Question: Reception Loss at Temperature 32 Degrees or Below, and PBS Channels Never Received

RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Yet another "cut the DirecTv bill" person here in Boise, Idaho, needing advice on why I'm losing reception on some channels when the temperature outside dips below freezing. Also, the PBS channels just don't come in at all, regardless of the weather. Here's my stats:

TV Fool Report: TV Fool
Antenna: Philips TV antenna SDV2940 UHF/HDTV digital Indoor/outdoor, using it outside on our single-level house per this photo:
photo.jpg
Antenna came with something it calls a "Power Injector", so that's installed per instructions.
Wiring: Coax that had been attached to satellite dish, installed 1.5 years ago. Removed any splitters, etc.

This is just for one TV. When the temperature is above freezing, we do not receive the PBS stations at all but the rest on the TV Fool list come in fine. When the temperature hits 32F or below, both NBC and CBS pixelate and drop out so bad that they're completely unwatchable, sometimes the ABC channel but not as often. Since we watch TV mostly at night, this has become frustrating.

What I'd like: weather not to affect viewing of any channel, and to receive the 4 PBS channels anytime. I'm pretty much interested in the main network channels, don't care if I lose the other oddball channels which I seem to receive beautifully. I've considered mounting the antenna up on the satellite pole (with the dish removed) or even higher up on the house if it will help, but I don't know if that will work for me at all.

Bottom line: is this antenna worth working with, or should I pony up for something more/better? I'm only 10 mi away from most of the signals, and the manufacturer says it's 20 mi.
 
#2
:welcome: RedAliCat,

This is just for one TV. When the temperature is above freezing, we do not receive the PBS stations at all but the rest on the TV Fool list come in fine.
You don't mean to say you receive the stuff way down in the gray on your report, do you? The stations with NM = -10 and below? If so, I'd be extremely impressed with the Phillips, but it is not an antenna we've ever recommended here, if memory serves.

Honestly I'm surprised it gets the first 4 stations in the report, which are all high VHF.

When the temperature hits 32F or below, both NBC and CBS pixelate and drop out so bad that they're completely unwatchable, sometimes the ABC channel but not as often. Since we watch TV mostly at night, this has become frustrating.
There may be a mechanical problem with the cabling or the antenna, causing something to bulge when temperatures drop. Since the cables are only 18 months old, I'm guessing it's in the antenna, which may have to go anyway, if you're to receive PBS reliably.

What I'd like: weather not to affect viewing of any channel, and to receive the 4 PBS channels anytime.
It's strange your setup is discriminating against PBS. :huh: KAID I can understand, since it's coming from another direction -- "omnidirectional" antennas aren't always 100% omni. Also, I can't tell from your picture whether the dish, or the house itself, are in line-of-sight to any or all of the transmitters. Could you determine that for us with the aid of a compass?

Bottom line: is this antenna worth working with, or should I pony up for something more/better? I'm only 10 mi away from most of the signals, and the manufacturer says it's 20 mi.
Actually, the bottom, bottom line is mainly line of sight, followed closely by the mechanical issue with the temperature. Solving those problems will probably get you three of those four PBS stations. It's going to take some detective work. It may or may not involve getting a better antenna. (One that's not rigged to malfunction without a built-in amp.) Don't even bother looking at any range figures. Always meaningless, and especially so when dealing with 1 and 2 edge signals.

Rick
 
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G

Guest

Guest
#3
Thanks for the welcome, Rickideemus!

KTVB and KBOI: come in as "Weak Signal" but viewing is just fine--until freezing outside. KIVI is mostly good, rarely cuts out. The following come in strong without fail: KNIN, KTRV, KKJB, KYUU. All the PBS/KAID do not come in ever. The rest on the TV Fool report I don't appear to receive, which is fine. I am tuning through a converter box, Apex DT504.

Because the antenna "says" it's omnidirectional, I thought it was okay where it was, which is 57 degrees according to my compass.

I don't mind getting a better antenna if this one is @#$%, but if this will work higher up, pointed different, etc., I'd rather just use it. I suspect the freezing temps shouldn't normally be a problem with an antenna, though.
 

RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
Thank you for the welcome, Rick!

