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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:16 pm

Today I tried using only the top antenna hoping that would solve the problem of the signal quality jumping around so much for 3, 8, 10. I disconnected the bottom antenna and checked the channels in the HDHomeRun Config GUI program. Disconnecting the bottom antenna didn't help. So.. I thought maybe the balun wasn't working OK. It is old and one of the wires felt weaker since I started messing with it so I went to Radio Shack and got another balun. I left the stream playing on the computer while I was gone. I came home and before climbing on to the roof again I checked the channels again. They all look OK now and I'm annoyed with myself for opening the new balun box before checking the channels.

Is it really possible for my top antenna to be turned 90 degrees from the bottom antenna? Sure, the spines of the antennas can be turned 90 degrees from each other but the longer elements of the top antenna are at a 45 degree angle to the spine and the other shorter elements. Seems like no matter which way I turn it at least some of the elements won't be at a 90 degree angle to the elements on the lower antenna.

I stopped at a thrift store on my way home and found a signal booster. Maybe I'll try it just for fun. It looks old but it might still work. Maybe I should put in the new balun, anyway, too.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:18 pm

It might not be easy to see in the pics but the twinlead wires are next to one of the mast supports, are electrical taped to the mast, and again electrical taped to the lower part of the upper antenna. I think the coax was taped to lower part of the upper antenna but I removed that for now.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:22 pm

Using only the bottom antenna pointed at 190 degrees, magnetic north, with the balun connected to it, eliminating the twinlead wire, I was able to get the following without out a signal booster and with a passive 4 way splitter between the antennas and the HDHomeRun box. I didn't see any wild fluctuations of signal quality.

3 (missing from channel scan)
signal strength 29

6
signal strength 79
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

8
signal strength 44
signal quality 56
symbol quality 100

10
signal strength 68
signal quality 97
symbol quality 100

15 (missing from channel scan)
signal strength 29

28
signal strength 45
signal quality 59
symbol quality 100

31
signal strength 35
signal quality 52
symbol quality 100


After adding the Jebsee 425U/V signal booster I found at the thrift store:

3 (in the channel list, unwatchable at first, but cleared up after about 15 min)
signal strength 67
signal quality quickly ranging 0 - 51
symbol quality quickly ranging 0 - 100

6
signal strength 100
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

8 (in the channel list but unwatchable)
signal strength 59
signal quality quickly ranging 0 - 47
symbol quality quickly ranging 0 - 100

10
signal strength 100
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

15 (missing from channel scan but can launch a viewing program
from HDHomeRun Config GUI and it is mostly watchable right now)
signal strength 61
signal quality 0 - 47 sometimes
symbol quality 0 - 37 - 53 - 75 - 100

28
signal strength 67
signal quality 63
symbol quality 100

31
signal strength 56
signal quality 74
symbol quality 100

I quickly checked the signals on a nearby TV that I often use and found that 3 was unwatchable and 8 was just black. I thought 10 was coming from the same direction as 3 and 8 but now I'm not sure. Seems like if 8 was the only station I was having trouble with I could get a highly directional VHF antenna and put it in place of the top antenna and put in a UHF + VHF diplexer to combine the two antenna signals. The signal booster I put in the attic might be fried by the heat next summer.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:51 pm

After doing all of that ^ and waiting almost an hour I redid the channel scan. I lost 8 in the list, kept 3, and gained 15. However, a couple minutes after doing that 15 became unwatchable and crashes the HDHomeRun View program.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:16 pm

Seems like I need a little bit more of signal from the direction of the 3 and 8 transmitters but I knew from experience that attaching the top antenna to the bottom antenna with the bottom connected to the coax cable probably wouldn't help. I remembered the twinlead wires alone can pick up TV signals. So.. I connected the twinlead to the bottom antenna but didn't attach it to the top antenna. Now I get the following signals after a channel scan:

3
signal strength 93
signal quality 86
symbol quality 100

6
signal strength 100
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

8
signal strength 76
signal quality 64
symbol quality 100

10
signal strength 100
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

15 (sometimes watchable but still has issues)
signal strength 56
signal quality 50
symbol quality 0 - 100

28
signal strength 63
signal quality 58
symbol quality 100

31
signal strength 62
signal quality 77
symbol quality 100

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:34 pm

I have a new question. For the last few times I did a channel scan the HDHomeRun Setup program found 42 programs but I'm not seeing that many channels, but close to that number, in the list after the scan. What does that mean?

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 14592
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:49 pm

It looks like you turned off the sending of diagnostic data on the HDHomeRun so I can't see what was happening during all of this.

