North of Atlanta— Antenna works, sort of

bryantm3

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Hi everyone,

I live in Alpharetta, which is about ~20 miles north of Atlanta. Atlanta is very rainy and we have a very thick tree canopy, which must affect the signal.


We hired a local antenna installer to come out and install an antenna. He used an 8-bay antenna and tried to mount it on the chimney, but we couldn't even get all of the main networks. We then ordered this antenna:

Solid Signal Xtreme Signal HD8200XL Xtreme Long Range HD VHF/UHF/FM Antenna (HD-8200XL) from Solid Signal

Which is a very long-range, but directional, antenna.

When he came out to install it, he began putting it together even though he didn't have the instructions yet.; he seemed to have trouble figuring out how it was put together. I printed out the instructions and handed them to him, but by that time he had almost finished putting the thing together already.

He finished installing it, and long story short, we believe he pointed the antenna too far to the east, when it should have been pointed almost directly south. Unfortunately it's installed on the roof in a hard to reach location, so it wouldn't be exactly easy to rotate it to the correct position. We plan on calling him later this week, but since he really fleeced us, we are afraid he'll charge us another $375 to rotate the thing (which is what he charged, even though we bought the supplies ourselves).

Just to clarify how it is installed, it is installed on a tripod very close to the east end of the house. The wire runs down the side of the house, into the basement, and all the way to the opposite side of the house— it's probably a 50 foot span or so. There, it enters a secondary ground, and then goes to a 2-way splitter. One wire goes directly upstairs to the downstairs television. The other wire goes all the way up to the attic (2 stories), where it encounters another splitter that distributes the signal to two upstairs bedrooms.

Downstairs, the signal is okay, and includes most of the channels TV Fool says we should be getting (in the green part of the list). Some of them cut out and are very choppy at times, especially if the weather is poor. What is surprising is that ABC (WSB) is choppy even though it is a high powered station. Upstairs, you can't even get ABC at all. However, some channels come in very strong all over the house.

What I am trying to figure out is if rotating the antenna in the correct direction will fix the problem (we believe it's off by about 30 degrees), or if our setup will require amplifiers.

One thing about amplifiers I am concerned with is that I have heard it can mess up signals that are already strong— so would our PBS station or NBC, for example, come in choppy if we installed an amplifier?

Thanks in advance for your help!!
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
It would be helpful if you could post your TVfool results here - just copy and past the URL from your results page into your post.

$375 is a lot - especially if you supplied the antenna.
 

bryantm3

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
It would be helpful if you could post your TVfool results here - just copy and past the URL from your results page into your post.

$375 is a lot - especially if you supplied the antenna.

Here are the results:

TV Fool

I put in the height at 25 feet; it's probably more than that.

Although it shows channels all over the place, we're mostly concerned with getting the ones coming from straight south of us in Downtown. In fact, because the TV Fool results are so confusing, I made a Google Map last week that shows where the transmitters are in relation to our house.

http://goo.gl/maps/cKpuC
 
#4
:welcome: to the forum, bryantm3

Do the trees loom higher than your antenna? TV Fool is supposed to take a very thick forest into account, unless it's grown significantly in the last few years. The Fool thinks you have many very strong "line-of-sight" signals. Does that seem unlikely from the looks of it? Some pictures might be helpful.

Regardless of the trees, it only takes a glance to see the antenna needs to be pointed straight south. If the installer pointed it east, or really anything more than 10-20° off of 191° on a magnetic compass, that would be hopeless incompetence -- unless there's a specific reason, and he informed you explicitly about that. Anything outside the range 144°-236° would put the antenna in a null for all your important stations. East is 90°. You're right, the HD8200 is very directional -- which should be a good thing at your location.

It's easy to tell which way the antenna is pointed. The antenna itself looks like an arrow. The narrow pointy end should point south. Do you have a compass?

Unless TVF is way off, the signals are so strong at your location you should avoid an amplifier. You could overload your tuners. There should be plenty of signal to split three ways. It's also possible there's a problem with the coax running to the two upstairs bedrooms.

[edit: I pulled up a street view at your zip with Google maps, and I certainly see a massive, high, dense, forest. I think maybe the TVF database just identified the top of the forest as ground level. You may have very attenuated signals. How many trees are straight south, between you and the transmitters?]

Rick
 
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bryantm3

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
We have a pretty thick forested area; believe it or not where we live is a little sparse on the trees, but for anywhere else it would be considered dense forest.

Across the street is south, and the houses are about 10-20 feet higher than the houses on our side of the street, so when it comes to ground level, the antenna is above it, but if you're talking about trees, buildings and whatnot, no— the antenna doesn't have a line-of-sight trajectory in any direction farther than around 200 feet.

I was out there the entire time, "helping" with the installation, because despite a big sign on his truck advertising antenna installs, he seemed like he had only an inkling of what to do, but was absolutely sure he was going to do it his way, whether he was right or not.

For example, he didn't bring grounding wire and said the antenna didn't need to be grounded. He tried to run the coax cable inside the gutter pipe. Et cetera.
 

bryantm3

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
I checked outside again and it looks like it's at least 30 degrees off; pointing almost directly southeast. I noticed that you said 191 degrees, not 180. Would that mean to the southwest or to the southeast?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#7
:welcome: Bryatm3,

I think you hired a person qualified to climb a ladder and very little more. As suggested above, someone (not the same guy) should rotate your antenna toward south and after that, rescan for new channels and you should have a gazillion of them. Stay in touch.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
Also, the antenna is more than what you need. You only need UHF and UHF-hi - there is no need for VHF-lo. While it will work well for you, being designed for VHF-lo means it is very large. It may or may not get your ION channel at 310 degrees, but you should have no problem getting everything else. Larger antennas are more subject to wind damage.

