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Old 24-May-2010, 9:08 AM   #1
narf
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Downtown and almost no reception...help?

I live in downtown Portland, OR and have been having problems with reception. I am about 3 miles away from about a dozen stations--most of which are due west. I also have a building across the street from me in the same direction, but it is only one floor taller than where I am located in the 10th floor.

Initially, I had the basic rabbit ears antenna and I tried every placement I could think of with little luck (I only got 3ish channels). So then I bought a nicer GE antenna with an amplifier and still not much more luck. The signals were slightly stronger, but still not strong enough to even get me a picture. I finally found one additional station when I pointed the antenna south (and the signal was supposed to come from the west) and I was literally able to trace the signal's bounce around my concrete apartment.

Would a different antenna help? Would a directional or multi-directional make more sense? I would like to stick with an indoor antenna if possible.

Thanks a lot for any help!

Last edited by narf; 24-May-2010 at 9:10 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 24-May-2010, 3:06 PM   #2
ADTech
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Unfortunately, an amplifier will not correct your indoors reception problems. At only 3 miles from your local towers at 100' above the ground, weak signal strength is not your problem. If anything, you may have too much signal power complicated by 1) that building in your way, 2) multi-path, and 3) your own building's construction.

Go to http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=90 and enter your data using 100' as your height. Post the resulting link back here. That will give us a clear idea of what signals are forecasted for your location.
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Old 24-May-2010, 4:57 PM   #3
teleview
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Lightbulb Tv reception

I know of UNCONVENTIONAL And CREATIVE WAYS to get good reception in extreme reception situations. I need some more information. Is your location on that west or east side of the 405 , is your location on the west or east side of the 05 ? In what directions do the windows and balconies face ? Some tall apartment buildings have a out side area with each apartment . It's not really a balcony as such , its more of a open area where on can put table chairs etc. . Please answer all these questions. . .

Last edited by teleview; 25-May-2010 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Spelling corrections and update/clarify information.
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Old 24-May-2010, 7:25 PM   #4
narf
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More Info on Location and Reception

Here are the predicted channels at my location. The channels I get well (with continual fiddling) are bolded. Those that come in with poor reception are italic. Special note on ABC: this was the channel I received by facing the antenna south; it worked well as long as I didn't move around the room.

Analog
Callsign Chan Network Dist
(mi) Path NM
(dB)
KRCW-LP 5 2.7 LOS 60.4
KOXI-CA 20 3.4 LOS 59.5
KORK-CA 35 3.4 LOS 58.1
KKEI-CA 38 3.4 LOS 57.8
KUNP-LP 47 3.2 LOS 55.4
KORS-CA 16 3.4 LOS 55.4
KOXO-CA 6 3.4 LOS 55.2
K14HN 14 19.9 LOS 32.1
KEVE-LP 36 45.6 1Edge -3.2
KXPD-LP 52 35.3 2Edge -9.5
K34HK 34 48.5 1Edge -10.0

Digital
Callsign Chan Network Dist
(mi) Path NM
(dB)
KRCW-TV 33 (32.1) CW 2.6 LOS 80.4
KOIN-DT 40 (6.1) CBS 2.6 LOS 79.8
KATU-DT 43 (2.1) ABC 2.6 LOS 79.6
KNMT-DT 45 (24.1) Ind 2.7 LOS 79.5
KPDX-DT 30 (49.1) MyN 3.5 LOS 78.5
KPXG 22 ION 3.4 LOS 78.2
KGW 8 (8.1) NBC 3.4 LOS 75.2
KOPB-TV 10 (10.1) PBS 3.4 LOS 73.2
KPTV-DT 12 (12.1) Fox 3.5 LOS 71.3
KORS-CA 16 (16.1) 3.4 LOS 62.0
KORK-LD 41 3.4 LOS 59.6
KPXG-LD 42 3.4 LOS 59.5
*KGWZ-LD 46 3.4 LOS 59.2
KWVT-LP 49 (17.1) 3.4 LOS 58.9
KEVE-LP 36 (36.1) 3.4 LOS 52.3
K26GJ-D 26 7.3 LOS 47.9
K14HN 14 (14.1) 19.9 LOS 37.9
K21GX 4 (21.1) 43.0 1Edge -2.2
KCKA-DT 19 (15.1) PBS 74.7 2Edge -6.4
K25CH 25 (25.1) 74.7 2Edge -18.1

I also get Spanish channels and Christian channels.

In addition to walking around holding the antenna at crazy angles, I used the Google Earth TV maps and faced my antenna in the direction of most the signals (west). This didn't significantly improve any reception. The antenna was facing a large window/glass door of the balcony (small walk-out area--no additional interference there). There is also a fairly large window on the north side of the room, but not in the immediate vicinity of the TV. As far as the highways go, I am west of I-5 and east of the 409.

Again, thanks for any help!

Last edited by narf; 24-May-2010 at 8:07 PM. Reason: link added
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Old 24-May-2010, 9:16 PM   #5
Dave Loudin
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Your issue is likely too much signal. Your tuner is overwhelmed and turns down its sensitivity. DO NOT use any kind of amplified antenna, it will just make the situation worse.

There are two ways I can think of to go. First is to get a simple loop/rabbit ears combination - cheap! You don't need sensitivity, you just need some sort of directivity (favoring one direction vice another) to isolate the best signal direction. The other way to go is with the Terk HDTV (the unamplified version). It has better directional properties (which you need) with more gain (which you don't).