Regarding the antenna pointing, just worry about the direction the boom is pointed, not the elements. The elements are in a V shape due to the design of the antenna, but the most gain is still straight forward in the direction the boom is pointed.

The difference in channel counts is probably due to picking up one of the repeaters. 3, 8, and 10 have repeaters in Pocatello since their main signals have some dead spots near downtown due to hills. Some of them have just enough signal to get a bit up in your direction. If your HDHomeRun picks these up in the scan it will show them in the count up until the scan finishes, at which point it will remove the duplicates and only keep the one with the best signal.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:24 pm

OK. Thank you for clarifying the antenna position and channels. I thought maybe I was picking up duplicate channels but hadn't heard of duplicates in the area.

I started the HDHomeRun Setup program and went to the Advanced tab to check the diagnostic reporting setting. It is still checked and says the feature will switch off in 3 days. I can uncheck it and recheck it if you want me to. The setting in the app on the tablet might be off but I haven't been using the tablet.

During yesterday I was getting a little bit of 15, decent reception of 28, and watchable reception of 31, last night the wind started blowing a lot. Can't watch 15 anymore, I think 28 is still there, and 31 seems to be gone as if the transmitter quit working. However, I still have 3, 6, 8, 10. I probably need to get a better antenna to reliably get 15, 28, 31. Though, at least I've shown there is possibility of getting those last three channels using what I currently have.
Last edited by rusttodust on Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:48 am, 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 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:30 pm

I found an HDHomeRun Signal Meter app for Android, put it on a tablet, and used it on the roof. I found if I stood next to the antenna then 15 would start working. I read somewhere that the water in the human body sort of focuses electromagnetic waves.

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 14592
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:27 pm

I wouldn't go replacing the antenna right away. First, you should get the existing antenna on its own mast higher up and preferably several feet away from the existing antenna and dish. That would probably give you more of an improvement than a new antenna would. Even if you do eventually decide to replace the antenna, you'd probably need a new mast anyway, because it doesn't look like there's enough clearance the way you currently have it mounted to fit much larger of an antenna without the roof getting in the way. If you do eventually decide the replace the antenna I can give you a couple recommendations.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:53 pm

I found the option to send diagnostics was checked in the HDHomeRun Setup program and hadn't been unchecked. However when I used my web browser to go to http://192.168.100.28/system.html of the HDHomeRun box I saw the option was unchecked. I don't remember if I messed with that setting but I rechecked it.

Looks like 31 really is having technical difficulties. After some Googling I found their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kvui31/ and an announcement stating they are having problems. Maybe I was just lucky 15 and 31 were working on that day after I added the signal booster.

I might be able to remove the top antenna and move the bottom one up to the top. I'm not sure if the Internet dish will be in the way. I probably shouldn't move the Internet dish. Considering our current weather I'll probably not change anything up there until next Thursday.

Searching for used antennas (I don't think I have much money to spend on this project) I found what looks like an ULTRAtenna 60. https://www.channelmaster.com/Digital_H ... 4221hd.htm Is that an improvement over the antenna I'm using now? Currently, I'm only using the lower antenna shown in my earlier pictures plus a twin lead wire that is only connected to the lower antenna.

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 14592
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by jasonl » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:30 am

That wouldn't be an improvement. You're unlikely to find anything that's a significant improvement without spending $80+, so it's probably best to stick with what you have and try to make the positioning work better.

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

Re: poor signal quality until box is restarted

Post by rusttodust » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:21 pm

Last Saturday I went to the roof to work on the antennas. I tried using only the bottom antenna with twin lead and signal booster again but didn't get good enough signals for multiple stations. So, instead of moving the bottom antenna to the top of the mast I tried pointing the top antenna, by itself, toward Pocatello. I hadn't tried that, yet. Results of the top antenna pointed toward Pocatello with signal booster:

3 (36)
signal strength 97
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

6 (23)
signal strength 100
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

8
signal strength 100
signal quality 64
symbol quality 100

10 (17)
signal strength 98
signal quality 100
symbol quality 100

15
signal strength 73
signal quality 86
symbol quality 100

28
signal strength 72
signal quality 56
symbol quality 85 - 100

31
signal strength 53
signal quality 61
symbol quality 100

Over all this seems to be the best results I've had. 15 is the best I've seen. 28 and 31 are a bit weaker than I've seen with other antenna configurations but they work OK and the other stations are working well, too. I'm not sure how I'm getting 3 and 8 so well with the top antenna pointed so much away from the butte near Atomic City but it is working.

Someone was helping me look for a new antenna. He found one he liked but he hasn't shown me yet exactly what it is. I'll ask about it here before making a purchase.

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