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GypsyCowgirl 5-Apr-2019 5:14 AM

Setup and Reception
 
I have a few questions.

We were with DirecTV, but finally decided to “cut the cord”!

We are in something of a country area, just under 45 miles away from the farthest signal in Houston. I wasn't sure if we could receive signal from any channels. We had not used an antenna since right after we moved here, while we were waiting for DirecTV to run wiring. That was during the analog signal days.

But, I found a pair of rabbit ears and connected them. I was able to pull in three channels, if I held the rabbit ears in my hand. I thought I was going to have to hold onto the antenna and put one hand and leg into the air, and turn my head just so, to get the three channels to work, but instead I attached the rabbit ears to a tall floor lamp, that was not plugged in, and that seemed to do the trick.

I decided to pick up a Winegard Flat antenna, to see if that would bring in more channels. I was able to pull in 24 channels, though all of them didn't work. I had to move the antenna from one spot to another to switch between watching CBS and NBC, and forget about ABC and PBS, they were not coming in at all. I also had to hang the Winegard from the rabbit ear lamp contraption, to get some of the channels to work.

After some research, I was torn between the ClearStream 2Max and the 4Max. I decided to test the 2Max. I was not certain, if I also needed a ClearStream 2Max reflector Assembly, or if I needed an amplifier. I decided to just test the 2Max on it's own.

The DirecTV tech installed one dish with one cable wire running from the dish to a splitter, with three cables going from the splitter into three separate rooms of the house. I am not certain if DirecTV uses an amplifier to bring in a good signal, or if an amplifier is necessary when connected to a DircTV dish. I should also add the splitter is under the house, so I have not looked at it to see what it looks like.

After connecting the three cable wires to the three TV's, I noticed one TV gets more channels than the other two, so I am guessing there may not be an amplifier.

In doing research we found a few people recommended removing the LNB from the DirecTV dish setup and using the dish as the reflector, placing the antenna in front of the dish. We placed the ClearStream 2Max in front of the dish. We are able to pull in over 40 channels. Even though when a channel search is performed it shows to bring in over 60 on the living room TV. But, all the channels do not come in. We do get all the main channels now, like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS. We get some of the ION stations, not all, and many other channels. Not bad, compared to what we picked up on the rabbit ears and the Winegard. But, there again, there are channels that are not coming in at all on the other TV's. And since the trees are starting to get their spring bloom on, we are starting to see ABC and CBS are starting to pixilate. But, this doesn't happen all the time, it comes and goes, which seems odd.

My questions are, does DirecTV use an amplifier when they split signal?

If we don't have an amplifier, do we need an amplifier to bring in the other channels we are not getting, or at least bring in all the channels we have to all the televisions?

Does the DirecTV dish really make an adequate reflector for the ClearStream 2 Max, or any outdoor antenna or could we possibly get more channels if we remove the old dish?

Would the ClearStream 2Max reflector assembly bring in more channels?

We get VHF and UHF channels, would we be better off with the ClearStream 4Max?

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9038ec75325c29

OTAFAN 5-Apr-2019 8:00 AM

Hello GypsyCowgirl and welcome!

Check out the websites of Winegard for its 8200U; RCA 3038 or 3037; and Channel Master for its Advantage 60 or 100, among others. These antennas have longer range, well above 45 miles where your towers are located that have the stations you're desiring. You may not need an amplifier with these types of antennas. Then again you might. And yes, I believe DirectTV uses an amplifier in their receivers, just like cable boxes do. Good luck. I'm sure others will chime in with excellent advise.

JoeAZ 5-Apr-2019 2:07 PM

Wow, your initial post explaining your situation and findings
is detailed and technically quite knowledgeable!!!!!!!!
Generally, Dish and Directv do not use any amplification as
their equipment makes it unnecessary. I believe they have
amplifiers within their receivers. Tuners between
brands and models of televisions can vary quite a bit. Also,
the distance of your cable runs to each TV may be quite
different. The longer the cable, the worse the signal, generally.
Yes, you probably do need some amplification. I would also
advise a different antenna. The Clearstream 2max is a good
antenna but not enough in your circumstances. OTA fan's
recommendations are sound in your situation. You might also
consider the Winegard 7694P. It should be enough to capture
all your major and most minor stations reliably.

rickbb 5-Apr-2019 2:55 PM

Based on your plot I'd try a 4 bay with no reflector and no amp.

