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Old 10-Jul-2014, 11:24 PM   #1
tv454481
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Confused by results, could use advice

Hello,

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e1c68299b93eb2

I've been gradually upgrading antennas from indoor to outdoor, finally ending up with a DB8E roof mounted, about 25' AGL. Along the way I've also been learning about UHF, Hi-VHF, VHF, and a bit more here and there.

I currently have the DB8e pointed just west of true north with a 50' cable run into the house and then another ~25' to the TV that I'm using to test with. I pick up WSAW, WAOW, WHRM, and WFXS but only when I run direct, with no splitter, preamp, distribution amp, or anything. I'm confused why Hi-VHF is being received on a UHF antenna and then why I can't use a splitter (I've tried two different ones.)

If I attempt to put the antenna output into a basic splitter I get no signal. I also attempted to put it through a CDA4 powered distribution amp and it works on one of the outputs but not another... Talking to Antennas Direct they believe the CDA4 is bad.

My question is: What's the next step? I have an RCA TV1PRAMP (or similar model number) which I picked up based on reading these forums. Will a preamp be more appropriate for my situation or will a distribution amp work better? Why is Hi-VHF coming through? Finally, any advice to pull an NBC signal? That's the only major network that I'm missing.

Thank you for any advice.

Steve
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 12:12 AM   #2
ADTech
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Please tell me about the TV set you're using.

The DB8e would be considered "myopic" on VHF, but it's far from blind. Your two local VHF stations are plenty strong for an 8e.

Quote:
If I attempt to put the antenna output into a basic splitter I get no signal.
That would suggest the splitter or a cable might be defective. What specific brand and model are they? Your PBS station, for example, should have more than -30 dBm of power at the DB8e's terminals leaving more than 50 dB of signal margin for distribution losses. If you loose it, then something is seriously awry. WHRM should be readily picked up with just a piece of bare wire clipped to the center conductor of your coax, it's that strong.

Have your tried connecting your down lead directly into each side of the array, one at a time and re-running your tests with the TV and the splitters?

Your only shot at NBC is WEAU. You'd have to have the DB8e pointed directly at it, probably with a pre-amp, to pick it up. Depending, of course, on what your immediate signal path is in that direction.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 1:03 AM   #3
tv454481
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Thanks for the response.

The tv is a Samsung UN40C6500VF. The splitters that I've tried are the CDA4, a passive Ideal 4-way 5mhz-2.4ghz model 85-334 that I picked up today at Lowe's, and an Antronix 4-way CMC3004H 5mhz-1000mhz that used to be used with our cable connection. I've tried adding F terminators to the splitters to no avail as well.

Any reliable way to measure signal strength at the antenna and elsewhere? Also, would grounding have anything to do with it? I'm wondering if I have the DB8e grounded correctly.

Steve
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 10:32 AM   #4
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Grounding should have no effect unless there is a defective component in the signal chain.

There are reliable tools to measure signal power but they are not inexpensive. Check your TV's Diagnostic menu for a signal meter. If it measures SNR, that can be useful.

I suspect there's nothing wrong with the CDA4 or the splitters. I also doubt that the DB8e is the problem, although I highly recommend the separate panel test I previously gave you as a confidence measure.

I suspect you have a coax cable fault in the premises. The most likely fault that would cause your particular symptom is a coax with the shield shorted to the center conductor. This can be tested with a standard ohm meter. For each cable, measure from the shield to the center and you should have an open circuit (infinite resistance). A shorted cable will read zero ohms. F81 couplers would also be suspects.

What is the history of the coaxial cable in use?
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 3:59 PM   #5
tv454481
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Ok, I used a new MediaBridge 50' RG6 coax from the antenna into the house and that didn't seem to have any effect; may have made things worse actually. I can no longer receive the two Hi-VHF channels reliably; they're either choppy or not available.

So that made me think that there must be something wrong with the cable run from the basement to the TV. I tried another TV that has newer RG6 running to it and got the same results.

I also tried running direct off of each side of the DB8e and no change.

Either I'm doing something woefully wrong or OTA HDTV won't work for me from my location. I'm guessing it's the former but it really doesn't *seem* like it should be this difficult.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 4:17 PM   #6
stvcmty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tv454481 View Post
Finally, any advice to pull an NBC signal? That's the only major network that I'm missing.
If www.rabbitears.info is correct, W27AU-D is a translator of NBC WJFW-TV. ( http://www.rabbitears.info/market.ph...callsign=w27au ) W27AU-D is a UHF station so your DB8e will do well with it. W27AU is also in the group of stations to your north, so if the TV fool plot is accurate with your antenna as it is now, you should be getting it.

