OTA Signal Measurements

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
scubajwd
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:58 am

I'm a recent OTA participant and while I have an extensive
computer & networking background the OTA signal
measurement metrics seem confusing. There are some
heavyweights in this forum audience so I'm reaching out for
some "free" education..yes, I've tried googling OTA signal
components but all explantions just seem to add more uncertantiy;
specifically It appears I'm on the edge with an indoor antenna and I'm
not pulling in some VHF-HI stations (PBS NBS ABC) but am getting
CBS..the metrics for CBS are: modulation lock:8vsb signal strength 77%
signal quality :57% symbol quality: 100%; can someone interpret these
numbers for me? I'm using a Directional (unamplified) antenna with about 50 ft
of RG6 coax to my connect duo Why am I not seeing the other networks on my
channel scan when they originate from the same tower? CBS is at 174 Mhz and ABC is
at 210 Mhz only 6 miles from my house...yes there are obstructions but CBS is
crystal clear..antenna is pointed directly at tower using compass & TVfool info
THanx in advance..

Ken.F
Posts: 1973
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:20 am
Device ID: 1041A706, 1043EB32, 104BAD9E, 13168DC5, 1322A7AC
Location: West Rockhill, PA

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby Ken.F » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:19 am

...the metrics for CBS are: modulation lock:8vsb signal strength 77%
signal quality :57% symbol quality: 100%; can someone interpret these
numbers for me?
Signal Strength & Quality:
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4474

ACraigo
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:11 am

I'm a recent OTA participant and while I have an extensive
computer & networking background the OTA signal
measurement metrics seem confusing. There are some
heavyweights in this forum audience so I'm reaching out for
some "free" education..yes, I've tried googling OTA signal
components but all explantions just seem to add more uncertantiy;
specifically It appears I'm on the edge with an indoor antenna and I'm
not pulling in some VHF-HI stations (PBS NBS ABC) but am getting
CBS..the metrics for CBS are: modulation lock:8vsb signal strength 77%
signal quality :57% symbol quality: 100%; can someone interpret these
numbers for me? I'm using a Directional (unamplified) antenna with about 50 ft
of RG6 coax to my connect duo Why am I not seeing the other networks on my
channel scan when they originate from the same tower? CBS is at 174 Mhz and ABC is
at 210 Mhz only 6 miles from my house...yes there are obstructions but CBS is
crystal clear..antenna is pointed directly at tower using compass & TVfool info
THanx in advance..
You kinda answered your own questions, but may not know it.

Adjusting your 'Antenna' will be made much easier, and done way more accurately with that HDHR Signal Strength app, you can put on your smart phone. If I had that 45 years ago it would have saved at least a million trips up and down various towers/structures/trees/etc all over Eastern USA.

Google Terms:

Code: Select all

hdhr signal meter phone app
will reveal many links to said app, for various operating systems, Apple and Android covering most of the bases. The app I'm using is free. Beware of 'not so cheep' imitations.

If you can receive the TV Signals on your dental work, then an 'Indoor, Super Hot Dog, A #1, HD Antenna' might work. Might not.

One thing is sure: A Coat Hanger all bundled up in a black square you tape to the wall, is cut for a channel somewhere in the UHF band. You've already revealed a couple of stations in VHF-Hi, perhaps one in VHF-Lo and there's no way a Coat Hanger is going to work across 3 TV Bands - from inside the house.

If you reveal your zip code I can make some antennae recommendations, once I look at TVFool. I can guarantee none of my recommendations will be a coat hanger disguised as a 'Super Hot Dog, A#1, HD Antenna'.

You can make a decent antenna out of (several) coat hanger(s), but it won't look anything like the one you're using now.
You can get great signals on 'Indoor' Antennae, but a real danger exists that you and your antennae may be sleeping in the dog house, The Dog, taking up residence where you used to live:

Image

;)

scubajwd
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:57 am

Thanx, Craig, for the insightful (and comedic) reply; I've already consulted tvfool.com
in my journey; I'm afraid that I am plagued with geography impeding my signal
quality; I may try a directional antenna in my attic; do you have any
recommendations for a good quality antenna that could easily be installed in an
attic? I've got to get my antenna higher up to receive the VHF-HI
channels that I'm not getting..I've convinced myself that for me an indoor solution
won't work and my HOA won't allow a pole mounted HDTV antenna off my roof..
Thanx in advance..

scubajwd
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:03 am

Oh..sorry..the zip is 89052..Henderson NV..the main antenna is located 5 miles due east
of my house in the Black Mountains..I do not have LOS

ACraigo
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:48 am

For that zip code, and through some detective work from your scantily detailed text - I see a whole gob of LOS everywhere I move the 'your location' icon to achieve '5 miles, sorta East', splitting the difference to the two possible tower farms in the area.

http://www.tvfool.com/
Start 'Maps', give your 'real address' a go and give yourself 20 feet. Select 'Satellite' view and check the box that draws the target tracks on the map.

You've got a mix of UHF, VHF-High and VHF-Lo. A successful attempt would include the purchase of a magnum 3 band antenna aimed at one of the two possible antenna farms. <--- the farm you get the best would, of course, be the prime target.

I'm glad there's no HOA around here, or they'd have a pink and electric green house on the block with an expletive, not deleted, painted on the roof, because a HOA can NOT restrict the installation of an outdoor antenna. At least not in America and at least not at this time. More good news, is that if you have an attic space under a NON-METAL-ROOF, some success may be achieved through said magnum antenna aimed at the most likely antenna farm, which ever that one is from your 'true' location.

