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Old 12-Nov-2013, 8:56 PM   #1
pawoodbutcher
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Had Great TV, now nothing

Hello to all TV fools.

I will begin with the abridged version of the backstory.
Live alone. Worked a lot. Got free tv from bunny ears. Got 4 or 5 channels.

Digital switch. Got two Zenith DTT901 boxes. No channels.

Bought RCA amplified indoor VHF/UHF antenna from the Mart. Got 1 and a half channels. (wtaj & watm, respectively)

Got girlfriend. Got job out of town. She got cable.
I finished that job and we dumped cable after about 2 years, because, well, you know. Back to the boxes and indoor antenna. Picked up WHVL, now getting 2 and a half channels, plus sub-channels.

Bought Winegaurd 8200U. Installed in attic. (yes, I know the drawbacks) Pointed it at 244 degrees. Got same channels, but without the fluttering every time a car goes by, which is a lot.

Installed Antennacraft 10G202 pre amp. Now we're livin'! Get PBS, WTAJ, WATM, WHVL & WQMY; for a total of 12 channels rock solid. Also got WJAC & WKBS in good weather; for a grand total of 15 stations and all major networks. FM TRAP IS ON.

BTW, one cable run to one TV. The antenna, two amplifier parts, and the digital box are the only connections. No splitters, VCRs, extra TV's, etc.

End of history, now today.
Stations started fading away. I always thought it was weather related, or the leaves on the trees, so I gave it a week. Then another week, and so on. Nothing improved, rather things got worse. Three months later, I havn't seen PBS, WJAC, WKBS, or WQMY since I don't know when. Now, WATM is pixelating and spotty.

A month ago, I metered the output of the power supply at 20.x volts. Supposed to be 12. Did it yesterday, 20.4 Volts. I thought this to be odd, but I have no baseline to compare it to when it was new.

This is pissing me off. So yesterday, I did a double re-scan of the box I have been using. Got nothing. Twice. Eek!

Dusted off the other Zenith box. Nothing. Same results. WTH?

Dug out the old RCA indoor antenna. Got WATM, WHVL, & WQMY. WTAJ shows up but is mostly un-watchable.

Went to basement and eliminated the power injector. Put the two cable ends together with a male-male that came out of a cable wall plate. Climbed in the attic. Took RG6 from basement off amp & fed directly to antenna.

Try again. Now she gets WTAJ & WHVL.

At this point I write all this.

My questions are...

1) Since everything used to work fine, all be it for a short 3 months, I have to assume that I made informed decisions on the equipment and had installed it properly. Do you agree?

2) Is my power supply or amp bad? 20volts seems like a lot if its only supposed to be making 12. This is the only thing I know to do to test it.

3) Since I live in a black hole of TV reception, I understand that getting my antenna outside is better, but for what reason do these reports show WORSE reception the higher I go? Some of the close stations get better, but the ones I am having trouble with get worse.

Many thanks to you all.

10 ft report (attic)
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46ae9381c23da9

20 ft
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46aeee6f19cdb9

40 ft
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...46aebbbd28b91b

Last edited by pawoodbutcher; 12-Nov-2013 at 9:17 PM.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 12:10 AM   #2
ADTech
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Well, the 8200 is a substantial mismatch for your needs since all your available channels are UHF. A UHF Yagi or an 8-Bay antenna with a good low-noise, medium pre-amp, especially if you can get it outdoors, is your best bet.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 1:09 AM   #3
tomfoolery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoodbutcher View Post
A month ago, I metered the output of the power supply at 20.x volts. Supposed to be 12. Did it yesterday, 20.4 Volts. I thought this to be odd, but I have no baseline to compare it to when it was new.
Small, inexpensive power supplies commonly read much higher voltage under no-load or less-than-design-load conditions than they will when driving the load they're designed for. If the amp was disconnected, that could explain the difference. If it was connected, then there may be a problem with the amp.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 2:07 AM   #4
pawoodbutcher
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I agree that the 8200 has more Low VHF than I need, but when compared to the 7698, the UHF specs are the same. Or at least very close. Maybe I don't know what I am talking about.

I did meter the output of the wall adapter plug when it was unplugged from the power injector. Now that you brought it up, the no load voltage would be higher. Absolutely true.

Back to the issue, the system used to work very well. Something happened.

If my amp is inexpensive, I am all ears to getting a good one that will last.

The problem is either the digital boxes or the amp.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 4:27 AM   #5
teleview
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The Winegard antennas , HD8200U and HD7698P and HD869(X) P , antennas have phasing lines (wires) that go into the plastic box on the antenna that connects for the coax connection. Check the connections to see if the wires are still connected and connected correctly.

Also check to make sure the phasing lines are not touching the boom.

The cartridge board might be bad.

www.winegard.com/kbase/show_vid.php?vid_num=1

www.winegarddirect.com

Connect a New continues length of coax to the antenna and run the new continues length of coax to 1 Tv.

What is reception like now??

Then add in the , preamp , power injector , power supply .

What is reception like now??

