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Old 13-Mar-2023, 12:10 AM   #1
Dagwood
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Sudden reception problem . . .

Hi all, I hope you are all doing good. I haven't posted here in a couple years or so, because everything has been working fine. Til last week.

I'm about 30 miles south of the transmitters on Pinnacle Hill, coming from the Rochester stations. I get CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and FOX (during the winter).

PBS has always been the most powerful signal, but about a week ago it was dead. Completely dead. A day or two goes by, same thing. Occasionally I would get a badly pixelated picture that would go in and out, but nine out of ten times there would be no signal at all. FOX would not come in at all either.

So I called WXXI, the local PBS network, this past Thursday. The guy I talked to didn't know anything about reduced power, bad antenna, or any ongoing maintenance. And tonight, it's still dead.

Something happened but I don't know what, nor where to start looking. Both of my TVs have the identical problem. They are Vizio TVs, and when I check the "Signal Quality" for PBS it is, of course, zero.

In the past, somebody here has found things out about one of the Rochester stations that were having broadcast problems, but I don't remember who it was or how they found out.

Help?
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Old 14-Mar-2023, 9:29 PM   #2
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Some news: I finally got in contact with a tech guy from the local PBS station. After days of phone tag, we finally connected this afternoon -- and he was quite helpful.

They've not gotten any complaints about weak signals, so now I know the problem is on my end.

We ran through some stuff and I mentioned that I had a booster right on the antenna mast. He asked how old it was, and I know it goes back to 2009 when everyone went digital. He said when they start to go bad, the higher frequencies go first, and PBS and FOX are the highest around here.

He said that was most likely my problem, and that being 14 years old doesn't help. He said he wouldn't even bother testing or bypassing it, just replace it which is fine with me. But I'm pushing 73 and am not going on the roof until the snow is gone in a week or two.

I looked around here on TV Fool (didn't see any suggestions) and also on Wineguard's, but I'm not quite sure what to buy. From before, I know that the outdoor types that plug into 110v. indoors are the best.

Any suggestions on what to get? I don't want to cheap out, so price is not really a concern, I just want something that works well and will last.

Upon preview, from my signature I see that it was new in 2011. Also, I remember now a guy here named "rabbit" who had helped me out before. I looked at his profile and his last activity was November 2021. Is he okay or just not posting anymore . . . ?
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Old 16-Mar-2023, 11:37 PM   #3
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Hey Dagwood:

Thanks for posting this. It's been mighty lonely around here lately. Rabbit73 seems to have left TV Fool sometime back, as no posting from him for a quite a while now. He's hanging with the Super Techs over at AVS Forum. Highly technical "banter" with high end equipment, etc. He did mention in one of his posts that he had fallen off his ladder some time ago, but survived no worse the wear!

As far as your query, my recommendations from what I've read here on TV Fool, would be Antennas Direct or Channel Master. Both make good amps that probably would solve your issue. But, the amp that seems to get the most "thumbs up" is from Kitz:

https://www.kitztech.com/products.html

The one amp you probably don't want to use is from RCA. There have been a lot of quality control issues reported here on the forum.

Anyway, thanks for the "shout out!" Don't be a stranger, as the saying goes.

All the best.....
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Old 18-Mar-2023, 12:37 PM   #4
Dagwood
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Hey Otafan, thanks for the reply! I've been checking this site quite often and saw the page views for this thread go up into the hundreds, but no replies. I was almost ready to give up.

Thanks for the news on Rabbit. I probably interacted more with him than anyone else here. Glad he is okay.

I found this Channel Master the other day and was going to buy it, but I held off hoping SOMEBODY would reply to my thread first.

Winegard is still around, that's what my current amp is. I looked for amps there too but ended up leaning towards this one on Channel Master. I've never heard of Kitz before.

I'm on the margins of getting reception because of my location, so I generally want the best available. The price differences don't matter to me.

https://www.channelmaster.com/produc...42415708307624

What do you think?
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Old 18-Mar-2023, 10:24 PM   #5
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Hi Dagwood:

Looks like we're here together in real time! That doesn't often happen.

From what I've read here on the forum and in my experience, the Channel Master Amp should serve you well. They also have good customer support if you need it.