Again, and I can't state this strongly enough, a METAL ROOF of any kind makes an attic antenna installation a wild @ss dream destined to fail, but here's a magnum 3 band antenna for use under shingles and lighter roofing materials:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001DFS4BI/re ... ubs_2?th=1

Yes, that thing is HUGE!
I suggest building it in the attic.

Normally, I would suggest a much smaller antenna for distances of 5 miles, but your preliminary forays into your new 'hobby' haven't produced any edible fruit - so go big, or stay home, I always say. I think it's pretty safe to say if that antenna doesn't get the job done, send it back and give up. Amazon's return policy is bulletproof.

;)

Also worth noting for the edit:
If 'Super Hot Dog' wasn't getting any signals because it just sukced, it's very likely a 'real antenna' may work 'too well'. If your signal reports 100%, but the picture looks like it's being bounced off the moon, you may be overloading the receiver(s) and that means you need less antenna, or you need to pad some frequencies down, through clever and sometimes complicated user gyrations.
Last edited by ACraigo on Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gggplaya
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:48 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby gggplaya » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:53 am

Wow that sucks and the reason I will never live in an HOA controlled home.

I use this app on my iPAD https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/signal- ... 80769?mt=8 to check signal strength. You can check multiple channels simultaneously while you adjust your antenna. I would get the antenna as high as possible, the attic makes a big difference due to lack of insulation. At least it did in my coworkers house when comparing attic to an upstairs bedroom right under it.

Keep the cable length short-ish if you can and don't split the signal using a splitter, a direct connection to the HDhomerun box is best. In some scenarios you may need an amplifier, although my installing did not require any kind of amplifier.

At my house, I had near >90% signal strength inside the house but only about 50% signal quality and nothing came in very well. And amplifier didn't do anything to help signal quality so I removed it. Moving my antenna to the outside on the same floor brought my signal quality to >80% for all my channels. I live about 25-35 miles from the TV towers in the nearest large city.

scubajwd
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:20 pm

Thanx VERY VERY much for the info, Craig,,,probably will save me 10 antenna iterations
and numerous trips up and down from my attic..new data points this morning..I took my
little indoor flat panel and professionally attached it to a pool pole with extender (duct tape)
and raised it up in my back yard (adding about 30 ft of RG6); rotated the pool thru several
iterations homing in on the tower at 110 deg East off of true north..final got ABC & CBS (a first);
the pole is about 20 ft up but still probably 8-10 ft lower than the ridge line of my roof
where the attic experiment will commence; signal quality went to 70%; I now feel that my
unstable reception inside was do to reflected signals rather than direct tower to antenna signals
as I recorded two (Connect Duo) shows for an hr w/o any drop in signal quality with the outdoor
rig..I'll study the antenna that you recommend, take some measurements, scope out my
attic and do some planning..thanx again..

ACraigo
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:36 pm

Thanx VERY VERY much for the info
No problem. Keep us posted.

Tuning an antenna is made SUPER-DUPER-HOT-DOG easy through the use of one of those HDHR signal apps, available on Apple and Android. Eyeball aiming is never as good as looking at the signal. When you think you should be aimed at the tower, but the best signal arrives after careening off Farmer Brown's Barn, the beauty of a signal meter really shows itself.

lol

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 13068
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby jasonl » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:27 pm

What model antenna are you using currently? 5 miles from the towers you probably don't need an attic or roof antenna, but you do need the right indoor antenna, especially in a market like Las Vegas that has a lot of VHF stations.

scubajwd
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:15 pm

I've been testing with the https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HS ... UTF8&psc=1
and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B1 ... UTF8&psc=1
both have proven to be inadequate indoors for VHF HI for my location

ACraigo
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:28 pm

I've been testing with the https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HS ... UTF8&psc=1
and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B1 ... UTF8&psc=1
both have proven to be inadequate indoors for VHF HI for my location
Two fine examples of Snake Oil... well, a bit more effective than Rattler-Lube in that if you live close enough to the transmitters to have your DNA reprogrammed by electromagnetic energy, either of those two coat hangers will do a fine job, but neither one of them is cut for anything outside of 'smack dab in the middle of' the UHF band.

scubajwd
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:31 am

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby scubajwd » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:57 pm

Yup...seems so..but at least the wasted $ has allowed me
to raise my knowledge level on OTA broadcasting..
Keep on moving forward..

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 13068
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby jasonl » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:15 pm

If you have the antenna mounted in a window, take the coax cable running out of it and make a 34" long section running horizontally below the antenna taped to the glass, then run it to the HDHomeRun. That will help it a bit on the VHF. The panel itself is basically invisible to VHF frequencies because of its size (kind of like how skin and muscle are invisible to X-rays), so the only reception those antennas do get on VHF comes from the coax cable. The best option is to get an antenna that is actually designed for VHF. I've been a fan of the Antennas Direct C1-V for a while now. The loop alone gets similar performance to a panel antenna on UHF channels, and the screen will help it even more. The rabbit ears pick up the high VHF channels. I haven't found anything better for the price or size. I just hope they don't discontinue it, which seems to happen way too much to the antennas that prioritize performance over marketing.

ACraigo
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA Signal Measurements

Postby ACraigo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:24 pm

I've been a fan of the Antennas Direct C1-V for a while now.
That is a real antenna. It has all the necessary components.

If I showed up cold, 5 miles from 85KW, it would be reasonable for me to assume that antenna would work for UHF and VHF-High. if VHF-Lo is taking the paint off the house, it should excite that antenna without difficulty. At that price you can stack two of them going in different directions easily enough. They're small enough to easily go in an attic or closet for that matter.


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