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Old 7-May-2014, 1:48 AM   #1
cspartan
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Reception issues

Hi all, I'm looking for some sage advice. With the Comcast digital changeover I planned on ditching them because of the converter boxes taking the previous basic HD channels I received and downgrading them to SD - way to inform your customers on that one!

In my previous residence near Minneapolis I had a Monoprice antenna that worked really well (this one). I was 14 miles from the broadcast stations and picked up 20+ channels.

I've moved further southwest of the broadcast towers for Minneapolis and am now 20 miles from their location.

My signal analysis report:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e1c655da9321ac

I tried the Monoprice antenna in my new location and was able to pick up some stations, but it was spotty even with the power inserter. So I did some searching for good HD outdoor antennas and purchased a RCA Ant751 based on reviews (prior to finding this wonderful site/forum). Now I get most of the stations on one TV and only a few on the MCE machine with an Avermedia Duet (here). I've tried the power inserter and it seems to help a bit.

Here is the setup I have. The Ant751 is on the peak of my garage mounted on the Jpole and base roughly 13' from the ground. I have a 100' of coax (used previously with the monoprice antenna and worked superbly) running into my basement, then into the Monoprice power inserter and directly into one 2-way splitter (supplied by Comcast previously), then 6' of RG6 (also Comcast cable) to my MCE and the tuner card and the other end on 50' of RG6 (already present then I purchased the house) up through to a bedroom with a Vizio LCD (5 years old).

I want which is just the major networks - CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC and our local PBS (Real channels 11, 32, 35, 9, & 34). These are the only channels I care about.

The Vizio gets everything direct or on the splitter, only PBS shows less that 100% strength and that's still at 84%. The MCE machine and tuner gets Fox and NBC (9 and 11), but everything else is blocky/broken up and audio cuts in & out.

I've tried the antenna feed direct to the MCE tuner card with and without the power inserter and still can't the channels I want. The odd thing is before I actually mounted the antenna on the roof I screwed the base into two 2x4s and had it in the same spot and got everything on both the TV and MCE machine - full signal strengths on both. Screwed the base into the roof and rechecked and that's where I'm at now.

To compound issues I need to aim the antenna through some mature trees and a hill across my culdesac which also has a water tower on it, almost directly in the path from what can discern from a smartphone compass app (yes I know I'll be buying a real magnetic compass for this just to be accurate).

Question being is the RCA the right antenna for me for the channels I want. I really don't care about the rest on the signal analysis list, just the major networks (and their sub channels if possible).

Any help or recommendations are greatly appreciated!
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Old 7-May-2014, 5:47 AM   #2
teleview
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The ANT751 antenna aimed at about 52 degrees magnetic compass direction.

Here is how to aim antennas , www.kyes.com/antenna/pointing/pointing.html

Use a Real and Actual magnetic compass to aim antenna , do not trust a cell phone compass.

Install the ANT751 antenna above the Peaks of the Roofs of the garage and house in such a manner that the roofs and buildings are not , obstructing , impeding , blocking , reception in the directions of , North East the Main Group of Tv transmitters and , North West the ION Tv transmitter.

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Disconnect and Remove All amplified antennas.

Disconnect and Remove All power injectors.

Disconnect and Remove All power supplies.

Disconnect and Remove All distribution amplifiers.

Disconnect and Remove any and all types and kinds of antenna system amplifiers.

All as in All , coax , connectors , couplers , splitters , and etc.

Are Suspect of being Defective .

Replace Any and All , coax , connectors , couplers , splitters and etc. .

Use of any type or kind of antenna system amplifier to try and Ram the Tv signal through defective , coax , connectors , couplers , splitters and etc. will create more problems.

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To improve reception install a bigger better antenna.

A bigger better antenna is not a substitute for correcting antenna distribution system problems.

Install a , www.antennacraft.net , HBU33 antenna.


-------------------------

The best way to do coax wiring is.

For 1 Tv connected use No splitter.

For 2 Tv's connected use a 2 way splitter.

For 3 Tv's connected use a 3 way splitter.

