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Old 11-01-2012, 03:05 AM   #1
cannonz
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cable noise

I have bad interference on several analog channels and digital breaking up (sometimes going out completely) figured was time for new drop. Cable tech came out did something no other ever had disconnected every run from splitter and hooked to meter, said I have very bad noise on every run (all 20 years or older) they are going to replace drop and rewire house. I've had the interference on the analog for years (not as bad as it is now) many techs have tried to fix could not will the rewire do it?
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:18 AM   #2
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A properly done rewire can't hurt. So as long as you aren't paying for it, and it won't inconvenience you very much, why not? However the rewire won't help a bit if the noise is on your tap, i.e., the single line feeding the signal into your location prior to any splitters. The tech should have checked that.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:52 AM   #3
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Are they looking to charge you for this? If so, it is a scam. Noise is an artifact of amplification, and in an analog signal will manifest as graininess, confetti, or snow in the picture. It is usually caused by improperly balanced signal levels on the CATV system, although it can be produced by a bad amplifier. It is not caused by a cable drop. A bad cable drop will generally result in one of two symptoms. The first is low signal levels. This would be reflected in the signal levels reported by the TiVo, and generally speaking will result in snow in an analog video. The second is RF ingress. Ingress is the result of cracked or corroded sheilding, allowing OTA signals to penetrate the coaxial shielding and appear on the center conductor. This will result in interference only on the channels where an OTA carrier is found. In the old days, these were easy to indentify. With the advent of digital OTA and most TV stations having moved to UHF frequencies, it is now a bit more difficult, but the bottom line is the effect will only be seen on a relative handful of channels. This is typically the only form of interference produced by CATV drops, and it can be due to cracked cable or bad connectors on the CATV plant, as well. Other forms of interference are all due to the CATV system electronics.

A simple meter cannot measure noise or interference.

What makes you believe you are suffering from interference?
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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It is free, even said I would be disconnected if not done because would feed back to trunk. One of the channels really bad on analog is 6 and there is a local OTA ON 6, if still broadcasting analog I'm sure would be cochanneling. Signal is low and like I said he also hooked meter to each run from outside to TV (I guess checks shielding) never seen one do that before. I could not understand how that got a reading unless had tone generator or something, I should have asked. Just hope I don't have the inconvenience of moving furniture and waiting on them to come for nothing.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:11 PM   #5
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It is free, even said I would be disconnected if not done because would feed back to trunk.
That is a complete lie. First of all, subscriber taps are not present on trunk cables, only on what are known as feeder cables. Secondly, nothing relating to a bad CATV drop is going to gerenerate any signals. Finally, even if it did, both the adjacent tap ports and the downstream feeder leg are fairly well isolated from the user tap port.

Since they are going to do it free of charge, however, I suppose it doesn't matter too much.

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One of the channels really bad on analog is 6 and there is a local OTA ON 6, if still broadcasting analog I'm sure would be cochanneling.
I am not quite sure what you are saying, here. If there is an OTA carrier between 83 and 88 MHz and your drop has a faulty shield, you most certainly may experience interference on channel 6, if that is what you mean.

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Signal is low and like I said he also hooked meter to each run from outside to TV (I guess checks shielding) never seen one do that before. I could not understand how that got a reading unless had tone generator or something, I should have asked.
Signal leakage is generally detected by a receiver with an aerial placed OUTSIDE the drops. If signals are leaking into the cable, then they are leaking out of the cable, as well. Usually a narrowband carrier with a simple warble tone is placed in the spectrum at the headend in order to facilitate such testing.

