Two Questions: Anyone doing Denver OTA?; What is “good” OTA signal strength?

M

MNipper

Thread Starter
Pub Member / Supporter
Jan 20, 2004
20
0
Evergreen, CO
Sorry, but I'm pulling my hair out, and hoping someone in the Denver area may be a step ahead of me, and save me beating my head against the wall.

My first question is more generic. What is an acceptable signal strength for an OTA signal? At present, I'm getting two channels and both are coming in at the 67-70% range. Not ever having used OTA before this weekend, it's just not clear to me whether that is "borderline", "good", or what?

I live in the mountains, west of the city, and have never been in a position to try OTA, because Denver's HD transmissions were virtually useless until this weekend (previously, most were broadcast from "tall buildings" in the city, etc., but this weekend, four stations moved their signals to Lookout Mountain, west of town (putting them super high, for what ought to be good coverage to the east, and, "just over the hill" from me).

So... I thought that I might finally be able to get an OTA signal to my 622, and get "cleaner" (less compressed) HD video from some of the major networks, as well as picking up one of the lesser networks in HD (for the first time). I have an HD antenna (bought specifically in anticipation of the transmitter moves), so I hooked it up, and magically got HD signals from the NBC affiliate. I watched a bit of the OTA programming yesterday, and it actually seemed very reliable, although tonight, with no apparent drop in signal strength, it suddenly seems to intermittently cut in and out. (I'm suspicious that this is simply lingering problems from the transmitter migration, but have no way to verify that, so that’s one reason for the signal strength question.)

However, what really has me totally going crazy is that there are three other HD transmissions that also moved early Sunday morning (CBS, ABC, My20). They're all hanging off of the same transmission tower, yet when I jump to those digital channels (manually, in the Add Locals dialog), I get absolutely zip for a signal. It's not like they're just "marginal", and hence not something that the receiver is going to accept. It's simply like they don't exist. I'm just trying to figure out if someone else has tuned those in with their OTA receiver, with absolutely no problems, OR, whether there's something funky about them (or my location) that is preventing me from getting them. I could understand it if the signal was just super-low, or varied intermittently, but it just doesn't seem logical that I'd get nearly 70% from one station, and zero from three others (in exactly the same location). My real concern is having heard people complain about the 622 OTA receiver for so long, that maybe it’s part of the problem, but I’m working with zero data, outside of my own experiences, so that’s why I’m looking to find someone else who has tried the same thing.

Sorry, for the long post. I'd obviously appreciate any input from someone who may have also flipped their antenna toward the mountain, after the Sunday morning transmitter moves.

Thx.
 
djsegura

djsegura

SatelliteGuys Family
May 24, 2007
54
0
Colorado
I am in Aurora and my OTA signal is about the same 70-80's I receive the networks ABC CBS NBC FOX UPN (2) PBS CH 6 AND 12 AND KWGN also a few others I do not look at like ch 14, 9-2(9 weather),6VME,25,.When I first set up the OTA it did take me awhile to dial it in so all the channels came in probley because it is a indoor antenna. I do not have a big problem with drop outs only if it is stormy. I also only use a indoor antenna but it is hooked up to (2) 622 AND (1) 222 also all 3 of my HDTV's have a built in tuner that I use very rarely but I do not seen to have any diffrence in dropouts. I do have to reset my recivers once in a while because I do loose my OTA on the recivers. So maybey try that and see if that helps.
 
H

haertig

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2004
505
0
I was not aware that they fired up the transmitters on Lookout Mountain already. When the kids finish the DVD they're watching I'll have to check my signal strength.

FWIW, I'm in Broomfield with a medium gain attic mounted antenna (no amp) pointed at Lookout from the old analog days. Even with this setup, pointed the wrong way, I was able to pick up the low power UHF digitals broadcast from downtown (Republic Plaza) with 60-80% signal strength - enough for my 722 to stay solidly locked most (but not all) of the time. Signal strength probably averaged in the high 60's for me with this setup and my 722 would do well with that. When strength fell into the low 60's was when I had occasional problems. Not very often. If Lookout is now lit up, I expect much better signal strength. Can't wait to check it!