Good luck!
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Old 24-May-2010, 10:20 PM   #6
narf
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directional antenna in urban area?

Tried the rabbit ears/loop and no luck there either. Thanks for the notes on the amplification as well.

So Dave, you'd recommend a directional antenna next? I was worried that the building in the signals' path was bending the signals since I couldn't find a consistent place to hold my rabbit ears/loop to the signals (since they're almost all exactly from the same compass heading). Think a directional antenna pointed directly at the building across the sidewalk (west) will help out?

Any particular suggestions for antennas to look at?

Last edited by narf; 24-May-2010 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 25-May-2010, 6:36 AM   #7
teleview
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Lightbulb Tv reception

Jibber Jabber
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Old 25-May-2010, 10:10 AM   #8
Dave Loudin
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Narf, reread the end of my post.
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Old 23-Jul-2010, 7:16 AM   #9
wfi
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Narf,
I have the same problem...living downtown Portland and no signal...I tried an indoor anthena but just 1 channel and with poor image...
Have you tried the Terk HDTV? Did you solve your problem?
Thanks
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Old 24-Jul-2010, 12:25 AM   #10
mtownsend
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To narf and wfi,

Yes, please do try the Terk HDTVi, and make sure that there are no amplifiers anywhere in the setup.

Also, if you do have a powered antenna or anything else with a built-in amp, simply unplugging it will NOT work. In most cases, when you take away the power from an amp, the amp becomes a dead circuit that doesn't allow anything through. You cannot assume that an amp will become a "pass through" device when the power is removed. The best thing to do is to make sure all amps are completely removed from the setup.



The signal analysis for narf shows lots of channels with lots of power. Even with an indoor antenna and no amplification, it might still be possible that there is too much signal power for your receiver to handle. If you are still missing most channels with the HDTVi, then you might want to try adding an in-line attenuator (like this). This will lower the power across all channels and hopefully help your tuner cope with all the strong signals.
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Old 24-Jul-2010, 8:11 AM   #11
kb2fzq
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Indoor antennas are very susceptable to electronic device's interference, computers are the worst.
I'd shut off and unplug anything electronic, and retry a rescan....
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Old 30-Oct-2010, 6:28 PM   #12
2oh1
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Same problem here

I'm in downtown Portland, OR. I live to the east of 405 by a few blocks by the Safeway in a tall building with a view to the west. In fact, the only thing between my TV and the transmitters I need is a window! And yet, I can't pick up Fox at all. NBC can be iffy.

I tried this cheap TV antenna (link!) but that didn't work. No NBC and possibly no Fox (I don't remember, to be honest. I tried that a few months ago. It didn't work, so I returned it).

Next, I tried this amplified antenna. It gets excellent reviews, but I'm guessing that it overpowers my TV? With it, I get ABC and CBS. NBC sometimes works. Fox doesn't even register.

My TV is a Dynex 32 inch LCDTV.

My goal is to get ABC/CBS/NBC and Fox so I can get rid of Comcast.
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Old 30-Oct-2010, 8:05 PM   #13
John Candle
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Tv Reception

You live 3 miles and in direct line of sight of the Tv transmitters. The signals are so strong that the first 6 channels are marked with Red as Over The Top Strong. Try this , straighten out a paper clip and stick it in the connector at the back of the tv where the coax connects to. The transmissions are so strong that the paper clip will easly receive them. . Here is my next suggestion , at http://www.solidsignal.com , order the Antennas Direct 1296F variable attenuator and the Terk HDTVi non amplified tv antenna. Connect the attenuator to the Tv with a short , very short , length of coax. Put the antenna in the window that is facing the transmitters. I would start with attenuator set at minimum. Also read and watch the video on double rescan at http://www.dtv.gov. The transmitter signals are so strong that you may need to cover the connector on the back of the tv where the coax connects to with aluminum foil, forum the foil around the connector and do that part of double rescan when no antenna is connected. The purpose of doing the double rescan is to clear out the tuner. Also do the double rescan as part of using the paper clip as a antenna.

Last edited by John Candle; 1-Nov-2010 at 5:55 PM.
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Old 1-Nov-2010, 8:14 PM   #14
2oh1
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The paper clip trick didn't work for me at all. I managed to get a station or two, but they were totally pixellated and they'd quickly drop out. Still, it's fascinating that a simple paperclip got any signal at all!
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Old 2-Nov-2010, 1:37 AM   #15
John Candle
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Tv Reception

The short piece of wire , the paper clip , is a crude way of reducing the strong signals the reflected signals.
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Old 2-Nov-2010, 2:48 PM   #16
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The paper clip, being an inefficient antenna, attenuates ALL signals, whether direct or reflected.
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Old 5-Nov-2010, 11:40 AM   #17
kb2fzq
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb2fzq View Post
Indoor antennas are very susceptable to electronic device's interference, computers are the worst. ...and cell phones...
I'd shut off and unplug anything electronic, and retry a rescan....
We're not listening! I don't care if the TV transmitter in your back yard, RF interference from electronic devices in your home can and will cause your pixilation using an indoor antenna, to stop it, you need to investigate, it could even be your TV if it's an older model.....is there RF interference in your home?
My laptop will drop my signal strength by 10 to 15% on RF 6 if I don't sleep the laptop, and mine is an outdoor antenna install....it does happen....
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Last edited by kb2fzq; 5-Nov-2010 at 11:54 AM.
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