Only receiving two local channels with new antenna

#1
TV Fool

Hubby hooked up a new RCA multi-directional amplified digital flat outdoor antenna (ANT800F) to existing coax and mounted in the attic, facing south. We are only receiving two locals...KMSP Channel 9 (Fox) and KSTP Channel 11 (NBC) here in our small, rural town about 45 miles straight north of Minneapolis. Neighbors 2 miles to 6 miles from us report having no trouble receiving ABC, CBS, PBS, and others with their antennas. TVs are LG and Polaroid flat-screen HD. Darling daughter will be heart-broken if we can't get the ABC affiliate working before Once Upon a Time resumes Sunday night.

TIA...
 
#2
Is it possible that you are scanning for cable channels on many televisions doing that will only find the VHF channels. In your area that is 9 and 11 as listed under real channels on TV fool.
Make sure you are scanning for TV Antenna, or air (ATSC) and NOT Cable TV (QAM). Scanning for cable stations will bring up partial or no channel list.
Steve
 
#3
TV Fool

Hubby hooked up a new RCA multi-directional amplified digital flat outdoor antenna (ANT800F) to existing coax and mounted in the attic, facing south.
TIA...
Perhaps your answer is in what you wrote. "Hubby hooked up a new multi-directional digital flat OUTDOOR antenna...and mounted it in the ATTIC." Personally, I am not a fan of such designed antennae, but I would anticipate a much better performance if it were actually OUTSIDE.

I would definitely make sure that I had scanned the channels correctly, as Steve suggested, but I suspect that your antenna will need to be outside or maybe a different antenna might just be better.

Jeff
 

w0en

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
That is not much antenna for 35 mi. north of Shoreview (towers are in Shoreview off 694) to feed two tvs. I am 45 miles south of shoreview towers and need a much bigger directional antenna than that and I need it mounted outside to get much more than channel 4. I assume antenna is plugged into power since it has an amp and does power inserter module need to go through a splitter? Power to antenna amp could be blocked by wrong type of splitter and you are just getting pickup from coax itself. I am hoping RF Steve is correct on the incorrect scan setting since 9 and 11 should be the two most difficult to get on that kind of antenna that far away. Are you getting 9-1 (which is actually on channel 29) or 9-9 which is actually on channel 9? What type antenna and location are the neighbors using successfully? Was existing coax from sat dish (sat splitters can cause issues) or did you have antenna setup before this?
 
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#5
Thanks for the help. Checked the scan setting, and we were, indeed scanning for OTA channels...not cable. Hubby bought and installed a new splitter because the existing splitter and coax is from previous owner's DISH. After installing new splitter, we are now receiving WCCO Channel 4 (CBS) as well...but still no KSTP Channel 5 (ABC). Any make/model suggestions for a different antenna?
 

w0en

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Thanks for the help. Checked the scan setting, and we were, indeed scanning for OTA channels...not cable. Hubby bought and installed a new splitter because the existing splitter and coax is from previous owner's DISH. After installing new splitter, we are now receiving WCCO Channel 4 (CBS) as well...but still no KSTP Channel 5 (ABC). Any make/model suggestions for a different antenna?
I hate to see you keep throwing $50 bills at this when what you really need is a Bigger Antenna mounted outside, but here are a couple of things to try since you are under time constraints and snowy roofs and low temps make going outside treacherous this time of year. You didn't respond to my channel 9 subchannel question it is more difficult to tell if you are picking up actual channel 9 (9.4 & 9.9) on low VHF or channel 29 (9.1, 9.2, 9.3) which is the strongest UHF station on your report. 9.1 and 9.9 have the identical main channel HD programming on them.

First quick, cheap and dirty cut a piece of cardboard roughly 40" x 40", cover it or tape solid one side with kitchen aluminum foil and place it 5-6 inches behind (north of) existing antenna, no connection needed. Rescan and see if you get any improvement or more channels. Also cheap try with out a splitter to one set only (replace splitter with barrel connector from a tv wall plate) you lose half of your signal in the two way splitter, rescan and see if you get more channels.

I have read of the above mentioned GE antenna from WM, problem with it is it is an indoor antenna so won't last long outside if you need to go there. What some in this area have had some luck with is the RCA ANT751R which is about $50 at Menards and a yard long and a yard wide if you have space, comes with mount and transformer. It is a small outside antenna that also has elements for channel 9 &11 and can be mounted in or outside. Menards also sells a much wider longer antenna but it is old school design and you don't need the big 6 ft wide elements any more here in MN so I wouldn't bother. Teh goal here is to get you receiving CH5 ABC by Sunday right now. Menards also has a highly regarded RCA preamp the TVPRAMP1R for about $25 to try but you need to make sure the splitter you have passes DC power on one side. The little wall wart amp that your present antenna has is a RCA distribution amp also sold at Menards for $12 and while it has its place I wouldn't use it here.

If Hubby is handy and likes to build things with wire and wood explore (google) a 4 bay coathanger antenna, just be sure to find modern measurements with 9.5 or 10" whiskers, not the old 7" found all over the web.
let us know if you have any measure of success, there is lots more knowledge available in this forum, if we have more time to help after Sundays programs.
 
