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Old 4-Apr-2020, 2:50 AM   #1
Dagwood
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Bizarre problem

Hi all. I've posted before (a couple of years ago) about a reception problem I was having with all of the channel 13s (ABC).

As I recall, it never went dead but would lose audio and pixelate. I noticed that I could often fix it if I snugged the antenna terminal on the TV a bit. Ok, a problem with either the cable or TV terminal.

A year or so ago I replaced the cable. Now I'm having an intermittent problem again, with both (Vizio) TVs, with all of the 13s and 31s (FOX).

Here's the strange thing. On the living room TV, when ch.13 is acting up, and I go to the TV menu I get this: I can pull up the menu but I cannot navigate in it, it's like it's froze. The bedroom TV does not do this, so I have to assume it's something fishy with the LR TV itself.

I looked at the menu on the bedroom TV just now, which was not getting 13 any better than the LR TV. It showed the signal quality as "43." Not sure what that number actually means, but it's about in the middle of the range where all my signals are. Why would it be breaking up?

Am I having a sunspot or weather-related problem?

Fox is my weakest channel so it going out is not surprising, but this tends to make me think the 13 problem is weather/atmosphere related.

I never had any issue with 13, it always came in great even before digital.

PS: I hope all you peeps are staying healthy.
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Old 8-Apr-2020, 3:42 AM   #2
Dagwood
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UPDATE: It's been okay the last couple of nights, but 13 is acting up again tonight. For some reason, 31 is fine as are all other channels.

There are a lot of thunderstorms around tonight (although not in my immediate area) but that never bothered it before except for a momentary flash. Tonight the signal has gradually degraded over a period of a couple hours or so, starting out very slight but right now it is so bad as to be unwatchable, and the audio is gone.

I keep thinking this is atmospheric or something similar. JOE IN AZ, I think you mentioned to me in another thread about sunspots causing problems sometimes. Where do you find this info out?
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Old 12-Apr-2020, 4:31 PM   #3
Dagwood
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Anybody got any answers? 318 views and nothing?

Today, not only is 13 breaking up (and sometimes going out completely) and 31 is out, PBS (21) is also breaking up. I have NEVER had this happen with 21 before.

Both TVs are affected the same. The Vizio "Signal Quality" number does not correlate with good/bad signals. Is that a worthless feature?

Nothing unusual going on weather-wise.

JOE in AZ: Sunspots? Rochester transmitter problems? I'm going to assume that neither of those are a problem. So it has to be something between my antenna and TVs. Where do I start checking and how do I do it?

EDIT: It is now an hour later (1:30) and all channels are coming in fine. This seems to be a pattern, maybe not within an hour, but I've noticed the problem come and go before within a few hours.
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Last edited by Dagwood; 12-Apr-2020 at 5:29 PM.
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Old 14-Apr-2020, 12:50 PM   #4
jrgagne99
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I guess my first thing would be to try to start at the source (the antenna). Check the terminal connections, maybe take a piece of sandpaper and some dielectric grease up with you. If possible, take a small TV with you and confirm signal strengths at the antenna. Then check downstream of your pre-amp (if you have one), and then downstream of each component in your distribution network in sequence. Maybe it is the trees leafing out? Do you have trees that are growing taller and taller each year?
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Old 16-Apr-2020, 1:24 AM   #5
Dagwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrgagne99 View Post
I guess my first thing would be to try to start at the source (the antenna). Check the terminal connections, maybe take a piece of sandpaper and some dielectric grease up with you. If possible, take a small TV with you and confirm signal strengths at the antenna. Then check downstream of your pre-amp (if you have one), and then downstream of each component in your distribution network in sequence. Maybe it is the trees leafing out? Do you have trees that are growing taller and taller each year?
Thanks for the reply!

FWIW: Everything has been fine now for the past couple of nights. If it was the antenna, wouldn't it affect ALL channels, or not necessarily? We have fresh snow on the ground here, so I won't be able to get on the roof for a couple of days. I remember a few years ago cleaning the rod things that go into the box that the coax is hooked to -- I'll do that again. I have dielectric grease and will use it, didn't last time.

I don't have a small TV. I've been meaning to ask this here, but never did. Why doesn't somebody make a hand-held thing to check signal strength with? Also: Considering where electronics are today, it seems it should be a simple thing to diagnose my (intermittent) problem.

I also remember checking the pre-amp a few years ago, from instructions on this site; I will have to do a search for them. But I don't know how to check anything else downstream from that. Check it with what?

No leaves out yet, and trees are all mature.
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Old 16-Apr-2020, 7:20 AM   #6
OTAFAN
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Hi Dagwood:

I agree with jrgagne99 above, who is pointing you in the right direction.

