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· Mine drags the ground
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, this started happening about 3 weeks ago. Local ABC channel 10.1 went from never experiencing any issues, to now being intermittent. As I'm writing this, I get the V53 signal message when trying to view the station. Last night it was working perfectly. My setup consists of an AntennaDirect Clearstream mounted in the attic with all major stations about 30m away, according to antennaweb. My 3 tv's themselves all display the channel just fine, but my Bolt OTA intermittently doesn't. I've had this same setup (although varying TiVo's thru the years) for about 10 years now and have never had any issues until just recently. Would a amp/booster be beneficial? Should I look into getting a different antenna? Why would it all-of-a-sudden start having problems.

If there is other info that I'm missing that would be beneficial, lemme know and I'll try my best to answer it.

What really sucks about this, is that I'm paraplegic, so getting into my attic myself to try this or try that, is not really an option. I could possibly have my brother come over, but I prefer to leave that as a "if all else fails" kinda thing because I really hate to bother people with my problems.

Update:
Decided to take a chance on the GE Antenna Signal Booster from Amazon, even though it had mixed reviews. Figured if it didnt work, it's an easy return. Got it today, and no improvement. Watched Shark Tank and 20/20 last night, again, with zero issues. Today, I have the V53 signal message again. The intermittent thing is what annoys me the most. If it isn't going to work, I'd rather it just not work so I could pinpoint the problem.
 

· OTA ONLY and Loving It!
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Way too many variables to diagnose this from afar, but one possibility is problems at the transmitter. I live in a remote mountain area with no clear line of sight to the transmitters, and I frequently have the same type of problems on ALL stations at various times (not all at the same time). This year the winter storms did seem to cause all four of the local transmitters to start having problems with audio dropouts and macroblocking even though I had decent signal strength, and that continued for many months. Because it was affecting all of them and lasting so long, I assumed that something had changed in the signal path that was now causing issues with multi-path reception at my house. And then a "wonderful" thing happened - the spring winds brought gusts of over 70 MPH and knocked them ALL totally off the air. When they came back on, all but one transmitter was completely fixed! And the one that was still bad was now so bad that it was totally unwatchable. I contacted the main station and relayed my story to them - two days later their signal was fixed 100% too.

I can only guess that whatever the issues that were caused by the winter storms on the mountain-top, they were not making the signals so bad that they were obvious to the folks in a stronger reception area, so there had been no effort to fix the towers. But once more damage was done and the technicians HAD to get involved, they found all the issues and fixed them. I only tell this story to illustrate how problems can crop up and last a long time until someone or something brings them to light. And if you are in a rural area like I am, there are way fewer people to complain.

You do not give us any information on your location or the terrain, but 30 miles from the transmitter combined with an indoor antenna CAN be a weak signal issue, especially if you are using splitters. Were there any storms or significant winds around the time it started? If so, that would strengthen the possibility of transmitter problems. Many TVs have much stronger tuners than the TiVo does (primarily because they are only feeding one tuner with the same signal), so the fact that they work and the TiVo does not really does not mean too much. I can tell you that a Bolt has a usable signal "floor" of about 42% signal strength with an SNR around 16 dB. ANY good clean signal above about 42 or 43% will produce a perfect picture with stable reception, but if the signal drops below the threshold, you will get nothing at all (that is the nature of digital reception). This means that if your normal signal strength with a good picture is anywhere below 50% on the TiVo, then having something as simple as a blowing tree in the signal path (or trucks on a highway) could cause the strength to intermittently drop below the threshold. Since your problem only started this spring, it could be something that happened at the transmitter many months ago and just now be showing up at your house due to new foliage. Other weather issues, particularly blowing dust or rain, can also cause problems with terrestrial transmissions.

All of my thoughts are just WAGs based on some very limited information that you have provided. I would suggest that your next step should be to contract the station and ask them to check the quality of the signal at their transmitter. Of course, there are many other things that can cause your problem also, such as a fault with you local antenna wires generating excess noise, but I would start with the broadcaster.
 

· Mine drags the ground
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is in Kansas, and it's pretty much a straight-line to the transmitter with no notable large buildings or objects in its path. Both FOX (blue) and NBC (violet) broadcast from the same general vicinity as ABC (red) and they come in just fine. I did ask a local FB group if anybody else started recently having issues, and pretty much everybody on OTA in that group said ABC was the station they had the most difficult time with. So, not really sure why I've never really had a problem up until now, but apparently it's a pretty common issue that had been going on for quite a while that I just wasn't aware of. I think my next step is going to be to add a quality preamp at the antenna and hope for the best. If I can't figure it out, there's always streaming from the ABC app I guess, it's just a hassle because then I'm forced to sit thru commercials.

Btw, I appreciate your input.

 

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· OTA ONLY and Loving It!
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This is in Kansas, and it's pretty much a straight-line to the transmitter with no notable large buildings or objects in its path. Both FOX (blue) and NBC (violet) broadcast from the same general vicinity as ABC (red) and they come in just fine. I did ask a local FB group if anybody else started recently having issues, and pretty much everybody on OTA in that group said ABC was the station they had the most difficult time with. So, not really sure why I've never really had a problem up until now, but apparently it's a pretty common issue that had been going on for quite a while that I just wasn't aware of. I think my next step is going to be to add a quality preamp at the antenna and hope for the best. If I can't figure it out, there's always streaming from the ABC app I guess, it's just a hassle because then I'm forced to sit thru commercials.

Btw, I appreciate your input.
So if you have confirmation that other people in your area are also having problems only with that transmitter, why do you completely dismiss the idea of reporting it to the station instead of just throwing money at untried solutions? It costs nothing to send an email.

Have you even checked your signal strength and SNR on each of those channels to see how they compare? If it is just a weak signal from a low powered transmitter, an amplifier MIGHT be the best option, but that seems unlikely if the station has made no changes in the last ten years and your problems only started recently. Not all broadcasters use the same power output for local transmissions - it is easy to find the broadcast power for any station on the FCC web site - that could confirm if that stations is just sending out a weaker signal than the others.

Perhaps the station is on a backup transmitter due to storm damage? I have seen that happen numerous times in the Dallas area. They will gladly tell you that if you only ask. On the other hand, if all the stations transmitting from the same basic location have similar signal strength and SNR numbers, but only one of them has a reception problem, then that station can and will fix the issue if it is just brought to their attention.
 
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