Generally it is very difficult to detect a cable shield fault with a meter or an analyzer unless there is a non-video OTA carrier that can easily be differentiated from the normal CATV carriers. Here in San Antonio, for example there is (or at least used to be) a paging service carrier around 152 MHz. Not only was it easy to see in Channel 19 on a TV set, it was fairly easy to distinguish from the Channel 19 video crarrier with a spectrum analyzer or a meter.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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Noise is generally due to a bad coax connector. It is a result of the ground being degraded because of the connector. Since you say the coax is 20 years old and they will replace it for free then go for it. The newer RG 6 quad will give you a better signal. Yes, it is possible for the bad coax to feed back into the line if they have bad shielding on the nain line. It can also cause RF interference that can be picked up by the coax in a neighbors house if they have bad shielding and would cause a ghosting.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:00 PM   #7
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He said the lines running to my TV's were the noisy ones, the drop was just providing low signal. Must be something to it or they would not use materials and pay what I'm sure will be a subcontractor to do it. I was going to replace them myself eventually anyway just find it odd all were bad unless caused by age.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:07 PM   #8
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Noise is generally due to a bad coax connector.
Noise is NEVER due to a bad coax connector. Thermal noise is due to what is essentially black body radiation in the coaxial line, and is entirely dependent upon ambient temperature. At ordinary ambient temperatures, that level is roughly -59 dBmV. A "noiseless" carrier inserted into a typical coax cable at +10dBmV would then produce a signal with a Carrier / Noise Ratio (CNR or C/N) of 69 dB. In the days of 100% analog systems, this is precisely the signal presented to the trunk amplifiers in most CATV systems. The C/N is 69 dB only at the input to the very first trunk amplifier, however. Each amplifier in cascade amplifies both the input noise and input signal equally, but it also adds its own noise, so (assuming the input levels are uniform at every amplifier) the noise produced by the amplifiers in the cascade increases by 3 dB every time the number of amplifiers is doubled, and then that noise is added to the thermal noise.

Passive equipment, good or bad, does not generate anything but thermal noise. There is a very rare exception where water in an aluminum and steel connector in contact with a copper center conductor can form oxides when wet that actually act as small noise generators in the presence of AC power on the center conductor. On trunk and feeder cables, the amplifiers are powered by (usually) 60 VAC applied to the center conductor.

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It is a result of the ground being degraded because of the connector.
A degraded ground will not produce noise. In order to produce noise (or any signal) there must be a source of energy, and a bad connector, including an imperfect ground, has no source of energy. It can produce an attenuation, lowering the signal level, which then results in a lower Signal / Noise ratio (SNR or S/N) at the receiver's input stage, but that is a different matter. More commonly, rather than affecting the overall signal level, a bad connector is more likely to cause a response problem, which makes the more badly effected channels not only more susceptible to noise in the receiver's input stage, but also much more susceptible to 2nd and 3rd order distortion in its mixer stages.

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Yes, it is possible for the bad coax to feed back into the line if they have bad shielding on the nain line. It can also cause RF interference that can be picked up by the coax in a neighbors house if they have bad shielding and would cause a ghosting.
This is total nonsense. Ghosting is a visual effect in analog video signals, caused by multi-path distortion. It is common in OTA antennas where the main signal reaches the antenna directly but a reflecting surface a few light microseconds away from the antenna causes a significant amount of RF from the transmitter to be reflected back towards the receiver antenna, a few microseconds after the main signal arrives. Placing an antenna on the roof of a one story building right next to a two or three story building is an excellent way to produce ghosts. It also is common in CATV plants with a bad device or bad connectors in the cable which reflect the signal back towards the previous device. Amps and passive devices are designed to have as high a return loss (the ratio of the level of an input signal to its reflection) as financially practical, but a bad connector, or especially two bad connectors in a row can produce ghosting. Digital signals are far less susceptible to multi-path distortion than analog signals, but if the reflected signal is high enough, it can also cause trouble for digital signals, but not ghosting. A coax drop can certainly produce ghosting and digital multipath aliasing for its owner, but it will not "feed back" into the feeder cable to any appreciable extent, and it most certainly will not be "picked up by the coax in a neighbors house". In order to produce an appreciable signal in a neighbor's coaxial system, a radiator would have to produce a signal many watts in intensity - perhaps even many hundreds of watts. The typical signal on a subscriber coax drop is about 1.5 millionths of a watt, total. The power of any single carrier is about 13 billionths of a watt. It could be picked up - exceedingly weakly, by a nearby rooftop antenna, but by a coax system? Forget it.

