Trouble setting up my antenna for receiving signals. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Discussion in 'Over the Air TV By RabbitEars.Info' started by dreiter, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. Hi all,

    I hope everyone's day is going well and that this is a good place to post this question. I am trying to get digital antenna signals to my TV. Here is the TVFool map for my location:

    TV Fool

    Here is my antenna and it is mounted 5 ft above the roof (~15 ft total height above the ground):

    CM-4228HD EXTREMEtenna 80 | Channel Master

    I purchased this amplifier but it has not helped unfortunately:

    2 Port TV Amplifier-Distribution Amplifier-Channel Master CM 3412 (CM3412)

    I have also tried replacing the coax cable with a more insulated option, but no help there either.

    I do have many trees and 1-2 story buildings in my area, and my house is basically a big tin box (home has tin siding and roof), so maybe that's causing issues? If I am reading the map correctly, I should be getting 3 digital channels very strongly and 1 that is very weak, but instead I am getting an entirely different set of signals. I am currently receiving channel 49 (CBS) clearly while channels 42 (NBC) and 24 (ABC) are off and on. However, according to the TVFool map, there are copies of these stations even closer to my house, on channels 19, 13, and 28? When I do a 'channel scan' on my TV, these channels only show up as their digital codes (5.1, 11.1, 13.1) so I am unable to tell which 'real' station they are coming from and my remote does not allow manually typing the channels in so I can't test it that way.

    As you can tell I am pretty lost here. I have found devices that you can hook into your antenna to determine the signal strength of each channel but they are quite expensive ($200+) so I would prefer to avoid that route if possible.

    Thank you to anyone who can provide any information!
  3. You have several problems. Your 3.9 mile stations are low power repeaters. Of the 4 Line of sight stations 3 are UHF and 1 is VHF. Your CM-4228 is a fringe UHF ANTENNA it may or may not work for a low power CH13 broadcaster. Your CM3412 is probably the wrong amplifier.
    All the rest of your TV stations are 2 edge reception much harder to receive.Try that CM antenna with out an amplifier aimed just south of EAST.
    Is your coax new and how long is the cable?
    Yes a metal house is good for blocking TV signals.
  4. In addition to what boba said, these would be my suggestions:

    Try a directional antenna like the RCA ANT751R. It can be had for less than $50 at Walmart. It receives UHF and VHF.

    Your amp is not a preamp, it's a distribution amp. Try a real preamp like the RCA TVPRAMP1Z. You can get it at Lowe's. The other advantage to this particular preamp is that you could use your current channel master antenna AND a separate VHF antenna and it will combine them.

    I am confident that one of these solutions will increase your signals.
  5. The siding and roofing are likely the least of your problems. Your problem is that you're located on the wrong side of a hill. The four green stations don't require much of antenna (nor an amplifier) so using a high-gain antenna may be overload. Adding an amp to something that is already piping hot is going the wrong way. The rest are going to be next to impossible to receive.

    I'd say that even if you invest significant funds, you're probably only going to be able to get the four RF frequencies reliably. Two edges usually means NO unless the atmospheric conditions are ideal. A second high-gain VHF antenna and amplifier may just buy you channel 8 some of the time.

    I'd like to congratulate you on getting us most of the critical information on your first try.
  6. The CM4228 works pretty good on high VHF signals.
  7. Regrettably, RF8 is rather low in the high VHF range and the gain is in the ballpark of 5dB at that frequency. Going after RF8 is kind of pulling a rabbit out of a hat as it is a two-edge signal and pre-amplifying the signal on the LOS translators may be too much (depending on the tuner). I don't mean to discount the performance of the CM-4228HD, but it is decided overkill at 4 miles.

    I think two antennas with a pre-amp on the VHF antenna makes more sense but all this is somewhat academic when we're using projections of a computer model on an extreme terrain such as the area around Cheyenne Mountain.
  8. Very much.
    comfortably_numb likes this.
  9. That's what I was thinking too.
  10. If you're receiving CBS, ABC, and NBC, that sounds like you're receiving the three nearby translators. KXRM (FOX) and KTSC (PBS) do not have nearby translators.

    To be specific, CBS is on 13, NBC is on 19, and ABC is on 28.

    - Trip
  11. Wow, great responses, lots to unpack here.

    I specifically bought that model because it said it had support for both UHF and VHF, but I guess that was just misleading marketing?

    Others have mentioned that I am using the wrong amp so I will look for a good alternative to try soon.

    I currently have my antenna pointed in your suggested orientation. My cable is new and 50 ft long.

    I have the antenna mounted approximately 5 ft above the (mostly flat) roof. I could raise it higher if that might help? It would require buying and installing a new mast which is why I haven't done it yet.

    This amp looks like a good option. Can it be used with just the antenna I currently have, or does it require two separate UHF and VHF signals?

    Channel 8 is the least concern for me at this point. I am just trying to get the 3 stronger stations to work reliably!

    And thanks, I tried to include everything I thought was relevant but it's a confusing topic so I wasn't sure what all I should mention.

    I have heard others say that perhaps the signal is TOO strong for my antenna? I wasn't sure how I would go about testing this. I know they sell attenuators that supposedly help with this potential issue, but that is another product I would be buying without knowing really why or how to properly test it.

    Yes you would think so, but I don't understand why the singals are so weak. I know the mileage ratings on these antennas are mostly made up, but I can't imagine that an 80 mile rated antenna would be unable to pick up signals only 4 miles away?

    A few commentors have mentioned buying another antenna to add to my current one, but I am wondering what the advantage would be over simply buying a single stronger antenna that does everything? I could be convinced to go all the way up to the 'Masterpiece 100' model if I knew that it would actually provide good signals.

    Masterpiece Antenna Series HDTV Outdoor TV Antenna-Channel Master CM 5020(CM5020) |
  12. Does not require two separate signals. There's a toggle switch; if you have both antennas hooked up you just turn it to "on." If not, you use the "combined UHF/VHF" input. The switch is off by default.
  13. Your trying too hard. Find a $10 set of rabbit ears and connect them to the cable at roof level. Just put it on the flat roof with a weight of some type to keep it from blowing off.. Pictures of your install would be helpful.
  14. The class of antenna I'm thinking about is more like a UHF loop or bow-tie that used to come with TVs. They used to cost about $3 and some UHF stations used to give them away to give people access to their stations.
    Not necessarily weak, but probably not very high quality because you're picking them up from different directions -- something called multi-path. Rather than getting one coherent signal, you may be getting that signal and some out-of-phase "ghosts" of that channel. The CM-4228HD has a very broad pickup area (beamwidth) so it picks up everything in a 180 degree spread. That may represent more than one "ghost" of these stations off of land features or man-made structures.
    You wouldn't buy a 3-ton truck to go to the grocery store and TV antennas in extreme situations are kind of the same way. A single antenna can't have a "light touch" and a "herculean pull" at the same time. More is not always better (especially when it comes to multi-path and beamwidth).
    Changing the position of the antenna is one of the things you need to try. Sometimes it is just in a bad spot much as you may lose a phone or portable radio signal in a particular room of a house or building.
    comfortably_numb likes this.
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