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Here are some above the roof antenna mounts.

www.ronard.com/909911.html
Use the , ronard(911) , 5 foot tripod antenna mount.

www.ronard.com/34424560.html
Use the , ronard(4560) , eave antenna mount.

www.ronard.com/ychim.html
Measure around the chimney and use a , ronard(2212) , ronard(2218) , ronard(2224).

Buy the ronard antenna mounts at , www.ronard.com

--------

Home Depot has , 10 foot 6 inch lengths , 1 and 3/8 inch diameter , TOP RAIL , chain link fence , PIPE , that makes good antenna mast , the price is low at about 10 dollars.

---------------

As Always , trees and tree leaves , plants and plant leaves , have a Negative Effect on Broadcast Tv Reception and so do buildings and other obstructions including your own roofs and buildings.

Some and not all Negative Effects are.

Absorbing and Blocking Reception.

Multi-Path Reflecting Tv Signals Bouncing All Around.

The Best Practice for Reliable Reception is to install the antenna at a location that has the least amount to no amount of obstructions of any type or kind on the directions of reception including your own roofs and buildings.

Last edited by teleview; 8-May-2014 at 8:17 AM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 8-May-2014, 7:54 AM   #3
dmfdmf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cspartan View Post
Here is the setup I have. The Ant751 is on the peak of my garage mounted on the J-pole and base roughly 13' from the ground.
I think the ANT751 should work in your location. Rerun your TV Fool report for 25ft elevation. You currently have a mix of 1Edge and 2Edge signal paths and a few feet can make a big difference. You might have to extend your J-pole 3-4 ft to get a reliable signal if my comments below don't help resolve your issues.

Quote:
I have a 100' of coax (used previously with the monoprice antenna and worked superbly) running into my basement, then into the Monoprice power inserter...
I think this is the mistake here. The power inserter delivers power to the amp built into the Monoprice antenna (Can someone please confirm an internal amp as I am not familiar with this particular antenna?) The ANT751 does not have an amp built in so you are not getting any amplification.

Quote:
The Vizio gets everything direct or on the splitter, only PBS shows less that 100% strength and that's still at 84%.
This is good news, it means your antenna is providing a good pre-amplified signal even after a 100ft run of coax.

Quote:
The MCE machine and tuner gets Fox and NBC (9 and 11), but everything else is blocky/broken up and audio cuts in & out.
This was the big clue. These tuners are not as sensitive as the Vizio tuner and RG6 coax has about 5dB loss per 100ft in the UHF channels but only ~2dB loss per 100ft in the VHF channels which is why the RCH9 and RCH11 survive the trip from antenna. So the bottom line is you need a pre-amp or a distribution amp but I'll leave that to others to make a recommendation. My own thought is a pre-amp would be overloaded so close to the antenna but a distribution amp may not have enough quality signal to amplify after the 100ft run of coax or add too much noise. Perhaps someone with more expertise in this area can advise.
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Old 19-May-2014, 9:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dmfdmf View Post
This was the big clue. These tuners are not as sensitive as the Vizio tuner and RG6 coax has about 5dB loss per 100ft in the UHF channels but only ~2dB loss per 100ft in the VHF channels which is why the RCH9 and RCH11 survive the trip from antenna. So the bottom line is you need a pre-amp or a distribution amp but I'll leave that to others to make a recommendation. My own thought is a pre-amp would be overloaded so close to the antenna but a distribution amp may not have enough quality signal to amplify after the 100ft run of coax or add too much noise. Perhaps someone with more expertise in this area can advise.
Can anyone else weigh in on the pre-amp vs distribution amp? I could pick up the RCA TVPRAMP1R OR the Channel Master CM 3410 before or after the splitter.
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Old 21-May-2014, 3:01 PM   #5
dmfdmf
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Originally Posted by cspartan View Post
Can anyone else weigh in on the pre-amp vs distribution amp? I could pick up the RCA TVPRAMP1R OR the Channel Master CM 3410 before or after the splitter.
Bump... anyone? I don't know enough about amps to say if cspartan needs a pre-amp on the antenna or a distribution amp.
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Old 21-May-2014, 6:41 PM   #6
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The distribution amp is least likely to cause new problems.
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Old 21-May-2014, 9:19 PM   #7
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The CM-3410 can be used as a preamp if you can protect it from the weather. Here's an example of how I've done it, http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13659.
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Old 21-May-2014, 11:04 PM   #8
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Using any type or kind of antenna system amplifier to try and Force the signal through , defective , coax , connectors , couplers , splitters , and etc. will be the cause of problems and more problems.

