Rain and excess humidity can cause signal loss

#1
Esp if the cables get saturated. i tuned to RTV this morning to watch some classics to be greeted by '0' signal. the Dish DTVPal said the usual 'signal acquisition in progress' and the Apex showed zilch on the signal meter. it's normally an 70-80%+ signal and the beauty of it was it wasn't even windy.

NBC was very weak. as in unwatchable. it's been in the 90s in percent since June 12th. now it is a measly 35% and dropping.

Getting up on my trailer's roof i inspected the cables as my console was turned up loud, so if it hit a spot i'd hear it. so i tweaked on the cable where it connects to the roof, boom! signal and audio. for 5 minutes. had it and then it went from a steady 75% down to 35% and fluctuating between that and zero. so i tried another cable. ok now it's back. but when the rains came back and left leaving it sunny but steamy, same problem. down to the same 35% to zero rapid change.

Humidity is the enemy to those living with tons or rain. if anyone has this issue after a storm dumping tons of inches of rain, even after it passes, let it be known that your outdoor antenna's cables are saturated and sadly until it dries up (or you have about three spares) you're out of luck. just wanted to let everyone know.
 

CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#2
Cables with a good pvc jacket shouldn't have any saturation that would affect signal reception. At least I wouldn't think so. DTVUser2009, are you sure you're just not confusing other elements with your lack of signal? I mean that in a nice way, btw mr. Mod. :p
 
#3
Nope, had this problem before. there's a connection (a quick disconnect too) at the roof of my travel trailer that you 'plug' the antenna's cable (Which would be protected with rubber boots) into, and that connect can swivel as the antenna's rotated thereby keeping the cable from binding. but it's that disconnect itself which gets water inside it. but i'm sure it's nice info to those who wonder where their signal went post-storm when conditions should be normal. esp to those with unprotected outside antennas ;)
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#4
It actually sounds like you have a bad connector on the end of your coax or a bad connector on the antenna somewhere. I had one on my Internet roof antenna and it was causing issues for me on humid days and when it was raining. The ISP showed up and pulled it apart and water dripped out of the connector. He put a new end on the cable and all was well.

- Trip
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#5
DTVuser2009, if you can afford it. They sell a pretty good coax compression tool at Lowes, for someone that is going to make 50 connections in their lifetime. I find them to be much more weather proof than the other styles of connectors. :mad:)
 
#6
It wasn't raining but it had just stopped raining and the signal was a flat '0' when it normally is in 80-83% range. it was so steamy outside that the windows were fogged out. i may just find an old rusty Dish antenna and use the waterproof cables from it. would be a perfect replacement.

Once the sun shines the next day the signal slowly climbs back to normal range and stays there as long as the humidity stays within a certain percent. i think high dewpoints cause some of the problem moisture.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#7
Yeah, that definitely sounds like water getting into your system. Digital TV isn't supposed to plummet on humid days--mine doesn't and I'm 79 miles out.

- Trip
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
It wasn't raining but it had just stopped raining and the signal was a flat '0' when it normally is in 80-83% range. it was so steamy outside that the windows were fogged out. i may just find an old rusty Dish antenna and use the waterproof cables from it. would be a perfect replacement.

Once the sun shines the next day the signal slowly climbs back to normal range and stays there as long as the humidity stays within a certain percent. i think high dewpoints cause some of the problem moisture.
I can have seen this on my satellite cables. I put in the dish in the late 90's using crimp style f-connectors. I "sealed" them with goop. They stayed sealed for a few years. Then after it rained, no satellite. At first they dried out right away. Soon it got to the point it took days to dry out. Then it didn't even have to rain but be very high humidity.

Then it hit me what another ham had told me years before that made his own amps, antenna and stuff. He said never ever try and seal a homemade preamp you put up on a mast. He said during the day, the higher temps do two things. One they expand any air inside a sealed container. They also lower the relative humidity. This allows some moisture to be expelled but not all compared to what happens at night. One night hits, the temp drops, the relative humidity goes up. Then the sealed container cools, the air in it cools drawing outside air laden in moisture. Even worse since it had been hot, the temp change or delta is even greater, causing it to suck in a lot of wet air.
Then over time it pulls in more moisture than it expels until you have a failure.

Knowing that ever notice that commercially made preamps for home installation are not sealed?

Since the cable TV industry uses more RG6 than anyone, they learned a long time ago the same thing happened to cables made with crimped F-fitting ends. Most cable companies and satellite installers switched to better crimps, and it was better but not good enough. Then they found changing to the new compression fittings sealed much better. Their maintaince time when way down.

I have a RG59 coming down from my antenna. There is a barrel in the middle before the bottom of the drip loop, so water pours over the connection when it rains. I have had it there 2 years and can open it and there is no water inside. If you put a compression fitting on right the PVC jacket is pushed into the rear of it and forms it's own seal, much like a cylindrical o-ring.

I believe in them so much I gave away all my old crimp connections but kept the crimper (tool collector mentality)
 
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