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Old 5-May-2015, 2:20 AM   #21
ADTech
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If you send me your precise coordinates of your rooftop by private message, I'll look closely at your situation and see if I can do a "virtual" house call.

As for an amplifier, it depends on the reason for the reception problems you're seeing as to whether an amp will help things or make them worse. Let's dig a bit deeper first.
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Old 5-May-2015, 2:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
If you send me your precise coordinates of your rooftop by private message, I'll look closely at your situation and see if I can do a "virtual" house call.

As for an amplifier, it depends on the reason for the reception problems you're seeing as to whether an amp will help things or make them worse. Let's dig a bit deeper first.
How can I get those precise coordinates of my rooftop? I assume I need to climb back up there again but I looked in my GPS apps and I don't see a way to get the actual coordinates.
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Old 5-May-2015, 3:52 PM   #23
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Please proceed as follows: Go to https://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=90

Enter your full address (street address, city, state) and click on the "Map This" button. You will get a Google map with its guess as to your location.
Drag and drop the red balloon to your approximate location, click on "Satellite" to switch to a combined map/satellite view, then fine tune the location by adjusting the balloon's location on the map onto your rooftop.
A VERY precise location is best for our analysis.

Under the lower left of the map will be a set of numbers similar to 36.410621,-92.239341 (That’s our office!)

Those are your GPS coordinates and are what is needed to do an accurate assessment.
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Old 5-May-2015, 4:38 PM   #24
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If the coordinates provided accurately depict the antenna's current location, I see three things of concern:

1. The antenna is below your neighbor's house in the direction of Poteau Mtn. You're already in a topographical hole for that signal, so a further impairment of the signal being blocked by his roof is all it would take to render that station unreliable, especially when trying to receive it from the back of the DB4e. My recommendation is to move the antenna up to the western peak of your roof and use a longer mast (10') with a gable mount. I don't know if you'd already tried that location or not, but it's as good as you're going to get.

2. Your signal path to the north northeast has a number of trees right in the signal path. I have no expectation of reliable reception of UHF stations when trees are involved. Either it will work or it will be unreliable.

3. Your local PBS station operates on VHF channel 9. If its reception is a concern, then adding a VHF-1 VHF Retrofit Kit would be expected to help out.

I do not see a need for a preamplifier as it likely will have little effect.
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Last edited by ADTech; 5-May-2015 at 4:50 PM.
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Old 5-May-2015, 7:31 PM   #25
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Wow, thanks for the info.
FYI the DB4e is currently pointed almost directly at Poteau Mountain, based on the lines I see on the map. The satellite image is out of date. The large tree in my back yard is no longer there. I don't know if that makes any difference.

Unfortunately mounting the antenna on the other side of my house is beyond my ability. I'm not very "handy". But I may be able to get friends or brothers to help me. I wouldn't mind paying someone to do it but I don't know who to call.

Before I decided to buy the DB4e I actually contacted a local company to see about professionally installing an antenna. At the time I thought the price was too high so I thanked him but declined.

After I started having reception problems I thought maybe it would be worth it so I sent him another message through Angie's List but he never responded. I sent another and no reply. I tried calling and got a receptionist and left a message and he never called me back. So I bought the DB4e.
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Old 5-May-2015, 11:17 PM   #26
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It's the trees across the street that are in the direction of the airport that I'm looking at as a concern.
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Old 6-May-2015, 3:45 AM   #27
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Some days I get frustrated enough to consider going back to cable. Tonight I watched shows on ABC and CW, the stations broadcast from Poteau Mountain, and they were perfect. Then I tried to watch CBS and it's completely unwatchable. It was fine Sunday night.

I never expected perfection but......
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Old 6-May-2015, 11:55 AM   #28
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The antenna can only catch whatever signals get to it. If the signals go through a shredder on their path to the antenna, your reception is going to get shredded. It really is that simple. Not every street is capable of reliable reception due to circumstances out of their control.
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Old 6-May-2015, 2:03 PM   #29
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I wouldn't give up yet. For the price of a few months of cable you can get the antenna moved to a better, maybe higher location.
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Old 6-May-2015, 2:07 PM   #30
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I understand that. I'm just venting I guess.

It just blows my mind that it can be great for a while, then not so great, then terrible, then ok again.

I know you said that something must have changed if the reception changes so drastically but I don't know what it could be.



Rickbb, you're right about that. I really don't want to go back to paying for TV. Luckily I can watch the CBS show I missed tonight on my computer or on my TV using PlayOn.

Oh, I need to try to find an installer that can do a good job. I tried AngiesList but only found the one that never called me back. Maybe I can just try calling some of the satellite installers.

Last edited by NapMan; 6-May-2015 at 2:10 PM.
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Old 6-May-2015, 2:23 PM   #31
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Quote:
It just blows my mind that it can be great for a while, then not so great, then terrible, then ok again.
That is one of the defining characteristics of digital reception. It's either perfect or it isn't; there's no (sometimes) graceful degradation that was part of analog reception. If you're already at the edge of the digital cliff, it doesn't take much of a disruption to kick you over the edge.

I'll say it again: If there are trees in front of the antenna, I have NO expectation of reliable reception of UHF signals. I've worked with thousands of customers (and my own setup) and that lesson has been indelibly ingrained into my advice.
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Old 6-May-2015, 2:36 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
I'll say it again: If there are trees in front of the antenna, I have NO expectation of reliable reception of UHF signals. I've worked with thousands of customers (and my own setup) and that lesson has been indelibly ingrained into my advice.
I'm sure you're right. It's likely that as the leaves had filled out in the trees that may be why things are getting worse.

At this point my first step, I think, is going to be raising the antenna. Possibly moving it to the west side of the house but that will require running new coax.