------------

If a new amplifier is installed then install a , Winegard , LNA-200 'Boost' XT amplifier .

-----------

www.solidsignal.com

www.amazon.com

www.winegarddirect.com

Last edited by teleview; 13-Nov-2013 at 5:00 AM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 5:30 AM   #6
GroundUrMast
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My 2 on preamplifiers

The RCA TVPRAMP1R is far less expensive and beats the LAN-200 on features and performance.

http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13530
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13583
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 6:18 AM   #7
teleview
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The Winegard LNA-200 'Boost' XT amplifier has replaced All 8 of Winegards , Industry Standards preamplifiers that have been Industry and Technical Standards for a Very Long Time.

Winegard has Confidence in the the , LNA-200 'Boost' XT antenna system amplifier.

The outside of Winegard technical evaluations are interesting , however do not tell the whole story.

Last edited by teleview; 13-Nov-2013 at 5:40 PM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 8:33 AM   #8
GroundUrMast
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1 more, no extra charge

I'm sure Winegard thinks highly of their products... RCA no doubt has an equally high opinion about their products. How is any of that relevant to, 'which is a better value or which has superior features or performance?'

I don't see any benefit in shelling out twice the money for no apparent improvement in performance over the competing product which also has more useful features such as integral UVSJ & FM trap as well as shielding to reduce spurious RF ingress.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
I don't see any benefit in shelling out twice the money for no apparent improvement in performance . . .
Neither do I. Since this is a process of elimination experiment, the RCA seems the better choice to me.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 1:53 PM   #10
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You don't need ANY VHF reception, everything is UHF. Using an all channel or a combo band antenna when uncalled for simply increases your cost and makes the antenna physically larger and heavier by a factor of several times. In your case with the 8200 only the front UHF Yagi is doing any work, the rest of the antenna is dead weight and unnecessary size that has to be dealt with, something made much harder by parking the aircraft-carrier sized antenna in the attic.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 1:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
The Winegard LNA-200 'Boost' XT amplifier has replaced All 8 of Winegards , Industry Standards preamplifiers that have been Industry and Technical Standards for a Very Long Time.
Its a simple business decision to simplify product management in a market that is much different than when the AP-product line was launched back in the 90s. Back then, most amp sales were made to professionals who knew what they were doing and needed a variety of products to fulfill the requirements of individual jobs. Now, almost 20 years later, most amps are bought by end users so they came out with a more or less "universal" design that covered as many bases as possible. Medium gain, fair sensitivity, and robust overload protection is a decent recipe for a consumer amp.

Doesn't mean that 8 models were replaced by a technically superior product...
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Last edited by ADTech; 14-Nov-2013 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 2:49 PM   #12
pawoodbutcher
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I acknowledge the fact that my antenna is very large. I also acknowledge the fact that I don't need VHF. Perhaps it was not the absolute best choice, but it did function.

After writing last time, it occurred to me that the digital box cannot be at fault, b/c it is pulling channels with the indoor antenna as I write this.

I will get a 300ohm to 75 ohm transistor and check the board on the antenna and phasing lines as soon as I can.

If that checks out, then I will do the RCA preamp.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 8:56 PM   #13
teleview
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Yes is true the HD8200U is big.

Is also true that you own the antenna and the UHF part of the antenna is a good antenna.

The UHF part could be cut off from the the VHF part of the antenna by cutting the boom.

Last edited by teleview; 13-Nov-2013 at 9:01 PM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 9:33 PM   #14
pawoodbutcher
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Very good point. I should have time to go get the transistor from ye ol radio shack tomorrow.

What makes a good long range UHF antenna? Sheer physical size or the number of elements? I suppose I am talking about Yagis, but it could apply to a bowtie, also.
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Old 13-Nov-2013, 10:16 PM   #15
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For the benefit of a future reader, perhaps uncertain of what type antenna to confider, --

The advise against using a large all channel antenna when only UHF signals are available should make 'common sense'. After all, why spend the extra money that offers no additional performance? And why fight with a large antenna that will use space needlessly?

To the point that this particular antenna is already in place, and paid for... more 'common sense'.

To the suggestion that a working antenna be cut... That make no sense to me. The old saying, 'Don't fix it if it ain't broke!' may need to be altered to, "If it's workin', don't break it!".

Finally, I've never met an attic that proved to be a better location for an antenna than the space above the same roof.
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Old 14-Nov-2013, 2:08 AM   #16
teleview
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If you decide to modify the antenna , (antenna hacks) , be sure and leave the > shaped reflector on the antenna , the > shaped reflector reflects more UHF signal to the UHF reception elements.

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The best place for the HD8200U antenna is above the Peak of the Roof in such a manner that the roof and building are not , obstructing , impeding , blocking , reception on the directions of , West/South West and East.

Aim the HD8200U antenna at about 228 degree magnetic compass direction.

Here is how to aim antennas , www.kyes.com/antenna/pointing/pointing.html .

Use a Real and Actual magnetic compass to aim antenna.

