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Old 17-Feb-2015, 6:22 PM   #1
kmw
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Help me capture my white whale - PBS

Here is the TV Fool report for my address: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...2c15793c9b56c2

My antenna is a Philips SDV6122/27. I have it suspended in my kitchen window (window faces SW). I have also removed the aluminum screen from the window. I get a solid signal on channels 44, 19, 45, 20, 7, 8, 36, 38. 24 and 51 are a little more sensitive, but are generally watchable. My tuner recognizes 10, but it's rarely present. The channel I want to consistently capture is 40 - WKAR out of Lansing. I can't get a consistent signal for that station. And my family is getting tired of me tweaking the antenna "just one more time".

Is there hope? I live in a wooded area, and "leaf season" gives us trouble, but it would be nice to have PBS at least during "non-leaf season" if possible.
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 7:17 PM   #2
timgr
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The trees should have more impact on 40 (UHF) than on 11 (VHF high). 40 is also rather far off axis from southwest. All antennas are directional to some degree, and the better antennas are typically very directional.

Indoors antennas are most suitable for urban environments where local signals are very strong and transmitters are nearby. Any chance that you could move your antenna up onto the roof into the clear air? Even then if you are aiming through trees, you may have trouble. Look here at "Trees and UHF." http://www.hdtvprimer.com/antennas/siting.html
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 7:23 PM   #3
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You probably need to move the antenna to the other side of the house for WKAR, it comes from the opposite direction from where your antenna is situated.
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 7:24 PM   #4
kmw
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The antenna is strictly indoor - it's one of the small set-top. The VHF "rabbit ears" and the UHF disc in one unit.

36 comes in solidly. I don't understand why 40 isn't. They broadcast from the same direction, have similar power and NM values. Is it the difference between 1Edge & 2Edge?
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 7:33 PM   #5
timgr
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All else equal, 2-edge should be worse than 1-edge. It's the number of edges that the TV signal diffracts over to reach you. But 36 is predicted to be somewhat stronger than 40, in spite of that.

The plot is a simulation, and does not account for local obstructions such as trees and other buildings. And digital TV is all-or-none - either the signal is strong enough for the receiver to lock on to, and you get a perfect picture, or it's not, and you get nothing. If it comes and goes, you are right on the cusp of enough signal, and local conditions (ie trees swaying) are changing the reception.
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 7:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kmw View Post
36 comes in solidly. I don't understand why 40 isn't. They broadcast from the same direction, have similar power and NM values. Is it the difference between 1Edge & 2Edge?
Channel 36 beams a more powerful signal towards you than channel 40 does.

Channel 36-984,000 watts
Channel 40-349,000 watts
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 9:04 PM   #7
kmw
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So if I want to make 40 a permanent part of our line-up I need to change antennas and potentially reconsider the height?

I tried Amazon's flat antenna in November. It worked terribly, and was sent back in 3 days. Our current $25, 4 year old one outperformed it easily.
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 9:44 PM   #8
timgr
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Just get a long cable and try moving your antenna around. Just as a test. 40 is not terribly weak, but at ground level and indoors, you are at the mercy of the obstructions around you.

Can you try what ADTech suggested, move to the side of the house facing east toward the 40 transmitter?
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 10:13 PM   #9
kmw
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Moving the antenna around (some) was part of our set-up 4 years ago. We wanted to capture 13 for their local morning show, and thought our best bet was in the living room. Reception in there wasn't great at all. Which is why we ultimately decided on the kitchen window (which faces roughly 200 degrees, according to my compass. So closer to S than SW). We didn't move it through the bedrooms, just the "front" part of the house.

If I move it towards WKAR, I'm also moving it towards the 50' black cherry, as well as the treeline on that side of the yard.

Last edited by kmw; 17-Feb-2015 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 17-Feb-2015, 10:59 PM   #10
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This is what my set-up looks like. Could the chrome basket be helping or hindering? The loop is facing around 120 degrees.


