OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:50 am

My hardware is HDHR Connect Quatro
Model: HDHR5-4US
Device ID: 1074C841
Firmware: 20180817

All of my use is with OTA using a attic mounted antenna. I'm ~12 miles from the tower farm for all the local broadcasters of the major networks. So for the most part I have the antenna pointed so that I get 100% signal strength across the board.

However, one channel, physical address 8vsb:11 (201mhz) gives me problems. If I have the Linux hdhomerun_config_gui running on this channel, I'll see Signal Strength, Signal Quality, and Symbol Quality at 100% for 4-5 seconds, then Qual will drop to 40-50% and symbol qual will drop to 0%. It will all come back to 100% and then repeat 4-5 seconds later. During this time Sig. strength is 100%.

If I'm watching TV via the HDHR on this channel, I see a pixelation all across the screen when the problem happens. If I'm watching the same channel via the builtin tuner of my 4K TV. I see problems but far fewer and spread out more.

1. Any ideas of how to troubleshoot this? Is this frequency part of the problem?
2. Could the antenna signal be too strong?

ACraigo
Posts: 418
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby ACraigo » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:08 am

1. Any ideas of how to troubleshoot this? Is this frequency part of the problem?
2. Could the antenna signal be too strong?
1) probably not frequency related 'cause you're getting 100%(+)
2) absolutely

bypass #1 for now and put a splitter inline, feed one side to your HDHR and run some more tests. If things improve you're probably overloading the input and the TV's Tuner may be more forgiving. Anything you add in the line will knock some paint off the signal. A splitter can usually be counted on for a 3-5db loss depending on make/model. You just want to lower the input a bit by any means necessary (temporarily) so you can determine if you're overloading the receiver(s).

If your splitter-hack makes drastic improvements you may have to attenuate this particular channel, if you need the antenna's signal at full power to receive other stations. If all your channels are close, you may just need a less powerful antenna (or a more powerful coat hanger). You never said what make/model antenna you're currently using. You also didn't mention any amplifiers that may be inline (if you have any, remove them).

'Attenuating' this particular station can be as easy as moving the antenna off the transmitter a bit, or as complicated as padding this frequency by other means, particularly inline filters and such.

If the splitter-hack doesn't improve things it's possible the transmitter is on the blink. @jasonl seems to have a crystal ball when it comes to individual channels and possible transmitter issues - so stay tuned. At this point you probably want to make mention of your zip code, at least... not quite sure how powerful @jasonl 's cryrstal ball is...

jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:49 am

1. Any ideas of how to troubleshoot this? Is this frequency part of the problem?
2. Could the antenna signal be too strong?
1) probably not frequency related 'cause you're getting 100%(+)
2) absolutely

bypass #1 for now and put a splitter inline, feed one side to your HDHR and run some more tests. If things improve you're probably overloading the input and the TV's Tuner may be more forgiving. Anything you add in the line will knock some paint off the signal. A splitter can usually be counted on for a 3-5db loss depending on make/model. You just want to lower the input a bit by any means necessary (temporarily) so you can determine if you're overloading the receiver(s).

If your splitter-hack makes drastic improvements you may have to attenuate this particular channel, if you need the antenna's signal at full power to receive other stations. If all your channels are close, you may just need a less powerful antenna (or a more powerful coat hanger). You never said what make/model antenna you're currently using. You also didn't mention any amplifiers that may be inline (if you have any, remove them).

'Attenuating' this particular station can be as easy as moving the antenna off the transmitter a bit, or as complicated as padding this frequency by other means, particularly inline filters and such.

If the splitter-hack doesn't improve things it's possible the transmitter is on the blink. @jasonl seems to have a crystal ball when it comes to individual channels and possible transmitter issues - so stay tuned. At this point you probably want to make mention of your zip code, at least... not quite sure how powerful @jasonl 's cryrstal ball is...
I didn't mention that I have a 3 way splitter in my data cabinet ~30' from the antenna. The HDHR and 2 TVs are connected to that splitter. The antenna is a ClearStream 4MAX Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna. There are no amplifiers in the line or antenna. My zipcode is 27592, suburb of Raleigh, NC.