Most of your towers are SSE and a few almost 180 degrees from them. With no reflector and aiming at the towers to your south, (assuming no trees, buildings or other obstructions blocking the path), you should get excellent reception from both directions.

I do not think you will need a pre-amp, only if you have long cable runs and split to multiple TV's then you "might" need a low power distribution amp.

Your signals are quite good and the NM is nice and high, any amp could, (and most likely would), over power the signal and the TV would drop it due to the TV receiver just not being built to handle really strong signals.

ADTech 5-Apr-2019 4:38 PM

Quote:

does DirecTV use an amplifier when they split signal?
Only rarely when there is an extraordinarily long cable run.
Quote:

Does the DirecTV dish really make an adequate reflector for the ClearStream 2 Max,
No.It is probably completely ineffective as it's the wrong size, is the wrong distance from the antenna's elements, and is probably still aimed up at the sky.
Quote:

could we possibly get more channels if we remove the old dish?
That depends on where the dish is currently mounted relative to where the antenna NEEDS to be mounted for optimal antenna reception. The siting requirements for a satellite dish has a different set of priorities than does a terrestrial antenna.
Quote:

Would the ClearStream 2Max reflector assembly bring in more channels?
Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the specifics station missing or problematic.
Quote:

We get VHF and UHF channels, would we be better off with the ClearStream 4Max?
Possibly since it has a more focused pickup path on UHF than does the C2MAX. Again, we'd need specific details as to what channels need a bit of help.
Quote:

We get some of the ION stations, not all..
If you are getting any of them, then you're getting all of them since they are all delivered more or less simultaneously in the same signal. If you are not displaying all six of the 49.x channels, check your "Favorites" list in your TV's setup to see if any of them were "turned off" from displaying.
Quote:

Winegard for its 8200U; RCA 3038 or 3037; and Channel Master for its Advantage 60 or 100,
There is no need to resort to any of those very large, all channel antennas as there are no low-VHF stations currently on the air. The exception would be if you are interested in the religious broadcasters who currently identify as channels 30.x and 38.x. Those two stations are to move to low-VHF during the next two years when they get repacked. Other current low-VHF licensed stations have never been built.
Quote:

...Based on your plot I'd try a 4 bay with no reflector
1. None of those stations towards the north actually exist and 2. VHF-high is left unaddressed. There are three of the major stations in Houston on high-VHF.
Quote:

These antennas have longer range, well above 45 miles
Really, mileage ranges come from marketing departments, not technical departments. Unfortunately, they have become a necessary evil as a mile is a lowest common denominator readily understood by folks not in the business of signal propagation and reception.


GypsyCowgirl,

If you'd like us to do an in depth evaluation, fill out the contact form in my signature below and, in the last section for comments or details, address it to "Steve". That will come to me and I'll get you set up with a reflector and customized assistance.

jrgagne99 5-Apr-2019 5:19 PM

Assuming you don't care about the VHF-Low signals [e.g. KTJD (RF-5) and KAHO (RF-4)], there is no need for the big antennas such as 8200 3038, or Advantage 100. The 2MAX mounted outside and pointed with a clear view to the SSE will probably work just fine. My only question-mark would be that it has only a single dipole for VHF-hi, which is your ABC, CBS, and PBS feeds. You said you are already seeing some pixelation on those, so that is a bad sign.

For this reason, you might consider the RCA ANT-751 which will have more VHF-high gain, and probably adequate UHF, given your strong, LOS signals. Go for an outdoor mount, with a clear view (no trees). If you have trees, it is a bit more dicey, and a larger antenna such as the 7694P may be required. You probably don't need a multi-antenna solution such as a 8-bay coupled to a Stellar Labs 30-2476.