There is another line of Amps you might want to consider. Televes is probably the leader in OTA TV technology today and their products have received excellent reviews across the Net. I have spoken to their domestic office back in the midwest, and they were quite helpful with my query. The advantage of a Televes Amp is that if for some reason it was to loose power, it has a bypass so that you can still receive signals with you antenna! Here's a link:

https://www.televes.com/us/tv-distri...er-supply.html

As I mentioned in my previous post, Kitz Amps have received rave reviews here on TV Fool. You can do a search and see for yourself. I have not used their amps myself, but others swear by them.

Anyway, good to chat with you. Please update the forum with your progress. I'm sure it would be helpful to others. We know there are still many reading the posts here on TV Fool. Now if we can just get them to start posting again.....

All the best.....

Last edited by OTAFAN; 18-Mar-2023 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 19-Mar-2023, 1:32 AM   #6
Dagwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTAFAN View Post
Hi Dagwood:

Looks like we're here together in real time! That doesn't often happen.

From what I've read here on the forum and in my experience, the Channel Master Amp should serve you well. They also have good customer support if you need it.

There is another line of Amps you might want to consider. Televes is probably the leader in OTA TV technology today and their products have received excellent reviews across the Net. I have spoken to their domestic office back in the midwest, and they were quite helpful with my query. The advantage of a Televes Amp is that if for some reason it was to loose power, it has a bypass so that you can still receive signals with you antenna! Here's a link:

https://www.televes.com/us/tv-distri...er-supply.html

As I mentioned in my previous post, Kitz Amps have received rave reviews here on TV Fool. You can do a search and see for yourself. I have not used their amps myself, but others swear by them.

Anyway, good to chat with you. Please update the forum with your progress. I'm sure it would be helpful to others. We know there are still many reading the posts here on TV Fool. Now if we can just get them to start posting again.....

All the best.....
Hey OT! I remember another guy that helped me out here, "Arizona Joe" or something. I searched the members section and I think this is him, JoeAZ. If that's him, he hasn't been here since September 2021. Is this the same guy? Do you know if he's okay? Having not been here in a few years, I thought this place would be hopping, as it seems OTA is becoming a thing. Is there no one left but lurkers?

People a lot younger than me are just learning about free TV apparently, lol. I was fishing around the other day before I came here, and some site was explaining about OTA like it was some new phenomenon.

I remember when there were only two channels in Rochester, CBS and NBC, all OTA, no cable. I believe ABC came in around 1960 or so. Rabbit ears, B&W only, then horrible "color," ghosting, vertical and horizontal scrolling, no remotes -- wow I don't miss any of that.

I looked at your link, there were no prices there. I don't know what's up with that, but I'll probably order the Channel Master tomorrow.

Thanks!
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Old 19-Mar-2023, 7:27 AM   #7
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Hey Again Dagwood!

Yeah, I've posted with JoeAZ a few times and always read his posts because they were helpful. But you're right, he seems to have left the forum as well. I don't know if he's hanging with some other Techs on another forum, like rabbit73.

However, he was the first one on TV Fool to post about Televes antennas and amps, if I remember correctly. He lives up in Prescott, AZ and after he installed his Televes Antenna and Amp, he couldn't say enough good things about his reception from the "local" repeaters/towers to the east, and even Phoenix stations coming in clearly as well! He said he had never had a better antenna set up in all his years of OTA viewing. And that's saying a lot coming from him. He's had plenty of technical/installation experience, as I recall.

So that's when I started checking out their antennas and amps and monitoring comments across the Net. As I mentioned, I also contacted Televes back in the Midwest and received good customer service. Here's a link from Lowe's that will give you prices and products:

https://www.lowes.com/search?searchTerm=televes

I have tested out one of their antennas and amp at my location and was really impressed. However, I already had Channel Master antennas up and was very satisfied with their performance. So, until I need to make any changes, I'm not going to mess with success, as the old saying goes.

Thanks for sharing a little bit of your OTA viewing from the past. Always interesting to know someone's history. The good old days are looking a lot better to me the further we go into the 21st century. Honestly, not what I had thought it would be! I hope things will turn around. I suppose each of us decides what future we will have, as far as it's up to us.

