WAQP-49 RF36 Question for Trip

primestar31

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Trip , I'm 37.5 miles North, and slightly West of this tower. Right on the corner of W Birch Rd, and N Lakeside Dr as seen in the attached printscreen below. Here's my Rabbitears report for the exact location of my antenna, which is a Televes 149884. https://www.rabbitears.info/searchmap.php?request=result&study_id=759888

I seemingly shouldn't have issues at all with this station based on the report, yet it is a semi-frequent pixelating troublemaker for some reason I simply can't figure out. My closest cell tower is 2.37 miles away just slightly East of the antenna bearing for WAQP tower, but the antenna has a 4g/LTE filter that starts at channel rf37.

What is the WHITE area showing on this print, as it's hovering almost right over where my antenna is. Is it some sort of suspected signal hole?



waqptrip.jpg
 
So, to start, the coverage map and the report use two different pieces of software. The map is made with SPLAT! and the report is done with the FCC's TVStudy software. They can and sometimes do disagree, even though both are Longley-Rice. (Different underlying terrain data, different code implementing the model, etc.)

To answer the exact question, yes, the white indicates a spot where SPLAT! is predicting a hole in the coverage. It's interesting that TVStudy doesn't predict the same drop-off that SPLAT! does. It would be interesting to see what the signal looks like on a spectrum analyzer, as I am inclined to trust TVStudy over SPLAT! personally.

I also looked at the cell tower situation and while you're right about the distance, it also looks to be around the same azimuth you'd be aiming your antenna. It also looks to have both T-Mobile and Dish on it, so almost the entire 600 MHz band is in use from that tower. (30 out of the 35 MHz of downlink.) That said, between the distance and the filtering, that's unlikely to be your issue.

What receivers/tools do you have? I can't remember.

- Trip
 
So, to start, the coverage map and the report use two different pieces of software. The map is made with SPLAT! and the report is done with the FCC's TVStudy software. They can and sometimes do disagree, even though both are Longley-Rice. (Different underlying terrain data, different code implementing the model, etc.)

To answer the exact question, yes, the white indicates a spot where SPLAT! is predicting a hole in the coverage. It's interesting that TVStudy doesn't predict the same drop-off that SPLAT! does. It would be interesting to see what the signal looks like on a spectrum analyzer, as I am inclined to trust TVStudy over SPLAT! personally.

I also looked at the cell tower situation and while you're right about the distance, it also looks to be around the same azimuth you'd be aiming your antenna. It also looks to have both T-Mobile and Dish on it, so almost the entire 600 MHz band is in use from that tower. (30 out of the 35 MHz of downlink.) That said, between the distance and the filtering, that's unlikely to be your issue.

What receivers/tools do you have? I can't remember.

- Trip
Ok thanks. I have a Tivo Roamio (which IS for sure overly sensitive to multipath), 2- TCL Roku tv sets, and a CHANNELS Dvr running on a RP 4b, and using a HDHR 4k FLEX as its tuner. My antennas are all running through a SmartKom, (which is also powering them) and the SmartKom helps a lot in keeping that station more stable.

I have a TinySA spectrum analyzer, and a Digiair Pro ATSC antenna signal meter that has a spectrum analyzer. I did at one time have the loan of a Televes spectrum analyzer, but had to send that back. It did show heavy cell activity just past rf36 at times.
 
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Sorry for the delay.

I'd be interested to see what a spectrum trace of WAQP looks like on one of your analyzers, but I'm going to guess that it looks pretty flat or else you'd already have spotted that and used it to resolve the issue. What's the received signal level on it at the antenna?

- Trip
 
Sorry for the delay.

I'd be interested to see what a spectrum trace of WAQP looks like on one of your analyzers, but I'm going to guess that it looks pretty flat or else you'd already have spotted that and used it to resolve the issue. What's the received signal level on it at the antenna?

- Trip
This is weird. One of my posts above where I included all the screenshots from my HDHR readings and comments is GONE. Not sure what happened to it, somebody must have deleted it, or there's been a database issue. Let me see if I can re-create it.
 
This is weird. One of my posts above where I included all the screenshots from my HDHR readings and comments is GONE. Not sure what happened to it, somebody must have deleted it, or there's been a database issue. Let me see if I can re-create it.
We had a database crash last Friday and lost about 2 hours worth of posts. I am guessing you posted it then. :)
 
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Ok, WJRT-12 (rf12 so high vhf) WSMH-66 (rf16) and WAQP-49 (rf36) towers are ALL in a triangle area close to each other and on the same bearing. I have no issues receiving either WJRT or WSMH. It's just WAQP that's a troublemaker.

Here's some screenshots taken a few minutes apart from each other. Top one is where it was oscillating badly enough to drop out. Bottom one is WSMH rf16 taken at the same time. It never varied like WAQP.

