OTA setup in Bellevue, WA with HDHomeRun


DTVUSA Jr. Member
Hey folks, I'm new to this forum. I'm in Bellevue, WA right on the Bellevue/Redmond border and have been evolving my OTA setup for a few years now. Hoping to get some advice regarding some peculiarities. I'll include a link to a TV Fool report which will give you an idea of some of the challenges in this neighborhood with several channels being 1 Edge and 2 Edge. Luckily I am the highest elevation home in this neighborhood which has helped me with some success.

Up until Christmas I had a pretty straight forward setup with an Antennacraft Y7-13 to pull in VHF stations 9 (PBS), 11 (CW), and 13 (Fox HD). Also I use an Antennacraft U-4000 to pull in the UHF stations. This setup was working well. For Christmas my wonderful wife gifted me an HDHomeRun device which I'm really excited about because it enables me to view the OTA stations on any network connected device. Primarily I am using XBOX ONE's DLNA capability to stream the channels to my main big screen TV. I can watch TV via the public Internet now courtesy of my Plex media server as well. I have a networking background since I work in that field so the networking piece was actually moderately easy for me to set up. I have all desired stations (minus PBS which has always been unreliable on cold dry days) streaming to my big screen using the XBOX ONE. Picture quality is superb with the HDHomeRun streaming an uncompressed ATSC signal via DLNA. I like that my home theater receiver now gets the full digital audio signal vs. the down-mixed 2 channel stereo my TV outputs if I use the TV tuner. The Plex server does a good job of transcoding to H.264 and other formats to stream to mobile devices, tablets, laptops, etc. I have even had success streaming to a tablet and then using a chromecast dongle to watch the TV on a big screen away from home. Pretty cool! However, while I've had lots of success with the networking piece of this setup, I still struggle with the OTA reception piece due to being in a fringe area. Here have been some of the challenges:

* VHF reception - While I do pull in 11 and 13 (occasionally 9), the signal quality is borderline to the point where if I try adding one splitter to hook up some screens via coax, the stability of the VHF stations takes a hit on all screens including those connected via the HDHomeRun. See my diagram of the working as-built setup vs. my desired setup. Putting the splitter before the distribution amp drops the signal strength and quality below the HDHomeRun tuner's threshold to decode the signal. Putting the splitter after the distribution amp overloads the HDHomeRun tuner and introduces enough noise to make channels 11/13 unreliable on the coax connected TVs. Keep in mind, I had the original setup working for a couple years but it was with some Harry Potter magic. I've tried just putting it back the way it was with all the same splitters & cables and the picture isn't stable anymore on 11 or 13. The Harry Potter magic is gone. The only stable setup now seems to be as depicted here with the antennas going through the diplexer and then directly into the HDHomeRun box, no amps, no splitters.

* FM Interference seems to be an issue. Adding the FM trap improved the VHF stations 11 & 13 but still not good enough to be able and split off the signal .

* 2 antenna weirdness - The best success I have had with VHF channel 13, ironically, was when completely removing the Y7-13 VHF antenna from the setup! But I got no 11, only 13. The crazy thing is VHF 13 would ONLY come in with that UHF antenna when plugged into the UHF side of the diplexer. Removing the diplexer resulted in no VHF 13 reception at all! Weird! One would think the UHF side of the diplexer would hurt, not help, the channel 13 reception. This experiment made me suspect the diplexer. Are there any good tried and true diplexers on the market? This also made me suspect that the U-4000 picks up a good amount of VHF High (13) to the point where perhaps I am getting interference between the antennas and perhaps this is made worse by channel 13 being a 2 edge signal and lots of reflective hills and mountains in my area. The HDHomeRun config app on my PC often reports for channel 11 high signal strength but low signal quality.

* I’ve often wondered if moving this setup onto a chimney mount on the roof would make a big difference. My challenge is that my house is really tall and I hate heights. I need a 30 foot ladder to climb up there and the roof is steep to walk on. I hate it. The chimney mount has been sitting in my garage forever. Really hoping there are some other things I can try in the attic. It’s just the VHF at this point which is an issue. Why Fox can’t broadcast in HD in this market on their UHF station 22.2 is beyond me. That channel is solid as a rock and I’d use it except for I want my Seahawks in HD!!!!

* I used to have a single antenna setup UHF/VHF. It was a larger winegard antenna but I never could get both the VHF and UHF to come in at the same time because the orientation is just different enough for the UHF & VHF stations. So I'm kind of forced to use a two antenna setup.

Here is a tvfool report:

TV Fool

Here are as-working and desired diagrams:






DTVUSA Jr. Member
Hey folks, me and my son did some troubleshooting of the channel 13 issue and it appears what is happening is that since the UHF U4000 antenna also picks up a good amount of VHF high including 13, there is some phasing issues between the two antennas. Unplugging the VHF antenna results in higher channel 13 signal into my system. This is what lead us to this conclusion. I am thinking of trying to solve this with a better quality diplexer. Any recommendatins? I am using the radioshack model currently.

