DTV Boondoggle

3 views
Skip to first unread message

Samuel M. Goldwasser

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 8:52:50 AM10/10/08
to
OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable,
satellite, or fiber-optic TV.

With analog reception, the picture remains viewable even with a weak
signal, with increasing snow, but nonetheless, usable. The sound
would survive even lower signal levels.

A set of rabbit ears and loop antenna sufficed.

Now, as expected, with DTV, it's either there or it isn't, and even with
the built-in signal strength display on DTVs and converter boxes, it has
become a royal pain to tune in many channels.

The assumption today is that one will use a wired connection so DTVs
usually don't even come with any sort of indoor antenna.

Now, this could probably start a lively discussion on the politics and
economics of the DTV conversion and that's just fine. :)

But, what I would like input on is what sort of indoor antennas might be
best to use in what is basically an area which should have decent signal
strength for the channels I care about.

So far I've tried using old loop antennas and basic indoor antennas (loop+
rabbit ears) from Radio Shack, both unamplified and amplified (though I'm
not convinced the latter was even working properly).

This is a residential location with no high structures nearby. I believe
most of the transmitters are only a few miles away.

For a 10 year old TV with a converter box in one location, a simple loop
antenna seems to be fine. For a similar setup on the floor below,
reception is terrible on nearly all channels no matter how the
antenna is oriented.

For a new HDTV at the other end of the house, nothing I've tried seems to work
very well, with some channels requiring very careful fiddling with the
antenna orientation to be acceptable most of the time.
Reception on analog channels is fine and I believe the TV is working correctly.

According to http://www.antennaweb.org/ , for most of the channels I
care about, a "small multidirectional antenna" should suffice.
I haven't yet tried an antenna like and would hoping for recommendataions,
or whether it would even work.

I realize this is insufficient information for anyone to suggest a
specific remedy other than "get a wired connection", but figured it
might be worthwhile to hear about others' experiences so far.

Thanks!

--
sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ: http://www.repairfaq.org/
Repair | Main Table of Contents: http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/
+Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ: http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/lasersam.htm
| Mirror Sites: http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_mirror.html

Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
ignored unless my full name AND either lasers or electronics is included in the
subject line. Or, you can contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.

jakdedert

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 11:15:42 AM10/10/08
to

FWIW, I've heard that most DTV transmitters are on reduced power until
the transition, which may improve things....

jak

Rich Webb

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 1:22:31 PM10/10/08
to
On 10 Oct 2008 08:52:50 -0400, s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M. Goldwasser)
wrote:

>OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable,
>satellite, or fiber-optic TV.

Er <raises hand> seven.

>With analog reception, the picture remains viewable even with a weak
>signal, with increasing snow, but nonetheless, usable. The sound
>would survive even lower signal levels.

[snip...snip...]


>So far I've tried using old loop antennas and basic indoor antennas (loop+
>rabbit ears) from Radio Shack, both unamplified and amplified (though I'm
>not convinced the latter was even working properly).

Actually, I've been quite surprised at how well the old rabbit ears +
loop antenna has really worked. Aside from occasional episodes of
pixelation during stormy weather (relative motion between TX and RX?)
I'm getting everything that's available, with very clear reception.

>This is a residential location with no high structures nearby. I believe
>most of the transmitters are only a few miles away.

Roughly the same here, except for the little issue of a major naval base
and air field between me and the antenna farm.

>For a 10 year old TV with a converter box in one location, a simple loop
>antenna seems to be fine. For a similar setup on the floor below,
>reception is terrible on nearly all channels no matter how the
>antenna is oriented.
>
>For a new HDTV at the other end of the house, nothing I've tried seems to work
>very well, with some channels requiring very careful fiddling with the
>antenna orientation to be acceptable most of the time.
>Reception on analog channels is fine and I believe the TV is working correctly.
>
>According to http://www.antennaweb.org/ , for most of the channels I
>care about, a "small multidirectional antenna" should suffice.
>I haven't yet tried an antenna like and would hoping for recommendataions,
>or whether it would even work.
>
>I realize this is insufficient information for anyone to suggest a
>specific remedy other than "get a wired connection", but figured it
>might be worthwhile to hear about others' experiences so far.

Take a look at http://uhfhdtvantenna.blogspot.com/

--
Rich Webb Norfolk, VA

UCLAN

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 1:46:48 PM10/10/08
to
Samuel M. Goldwasser wrote:

[...snip]

> But, what I would like input on is what sort of indoor antennas might be
> best to use in what is basically an area which should have decent signal
> strength for the channels I care about.

[...snip]

First of all, read:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1037779
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=611957
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=186

Secondly, converter boxes and TVs differ on their sensitivity. Some digital
TVs receive weak signals much better than others. Same story with converter
boxes. A good indoor antenna and a good, sensitive converter will work
wonders.

Finally, it's true that *some* of the DTV channels are at reduced power now,
but not all. Things will improve *somewhat* come February, but not on all
channels. A good antenna and a sensitive converter box are your best bet.

Mike S.

