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Old 7-Jan-2010, 4:18 AM   #1
fritzel67
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Unhappy WNPT (PBS) 8.1 in Spring Hill

Hello everyone,

I've got a Terk HDTVo in my attic (1 story house). Prior to the cutover last year to digital, I could pull in channel 8.1 (PBS) crystal clear. Ever since the digital switch, I have reception problems most of the time on 8.1, 8.2, and the WTVF channels (5.1, 5.2, 5.3). Sometimes they come in fine, but usually not for long. The rest of the channels I receive come in fine (WKRN, WSVM, Fox 17.1, ION 28.1 through 28.3, etc).

I know PBS has a weaker signal that the other stations in Nashville, but when I look at the signal strength data, it appears that PBS is closer and stronger than the other stations. SO...why does it come in worse than the rest? I thought about moving my antenna outside but I'm not certain this would help.

Here is a link to my Signal Analysis:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...b32b7a94f2a539

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Frustrated in Spring Hill
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Old 7-Jan-2010, 5:43 AM   #2
mtownsend
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Hello and welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzel67 View Post
I've got a Terk HDTVo in my attic (1 story house). Prior to the cutover last year to digital, I could pull in channel 8.1 (PBS) crystal clear. Ever since the digital switch, I have reception problems most of the time on 8.1, 8.2, and the WTVF channels (5.1, 5.2, 5.3). Sometimes they come in fine, but usually not for long. The rest of the channels I receive come in fine (WKRN, WSVM, Fox 17.1, ION 28.1 through 28.3, etc).
Since all of your channels are in the "pink" (NM less than 15 dB), you really ought to be using a rooftop antenna. Getting the antenna outside will give your antenna access to stronger signals (because it doesn't need to go through any building material), and may also give you cleaner signal (because there are fewer objects to create signal reflections, a.k.a. multi-path).

This Terk antenna is not a particularly good performer either. The section in front with the silver "blades" is a copy of the Silver Sensor UHF antenna. It's pretty good at picking up UHF signals given its size (roughly 6 dB of gain). The two "ears" at the sides are for picking up VHF stations. Since there are only two elements and since they are relatively short, this antenna probably has pretty poor performance in VHF (probably in the range of -5 to -1 dB of gain, and yes, I mean negative numbers).



Quote:
I know PBS has a weaker signal that the other stations in Nashville, but when I look at the signal strength data, it appears that PBS is closer and stronger than the other stations. SO...why does it come in worse than the rest?
WNTP (ch 8) and WTVF (ch 5) are VHF channels. WSMV (ch 10) is also in VHF, but it looks like you're lucky with that one. The HDTVo antenna is not very good at picking up VHF (it's sensitivity is rather limited at those frequencies). So, even though WNTP is the strongest channel in the air at your location, it's not getting though your antenna very well, and it ends up being one of the weaker channels as seen by your receiver.



Quote:
I thought about moving my antenna outside but I'm not certain this would help.
Moving the antenna outside will improve the signal strengths, but the HDTVo is not meant to be an outdoor antenna. Its electronics and plastics were probably not designed to handle outdoor exposure to the elements.

If you wanted to try it temporarily, just for grins, you probably would see an improvement in channel reliability. However, since the antenna is inherently weak at VHF, you will probably still end up with only marginal performance on the VHF stations.



Are you interested in installing an antenna (a "real" outdoor type) on the roof? If you do, you should be able to get all those "pink" stations pretty reliably.
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Old 9-Jan-2010, 12:51 AM   #3
fritzel67
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Thanks and Follow-up Question

Thanks mtownsend. Great info. Also wanted to say that the layout and content on this website is superb. The maps, info, and forums are all very helpful for newbie OTA geeks like myself!

Okay, back to my reception issues in Spring Hill. Tonight with snow falling I can't get channels WSMV, WTFV, or PBS.

Anyway, I get that my Terk antenna is lacking at best. I even tried a signal booster this afternoon thinking I might bump the signal enough to make these channels viewable, but there was zero improvement...which points me back to either relocating my antenna or buying a different one.

I really want to keep things in the attic as a roof or pole mount will be problematic here. Could you recommend a large/better antenna for my location which would likely fit in the attic?

There is physical space for an antenna 2-3 times the size of the HDTVo.

Thanks again.
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Old 9-Jan-2010, 1:38 AM   #4
mtownsend
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I'm afraid that you've got two things working against you for an attic installation:

1) All of your signals are in the "pink" range. This means they're so weak that a rooftop installation is really the best way to go.

