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AM21 Problems with HR24/100 Receiver

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by vawils, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Jan 8, 2013 #1 of 17
    vawils

    vawils New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    I am having a real problem with my AM21 off air tuner and need help! No local channels in my area so DTV sent me an AM21 in November and it worked great at first but after about a month without my touching anything it just kept coming up with the message "searching for signal on off air tuner (792)". I tried everything to get it to work - reboot, antenna adjustment etc to no avail. I am only using an indoor antenna and when i hook that to my tv I get the local channels fine with the same antenna.

    Called DTV last week and they sent out a service technician who did some checks etc and who said it must be a faulty AM21 and swapped them out. It worked fine for 1 week and now I am back to "searching for signal on off air tuner (792)". When it went bad I was watching a DTV channel and just switched to a local channel that I had just been watching 5 minutes before. This is crazy to me. I now hook up the same antenna to my tv and get the local channels fine.

    Before I call DTV back again does anyone have any idea what may be causing such a strange occurence. Can't imagine 2 AM21s going bad. Any help suggestions greatly appreciated.. thanks a lot
     
  2. Jan 8, 2013 #2 of 17
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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  3. Jan 8, 2013 #3 of 17
    vawils

    vawils New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    when i went to tv fool site for my very local channels the NM ranged from a high of 64.8 to 40.1. I tried to post the full report but think i need more replies first?

    As I said I get perfect reception attaching the same antenna directly to my tv...

    thanks
     
  4. Jan 8, 2013 #4 of 17
    jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

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    Not all ATSC tuners are created equal. What are the signal strengths reported by the TV?
    Compare them with what the AM21 reports.

    As a side note, my strengths change with the seasons. It seems that with the leaves gone I get more multipath. I surmise that the leaves on the trees in the spring and summer reduce the multipath. For those wondering what multipath is, think of it as the digital version of ghosting.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2013 #5 of 17
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Yes, you'll need 5 posts before you can post a link.

    40-64 dB NM means outside the signals are fairly good.

    It might help if you can post what your TV is showing for signal levels.

    The AM21 isn't a bad tuner, but if you're borderline to start with, then digital signals tend to be "there or not", unlike analog that will show "poor" signals.

    What type of indoor antenna do you have?
     
  6. Jan 8, 2013 #6 of 17
    vawils

    vawils New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Now that i am not getting any channels at all through the off air tuner it reports all the signal strengths at 7%. However, when it was working fine just 2 days ago, the signal strength varied by channel with the lowest usually in the 30s and the highest over 80 at times. That is what is so strange as one minute i had fine reception and then this "searching for signal..792" I checked it since this is the second AM-21 I have had.

    My indoor antenna is a basic RCA Model ANT 130B ..rabbit ears and a circular antenna and also a knob to adjust settings for uhf/vhf etc....

    I am getting fine reception on this antenna directly hooked to the tv but could not figure a way to check the signal strength with the antenna directly attached...When the direct tv technician was here he thought since i was getting excellent reception directly hooked to tv that running it through the am-21 should not change that fact.

    Sorry i wish i could explain or know more but it is just so crazy to me!
     
  7. Jan 8, 2013 #7 of 17
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    From what I've seen [here] as you get near 60%, things get a bit shaky.
    I used rabbit ears here and then moved to an HDBlade, as it has a bit more gain.
    You might see what happens if you move the location of the rabbit ears around. Higher up can help, rotating them so they're pointed at the transmitter better, etc.
    "Multipath" gets to be a problem with digital more than analog, which can explain why one min it works [barely] and not the next.
    Since you've had a couple of AM21s, it doesn't sound like they're the problem, but that the indoor antenna just isn't picking up a solid signal that well.
     
  8. Jan 8, 2013 #8 of 17
    vawils

    vawils New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Appreciate all the suggestions but one basic question..why would i get excellent reception directly attaching my antenna to the tv and no reception through the am-21 with the same antenna. Also the fact that it worked fine for a month the first time and 1 week with the second am21. that is why i wonder if it is the antenna or something else as did the dtv technician.

    maybe i should try an hd blade with the am21..i saw one on amazon for about $30 ....is that a good alternative and better than what i have?
     