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Here are some above the roof antenna mounts.

www.ronard.com/909911.html
Use the , ronard(911) , 5 foot tripod antenna mount.

www.ronard.com/Tripods%200703/4712.html
10 foot tripod antenna mount.

www.ronard.com/24424560.html
Use the , ronard(4560) , eave antenna mount.

www.ronard.com/ychim.html
Measure around the chimney and use a , ronard(2212) , ronard(2218) , ronard(2224) .

Buy the roanard antenna mounts at , www.solidsignal.com , by typing , ronard(x) , in the solidsignal search box or buy from , www.ronard.com .

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As Always , trees and tree leaves , plants and plant leaves , have a Negative Effect on Broadcast Tv Reception

Such as and not limited to , Absorbing , Blocking , Reception

Multi-Path Reflecting Tv Signals Bouncing Around

And so do buildings and other obstructions have Negative Effect on Broadcast Tv Reception.

The Best Pratice is to install the antenna at a location that has the least amount to no amount of obstruction of any type or kind in the directions of reception including your own roof and house.
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Old 14-Nov-2013, 10:33 AM   #17
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1x

In this situation I'd go with a antenna's direct 43xg or 91xg pointed at 240 magnetic with a RCA preamp.

With a clear line of sight in the direction of the transmitters and the antenna placed on your roof, it is likely that you'll see most major affiliates down to WJAC. WPSU (PBS) is iffy and may be intermittent. Any chance at WPSU will require the antenna to be outdoors. WQMY at magnetic 83 I address a little farther down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Well, the 8200 is a substantial mismatch for your needs since all your available channels are UHF. A UHF Yagi or an 8-Bay antenna with a good low-noise, medium pre-amp, especially if you can get it outdoors, is your best bet.

Elements and gain. I'm a fan of yagis due to their directionality and narrow beamwith to use that gain in the direction you want it, especially when you are going for weak/distant/terrain obstructed signals. That said, a DB8e or 4228HD in the bowtie designs have advantages as well, like having more surface to capture the signal if you are in situation where signals are reflecting around and that additional reception surface is advantageous.

It depends on what you want. If the signals at magnetic 244 and 253, and a shot at 228 are all you want. I'd go with a yagis mentioned above. If you want a better likelyhood of receiving the signal at magnetic 83, in addition to the other signals go with the bowtie design.

Currently, you can find at solid signal a 43xg open box special for 44 bucks.
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...0Antennas&sku=

I lucked out and caught solid signal offering an open box 91xg for 39 bucks. All the parts where there and the antenna was just fine in all aspects. Performs wonderfully pulling in a signal at 55 miles, 7.0 db strength and 400 watts via 1-edge conditions with an RCA Preamp. The described signal is 99% rock solid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoodbutcher View Post

What makes a good long range UHF antenna? Sheer physical size or the number of elements? I suppose I am talking about Yagis, but it could apply to a bowtie, also.

Last edited by StephanieS; 14-Nov-2013 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 15-Nov-2013, 4:15 AM   #18
pawoodbutcher
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I will not hack that antenna. Unless it is necessary to remove it from the attic when the day comes, it will probably be obsolete when that day comes anyway.

Thank you for the wisdom from all. I like the 91xg. And no, it will not live in the attic.

Tried the 300ohm transformer just like the video said. Make things worse, though they weren't that good to begin with.

Next, put a 50ft quad shield rg6 from the mart from antenna to box. No amp. Almost back to where I was. Getting everything except PBS (15.1) and WQMY (53), which is "behind" the antenna and I always thought getting it in the first place was a fluke. Antenna is now at 228deg.

Put in amp. Made no difference, as far as I can tell. The digital box only has a "bad-good" bar for signal. There is no numerical value.

My take on all this is that I either had a cable go bad or this system likes quad shield much better.
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Old 15-Nov-2013, 4:27 AM   #19
pawoodbutcher
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To be clear, I knew I would catch h#ll for having an antenna in the attic. I almost didn't want to post because of it. Financial reality, however, for some of us, dictates this is where we start.

Adding a mast, chimney clamps, extra length of coax, and the grounding can make an OTA antenna a pretty substantial investment.

Although I did much reading and was confident I had the best parts for the job, it turns out I do not. This kind of tweaking is much easier done when the equipment is not on a mast 10 feet above the peak of my roof.

I'm not arguing that the attic is the best place for reception, but sometimes it is the best place from the wallet perspective.
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Old 16-Nov-2013, 10:11 AM   #20
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Indeed. There are many reasons for choosing an attic installation.

That said, if the attic is your only option having reasonably close transmitters is the only way you are really going to yield any satisfactory results. If you are 70 miles away from your transmitters and using an attic installation - best to not bother.

On the flip side, thinking about it, I probably have maybe 200 - 225 dollars in on my system. If I'd had stayed with the ANT751 by itself and not gone on this magical mystery tour with the 91xg, preamp and dual coax, it would have been under 100 bucks.

$225 is a bargain compared to what you pay in cable or satellite in a year.





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I'm not arguing that the attic is the best place for reception, but sometimes it is the best place from the wallet perspective.
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