Remember that signal strength is meaningless when comparing YOUR receiver to MINE. We could feed both of our receivers, sitting side by side, off the same antenna and show different signal strengths at the same instant in time. You can really only compare these numbers against yourself at different points in time.
 
memo90061

memo90061

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 26, 2007
402
1
Los Angeles, CA
i used to think 75 and over was good but when its in the 70s it gets pixelated. its good when its over 80.
 
H

haertig

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2004
505
0
On my Dish 722 I'm seeing 97-99% signal strength on 2, 4 and 7. 9 had 87%. 20 and 31 about 76%. 6 and 12 were around 67%. 53 had no lockable signal. So all except 53 are strong enough for my 722 to solidly lock them. When I tested in the past (when the digital signal was low power from RP) my TV showed significantly better signal strength (about 10% more) than my 722. The TV must have a better tuner. I did not test the TV directly with the new transmitters on LM, only the 722.

This is from Broomfield with a medium gain attic mount antenna (nothing special, a Channel Master something-or-other bought at Lowes for $29 or $39), no amplifier, pointed at LM, clear line of sight (except for the attic wall with it's metallic lining!), running through one splitter, cable run is about 70 feet of RG-6.

The OTAs don't really look any better than what Dish sends over their feed. Yes, there are times when the Dish signal will stutter or "defocus" (as I call it) that you don't see OTA, but when the Dish signal is good it's not really different than OTA. This is on my 65" set viewed from about 12 feet.

If you really want to get into Denver OTA discussion, go to:

Denver, CO - OTA - AVS Forum

The above thread is about 50 gadzillion pages long and has probably been growing for years, so jump to the pages near the end of the thread for more current information.
 
H

haertig

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2004
505
0
I have an HD antenna (bought specifically in anticipation of the transmitter moves)
No difference in an "HD antenna" and a "regular antenna", except marketing and price. Is yours an indoor antenna or outdoor? Outdoor will be much better. Use good coax (RG-6) and ideally no splitters, but if you must have a splitter, get a good quality one, not a 39 cent model from WalMart. And make sure your coax connections are tight (use pliers, but you don't need to go all gorilla on them!)

They're all hanging off of the same transmission tower, yet when I jump to those digital channels (manually, in the Add Locals dialog), I get absolutely zip for a signal.
They may be on the same transmitter tower, but they're using different antennas, transmitter equipment, and power levels.

yet when I jump to those digital channels (manually, in the Add Locals dialog)
Does this mean that you scanned for channels OTA and didn't find them, so you added them manually? Adding a channel manually is a bit of black magic in the digital world. If you want channel 9 digital, you don't add "9". You add channel 17 (or maybe it was 15?) Because right now "channel 9 digital" is temporarily broadcasting on a UHF frequency. That frequency is 16. As if that's not confusing enough, when MANUALLY adding, you add a frequency one above their actual frequency (or one below, I can't remember which, hence me hedging my bets by saying "either 17 or 15"). Once you tune this "one above" frequency, it sends down mapping info that your 622 remembers. After mapping, your 622 will then find "channel 9 digital", a.k.a. "9.1", on both frequencies 16 and 17 but it will show up in your Guide as channel 9, but highlighted in yellow. Pretty confusing!

You don't need to know any of this mapping stuff if you scan for channels, because when scanning the 622 tunes to every frequency and thus any mapping info is automatically downloaded and subsequently remembered by the receiver. Therefore you never have to worry about the details. Unless your scan hit some marginal stations, didn't store them, and you now want to add them manually.

Here are a few other Denver-area digital channel frequency assignments I found on AntennaWeb - manually tune "one up" (or down), or if you're lucky, your scan found them so you don't need to know the frequency assignment:

2.1 -> 34
4.1 -> ?
6.1 -> 18
7.1 -> ?
9.1 -> 16
12.1 -> 38
20.1 -> ?
31.1 -> 32
 
M

MNipper

Thread Starter
Pub Member / Supporter
Jan 20, 2004
20
0
Evergreen, CO
I appreciate the responses.