What I've done to this point is use hdhomerun_config_gui on a laptop to monitor signal performance while re-positioning the antenna in the attic. Some of my channels get ~100% regardless of direction of the antenna. I have one PBS station that I can maximize at 62% if I have it pointed in only one direction. Should I contact that local TV station to talk to their technical people. Maybe they are doing something this month related to the FCC auction freq repack.

jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:14 am

I did several tests. First I put in the 4db 2-way splitter for just the HDHR leg of the 3-way splitter from the antenna. As expected all HDHR channels signal strength was down a little, but Quality and Symbol were still at 100% on all channels except my problem channel 11. It's signal was down to 97%, but I still had about the same intermittent sig qual. and symbol % going away and returning causing the same level of pixelation.

So I put back just my 3-way splitter for the 2 TVs and the HDHR. I changed out my Clearstream 4Max for a much more primitive antenna. All signal strength were down into the 80% or low 90% but all worked well except channel 11. It still goes from 100% Signal Quality to 0 and back every 4-5 seconds. It's signal strength is 86%. Obviously lost a lot of fringe channels with this setup.

jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:33 am

I just did a test that points to the Quatro. I changed my 3-way splitter to an 8-way splitter. So now I can have my 2 TVs, the Quatro and the old Duo connected. Now when I run hdhomerun_config_gui I still have my issues with channel 11 on the Quatro, but on the Duo, 11 and all the other channels are rock solid. It's only the Quatro and only on channel 11.

Thoughts?

ACraigo
Posts: 418
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby ACraigo » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:08 am

I just did a test that points to the Quatro. I changed my 3-way splitter to an 8-way splitter. So now I can have my 2 TVs, the Quatro and the old Duo connected. Now when I run hdhomerun_config_gui I still have my issues with channel 11 on the Quatro, but on the Duo, 11 and all the other channels are rock solid. It's only the Quatro and only on channel 11.

Thoughts?
It appears to me that you've run the appropriate diagnostic measures - and here's where SD steps in to deny there's anything wrong with the tuners/software for the Quatro.

Best of luck.

I have a tower near me that was hit by lightning 4 years ago. It acts just like that signal you're looking at. The difference is that for me that transmitter is broken on everything I try to watch it with, not just SD equipment. I feel confident things won't improve for that transmitter until WV-PBS comes up with enough dough to replace it and since WV-PBS is broke that's not going to happen anytime soon. I just have to try to watch it on the good days. On the bad days I download what I missed (oddly, that's what I have to do for PTV that can't get here intact).

jseymour
Posts: 381
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 8:46 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jseymour » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:20 am

I just did a test that points to the Quatro. I changed my 3-way splitter to an 8-way splitter. So now I can have my 2 TVs, the Quatro and the old Duo connected. Now when I run hdhomerun_config_gui I still have my issues with channel 11 on the Quatro, but on the Duo, 11 and all the other channels are rock solid. It's only the Quatro and only on channel 11.

Thoughts?
It appears to me that you've run the appropriate diagnostic measures - and here's where SD steps in to deny there's anything wrong with the tuners/software for the Quatro.

Best of luck.
Yup.

I had a similar problem with a local station, though their signal strength and quality were nowhere near 100%. Every TV in the house, and the ChannelMaster DVR+, received it just fine. But not the HDHR CQ. SD claimed they didn't know what was wrong. Reached out to the station's engineers. They actually reached out to SD and got back to me. They were off-frequency by a fraction of a percent--well within FCC rules, but they corrected it, anyway. Problem cleared right up.

Followed-up here. SD never commented again.

Does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. Especially now that I have $750 invested in other hardware that all depends upon the proper functioning of that one piece.

ACraigo
Posts: 418
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby ACraigo » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:58 am

So, I guess, to the layman (speaking for myself) here's what we can take away from this 'experiment'.

The station is strong and is probably a little 'out of whack' somehow. It could be overloading the inputs, or it could be overloading the inputs 'cause it's a little 'out of whack'. Lowering the input strength allows 'other' tuners to see the station without issue, but doesn't make the SD Tuner happy enough to work.

Options:
Contact the station engineer and see if they can correct the 'out of whackiness' - or at least comment on it's 'whack'.
Another remote possibility is interference from a (very) local two-way radio source that may (or may not) be broadcasting a 'birdy' (harmonic) that's landing on your antenna - causing a major freak-out for your receivers. <--- this will be more difficult to track down, but if you could you could install a low-pass/other type of filter to combat the condition - if you can identify it as the cause (if you're heading 'voices' in your head seemingly coming from another ethereal plane, make sure those 'voices' aren't coming out of the TV when tuned to 'the channel' - dead givaway) (there was a time I was on Channel 5 more than I Love Lucy).