As a temporary fix, I placed a 10db attenuator in line with my VHF antenna which has reduced the amount of signal from that antenna into the mix, hence reducing the phasing interference on that channel enough to where I can now pull in all VHF local stations, 9, 11, and 13. This is a nice temporary fix!


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Staff member
Another thought: using a pre-amp for the entire system. Replace the diplexer with a RCA TVPRAMP1r preamp and place the power injector ahead of the splitter. The TVPRAMP1r has separate inputs for VHF and UHF, and has a built-in FM trap.

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
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I think the UVSJ should be the trick, but a little more antenna height may help as well. Even as little a six inches or a foot can make a big difference because TV RF signals travel like a stack of pancakes in layers of signal and null. Do you know if you are receiving the main KCPQ VHF-13 transmitter from across Elliot Bay or the UHF rebroadcaster on 22.2 near Swedish Hospital?

Also, you should "scan for new channels" because on New Years Day, KOMO-4 added a third subchannel, Grit-TV.

Jim (on QA Hill)
My first thought on the magic worked then the magic didn't work is one of those connectors is no longer doing its job. Even bad connectors often seem to work for a few months. Then they start to fail intermittently in a manner that seems unrelated to the connectors, causing much grief and wasted time. On the female side of the connector issue I think some of them are built to have a cable carefully installed once and never disturbed.(Very poor quality)
I've not read of a problem with the Radio Shack UVSJ part 15-2586 other then the price, and some not understanding what its purpose is. Who knows there could be some bad ones or even a whole batch of bad ones.
If the 4nec2 simulation on the U-4000 is correct. (they usually are) The high VHF gain of the antenna is off the back side with highest gain and lowest SWR at the top end of the band.
Antennacraft U-4000 - 9 Reflector Rods
Jim might have hit it right suggesting your KCPQ reception could be coming from channel 22 if they channel map the same.
I liked MrPogi's suggestion of trying the RCA TVPRAMP1r. It's worked quite well for others in some situations where other amplifiers overload from nearby FM and VHF TV signals. Dual inputs, and the price tag is right. There have been some reported product failures, but that can happen with any amplifier. Installation mistakes have been more common. The separate combine switch set wrong, or not checking it before installation has been a common mistake. Not getting power to the amplifier is a pretty common mistake with all preamp installations.
Is there a new source of house hold RFI that has been added to the mix?
You are doing a lot of things right, but some of your results are very strange. I just thought I'd add some of my thoughts to the mix.


DTVUSA Jr. Member
Thanks everyone for their thinking and response to my post. The Seahawks first playoff game is quickly approaching and I'm working hard to make sure I get the best possible reception for my guests. Worst case, I will use the 22.2 feed which as Fringe mentioned is the UHF feed of KCPQ/FOX and that is the strongest signal out of the bunch which I receive with the U-4000. That said, the DT signal on the VHF band is so nice when it comes in, I'm wanting that one to be as stable as possible.

So...the new diplexer arrived today. They subbed the "Blonder Tongue" brand instead of the Pico Macom model. The results were interesting and I think really telling of my OTA reception situation here in the bowels of Bellevue/Redmond. I made a chart with the various setups I tried and what effect it had on each channel. To read this chart, I list Signal Strength/Signal Quality/Symbol Quality as output from the configuration gui for the HDHomeRun unit. First, some definitions for those not familiar with these measurements. Signal Strength is the overall strength of the signal. This is just the raw amplitude. Signal Quality is how well defined the signal is. Symbol Quality is the HDHomeRun's measurement of how well it's decoding algorithm is making sense of the signal. Anything less than 100% in Symbol Quality is unacceptable and can result in artifacts on the screen.

Here are the results:

antenna signal results.jpg

Some takeaways from these experiments:

* The RS and BT diplexers are very similar although I did have better results on the all critical channel 13 with the RS diplexer. In this experiment (columns 1 and 2) the only different component in the signal chain was the diplexer.
* Removing the -10db attenuator from the VHF side made the reception worse in all cases.
* VHF-HI reception of channel 13 is superb with the U-4000 antenna alone even when it's connected to either brand of diplexer. This tells me the diplexer's passive circuitry does not filter well for the highest VHF channel (13) but does filer well for the other channels in my area (9,11).
* Placing the VHF antenna only through the diplexer and then combining the two antennas with a simple combiner (so there is no filtering on the UHF antenna) was also encouraging.
* Testing the VHF antenna alone revealed that the VHF antenna is barely picking up 13 and seems to be adding just enough interference into the mix to foul up what the U-4000 is doing well.

The last bullet point to me says that I should play with the orientation of the Y7-13 VHF antenna alone and see if there are any spots, to Fringe's point moving it up or down 6", which will enable me to pull in all the VHF stations well. They should all be on the 259 degree orientation according to TVFOOL. So that's what I'm going to try next and see what happens.

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member

You used the term diplexer for both "signal splitters" you tried. Is the Blonder-Tongue unit a UVSJ (UHF-VHF signal joiner)? I ask because I expected significant changes in your reception.