Last edited by lrhorer : 11-02-2012 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:44 AM   #9
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Well the stronger signal fixed the digital problem but not the bad channels on analog, but luckily a neighbor saw the cable guy told him there having same problem he is going to report it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #10
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Probably some ham radio operator close by. I hear that their antennas are always stealing TV signals right out of the air, or cable, or whatever.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
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Well the stronger signal fixed the digital problem but not the bad channels on analog, but luckily a neighbor saw the cable guy told him there having same problem he is going to report it.
Not being on the scene, I surely cannot say with any authority, but the odds are not bad the interference is on the CATV lines feeding your subscriber tap. The same issues (notably ingress and response problems) that can be introduced on a bad subscriber drop or a drop with bad connectors can assuredly happen on a feeder or even a trunk line. Entire neighborhoods can be affected, or in the old days an entire section of the city. Most CATV systems these days limit their trunk realms to 500 or so homes, though, so the affected area would likely be smaller.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:16 PM   #12
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Probably some ham radio operator close by. I hear that their antennas are always stealing TV signals right out of the air, or cable, or whatever.
'Shouldn't be. First of all, Hams don't operate in those frequencies. Secondly, it's illegal for a ham to transmit continuously.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:18 PM   #13
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'Shouldn't be. First of all, Hams don't operate in those frequencies. Secondly, it's illegal for a ham to transmit continuously.
It was a joke.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:24 PM   #14
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It was a joke.
Oh. 'Sorry.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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Probably some ham radio operator close by. I hear that their antennas are always stealing TV signals right out of the air, or cable, or whatever.
He would have to be going 24/7,actually they usually find malfunctioning trunk line amps for cable companies gives them a lot of noise on their equipment. I think it's a bad amp or tilt.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #16
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He would have to be going 24/7,actually they usually find malfunctioning trunk line amps for cable companies gives them a lot of noise on their equipment. I think it's a bad amp or tilt.
It's not unlikely. There of course can be other causes, but amplifiers do go bad, producing all manner of nasty issues, and an improperly balanced plant can produce excessive noise, distortion, or both.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:35 PM   #17
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I am not quite sure what you are saying, here. If there is an OTA carrier between 83 and 88 MHz and your drop has a faulty shield, you most certainly may experience interference on channel 6, if that is what you mean.


.
Back when stations were analog and this happened on cable 2, 6, 9 (local broadcast channels) would see would see them in background would see channel 2 (NBC) on cable 2 which was channel 24, 6 on 6 which was channel 65.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #18
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He would have to be going 24/7,actually they usually find malfunctioning trunk line amps for cable companies gives them a lot of noise on their equipment. I think it's a bad amp or tilt.
Like I said, it was a joke. Please read past the first part of the statement.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:53 PM   #19
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Irhorer
I have to disagree with you about the bad connector. Any time I have had noise and lines thru the picture it was a result of the shield not being crimped properly in the barrel end of the connector. This degrades the shielding of the braid and causes problems with the signal.
Also the part about ham operators not running illegal amps, there will always be people doing things they shouldnt be doing. Same as for people using CB radios. They tend to cause a lot more problems with TV signals then the ham operators.
Now as for the ghosting problem. A while back Comcast went thru our town searching for stray RF signals being cause by faulty drops and inside wiring. They actually disconnected the cutomers inside wiring when they found one. Now you are asuming that every one is now on a digital set up. However not all cable companies are digital as of this time.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:31 PM   #20
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Like I said, it was a joke. Please read past the first part of the statement.
I got it the stealing line was indeed the tip off, my 24/7 was responding joke.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #21
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Uh-oh, SNJpage1 fell into the same mistake a lot of people make.