I think any real, long term solution will probably come from somewhere other than this forum, take a long time, and make no sense to anybody.

;)
Last edited by ACraigo on Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:11 am

thanks for all the help, I'll check with the station and then SiliconDust

embj
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:19 pm

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby embj » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:21 pm

Just know that you're not alone! I'm in Durham (~27 mi from the tower) and just started noticing the same issues after it working well for the past nine months.

I've always had ~95% signal strength and ~67% signal quality here, but since the issue started happening, I've noticed the exact same behaviors you have, where the symbol quality will drop to 50%, go back up to 100%, drop to none, and then it'll lose the lock on the frequency. Rinse and repeat.

Like you, I also have a Quatro--also have a Duo hooked up to a separate antenna pointing towards the Greensboro stations. I temporarily hooked the Duo up to the Raleigh-facing antenna and saw the issue on it, too. I hooked the antenna up to a regular TV and am not seeing the issue there--at least not in the couple of mins that I had the TV hooked up to check.

So, it definitely seems to me like it's something with the signal they're transmitting that the HDHRs especially don't like. This all started happening sometime between Wed night and Thurs night; have a recording I just watched from Wed night that was fine, but noticed the issue when tuning into Jeopardy on Thurs night.

Did you reach out to the station yet? If so, how'd you reach out?

jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:19 pm

Just know that you're not alone! I'm in Durham (~27 mi from the tower) and just started noticing the same issues after it working well for the past nine months.

Did you reach out to the station yet? If so, how'd you reach out?
I figured I call during the workweek. The switchboard probably won't trackdown a tech person on the weekend.
Jim A

UPDATE: I just found an email address for their chief engineer. I sent an email. I'll let you know what I find out.

bmitchell
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:35 pm

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby bmitchell » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:06 am

I'm having the same problem as well. I checked here as a followup to submitting a support trouble ticket. I bought my connect duo almost a year ago so I want this to be sorted out soon. Here is what I sent support.

"Recently VHF reception WTVD Raleigh-Durham Channel 11, has become unwatchable. Signal strength is 100% and symbol quality is about 50. I have a **** series 3 HD connected to the same antenna and reception on this channel has always been exceptional for both and the **** still is. I thought the splitter might be at fault and switched leads. Same results as before. This just happens on my only VHF channel, UHF is fine, just like before."

Hmmmm. Very interesting, but not very funny.

Bill Mitchell

ACraigo
Posts: 418
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:32 pm
Device ID: 1062E8EE
Location: Deep Canyon in WV (by God)

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby ACraigo » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:57 am

Judging by the increasing testing base it would appear Channel 11 has issues the lead engineer there should be made aware of... if that email produces any edible fruit everyone in the coverage area should join in in the hopes that...:

...the squeaky wheels get the grease...

The response, if any, from said station engineer should also be of particular interest to SD staff, 'cause unless I miss my guess, most of the channel 11 refugees on this forum are using SD Equipment...

nysebull
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:18 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby nysebull » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:28 am

I also feel your pain. I can't watch ABC 11 WTVD any more thru either of my 2 quatros. I have a TABLO 4 tuner that has absolutely no trouble watching and recording the channel in question, antenna direct to tv - no trouble viewing. I have a temporay solution that seems to work me, I connected a Connect DUO to a pair of rabbit ears. I purposly detuned the signal to where I have 90-60-100 on my numbers and it seems to do the trick. I can watch and record from the DUO with no problems. I blocked ABC 11 on my quatros' and only allowed ABC 11 as the only channel on the DUO.

One other interesting fact in this situation that points to WTVD being the problem. I also have Youtube TV and THEY ARE having pixelation problems with WTVD as well.

jfabernathy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:24 am

Re: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal

Postby jfabernathy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:40 am

I'm swapping emails with an ABC11 engineer. He's making suggestions, but not acknowledging any problem on their end except them being a VHF signal. I've detuned my antenna for testing even replacing it with me holding the coax. Same issue on 11-1 and Quatro. I have also setup a Duo on the same ClearStream as the Quatro. It receives fine on 11-1. So I set all my recordings for 11-1 to go to the Duo.


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