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Old 2-Aug-2016, 6:53 PM   #1
newmguy
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help troubleshooting 30-2476 VHF antenna installation

Hi Guys,

I just hooked up a 30-2476 VHF antenna with hopes that it would bring in
more signal than the antennas direct VHF / UHF Retrofit Kit.

My results are not good. The signal and quality are lower with the
30-2476 than with the antennas direct Retrofit Kit (rabbit ears).

My setup is:
STELLAR LABS 30-2476 VHF-HI FRINGE DIRECTIONAL ANTENNA
Antennas Direct DB8e UHF antenna
STELLAR LABS 33-2230 VHF UHF antenna combiner
Antennas Direct Clearstream Juice Amplifier

Picture of setup:

Disregard the Clearstream4v antenna. It is connected to another TV with a totally different cable.

Diagram of Cabling:


The UHF Pass select switch on the combiner is ON.

There are no splitters or anything else in the 75' line, only one TV connected.

My TV Fool report is here:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e2cbb695273b6a

The two VHF stations I get are CKVR and CFTO. With the antennas direct VHF rabbit ears
the signal is always 90-100% and quality is high, But there are some dropouts on CFTO.

With the STELLAR LABS 30-2476 antenna, both stations have low quality (in the mid 40'S)
and I receive constant picture freezing, dropouts even when re-aiming the antenna
directly in the direction of the transmitter.

These stations are powerful, the signal should be higher than what I am getting.

For troubleshooting, here is what I have done:

I tested the system without the amplifier (up on the roof with a small TV).
I connected only the VHF antenna to rule out any combiner loss or problems.
I also tried an antennas direct variable attenuator when everything was connected,
doesn't seem to help.

I must be doing something wrong.
This antenna should be a lot better than what my results are showing.

Any tips would be appreciated.

Edit:

I noticed when assembling the antenna the two pieces don't fit tight together, or better, the drilled hole does not permit the two sections fitting tightly together. Look at this picture:


Last edited by newmguy; 2-Aug-2016 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 2-Aug-2016, 7:44 PM   #2
rabbit73
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Quote:
The UHF Pass select switch on the combiner is ON.
That switch is not to pass a signal, it is to pass DC power to a preamp that is between the combiner and the UHF antenna.

Please try to keep your photos to no wider than 800 pixels. When they are wider, the posts are too wide and the type is too small when I try to see the whole photo.

There have been problems with the MCM combiner, but if you connected the VHF antenna directly to the test TV, that bypasses the combiner.

Yes, the 30-2476 should be doing better.

The antennas are waaaay too close together, but that shouldn't make the 30-2476 that much worse than the dipole, or maybe it will.
https://www.tonercable.com/pdf/antenna.pdf

What are you using to measure signal strength and signal quality?

Possibilities:

Bad connection between VHF antenna and TV

Bad balun in antenna

If the power inserter had been connected to the combiner, and the VHF antenna had been connected to the UHF port of the combiner, and the switch was ON, that might damage the VHF balun.
__________________
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Last edited by rabbit73; 2-Aug-2016 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 2-Aug-2016, 11:43 PM   #3
rabbit73
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Thanks for the edit; much easier to read. And you kept the large file size for good detail.
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Last edited by rabbit73; 2-Aug-2016 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 3-Aug-2016, 1:24 AM   #4
newmguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
That switch is not to pass a signal, it is to pass DC power to a preamp that is between the combiner and the UHF antenna.
I tried to find a spec sheet for the combiner, I can't find it anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
Please try to keep your photos to no wider than 800 pixels. When they are wider, the posts are too wide and the type is too small when I try to see the whole photo.
I wrote a detailed long response to your first post, something happened, I lost it all. Internet was down for an hour or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
The antennas are waaaay too close together, but that shouldn't make the 30-2476 that much worse than the dipole, or maybe it will.
I will have to get rid of the Clearstream4V antenna in order to make room on the pole. That antenna runs another TV. I don't want to use splitters. I find I lose the weaker stations when the cable is split..

