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Old 19-Nov-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
dragons021
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Disapointing results - advice on how to proceed?

Hi All,
I've been reading this forum for the past few weeks prepping for an OTA antenna install. I completed it this weekend and now am coming for advice.

Here's my signal plot: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...cc49b71cd43b91

I bought this 4 bay DIY antenna: http://m4antenna.eastmasonvilleweath...Bay%20Kit.html

I mounted it to a 6' wooden post and attached the post to a 10' PVC pipe. The 2" PVC pipe slides over the post of my old DTV J-mount. Total altitude to the top of the wooden mast is about 30' (the signal plot is set at 25').

I attached antenna to a Winegard HDP269 Signal Amplifier via a 2' coax cable. I then connected into my existing DTV cable which runs into the house (approximately 80'). Other than the pre-amp, I have one pass-through connector (grounding block) and the amp power connection splitter before terminating in my HDHomerun Dual tuner. I have an HTPC running Windows Media Center.

I am receiving all stations down to WLIW (21.1) except WABC (7) and WCBS-TV (22), although I don't know how to tune WCBS-TV (22). It doesn't show up in my listings and nothing tunes if I add the channel manually in WMC.

My goal is to pick up the channels at 19/33 and as much as possible in 236/250, but if I could just add 1 Fox and 1 CBS station, I may be able to convince the wife to drop cable. We were without cable for almost 3 weeks after Hurricane Sandy and I'm ready to give the cable company the finger.

Briefly, during my various testing, I was able to pull in 4.1 and 5.1 (this was when I had the wooden mast sitting on the J-Mount, about 7 feet lower than it is now and angled poorly. Both stations showed no signal in WMC, though.

I have to get a better compass, the one on my phone seems sketchy, but in the 3 positions I tested (directly at 236/250, 19/33 and "splitting the middle" at 220/235), pointing at 19/33 seems to give me the best results, in that I can pull in 30.1 NBC where I couldn't otherwise.

Any suggestions on how to proceed from here?

How much signal loss am I getting with ~80' of coax? Would a stronger pre-amp help any? Would it pay to mount a 2nd 4-bay antenna on the other side of the mast and combine the signal before connecting to the pre-amp? Does the mast material make a difference?

Any other suggestions?
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 2:30 AM   #2
elmo
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In regards to the HDHR, do you have the older white version or the newer black version. The older has dual inputs which IMO makes it better, as you can attach two different antennas and tune the best from each. You can set priority for each channel/tuner right from WMC. Then it's seamless channel flipping after that. That'd be an option for you possibly since you have signals in all directions. But if you have the newer HDHR with a single coax, your only option to go this route is another HDHR.

Use the HDHR setup/config app to tune, as it'll give you more details vs WMC's bars will.

As for the DIY antenna, I dunno how much you can expect. I built a similar one that's sitting in the attic right now. It's the wire hangers version on a 1x4 screwed down into an old christmas tree stand. It worked pretty well and was fun to build, but wasn't that great compared to some purchased antennas, plus it had nothing for VHF, like WABC for you.

Another antenna joined directly will likely just cause you multipath issues. Plus there's a rule of thumb for distance between antennas.
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 2:42 AM   #3
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Are cross over points on the antenna touching? From those pics, it looks like wire from each phase crossing w/o an insulator.
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 3:04 AM   #4
dragons021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmo View Post
In regards to the HDHR, do you have the older white version or the newer black version. The older has dual inputs which IMO makes it better, as you can attach two different antennas and tune the best from each. You can set priority for each channel/tuner right from WMC. Then it's seamless channel flipping after that. That'd be an option for you possibly since you have signals in all directions. But if you have the newer HDHR with a single coax, your only option to go this route is another HDHR.

Use the HDHR setup/config app to tune, as it'll give you more details vs WMC's bars will.

As for the DIY antenna, I dunno how much you can expect. I built a similar one that's sitting in the attic right now. It's the wire hangers version on a 1x4 screwed down into an old christmas tree stand. It worked pretty well and was fun to build, but wasn't that great compared to some purchased antennas, plus it had nothing for VHF, like WABC for you.

Another antenna joined directly will likely just cause you multipath issues. Plus there's a rule of thumb for distance between antennas.
Newer black.

I got a good deal on it, so could probably sell it for even money. I'll look into getting the white version.

Is there an antenna you'd recommend that would work better in my situation (omni-directional)?
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 3:07 AM   #5
dragons021
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Originally Posted by elmo View Post
Are cross over points on the antenna touching? From those pics, it looks like wire from each phase crossing w/o an insulator.
No, they're not touching. One wire is torqued backwards toward the mast, the other is torqued forwards. There's about an inch clearance between each wire.