It's an outdoor antenna. All RG-6. In fact, I have 4 RG-6 runs coming from where I mount my various dishes, and simply stole my 61.5 run to use for this, so it's a "known good" run of cable.

As to channels that I'm checking... yeah, I'm quite familiar with the actual digital channels versus their logical representation in the guides. I'm simply manually checking 17, 19, and 35, and just get a zero reading, no matter how long it sits there. I don't actually add them in, as it wouldn't really make sense to do so.

I think it's probably what you said. Different: equipment, configurations, and power, hanging off the tower. Whatever KUSA has put up there is obviously far more omni-directional than everyone else. The others are probably intentionally focused more to the east (figuring why bother shooting anything "behind" them, as so few people will get it anyway). Or, at least, it's the only thing that makes much sense to me, as the results are just to drastically different.

Anyway... I may try a different antenna, just to see if I can drive up the reception numbers a bit. I'm also pulling in KRMA (obviously, not from LOM), and if I can at least keep that well locked, I'd be happy. It's nice to finally be able to nab some of the PBS HD stuff, and annoys me that I didn't hook it up sooner, just to get that. I was watching the Frontline (Everest thing) tonight, and that was looking great (reminiscent of Discovery HD Theater, in terms of quality). Unfortunately, that started acting up about half-way thru (literally cycling between 66% and 0%). No clue what that's about, as I watched the Nova episode in front of it, and it was solid, all the way thru.

The other thing I need to try is what you mentioned. Pulling the feed directly to my set, and bypassing the 622, just to see what it "thinks" about the signals. I don't think that I could live without the DVR, so that will be more of an experiment, but at least it would rule out funky 622 tuner issues.

Anyway... again... thanks for the input. As I said in the beginning, I just had no clue what "should be happening", especially trying to make this work from Evergreen.
 
H

HollywoodMark

New Member
Mar 19, 2008
4
0
Denver
I have been wondering why dish doesnt have channel 2 UPN and channel 20 in high def espcially since 9news is on 20 and there news is in HD...and some UPN shows are in HD..
 
H

haertig

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2004
505
0
Unfortunately, that started acting up about half-way thru (literally cycling between 66% and 0%).
That sounds similar to the limit where my 722 starts losing it. Earlier today I didn't have a lockable signal on channel 53 (not that I ever watch that, but it's in my guide). Now I'm locking it with a signal strength of 62%. So low 60%'s is where my 722 starts losing it. Channel 53 is right at that boundary for me.

BTW, moving your existing antenna around (if possible) might do you more good than buying a new higher gain one. Up, down (probably not), left, right, or rotated to a slightly different compass bearing.

And pardon me for saying something that sounds really stupid, but you do know that if you have a Yagi style antenna that you "point" it with the smaller elements in front, right? Sorry, I had to say that just to make sure. I've seen people mount them backwards. No offense intended in this comment. There's a lot of people these days that have never seen, much less touched, an OTA antenna - with all the cable and satellite providers we have available.
 
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M

MNipper

Thread Starter
Pub Member / Supporter
Jan 20, 2004
20
0
Evergreen, CO
That sounds similar to the limit where my 722 starts losing it. Earlier today I didn't have a lockable signal on channel 53 (not that I ever watch that, but it's in my guide). Now I'm locking it with a signal strength of 62%. So low 60%'s is where my 722 starts losing it. Channel 53 is right at that boundary for me.

That "low 60's floor" is good to know. I had wondered what the limit was. What I found odd is the fact that it literally just dropped to zero during that broadcast (according to the meter that you see in the display at the top of the screen). Interestingly, I queued up the second showing of Frontline (the one at 10PM), and just scanned thru that quickly this morning, and didn't notice any problems. Again, it's hard for me to sort out whether that was a signal strength issue at KRMA (during the 1st showing), or just what, especially with only a couple days experience with this.

BTW, moving your existing antenna around (if possible) might do you more good than buying a new higher gain one. Up, down (probably not), left, right, or rotated to a slightly different compass bearing.