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
What are you using to measure signal strength and signal quality?
I use a SPAT102B converter box. It shows signal strength and quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
Possibilities:

Bad connection between VHF antenna and TV

Bad balun in antenna

If the power inserter had been connected to the combiner, and the VHF antenna had been connected to the UHF port of the combiner, and the switch was ON, that might damage the VHF balun.
I am 100% confident that the cables are good and all the connections are right. I will have some time later this week to troubleshoot some more.

Thank you for responding to my post.
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Old 3-Aug-2016, 2:19 AM   #5
rabbit73
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Quote:
I tried to find a spec sheet for the combiner, I can't find it anywhere.
I couldn't find it either. Did they give you an instruction sheet?

I went by this:
Quote:
Switchable DC passthrough is provided from output to UHF input, allowing a remotely powered signal amplifier to be used with the UHF antenna
Quote:
•DC passthrough capacity: 12VDC, 100mA max
Quote:
•Insertion loss: 1.5dB
too high
Quote:
I wrote a detailed long response to your first post, something happened, I lost it all. Internet was down for an hour or so
I hate it when that happens to me. Sometimes I will select all, copy, and paste the text box into WordPad before posting, so I don't have to do it all over.
Quote:
I will have to get rid of the Clearstream4V antenna in order to make room on the pole. That antenna runs another TV. I don't want to use splitters. I find I lose the weaker stations when the cable is split..
You can use a distribution amp to make up for the split loss, but you shouldn't need it with a preamp.
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Last edited by rabbit73; 3-Aug-2016 at 7:24 PM.
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Old 3-Aug-2016, 11:29 AM   #6
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If I use my distribution amp, I lose all of the American networks. I tried it with and without the amplifier, same thing.
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Old 4-Aug-2016, 4:07 AM   #7
Nascarken
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Good day everyone we'll rabbit you are right about that way to close together ,the stellar Labs 76, does not like to be close to the uhf it should be at least 3Ft apart from one and other,because I tried to do the same thing with my 91XG,and was receiveing no channel's in till I separated them at 3Ft and everything works good now!
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Old 4-Aug-2016, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nascarken View Post
I tried to do the same thing with my 91XG,and was receiveing no channel's in till I separated them at 3Ft and everything works good now!
Thanks Nascarken I was going to remove the Clearstream4V that should allow enough room on the mast. Just trying to find the time to actually do it.
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Old 4-Aug-2016, 12:40 PM   #9
Nascarken
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STELLAR LABS antennas way to close together

Good day yes that should be just about the right distances between the two antennas and put it on a A G L to it will make a difference and that STELLAR LABS antenna is a good ANTENNA at m c m electronics that is where I bought my 4,antennas but first I bought the,#302475,witch receive quite well and then I bought the#30-2476,witch the performances,is a s m I was the first one to get them from MCMelectronics,look at the Reviews on the stellar Labs,#30-2475&76,with a channel master 7777amp,at 40Ft high with an A G L of 35,I receive 17,channels with it I am only u s e I n g one at this time,well everyone have a good day,

Last edited by Nascarken; 4-Aug-2016 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 4-Aug-2016, 11:35 PM   #10
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Well today I took everything off the mast except the stellar labs antenna. Connected just the antenna, no preamp, no splitters, etc.

This antenna is no better than my antennas direct VHF addon that comes with the Clearstream4V.

I am at a loss as what to do next. All I want to do is improve the signal on the VHF channels we are receiving.

Early this morning I picked up WBBZ on channel 7 (67). But it was a good signal day here so the antennas direct dipole also picked it up.

Presently I am using a homemade dipole I built with an FM wire antenna cut to the right length for 189MHz (channel 9). It's working just as good as the clearstream dipole.
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Old 5-Aug-2016, 3:09 AM   #11
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30-2476 seem good to me.

You said you took down the antennas, so there must not be any physical interference.

I have two of the aforementioned antennas. One is pointed at Milwaukee 49 miles north and one is pointed to Chicago 40 miles south. Both cover each market's only VHF station. Chicago has 2.1 on real ch 12 and Milwaukee has 10.1-4 on real ch 8.