The defective componets of the system are the Number 1 Problem.

A amplifier of any type or kind will make the situation worse.

Last edited by teleview; 24-May-2014 at 5:42 PM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 24-May-2014, 5:24 PM   #9
dmfdmf
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Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
The CM-3410 can be used as a preamp if you can protect it from the weather. Here's an example of how I've done it, http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13659.
That looks really complicated ;-)

Its not clear to me when a pre-amp is needed vs a distribution amp. I thought a pre-amp was needed if you are trying to pickup very low-margin signals and needed to amplify them before sending them down the wire. The distribution amp would be needed if you have good margin but are trying to drive multiple TVs, long cable runs (possibly a house wired with the older RG59 and not RG6) and/or many splitters. Also, I don't know the specs on the CM-3410 but aren't pre-amps especially low noise (compared to distribution amps) so you don't lose weak signals at the antenna?

To the OP; I would run the 100ft cable from the antenna straight to the CM-3410 (no splitters, filters, power injectors, couplers, etc in the path) then distribute the amplified signal to your TV and other tuners from there and see how that works. No warranties expressed or implied, your mileage may very, etc. I wish I could be of more help.
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Old 24-May-2014, 6:07 PM   #10
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televiews repeated caution to be sure there are no hidden faults in the cabling or connectors is correct and reasonable. There may be an insensitive tuner to blame here, but overlooking other problems is sure to complicate the situation further. Amplification is not a panacea, it can add problems that just compound other per-existing defects.

If an amplifier is truly needed, the CM-3410 is far more tolerant of strong signals. The levels shown on the TVFR in this case are not extremely strong, but there are a lot of them. An RCA TVPRAMP1R may handle them fine... But I know the CM-3410 will for sure.

The noise performance of the CM-3410 is similar to most consumer grade preamps (based on my experience with it).

Ideally, an amplifier is going to perform best if it's located close to the signal source, ahead of the loss it's to overcome.
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Old 25-May-2014, 4:30 AM   #11
dmfdmf
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televiews repeated caution to be sure there are no hidden faults in the cabling or connectors is correct and reasonable.
If you go back to the first post, I think he ruled out these kind of issues in that he was using a direct 100ft cable that worked fine in another location and he ran direct to the MCE/tuner and it has missing channels but running direct to a Vizio with an additional 50ft of cable and gets all the stations, weakest being 84%. His main mistake was using a power inserter on the ANT751 which does not have an in-built amp.

Quote:
There may be an insensitive tuner to blame here, but overlooking other problems is sure to complicate the situation further. Amplification is not a panacea, it can add problems that just compound other per-existing defects.
Agreed. But I think his testing has reasonably ruled out connection and margin issues. Perhaps the tuner card is defective.

Quote:
If an amplifier is truly needed, the CM-3410 is far more tolerant of strong signals. The levels shown on the TVFR in this case are not extremely strong, but there are a lot of them. An RCA TVPRAMP1R may handle them fine... But I know the CM-3410 will for sure.
Good to know. I agree the TV Fool report indicates decent but not great signals, so amplification may be necessary. The test in which he loses UHF but not VHF after 100 ft of cable to the MCE/tuner means that cable loss is impacting the reception. Nevertheless, it is odd that with 50 more feet of cable and a Vizio tuner can connect just fine.

Quote:
The noise performance of the CM-3410 is similar to most consumer grade preamps (based on my experience with it). Ideally, an amplifier is going to perform best if it's located close to the signal source, ahead of the loss it's to overcome.
Agreed. I think, based on the Vizio results at 150ft, he's got strong enough signals to amplify after 100ft of cable and as I suggested putting the CM-3410 at that point then feeding the MCE/tuner and the Vizio should work.
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Old 25-May-2014, 6:28 AM   #12
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There is certainly no harm in trying the CM-3410 in a more conventional mounting location. (Inside, protected from the elements.) The expense and effort to mount outdoors at the antenna is not insignificant. But if the need is proven, the addition of an enclosure and power inserter can be done at a later time.
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Old 5-Nov-2015, 4:25 PM   #13
cspartan
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Digging back into this

So I kind of gave up on this as the wife wasn't pressuring me for DVR capabilities on the MCE machine, but now that's a request so I'd like to try to get a reliable signal back into my MCE box.