(Hint: not about the subject matter)


Edit: To be fair, I made the same mistake...once.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #22
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Irhorer
A while back Comcast went thru our town searching for stray RF signals being cause by faulty drops and inside wiring. They actually disconnected the cutomers inside wiring when they found one. .
Many years ago came home from work one day had note on door saying I had bad TV or other piece of equipment that was defective causing problem, one of my TV's was disconnected one of those lock things on that tap of splitter. Called,tech came out checked everything said nothing was wrong did not know why someone said it was, hooked TV back up.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:30 PM   #23
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Irhorer
That is lrhorer, if you please, not irhorer.

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I have to disagree with you about the bad connector.
First of all, do you realize that you are speaking to an engineer who worked for a CATV company for 14 years?

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Any time I have had noise and lines thru the picture it was a result of the shield not being crimped properly in the barrel end of the connector. This degrades the shielding of the braid and causes problems with the signal.
A compromised shield, including one which is compromised by a bad, loose, or improperly crimped connector can most certainly allow external signals to ingress into the coaxial cable. If the ingress signal is at precisely the same frequency (most CATV systems offset their analog signals 100KHz from the OTA carrier) and precisely the same content as the OTA signal, it can produce ghosting. If the content is different, then it produces a different sort of ghost, where one image is superimposed on the other. If the frequencies are offset, it ordinarily produces what is known as the "Venetian Blind" effect, producing wide, alternately bright and dark semitransparent bars over the picture. That may be what you are describing. It is not noise, it is not produced by the connector itself, per se, and it cannot be picked up by an external aerial or coaxial cable. It will not insert itself (to any significant degree) into the feeder or any adjacent tap ports.

Non-video ingress cariers often produce beats of a different sort. A herringbone pattern or fine horizontal lines are common.

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Also the part about ham operators not running illegal amps
No one said anything about illegal amplifiers. Indeed, linear amplifiers are quite legal in some bands and below some specified power output.

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Same as for people using CB radios. They tend to cause a lot more problems with TV signals then the ham operators.
At 27 MHz? Not on your life.

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Now as for the ghosting problem. A while back Comcast went thru our town searching for stray RF signals being cause by faulty drops and inside wiring.
A while back? They have been required by the FCC to do so continuously for decades. They are required to document the cumulative system leakage by flying over every franchise with a special receiver once a year and to provide logs of continuous street-level monitoring and repair or disconnection of drops which produce egress levels above specs. This has nothing to do with noise and is only indirectly related to interference on the CATV drop. As I mentioned, if signals are getting into the drop from OTA sources, then signals are also getting out.

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They actually disconnected the cutomers inside wiring when they found one.
If it could not be resolved outside, yes. The CATV company for which I worked had a small team (12 people) whose responsibility was pinpointing RF egress. If the problem were related to bad fittings, drops, or passive devices owned by the company, they would fix them. Many were due to illegal hookups, which were often done improperly. These were simply disconnected. The others were forwarded as trouble tickets to the regular technicians.

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Now you are asuming that every one is now on a digital set up. However not all cable companies are digital as of this time.
I assume no such thing. The visual effects of RF ingress on analog signals are distinct and easily identified. The effects on digital signals are not visually distinguishable from noise, distrotion, or low signal levels, and since digital channels do not have any direct correlation to specific frequencies, it can be very difficult to know the source merely by looking at the TV. It is also much more difficult to describe the effects and their causes to civilians. In addition, the signals levels for analog signals are quite standard throughout the industry. The levels for digital signals are not. Various companies will run their digital carriers anything from 5 dB to 20 dB lower than analog carriers. Most choose either 10 or 15 dB, meaning the inputs to trunk amplifiers are either 0 or -5 dBmV.