In both cases reception is excellent until I combine the arrays, then I get some reception issues.

I have trees, but no major hills in the LOS for both stations.

Check the balun. The new style baluns can break easily.

Last edited by bobsgarage; 5-Aug-2016 at 1:16 PM.
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Old 5-Aug-2016, 3:20 AM   #12
Nascarken
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You should have left the DB 8 where it was and move the VHF down to 3Ft with a A G L 20,and buy a channel master 7777amp and a ROTOR AND a 10Ft MAST or point the uhf at all uhf tower's and the vhf point it at the VHF tower's put the antennas up little bit higher ON a 10Ft MAST and don't for get the compass and the tvfool report,good luck and be safe ON the roof,
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Old 5-Aug-2016, 12:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nascarken View Post
You should have left the DB 8 where it was and move the VHF down to 3Ft
I did this and it made no difference. So I then took down the DB8e and installed only the 30-2476 antenna. Connected directly to the antenna, no amps, splitters, etc..
Still no better reception than just the Antennas Direct dipole by itself.

The station I am not seeing any improvement is ch 9 (CFTO). The quality is low with the 30-2476 antenna compared to the Antennas Direct dipole even when aimed directly at the transmitter and connected directly to the antenna no amps, splitters, etc... (on the roof).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsgarage View Post
In both cases reception is excellent until I combine the arrays, then I get some reception issues.
Check the balun. The new style baluns can break easily.
I have checked everything, it's all good. I can pull in distant stations with the 30-2476 antenna so I know it works.
However these same stations come in with the dipole antenna as well.
One in particular is Channel 12, (CHEX).
If you look at my TV Fool report, you will see this transmitter is is 62 miles away.

When aimed correctly, both antennas (the Antennas Direct dipole and the 30-2476 antenna)
pull in this channel.

I am not saying the 30-2476 antenna is not working. I guess my expectations for this antenna were higher.

If I can get the same signal & quality in my area with the very small lightweight dipole, then why would I want to
put this great big antenna on my mast?
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Old 5-Aug-2016, 1:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
I have checked everything, it's all good. I can pull in distant stations with the 30-2476 antenna so I know it works.
However these same stations come in with the dipole antenna as well.
One in particular is Channel 12, (CHEX).
If you look at my TV Fool report, you will see this transmitter is is 62 miles away.

When aimed correctly, both antennas (the Antennas Direct dipole and the 30-2476 antenna)
pull in this channel.

I am not saying the 30-2476 antenna is not working. I guess my expectations for this antenna were higher.

If I can get the same signal & quality in my area with the very small lightweight dipole, then why would I want to
put this great big antenna on my mast?

I see your point, but the antenna may not be the issue. That may be an issue for the experts/retired techs/installers to help you with.

60+ miles gets kind of iffy if the conditions aren't excellent. You know what you're doing, keep at it. Hopefully some one will chime in...

Last edited by bobsgarage; 5-Aug-2016 at 1:23 PM.
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Old 5-Aug-2016, 3:29 PM   #15
newmguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsgarage View Post
I have two of the aforementioned antennas. One is pointed at Milwaukee 49 miles north and one is pointed to Chicago 40 miles south. Both cover each market's only VHF station. Chicago has 2.1 on real ch 12 and Milwaukee has 10.1-4 on real ch 8.
In both cases reception is excellent until I combine the arrays, then I get some reception issues.
I have trees, but no major hills in the LOS for both stations.
I see you have two of these antennas. What other antennas are present in your system? Any UHF antennas combined?

What is the combiner you used?
What about splitters, amps, cable length?
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Old 6-Aug-2016, 1:13 AM   #16
bobsgarage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmguy View Post
I see you have two of these antennas. What other antennas are present in your system? Any UHF antennas combined?

What is the combiner you used?
What about splitters, amps, cable length?
I have my "south array" that points to Chicago with a 91XG 5 feet above the 30-2476 57' AGL. They are combined by an RCA PREAMP1. It is between the two antennas on both arrays.

