Is there a simple solution? pixelation???? (1 Viewer)

RitaR

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 16, 2009
6
0
Illinois
Yes, it's the dreaded pixelation.....OTA antenna is on top of our two story house. We are even having trouble when a vehicle drives down the street!!! Very frustrating.
Sometimes, even during rain or overcast weather we are unable to get a signal strong enough to watch.
I've also noticed that during the weekdays, after 8:00 in the morning we receive absolutely no signal from a major network. After the afternoon hours, 3:00 or so... it magically re-appears.
I don't imagine this is going to be simple, is it?:eek:
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
Pixellation is usually caused by two things: weak signal or multipath interference. The solution to weak signal is easy; buy a bigger antenna. The problem you're describing sounds more like multipath, which can only be solved by cutting down trees, demolishing buildings, or moving the antenna. Sometimes moving the antenna as little as six feet makes a difference. Sometimes bringing the antenna downward on the mast (lowering) also works. It all depends on the exact source of the problem.

Start with telling us your zip code, so that we can figure out where you are. Then, describe your current antenna. Is it shaped like a fishbone, or is it shaped like a barbeque grill? How tall is it? How long is it? How wide is it? If you knew the make and model of the antenna, that'd be super. How tall is your roof, and how high is the antenna from the roof? We need more information to help.
 

Splicer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 18, 2007
231
0
Hi Rita.

What the others said is correct. A zip code will enable us to be able to help you. You can go to TV Fool and enter your zip code and that will tell you quite abit.

Sometimes, the answer to your problems can be as simple as re-aiming your antenna in the right direction. A bad connection between the antenna and the wire/cable that is attached to it can be the problem. Again, an easy fix.

On the other hand, it could be complicated/expensive if you need a new antenna or new wiring and if you need to hire someone to do the work if you cannot do it yourself or do not have the proper equipment/tools.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, lets start at the beginning and get some info. We need to know your zip, how many TV's will be connected, and if possible, what kind of antenna you have now along with its age and the kind of wiring being used.
 

RitaR

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 16, 2009
6
0
Illinois
Thanks to all for the info..we have a rotor and a booster that helps us be able to adjust to try and get the best signal in. We have quite a few high trees and we are in town and there are lots things that are probably could interrupt our signal to begin with .
The wire is new to the antenna and we just put on the new rotor and booster. In fact, everything is new but the antenna. Since we have a two story house we thought we would try and see whether or not the antenna would work. (It's quite a core to get one up there to begin with!)
It has the VHF-UHF, and I believe it was a Channel Master, probably 20 yrs. old.
I guess my biggest problem is the vehicles that drive past the house and when the weather is bad we have much more trouble.
Stupid question I know, (but that's why I'm here) but how could that interrupt my signal so bad we lose our signal all together?
We have three T.V.'s and two of them have the converter boxes on them. The newer T.V. didn't need the converter box.
Come to think of it, my T.V. faces the street where the vehicles pass by. I guess I could try moving my set and see if it makes any difference?
Any suggestions welcome...
Thanks again.
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
We still need your zip code. We're not asking for your street address and the code to your security system, we just need to see where in the world you are, and make a solid guess as to which towers you're trying to hit.

The next thing you need to do is eliminate variables and noise. That's probably going to mean disabling [removing] your amplifiers. You mentioned a rotator; this suggests to me that you're in a deep urban location, and amplifiers are a VERY BAD idea with digital tuners. You need a straight shot from the antenna to the first TV to start troubleshooting.

Vehicles driving by your TV set has nothing to do with your problem; the problem is vehicles driving in front of your antenna, and becoming a source of noise (reflection). Your amplifier is taking this reflected noise, amplifying that, and your TV loses it's lock on the transmission, consequently dropping the audio and pixellating.

If the antenna has been up there for 20 years, you probably need to replace your transformer (the thumb-sized thingie that attaches your antenna to your signal wire). You may be as well off buying a new antenna, depending on which city you call home and which channels you're trying to pick up. If you're feeding four TVs with less than 200' of cable (50' each), you're likely using the wrong amplifier if you need one at all. Does your new TV or any of your converter boxes have a signal meter? That could come in handy, too.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,032
Dorchester, TX.
Why is it like pulling teeth to get information from people? With 5 posts all we know is they live in Illinois, have a 2 story house with a 20 year old antenna, somehow connected to 3 TVs, 2 using converter boxes unknown brand. I guess they think we can see there house through a webcam and we know how the cable is run from the invissible antenna. We must instinctively know what their distribution system looks like how many splitters what they have for cable and wether they are on top of a mountain or sitting in a valley.

Please we will try and help but we need information to be able to help.
 