So maybe I will try raising it to about 10 feet above the roof and see how that works. Of course, I don't know when I'll be able to do that but I'll report back.
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Old 6-May-2015, 3:46 PM   #33
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I wouldn't hold out any hope on the Sat installers. Some of them are knowledgeable and professional who may have the skill and background in OTA to understand what your issue is.

Most are not, just low wage sub-contractors who are taught the very basics of installing a dish.

If you can get up on the roof and using your TVFool plot and a simple compass and find a likely good place to get around the trees you can tell the installer to put it there.

But before you start drilling holes and putting in bolts, try the reception while someone holds the antenna turns it a bit, even moving it left and right or up and down a few feet this way or that can improve, (or make worse), the signal quality.
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Old 6-May-2015, 5:28 PM   #34
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I wouldn't hold out any hope on the Sat installers. Some of them are knowledgeable and professional who may have the skill and background in OTA to understand what your issue is.

Most are not, just low wage sub-contractors who are taught the very basics of installing a dish.

If you can get up on the roof and using your TVFool plot and a simple compass and find a likely good place to get around the trees you can tell the installer to put it there.

But before you start drilling holes and putting in bolts, try the reception while someone holds the antenna turns it a bit, even moving it left and right or up and down a few feet this way or that can improve, (or make worse), the signal quality.
Well, the thing is, Sunday I was having the same problem with CBS so I climbed up on the roof to try and adjust it. I wasn't able to get a good direction. I had my phone up there and using the TabloTV I could to a channel scan and actually watch the channels to see how they look.

After about 45 minutes up there I ended up pointing it just slightly off where it had been before. I was still getting occasional picture glitches but it wasn't too bad. But last night it was terrible on CBS.

I am thinking the DB4e might be a pretty directional antenna and 3 of the networks I want come from the northeast and 2 of them come from the southwest.

Right now the antenna is mounted using my old satellite dish mast with a 2 foot piece of pipe added for a little height. I'm looking at maybe buying (2) of these and getting up around 10 feet above the roof.
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Old 6-May-2015, 6:18 PM   #35
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Yes, the reflector on it makes if a very directional antenna.

If the stations you want are mostly 180 degrees away from each other you may be able to remove the reflector to get stations from the back and front of the antenna.

ADTech is a rep for the company that makes the DB4e and can add info for that.

Edit; Generally going higher helps with getting over trees, houses, etc. But not always, signals from the tower can be reflected, (bounce), off of roofs, walls the ground etc. So sometimes lower works better. Fine tuning the antenna location and aiming can be hit or miss depending on local conditions.

I fiddled around with mine for weeks before I finally went up on the roof with a small TV and a short coax cable. Still took me an hour to get it where I wanted it. But that was before the trees leafed out, now I have to move it again.

Last edited by rickbb; 6-May-2015 at 6:23 PM.
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Old 6-May-2015, 7:20 PM   #36
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Yes, the reflector on it makes if a very directional antenna.

If the stations you want are mostly 180 degrees away from each other you may be able to remove the reflector to get stations from the back and front of the antenna.

ADTech is a rep for the company that makes the DB4e and can add info for that.

Edit; Generally going higher helps with getting over trees, houses, etc. But not always, signals from the tower can be reflected, (bounce), off of roofs, walls the ground etc. So sometimes lower works better. Fine tuning the antenna location and aiming can be hit or miss depending on local conditions.

I fiddled around with mine for weeks before I finally went up on the roof with a small TV and a short coax cable. Still took me an hour to get it where I wanted it. But that was before the trees leafed out, now I have to move it again.

Interesting, so higher isn't always better? When I mounted the first antenna on the roof it was a very small one, but it was about 2 feet lower than the DB4e (just at the top of the dish mast) and at first it seemed to work very well. I posted my original message here when it started to give me problems back in February (before any leaves had come in). I was having the same problem as now except it was the ABC & CW networks, both broadcast from the same tower locations. ADTech suggested the DB4e to me at that time because the original antenna was a bit small.

Of course, the DB4e is a pretty tall antenna so I can't go too much lower before the bottom will be sitting on the roof.

By the way, I checked the signals again and the CBS is back to where it was before. TabloTV showing full strength but it's having occasional, brief glitches. Still total watchable, unlike last night.
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Old 7-May-2015, 6:18 AM   #37
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Unless you're bolting directly to a truss, or a rafter, I'd be careful w/ adding too much height, w/ the small footprint of a J pole.
You could also add some long spreaders, on the backside of the mounting surface. Cheap insurance.
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Old 7-May-2015, 2:14 PM   #38
NapMan
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Unless you're bolting directly to a truss, or a rafter, I'd be careful w/ adding too much height, w/ the small footprint of a J pole.
You could also add some long spreaders, on the backside of the mounting surface. Cheap insurance.
So maybe I'd be better off with the gable mount like ADTech suggested?
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Old 7-May-2015, 4:26 PM   #39
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So maybe I'd be better off with the gable mount like ADTech suggested?

Sorry, I overlooked where he recommended that but yes, it would have a larger footprint. I would still recommend backing strips of 2X4 on the backside, but you can probably feel it out first and make your decision at that point.
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Old 7-May-2015, 4:45 PM   #40
ADTech
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Interesting, so higher isn't always better?
No, not always. What counts is the signal path. If lowering the antenna allows a better line of sight than the higher location, then the lower location may well work better, especially when the transmitters are close enough that the earth's curvature isn't yet much of a factor. If the higher location puts the antenna behind a more dense tree obstruction, for example, then the higher location probably won't help. There's also the possibility of a favorable ground bounce providing additional signal for a low-mounted antenna, but that phenomenon isn't likely to occur in a residential area.
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