WAQP levels: at 79% (-37dBm) Signal Quality = 24dB MER, BER: 0.00E +00

It's been raining this morning, and it's behaving at present, so I can't get readings again for when it drops out. I do know WHEN that happens, MER & BER fluctuate wildly for a short period.

waqpdrop.jpgwaqphigh.jpgwaqphighest.jpgwaqplow.jpgwsmhhdhr.jpg:
 
Go figure, right now (3:56pm) WAQP is at 100 100 100 (-37dBm) everything, which is:
32.7 MER BER: 0.00E+00

All solid, no issues at all. NO DIFFERENCE in weather, except it's now very windy, with 14 mph wind gusts, and tree leaves are waggling like crazy! I'd think that would make it act up, YET, it's locked solid! This makes no frigging sense! dxinfocentre.com TROPO report shows as "marginal" right now also.

waqpmax.jpg
 
Ok, wind just kicked up MUCH higher in gusts, it's lightly raining, and leaves are waggling very violently and even though it's all still 100% signal quality and 35.6: MER, BER fluctuates as much as 4.00E+00, and in that second, signal quality goes down to 19% (with MER staying high) then right back to 100%
 
Okay, so first of all, and unrelated, are you receiving the new 27 and 31 nearby? Not sure if you're in a position to get them or not.

Second, it's really weird, it reads like multipath but I'd expect it to be more consistent in its behavior than what you're seeing. Like I said, it would be nice to see what, if anything, the analyzer shows you on channel 36. Is the signal flat and level? Do you see any change when the signal drops?

- Trip
 
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Okay, so first of all, and unrelated, are you receiving the new 27 and 31 nearby? Not sure if you're in a position to get them or not.
I'm unaware of any new stations on rf27 and rf31. I see a rf31 W31FF-D has been added to the Rabbitears listing for the Flint-Saginaw-Bay City DMA I'm in. Since the tower for that is shown as South of Coleman only 10.73 miles away, I should be able to receive it. However, it doesn't appear to have any programming I'd bother to watch. I do get WCMU on rf26 just fine, but I have a separate 149884 antenna pointed for that and WWTV-9 up in Cadillac.

I don't see a listing for rf27 though, what is the call letters for that one? I'm using a SmartKom, so I'd have to program that to not reject those channels to see.

Second, it's really weird, it reads like multipath but I'd expect it to be more consistent in its behavior than what you're seeing. Like I said, it would be nice to see what, if anything, the analyzer shows you on channel 36. Is the signal flat and level? Do you see any change when the signal drops?
I agree, it acts a LOT like some sort of multipath, yet it's WAY too inconsistent for "regular" multipath. It acts more like a unstable signal hole that slightly shifts around/rotates in response to multipath, yet only really affects rf36. The signal is NOT flat and level for any length of time on the spectrum analyzer.

To top it off, IF the signal hole thing that shows on that one report for WAQP is LEGIT, I aim directly through that with one 149884 antenna to pick up WCMU rf26 and WWTV rf9, and it doesn't apparently affect those channels at all.

Top antenna 42'~ is the one pointed for rf26 and rf9, through the so-called signal hole

Middle antenna 35'~ is pointed for rf15 and rf30.

Bottom antenna 30'~ is for all the rest, and the one rf36 is presently being picked up from.

Neighborhood is oak, maple and pine trees, averaging 85' tall.

IMG_20240709_095611900.jpg

IMG_20240709_095648986.jpg

IMG_20240709_095722197.jpg
 
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W27ET-D. Same owner as W31FF-D. If you're able to see them, I'd love confirmation of programming.

I never tire of seeing photos of your setup. It's really impressive.

That the signal is not consistently flat is interesting. Definitely implies some type of dynamic multipath--something that's moving around. What that is, I'm not sure. What else have you tried? Like, have you tried using a different antenna at a different location just to see if it's better in different conditions? In theory, based on your report, WAQP should be workable with even an indoor antenna; it might be worth trying it out just to see what happens.

The map doesn't work the way you're implying it does; you don't look "through" a dead spot and then have less signal on the other side. Each point on the map is computed for its predicted signal level. Assuming the prediction is accurate, you should expect the color to roughly align with what you're seeing in terms of signal.

- Trip
 
Could 4G LTE interference be causing the problem with rf36? My experience with Televe's antennas and amplifiers, has been they need stronger FM & LTE filters in my location.
Well, that's always a possibility I guess. I have noticed on my spectrum analyzer that the 4g/LTE (and FM) signal ingress raw compared to AFTER the filter in the preamp, doesn't knock it down as far as I would have hoped. I have tried ADDING an outboard Channel Master 4g/LTE filter (which kills that signal deader than a doornail, and which is power-passing, so the internal antenna preamp still gets power) between the antenna output, and the input to the SmartKom, but it didn't make a difference in the weird dropouts.