So in summary, a small-ish UHF/VHF-hi combo antenna should work. No 8200U and no CM-7777. ;)

ADTech 5-Apr-2019 5:41 PM

Quote:

Assuming you don't care about the VHF-Low signals [e.g. KTJD (RF-5) and KAHO (RF-4)],
The holders of those two licenses didn't care enough to actually build out those stations. They've never been on the air.
Quote:

My only question-mark would be that it has only a single dipole for VHF-hi, which is your ABC, CBS, and PBS feeds. You said you are already seeing some pixelation on those, so that is a bad sign.
She noted initially that, after relocating the antenna up to the dish location that "We do get all the main channels now, like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS." Now, some pixilization has been noted on two of those channels.

Trees rarely cause reception issues on high-VHF channels. Pixelization on VHF channels is most often caused by electrical or electronic interference or is due to a poor mounting location. As we do not have the specifics as to how or where the antenna is physically located, there is insufficient information available to assume that a more directional antenna would resolve the problem (it likely wouldn't hurt, though, just to be fair and balanced).

For UHF signals, trees are too often an unsolvable problem. Again, we don't have sufficient information to reach any conclusions.

jrgagne99 5-Apr-2019 7:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ADTech (Post 61164)
Trees rarely cause reception issues on high-VHF channels.

I wasn't aware of that. Is this because of the longer wavelength (relative to UHF) being able to penetrate the trees more easily?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ADTech (Post 61164)
Pixelization on VHF channels is most often caused by electrical or electronic interference or is due to a poor mounting location.

What do you mean by "poor mounting location" in this case?

OTAFAN 5-Apr-2019 10:16 PM

Quote:

Really, mileage ranges come from marketing departments, not technical departments. Unfortunately, they have become a necessary evil as a mile is a lowest common denominator readily understood by folks not in the business of signal propagation and reception.
What I meant ADTech and should have said, was these antennas among others, have a higher gain, given her circumstances. Glad to see you're posting again!

ADTech 5-Apr-2019 11:23 PM

Quote:

I wasn't aware of that. Is this because of the lower wavelength (relative to UHF) being able to penetrate the trees more easily?
There's a tutorial that helps explain here: http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/siting.html But, basically, it has to do with the longer wavelengths (lower frequency). I rarely run into tree issues with VHF signals, it usually takes a dense wet forest.

Quote:

What do you mean by "poor mounting location" in this case?
See post #5, I touched on that possibility.
Quote:

What I meant ADTech and should have said, was these antennas among others, have a higher gain, given her circumstances. Glad to see you're posting again!
We don't know enough about her circumstances. If I were to only look at the plot, there's absolutely nothing there that either disqualifies the current antenna or begs for a higher gain model.


I've just been rather busy as noted in another thread. That project will wrap up next weekend.

OTAFAN 5-Apr-2019 11:40 PM

Quote:

We don't know enough about her circumstances. If I were to only look at the plot, there's absolutely nothing there that disqualifies the current antenna.
She had a rather detailed post it seems, laying out her query.

I think she's received good and varied responses. Ultimately, it will be her decision as with everyone in this forum. Thanks again for your expertise. I continue to learn.....

rickbb 9-Apr-2019 3:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ADTech (Post 61162)
1. None of those stations towards the north actually exist and 2. VHF-high is left unaddressed. There are three of the major stations in Houston on high-VHF..

I keep forgetting that my 4 bay is a DIY and does pick up high VHF. Sorry about that.

rabbit73 9-Apr-2019 11:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a report from rabbitears.info which should have a more accurate list of channels:

https://forum.tvfool.com/attachment....5&d=1554847586

I suggest the Winegard HD7694P antenna which has extra VHF-High gain for 13, 11, and 8 that are weaker. A dipole might not be sufficient for those channels; testing would be required. The antenna should be located with the fewest trees in front of it; trees block TV signals. Please look at the link that ADTech posted above:
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/antennas/siting.html

It's OK to use the Dish coax if it is in good condition, but you should remove any of the other Dish equipment and devices; they might not be suitable for OTA reception.
Quote:

Originally Posted by GypsyCowgirl (Post 61151)
After connecting the three cable wires to the three TV's, I noticed one TV gets more channels than the other two, so I am guessing there may not be an amplifier.

