question- recent signal problem, any suggestions

cbf

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
after the digital switch i was able to receive 1 channel which is 2 less than when it was analog. every possible factor that could hinder my signal is present at my location (hilly terrain, heavily forested, remote). according to the antenna web site everyone recommends i do not have any channels available so i cannot get advice on an antenna for my area. the fcc dtv map suggests 4 channels all with very weak signals. anyways until a month ago i was able to receive channel 12 coming from 85 miles away (the closest tv station broadcast). my signal strength never exceeded 18 but i was able to watch tv occassionally. for the last month my signal has completely dissappeared. i reset the converter box, unplugged, checked the antenna and connections. i know it cannot be weather related. converter box says there is no signal whatsoever. im using a RG6 coaxcable, inline amplifier. the antenna is pole mounted close to 60 feet above the ground. called the tv station twice, both times they deny any changes in signal strength or direction. like i said i did have signal and was able to watch tv until about a month ago, now with no signal at all. any idea what could have happened or what i can do besides satellite tv( had technician out here and was unable to get satellite signal) so over the air television is my only option. also are there any antennas that are able to pick up signals 80-100 miles away, they are my only bet.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#3
:welcome: , cbf!

There are two things to look at before considering a new antenna:

• Converter boxes are little computers and, like desktop PCs and laptops, they occasionally get a bit, well, "sluggish" and need to be re-set. Have a look at this post for a 15-minute procedure that should correct this issue with any digital tuner.

• If that doesn't work, chances are something may have gone wrong in the antenna downlead this winter. Usually, it's water getting into the cables or fittings outdoors, so check for any signs of moisture or corrosion. If you don't know how old the antenna cable is, chances are pretty good it's worn out. Either way, it will need to be replaced.

As for a better antenna and other equipment, we'll need to get an idea of just how bad your signal environment is before we can offer sound advice on a course of action. The tool most of us use is TVFool, which gives predictions based on a street address or GPS coordinates (which are more accurate in mountainous or rural locations, BTW). Don't worry, the report conceals the actual address or coordinates so it can be safely shared over the Web. Here's what mine looks like as an example.
 

cbf

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
i thought the same thing about the coax cable so i did replace it with no success. did the double rescan with the converter box also. for a short time period i was getting channels 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3. i believe they were RF 52. after the memory reset on the converter box it has been unable to pick up anything, instead of reading channels 12.1 it is now on the default 2x or something like that even after multiple scans and antenna adjustments.
 

cbf

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
if i calculated it right using tvfools website i will need an antenna with a 20 dbd gain in order to overcome my losses? nm of -6.4, power dbm -97.2, 2 edge path, 60 miles away, does anyone think this is conceivable? also i found antenna's claiming a gain of 28dbd with a rotor. i feel the rotor is unneccessary when im only trying to receive 1 station. can you use these antenna's and not the rotor or does the electricity and rotor help amplify the antenna?
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#7
All I can say is, "ouch!" NBC affiliate WICU is about the only station available on any consistent basis there. Everything below WICU in the report is significantly weaker. WICU's digital broadcast was on channel 52 until the transition last June, when it shut down that transmitter and the analog broadcast that had been on channel 12, then "moved" the digital broadcast to 12.

What are you using for an antenna and pre-amplifier, and where/how high is the antenna mounted? In situations like this one, the consensus recommendations are a large antenna designed for channels 7-13 (AntennaCraft Y10-7-13; Winegard YA-1713) mounted as high off the ground as possible, and a very low-noise pre-amp such as Channel Master's 7777.
 

rabbit73

DTVUSA Member
#8
if i calculated it right using tvfools website i will need an antenna with a 20 dbd gain in order to overcome my losses? nm of -6.4, power dbm -97.2, 2 edge path, 60 miles away, does anyone think this is conceivable? also i found antenna's claiming a gain of 28dbd with a rotor. i feel the rotor is unneccessary when im only trying to receive 1 station. can you use these antenna's and not the rotor or does the electricity and rotor help amplify the antenna?
That's probably the most unpromising tvfool report that I have seen. It will be difficult to receive CH12 consistently. You also have a few UHF channels that are a little weaker, but I would concentrate initial efforts on CH12. You can always add a high gain UHF antenna later combined with a UVSJ or with a preamp that has both VHF and UHF inputs.