The main reason I went with this antenna is the ease and cost of testing out the signals. I didn't want to get too far into the project ($) to find out I can't pull stations from both directions. But, after this test, I don't mind spending more money on a better antenna if the data supports it.
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 3:37 AM   #6
elmo
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Well, if you can score another deal, there's nothing wrong with another HDHR for a total of 4 tuners! I have not idea why they'd truncate a coax input. THanks to a deal some time agao, I have 4 tuners now - never an issue to grab a channel anymore.

As for antenna, maybe the ANT-751. It's less directional than most and can pull stations in your range. It's a decent price too at $40 shipped from Amazon. I setup one in an attic just yesterday and it worked great for that situation. Another similar option is the Winegard 7000R that may help tune the VHF even better.
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 4:17 AM   #7
teleview
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Above the Roof install a Antenna Craft Y5713 antenna aimed at about 235 degree magnetic compass direction for reception of WABC 7 ABC to the south west with the front of the antenna and WTNH 10 ABC with/through the back of the antenna.

Install a Antennas Direct Clear Stream 4 CS4 antenna with the reflector screens removed , aimed at about 25 degree magnetic compass direction for reception of the group of Tv stations to the , north , north east , east.
And WCBS CBS to the south.

With the reflector screens removed from the CS4 the antenna will receive at the front of the antenna and back of the antenna.

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

Connect the Y5713 antenna and the CS4 antenna together with a UVSJ.

The Y5713 will connect to the VHF connection of the UVSJ.

The CS4 will connect to the UHF connection of the UVSJ.

The third connection of the UVSJ will connect to a Antennas Direct CPA-19 preamp.

Type the letters ->uvsj <- in the http://www.solidsignal.com search box.
____________________________________________________________

For 1 Tv connection use no splitter.

For 2 Tv's connected use a , HFS-2D , 2 way splitter.

For 3 Tv's connected use a , HFS-3D , 3 way splitter.

Buy the HFS splitters at , http://www.hollandelectronics.com , or , http://www.solidsignal.com.

_____________________________________________________________

Install the antennas above the roof in such a manner that the roof or house is not blocking reception of the directions , north , north west , east , south.

Here are some above the roof antenna mounts , http://www.ronard.com/909911.html , http://www.ronard.com/34424560.html , http://www.ronard.com/ychim.html , http://www.ronard.com.

Buy the ronard antenna mounts at solidsignal by typing the word ronard in the solidsignal search box.

Here are some places to buy antennas and etc. , http://www.solidsignal.com , http://www.amazon.com , http://antennacraft.net.
___________________________________________________________

It looks like WCBS CBS is transmitting on UHF channel 33. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WCBS-TV.
___________________________________________________

As always , trees and tree leaves do a real fine job of reducing or blocking reception and so do buildings and other obstructions including your own house.

It is best to install antennas at a location that has the least amount to no amount of obstructions of any type or kind in the directions of reception including your own house.

The Tv/s Must Channel Scan for the Broadcast Tv Channels , sometimes named the 'Air Channels' or 'Antenna Channels' in the Tv setup menu because the Tv transmissions travel through the air from the transmitting antenna to the receiving antenna.

DO NOT channel scan for cable tv channels.
_______________________________________

Digital Broadcast Tv tuners can develop , Digital Glitches , that are not cleared out with a simple channel scan.

I recommend do a Double Rescan.

http://www.dtv.gov/rescan.html.

Last edited by teleview; 20-Nov-2012 at 7:15 AM.
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Old 20-Nov-2012, 11:01 PM   #8
dragons021
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Thanks for the suggestions. I will work on these items and update when I have everything installed.
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Old 21-Nov-2012, 2:35 AM   #9
dragons021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmo View Post
Well, if you can score another deal, there's nothing wrong with another HDHR for a total of 4 tuners! I have not idea why they'd truncate a coax input. THanks to a deal some time agao, I have 4 tuners now - never an issue to grab a channel anymore.

As for antenna, maybe the ANT-751. It's less directional than most and can pull stations in your range. It's a decent price too at $40 shipped from Amazon. I setup one in an attic just yesterday and it worked great for that situation. Another similar option is the Winegard 7000R that may help tune the VHF even better.
4 tuners is really nice (I have a Ceton Infinitv now), although I'm not certain I will need 4 if I can make the switch to OTA. It's nice to know it's easily added later, though.

The HDHomerun config app turned out to be very informative, thanks for suggesting it. I'm more encouraged about making some adjustments because it seems I'm not that far away from the stations I'm missing.

Bold I currently get, italics I do not.