How long are the cable runs?
Quote:

And since the trees are starting to get their spring bloom on, we are starting to see ABC and CBS are starting to pixilate. But, this doesn't happen all the time, it comes and goes, which seems odd.
That's normal if trees are in the signal path, especially if it's windy or the trees are wet.

There will be some channel changes, as indicated by the arrows, because of UHF Repack by the FCC:
https://www.rabbitears.info/market.p...&callsign=KPRC

Repack Plan:
https://www.rabbitears.info/repackch...=&lss=&status=

rabbit73 10-Apr-2019 1:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GypsyCowgirl (Post 61151)
I have a few questions.......We get VHF and UHF channels, would we be better off with the ClearStream 4Max?

GypsyCowgirl has just one post and it looks like she isn't coming back.
Quote:

Last Activity: 8-Apr-2019 3:42 PM

bobsgarage 10-Apr-2019 3:38 PM

Why don't people come back and explain what they did?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rabbit73 (Post 61195)
GypsyCowgirl has just one post and it looks like she isn't coming back.

That's too bad, too. GypsyCowgirl needs to update us.

So many come here for help, receive it and never come back to post their results. I always wonder:

Did the advice help? Which advice?

What did you do or buy?

Did you settle for what you have or improve your reception?

For all the effort that the members put forth at least the results should be posted. A follow-up or simply something like:

(for example) "we didn't want to spend $2-300 on an antenna/mast/amp, so we just settle for the $80 a month cable bill"
OR just a follow up:

(for example) "with the recent bad weather, we can't get up on our roof, we will report back when we have our system up and running"

I guess you can see that irks me!

GypsyCowgirl 18-Apr-2019 3:50 AM

I am still here. I work A LOT, and have not been able to get to the antenna during day light hours. I thank everyone for their suggestions.

The antenna is placed on the end of the post where the LNB was located to the DirecTV dish. It is located on the roof of a one story. It was facing more south, but since RickBB, stated the towers were SSE, it was turned in that direction.

Before turning the antenna, there were some channels that were working in one room and not another. But, it was very odd, because for example, ABC would come in fine in the living room, and was pixilated in the other room. CBS would be pixilated in the living room, and work fine in the other room.

Turning the antenna SSE brought ABC into both rooms, just fine, but we have completely lost PBS, and CBS, and the CW, among other channels.

I know Adtech, stated trees were normally not an issue, but we had a lot more channels coming in before the trees filled in. Before the trees we were able to get ABC, CBS, PBS, the CW, and Fox, and a few others.

Since my last post, I have added a Tablo device connected to one of the TV's. This probably isn't optimal since we don't yet have good signal. It records some channels, and some there is no signal so it can not record OTA.

The cable wire from the antenna to the connector box is about 25 feet. Then from the connector box to one TV is about 10 feet, 10 feet to a second TV, and about 20 feet to the Table box, where there is also a TV, but I disconnected it, and connected the Table box instead.

I am considering adding an amplifier to see if this helps, before I purchase a larger antenna. I just need to figure out the best amplifier to try.

Don't worry, I am not going anywhere, and I will post responses, I just may not be able to log on as quickly as I would like.

I do thank all of you for your help. Any other suggestions are welcome.

GypsyCowgirl 18-Apr-2019 6:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rickbb (Post 61158)
Based on your plot I'd try a 4 bay with no reflector and no amp.

I do not think you will need a pre-amp, only if you have long cable runs and split to multiple TV's then you "might" need a low power distribution amp.

Your signals are quite good and the NM is nice and high, any amp could, (and most likely would), over power the signal and the TV would drop it due to the TV receiver just not being built to handle really strong signals.

Would the length of cable I described be considered long cable runs?

GypsyCowgirl 18-Apr-2019 7:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ADTech (Post 61164)
The holders of those two licenses didn't care enough to actually build out those stations. They've never been on the air.
She noted initially that, after relocating the antenna up to the dish location that "We do get all the main channels now, like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS." Now, some pixilization has been noted on two of those channels.