2) You have a low VHF channel to contend with (WTVF, ch 5). VHF stations, especially low VHF ones, require antennas with very long receiving elements. You'll need a fairly large antenna to have any real sensitivity on these channels.



Sorry, but there aren't any "magic" antennas that can overcome the laws of physics. There's plenty of marketing hype that would have you believe that such an antenna exists, but in the end, a larger outdoor antenna is the best solution for your situation.

A combo antenna like the Winegard HD7080P might work for you, but it's 7 1/2 feet long and 9 feet wide. Just about any full band (VHF and UHF) combo antenna with respectable gain will be at least this big, if not bigger.



It's also interesting to note that all the VHF stations are north of you (compass heading of around 12 degrees) and all your UHF stations (with the exception of channel 27) are south of you (compass heading of around 167 degrees).

You might get better results by combining two antennas. One UHF antenna pointed south, and one VHF antenna pointed north. They could be combined very efficiently through a UVSJ combiner or a pre-amp with dual inputs (UHF/VHF).

An good 2-antenna setup for your situation would be something like a Channel Master 4221HD (UHF) pointed south, a Winegard HD5030 (VHF) pointed north, and a Channel Master 7777 pre-amp (has an option for separate UHF/VHF antenna inputs).

I don't know if you can fit a 10 foot long antenna like the HD5030 in your attic and have it pointing north.



A do appreciate your desire to keep the antenna in the attic, but please do reconsider an outdoor setup. A chimney mount or eave mount might not be as bad as you think, and it's certainly a lot easier to work with antennas of this size when you're out in the open.
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Old 12-Jan-2010, 3:22 PM   #5
fritzel67
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Thanks again for the follow-up information. You've been extremely helpful.

At this point, I'm actually leaning toward satellite. I've already dropped nearly $100 in my OTA setup and to purchase a large outdoor antenna (not to mention the labor involved) to simply improve the reception on a couple of channels is hard to justify. It's just frustrating because as I stated before, up until the digital switchover last year, all of my channels were coming in crystal clear.
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Old 12-Jan-2010, 4:03 PM   #6
mtownsend
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OTA is not for everyone. It's coverage is not uniform, and in some places, the options are limited. Cable and satellite coverage is not universal either, but at least you have options.

Don't forget to consider the real total cost of pay TV. The pay TV companies know that most people don't think too much about the real accumulated cost of their service. Once they get you hooked into the system, they can nickel-and-dime you incrementally over the next several years. It's doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to see five years of pay TV service costing over $2000. Any "premium" services (like HD and premium channels), can put that total to over $3000 or $4000.

BTW, even if you do decide to get pay TV, it might be nice to have OTA too, as a supplemental option for local HD stations or for times when the satellite craps out.

It's unfortunate that Terk antennas are overpriced and underperforming. They can give first-time OTA users a bad impression. A real, high quality, rooftop antenna, with great performance can be had for reasonable prices, and can last many years, giving you a much better overall bang-for-the-buck.

Last edited by mtownsend; 12-Jan-2010 at 4:16 PM.
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Old 12-Jan-2010, 10:36 PM   #7
fritzel67
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Good points. You might have a career in sales (if you're not already there).

I could even sell my Terk and put the proceeds toward the replacement antenna. Let me ask this...where do you recommend purchasing a pole OR could I get by with mounting it with a j-mount bracket on the eve of the house (which wouldn't really be any higher than it's location in the attic but would be outside). I really don't want to drill/screw into our roof.

Thanks!
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Old 12-Jan-2010, 10:44 PM   #8
lray882
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I am just east of Springhill and have experenced the same problem since DTV. I do have an outside antenna, but it is a old one. Channel 2 and 8 come in good but it and miss with the rest and no Channnel 5 at all. I think I would rather good for one antenna instead of two.
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Old 13-Jan-2010, 12:23 AM   #9
mtownsend
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzel67 View Post
where do you recommend purchasing a pole OR could I get by with mounting it with a j-mount bracket on the eve of the house (which wouldn't really be any higher than it's location in the attic but would be outside). I really don't want to drill/screw into our roof.
Yes, leaks would be very bad!

J-mounts can work if you can get the antenna pointed correctly at the stations of interest. Since you have stations on both the north and south sides of your house, I'm not sure if that's possible in your case.