Last edited by lrhorer : 11-03-2012 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:47 PM   #24
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Many years ago came home from work one day had note on door saying I had bad TV or other piece of equipment that was defective causing problem, one of my TV's was disconnected one of those lock things on that tap of splitter. Called,tech came out checked everything said nothing was wrong did not know why someone said it was, hooked TV back up.
I have three guesses:
1. They identified the wrong drop.
2. There is an intermittent leak. Temperature, wind, and even sometimes humidity can cause leakage levels to vary.
3. The problem was a loose connector at the pole, or a bad channel trap. Disconnecting the drop and removing any channel traps eliminated the problem. Hooking you back up returned the system to normal operation.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:06 PM   #25
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Back when stations were analog and this happened on cable 2, 6, 9 (local broadcast channels) would see would see them in background would see channel 2 (NBC) on cable 2 which was channel 24, 6 on 6 which was channel 65.
'Sounds like your CATV provider did not offset their channels. Most do.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:13 PM   #26
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Edit: To be fair, I made the same mistake...once.
I try not to be put off by it, and admittedly it is an easy mistake to make. Lowercase l and uppercase I are quite distinct with ISO-8859-1, however.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:57 PM   #27
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Once again Irhorer I disagree with you about the CB radio thing. Back when I had one there were a lot of people causing interference on our TV's. We even had to call the FCC about the one guy. The local cable companies wouldnt do anything about them.
I am not going to get into a pissing contest over who is right or wrong but my personal experience will match your 14 years as an engineer.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #28
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I try not to be put off by it, and admittedly it is an easy mistake to make. Lowercase l and uppercase I are quite distinct with ISO-8859-1, however.
The difference is visible in your comment, but not in your user name to the left.

Different fonts, I guess.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:47 AM   #29
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Once again Irhorer
I asked you once to use my proper handle. I do not think it is an unreasonable request.

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I disagree with you about the CB radio thing. Back when I had one there were a lot of people causing interference on our TV's. We even had to call the FCC about the one guy.
I never said a CB transmission could not cause problems on a TV. You said a CB could cause problems with the cable, and this is simply untrue. If the TV has a poorly shielded IF or Audio section, or possibly even a poorly shielded video section, a 27 MHz signal of sufficient strength could possibly cause an issue. I have seen it myself a number of times, and not just at 11 meters. The issue, however, is *NOT* with the cable or any signals on the cable. It is beyond the RF section of the TV, which will not pass signals below 55.25 MHz, or at least not one of any plausible intensity.

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The local cable companies wouldnt do anything about them.
Nor should they have done. It was not an issue relating to their signals, nor even one on their CATV drop. It was entirely an issue of your TV's shielding and perhaps IF mixer issues and possibly of the CB owner, if he was doing anything illegal in terms of transmitted power.

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I am not going to get into a pissing contest over who is right or wrong but my personal experience will match your 14 years as an engineer.
Your experience is not at question. It is your conclusions, which are based upon a lack of understanding of the technology involved.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:37 AM   #30
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Irhorer
I have to disagree with you about the bad connector. Any time I have had noise and lines thru the picture it was a result of the shield not being crimped properly in the barrel end of the connector. This degrades the shielding of the braid and causes problems with the signal.
Also the part about ham operators not running illegal amps, there will always be people doing things they shouldnt be doing. Same as for people using CB radios. They tend to cause a lot more problems with TV signals then the ham operators.
Now as for the ghosting problem. A while back Comcast went thru our town searching for stray RF signals being cause by faulty drops and inside wiring. They actually disconnected the cutomers inside wiring when they found one. Now you are asuming that every one is now on a digital set up. However not all cable companies are digital as of this time.
Actual hams, that is, those with FCC licenses and assigned call signs to operate on the amateur bands, are unlikely to be running illegal equipment. Part of the "thrill" for them is to get maximum performance within the legal restraints.

There are, of course, others who operate outside the law and give them a bad name because the public doesn't know the difference.
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