You don't mean to say you receive the stuff way down in the gray on your report, do you?
No, but I get KKJB which is further down, and I'm not interested in those stations.

Also, I can't tell from your picture whether the dish, or the house itself, are in line-of-sight to any or all of the transmitters. Could you determine that for us with the aid of a compass?
It's at the lowest part of the eave of the house, my compass says 56 degrees.

There may be a mechanical problem with the cabling or the antenna, causing something to bulge when temperatures drop. Since the cables are only 18 months old, I'm guessing it's in the antenna, which may have to go anyway, if you're to receive PBS reliably.
This makes sense, and I've been suspecting that I'll have to get a better antenna anyway.

I understand about line of sight. Any suggestions are appreciated about which antenna would be best in my situation. I had been looking at the Antennas Direct C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V.
 
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#5
The C2-V-CMJ should be a good choice. Just make certain you get the C2-V not the C2. You need the VHF for your top 4 stations on the TV Fool report. Aim at about 38 degrees magnetic.
(One that's not rigged to malfunction without a built-in amp.) - See more at: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dtv-hdtv...nels-never-received.html#sthash.l0Gv1mcS.dpuf
Rick you more than likely stated the cause of the current problems with that comment. A coax problem can not be ruled out, but that is less likely to be the problem.
Steve
 

RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
The C2-V-CMJ should be a good choice. Just make certain you get the C2-V not the C2. You need the VHF for your top 4 stations on the TV Fool report. Aim at about 38 degrees magnetic.

Rick you more than likely stated the cause of the current problems with that comment. A coax problem can not be ruled out, but that is less likely to be the problem.
Steve
Thank you. We'll start with the antenna, but good to be aware that the coax may still be the problem.
 
#7
Thank you for the welcome, Rick!
You're welcome.

I get KKJB which is further down,
Ok, KKJB is NM = 20. I have no problem believing that. I'd be surprised if the Phillips got anything below NM = 15 or so.

I'm not interested in those stations.
Unfortunately, one of your PBS stations is way down there. Trying to get that would require such extreme measures (like a separate, custom cut Yagi off the other side of the house, and even then no guarantee), it's probably not worth it. Even KATO is far enough off the compass heading it may require a separate antenna. Luckily, all the others, including two PBS stations, are close to 37 magnetic.

It's at the lowest part of the eave of the house, my compass says 56 degrees.
That's pretty lucky. But you might have to take down the DIRECTTV dish. It might be causing multipath issues. There's a better expert here, dkreichen, who can tell you whether that's important. Maybe he'll hear his ears buzzing. ;)

This makes sense, and I've been suspecting that I'll have to get a better antenna anyway.
While we're waiting for dkr, do me a favor and chack to be sure all four of the high VHF stations are coming in: KTVB, KBOI, KNIN, and KTRV. If not, that will lock it up that the Phillips has to go.

I understand about line of sight. Any suggestions are appreciated about which antenna would be best in my situation. I had been looking at the Antennas Direct C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V.
That's an excellent antenna that often gets recommended by the staff. I don't see CBS in your lineup, so you might want to check out all the call letters down to +11 on Wikipedia and Google to see if they rebroadcast CBS, or fill out your lineup in some other way. Depending on your detective work, we might need to get even more extreme than the C2-V.

Rick
 

RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
Unfortunately, one of your PBS stations is way down there. Trying to get that would require such extreme measures (like a separate, custom cut Yagi off the other side of the house, and even then no guarantee), it's probably not worth it. Even KATO is far enough off the compass heading it may require a separate antenna. Luckily, all the others, including two PBS stations, are close to 37 magnetic.
If I get the main PBS, any others are a bonus to me at this point. Because I'm a renter, I really don't want to invest in multiple antennas if I don't need to for now. Maybe later, when I buy a home.

That's pretty lucky. But you might have to take down the DIRECTTV dish. It might be causing multipath issues. There's a better expert here, dkreichen, who can tell you whether that's important. Maybe he'll hear his ears buzzing. ;)
Hadn't considered the dish interfering, but I want to take it down anyway, so it's good on 2 fronts.