I'm not sure your overpriced "installer" is even qualified to climb on a roof. If he tried to install an 8 bay antenna at your location, he is an idiot. You need UHF and VHF-hi. An 8 bay won't work for VHF-hi, and it is also too big for your needs considering how strong your signals are. I could have installed it for less - and included the antenna.
 
#9
I checked outside again and it looks like it's at least 30 degrees off; pointing almost directly southeast. I noticed that you said 191 degrees, not 180. Would that mean to the southwest or to the southeast?
It's like south-south-south-west. If your antenna is pointed directly south-east, that puts it at 135°. It's lucky you get any signal at all at that angle. What you got is probably bouncing around in the forest and coming in at an angle.

And he said it didn't need to be grounded? HOLY CR@P! Don't let him near your property again. Rotate antenna to 191°. Even straight south should be fine.

Rick
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#12
Okay, one of my coworkers had her roof redone. Without asking, the roofers simply took her antenna down and discarded it. In the area she is in (Black Forest) the only ways to get TV is OTA or satellite. She didn't have a satellite dish, but they simply assumed the antenna wasn't being used and discarded it. Now, the roofer is paying for an installer to come all the way from Alamosa to replace it at the roofers expense. You know, you could ask!!!
 

bryantm3

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
hey guys,

just wanted to update: the guy came back and rotated the antenna to 191º (i made sure it was indeed 191), and while we get WSB-TV upstairs now (which is ABC), we still do not get many of the channels we get downstairs, including WANN.

downstairs, some of the channels are still not coming in clearly. right now, channel 16 is only at 10% and WANN is only at 40%. we still do not get 42: WTHC, 4: WUVM, or 45: W45DX, in any room.
 
#15
I checked out the missing channels.
WTHC is Atlanta Tourist info
W45DX Home Shopping Network
WUVM As best I could tell that one is no longer on the air. Low VHF analog more than likely gone.
You are not missing much.
You do still have a distribution loss problem that needs to be worked out. Sounds like too long of a cable run when I read your description. An amplifier might solve your problem. I don't think any of this was very well planned.
 

bryantm3

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
haha, no, it was not well planned.

after rescanning again, it looks like i lost all the subchannels for 47, but the main channel is still coming in; not sure why. 22 is gone now. all the other channels are coming in better than they were before. also channel 50 and 53 aren't there, but i wasn't getting those before either.

i don't care much for the HSN, but i watched some clips from the atlanta tourist channel and it's a nice little station that tells you all of the events in atlanta, does restaurant reviews, etc. i was hoping when we rotated the antenna that we'd pick it up, but i guess not. it certainly is possible that the antenna is picking it up, but the signal is being lost in the 75 feet of cable and the splitter it goes through before the first television.

given what tvfool is showing, it would seem like i wouldn't have any problem getting any of those channels.
 
#17
just wanted to update: the guy came back and rotated the antenna to 191º (i made sure it was indeed 191), and while we get WSB-TV upstairs now (which is ABC), we still do not get many of the channels we get downstairs, including WANN.
For $375 the guy should set up all your TVs and all required cabling, then make sure you get a good lineup and let you know which stations you can and cannot expect.

You should be able to get WANN.

downstairs, some of the channels are still not coming in clearly.
Bad cable... bad splitters... unnecessarily long cable...? The "guy" should be handling all that for you.

right now, channel 16 is only at 10%
Is that WYGA? That's way down at NM=13.5 in your report. Very low power station and flagged for adjacent channel interference. Why are you concerned about it? Do you speak Spanish? Read up on it here: WYGA-CD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and WANN is only at 40%.
The signal meter in your TV doesn't help us. There are only two relevant statistics: whether you can see it, and whether you can hear it.

we still do not get 42: WTHC
42 is also flagged for adjacent channel interference. Both 41 and 43 are much higher in the report -- they are approximately 400 times stronger than 42 in signal strength.

WUVM is analog. Your TV may not be equipped to handle analog, or you may need to set it up in a different menu. I think it's on the air until Sept. of 2015, Steve. There's a big article in Wikipedia. rabbitears doesn't support analog. Also, I'm not even sure the HD8200XL is rated for low VHF. This isn't the same as the Winegard HD8200P -- it's shorter. SS doesn't provide any specs. Maybe they left off the long low VHF elements.

or 45: W45DX
Again, very weak station, flagged for adj. channel, with RF44 hundreds of times stronger on the report.

Anything else?

Rick
 
#18
after rescanning again, it looks like i lost all the subchannels for 47, but the main channel is still coming in; not sure why.
Either you got a bad scan, or some of those subs go out at night.

22 is gone now.
It's the one station your antenna was pointed at before. You could always switch it back.

all the other channels are coming in better than they were before.
I should hope so!

also channel 50 and 53 aren't there, but i wasn't getting those before either.
I can only guess that by channels 50 and 53 you mean WAGC and WDTA. Seems like you should be able to get both of those. Try a scan on a very clear day before 8 PM.

Please, please, in the future use ONLY the real channel numbers -- NOT the numbers that show up on your TVs. Those are the fake numbers. Or else use call letters. If we can't figure out what you're talking about, we can't help.

Rick
 
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#19
Rick I had read the Wikipedia page on WUVM. I had forgotten rabbitears doesn't support analog. I do know that all of the analog signals TV fool shows for my area are now gone.
 
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