RitaR

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 16, 2009
6
0
Illinois
Hey guys..sorry for the slow response on the info you need to help. I can figure out the measurements you ask for but we are in the winter season, so I'll get it.
First off...zip code 61061. Two of the converter boxes are Coship and yes, they do have the signal meters. My antenna looks like a fishbone (with a tail). I will try turning off the booster we have and see what happens.
I understand this is complicated and when I know the questions, I can get the answers. Again, sorry.
 

boba

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 12, 2003
11,351
1,032
Dorchester, TX.
NBC is a VHF broadcast from Rockford about 20 miles away and 15degrees . ABC is also from Rockford and Fox both UHF and 25degrees also about 20 miles away. CBS is listed on antenna web as Freeport and must just cross a township line they are 20.7 miles and 24 degrees. All 4 of your major networks should come in on a UHF/VHF antenna without any amplifier connected. Even with a 4 way splitter connected it should still provide enough signal for the 3 TV sets. Knowing that you are that close to the broadcast towers and your comment about traffic causing viewing problems I would guess that your TV antenna isn't even connected. The balun over 20 years may have broken wires at the antenna so that it isn't passing the signal down the cable. It could be that the small end of the antenna is pointing South rather than North. Seeing it is winter up there outside antenna work may not be possible. If you have a second story window pointing north you could try a Eagle Aspen DTV2BUHF antenna mounted in the window and run to at least 1 of the 3 TVs. Depending on the house you maybe able to connect all 3 tvs if it works. You should be able to find that antenna under $25 on the internet
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
3 things; peak your dish, replace your lnb, and level your trailer

Wow. We like helping people in this forum. You're not helping.

This is what we needed to see. To parrot boba, you shouldn't need an amplifier or a rotator. A high-quality preamp is probably a good idea since none of your channels are listed as being LOS; I guess the signals need to travel over a mountain range to get to your house? But you really shouldn't need an amplifier just to troubleshoot.

I realize that it's Winter, but you're going to have to get that antenna down and do some physical inspection. If pointing the narrow end at 25 degrees doesn't help anything, the antenna must come down. The balun transformer is probably bad, and you may have corrosion on the antenna itself. This will be a good time to get rid of the rotator, though. If the antenna is in really bad shape, I'd get an Antennacraft U4000 or Winegard HD4400 to replace it (much more compact and rugged, though only designed for channels 14 and up).

Antennacraft U-4000 UHF/HD 4 Bay Bowtie TV Antenna
Winegard HD 4400 4-Bay UHF Prostar 1000 High Definition TV Antenna

If channel 13 doesn't come up with one of those, I'd go with an Antennacraft HBU22 or Winegard HDR7000, which are designed specifically to get all channels from 7-13 and 14-69. If you need a preamp, I'd use a Channel Master 7777 or Winegard AP-8275.

AntennaCraft HBU22 22 Element High-Band VHF UHF Outdoor HDTV Antenna (HBU22)
Winegard HD7000R VHF/UHF/FM DTV TV Antenna (HD-7000R)

Channel Master CM 7777 Titan2 VHF/UHF TV Antenna Preamplifier with Power Supply (CM7777)
Winegard AP 8275 Chromstar 2000 Series VHF/UHF Pre Amplifier (AP8275)

I realize that this is mostly a shopping list, but I'm not sure that you're going to get a fix without spending money. And since you're going to have to tear the whole thing down just to figure out what's wrong, you may want to invest $30-ish on a new antenna that's specifically made for your needs. If you already have a Channel Master or Winegard preamp, and it's not fried, great! You may not need a preamp at all, so don't sweat that right now. Just make sure that your antenna is good, your main feed line from the antenna to the splitter is good, the splitter is good, and you'll be on the right track. If you're currently using a "distribution amplifier" to split the signals from the antenna, get rid of it first. You can get a decent splitter at Radio Shack or any hardware store for a few dollars; just make sure you terminate any unused splitter outputs (called a 75-ohm terminator cap).
 

Tower Guy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 1, 2005
702
75
First off...zip code 61061.

That's a help. Next, which CBS do you want, WIFR or WHBF? Perhaps you want both.

If it were me I'd put up 3-4 antennas in order to get as many stations as possible without turning a rotor.

If you enter your exact address on tvfool.com and post the link to the results the antenna recommendation can be more specific.
 
