poor signal quality until box is restarted

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:31 pm

Hi,

I recently bought a HDHR5-2US, HD HomeRun Connect, I think. Sometimes when I start an app to watch live TV the signal quality as shown under Tuner Status in my web browser is poor for some reason- like 60 something percent. This causes the stream from the box to be unwatchable but if I connect a TV directly to an antenna I have no issue watching on a regular TV. Then if I restart the box the signal quality goes up immediately to 90 something percent, what I expect it to be, and I have no issue watching live TV using the HD HomeRun box. What causes this? How do I fix it?

jasonl
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Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:25 am

Please enable the sending of diagnostic data on the HDHomeRun, run a channel scan, and reproduce the issue, leaving it going for at least 10 minutes before and after the reboot (instructions at https://info.hdhomerun.com/info/trouble ... iagnostics). Reply back with the device ID for your HDHomeRun and the time you started seeing problems and we will check the logs.

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:26 am

Sending diagnostics data was already enabled. The device ID is 1066F6C0. I noticed the unusually low signal quality this morning when I started using a tuner, maybe about 11 AM my time. Though the signal quality is unusually low the stream isn't breaking up as bad as the first time I noticed this issue. Seems like letting the box sit unused over night somehow triggers the issue. I ran a channel scan before restarting the box and still saw the lower signal quality. I restarted the box. Some channels seem OK but the channel that seems to continue to have the issue is 8 which is a VHF station. There aren't any issues watching this station on a regular TV with a regular antenna connection. Earlier I thought all the channels coming through the box were having issues so I'm not sure what is going on now. Hopefully I followed your instructions well enough for the data to be of some use.

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:29 am

Just after I posted that ^ I changed the channel from 8.1 (mostly clear stream) to 8.3 (some breakup) and then the program quit working and showed me the error message: hdhomerun_view.exe has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available. I have 64-bit Win 7 Pro, 16 GB of RAM, Core i7-2600K, Radeon HD 7750

jasonl
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Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:32 am

Are you sure you're comparing the same channels on those signal quality numbers? I'm not seeing any indication in the logs of the signal quality on that channel ever getting above about 75%. The UHF channels, yes, but never the VHF channel.

What kind of antenna are you using?

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:09 pm

Yes, I'm suspecting that, too.

Here's a pic of the antennas. Though they aren't aimed correctly in this picture. Ignore the small dish. It is for Internet.

Image

There is a loose extra coaxial and Ethernet cable lying on the roof in the picture but the antennas are connected.

The TV signals we're interested in come from two directions. 3, 8, 10 come from one direction. 6 comes from the second direction. There are some other stations from the direction of 6 that I'd like to get but their signals are too weak.

Seems like the top antenna does most of the reception so it is aimed between the two directions.

The lower antenna seems to be highly directional and can weakly pick up all the stations I already mentioned but if it is moved the slightest bit by the wind the stations break up. I thought maybe the lower antenna is fouling the signal received by the upper antenna and tried only using the upper antenna but didn't see a noticeable difference.

jasonl
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Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:02 pm

The incorrect aiming of the top one would likely account for the issues with channel 8. It looks like a Radio Shack VU-90XR, which was one of the better suburban antennas in its day. It's very directional on the high VHF frequencies, so being more than about 10 degrees off-axis will significantly hurt reception. It's less directional on UHF, so that wouldn't be hurt as much. I can't tell what model the bottom one is, but just based on that size it's extremely directional. How much that would affect things with the wind would depend on your exact location and distance from the tower, which I can't even estimate since you said the aiming isn't right. Where are you located and do you have a current picture of the orientations?

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:34 pm

I'm impressed you identified the antenna. I had no idea what it was.

Here is a pic of the current aiming.

Image

Here is my TVFool profile. http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapp ... 24cd184bf4
That doesn't give my exact address but I think it provides the info you'd like to have. Actually, with the right skills someone might be able to figure out my address from that, anyway. If someone figures it out then please keep it to yourself.

The top antenna is aimed 230 degrees magnetic north. The bottom antenna is aimed about 205 degrees magnetic north. I used a magnetic compass to check the aiming. Perhaps I should try aiming the top antenna to 281 degrees and the bottom to 190 degrees. The problem with turning the bottom antenna is that a support bar for the mast might get in the way. Maybe the bottom antenna has never seemed useful because I've never been able to turn it to the exact best direction.

