that you watched most often, and the ones at 125 degrees were dropping in and out all the time. But there is a little black magic in this OTA bidness,

Rick
 
#37
so why then when I use the splitter after the amp then into my 3500 tuner does it work better? Really weird.
Not weird. That's exactly how it's supposed to work. There is always a minimum of 3.5 dB signal loss from a one way split. Putting the amp before the splitter makes that loss APPEAR insignificant to the tuner. The noise from the amp still gets added, but the noise from the splitter doesn't get AMPLIFIED. It's a kind of mathematical trick. There are amp calculators on the internet, and that's how it works out when you plug in typical numbers.

It's not a matter of "more signal good, less signal bad." It's mathematically misleading to add antenna gain to amplifier gain. I know all the ads for indoor antennas with built in amps do that, but they lie. They really, really do.

Rick
 
#38
Rick,

The stations I lost were 44 and 68 ones. No there has been no real signal issues. Many of the channels come in strong. I really only get pixilation on a few channels and only once in a slight while. I pretty much channel surf at night and no real problems. The time I lost those channels were the only time I had any real problems and now they are back.
My Vizio TVs tuner works best though, the 3500 picks up 5 less channels and the signal is not as strong but still not bad. Could also be that I used an old cable wire that was run to the living room TV already and it might not be in the best shape.
Like I said, I have been pretty happy overall just wish the antenna was built better. Keep thinking it will blow away but the sucker has survived some pretty bad storms we have had this winter. The thing doesn't even get ice on it. Must keep warm enough with the power sent to it to melt the ice. Not what I was expecting at all.
 
#39
Not weird. That's exactly how it's supposed to work. There is always a minimum of 3.5 dB signal loss from a one way split. Putting the amp before the splitter makes that loss APPEAR insignificant to the tuner. The noise from the amp still gets added, but the noise from the splitter doesn't get AMPLIFIED. It's a kind of mathematical trick. There are amp calculators on the internet, and that's how it works out when you plug in typical numbers.

It's not a matter of "more signal good, less signal bad." It's mathematically misleading to add antenna gain to amplifier gain. I know all the ads for indoor antennas with built in amps do that, but they lie. They really, really do.

Rick
yeah but when I don't have the amp, the signal is weaker and I get more pixilation on my living room tv than when I have the amp on. Wish my living room set worked as good as the bedroom one.
 
#40
Here is a photo of the one I had first built and tried.
Looks very pretty. :thumb: Looks like you put some work into it, specially for someone who claims he's new to OTA.

I'm not any kind of DIY expert to know where you mighta gone wrong. Hard to see in the picture. It looks like the bottom bowtie is smaller than the top one, and the two spots where the lines cross isn't symmetric. And I think the reflector needs to be right around four inches from the elements. (Is it?) On my 4221HD, just pulling the balun out an inch away from the boom is supposed to add a couple dB. I don't know if that applies to a wooden boom. Dunno if the material used for the boom even makes much difference.

Steve is the DIY guru. I'm sure he'll have much more cogent comments. Maybe the wire mesh should be more like the bar type reflector -- what do I know? Just throwing out dumb ideas to get knocked down.

Rick
 

Similar threads

Top