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Improving antenna/OTA setup

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by F1aReD, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. Jun 4, 2016 #1 of 10
    F1aReD

    F1aReD AllStar

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    Sep 27, 2011
    Hello all,
    Hopefully I'm posting this in the right place!

    I recently "cut the cord" and bought a Winegard FreeVision antenna along with 50ft of RG6, which is mounted up in the attic and the wire is ran down to a 2way splitter. I even bought a Channel Master DVR, which should be arriving any day now.

    I'm fairly impressed with the antenna, but feel like it could be improved. It is rated for 35 miles, and I'm about 28-30 miles from Boston stations. I get pretty much all the stations you'd want, PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS. I don't get Fox or CW, though. I did manage to pick up a couple of Providence stations, amazingly.

    The weird thing is, weather affects the reception. On cloudy/rainy days, some of the channels cut out and are pixelated, or just go away all together.

    Sometimes, nothing happens and I just lose a channel randomly, only for it to reappear the next day.

    Also, I found positioning the antenna extremely difficult. One spot, you get nothing. A couple feet away and you pick up the channels. If I move the antenna slightly, even though its in the same spot, I lose everything. Its VERY touchy. According to my TV, the signal strength is about 50%. Anyways, here are my questions:

    -Would a preamplifier help?
    -Would an amplifier help?
    -Both?
    -Better/bigger antenna, rated for longer miles help? Or just stick with the Winegard?
    -Does the antenna need to be grounded?

    Thanks for any and all help.
     
  2. Jun 4, 2016 #2 of 10
    NR4P

    NR4P Dad

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    The rating is outdoors. Your antenna is in the attic so thats a largest problem. When rain is on the roof it acts as an attenuator. You can add amps but an outdoor antenna is the best solution
     
  3. Jun 4, 2016 #3 of 10
    RBA

    RBA Well-Known Member

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    Pre amp and amp are basically the same thing so eliminate your first 3 questions. Agree with NR4P you need a better antenna to capture more signal. You also need to go to www.tvfool.com and post the results so we know what is available for broadcasters.
     
  4. Jun 4, 2016 #4 of 10
    texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    Not enough of an antenna for your location. Antenna ratings are very optimistic, and do not allow for the attenuation you get in an attic.
    What's your zip code?
     
  5. Jun 4, 2016 #5 of 10
    F1aReD

    F1aReD AllStar

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    01605 is my zip code. I know they're optimistic, but I get stations from Providence, RI which I think is almost 50 miles away. (not positive). Actually, the RI stations were easier to get than Boston. If I point the antenna the right direction, I can get like 5 stations.
     
  6. Jun 4, 2016 #6 of 10
    jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    You need to check the stations to see if they are VHF or UHF. Most antennas will get UHF just fine but not VHF. I have 3 stations here south of Houston,TX that are VHF and I tried several antennas that said they would do it. Wrong.
    Make sure you check for the DB gain in VHF and UHF for an antenna.
    On amplifiers it is basically if you get no signal and use a 10x amp you get zero. Math: 0 x amp = 0. You have to have a signal first then you can amp it. Take a look at the specs on the Channel Master web site for their antennas for a reference to see what you need. If an antenna does not have any specs then you do not want it.
    I have the Channel Master DVR and I like it. It works very similar to an HR24. Some of it's features I like better than my HR24 and others are lacking but not a problem for a no cost per month price.
     
  7. Jun 5, 2016 #7 of 10
    RBA

    RBA Well-Known Member

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    You need to pull a tvfool.com report by zip code FOX & CBS are VHF channels and only 5 or 6 of your channels are LOS (line of sight) the rest are 2 edge (very hard to get). Providence may have stronger broadcast strength or better topography for their signals.
     
  8. Jun 9, 2016 #8 of 10
    F1aReD

    F1aReD AllStar

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    Sep 27, 2011
    Well this is disappointing, kind of off-subject but the Channel Master DVR I just bought doesn't pick up any of the channels!

    I actually moved around my antenna a bit, and I receive most of the channels pretty well with 2 different TVs. None of them have cut out for the past few days, no pixilation or anything...yet the Channel Master wont even pick them up. Evidently this is pretty well documented in Amazon reviews, a lot of people had the exact same problem as me. Antenna works fine on the TV itself, but on the DVR doesn't pick up anything.

    Channel Master has suggested I add a pre amplifier, switch out the antenna, or return it. The setup works (not the greatest, but it does work) on my TVs. It should work on the DVR. I feel like if I add a pre-amplifier, it may fix it, but it still would be a weaker signal than on my TV, which is unacceptable for a $300 DVR.

    Is this like a common thing with DVRs? Thinking about getting the TiVo instead.
     
  9. RBA

    RBA Well-Known Member

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    You have many posts in this thread telling you that you need a stronger signal, now the channel master dvr is telling you the same thing. As jimmie57 has said you need a signal before you can amplify it, at least try moving the antenna outside even if only on a temporary basis.
     
  10. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

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    Goto TVfool.com and post your results for your location. While you're at it, post a link to the antenna you are currently using.

    IN GENERAL, what you have been told here is the Case - antennas are designed for use OUTSIDE (not in an attic), They also usually have an aiming involved to get a good signal.

    Preamps won't do you any good if you're not getting a signal in the first place. OTOH - too much amplifier is as bad as too little - the secret is to hit the sweet spot. If you do need a preamp - put the amp and it's power supply on the cable BEFORE the splitter.

    The Channelmaster DVR works about as well as most other ATSC tuners - meaning it is usually an all or nothing - you get a picture or you don't. Are you using another splitter at the TV where the Channelmaster is ? That would also cut the available signal to both tuners by 50%.
     

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