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Old 20-Jan-2014, 9:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2
reception problems, need help

I’ve been fighting this since the big switchover to digital in 2009. I have tried various setups since then with various and less than acceptable results. Jumping to today, here is my setup:
Antennas Direct DB4 on a mast @ ~20ft above the ground. Brand new RG6 coax throughout, 30’ from antenna to 4 way (Motorola BDA-S4) amp/splitter. One output with 25’ coax to one TV; one with 25’ to second TV; one with 50’ to main TV; the final output is terminated at the splitter. All TVs are HD. I am 47 miles away from the transmitter.
I aimed the antenna with a magnetic compass, and verified(?) the aim with the TV fool’s TV map with ‘satellite’ mode on. (I placed the locator right on my chimney). Compass and tv map both indicate correct orientation – luckily between two small cypress trees about 20 feet away.
The tv fool report indicated that I should be able to receive all the channels I am interested in with merely a set-top antenna.

Channel scans on all three tvs show at least 135 channels available.
Now the problem: I randomly get dropout on a variety of channels – I can watch channel 2 (real ch43) all day, then it is unwatchable due to dropout the next. Some channels dropout every few seconds all the time, others just dropout randomly, and a handful don’t show at all – even though they scanned as available.
Real channels 38, 31 (and many others I don’t watch anyway) dropout to the point of just not working. 43, 41, 7, 9 drop so often that I frequently can’t watch. On the plus side, many channels come in just fine – very strong, no dropout.
I’m at my wit’s end (a moderately short trip…), but I am committed to NOT paying for cable. What in the world could be wrong?
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Old 21-Jan-2014, 3:28 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Posts: 4,773
What happens when you run this test?

Reliable reception of real channels 7 through 13 call for an antenna designed for the High-VHF band. Consider adding an Antennacraft Y5713 or Antennas Direct CS5. (I believe a UHF/VHF combiner is included with the CS5, but double check...)
If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 21-Jan-2014, 6:17 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2
thanks for the reply.

i left out a lot of the story, which included buying a CS5 antenna. i don't remember the exact setup at the time, but that didn't work all that well either.

i will, however, hook it up again if that seems to be the best bet.

one other setup was to use (with combiner) the existing antenna in my attic to pick up the VHF spectrum. still not particularly successful.

as for the experiment, i have no signal strength measurement capability, but i did do this test: antenna directly to tv, no amp, no splitter. the quality improved slightly on one or two channels, but not a significant change overall. and the dropout is not limited to the VHF frequencies... in fact today, i was ch. surfing and caught KPXN (real ch 38) - perfect picture. later i looked again - no reception at all - black screen.

now you may understand why i am angryjoe.
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