As shown by the TVFool profile channel 31 (virtual number is 31) is at the same location as 6 but I can't get 31 currently. I'm guessing 6 and 31 are provided by different transmitters on the same tower and the two transmitters aren't the same somehow. I wish I could get 15 (also virtual number is 15) but it is 10 degrees off from 6 and 7.5 miles further away.

jasonl
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Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:55 pm

v31 is at 6092' on a mountain on the west side of Pocatello (they moved to v15's tower when the company who owns v15 bought them, and TVFool's data is outdated), while v6 is at 6574' on a mountain northeast of Pocatello. There are a couple mountains near Blackfoot, and those extra few hundred feet are just enough to get the v6 broadcast mostly clear of them, but v15/v31 not so much. I'd still expect v31 to be available in most of your area, except right down along the river or on the back side of that little hill on the southeast side of town.

What you might try is picking up a preamp and a combiner. Run the preamp only on the lower antenna pointed to Pocatello, then combine that with the unamplified top antenna, rotated back towards East Butte. I don't normally recommend combining antennas like that, but in this specific case, it might work OK, since most antennas have almost no reception whatsoever at 90°, and your tower locations are conveniently about 90° apart. You'd also benefit from getting the Pocatello antenna higher up, and ideally further away from the other antenna and dish, but I understand that might be harder to accomplish.

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:37 pm

I read someplace that TVFool's data is outdated. I forgot about that.

I climbed back up on the roof and pointed the top antenna to 281 degrees and the bottom to 190 degrees.

Now, 8 has signal strength 77, signal quality at 100 or close to that, and symbol quality 100.

3 is having some issues but the stream looks OK. The signal strength is about 80, the signal quality is rapidly varying a lot between 58 and 100, the symbol quality is 100.

10 is a mess sometimes. Signal strength is staying close to 86, signal quality is rapidly going between 0, 50's, and 100. The symbol quality is bouncing between 0 or 100. Then while I was typing this it seems to have settled down and is showing signal strength 87, signal quality 97, symbol quality 100. I'm not sure what is making the difference. Maybe the signal is too strong and turning the antenna to slightly off the correct position would help. Or, maybe the lower antenna is fouling the signal.

6 seems OK. The signal strength is a bit weak at 53, but the signal quality is staying close to 81 and the symbol quality is 100. The stream is OK. Hopefully it stays that way.

So far everything looks OK on the TVs connected to the antennas.

According to HDHomeRun Config GUI 15 is at about 22 signal strength, 28 is at 20 signal strength, and 31 is at 27. I found that if I take the HDHomeRun box to the roof and attach it directly to only the bottom antenna I can get 28 and 31 in a channel scan but I'm not sure about the signal strength.

Currently I have a flat 300 Ohm twin wire running from the lower antenna to the top antenna then the top antenna connects to a 300 to 75 Ohm coaxial adapter. I tried switching it around so that the top antenna connects to the bottom antenna and the bottom antenna connects to the coax adapter, hoping 6 would have a higher signal strength and the other channels wouldn't lose much strength, but that made everything worse so I undid that.

I was thinking of trying a pre-amp for only the bottom antenna, too. Good to know I'm on the right track. A powered splitter would probably be good, too. Currently we're using an unpowered 3 or 4-way splitter, I think.
Last edited by rusttodust on Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:25 pm

After turning the top antenna away from the 281 degrees a bit channel 3 is more steady but the signal quality of 10 is still bouncing around a lot- quickly ranging from 56 to 100. The stream of 10 looks OK. Could I be picking up interference from something like a cell tower? I tried powering off the small Internet service dish on the antenna mast to see if it made a difference but that didn't help.

rusttodust
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:30 pm

Well.. just after I posted that ^ I tried some different substations of 10 and the wide fluctuations of signal quality stopped. Then I tried a couple more stations and the wide fluctuations started again.

jasonl
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Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:43 am

Good tests would be to disconnect the twinlead from the lower antenna and see how 3 and 10 look with only the top antenna, and then switch the balun to the lower antenna and see how 6/15/31 look on it alone.

LTE doesn't look like an issue. It's only hitting 66% signal strength on the strongest frequency. You only need to worry about it when it's like 120+. The internet signals shouldn't be an issue since that's microwave and operating at a couple GHz or higher, and the dish focuses that away from the antenna anyway. The only problem you might have from it is the mounting arm getting in the way.

ebo
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Device ID: 1016F746, 101C8CF9, 1041F134, 10532394

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by ebo » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:20 pm

I'm glad you posted the pictures. One problem you will certainly have in the future if you don't already is that your cables are just hanging loose from the antennas. When they flap in the breeze the antenna connections will eventually tear loose. That may already be causing some of your variable reception issues.

jasonl
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Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:46 pm

Yeah, once you figure things out you'll probably want to zip tie the coax to the mast. Don't do it with the twinlead though, you never want twinlead touching anything, especially anything metal. I'd ultimately want to get rid of the twinlead entirely, but one thing at a time.

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