If the TV fool plot is a reasonably accurate prediction the DB8e should be getting you WRHM, WFXS, WTPX, and W27AU without much trouble (and the VHF stations WSAW and WAOW). I would get a new cable with ends already on it, such as a 50’ length from monoprice. I would then run it directly from the antenna through an open door or window directly to a TV, with nothing between the two. Then do a channel scan. (you would want as short of a cable as possible between the TV and the antenna, so maybe even take the TV outside if you can do it safely.)
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 5:17 PM   #7
tv454481
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Red face

Thanks for the suggestions. I ran the new mediabridge RG6 direct from the out on the DB8E and into the Samsung TV and was able to pick up the same four I previously had. With both arrays pointed at roughly 350 degrees (I compassed it), I get those same four channels.

I tried to add the RCA preamp into the mix this time and that made both of the Hi-VHF channels (WSAW and WAOW) go away. I'm using the "Combined UHF/VHF" input on the RCA preamp and then the down lead goes to the power injector for the preamp which goes into the TV. Is that expected with the DB8e without a Hi-VHF antenna added onto it?

I ran the signal diagnostics on the TV and with the preamp both WHRM and WFXS have very strong signal when compared to a non-preamped version.

I tried pointing one array towards WEAU but there's a large maple tree that sits within 20' of the antenna to the west, which is the direction of WEAU, so I figured I might not be able to penetrate that obstruction. The path to the north is clear of obstruction.

So, where I'm at is unable to consistently get both the Hi-VHF and the UHF stations when I run it into any type of splitter, and no NBC anywhere. When running a channel scan, the TV sits at DTV 27 (the WJFW repeater) for a bit but moves on without tuning it.

I welcome any further suggestions and advice on what to try next. I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 6:41 PM   #8
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Check the input switch on the amp. They're usually in the wrong position from what the directions say, plus they're pretty flaky. If it's in the "Separate" position, then your results are expected.

I wouldn't expect WEAU to be picked up with only one panel aimed that way.

Please run the individual panel tests i earlier requested.
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Last edited by ADTech; 11-Jul-2014 at 6:50 PM.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 6:58 PM   #9
stvcmty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stvcmty View Post
I would get a new cable with ends already on it, such as a 50’ length from monoprice. I would then run it directly from the antenna through an open door or window directly to a TV, with nothing between the two.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
Again, what is the history of the coax you're using?
There is a reason we are focusing on the coax. When you say
Quote:
Originally Posted by tv454481 View Post
I ran the new mediabridge RG6 direct from the out on the DB8E and into the Samsung TV and was able to pick up the same four I previously had..
But in a previous post you said the media bridge cable may have made things worse, the cable is suspect.
Where did you get the media bridge cable and how much did you pay for it? I have seen “premium” cables have kinks in the coax out of the package that will best case mess up the impedance and worst case short the center conductor to the shield.

When I get a new coax cable from monoprice it tends to have a memory of the coil it was packaged in. Through the whole process I am careful not to kink/too tightly bend the cable. I slowly unwrap it letting it keep its coil. Then I grab it at one end and pull it through my other hand, which relaxes the coil it wants to keep. I do this several times until it wants to sit in a 3-4’ diameter coil. Then I run it from one end of my basement to the other and let it just lay there so it can relax. The whole time I am extremely careful about kinks. Basically, if a piece of RG6 coax gets a kink/too tight of a bend in it, it is probably ruined. All you can do is cut on either side of the kink and put ends on it. As soon as coax gets a kink in it, the kinked section is suspect.

The results you describe don’t seem to match what is expected with the antenna you have and the tv fool report you posted. You could go to rabbit ears and generate a reception list and see if any of the dbm’s are vastly different; then a modeling issue may be coming into play. There may be obstructions between your antenna and the transmitters causing your results to be off from what is expected, but in the absence of more information, the coax is the easiest thing to start with changing.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 7:06 PM   #10
tv454481
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Sorry if I wasn't clear. I had been using an installer-built RG6 that had previously been used for satellite. I then switched to a new cable off of a spare spool that I had and compressed a couple ends onto it, so I could make it the right length. When I didn't get results there I unboxed the mediabridge cable that I got from Amazon. It was ~13 from amazon.com. So yes, I could still see the cable being suspect, especially mine since my compression tool was less than pro-grade.

I'm going to keep fiddling with it later this afternoon.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 8:06 PM   #11
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If the cable is re-purposed from a satellite install, make certain you're removed any and all multi-switches.
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Old 11-Jul-2014, 9:32 PM   #12
tv454481
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An update.

I went and re-anchored the antenna mast, zip tied the newer RG6 cable and ran it into the basement. I'm able to get the same four channels now, with WAOW being the weakest. In fact, when trying to run through a splitter, the signal for WAOW becomes too weak to reliably tune.

Running it through the CDA4 amplifier, which appears to have at least one bad output, makes WAOW come in fine and the rest gain more strength on the signal meters.

I've ordered the Hi-VHF retrofit kit from AntennasDirect and will attach that to the DB8e in hopes of making WAOW, channel 9, come in more reliably through a normal non-amplified splitter. Still zero signal apparent on channel 27 though, no matter what tuner or combination of cables. Once I have the other/main four channels working well I'd still like to try to figure out why 27 isn't coming in. Welcome any tips for that.