And pardon me for saying something that sounds really stupid, but you do know that if you have a Yagi style antenna that you "point" it with the smaller elements in front, right? Sorry, I had to say that just to make sure. I've seen people mount them backwards. No offense intended in this comment. There's a lot of people these days that have never seen, much less touched, an OTA antenna - with all the cable and satellite providers we have available.

Yeah, this is a wedge-shaped antenna, and I've already done some moving to try to peak the strength. It seems that (for the two channels that I can see), that somewhere in that 66-68 range is about the best that I can do, for either of them. (I appreciate you asking the "dummy questions". You never know...) This is a "smaller" antenna, simply because I really didn't want to hang a Yagi-style where I've got this on the house. I actually didn't think that I'd ever get ANYthing from LOM, because I don't have line-of-sight to it, but having gotten this much (at least, for KUSA), it now makes me wonder if I should try to find something that can "gather" a bit more signal.


HollywoodMark... the answer to your question is simply "transponder space". E* is hard-pressed to come up with space to even do the "big four" networks (for markets that they'd like to hit), and they are using what space that they have to simply expand their HD coverage to those markets. As much as I'd love to think that they'll start picking up other networks or local channels, I'm guessing that's way off in the future for us.


Again... thanks for the input and help on my problems!
 
E

EricBskiVT

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 25, 2007
252
0
After checking antennaweb.org and/or tvfool for their info and antenna type recommendations, go to:
Comparing some commercially available antennas
for antenna comparisons and try to get one with good NET gain of the type recommended. Many of the antennas rated are UHF only, so you may need UHF only, or a combo, or, like me, a UHF combined with a high-VHF. BTW, I find signal strength below 75 in good weather gets really iffy when the clouds/rain/snow roll in. But high 80s and above are solid in all but the most severe weather.
Good luck.
 
PKII

PKII

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 22, 2005
791
19
WV
New updated signal meter

Anyone figure out the new dish signal meter. In help it says the signal doesn't show as high as it did due to a software update. I was getting like 120 on 119 now its like 75 is that normal? :confused:
 
H

haertig

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2004
505
0
I was getting like 120 on 119 now its like 75 is that normal? :confused:
That is not OTA signal strength, which won't be over 100% (it's the ratio of usable packets to unusable ones in measures that I'm familiar with). You're talking about satellite signal which is different than OTA signal. The way sat signal is measured is totally up to Dish - it's their measurement and they can change how it's calculated if they want. I don't know what the units of measure for Dishs sat signal strength are. they could have changed that as well.
 
M

mixjock

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 17, 2008
30
0
Anyone figure out the new dish signal meter. In help it says the signal doesn't show as high as it did due to a software update. I was getting like 120 on 119 now its like 75 is that normal? :confused:

When my dish was installed on my new house, the installer said that you add 40 to the reading. So yes that would be normal.
 
PKII

PKII

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 22, 2005
791
19
WV
That is not OTA signal strength, which won't be over 100% (it's the ratio of usable packets to unusable ones in measures that I'm familiar with). You're talking about satellite signal which is different than OTA signal. The way sat signal is measured is totally up to Dish - it's their measurement and they can change how it's calculated if they want. I don't know what the units of measure for Dishs sat signal strength are. they could have changed that as well.
I'm talking about the signal meter that is in the dish network receiver setup. It mentions signal meter was changed and it now states a lower signal than it was. It was over 100% now its 75%. I'm not sure what you are refering to with OTA.
 
H

haertig

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2004
505
0
I'm not sure what you are refering to with OTA.
OTA means "Over The Air". It refers to a "normal" antenna (rabbit ears, something in your attic or on your roof, etc.). The 722, and I assume the 622, has THREE tuners in it. TWO for satellite signal that it receives via the dish, and ONE for OTA which it receives from a "normal" antenna (if you have one connected). Signal strength from an OTA (normal) antenna is what this thread was originally about. Signal strength from the satellite dish is a different thing. You are talking about the "different thing". Which is fine, but you might not get too many replies because people will see the title of this thread is about OTA. And that title might have weeded out many people who might be able to answer your question better. You should probably create a new thread with your questions on satellite signal strength.
 

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