When the antenna was placed on the roof, attached to the post where the LNB was located at the DirecTV Dish, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, TBN, KTHX, CW, Escape, ION, KFTH, and Enlace, came in through the living room. Along with all the channels grouped with each of those channels. On a list of channels I got online, I found there was another ION channel group, that I thought I was supposed to get, but I believe that list was incorrect. I believe that group may have been coming from, Bryan College Station.

In the other room, I could get everything I got in the living room, except for Escape, and Ion.

Then ABC and CBS started to pixelate in both rooms..

Other than the trees being fully covered with leaves now, nothing changed. But, ABC and CBS were pretty much gone. If one worked in one room, it did not work in the other room. The more the trees came in, the worse the reception was, with channels dropping all together, or having a lot of pixelation.

When the antenna was moved more toward the SE, ABC came in clear in the living room, and all pixelation stopped on ABC.

However a lot of channels were lost all together. In the living room the TV brings in NBC, ABC, TBN, PBS, KTHX, KLJT, FOX, Kube, Escape, ION, Advent, KFTH.

In the other room, there are four main channels, and their group channels. The main channels are NBC, KTHX, FOX, and ION, but ION is lightly pixelated.

bobsgarage 18-Apr-2019 1:05 PM

Welcome back
 
Welcome back and thank you for posting results. I am the one who made the comments about those who come looking for help and never post the results. I apologize I was a little too soon on that. Everybody here figured after a week or two you weren't coming back.

Although the C2 Max is a very capable antenna, the C4 Max might have been a better choice or even something larger I hate to say. Adding a reflector to the C2Max would help it. It will make it more directional. You will then be committed only to the signals from the southeast.

As the foliage expands on your tree we will block your signal more, I'm sure of that. some of the larger 4 Bay and 8 bay antennas supposedly work better through the trees. We'll see what the consensus is.

The others will come here I hope, to help you with your reception issue. what is the reasons for me to post is possibly to get you to take a picture of your setup and post it here. you can easily upload photos for getting them to show in the post is another story but at least we can follow the link to your picture.

iI the meantime, maybe you can access your signal meter on your TV? maybe take your DVR out of the loop for the time being until you get good reception?

ADTech 18-Apr-2019 1:46 PM

Welcome back, good to see you're still working on this issue.

In your most recent post, you indicated that the antenna is installed "attached to the post where the LNB was located at the DirecTV Dish". That is a concern as it is not clear if the antenna is installed so that it is correctly oriented. If it was simply affixed to the LNB mounting arm with the included mast clamps, it would be impossible for the antenna to situated so it is vertical (with respect to the ground), it's correct orientation. However, if the dish were completely removed and the antenna attached to the now empty vertical mast section of the mount, then it is properly oriented.

All of your Houston major stations come from what is, from your location, exactly the same place. There should never be any need to do anything other than face the antenna towards the tower farm (164° true). If you are rotating the aim of the antenna some and getting different stations out of the main Houston assortment with different results, then that leads me to the conclusion that at least one one of three following things are amiss: 1) The antenna is incorrectly installed (see above), 2) The dish is causing undesired reflections back to the antenna, or 3) The direct signal path is blocked by physical objects and you're getting reception of signals that are diffracting around the signal path impairment.

If you are intending to use the dish mounting location, then it is imperative that you either get rid of the dish or that you extend the mast several feet above the dish so that it does not have the opportunity to wreak havoc on your TV signals. If Directv used one of those "stubby" roof mounts, you'll need to extend it.

If that location does not offer the best available line of sight towards Missouri City, then it is highly recommended that you relocate the antenna to a more appropriate location if one is available. The expected improvement in reception will likely make the extra effort very worthwhile.

As I cannot see your exact location or your installation, I can only draw inferences from what you've provided. The invitation extended previously to contact me directly is still open and is still recommended.

Your cable runs are very modest, no amplifier should be needed if you can get the antenna installed appropriately. Adding an amplifier at this point in the game is more likely than not the equivalent of putting a Band Aid on a serious injury.


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