While we're waiting for dkr, do me a favor and chack to be sure all four of the high VHF stations are coming in: KTVB, KBOI, KNIN, and KTRV. If not, that will lock it up that the Phillips has to go.
KTVB and KBOI come in but not when it's below freezing; KNIN and KTRV are steady anytime, but they're not much of what I watch, unfortunately.

I don't see CBS in your lineup
KBOI is the CBS affiliate here, just not noted in the TVFool Report. My tuner states "Weak Signal", but it get it most of the time if not freezing outside.
 
#9
Whoh, we have some multipath going on with the posting too! :becky: I swear when I put up my last post, RF Steve hadn't jumped in yet. There must be some time delay going on.

I'm pretty sure the dish could cause some interference. It might not, if it were directly side by side with a more directional antenna. But good that you take it down to be sure.

The C2-V has a pretty wide beam width, so there's a chance you might get ... Waaaaaaaaait a minute! I just noticed there are four instances of KAID on real channel 21 on your report. All four PBS stations are the same thing! I've never seen that before. What are they doing allowing four identical signals so close together??? Almost has to be a mistake in the TV Fool database.

I'll research it some more tomorrow, unless Steve beats me to it, but the way it looks now, you really only have one PBS station on the horizon -- and maybe zero. That's probably what's causing your problem with PBS. Multipath from multiple transmitters. The FCC normally doesn't allow that. BETTER HOLD OFF ON THAT C2-V! You might need something very, very directional, to cut down on the multipath, and the C2-V ain't it.

I don't mean to disagree with you, Steve, but something is FUBAR with the TVFR. Normally any possibility of channel interference is clearly marked.

Rick
 
#10
OK, there are definitely four KAID channel 21's near you, and three very close.
RabbitEars.Info
Click on "Technical Data and Screencaps" under KAID to see the mess

There are two with the exact same transmitter coordinates, but one is called KAID and the other is called KAID-4. They MUST have some system going with PSIP/subchannels so these don't interfere with one another. I don't see how else they could do it. I think your problem comes in with KAID-2 which tranmits from your south-east. It's the same signal, arriving at your location at a slightly different time, confusing your tuner.

The fourth RF 21 coming from the north-west, is so weak it can't cause any problems.

You people in Idaho with all your translators! :drinks:

I'd like to suggesr you call or email Idaho PTV:
Contact Idaho Public Television

Tell them about your location and experience with multipath, and see if they have a suggestion. Tell them you'd like to get your signal from the Boise channel 21 transmitters. There's a good chance a very directional antenna will work out OK. The C2-V has such a wide beam width, I'm afraid it won't do it.

I have to apologize for the confusion from not reading your TVFR carefully enough first shot. Maybe somebody more expert will chime in.

Rick
 
#11
KAID applied to build a Distributed Transmission System (DTS), basically a network of synchronized, on-channel translators. It appears that it's been up for a while.
 
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RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
Whoh, we have some multipath going on with the posting too! :becky: I swear when I put up my last post, RF Steve hadn't jumped in yet. There must be some time delay going on.
Yeah, you can also see my reply earlier up as "guest". I thought I was logged in as me, but evidently not. :duh:

BETTER HOLD OFF ON THAT C2-V! You might need something very, very directional, to cut down on the multipath, and the C2-V ain't it.
I'm not rushing to any antenna just yet. While we wait for Steve to chime in, we'll get the DirecTv dish removed and work with the Philips in the interim. My goal is to get this all sussed out by Feb 6 for the Olympics on KTVB--one of the channels that don't work when it freezes, natch. Just waiting for a slightly warmer day to head up to the roof. :becky:
 
#13
You can certainly try the C2V since you can buy it locally at Best But or Walmart. Plan on trying different spots on the roof to see if you can find a spot where the signals cooperate. You'll probably need a longer mast to give yourself more options for height.

That channel 21 signal from the southeast can be readily rejected by any antenna with nulls at 90° off bore sight. The C2v has such a null, around 25+ dB, see data sheet at http://www.antennasdirect.com/cmss_files/attachmentlibrary/Technical Data PDF's/C2+VHF-TDS.pdf Of course, this assumes that you can actually pick up the 21 signal from the top of the mountain. There is a specific reason that KAID installed that transmitter to the south east and you are in the zone that it was intended for. You *might* end up having to do special work to pick it up without loosing the rest of your reception.
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#14
Yep, dump that Philips antenna and I would also go with the C2-V-CMJ. Do not use an amp! And you really need to point it to the NE - my guess is that the dish mount is on the south side of the house and your signal is being blocked by your building.