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RitaR

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 16, 2009
6
0
Illinois
We have a Radio Shack High-Gain Signal Amplifier 15-507. I unhooked it and I get absolutely no signal at all. So I hooked it back up and notice a FM TRAP button on it. I changed the button from "in" to "out". I left the Gain where it was set to MAX. This was where they were set when we bought it. The instruction manual just says adjust to best reception.
Presently, we receive the following channels-3-1/3-2/13-1/13-2/17-1/17-2/23-1/23-2/27-2/27-3/39-1..that's with the small end of the antenna around that 25 degree mark someone mentioned.
If I turn towards the Quad Cities I receive 4-1/4-2/8-1/8-2/8-3. I think I'm getting quite a few channels but nothing without the amplifier. Most of the time we watch the basic 13,17,23 and 39 out of Rockford.
Probably doesn't have anything to do with it, but last night that crazy truck went by and the picture didn't break up at all...wouldn't have anything to do with that FM thing would it?
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
The FM trap isn't hurting or helping. The rest of that amplifier, though, is definitely hurting. Take it out, smash it with a hammer, and burn the remains so that it can't hurt anybody else again.

When you say, "I unhooked it," do you mean that you unplugged the power cord from the wall, or did you take a barrel connector and plug the antenna directly into a feed line that goes to a TV? I can't find info on that amp at this time; is it a distribution amp with multiple outputs, or just a single input with a single output? If it's a distro amp, get a splitter that has the same number of outputs and replace the amp with the splitter. If there's only one output, just get a barrel connector from Rad Shack or Lowe's and use that instead.

Once that POS amplifier has been removed from the circuit, you can start real troubleshooting.
 

Splicer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 18, 2007
231
0
wouldn't have anything to do with that FM thing would it?
The FM trap isn't hurting or helping.
Ummm, yes it does, at least with that amp. Well actually I don't call it an amp, I call it a noise maker. ;)

But you are correct that if the amp was solely unplugged that nothing would get tru. The input cable needs to be disconnected as does the output cable and joined/barreled/spliced together in order to begin the trouble shooting. Regardless, that amp needs to be discarded and replaced with something like this: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Signal-Booster-1-Port-Amplifier/dp/B00122FCRG"]Amazon.com: Motorola Signal Booster 1-Port BDA-S1 Cable Modem TV HDTV Amplifier: Electronics@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413%2BLlVDL6L.@@AMEPARAM@@413%2BLlVDL6L[/ame]
just look around for the best price.
 

CowboyDren

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2005
990
1
64133
Splicer: I like the price on that amp. I also like the fact that the power brick uses regular RF coax to feed the amp. Why do you favor the Motorolas?
 

Splicer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 18, 2007
231
0
It isn't that I prefer the Motorola. But they are the easiest to find, generally. ANY pre-amp like the Motorola will do just fine and have the same specifications. The NexxTech amp I use (see my signature) is the exact same thing, just a different brand name. Now I got mine as a display unit and paid $7 shipped for it. That is the least expensive I have ever found one though. But eBay has low price amps that do not always get bid up too high.

Here is another pre-amp that has the exact same specs as well, is $17 cheaper, is smaller, and is a quality pre-amp that will work just as well: Channel Master CM 3410 Ultra Mini Distribution Amplifier (CM3410) - Channel Master - CM3410 - 020572034104 - CM3410 CM 3410 indoor amplifier distribution amplifier channel master CM 3042 CM-3042 CM3042 CM 3042 CM-3042 QXMM
 

RitaR

Thread Starter
Member
Dec 16, 2009
6
0
Illinois
Wow guys...I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the great info..http://support.radioshack.com/support_video/doc73/73446.pdf
has the info on what it is I'm supposed to smash, but I don't think the hubby will approve till I can prove out it's bad. I did remove the unit totally from the system. Plugged in my antenna directly to the splitter for the T.V.'s. No signal. So, for now, I guess I'll have to put up with the intermittent problem when it breaks up till spring.
Kind of at a standstill anyway. Haven't had cable in years because it is to expensive, and our investment all those years ago paid off in the long run. During the conversion we got the converter boxes-(used the coupons to help cut the cost) and a new rotor and (I think this thing is a booster?). So what we have now is about all the money we have for any more improvements.
You all are great and have lots of info on all of this. By far, the best forum I've tried for information.
I don't have any fancy T.V. or any of the bells and whistles, just trying to get by on what is, yep...FREE!
 

Splicer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 18, 2007
231
0
Unless you got on the roof and physically removed the mast mounted amp, just removing the power supply will result in zero signal. Once you can safely get on the roof to remove the mast amp, let us know and we will pick up where we left off.

There is no doubt some more money will be required to get you going right. But we will keep the amount to a minimum regardless of what is needed. As for the rotor being a booster? No. The rotor only turns the antenna to the direction you want it pointed at. Has nothing to do with increasing the signal beyond that.

Good luck, let us know, and Merry Christmas!
 

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