Looking for a better antenna for the HD TiVo.

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by Scott D, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. Jan 3, 2006 #1 of 15
    Scott D

    Scott D Active Member

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    Anyone here ever heard or tried this antenna?

    I am looking for something that doesn't look like a barn door. Something powerful but not terribly expensive either.
     
  2. Jan 3, 2006 #2 of 15
    kepper

    kepper Member

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    southern...
    I haven't heard of the antenna you linked to, but I've been using the Winegard Square Shooter 2000 which looks a little smaller. It works very well for me, I live 42 miles from the broadcasting towers and get all of the LA digital channels with a signal strength of 85-93. Its also less expensive.

    Kevin
     
  3. Jan 3, 2006 #3 of 15
    A J Ricaud

    A J Ricaud Active Member

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    Hacienda...
    "Patented Spilateral technology lets the XiumAir grab signals coming from all directions from as far away as 50 miles"

    I think you are asking for trouble with this antenna. HD Tivos are very susceptible to problems with multipath (i.e. many direction/reflected) signals. You would be well advised to look at recommendations for an appropriate antenna here:

    antennaweb.org

    P.S. that antenna is overly expensive.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2006 #4 of 15
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Mill Creek,...
    Also check out the "Local HDTV Reception Forum" at http://www.avsforum.com. Find the index thread at the top of that forum and locate your nearest city. Follow the link to a thread where you can ask this question and learn what antennas work well for folks in your neighborhood.
     
  5. Jan 3, 2006 #5 of 15
    TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

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    Wow! $129? P. T. Barnum was right. You can get three 4228's for that price. Let's hope they don't make a deal with Monster Cable.

    They used to sell this wall wart that would "make your entire house wiring into one large super antenna". I suppose they sold a few of those before everyone caught on. I can still get you one of those green magic markers that make CDs sould better, too.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2006 #6 of 15
    stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    I have seen that antenna advertised (for less) in the back of magazines. From what I can tell, it's junk.

    I have this one on order. I'm eager to see how well it does in practice.
     
  7. Jan 6, 2006 #7 of 15
    Scott D

    Scott D Active Member

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    I'm not too sure about that one either. It just didn't look right. Too much hype.
     
  8. Jan 6, 2006 #8 of 15
    stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    I know what you mean, but the seller has a good reputation. I'll let you know how it works out.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2006 #9 of 15
    nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    Reposting from the AVS forum...

    I'm having a problem with HD OTA reception on my HD DirecTivo but only one local station is a problem - WBNS 21. Here is my antennaweb.org information.

    * red - uhf WWHO-DT 53.1 UPN CHILLICOTHE OH 214° 30.1 46
    * red - vhf WSYX-DT 6.1 ABC COLUMBUS OH 261° 9.6 13
    * red - uhf WOSU-DT 34.1 PBS COLUMBUS OH 348° 13.4 38
    * red - uhf WTTE-DT 28.1 FOX COLUMBUS OH 261° 9.6 36
    * red - uhf WCMH-DT 4.1 NBC COLUMBUS OH 275° 9.6 14
    * red - uhf WBNS-DT 10.1 CBS COLUMBUS OH 275° 9.6 21

    The back of my house faces roughly west and the antenna is in back facing west so I don't expect to ever get PBS. I get everything else rock solid except for WBNS. WBNS 21 has frequent dropouts and breakup. Worse during the day and getting better through the night.

    This is puzzling because as you can see it's the exact same direction and distance as WCMH 14 and that comes in perfectly. Both show about a 92 on signal strength but during periods of breakup the WBNS signal drops into the 40s for brief periods.

    The provided antenna is a DB2. Based on some reports that the HD Tivo's receiver is easily over-driven I tried putting a 6db attenuator in the line with no affect.

    At this point I'm considering trying an adjustable attenuator or maybe just a set of rabbit ears to see if that takes care of the problem. The only other thing I can think of is maybe a more directional antenna if it's multipath. The DB2 has a 90 beam width so I may try turning it a bit to see if I can get the multipath source out of the beam and still keep a good signal (if I can get a ladder up there).

    Suggestions? I've got to get this sorted before the CBS playoff games!
     
  10. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

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    The DB8 and 4228 are both more directional, I would try the 4228. Realize that some of these channels are off axis, so more directionality might get you CBS, but might also degrade some of those.

