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HR20 VHF Issues?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Alan Gordon, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    Earlier this year, my semi-local PBS station went digital and now broadcasts digitally on channel 8. Unfortunately, my HR20-700 will not pick this channel up, and I vaguely remembered there being some posts (before I got my HR20) where the HR20 wasn't able to tune into their VHF channels either. Is this still a problem and could be what's causing my issue?

    A little information: Using my outdoor antenna, I can receive this channel via a TiVo Series 3 with signals ranging in the 70s-80s. Using my HR10-250, I can receive this channel in the same signal range. Unplugging the coax going into my antenna in port on the HR20, and plugging it into a Zenith digital converter, I also get signals in the 70s-80s, yet using that same cable going into the HR20-700, I fail to get even a BLIP on the signal.

    I also know that it's not every VHF channel as my local FOX affiliate (WFXL-DT) comes in just fine from their digital channel of 12.

    ~Alan
     
  2. apk8

    apk8 Cool Member

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    Alan - Are you talking about WGTV Channel 8, digital 12.1? Earlier this summer there were channel mapping problems for this station on the HR20's, but they fixed that.

    The HR 20 will only scan for stations assigned to your DMA and dictated by the zip code you entered when setting up the unit. Try using an Atlanta zip code as your secondary market in the setup and see if that adds the station to your available channels. If it does, you should start seeing it move the signal meter.
     
  3. dettxw

    dettxw MRVing

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    Nov 21, 2007
    Choctaw, OK
    Looks like DirecTV doesn't carry locals in your area.

    If a station isn't in DirecTV's guide then the HR20 won't tune it. It doesn't scan for channels like the H20.
    Does this PBS station (call letters please?) show up in your DirecTV guide?
    If not, then you have to jump through hoops and trick the HR20 into tuning another citv's station that broadcasts on the same frequency. Or get DirecTV to include the station in your guide.
    If it is in the guide then sounds like they just need to update their info.

    edit - or as the poster above states enter a secondary zip code for stations in your area. The secondary zip is also the way to trick an HR20, you just have to choose an appropriate zip.
     
  4. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Dawson, Georgia
    I'm referring to WACS-DT from Dawson, GA. It's broadcasting digitally on channel 8. It's analog channel number is 25, so it shows up on my HR20-700, TiVo Series 3, and HR10-250 as 25-1.

    Though as you well know, all the GA PBS stations (with the exception of WPBA) are clones of WGTV-DT... so I kind of am talking about it... just a different version of it.

    WACS-DT (as well as WABW-DT, another GPTV station) are in my DMA, and show up on my HR20-700. I can't receive WABW-DT in any part of the house as they're broadcasting at low power, but I should be able to receive WACS-DT.

    ~Alan
     
  5. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    That is correct! :(

    Yes! As I stated in the post above, the call letters are WACS-DT.

    I have a TiVo Series 3, so whenever DirecTV doesn't have the information on the HR20, all I have to do is submit a lineup report, TiVo checks into it, corrects the mistake, and it shows up on both my TiVo Series 3 and HR20-700. I had to do this with the channel to begin with.

    What kind of info would they need to adjust?

    ~Alan
     
  6. houskamp

    houskamp Active Member

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    If it just moved, they may still need to update the database for the newer directv recievers to tell it the correct freq to use..
     
  7. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Dawson, Georgia
    What do you mean "moved"?

    ~Alan
     
  8. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Salem, OR
    How about we agree that you do a 180 on your analog versus digital call-outs?

    The channel in question comes on analog channel 8 and digital channel 25.1. TVFool uses the "real" versus "virtual" distinction which may also be useful.
     
  9. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Salem, OR
    The channels haven't changed and there don't appear to be any plans to change them. It may be notable that WACS-DT puts out only 3.9KW; the lowest power of any station in the Macon area.
     
  10. Mindhaz

    Mindhaz AllStar

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    I had a similar problem. Before making the switch to D*, I installed an outdoor antenna and hooked it up to a Motorola HD tuner. I received all of my channels perfectly.

    I purchased an HR-20. My NBC feed disappeared. I am about 40 miles from the transponder and this station (old VHF channel 4) broadcasts on channel 10. Hooked the Motorola back up and it was perfect.

    I don't know what the difference in these tuners is, but one works better than the other. I don't know if this makes a difference, but all of my other locals broadcast at much higher channel numbers even though the original stations were originally VHF, 2, 5, 8... I do have a VHF/UHF antenna.

    I now get the HD feed for NBC over the satellite and my HR-20 is useless in a rainstorm anyway... now that I have ATSC tuners in my TV, I just switch the TV over to the antenna when the weather gets really bad. D* comes in great 99.9% of the time, but I need some fallback when tornado warnings get issues.
     
  11. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Dawson, Georgia
    WACS-TV broadcasts on analog channel 25. WACS-DT broadcasts on digital channel 8.

    WACS-DT remaps their digital signal from 8-1 to 25-1 (per FCC rules).

    ~Alan
     
  12. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    For the record, WACS-DT is in the Albany, GA DMA (though the transmitter is in the Columbus, GA DMA).

    Regardless of power, I can pick up a STRONG signal from WACS-DT with EVERY digital tuner I have available to me with the exception of the HR20-700.

    ~Alan
     
  13. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Aug 31, 2002
    There are a couple of issues facing reception of WACS 8 (25.1 virtual) from Dawson. The first is that it is broadcasting at just over 1 kw while there is a competing channel 8 from a different direction that is broadcasting at over 10 kw and another competing channel 8 from yet a third direction broadcasting at 286 kw. The second is that there is a channel 9 broadcasting from about the same direction as WACS that broadcasts a 316 kw not to mention a channel 7 from a different direction that also broadcasts at 316 kw.