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 4:48:49 PM10/10/08
to

In article <skr4sj...@seas.upenn.edu>,

Samuel M. Goldwasser <s...@seas.upenn.edu> wrote:
>
>But, what I would like input on is what sort of indoor antennas might be
>best to use in what is basically an area which should have decent signal
>strength for the channels I care about.

You might find this thread interesting:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1037779

Ken Layton

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 5:25:18 PM10/10/08
to
What about those of us that live 75 miles (or more) from the
transmitter? I'll damned if I'm going to pay for cable or satellite.

Rich Webb

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 6:09:12 PM10/10/08
to

To a first order approximation, if you can get analog broadcast signals
now then you should be able to receive the corresponding digital
stations.

Charles

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 6:38:52 PM10/10/08
to

"Rich Webb" <bbe...@mapson.nozirev.ten> wrote in message
news:ndkve4192897280h7...@4ax.com...

So far, that's not true here (Naples, FL). I'd guess the reduced power is
an issue ... only time will tell.


Jim Yanik

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 8:10:10 PM10/10/08
to
s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M. Goldwasser) wrote in
news:skr4sj...@seas.upenn.edu:

> OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable,
> satellite, or fiber-optic TV.

count me in too.
apartment,2nd floor,stucco with metal mesh uunderneath,almost like a
Faraday cage.I lose channels when the upstairs neighbor moves around.

I use an old Gemini amplified rabbit ears with UHF disc antenna.Lost Ch.2
NBC completely(no great loss),but gained PBS Ch.15 out of Daytona Beach(55
miles away),a great benefit.

Google shows some homebrewed non-amplified antennas that might be
interesting,BUT,they might not be accepted by the SWMBO,not "fit in with
the decor" type problem.

Are you in a place where you can put in an outdoor antenna?
Preferably high up... (UHF antennas are pretty small and 'tolerable')
or put it in the attic.
then use a distribution amp and feed it to all your TVs.

--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
at
kua.net

Richard J Kinch

unread,
Oct 10, 2008, 9:54:31 PM10/10/08
to
Samuel M. Goldwasser writes:

> OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable

You and me, pal.

> This is a residential location with no high structures nearby. I believe
> most of the transmitters are only a few miles away.

If you can fit a big outdoor antenna into the attic, just laying it on the
attic floor usually works quite well. Nothing small and convenient will
work very well, especially indoors. A mast and rotor outdoors are the
thing to have.

Mike WB2MEP

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 3:40:25 AM10/11/08
to
On Oct 10, 8:10 pm, Jim Yanik <jya...@abuse.gov> wrote:
> s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M. Goldwasser) wrote innews:skr4sj...@seas.upenn.edu:

>
> > OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable,
> > satellite, or fiber-optic TV.
>
> count me in too.
> apartment,2nd floor,stucco with metal mesh uunderneath,almost like a
> Faraday cage.I lose channels when the upstairs neighbor moves around.
>
> I use an old Gemini amplified rabbit ears with UHF disc antenna.Lost Ch.2
> NBC completely(no great loss),but gained PBS Ch.15 out of Daytona Beach(55
> miles away),a great benefit.
> --
> Jim Yanik
> jyanik
> at
> kua.net

Jim,

Both of those channels have relocated their DTV transmitter sites
quite a distance from their original analog sites. Chan. 2 (and chan.
55 when they were still on) broadcast analog from Orange City. Chan.
15
broadcast from west of Daytona Beach. Being a college-based station,
they don't run much power or have a particularly tall tower. I get
snowy, but watchable, reception on 15 in the NE suburbs of Orlando
with a large
rooftop Yagi.

All the central Florida DTV stations have located their DTV
transmitters at the antenna farms east of Orlando, where the Orlando
analog TV and FM stations broadcast from. Channel 2's DTV signal is
actually on Chan. 11, and Chan. 15's DTV is on either 30 or 33. Chan.
68's (college-based PBS out of Melbourne) DTV is on the other. One
advantage to this is that you won't need a rotor to pick up all the
available DTV stations as they
are all broadcasting from the same location. The downside is that
Daytona and Melbourne are at the Northern and Southern ends of the
Orlando coverage area, and the analog stations gave folks in those
cities a strong local PBS signal. With DTV, they will lose the local
signal, and Orlando will end up with three PBS channels.

Mike
WB2MEP

Samuel M. Goldwasser

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 8:45:07 AM10/11/08
to
Jim Yanik <jya...@abuse.gov> writes:

Sure, but this entire DTV thing was supposed to be a step forward, not
back to the days where people had to have outdoor antennas!

I guess it is a step forward for the manufacturers of DTVs, antennas,
and other video equipment, and cable, fiber, and satellite content
providers!

Roy Starrin

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:49:56 AM10/11/08
to
On 10 Oct 2008 08:52:50 -0400, s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M.
Goldwasser) wrote:

>OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable,
>satellite, or fiber-optic TV.

>I realize this is insufficient information for anyone to suggest a


>specific remedy other than "get a wired connection", but figured it
>might be worthwhile to hear about others' experiences so far.

There might be something of interest here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=6647470#post6647470

Jim Yanik

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:49:21 AM10/11/08
to
s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M. Goldwasser) wrote in
news:1vynb8...@seas.upenn.edu:


> Sure, but this entire DTV thing was supposed to be a step forward, not
> back to the days where people had to have outdoor antennas!

