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OTA HD Antenna question


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20 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:59 AM

OK, this week I took the plunge and got an uprade from Dtv to MPEG2 HD. I have the HR10-250 DVR as well.

Yesterday I grabbed a powered indoor antenna from Radio Shack.

I'd been reading that it was somewhat difficult to point these, but I plugged it in, re-did guided setup on the DVR, switched to Live TV and there, in fantastic picture was WAS vs. TB, on my local WPVI channel 6.

I surfed around a bit and checked other channels, and they all seemed to be there.

But around 11:30 I went back to 29(FOX) and it said it could not find a signal. Same thing with NBC10. CBS and ABC were still fine.

I've been trying to put my finger on why, and cant. Is it possble these networks shut down their HD antenna after primetime?

It struck me that 29 is UHF and I thought that might have something to do with it, but NBC10 is not, and 57(UPN) is also UHF and it was coming in fine at 11:30.

Does anyone have any ideas? Is this a something I'm doing wrong in my setup, is it beleivable to set the antenna so that it picks up all stations? Its been a long, long time since I even had to think of getting a TV signal OTA.

#2 OFFLINE   cnsf

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:11 AM

Was there any type of weather change?
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#3 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:23 AM

OK, this week I took the plunge and got an uprade from Dtv to MPEG2 HD. I have the HR10-250 DVR as well.

Yesterday I grabbed a powered indoor antenna from Radio Shack.

I'd been reading that it was somewhat difficult to point these, but I plugged it in, re-did guided setup on the DVR, switched to Live TV and there, in fantastic picture was WAS vs. TB, on my local WPVI channel 6.

I surfed around a bit and checked other channels, and they all seemed to be there.

But around 11:30 I went back to 29(FOX) and it said it could not find a signal. Same thing with NBC10. CBS and ABC were still fine.

I've been trying to put my finger on why, and cant. Is it possble these networks shut down their HD antenna after primetime?

It struck me that 29 is UHF and I thought that might have something to do with it, but NBC10 is not, and 57(UPN) is also UHF and it was coming in fine at 11:30.

Does anyone have any ideas? Is this a something I'm doing wrong in my setup, is it beleivable to set the antenna so that it picks up all stations? Its been a long, long time since I even had to think of getting a TV signal OTA.


I'd suggest an antenna in the attic. Set-top antennas are prone to all sorts of problems.

#4 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 12:40 PM

No, no weather change.

I did manage to figure out that on the antenna channel 69, I got signal on all my locals.

However, today, during the game, its been very problematic, freezes and pixelation here and there. Seems to be just on that local channel(fox 29).

I don't want a big antenna outside or in my attic if I can avoid it.

#5 OFFLINE   todcox

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 01:16 PM

You should be able to check the OTA signal in one of the TiVo menus. I do not have the HD TiVo so I am not sure which menu, but the Sammy HD receiver I have has a screen that will show you signal strenth 1-100. Once you are receiving a channel OTA, check the strength. You may be marginally receiving it. If it is marginal a lot of things (like weather, wind, ozone, etc) can effect the signal. It is possible the station does not broadcast 24/7 in HD. I live in the Reno, NV area and when some of the channels were coming online in HD they were not 24/7.

#6 OFFLINE   cnsf

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 03:56 PM

Channel 69....<<insert joke here>>

How high have you placed the antenna? It may be anything depending on how far you are from the broadcast towers. In NYC, it's the Empire State Building and some antennas in Jersey, so it's almost impossible to get an indoor antenna to get everything well without moving it.

What kind of set top antenna to you have? Does it have a gain on it (however, I find the gain function to rarely work)?
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#7 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 03:07 PM

Channel 69....<<insert joke here>>

Rest assured...no joke went untold in my home.

How high have you placed the antenna? It may be anything depending on how far you are from the broadcast towers. In NYC, it's the Empire State Building and some antennas in Jersey, so it's almost impossible to get an indoor antenna to get everything well without moving it.

The antenna sits on top of my HR10-250, which is on top of my Toshiba 57" TV. So, it sits around almost 6 feet off the ground. My area is fairly rural, its what would be considered a suburb of Philadelphia. Most homes in my neighboorhood are ranchers, mine included. I'm also maybe 1000 yards from the Delaware river. So, a fair amount of open air around me.

What kind of set top antenna to you have? Does it have a gain on it (however, I find the gain function to rarely work)?


Its this one:
http://www.radioshac...rentPage=search

It does have a gain, three levels. And it definitely worked. With it all the way up, I could get 15-20 minute windows of great signal. Turn it down, and the signal goes to crap almost immediately.

Watching the games yesterday was VERY frustrating.


Question, Fox is on 29(42 digital). CBS is on (26 digital). Is it expected that I should tune the antenna(using the readout on the front) for each program I want to watch? If so, doesn't that seriously limit my ability to use the DVR functions?

#8 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 08:57 PM

Question, Fox is on 29(42 digital). CBS is on (26 digital). Is it expected that I should tune the antenna(using the readout on the front) for each program I want to watch? If so, doesn't that seriously limit my ability to use the DVR functions?


