Is it possible for a defective off-air tuner to get worse?


SatelliteGuys Pro
Original poster
Nov 13, 2003
Madison, WI
The reason I ask this, is because upon installing my 921 I was able to program in my OTA Digital channels, but it would not receive OTA Analog stations.

Now, over the past day, it will no longer obtain a "lock" on three of my five local stations.


The signal strength on my OTA digital channels varies all over the place. Some days I can get 5 or 6, and some days only 1 or2 channels. And then it varies with the time of day. Early Sunday morning seems to be the best time for picking up the OTA channels but there is nothing on to watch then.
Spence - All I can tell you is that my OTA stations scanned in for both digital and analog and I have not lost them. I have yet to have a problem recording on them as long as it is a scheduled recording. If I am channel surfing and hit record then that is all I can watch - can't even watch DVR events. Sounds like you have a problem with the OTA tuner -you just have to figure out if its software related and fixable or if it has to be replaced.

You may try emailing to CEO again with the problem so you know they have it noted on your account and then maybe wait it out for a while to see what the software patches in the next few months do.

btw I am about 20 miles away from all of my OTA stations, flat land and a standard antenna in the attic
I know that it is probably not recommended, but I may see if I can carefully open up the cases on both my DOA and the replacement 921's and swap out the OTA tuner cards.

I'll have to take a good look at TahoeRob's photos of the interior before doing so. I hope to confirm that the tuner module is bad and possibly correct the issue.

One thing that I do not want to do is leave any trace of tampering so if there are any security measures on the case and card, I'll be going through Dish on the issue. If this were to work, it would save me time from deactivating it, removing it from my rack, installing a replacement, activating it and getting it set up. It would also save Dish network a few dollars in shipping charges.
Well, scratch that idea! I took a closer look and you are correct in pointing out that there doesn't appear to be any slots where the tuners meet the motherboard.


Back to calling Mark Duffy! ;)
received a call from Pete Dall with E*. He is going to research the issue with the possibility of sending techs to my home to check and possibly re-cable my home.

I still find it hard to believe that is anything other than a defective OTA tuner module, particularly after tonight's test of running a direct connection from my off-air antenna to the 921's off-air input and STILL detecting NO off-air analog stations (when my 811, television and VCR all receive the channels).

Peter will be contacting me on tomorrow. Well see what he comes up with.

So far E* has been incredible!
I took a few quick shots to show you exactly what I am seeing on my system.

Most are self explanatory given their file names. As you can see, the 921 has a lock on my local digital ABC but receives nothing but snow when I manually enter the ATV channel (27) into the 921 (an auto scan returns no channels at all). To further illustrate this, I have taken the lead from the 921's off-air antenna input and have connected it directly to the coax input of my Mitsubishi HD-ready set.

One of the few DTV channels that I can get a lock on

The corresponding ATV channel as seen through the 921's off-air tuner

I am able to receive nothing but snow on any of the corresponding ATV channels when using the 921. When the same antenna lead is connected to my television I receive strong signals w/great picture on all ATV channels except channels 15 and 47 which are less than perfect.

Here is that same station with the off-air antenna connected directly to my television.

As of this morning, the 921 is only able to receive a solid digital signal on two of my local DTV stations (ABC's WKOW-DT and PBS's WHA-DT). I've included a photo of my unsuccessful attempt to gain a solid DTV signal on DTV ch 50 (CBS's WISC-DT channel 3). The signal meter jumps from 0 to 70 but does not lock. I have this same signal lock issue with DTV ch 11 (FOX's WMSN channel 47) and DTV ch 19 (NBC's WMTV Ch 15).

inconsistent DTV signal unable to lock on

...and a once again a clear picture of the same channel with the antenna connected directly from the diplexer to the antenna input of the television.

In addition to this, my 811 connected to an HDTV in another part of the house receives all ATV and DTV signals (with the exception of NBC which is intermittent).

I don't know if this helps, but it may prove something to you. If I can receive such a clear picture from the diplexer-TV connection, shouldn't I be able to receive a similar signal on the 921?

Newb 811 Question

set up directions

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