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#8
w0en has made some good suggestions. I would also like to suggest experimenting with placement and aiming of the current antenna. Most so called omni directional antennas are not truly omni directional, and can still require experimentation with aiming.
 
#9
Sorry I forgot to respond about the other 9's. Yes, we were receiving all the 9's and 11's. So, hubby unhooked the splitter, and (as far as I can tell) now we are receiving all the OTA channels. We're good for Sunday! Going forward, we'd still like to have more than one TV receiving the OTA's. So, do you think we still need to get a new antenna, or is it a splitter issue?

Thanks again for all the help!
 

w0en

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
Where is the little wall wart amp located now? If you have power available in your attic or run a temp extension cord to it try it on the antenna side of the splitter if it is by one of the tvs now. If it is in the attic close to antenna already leave things as they are. You are obviously still marginal on signal strength, you will need the splitter (or a better distribution amp to replace it) at some point to run both tv sets. Come spring when the trees leaf out you may start to lose reception. If we get heavy snow on the roof yet you may start to lose reception. Try the tinfoil reflector with the splitter installed and see if it helps.

To check for all the sub channels: make sure you are getting PBS 2.1,.2,.3,.4, one of them is on a different channel but 2.1 will be the weakest link. you should have 5.1,.2,.3,.4,.6,.7 most of those are on a different channel than 5.1. you may get channel ION 41.1-.6 or not they are from a different direction in Big Lake. There are some low power catholic channels on 16.1-.5 a spanish channel on 17.1 and another on 25.1, .2. 23.1,.2,.3 CW and 23.7 is the one PBS channel also maps to 2.2. 33.1-.7 religious with last 3 being audio only. More religious low power on 48.1, 50.1, 62.1-.3

So that is what is all available in the Minneapolis market with enough signal. LG TVs used to have a signal strength/quality meter somewhere in their software menu and generally have a strong tuner but I have had a couple small Polaroids years back and their tuners were fairly good as well.

If you start losing channels now or in the spring a larger antenna or outside location with or without a preamp will be needed. You lose 1/2 your present signal using the splitter and 1/2 or more being inside the attic. You might see what some of your neighbors locally are using if they are OTA reception.
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#11
I believe that the RCA ANT751R is a much better antenna than the Wall Mart antenna I referenced above. Since we don't have Menards in Colorado, I don't know what they carry. "Save Big Money at Menards." ;)
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#12
If you use a splitter, it can not be placed between the antenna and the amplifier power supply. I can't see losing that many channels by just adding a splitter between the TV and power injector. I suspect you may have a bad splitter.

Either way, I think you should invest in a new antenna and mount it outside (if possible) come spring if you intend to have 2 or more TV sets on one antenna. The ANT 751 or the STELLAR-LABS-30-2440-/30-2440 would be a good choice.
 

w0en

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
If you use a splitter, it can not be placed between the antenna and the amplifier power supply. I can't see losing that many channels by just adding a splitter between the TV and power injector. I suspect you may have a bad splitter.

I looked at the assembly directions for the RCA antenna they bought and that was my first thought that it was set up like a normal preamp/distro amp with a power injector with amp circuit in the antenna case and that they would need a DC power-passing splitter for it to work, assuming a normal setup with the injector by a TV set. I was wondering what kind of antenna that RCA could have packed into a 15" square and relatively thin horizontally mounted box (halo?) that would pick up just the two high-VHF locals that are normally the hardest two for locals to get here with such a physically small antenna. It also appears relatively expensive for that type of small amplified antenna. Looking at the assembly instrutions it would appear that it may possibly be the cheapie RCA one piece distro amp/single inline booster with attached wall wart and no amp at the antenna at all but I am only guessing at this from the picture. Hence my questions on where the power box was located in relation to the splitter, they could possibly have power available in their attic on the upstream side of the splitter. You are most certainly correct that a normal non power passing splitter would have blocked the amp from working at all and that was why they lost VHF high channels or only picked up the strongest additional UHF one on a different day. I doubt the antenna was designed to supply more than a single set. Somewhat unusually three of the stations here have chosen to use "channel neighborhoods" and use two transmitters each to get all of their virtual channels to come up in order when scanning probably no coincidence that these were the legacy lowest numbers (2,5 & 9) except for the local CBS which is an O&O without any subchannels (until this spring).
I am normally just a lurker on these forums and only chime in when there is a local having troubles since there are a few things in this market that are somewhat unique.
 
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G

Guest

Guest
#14
I'm experiencing the same issue. OTA HDTV antenna only picks up NBC & FOX, no CBS, ABC, PBS. How do you change the setting to scan for TV antenna (ATSC) instead of QAM ? cannot find a setting on the TV to edit the scan type. Thanks!
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#15
It's got to be in the menu somewhere. If you don't have a manual for your tv and can't find it on the manufacturer's website, please tell us the brand and model so we can help.
 
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