Yes, that's why an antenna in the attic is a better idea.

#9 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:45 AM

Yes, that's why an antenna in the attic is a better idea.



Ok, if so, how come when its tuned to 26(CBS) I can still get Fox, ABC and NBC?

And as an update what I did yesterday was go into Tivo's off air signal meter. Tuned it to 26(both on the antenna, and the "frequency" setting on the Tivo screen). I maxxed out the reading as best I could, around 90-92 signal strength. I then turned off the antenna, which I beleive only turns off the display.

Signal level did not drop.

I wacthed about a half hour of Fox, no problems. Tuned to CBS, one or two artifacts, nothing serious. Looked to me I might have found a setting I can live with. Only caveat is I did this around 6pm, and none of the locals I was testing was broadcasting their content in HD, it was standard over the digital signal. This shouldn't make that much of a difference, correct? It still means it was getting good digital signal.

I also talked to DirecTv and they said for $49 I could have an installer come out and mount an exterior antenna. I may yet go that route.

#10 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:57 AM

You could, put a channel master 4221 in the attic, or buy an set top Silver Sensar, which is better than what you have. If the Sensar doesnt work, you could always take it back.

#11 OFFLINE   rabit ears

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 08:36 AM

Ok, if so, how come when its tuned to 26(CBS) I can still get Fox, ABC and NBC?


I have been using a directional Jensen and a Silver Sensor, both indoor, for my HD reception. Once I got the HR10-250, I realized that there was no way I could program the TiVo to switch between the two antennas.

After a weekend of playing, I discarded the Silver Sensor. Because all the stations that interest me are located within 3 degrees of one another, I was able to find, as have you, a setting that gives me an OTA signal on multiple stations.

I have also found that very small increments in direction will have a large impact on individual station reception. I've programmed the Jensen so that the all station setting is recorded as a generic station 99 in the Jensen memory. I then applied the individual station channel numbers to the individual settings to optimize the signal for each individual station.

The plethora of bowl games last week was an opportunity to test how well the system worked. I recorded the games off the DNS and OAT onto the HR10. For the OAT recording I used the generic station setting. There is no question that the DNS SAT delivery has far more PQ issues than does the generic antenna setting (i.e. #99 in my case).

On Saturday and Sunday I recorded the DNS signal and the individual OAT settings for the pro games. I found very little difference between the quality of the recordings from the generic and distinct OAT antenna settings and both were much better than the DNS reception over the SAT.

My only problem with the indoor antenna is a very large dog who is sure that the antenna moves by itself because there's a cat inside. Using tape, I have been able to mark the antenna placement on the shelf so that I can recover from various efforts to rid the house of the "cat".

I would suggest that you continue to work with your RatShack antenna. It's a much easier solution than either the DTV OAT antenna or the attic / roof antenna.

#12 OFFLINE   jdknocks

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 09:06 AM

I have been using a directional Jensen and a Silver Sensor, both indoor, for my HD reception. Once I got the HR10-250, I realized that there was no way I could program the TiVo to switch between the two antennas.

After a weekend of playing, I discarded the Silver Sensor. Because all the stations that interest me are located within 3 degrees of one another, I was able to find, as have you, a setting that gives me an OTA signal on multiple stations.

I have also found that very small increments in direction will have a large impact on individual station reception. I've programmed the Jensen so that the all station setting is recorded as a generic station 99 in the Jensen memory. I then applied the individual station channel numbers to the individual settings to optimize the signal for each individual station.

The plethora of bowl games last week was an opportunity to test how well the system worked. I recorded the games off the DNS and OAT onto the HR10. For the OAT recording I used the generic station setting. There is no question that the DNS SAT delivery has far more PQ issues than does the generic antenna setting (i.e. #99 in my case).

On Saturday and Sunday I recorded the DNS signal and the individual OAT settings for the pro games. I found very little difference between the quality of the recordings from the generic and distinct OAT antenna settings and both were much better than the DNS reception over the SAT.

My only problem with the indoor antenna is a very large dog who is sure that the antenna moves by itself because there's a cat inside. Using tape, I have been able to mark the antenna placement on the shelf so that I can recover from various efforts to rid the house of the "cat".

I would suggest that you continue to work with your RatShack antenna. It's a much easier solution than either the DTV OAT antenna or the attic / roof antenna.



DCon,

I also had the same problem as you. The small Radio Sack antenna is not very strong at all. Have you thought about buying the Terk (Audiovox) clamp on style? It mounts on your dish giving you a better signal. Once I hooked mine up I was able to view only half of the local's in HD, I am at the limit though of 30-35 miles away from the towers. But after disconnecting it and making a small adjustment I am now able to get all locals in HD. I did kick around the big antenna for the attic but like you, didn't really want to mess with that. I bought the OTA Terk at Circuit City and they told me I could return it with no problems if I couldn't pull local channels in. It does help if your OTA has a clear view towards the towers. So far so good...

#13 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 11:58 AM

I would suggest that you continue to work with your RatShack antenna. It's a much easier solution than either the DTV OAT antenna or the attic / roof antenna.