Signal Strength / Signal Quality

49 WEDW 85/85
30 (59.1) WCTX 93/97
10 (8.1) WTNH 100/100
47 (55.1) WLNY 78/86
20 WCCT 64/72
26 (26.1) WHPX 72/74
35 (30.1) WVIT 63/75

7 WABC 68/45
21 (21.1) WLIW 66/84
31 (61.1) WTIC - can't find in the config tool
33 (2.1) WCBS 62/54
44 (5.1) WNYW 59/62
28 (4.1) WNBC 62/59


So it seems I need a signal strength of 60+ and a signal quality of 70+. Those seem reachable if I'm only ~10-15% away.

One thing that's interesting is that most of those channels are tunable in HDHomerun QuickTV, but not in WMC.
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Old 21-Nov-2012, 5:01 AM   #10
GroundUrMast
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Tounge in cheek rant & some HDHR experience

Ah... the good old days, when you could get up, walk over to the TV, turn the knob and if there was a signal on the channel selected... you would see it.

WMC is nice in many respects, but MS tends to presume to do more thinking for the user than might be needed. I've found that if you tell it you live in a given ZIP code, they give you 'THE' lineup they think is appropriate. As I recall there is some provision for manual addition of stations, but the lineup server wont play nice with the information. I have experimented with 'alternate' ZIP codes and was able to get WMC to display a more complete lineup.

I finally settled on a DIY solution for PVR/DVR functionality: http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=820

Oh, FWIW, signal quality indication in the 50% range is 'on the edge' at best. Usually SQ > 60% is needed for reliable viewing. SQ > 70% is needed for a reliable recording.

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 21-Nov-2012 at 5:05 AM. Reason: Signal Quality figures
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Old 21-Nov-2012, 11:02 PM   #11
channelguy
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If you have an iPhone (not sure about Android) there is an app called "Signal GH" that feeds the HDHomeRun signal statistics to the phone in real time. So you could be on your roof adjusting the antenna and watch the graphs on the phone to get the aiming right for selected stations.

I've never tried the app, so take this with a grain of salt. But it might be helpful.
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Old 26-Nov-2012, 3:29 PM   #12
elmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragons021 View Post
One thing that's interesting is that most of those channels are tunable in HDHomerun QuickTV, but not in WMC.
Hmmm. I think you should be able to tune them in WMC if you can get them on Quick TV. It should be streaming the same signal. Be sure that once you are done tuning in the HDHR apps, redo the channel scan in WMC. I know that's a pain as it likely includes channels that cannot be received, but those aren't too hard to remove from the guide.
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Old 26-Nov-2012, 6:53 PM   #13
dragons021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
Ah... the good old days, when you could get up, walk over to the TV, turn the knob and if there was a signal on the channel selected... you would see it.

WMC is nice in many respects, but MS tends to presume to do more thinking for the user than might be needed. I've found that if you tell it you live in a given ZIP code, they give you 'THE' lineup they think is appropriate. As I recall there is some provision for manual addition of stations, but the lineup server wont play nice with the information. I have experimented with 'alternate' ZIP codes and was able to get WMC to display a more complete lineup.

I finally settled on a DIY solution for PVR/DVR functionality: http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=820

Oh, FWIW, signal quality indication in the 50% range is 'on the edge' at best. Usually SQ > 60% is needed for reliable viewing. SQ > 70% is needed for a reliable recording.
So my best bet is to try a zip code in WMC smack dab in the middle of the two sets of antennas I'm trying to reach? The station add-on tool did absolutely nothing for me.

If I understand correctly, Signal Quality is what the antenna can pick up. This can't be boosted. Signal Strength can be boosted by a pre-amp, but is this at a cost of SQ? What is Symbol Quality?

I'm almost at 70% for the few stations I want. Hopefully the other antenna will do the trick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by channelguy View Post
If you have an iPhone (not sure about Android) there is an app called "Signal GH" that feeds the HDHomeRun signal statistics to the phone in real time. So you could be on your roof adjusting the antenna and watch the graphs on the phone to get the aiming right for selected stations.