[IMG]image by _Kristine, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 18-Feb-2015, 12:54 AM   #11
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This is what my set-up looks like. Could the chrome basket be helping or hindering? The loop is facing around 120 degrees.
Most likely hinder. Anything around the antenna that conducts electricity will change the electrical characteristics of the antenna. I'd suggest you keep the antenna 3' away from any wires or metal objects. Even the human body will couple to an antenna - we're full of salty water and conduct electricity rather well.
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Old 18-Feb-2015, 5:19 PM   #12
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...

36 comes in solidly. I don't understand why 40 isn't. They broadcast from the same direction, have similar power and NM values. Is it the difference between 1Edge & 2Edge?
Edge path signals are bending over and around terrain obstacles. As the obstructions become more significant, the signal will usually be more variable in strength... As a signal fluctuates in intensity over short periods of time, most tuners have more difficulty tracking and keeping a lock.

The prediction provided by TV Fool does not include the effects of foliage and building penetration losses, nor does it account for RF interference.

The signal strength and quality (which is often far more important than strength alone) at your antenna is no doubt worse than the predicted value which is based on a 'clean earth' assumption. If you want to approach the values depicted in your report, you need to eliminate all the factors that the report algorithm fails to account for. In practical terms, that usually means you need to use an outdoor antenna, mounted in a location free of obstructions.
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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 18-Feb-2015 at 5:22 PM.
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Old 19-Feb-2015, 3:54 AM   #13
eden
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The best indoor antenna I've found is the Antennas Direct C2/C2V. It seriously outperformed what TV Fool predicted I should be able to receive at my location. It's not cheap (just under $100 at Wal Mart or Best Buy) but well worth the investment. I found I could pick up all the green and yellow at my location, plus some of the pink. I moved mine outdoors to pick up a very weak PBS station in my area (deep in the pink) but it did amazingly well indoors at three different locations where I've lived in recent years.
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Old 18-Mar-2015, 7:59 PM   #14
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If I upgraded to an outdoor antenna, what would the recommendations be? I'm only concerned about the channels from SW to SE, and up to the "red" reception. We connect to one tv.
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Old 18-Mar-2015, 9:32 PM   #15
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If that report was mine and I was going to go outdoor, I'd put up a DB4 or similar with no reflector and point it south. In a clear line of site or course, no trees or buildings.

Other models will perform just as well I'm sure but I don't have any experience with them. My DB4 has, (so far anyway), done an excellent job for me. Even on a high VHF channel.
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Old 18-Mar-2015, 11:38 PM   #16
eden
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I will repeat my suggestion of the Antennas Direct C2V. It is far less directional than bigger antennas and you have a lot of fairly strong signals in your area. Lots of gain isn't what you need and an antenna that can pick up signals off the back reasonably well will definitely help. Put it on the roof, use the shortest coax run you can get away with, go without a preamplifier since the stations in green will overload it. Put it as high as you can outside. The good news is this is a very small, light antenna so it's easy to manipulate and it won't disturb the neighbours. I'd start by pointing it SSE and see how that works. It covers a fairly wide spread so that should get a lot of stations. Try adjusting it a few degrees at a time to find a sweet spot that gives you the best reception.

To give you something to compare to, here is my TV Fool report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...2c1573a1a67363 Look where channels 32 and 35 are on that chart. Those stations are the ones that I didn't receive at all indoors and I now receive about 90% of the time with that antenna outdoors. I did try a DB8e, the flagship Antennas Direct antenna, and it was no improvement. I actually lost stations. I'm going to experiment with it a bit more but I am not hopeful. The C2V, OTOH, rocks despite it's small size, pulling in stations from a wide swath of country around me.

I just watched PBS Newshour on channel 32. Your channel 40 should be easy by comparison.
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Old 19-Mar-2015, 12:02 AM   #17
kmw
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Could the antennas be mounted on the existing satellite mount on the roof? I know there's a 0% chance of my husband putting new holes in the roof! Otherwise we could mount off the upper balcony, which would give a few more feet than the current placement.
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Old 19-Mar-2015, 12:06 AM   #18
eden
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Could the antennas be mounted on the existing satellite mount on the roof?
Probably. There is an old satellite dish on my house (there when I bought the place) and removing the dish gives you a short mast. The C2V I recommended can work with a very short mast (about 18") so it should work.
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