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Old 16-Feb-2011, 10:12 PM   #1
pzkfwg
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Occasional sound dropouts on OTA setup

Hi,

I have a new OTA setup for my HTPC and I have a hard time getting a reliable signal for all my channels at once resulting in regular sound dropouts of 1-2 seconds which is becoming very annoying.

Here is my tvfool signal report.

My setup:
  • In an apartment on first floor (no outdoor antenna option)
  • New and cheap RCA indoor amplified HDTV antenna; model ANT1251 (Rabbit ear/loop style)
  • Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 dual digital and dual analog tuner (this one ain't cheap)
  • Athlon X2 2.6GHz + 4GB RAM + 780G chipset (Radeon HD3200)
  • Windows 7 Media Center

As you can see, I am less than 4 miles away from my four desired local HD TV stations (I don't care for the U.S. ones) which spans over 65 degrees, not counting future stations which will grow that angle even more. Omni-directional antenna seems to be my only option.

When I look at signal strength in WinMCE, I see them very strong (100%) and occasional drops to 0%; this is very correlated to my sound dropouts explained earlier.

What would you suggest to:
  1. Gain a strong signal for all my four channels at once
  2. Avoid dropouts of usually very strong signals?

I tried several locations in the living room which has a window with a "LOS" of all the transmitters (though, there are quite a lot of 4-stories or more buildings effectively eliminating those direct LOS). Results vary, but my fundamental problem stays.
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Old 16-Feb-2011, 10:38 PM   #2
Dave Loudin
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The problem is the amplifier. You have EXTRAORDINARILY strong analog signals that are overloading it. Seriously. All you need for now is a simple loop antenna or single bow-tie antenna, neither should cost more than $5.

To keep abreast of Canada's transition to digital TV broadcasting, and to see what others in your vicinity have done, consult the OTA forum at digitalhome.ca. There will be a thread for your area in the reception results sub-forum.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:05 AM   #3
John Candle
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TV Antennas and Reception

The first 6 Tv stations are highlighted with red NM(dB) this means the transmission strength is OVER THE TOP STRONG. Do not use any type our kind of amplified antenna , the amplifier is being over loaded and causing bad reception. Read and understand this about Non amplified indoor antennas , http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=233 , Indoor antennas cost more then 5 dollars , Dave arrived here from the 1950's time travel.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:18 AM   #4
pzkfwg
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Thank you for your answers. What is puzzling me is that when I disconnect AC power from my antenna, I just don't get any signal from several channels.

I also did a test: using analog channel #17 ("close" to targeted HD chan#19), the picture is better with the amp activated.

Could it be that my antenna will not work unless the amplifier is working? What seems to comply with your theory though is that I set the amp to the minimum (if I tune it higher, signal worsens).

Could you also please recommend good antennas for my situation (specific model/brand)? Mine only cost me 8$ (refurbished; original cost 17$), but I want something that works.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:25 AM   #5
pzkfwg
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Sorry again, but I just found a source of confusion in your answers. I don't plan at all tuning the analog channels in red in the report, only the digital block of 4 channels (Nm in the 60s and Pwr in the -27s), namely CFJP-DT, CBFT-DT, CIVM-DT and CBMT-DT.

So unless you think that the analog channels may interfere with my 4 digital channels, I don't see the point of attenuating the signal...?
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:32 AM   #6
teleview
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TV Antennas and Reception

Amplified antennas do not become Non amplified antennas when switched off or unpluged , they become nothing. The Television Transmissions at your location are OVER THE TOP STRONG. I recommend using a NON AMPLIFIED INDOOR TV ANTENNA WITH A VARIABLE ATTENUATOR.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:39 AM   #7
teleview
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TV Antennas and Reception

Tv antennas receive ALLLLLLLLLLLL Tv transmissions the tuner of the device you are using to watch the Tv channels selects channels to watch. . The amplified antenna or Non amplified antenna DOES NOT SELECT THE CHANNELS ONE AT A TIME , THE TV ANTENNA RECEIVES ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL THE CHANNELS , Digital and Analog , THE TV TRANSMISSIONS ARE OVER -THE - TOP - STRONG

Last edited by teleview; 17-Feb-2011 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:40 AM   #8
pzkfwg
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Now, that explains why for my antenna!