    This means you have two problems, on-channel or co-channel interference and adjacent channel interference. That combined with the relatively much-lower power of WACS can be problematic. While the tuner in the HR2x is as good as it gets for multipath and the HR10 is about as bad as it gets, for co-channel or adjacent channel interference it appears that the HR2x is the one that is lacking.

    You have two options for fighting this, one effective and one possibly not so effective. First, I would get a highly-directional antenna. The best one out there is the Channel Master 4228. While it is a "UHF" antenna, it also works very well for high-V (7-13) and costs about $50. Point this directly at WACS and it will tune out the other competing channel 8s. And that may be enough. It is also high-gain, so it will help in that regard. It will also knock down the level of the adjacent channel that is off-axis (but not the one on-axis with WACS).

    That takes care of co-channel (and also helps if there is multipath issues), but you may also need to place a bandpass filter on channel 8, which would limit reception to channel 8 and still might not knock down 7 and 9 enough, and might be more costly. Honestly, I don't think that would be a practical thing to do and probably won't be necessary, but if the other thing doesn't help, that may actually be the cure.

    But there is a good chance that the 4228 will solve the problem and that simply dealing with the co-channel would be enough. Realize that using a more-directional antenna might also knock down other off-axis channels, so there may be some give and take there.

    The short answer is that competing signals are so much stronger that they are swamping the front end of the tuner and pushing the lower signal (WACS) down into the mud, preventing reception. Tuning them out with a highly-directional antenna is the first step, and hopefully the cure.

    Good luck and report back.
     
  14. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    I should have mentioned I was using a CM4228. ;)

    I also should mention that the HR10-250 is the second worse at picking up this channel with the TiVo Series 3 and Zenith DTV converter being the best in the house.

    However, after reading what you said, I rotated my antenna completely around trying to get a signal on my HR20, and I did manage to get a signal... and strong. My problem was that it was SUCH a small measure of direction to get a signal on the HR20 that I must have simply blinked and missed it the last time.

    It takes some fine tuning to get it, but it can be had if one wanted it enough. I'm still amazed that other tuners can pick it up with the antenna pointing in the opposite direction, but the HR20 can only pick it up within a few degrees.

    THANKS! :)

    ~Alan
     
  15. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    As has been said many times, the HR20 tuner is pretty sensitive, but poor at multipath, which seems to be the big problem in your particular case.
     
  16. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Aug 31, 2002
    Glad you had success, and yes, my assessment of the HR2x tuner's performance in your case was also based strictly on your report that it was not performing well. By rights, it should out-perform almost anything else.

    The HR2x is rumored to have the NeXtWave 5th-gen tuner, which is supposed to be significantly better at multipath rejection than anything before. LG made a deal to get these tuners in their products as well, so I would suspect this is also the tuner in Zenith/LG products such as your DTV converter.

    The HR10 uses a 3rd(?)-gen tuner that is probably not as good as other tuners from its day (2003-2004). It definitely is sensitive to too-strong signals and certainly does not have the multipath rejection capabilities of the NeXtWave. I would guess that the Tivo HD uses a newer tuner, possibly even the NeXtWave.

    One of the disadvantages of a highly-directional antenna like the 4228 is that pointing is very critical, especially in a situation like yours trying to pick out a lower-powered station with so much co-channel and adjacent channel competition.

    But I find it interesting indeed that the HR2x tuner gave you more trouble than some of the others.
     
  17. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    I am surprised you feel that way about the HR20 tuners. All the reports are that the HR20 tuners are pretty mediocre both in sensitivity and in multipath rejection. The H20-600 receiver is much better (but not the H20-100) , and the AM21 add-on OTA tuners for the HR21 are better still.

    The CM4228 is not the best choice in a multipath environment anyway. Although it is a fine antenna (I have one) the multibay antennas do not reject multipath particularly well; a yagi design like the 91XG performs much better. But of course the 91XG is more directional, and does not have the VHF-hi performance you can get from a CM4228 (despite the fact it's a UHF antenna).
     
  18. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    I hate to bring up old topics, but I wanted to do an update, and ask another question.

    I just purchased a Sony Bravia KDL-46W4100 last week. Using a splitter to split the line from the antenna to the HR20-700 and to the TV, I can receive WACS-DT just fine on my TV, but still can't receive it on the HR20-700.

    However, last night, I sat down to watch "Chuck" on my local NBC affiliate WALB-DT (DT17), and my HR20-700 said it was searching for signal (all other normal stations came in fine). However, my TV could pick up WALB-DT just fine.

    On SEVERAL occasions, my NBC affiliate has been unviewable due to searching for signal. I always assumed they were having transmitter issues at time, but now I'm starting to wonder if my HR20 off-air tuners have issues?

    ~Alan
     
  19. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Dec 9, 2006
    The "simple" answer is the OTA tuner in the HR20 just isn't as good as many other OTA tuners.
    The AM21 is as good as my Sony TV, which is better with weak and multi-path signals.
     
  20. Brian Hanasky

    Brian Hanasky Godfather

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    My question re: this process is re: the fact that the HR20 has 2 OTA tuners. Does the HR20 take the signal from the antenna and split it in two to feed both tuners. For example would a signal strength of 80 on the TV tuner = two 40% signal strengths on the HR20 OTA tuner 1 and OTA tuner 2?

    My local NBC WTOV9 broadcasts UHF at this time. My TV picks it up at 60% and it is consistent. My HR20 used to pick it up well but for the last month it jumps in and out and at most only shows 30% on either Tuner 1 or 2.
     

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