What do YOU do about that issue? Have you tried adding a filter? If so, did it work? If not, I can guarantee that the Channel Master $20 one is as good as it gets, and maybe it would help you.
 
What else have you tried? Like, have you tried using a different antenna
I've tried so MANY things over the last few years since WAQP had the antenna swap, that I'm not even sure what's what any more.I originally started all this with just the 2" well pipe mast for my antennas. Installed the tower later. IF I remember right though, an older model Channel Master EXTREMEtenna 80 could lock WAQP solid, along with a Televes 560383 preamp. This was PRE-SmartKom installation also.

I'm NOT against trying re-installing that antenna if I must, except I don't at present have an open input on the SmartKom to combine it. Then again thinking about it, IF I reinstall that EXTREMEtenna and aim it dead at WAQP, I could likely turn the present multi-station lower Televes Dat Boss LR 149884 slightly East to also better grab WDCQ at the farthest North part of my station tower arc, and REMOVE the middle Dat Boss LR UHF only antenna that's presently aimed mostly for WDCQ rf15 but also picking up WNEM rf30.

That would open up a SmartKom input for the EXTREMEtenna.... Decisions, decisions...

I'll need some time to try all that due to my health, weather, and logistics. Never really recovered completely from my foot surgery on my left foot, so even with steel shank boots, it now limits how long I can safely hang at the top of the tower. I seriously WISH I owned a manlift! I'd be in hog-Heaven then, lol.
 
W27ET-D. Same owner as W31FF-D. If you're able to see them, I'd love confirmation of programming.
Ok, Trip , I reprogrammed my SmartKom to pick up both these stations. Didn't re-aim anything, just set the very top 149884 that's pointed for WCMU RF26 MT Pleasant and WWTV RF9 Cadillac to also pick up the new Rf27 and Rf31, since it's aimed closest that way of the antennas, yet slightly more North-West because of splitting the difference between the tower locations of WCMU & WWTV, which are my main focus for it.

Anyway, here's what I have:

W27ET-D: Comes in solid on the HDHR 4k Flex 100/81/100%

.1 = Something called "Victory" which has a religious talk show on it
.2 = RTNOWTV presently has a frozen picture, looks like the encoder might need rebooting
.3 = "BIZ"
.4 = Fun Roads Tv

W31FF-D: Flaky signal on this one, won't stay locked, but does work for a few seconds here and there. I think the main beam is aimed more towards it's towers South-West, thus away from me. It has EXACTLY the same sub-channel lineup as W27ET-D, along with .2 RTNOWTV having a frozen picture.

w27et-d.jpg
 
I'm NOT against trying re-installing that antenna if I must,

I'm not even suggesting going that far. I'm literally wondering what you would see if you hooked up a generic indoor antenna to a receiver and futzed with it a bit to try to get WAQP. Would it see the drops at the same time as the setup on the roof or would it be solid?

- Trip
 
I'm not even suggesting going that far. I'm literally wondering what you would see if you hooked up a generic indoor antenna to a receiver and futzed with it a bit to try to get WAQP. Would it see the drops at the same time as the setup on the roof or would it be solid?

- Trip
Ok, the only actual "indoor" antenna I have handy, is a ChannelMaster FLATenna mudflap my dad had years ago. I'll be amazed if that could receive WAQP here, but I'll try it soon when I have a chance and see what happens.

I also have a Antennas Direct C4-CJM UHF antenna in the shed that was given to me when a former neighbor moved out of the neighborhood. While not exactly an "indoor" antenna, it's small enough that I could use some coax in here and move it around to see what happens.
 
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If you can, give one of them a shot when you have a chance. The Search Map prediction says you should have enough signal for it to work, notwithstanding that predictions can be wrong. I'm just curious if it's something specific to your antenna setup or if it's something more universal, and I'm thinking that might be a way to answer that question.

- Trip
 
Could 4G LTE interference be causing the problem with rf36? My experience with Televe's antennas and amplifiers, has been they need stronger FM & LTE filters in my location.
I have a guess and a question;

Guess; The problem could be the way the antennas are combined. Can you pick up WAQP with just the antenna aimed in that direction and all others disconnected??
Question; Are your antennas filtered for 4G or 5G? To protect channel 36 you need a 5G filter (600 MHZ), and it must be inside the Televes antenna. The older 4G filters (700 MHz) won't work on 5G. To make it even more confusing, all three of your antennas must have 5G filters, not just the one aimed at WAQP. A SmartKom MIGHT be able to combine two 4G filtered antennas with one 5G filtered model aimed at WAQP .
 

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