An antenna that claims a gain of 28dB with a rotor is probably not a good antenna that has a built-in amplifier trying to make up for poor antenna design. What antenna is it?

What inline amplifier are you using and where is it located. Is that in addition to the amplifier in the antenna?

As Don_M mentioned, you will need the best CH12 antenna that you can find combined with the best preamplifier mounted close to the antenna. In past years I would have suggested a single-channel yagi designed for CH12, but they are hard to find now. Many people have built their own yagi antennas for a single channel, but I don't know if you are up to it. Jim In Seattle has a lot of success doing it in his difficult location.

You don't need a rotator for CH12 and it doesn't help amplify the signal, but it can be helpful when aiming the antenna for the strongest signal. In locations like yours the strongest signal doesn't always arrive at the expected azimuth.

The weather is going to affect the reception of your 2 edge signal, but not as much as it would a tropo signal. Seasonal changes in the trees will affect the signals.

What kind of reception do your neighbors get?

What converter box are you using? You need a converter box or digital TV with the very best tuner available; tuners have improved a lot in the past few years.

If you don't have much success at first, it might be necessary to try different antenna locations and different heights. Your situation is going to require the investment of time, effort, and money which might be wasted. Are you up to that considering you don't have any alternative at this time?

Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

Best regards,
rabbit
 
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Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#9
... also i found antenna's claiming a gain of 28dbd ...
Claims like this one are always a bit deceptive. There's no such thing as adding antenna and amplifier gain together to come up with "total gain." No antenna by itself has a gain of anywhere near 28 dB; the only thing an amplifier really does is counteract losses from long cables, splitters, etc. A big-gain amp can't make up for a small-gain antenna!

I really doubt that no-name, Chinese-made antenna would hold up for as much as one season's worth of the bad weather you get every winter. The thing does work -- at least in places where the signals are quite a bit stronger than they are in Bradford -- but durability and quality clearly aren't its strongest suits.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
:welcome: cbf,

Sorry to say, your TVFOOL report is the second worst I've seen but receiving physical channel 12 should be possible in my opinion too. It would help us if we knew what antenna you have been using to receive 12 in the past.

If you are handy working with metal, you could build your own antenna specifically designed for 12 and/or one for 26. If you made it 'long enough' and designed it for channel 11, it might also work on channel 10, but you would have to rotate it. Please take a look at my photo albums, especially at my Project 9 and Project 35 antennas. There is a website that will do 100% of the math calculations for you here: Martin E. Meserve - K7MEM - VHF/UHF Yagi Antenna Design

Best of luck,

Jim
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#11
No time should be wasted on W10BH. It's owned by TBN and therefore most likely is not even on the air. WNYB is also a religious broadcaster, so it depends on viewer preference as to whether or not that has appeal.

And there's nothing on WSEE that isn't duplicated on WICU, so WSEE probably isn't worth the effort either.

- Trip
 

cbf

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
thanks everyone for the advice. your right rabbit the azimuth is slightly off then suggested. i haven't heard of anyone in a 30 mile radius successfully receiving a signal. last night i tore apart a cheaper uhf antenna i had purchased and fabricated it to my vhf antenna to get the largest flat surface area possibe and it seemed to work. my signal is still very weak but i was able to watch tv with only mild picture disturbances. At least now i know it is still possible. as for the vhf antenna i have i cannot say what it is or how old it might be. there are no markings to identify the make and it was probaby purchased 8 years ago? so it has lasted way beyond its time. had bought a new channel master 4228 hd before doing much research thinking it would work with no luck. im going to search for some of the antennas suggested in hopes of a more consistent signal also look into a channel master pre amp like someone mentioned before. once again thanks everyone for their input i appreciate it.
 
#13
Glad to hear that your testing indicates that it is possible!

The 4228 is a UHF (14-51) antenna. It will pick up some strong VHF signals, but it is not the best choice for CH12. You need a VHF-hi (7-13) antenna for CH12.
 
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FOX TV

Contributor
#14
An antenna that is specifically cut to your desired channel, mounted as high as physically possible with a good amp is your only chance of receiving any of these signals reliably. You mentioned satellite TV in a previous post, but did not really explain why the technician could not receive a signal. Do you live in a valley with mountains around, or is there some other reason you cannot get a satellite signal? Normally if you have as bad a TV FOOL report as yours, that involves mountains or deep valley's etc.
 
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