ViP 211, OTA, HD locals


Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Original poster
Sep 13, 2006
down south
Like a fool I went ahead and took the local channels when I switched back to Dish from Directv from Voom (boy do I miss that one!) a week ago and soon found out that Dish doesn't provide local channels here in Mobile, AL, in HD. No problem, I thought. I'd just find my duplexers, dust off my old OTA antenna and I'd be back in business. Trouble is, the OTA chanels don't show up on the program guide and the 211 receiver says it can't find any OTA channels. No problem again, so I thought. I just turned off the receiver and went to them manually. The reception leaves a lot to be desired, which is perplexing, as the OTA antenna worked fine with the old Voom receiver. I can't remember what the make of it is...that's what happens when you hit 50 I guess....but it's one of the better ones that Voom gave me ($100+ and begins with a W I think). This antenna also worked fine with Directv. My OTA HD channels have the -01 or -02 extension on them which, I believe signify them being digital vs analogue, and those aren't reflected on the channel guide in Dish, either, and that indicates to me they're not beng picked up. Has anyone else had the same sort of problem or have any suggestions on how I can get my HD locals back? I'f I'd only win the Powerball, I'd bring Voom back :D

I just remembered the's a Wineguard
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The VIP receivers (and yes the 211 receiver is one) do not have the tuner for analog built into it. As far as your other OTA's, you may want to try a preamp or booster on your antennia to see if the 211 can pick them up at a higher signal.
Gary....thanks! So, if I disable the Dish local channels in local channel setup, the local channels I see in the PG...for example 003-00, 005-00, 010-00 should be the digital, off air ones? Between this and my Tivo issues, I've got all this stuff comming out of my ears lol
The antennas that voom supplied were powered by the voom receiver and I believe some other receivers do it but the vip series don't. You need an amplifier for that voom antenna, it has been posted here before but I can't remember the model #.
Gary, thanks once again :)

OSU-Thanks to you too. This is the first I've heard that and it makes good sense since what I can see with a direct OTA feed to my TV shows good reception and when I look at 'em connected through the 211, they look like crap. Learn something new every day :)
okay, one more related question: I'm confused a bit. Do I need a preamp or an amplifier? Anyone have any ideas as to what would work best with a Winegard Square Shooter and E*'s ViP211?
Most like the preamp because it more or less pushes the signal to an amp - which just amplifies the existing signal. The preamp gives you a little bit higher and more consistant signal. Most amps nowadays are made to work with a preamp.
Well, a preamp is usually better. but OTA reception is determined by many factors.

First, how far away are you from the transmitting towers.

Go here and find out.

If you are only 10 miles from the towers, putting in a high gain preamp may make things worse.

By the way, they make a preamp for your antenna. (even though any would work)

But a 10db gain signal amp from radio shack or walmart may be all you need. No real way to tell. Best bet is to buy and try. If it doesn't work take it back and try something else.
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Thanks, Jim. I'm a good 15-20 miles away from the closest tower and 25 + from the rest. You wouldn't think that'd be the case being in the part of Alabama that's only 60 miles wide :)

I had seen that preamp when researching all this mess and that's when I got to scratching my head about the amplifier vs pre-amplifier thing. I guess I'll take a trip to Radio Shack before the OTA football games begin here. Thanks again.

Just a heads up, Walmart sells a phillips dual output 16db signal amp for ~$36. It worked well for me.

But in the long run my CM 7777 preamp is much better overall. (30 miles from all my towers)
If you have a Wineguard ant that looks like a wing, you need a power supply for the amp inside. The Voom rec. had power for the amp the Dish rec. does not.
With out power the amp will kill signal from the wing ant.
I live in Pensacola Florida and am exactly 30 miles from the towers at the River Styx exit on I10. I use the vip211 and get all of the Mobile Penasacola digital stations in HD at 90 to 100 % on the 211 signal meter with a radio shack outside antenna up at my one story roof. Where in Mobile are you? Mississippi!
I tried a Radio Shack amplifier and it did absoltely nothing so I took it back and got my money back. I hooked up my old Voom receiver and am now happily watching OTA HD again though not pleased about the three boxes stacked up like cordword but hey, I'll take it until I get it handled another way. Maybe the SS-2000 version of the Square Shooter would dothe trick with the 211?

To answer your question Jerry, I'm down in the S/W corner of Baldwin Co. which sometimes does feel like MS especially when I go to Mobile. Ms is only 10 miles from the Mobile Airport, too...if that far.

My original Voom service came with a Voom OTA antenna called a Channel Master 3010. It had part of a pre-amp built into the antenna and the rest was plugged inside into a wall outlet. Works fine with my 622 for digital stations 30 miles away transmitting at 1000 kw. I am getting a 100 signal strength.
Mine came with a Winegard Square Shooter which I believe is the SS-1000, non amplified. It appears that whoever it was that told me the 211 receiver doesn't have a built in amp was right as there was nothing I could do to get the OTA channels, period, which I don't understand. The Square Shooter SS-2000 is an amplified vsion so I'm going to give it a try.
The amp is not built into the voom receiver, it just acts as a power supply. They amp is usually built into the antenna and if that amp is not powered up you will get almost no signal from the antenna. They could have added an amp somewhere on the line outside of the antenna.

Or if like you said there is no amp anywhere maybe you have a broken 211.
I saw this thread regarding the tuner in the 211 model and thought I would respond about my reception issues. I too have both a Voom receiver and a Dish Network VIP 211 receiver. My Voom receiver picks up channels my locals with lots of signal strength and quality. It even picks up distant stations as well. My 211 does not pick up my locals too well, and sometimes loses signal quality on the meter. I have both a pre-amp on my 8-bay UHF antenna as well as a line distribution amplifier on my antenna line. Is the tuner on the 211 more sensitive than the Voom or is it just a crappy tuner in comparison?
I am using an RCA Amplified Rabbit ear/UHF antena with a 622 E* receiver in a 14th floor condo in Orange Beach. I can easily receive ABC, CBS, and NBC at the 70-80% signal strength. Sometimes I can get Fox and PBS OTA.

If the guide is of value to you consider paying $5/ month for the local SD and switch between the SD from E* and the OTA HD.

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