The RG 6 is about 75' to the combiner. Alternatively, an additional 6 feet to back of the TV when hooked directly to the TV. I also have a network that distributes it through the house which adds a lot of legs to the system, which is mainly why I used the preamp I chose. Plus, that preamp is a combiner, kills two birds with one stone.

South Pointed Array:






My North pointing array is about 30' AGL and has an HDB91X above a 30-2476. They are also combined by an RCA PREAMP1. The RG-6 is about 45' to the indoor combiner, alternatively, an additional 6 feet to back of the TV when hooked directly to the TV. Sometimes I unhook the network and experiment with my TV in my man cave. That TV has 2 RF inputs.

North pointing array:







Both antennas are aimed correctly in the following pic. They both have rotators, which I found to be indispensable for aiming.

For size & height comparison:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2016-05-19 Antennas Finished 91XG & 30 2476 -20 resizes.jpg (135.8 KB, 1449 views)
File Type: jpg 2016-06-05 Both Arrays (16)resize.jpg (106.4 KB, 1210 views)
File Type: jpg 2016-06-05 Both Arrays resized.jpg (174.6 KB, 1214 views)

Last edited by bobsgarage; 7-Aug-2016 at 4:15 PM.
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Old 6-Aug-2016, 2:23 PM   #17
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Nice setup bob.

You have two different antennas on each mast.
Just wondering, why wouldn't you put the same antenna on each mast?
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Old 7-Aug-2016, 5:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmguy View Post
Nice setup bob.

You have two different antennas on each mast.
Just wondering, why wouldn't you put the same antenna on each mast?
Good Question.

I started with the HDB91X. I combined it with a Radio Shack VU210XR.The mast is 35' above the roof peak. I found it to be an OK antenna until I barely tightened the coax to the balun and the fitting broke off of the board in the balun. I decided I wouldn't put that antenna up high where I can't get to it.

I got the idea that the 91 XG would be better quality and should go up the 35' mast and use the HBD91X on a lower mast where I can get to it if something breaks.

If I had to do it all over again, I would've bought 2 Winegard HD7698P's and put them on the same mast, but I am happy with what I have.

I almost did but 2 7698's but I needed a lot of height and I felt 2 7698's on the same mast that high up could cause wind worthiness problems, since they are fairly large.

The only drawback is my "poor mans tower" might appear gaudy to some that actually notice.

Last edited by bobsgarage; 7-Aug-2016 at 5:07 AM.
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Old 7-Aug-2016, 12:58 PM   #19
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We'll good day Bob NICE ANTENNA set up ,what is the distance that you receive with your antennas,
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Old 7-Aug-2016, 4:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Nascarken View Post
We'll good day Bob NICE ANTENNA set up ,what is the distance that you receive with your antennas,
Good Day Ken,

Well, That is the embarrassing part of my set-up. I am stuck with a 70 mile radius for reception and too much work to not have been able to get more.

All the stations that I should get, I do get (Chicago-Milwaukee):




Strangely, TV Fool shows Gary, Indiana shows at the same distance, but it at least 10 miles more and I get that well too.

The farthest station I get is PBS WYIN in Indiana 77 miles, but it is as easy as it gets, across the Lake front with no obstructions:




I really have issues getting Rockford 69.7 miles away to my west, but it looks as if I may have terrain blocking me. I don't think I've ever gotten Rockford and if I wanted it, I would need a much higher set-up. I say that because if I tell the TV Fool Interactive map I have a 300' AGL antenna I see a LOS to Rockford.

57' AGL to Rockford:





Across Lake Michigan are several stations 100+ miles, but I have too many tall trees to my east. I gave up on that this summer but I will retry this winter after the leaves have fallen.

So in reality, I wont get anything over and above what my TV Fool report says I can get.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg TV Market.jpg (140.8 KB, 1205 views)
File Type: jpg WYIN Coverage.jpg (165.8 KB, 1274 views)
File Type: jpg TV Market Rockford.jpg (221.3 KB, 1248 views)

Last edited by bobsgarage; 8-Aug-2016 at 12:41 PM.
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