    Before you do that, I would try an amp. I, too, was alerted to the potential overload problem of the HR10, but adding a 25 dB amp and cranking it up all the way (from 12 miles out) just to see if I could overload my two HR10s resulted in that NOT happening, so maybe the overload issue is overblown. It might be a good thing to check for the power output (also on antennaweb.org) to see if the power of the CBS station is lower than the other one you are receiving from that axis. If so, the amp might be a good move, and it might be regardless.

    This thread documents a procedure that might help you with that: http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=275316

    Two stations of different output power can easily measure the exact same signal quality. If you are getting all of the bits from both, 92 would seem like a reasonable reading, regardless of the power output level differences. When just one of them drops to 40, that may indicate multipath or it may indicate that you are just on the threshold, level-wise, for the lower-powered one.

    Now, when atmospheric or other conditions puts one on the threshold while the other is still just above the threshold though also weakened, the weaker one can drop precipitously (in signal quality reading) while the other signal, even though weaker, doesn't drop in signal quality readings at all, because you are still receiving all bits uncorrupted (though at a lower level) from that signal. I know, it makes my brain hurt, too. But that's the physics involved there.

    On the other hand, if the signal swings wildly, that may indicate threshold reception (meaning an amp could help) or it could also mean multipath (meaning a more-directional antenna could help).
     
  11. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    I tried an attenuator with no effect. I would guess that unless you've got a signal in the upper 90's overload isn't a consideration.

    My ladder didn't reach but I was able to lean out a window and barely reach the antenna to losen one of the wing nuts on the u-bolts and turn the antenna about 10 degrees further south. I figured that might get the multipath source out of the highest gain of the antenna.

    The results so far look very promising. No sign of breakup or freezing on WBNS during the time I've watched so far. Signal is down about 5 points on the signal scale across all the channels but they're all still good.
     
  12. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

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    It might not even be then, but it still could be. The attenuator can lower the actual signal level without lowering the quality readings, because even at a lower signal level (up to a point) all of the bits can still get through uncorrupted which is what the signal quality measurement is really measuring, as opposed to raw carrier or power levels.

    If you can monitor signal quality (not picture quality, but a measurement of what proportion of bits are successfully decoded, and the HR10 does just that) while increasing signal level from very low to very high, you will see something interesting. If you begin very low and raise the level smoothly (using a variable attenuator or amp or both) at first the reading will stay around zero. Eventually, further raising the level causes the reading to start to climb also, somewhat proportionally. At some point, though, the level can continue to be raised while the SQ readings start to level off. At this point, there can be a change of 10-15 dB with absolutely no change in SQ readings. Eventually, as the level is raised even further, the SQ readings start to actually decrease.

    That is a graphic depiction of the operational window at work. The point between where the SQ reading levels off and then begins to decrease is exactly that. It will be slightly different for each channel from the same direction, due to frequency and power, but it should still be broad enough for each channel that there can be a happy compromise where the windows for each of the desired channels overlap. THAT is the perfect amount of gain/attenuation for a given reception location, and peaking the signal level in this manner for each channel will tell you where that level really is.

    So, if you try a fixed attenuator and see no change for any channel, that means that with both the attenuator in the circuit and out of the circuit, in either case you are still within the operational window, level-wise. That means that level is likely not the issue, and that the attenuator should be avoided. If you actually see SQ readings diminish with the attenuator in, that indicates that you may be near the bottom threshold of that operational window, and that an amp might be a good next step (and an amp might be a good step even if you see no change with the attenuator). Obviously if you see SQ levels increase with the attenuator in, you are going the right direction, and more attenuation might be needed (and an amp is likely not the answer).
     
  13. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    The attenuator was one of the variable ones they have at radio shack. When I said "no affect" that wasn't quite accurate. I should have said, no improvement. Breakup and freezing got steadily worse as I increased attenuation.
     
  14. Scott D

    Scott D Active Member

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    Check out this site for the explanation of what my problem was. Look at post #24
     
  15. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

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    Not to be obvious, but that would be a pretty strong clue that you might not have enough signal. Classic threshold reception. A high-gain, directional antenna, and possibly an amp, would probably be sensible steps to consider.
     

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