Thanks to everyone for the assistance.

Steve
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Old 23-Jul-2014, 11:37 PM   #13
tv454481
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Another update

By way of another update, my setup is now the DB8e with the Hi-VHF retrofit kit. A 25' MediaBridge coax into the house feeding a Winegard HDA200. I can reliably receive WSAW (7), WAOW (9), WHRM (24), WFXS (31) but I'm having absolutely no luck getting any NBC stations. I end up with about 22 to 28 db SNR for those stations. I tried various preamps, including a ChannelMaster 7777 this afternoon and still no luck.

I talked to a couple other people in town with antennas and they indicated spotty reception on WEAU (38) and WJFW repeater (27) with much more success in winter.

Any tips for pulling an NBC station from here, even during summer?

Steve
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Old 23-Jul-2014, 11:40 PM   #14
tv454481
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A notable change is that I think I'm only about 20' AGL and not 25, as I thought originally. Here's a more accurate report:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e1c667c2566bb2
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Old 24-Jul-2014, 4:48 PM   #15
StephanieS
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Call WJFW's engineering staff @ General Phone Number (715) 365-8812

Confirm that the translator is operating at full power and share with them your situation and see if they have a thought.

If you are pleasant with engineering staff, they will be helpful to you.

Cheers.
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Old 24-Jul-2014, 5:11 PM   #16
Jake V
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1) How did you aim your antenna so that it is "pointed just west of true north"?

If you didn't use a real, magnetic compass to point it to about 349 degrees I'd check on that. For experimentation I'd aim it directly at 349 degrees and re-scan (you may or may not loose the stations at 8 and 10 degrees, but worry about that later). It's odd that you can't pick it up with a strength of 9.0 dB.

2) When you contact WJFW you might indicate you're aiming at translator W27AU-D.

3) I've assumed that you have both panels of the DB-8e aimed the same way. I'd like an expert to comment about the possibility of aiming one panel due north and the other to 281 degrees for a shot at NBC affiliate WEAU-TV (real channel 31)
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Old 24-Jul-2014, 6:41 PM   #17
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I'd like an expert to comment about the possibility of aiming one panel due north and the other to 281 degrees for a shot at NBC affiliate WEAU-TV (real channel 31)
See posts # 2 & 8.

WEAU is on 38. That's the Fox station on 31.
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Old 24-Jul-2014, 6:51 PM   #18
tv454481
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I spoke with the head engineer at WJFW who was extremely nice. He indicated that I would likely have some difficulty hitting the W27AU repeater due to its power limitations and the height of my antenna. I'm going to do two things:

1) Get a better compass. I don't have full confidence in the toy'ish one that I used though I'm fairly confident in the general N/S/E/W directions due to telescope/astronomy work I've done here. I don't want to take the telescope on the roof today. :-) Either way, I'm going to need a better compass for step 2.

2) Aim both panels at WEAU while using the ChannelMaster 7777 just to see what I get.

I'll be using an HDHomeRun connected directly to the Winegard HDA200 and that way I can rescan with an iPad from the roof. I could get really cute and take the HDHomeRun and an extension cord to the roof and then connect it directly to a laptop while I'm up there. That might be going a bit too far but I'm rapidly getting there with this obsession. :-)

Steve
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Old 24-Jul-2014, 7:26 PM   #19
stvcmty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake V View Post
I'd like an expert to comment about the possibility of aiming one panel due north and the other to 281 degrees for a shot at NBC affiliate WEAU-TV
Pointing one panel north and one panel at WEAU has them pointing 80 degrees apart, or each 40 degrees from the frame. The documentation at https://www.antennasdirect.com/cmss_...s/DB8E-TDS.pdf shows the gain with the elements at 30 degrees and 45 degrees, so splitting the panels north and at WEAU would be somewhere between the plot on page 4 and page 5. The gain on the channel of WEAU would be close to the blue line. The gain for WEAU with one panel pointed at it and one pointed north would be about 10dBi or 8dBd. On the other hand, if both panels of the DB8e were pointed at WEAU the gain would be around 14dBd. A difference of 6dB is doubling the signal twice over.

Given the trouble the OP seems to be having, splitting the DB8e’s aim and taking a 6dB loss in gain does not seem likely to work. However if the OP can safely get to the antenna to play with the aim, it probably would not hurt to try.
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Old 25-Jul-2014, 1:22 AM   #20
tv454481
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Alright, I think I need to give up on NBC from Stevens Point, WI. Tried both panels towards 278 degrees with a real compass and I can't get WEAU 38, even with the ChannelMaster 7777 inline. Also tried various combinations of panels at various angles, including both panels facing east towards Green Bay, and still can't get any hits.

I may try again later or if anyone has other suggestions, but I'm giving in for now.

Steve
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