Also, as things continue to get a lot more expensive, young people as well as the rest of us are going to be looking for cheaper ways to receive information and entertainment. "Free" is still a fairly accurate way to describe OTA TV. Especially in comparison to cable and other pay options.

Anyway, please keep the forum up to date with your amp project. People are interested according to the hits this thread is receiving. And I certainly want to know how you come out.

All the best.....

Last edited by OTAFAN; 19-Mar-2023 at 7:52 AM.
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Old 20-Mar-2023, 2:45 PM   #8
Dagwood
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Hi OT: I ordered that Channel Master yesterday. Being old, we tend to stick with the tried and true like CM and Winegard. The tech I talked to last week at the local PBS station agreed with those.

I will give people maybe younger than 50 a pass, but I continue to be amazed at older people who have no clue there is still free OTA TV. Zillions more channels than there used to be, all hi-def, all free. And most people being much closer to transmitters than I am don't even need a roof-top antenna.

And with more complaining about "cable bills," there is the option of streaming. I've had Roku sticks for 6-7 years now and have a seemingly endless supply of FREE movies, FREE on-demand TV shows including old sitcoms, FREE documentaries, FREE live channels, etc. Buy the hardware ($50 or so) and the rest is free.

This is all to the good, but what they've done to our vehicles by computerizing everything is another matter. When everything works, they're great. But get a little electronic glitch somewhere and you're dead in the water and calling a tow truck, or at best limping home. It happened three times to me with my '07 Corvette within a year.

Yes, "the good old days" were way better in so many ways. We are entering into a banana republic type of political system now. As someone said, the only thing worse than no rule of law is when the law is applied in only one direction.

PS: I just now figured out your screen name. I've been using "OTA" all over the place, but never put 2 + 2 together regarding your name, lol. I was thinking "OTA" was a sports team or something. Sorry! I will blame it on old people's dementia.
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Last edited by Dagwood; 20-Mar-2023 at 2:47 PM.
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Old 23-Mar-2023, 1:32 AM   #9
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UPDATE: I got the stuff from Channel Master today. I opted for "free shipping" when I placed the order on Sunday, got it today via UPS. That's pretty darned good!

There's still snow in my yard, but none on the roof. I've got to get this all figured out before I go up there, probably won't be for a few days.
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Old 23-Mar-2023, 11:13 PM   #10
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Thanks for the update, Dagwood!

Always, safety always first!

Anxious to hear how it comes out for you. I'm sure with a new Channel Master Amp, you should be enjoying free, OTA TV again without some of the issues you had.

We'll look forward to your next post.

All the best.....
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Old 25-Mar-2023, 3:53 AM   #11
Dagwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTAFAN View Post
Thanks for the update, Dagwood!

Always, safety always first!

Anxious to hear how it comes out for you. I'm sure with a new Channel Master Amp, you should be enjoying free, OTA TV again without some of the issues you had.

We'll look forward to your next post.

All the best.....
Hey OT, haven't been up on the roof yet, but . . .

The tech guy from the local PBS station that I talked to two weeks ago (in previous post) said that when an amplifier goes bad, usually the higher frequencies go first, which is what happened: 21 (digital 22) and 31 is 28. He said channel 8 (45) would probably be the next one to go and sure enough, it did tonight.

I'll have to get this thing over with, but not tomorrow. They're calling for 50 MPH winds from the south here. Do you remember my story here from 2017 when I was on the roof in December doing something to the antenna and the wind blew my ladder down? Here is the post, in case anyone is interested. It was scary there for an hour or more, although it turned out okay.

Yikes, don't want to do that again, although since then I've tied a rope on the ladder, plus I take my phone with me. Maybe Sunday.
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Old 25-Mar-2023, 10:19 PM   #12
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Yes, Dagwood we want you safe and sound so you can post your results!

No hurries, especially with fierce winds as forecast.

We had tornadoes here the other day in So Cal, if you can believe it! But it's true. Plus much, much colder winter than even the most elderly have experienced in their lifetimes!

So, not the time to get on a roof for antenna repair, to say the least.

Ok, we'll look forward to a report from a safe and healthy Dagwood!
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