My sister lives in Meridian, ID (not far from you) and I got decent reception at her house using just a small antenna in a window. You should have no problem with a real antenna mounted outside.
 
#15
I noticed the channel situation with KAID as soon as I looked at the TV Fool, and realized the type of system that was being used. Multiple transmitters on the same frequency. I don't think I'll try to understand how that is suppose to work. I might read up on it at some point in time. I've read a bit about such things being tried. How well it works I don't know.
Just about any reputable outdoor high VHF/UHF antenna would be an improvement over what you have now. You had mentioned the C2V, and I do feel that would be a big improvement over what you have now. You could consider the RCA ANT 751, the smaller models in the Antennacraft HBU line, or the Winegard HD7694.
I'm watching my cross posting. I started this one before MrPogi chimed in. What I really wanted to say is get a real antenna. Magic little plastic box antennas seldom work in the real world.
Steve
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#16
I would also suggest the Channelmaster 2016. I bought mine (2nd antenna for channels to my west) for around $35 a few years ago, its now about $50. Still a lot cheaper than the C2-V-CJM at about $100! It may also be better for channel 21, being more directional in the UHF range.
 
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RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
Yep, dump that Philips antenna and I would also go with the C2-V-CMJ. Do not use an amp! And you really need to point it to the NE - my guess is that the dish mount is on the south side of the house and your signal is being blocked by your building.

My sister lives in Meridian, ID (not far from you) and I got decent reception at her house using just a small antenna in a window. You should have no problem with a real antenna mounted outside.
Both the dish and the antenna are on the NE corner of my house.
 

RedAliCat

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
I noticed the channel situation with KAID as soon as I looked at the TV Fool, and realized the type of system that was being used. Multiple transmitters on the same frequency. I don't think I'll try to understand how that is suppose to work. I might read up on it at some point in time. I've read a bit about such things being tried. How well it works I don't know.
Just about any reputable outdoor high VHF/UHF antenna would be an improvement over what you have now. You had mentioned the C2V, and I do feel that would be a big improvement over what you have now. You could consider the RCA ANT 751, the smaller models in the Antennacraft HBU line, or the Winegard HD7694.
I'm watching my cross posting. I started this one before MrPogi chimed in. What I really wanted to say is get a real antenna. Magic little plastic box antennas seldom work in the real world.
Steve
12354102385_3d7904dc19_n.jpg
Well, I wanted to update the thread with the news that I took RF Steve's advice and selected the RCA ANT751. Removed the dish and mounted the RCA to it, per the photo above. All main network channels and all 4 of the PBS channels are coming in beautifully, even in the freezing weather. Thank you all for your help with this!
 
#20
Well, I wanted to update the thread with the news that I took RF Steve's advice and selected the RCA ANT751. Removed the dish and mounted the RCA to it, per the photo above. All main network channels and all 4 of the PBS channels are coming in beautifully, even in the freezing weather. Thank you all for your help with this!
We're very grateful for the update! We're all still larnin, here, and we rely on the feedback.

In that regard, if you have the time I'd love a little clarification. You say you get all 4 of the PBS channels...
- Are these all KAID channels, or are there some PBS stations among those unmarked on your TVF report?
- All the KAID stations are exactly the same programming at the same time, correct?
- All four of the KAID stations come from RF 21. How can you even tell if you're getting more than one?? (I think I'm missing something here -- like I said, I've never seen this situation before.)

In particular, it would be really impressive if you got the KAID signal from 312 degrees! That's waaaaaaay down at NM = -10.8 .

One last question:
- By any chance, did you remove the DIRECTV dish while the Philips was still connected? I'd be curious to know if there was any improvement just from removing the dish.

Very happy for your success, and glad you got it a lot more cheaply than the C2-V. Price is my one knock against that product.

:thumb:
Rick
 
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