As I understand these issues you raise, it's a process of elimination starting with your antenna and preamp up on your roof. Check your connections and replace as necessary, especially since you have the four seasons to contend with. Depending on the age & quality of your stuff including cable, sometimes the weather might have compromised one or more parts of your system especially in the various stages from cold to hot to rain & snow, etc.

Next, disconnect all other branches of your inside system from your LV TV; leave your main LV TV hooked up. If everything checks out OK, then move on to each other TV, one at a time, adding to your splitter/amps; process of elimination again. It's important to try and isolate the issue(s) if they show up at one or more of your TVs downstream, so to speak.

This can be time consuming and tedious, but necessary in trying to find out exactly what's giving you the problem(s). Unless you have a friend who is technically adept at these matters, or can hire someone, you should be able to figure out in a reasonable amount of time what's going on because of your familiarity with your own system. In the end, your TV(s) will tell you if you solved the problem(s) or if it's something outside your equipment, perhaps coming from your market towers or other sources of interference.

Finally, you can check Amazon for small, handheld battery powered TVs. Last time I checked their website, there were some models available. I have a few that I bought several years ago that I use from time to time when issues arise at my location.

I hope this helps a bit. I'm not a Tech, but have learned through trial and error and assistance from the fine Techs here on TV Fool to resolve my issues.

I would be interested in how it turns out for you, so please keep the forum updated. Thanks and all the best.....

Last edited by OTAFAN; 16-Apr-2020 at 7:34 AM. Reason: additional
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Old 16-Apr-2020, 2:43 PM   #7
Tower Guy
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Another possible source of an intermittent reception problem is interference. Typical culprits are cheap LED light bulbs, wall-wort power supplies, and battery chargers.
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Old 17-Apr-2020, 3:28 AM   #8
Dagwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
Another possible source of an intermittent reception problem is interference. Typical culprits are cheap LED light bulbs, wall-wort power supplies, and battery chargers.

Tower Guy, you nailed it. This same thing happened to me seven years ago, see this thread. Post #10 shows the problem. Tonight I'm on channel 13 and it was fine, then after a few minutes it started to degrade. Along with 21 and 31. So I come back here to check this thread.

After I read your post above, the bells started going off in my head. I have a small radio in my kitchen, and I noticed in the past few weeks that sometimes the AM stations would have a lot of static. Not always, just sometimes. I have a zillion chargers in the house (don't we all?) so just now I unplugged one at a time but the radio still buzzed, TV channel 13 still messed up.

So, totally forgetting what happened seven years ago, I went to my service panel in the basement. I have a subfeed going to my machine shop in another building so I shut it off. Radio buzz goes away, TV comes back to normal. The gears are starting to turn. The problem is in the shop.

I have my Corvette stored in the shop with a battery maintainer on it, which I've had trouble with lately, but I thought I had it fixed; I went out there just now and the green charging light was on so I assumed it was ok.

So then I checked my EDM machine (see old thread link above) and sure enough the pilot light for the heater was on, flickering actually. It is thermostatically controlled and was probably ready to shut off.

Here's why this did NOT occur to me as the problem: I haven't used the EDM in 3-4 weeks; it is in a room in my shop that I don't keep heated. When I need the machine during the winter, I plug the heater in the night before. For whatever reason (getting old and forgetful, most likely) I never unplugged it when I finished using it a few weeks ago. When I saw the pilot light on just now I couldn't believe my eyes. I reached for the cord and sure enough it was plugged in.

Another reason this didn't occur to me as the problem: A buddy of mine built this heater for me, some time before the old thread (2013). When I used it a few times earlier this winter, I noticed that my TV was fine. Nothing really had changed here in the house OR shop, and it didn't make sense. I called him, but we couldn't come up with anything over the phone why it was NOT interfering with the TV now. So I kinda put that out of my mind as a possible problem this time. I'm guessing from what "GroundUrMast" said on the old thread that one of the components in the heater must be a bit shakey.

At any rate, thanks a million. These problems with my TVs drive me nuts, as they are out of my area of expertise.

OTAFAN: Thank you also for your good reply. It didn't help me this time, but maybe it will in the future or will help someone else who reads this thread.

I missed Seinfeld a few times in the past few weeks (it's on 13-2) and that upset me, even though I know every scene and line by heart. It's on at 11:30 pm, a few minutes from now so BYE!

EDIT: To the mods or whoever runs this site, I am sorry for this wild goose chase. But thanks for the site, I never would have figured this out by myself.
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Last edited by Dagwood; 17-Apr-2020 at 3:30 AM.
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