From my original post -
Quote:
To compound issues I need to aim the antenna through some mature trees and a hill across my culdesac which also has a water tower on it, almost directly in the path from what can discern from a smartphone compass app (yes I know I'll be buying a real magnetic compass for this just to be accurate).
Could the trees, hill and tower be causing multipath issues that the MCE tuner can't handle, but the Vizio can? Would putting a larger Yagi antenna (like a CM-3018) or a bowtie DB8 solve this issue?

I'm really kind of stuck with the tuner card as the research I've done doesn't clearly point to a better/more robust tuner card out there.

I could pick up a Silicon Dust HD Extend, but most reviewers don't talk about them vs internal cards as far as signal strength and I don't really need the network capabilities it offers as Plex solves that for me already.

Thoughts on a bigger antenna solving my issue?
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Old 5-Nov-2015, 6:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Could the trees, hill and tower be causing multipath issues that the MCE tuner can't handle, but the Vizio can?
Yes, multipath issues and weaker signals.
Quote:
Would putting a larger Yagi antenna (like a CM-3018) or a bowtie DB8 solve this issue?
The 3018 is a huge antenna that covers VHF-Low, real channels 2-6, which you don't have. The DB8 is UHF only, real channels 14-51. I suggest the Winegard HD7694P combo for VHF-High and UHF, as an upgrade from the 751.

Add a Channel Master 7778 preamp near the antenna to amplify the signals before they suffer the 100 ft coax loss. Once a signal is lost, an amp inside can't recreate it.

You could try the CM 7778 with your RCA 751 before buying the 7694 antenna.

Code:
7694 > 7778 > 100ft RG6 > grounding > CM power > splitter
                          block       inserter
If the antenna is outside, the coax shield should be grounded with a grounding block that is connected to the house electrical system ground with 10 gauge copper wire for electrical safety and to reject interference. For further compliance with the electrical code (NEC), the mast should also be grounded in a similar manner to drain any buildup of static charge, but the system will not survive a direct strike.



Quote:
So I kind of gave up on this as the wife wasn't pressuring me for DVR capabilities on the MCE machine, but now that's a request so I'd like to try to get a reliable signal back into my MCE box.
If the upgrade works well for the Vizio but not the MCE, consider a TiVo Roamio or a Channel Master DVR+.
Quote:
Thoughts on a bigger antenna solving my issue?
Chances are good, but no guarantee when trees and hills are involved.
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Last edited by rabbit73; 5-Nov-2015 at 6:48 PM.
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Old 6-Nov-2015, 5:28 PM   #15
cspartan
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Thanks Rabbit. I will look into the HD7694P.

About the grounding wire. My home eletrical system ground is on the complete other side of the house from the antenna on the garage. Is it ok to run a length of copper wire that far? Can I bury it? What about putting in a separate grounding rod behind the garage and using that instead?
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Old 6-Nov-2015, 8:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
About the grounding wire. My home eletrical system ground is on the complete other side of the house from the antenna on the garage. Is it ok to run a length of copper wire that far?
I'm not an electrician, but yes 10 gauge copper.
Quote:
What about putting in a separate grounding rod behind the garage and using that instead?
The code says that if you have a separate grounding rod it must be connected ("bonded") to the house electrical system ground with 6 gauge copper wire which is very expensive.

Satellite System Grounding
Part 2 - NEC Overview
Presented by Todd Humphrey
http://www.dbsinstall.com/diy/Grounding-2.asp

Todd Humphrey doesn't speak for the NFPA that publishes the NEC code, but he has some ideas that are helpful. The local electrical inspector has the final say if you are willing to get him involved. Some inspectors are more friendly than others; a local electrician could tell you.
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