DTVUSA Jr. Member
That's right, Jim. The Blonder Tongue unit is a VHF/UHF splitter. It is labeled as HI/LOW on the splitter. Solid Signal's website describes it as a UHF/VHF splitter. So here's where I ended up: I spent a good two hours moving the VHF antenna to different spots in the attic, testing it with only that antenna hooked up. Tried different orientations, etc. That was to see if I could get VHF channel 13 to come in. No luck. Not anywhere in the attic. 11 and 9 yes, 13 no. That little U-4000 antenna is pulling off some Harry Potter magic with how it pulls in channel 13 because the Y7-13 which should be plenty strong for the job, is failing to do it. I wanted to see if the attic itself could be causing issues so I even took the antenna outside on my deck. Granted this wasn't rooftop height but I wanted to eliminate my roofing material from the equation. On the deck I could easily pull in 11 and 9, still no 13 though. I found that by orientating the antenna a bit more like 270 degrees (vs. 259 degrees recommended with TV FOOL), I actually would get 9 and 11 stronger but 13 weaker. This is pointing it a bit away from the 13 signal source even though all those channels are supposed to be on the same compass heading. I don't know why this happens for sure but I know 13 is farther away on the same heading based on the maps. I can only guess that the 2 edge effect is bending or reflecting the signals for those 3 channels in different ways, making 13 the more difficult station to get and on a slightly different heading by the time it gets to me. Also with it farther away, it will be weaker overall than the other two VHF stations.

So...here's how I ended up and to cut to the chase, I have all the channels now AND MORE thanks to your rescan recommendation so thank you Jim! I put the Y7-13 back in the attic, pointing it to 270 degrees compass. It gets 9 and 11 but not 13. This reduced the amount of 13 that antenna was adding into the mix and strengthened my 9 and 11. I left the U-4000 alone and am letting it pull in channel 13 which as I found bleeds through the UHF side of the diplexer because it is so high on the VHF spectrum. I am using a -10db attenuator on the Y7-13 antenna and the RadioShack diplexer which seems to perform just slightly better than the Blonder Tongue unit (although either would probably be fine I need all the help I can get).

4.3 looks cool, it was a Clint Eastwood western when I tuned it in. Cool. I like Clint Eastwood. Should be a fun channel. Also picking up some more higher up on the dial now. In total, here are the channels I get (26 in total vs. 19 when this experimentation began):

4.1 KOMO
4.2 KOMO2
4.3 Grit TV
9.2 Vme
9.3 Create
11.1 KSTW
13.1 KCPQ
16.1 KONG-HD
16.2 KONG-SD
22.1 KZJO
22.2 Q13 FOX
22.3 Antenna TV
42.1 KWDK (Daystar)
46.1 HOT TV
46.2 Peace
46.3 SBN
46.4 ONTV4U
46.5 RTVE
46.6 REVN
51.1 KUNS-1
51.2 KUNS-2

I'm thankful that with channel 13.1 and 22.2 I have two FOX feeds, one high def and one standard def. So if all else fails with the high def feed, I can use 22.2 which is the strongest signal I get as measured by the HDHomeRun config gui.
Last edited:


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I have a HD Homerun, and it behaves quite differently than the tuners on my TV sets. just another random thought.


DTVUSA Jr. Member
I totally agree with that statement. The tuners in my samsung TVs are way better at decoding sketchy 2 edge signals than the HDHR. Everything was pretty well set for the last couple years with the antennas working fine with the samsung tuners. With the HDHR now I've had to root out this issue and further optimize the antennas. Apparently the Samsung tuners could decode the signal fine whereas the HDHR is much more finicky. I read somewhere that it's decoding and error correction algorithm is not as good as what you get with a modern day flat screen tv tuner such as Samsung.


Staff member
That's right, Jim. The Blonder Tongue unit is a VHF/UHF splitter. It is labeled as HI/LOW on the splitter. Solid Signal's website describes it as a UHF/VHF splitter.
If it's labeled Hi/Low they sent you the wrong part. That is a HLSJ (designed for combining a low VHF antenna with a high VHF antenna) not a UVSJ (designed to combine a VHF antenna with a UHF antenna). That explains your bad results also.

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member

You may be able to buy a UVSJ at your local Radio Shack: Part Number 15-2586. At my local store (now closed) they kept them behind the counter because they were being confused with standard diplexers by unaware customers, so you may have to ask the Store manager. With it in your system, all of your channel signal levels should rise and likely be more dependible. Personally, I hate drop-outs during football games.



DTVUSA Jr. Member
Jim, thanks and that is the same part I am using. I think it works well after all of the testing I have done. The wrong part explains why my channel 13 reception took a dive with the Blonder Tongue splitter. The VHF antenna was going through the VHF low side of that splitter so it chopped the signal right off.

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member

HUH? Just above in post #15 you said you would "leave well enough alone" using the HLSV solid signal sent to you. If you now have a UVSJ, congrats! Go Seahawks!



Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
Just a note, I have the OLDER HDHR dual tuner. It has 2 inputs for antenna in - so I can use 2 completely different sources. The newer HDHRs have only one coax in.

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