Also, if you go with a two-antenna solution (separate VHF/UHF antennas), then you'll want some separation between the two antennas (~4-5 feet is recommended to minimize the interaction between the antennas). It might be difficult to achieve this with a J-mount.

There are also wall mount options that are like the J-mount option (holes on the side of the house instead of into the roof), and they can accommodate longer straight masts.

Another option to consider is a chimney mount. If you have a chimney available, these mounts work well and require no holes of any kind. The better ones are all stainless steel, very sturdy, and last a long time. I've had good results with the Channel Master 9067 mount (they sometimes ship without instructions, but fortunately, I found them online at http://www.channelmaster.com/support...ructions41.pdf).



Antenna masts can be purchased from Radio Shack. They have decent quality powder coated masts in 5 and 10 foot lengths. BTW, do *not* get the RS chimney mount brackets - they are really cr*ppy and are a complete waste of time. You can use just about any kind of pipe (the more rigid, the better, as long as it doesn't get too heavy), ideally between 1.25 and 1.5 inches in diameter. Many online antenna places also sell masts, but then you need to pay for shipping.

Last edited by mtownsend; 13-Jan-2010 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 13-Jan-2010, 12:40 AM   #10
mtownsend
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lray882 View Post
Channel 2 and 8 come in good but it and miss with the rest and no Channnel 5 at all.
Channel 5 is being broadcast from a different mountain peak (further away) than channels 2 and 8. Depending on exactly where you are, this might explain the difference in your ability to pick up these stations. A tvfool report of your exact location would help.



Quote:
I think I would rather good for one antenna instead of two.
One antenna would certainly be easier to install. The best solution depends on what signals are available at your location. For fritzel67, about half his channels are coming from Nashville, and the other half are coming from Huntsville, hence the recommendation for two antennas.

If your location has a better view of Nashville stations, then you might be lucky enough to get everything you need with just one antenna.
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Old 14-Jan-2010, 1:30 AM   #11
fritzel67
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More great info. Thanks.

I really had not even considered pointing an antenna south to Huntsville due to the increased distance vs Nashville. Do you think it would be realistic for me to try and pull those stations in from the south? Again they are further away, but it appears there is less in the way of obstructions (there is a big hill directly north of our house about 1/4 mile).
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Old 14-Jan-2010, 2:37 AM   #12
mtownsend
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Yes. According to your tvfool analysis, the Huntsville stations have about the same signal strength as the Nashville stations even though they are about 75 miles away. The terrain obstruction along the Nashville path must be worse.

If you look at the Azimuth column in your tvfool table, all the Huntsville stations are at around 164 degrees (almost due south), and the Nashville stations are at around 11 degrees (almost due north). There are more Huntsville stations in the "pink" zone than Nashville stations.

A good rooftop antenna should be able to pick up most of the "pink" stations. The trick is trying to get both Nashville and Huntsville stations at the same time without having to reposition the antenna each time. I think the two antenna solution suggested in post #4 above (one VHF pointed north, one UHF pointed south, and a pre-amp), would accomplish just that.
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Old 17-Jan-2010, 3:16 PM   #13
fritzel67
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Update

Okay, I managed to install a pole/mast outside and have relocated my Terk HDTVo outside (approx 12ft from the ground). The signal consistency is 50% improved vs the attic installation. I still have some intermittent problems on 2-3 channels (4,5,8) but overall it was worth the effort. I can now watch WNPT (8.1 and 8.2) most of the time! Per your recommendation, I'm certain a larger antenna would improve the situation even more, but this may be acceptable for now as we're contemplating selling our house and moving closer to Nashville this summer.

Thanks so much for your assistance! Also, even with my antenna pointed N toward Nashville, I still managed to pick up WAAY-ABC in Huntsville with decent signal strength.

Take care.
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Old 28-Jan-2010, 1:04 PM   #14
fritzel67
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Latest Update 1/28/10

Hello again,

I just wanted to follow-up one more time and say I FINALLY managed to get WNPT (PBS) in perfectly 100% of the time. I had already moved my Terk HDTVo outside at approx 12ft off the ground. The recommended direction to aim the antenna for this channel is 16 degrees magnetic north. I have a large hill directly in front of my house which is precisely where 16 degrees points to. By adjusting the antenna to more like 20-22 degrees (just to the right of the hill) the signal strength went from weak to upper normal.

So for others who are having signal strength problems, try experimenting just a bit outside the recommended azimuth settings.
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