Thanks again, this is extremely helpful.

Last edited by pzkfwg; 17-Feb-2011 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Other poster explained at the same time my question
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:44 AM   #9
pzkfwg
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I read the advised thread about unamplified indoor antenna. The two models advised are not easily accessible for me. Any chance that this one would work?
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 12:48 AM   #10
teleview
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TV Antennas and Reception

The Over The Top Strong Tv transmissions are all so producing Over The Top Strong Multipath signals bouncing all around , excessive multipath causes the digital tuner to not lock in on the channel. Use this variable attenuator to reduce multipath ,http://www.solidsignal.com , in the solidsignal search box type in 1296f

Last edited by teleview; 17-Feb-2011 at 1:09 AM.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 2:26 AM   #11
Dave Loudin
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I think you are straight, but just to review (especially for others reading along):

1) antennas will pass all RF along - the difference is to what degree,
2) amplifiers will normally pass nothing when turned off. The only way to reliably test is to bypass the amp entirely. Note that this is impossible with integrated amplifiers EXCEPT FOR THE TERK HDTVa.

Heed my recommendations and you will be fine.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 7:47 AM   #12
John Candle
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TV Antennas and Reception

Also do the double rescan , http://www.dtv.gov
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 2:09 PM   #13
Tower Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pzkfwg View Post
What is puzzling me is that when I disconnect AC power from my antenna, I just don't get any signal from several channels.
What is puzzling me is why you think that an un-powered amplifier should pass any signal.
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Old 17-Feb-2011, 11:49 PM   #14
rickcain
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Wow those are some strong signals. You could get good reception with a paperclip and a foil chewing gum wrapper
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Old 18-Feb-2011, 1:29 AM   #15
Dave Loudin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pzkfwg View Post
I read the advised thread about unamplified indoor antenna. The two models advised are not easily accessible for me. Any chance that this one would work?
You should be able to find a simple bowtie antenna or loop for less than $10. There's no reason the model antenna you linked to should cost so much.

PLEASE go to the OTA forum at digitalhome.ca for more specific advice.
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Old 18-Feb-2011, 1:55 AM   #16
John Candle
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TV Antennas and Reception

I found these 2 Non amplified antenna in Canada.http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=233 . . Be aware that Canada business often have misleading advertisements , If you do not see a Model Number or A Price or a Complete discription in a Canada advertisment , then you are in for a rough ride.

Last edited by John Candle; 19-Feb-2011 at 5:51 AM.
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Old 19-Feb-2011, 4:29 AM   #17
pzkfwg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
What is puzzling me is why you think that an un-powered amplifier should pass any signal.
It is not just an amplifier, it is an integrated antenna with amplifier. I just thought that the antenna part would still work without being amplified if I removed AC power. Teleview made it clear that it does not work that way.
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Old 19-Feb-2011, 4:43 AM   #18
pzkfwg
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Before ordering online I tried buying at my local store what appeared to me to be the simplest antenna available which happens to be this one. It did not better than my amplified RCA one... They did not have attenuators in stock

My trouble is that I always end up having 1 out of my 4 local digital channels not receiving any signal no matter how I change the antenna position. It is very sensible, a couple of degrees one way changes everything. Is it really the too strong signal causing this? What makes me doubt is two things: my TV tuner has a 4-way internal splitter (two digital and two analog tuners on the same jack). Plus, my cable length was not long enough out of the antenna, so I tried to add another cable, linking them with a 3 way splitter (with just one cable at the output) and the result was about 10 frames per second, so it seems to my amateur eyes that the signal has been attenuated "naturally".

Next step to me would be order online one of the recommended antenna plus an attenuator, but it is such an hassle to return if this was not actually my problem. How can I be sure?

Thank you very much for your valuable input!
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