I've never tried the app, so take this with a grain of salt. But it might be helpful.
This would be a huge help. I can't find an android version, so I'll probably borrow my friends iPad. Thanks for the tip!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elmo View Post
Hmmm. I think you should be able to tune them in WMC if you can get them on Quick TV. It should be streaming the same signal. Be sure that once you are done tuning in the HDHR apps, redo the channel scan in WMC. I know that's a pain as it likely includes channels that cannot be received, but those aren't too hard to remove from the guide.
Do you mean re-scanning in WMC after adjusting (antenna or something else), or re-scanning after running the HDHR signal strength tool and Quick TV? I did it after getting off the roof for the last time, but not after playing with the HDHR tools. I'll try this, thanks.
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Old 26-Nov-2012, 7:05 PM   #14
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Do you mean re-scanning in WMC after adjusting (antenna or something else), or re-scanning after running the HDHR signal strength tool and Quick TV? I did it after getting off the roof for the last time, but not after playing with the HDHR tools. I'll try this, thanks.
To be clear, after I adjust the antenna, I do a rescan in HDHR Setup under Digital Antenna and make sure what I expect shows as enabled. I then rescan in WMC. I'm not sure that's right/required, but it seems to work for me. If you've done that, then I'd expect you'd be in good shape to view all in WMC just as you can in QuickTV.
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Old 26-Nov-2012, 11:52 PM   #15
dragons021
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To be clear, after I adjust the antenna, I do a rescan in HDHR Setup under Digital Antenna and make sure what I expect shows as enabled. I then rescan in WMC. I'm not sure that's right/required, but it seems to work for me. If you've done that, then I'd expect you'd be in good shape to view all in WMC just as you can in QuickTV.
Ok, thanks. I didn't intentionally do that every time I adjusted the antenna, but I did do it a final time after the last time I adjusted it. I'll be going back up on the roof when I can borrow an iPad, so I'll make sure to rescan each time.
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Old 29-Nov-2012, 6:46 PM   #16
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A couple of quick questions before I run some tests in 30 minutes...

During my previous testing, I had a small coax female/female pass-through connector which I had in-inadvertently changed the direction of. This hurt my signals. When I changed it back, signals went back up. I wasn't aware these were directional.

Are grounding blocks directional as well? I'm wondering if I should try switching the direction of the grounding block I'm using. Also, on grounding blocks, are some better quality than others? I'm using one line on a 4to4 grounding block that DirecTV installed years ago. Should I upgrade this?

I applied silicone to the connections on the block an hour ago and retested signals in anticipation of going up on the roof. They're almost all weaker now than they were when I started. If anything, more leaves are down than when I first set up the antenna. Do signals fluctuate based on time of day or did I screw something up?

Last edited by dragons021; 29-Nov-2012 at 6:50 PM.
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Old 4-Dec-2012, 2:12 AM   #17
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I will follow teleview advice my mother-inlaw lives a few miles from your house Devon CT she is aiming with a Y5713 for VHF with a cpa-19 and getting 100% signal from NY.
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Old 4-Dec-2012, 4:01 AM   #18
dragons021
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I will follow teleview advice my mother-inlaw lives a few miles from your house Devon CT she is aiming with a Y5713 for VHF with a cpa-19 and getting 100% signal from NY.
Thanks for this. She's a few miles in the right direction, but that's definitely encouraging. What is she using for UHF and how well do those stations do?
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Old 4-Dec-2012, 6:30 AM   #19
teleview
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F81 Barrel connectors are not signal directional , ground blocks are not signal directional.

Bad F81 barrel connector , bad ground block.

I think you are using bad coax , connectors that are not put on the coax correctly.

The foil shied and shied wires can be pushed in and touching the center wire of the coax , look inside the connectors on the ends of the coax , this cause bad signals.

The foam that surrounds the center wire can be stuck to the center wire , look inside the connectors on the ends of the coaxes.

The center wire or foil shied and shield wires of coax can be broken.

A nail or screw might have been put through the coax.

Or the coax can be bad because that is what the coax wants to be and is.

Use new coax and coax that is known to be good.

If a splitter is being used that is not a HFS splitter , and the preamp power supply/power injector is on one side of the splitter and the preamp unit is on the other side of the splitter then a splitter that passes power through the splitter needs to be used.

The HFS splitters pass power and have a diode that passes power one way so there is no power back feeding.

When using a VHF antenna and UHF antenna a real and actual UVSJ needs to be used.
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Old 4-Dec-2012, 6:37 AM   #20
GroundUrMast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragons021 View Post
...

During my previous testing, I had a small coax female/female pass-through connector which I had in-inadvertently changed the direction of. This hurt my signals. When I changed it back, signals went back up. I wasn't aware these were directional.

Are grounding blocks directional as well?

...
F-barrels are passive and should not be directional. The same is true for ground blocks. It sounds like the contacts have been spread, perhaps by repeated use or by insertion of a larger than intended wire. A bent wire or poorly cut coax wire tip with a wide bur could spread the contacts further than expected.

I would try a new barrel connector and if there is reason to suspect the ground block, replace it also. Life's too short and these parts are too inexpensive to fight with.

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 4-Dec-2012 at 6:39 AM.
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