  9. Jan 8, 2013 #9 of 17
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    To try to answer some of your questions, it would help to get an idea of the signal levels on the TV.

    Here is what TVfool shows for here: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=c84f34179379ee

    As you can see I'm on the 40-65 NM range too.
    Since I'm using an indoor antenna, I lose a good 20 dB in penetration loss, and still have needed to find a "sweet spot" for my antenna to reduce multipath.
    Multipath is when the signal bounces off other things and the signal at the antenna has more than one source. This can cause the signals to cancel, which may explain why it works sometimes and not other times.
    A better antenna, pointed so "it favors" the stronger signal [path] tends to help.
    I ended up with my Blade being stuck high up on the wall as it worked best there.
     
  10. vawils

    vawils New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Still can't get this clear in my head so let me rephrase my confusion:

    Why would the same off air in house antenna provide excellent reception when attached directly to the tv and not provide reception when run through the am21 off air tuner after originally working. Get searching for signal 792 message. Makes no sense to me and only seems to point to a problem with the am21. that is why i am having trouble believing a new antenna will solve my problems..

    thanks for listening any feedback.
     
  11. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Digital is "on/off", so what you're calling "excellent", may only be slightly better than minimal.
    This is why I've asked what the TV is showing for signal levels.

    If your TV shows 90% and the AM21 shows 30%, there should be more of a problem than "just the antenna/signals".

    "On the other hand", if the TV shows < 60%, then the AM21 may not be getting enough signal.

    Not all tuners work as well as others, "but" the AM21 isn't that bad of a tuner either.
     
  12. pearkel

    pearkel AllStar

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    I went through this exact problem a couple of months ago. Directv sent me 2 new am21's and they would work great for a while and then go out. This was both on a hr34 and the same on a hr24. I could bypass the receiver and plug directly into tv and all signals were great. The third am21 has worked fine for a while now on the hr34 and just for grins I reinstalled the "defective" one On a hr24 and it is working again. It was a really frustrating thing for me because each time it would just go out and the signal meter would just always show zero. Best of luck.
     
  13. vawils

    vawils New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    thanks Pearkel for your response..makes me feel less crazy that someone else has experienced this same problem..hope the 3rd time is a charm for you

    still don't understand reason and will i guess call directv back this weekend, tried to call the last service tech that was here on new years eve with the 2nd am21 but he hasn't called back

    one additional thing i did..the hr24 is hooked to a small inside antenna as i said and does fine with direct connection....I do have a large antenna in the attic that was hooked up to another tv so i hooked that up to the am21 and the tv directly and still same problem..worked fantastic getting picture directly to tv and got more distant stations but still searching for signal on am-21...this tells me i still don't think it is an antenna problem..although on my flat screen tv (where the hr24 is hooked) i don't see a way to test the signal strength on the other tv with the attic antenna was getting 80-90% + signal strength..

    still searching for some kind of answer to this mystery....:(
     
  14. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    It's starting to sound like the AM21 isn't working as well as it should.
     
  15. bill50312

    bill50312 New Member

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    Sep 4, 2006
    My am21 always been half ass, dtv wanted a service charge for someone to look at it. I only get half the availble channels in my area with it. . Today I just disconnected it and going directly thru my tv tuner.
     
  16. gcd0865

    gcd0865 Legend

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    The AM21's do go bad over time. My third one fortunately continues to be fine after a year and a half. I would encourage anyone having this problem to contact DirecTV for a replacement.

    See: http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=160282
     
  17. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    Both of mine are several years old.....never miss a beat. It's electronics, some go bad early, some last forever, its the nature of the beast. To be able to say with any certainty based on each individual's small sample size of 1 or 2 that they are all junk is just inaccuarate, no reliability data can really be gleaned.
     

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