What's not easy about paying someone(DTV) to install the OAT antenna? Wouldn't it be reasonable to say that if anyone can get me strong, reliable signal wouldn't it be the folks that do it regularly?

I keep hearing you guys estimate your distance from the towers, how would I find out the exact location of the towers?

#14 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 12:02 PM

DCon,

I also had the same problem as you. The small Radio Sack antenna is not very strong at all. Have you thought about buying the Terk (Audiovox) clamp on style? It mounts on your dish giving you a better signal. Once I hooked mine up I was able to view only half of the local's in HD, I am at the limit though of 30-35 miles away from the towers. But after disconnecting it and making a small adjustment I am now able to get all locals in HD. I did kick around the big antenna for the attic but like you, didn't really want to mess with that. I bought the OTA Terk at Circuit City and they told me I could return it with no problems if I couldn't pull local channels in. It does help if your OTA has a clear view towards the towers. So far so good...


How do you run the line from the clamp-on to the HR10? Would it require a new(5th) cable from the dish into the house? Or could it ride into the house(via diplexing) on the back of one of the exising lines from the dish?

I'm having someone out Saturday to look at the dish pointing anyway(I currently cant see 119, another long story), my major hope is he can have an antenna in his truck he can sell me and install.

#15 OFFLINE   joebbaseball

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 01:52 PM

DCon,

I also had the same problem as you. The small Radio Sack antenna is not very strong at all. Have you thought about buying the Terk (Audiovox) clamp on style? It mounts on your dish giving you a better signal. Once I hooked mine up I was able to view only half of the local's in HD, I am at the limit though of 30-35 miles away from the towers. But after disconnecting it and making a small adjustment I am now able to get all locals in HD. I did kick around the big antenna for the attic but like you, didn't really want to mess with that. I bought the OTA Terk at Circuit City and they told me I could return it with no problems if I couldn't pull local channels in. It does help if your OTA has a clear view towards the towers. So far so good...


Hey... i have that antenna, like you said its nice to run the signal through the same cables as well as it not being very obtrusive. However some days the signal is amazing, other days its horrible... is there anytricks you used to keep a consistant signal?
Joe

#16 OFFLINE   rabit ears

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:38 PM

I keep hearing you guys estimate your distance from the towers, how would I find out the exact location of the towers?


Go here http://www.hdtvmagaz...g/broadcast.php and follow the directions to enter your home location. This will give you the direction and distance to each station in your area.

BTW, I bought the OTA antenna from DTV when I got the HR10-250. So far, four trips by the installer and no joy. I went back to my original OTA setup and got a much better signal. DTV wants $75 to have the installer remove the non working $50 antenna so I'm just leaving it on the roof as a "decoration".

#17 OFFLINE   jdknocks

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:43 PM

There really is not any tricks for keeping the signal good all of the ime. Outside of distance from the local antennas, weather and a clear view not much else i know of. DCon, you don't need a 5th cable. 4 cables from the LNB to the OTA "in" 4 cable from the OTA "out" to inside the house. Behind the DVR, take one of the cables, either Sat 1 IN or Sat 2 IN off of the DVR. Install the included Diplexer and this splits it into two cables. One back to your Sat and one into the Antenna IN. Very Simple! Hope this help... If your not sure how far away you are from the antenna's then I would guess your not sure where they are. Find that out and then you should be able to determine if you can possibly use this style.

#18 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:19 PM

I keep hearing you guys estimate your distance from the towers, how would I find out the exact location of the towers?

Check out Antenna Web.

#19 OFFLINE   DConroy

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 06:02 PM

Thanks for the map.

Ok, so here are my distances from the antennas I care about, in order of preference:

ABC 6(64) 16.45 mi
FOX 29(52) 16.26 mi
CBS 3(26) 16.45 mi
NBC 10(67) 16.14 mi
UPN 57(32) 16.14 mi

Its funny looking at the map, the pins are all over the place, but they seem to be largely all at the same distance from me.

So, based on this info, will a dish mounted antenna give me reasonbly consisitent strength?

#20 OFFLINE   jdknocks

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:41 PM

Thanks for the map.

Ok, so here are my distances from the antennas I care about, in order of preference:

ABC 6(64) 16.45 mi
FOX 29(52) 16.26 mi
CBS 3(26) 16.45 mi
NBC 10(67) 16.14 mi
UPN 57(32) 16.14 mi

Its funny looking at the map, the pins are all over the place, but they seem to be largely all at the same distance from me.

So, based on this info, will a dish mounted antenna give me reasonbly consisitent strength?



DCon,
Based on your distance, yes the clamp on antenna (Terk) should work. I have a friend who is in the TV/Electronic business and he told me 30 miles would be the very max with this antenna as long as you have a clear view to the antenna's. Like I said before i bought mine at Circuit City with no problem of returning it. So what are you really out if it doesn't work??? All I suggest is that you shut down your DVR completely, unplugging it before you install the antenna. When it boots back up, go through guided setup so you can choose 2 Sat IN's and Off Air. If you are already recieving HD (non-local) becareful not to move your dish! I had a heck of a time getting all channels back in.




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