C'mon;nobody ever claimed that DTV would only need simple indoor antennas.
DTV's claim was for an improvement over NTSC..in picture quality,and for
better use of existing bandwidth(subchannels).


>
> I guess it is a step forward for the manufacturers of DTVs, antennas,
> and other video equipment, and cable, fiber, and satellite content
> providers!

--

Jim Yanik

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:51:12 AM10/11/08
to
Richard J Kinch <ki...@truetex.com> wrote in
news:Xns9B33DEDE3C7...@216.196.97.131:

that kinda screws apartment dwellers.(like me)
They can't install outdoor antennas,and usually don't have access to a
attic.

hr(bob) hofmann@att.net

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 12:03:24 PM10/11/08
to
> > > According tohttp://www.antennaweb.org/, for most of the channels I
> subject line.  Or, you can contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Sam:

It might help us if we knew approximately where you live, and the
directions/distances of the signals you are trying to pick up. A good
antenna in the attic with a distribution amplifier as suggested
earlier should work pretty well, especially if the antenna can point
out the gable end of the roof, and you do not have aluminum siding.
Getting a signal thru regular roofing shingles works ok when the roof
is dry, but there is a lot af attenuation when the roof gets wet or
snow-covered as it does here in IL where I live.

Bob Hofmann

Michael A. Terrell

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 12:25:55 PM10/11/08
to

Mike WB2MEP wrote:
>
> Jim,
>
> Both of those channels have relocated their DTV transmitter sites
> quite a distance from their original analog sites. Chan. 2 (and chan.
> 55 when they were still on) broadcast analog from Orange City. Chan.
> 15
> broadcast from west of Daytona Beach. Being a college-based station,
> they don't run much power or have a particularly tall tower. I get
> snowy, but watchable, reception on 15 in the NE suburbs of Orlando
> with a large
> rooftop Yagi.
>
> All the central Florida DTV stations have located their DTV
> transmitters at the antenna farms east of Orlando, where the Orlando
> analog TV and FM stations broadcast from.


Five Orlando FM stations were located on the Ch 55 tower in Orange
City when I was a Broadcast Engineer there. They had an eight port RF
combiner that could handle 50 kW per port, and a curtain antenna at
about 1000 feet. One RF engineer worked for all five stations, and
lived on site so things could be repaired as quickly as possible.

I can't see either TV station abandoning that site, since it is the
tallest tower in Central Florida. It is taller than the Ch 2 tower on
the other side of Hwy. 17/92, and was the tallest at 1200 feet, prior to
the Ch 55 tower's construction.


> Channel 2's DTV signal is
> actually on Chan. 11, and Chan. 15's DTV is on either 30 or 33. Chan.
> 68's (college-based PBS out of Melbourne) DTV is on the other.


That PBS station on Ch 68 was on Ch 18, and traded allocations in
exchange for Ch 68's crappy NEC transmitter. It was originally
installed in Orange City, on the same 1749 foot AAT tower that Ch 55
used. BTW, Ch 55 owns the land, but not the tower.


> One
> advantage to this is that you won't need a rotor to pick up all the
> available DTV stations as they
> are all broadcasting from the same location. The downside is that
> Daytona and Melbourne are at the Northern and Southern ends of the
> Orlando coverage area, and the analog stations gave folks in those
> cities a strong local PBS signal. With DTV, they will lose the local
> signal, and Orlando will end up with three PBS channels.


The analog Ch 55 signal covered all of Central Florida, all the way
to the gulf, and I got one reception report from Texas.


> Mike
> WB2MEP


--
http://improve-usenet.org/index.html

aioe.org, Goggle Groups, and Web TV users must request to be white
listed, or I will not see your messages.

If you have broadband, your ISP may have a NNTP news server included in
your account: http://www.usenettools.net/ISP.htm


There are two kinds of people on this earth:
The crazy, and the insane.
The first sign of insanity is denying that you're crazy.

Jeff Liebermann

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 1:11:58 PM10/11/08
to
On 10 Oct 2008 08:52:50 -0400, s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M.
Goldwasser) wrote:

>So far I've tried using old loop antennas and basic indoor antennas (loop+
>rabbit ears) from Radio Shack, both unamplified and amplified (though I'm
>not convinced the latter was even working properly).
>
>This is a residential location with no high structures nearby. I believe
>most of the transmitters are only a few miles away.

If that's true, then it's likely that your house is RF shielded either
by chicken wire in the walls (stucco) or aluminum foil backed
fiberglass insulation. If so, there's no hope for an indoor antenna.

Try a cheap and simple experiment. Take a length of RG-6/u CATV coax.
Strip back about 20" of the outer jacked and shield. Shove it out the
window, hopefully on the side of the house that faces the TV xmitters.
Crimp an F connector on the other end and connect it to the TV sets
antenna connector. This is a truly attrocious TV antenna but should
work in a strong signal area by moving the antenna outside of your
shielded house. If it works noticably better, you might consider a
better outside antenna, which should improve reception even more.

If you live in an apartment complex, you might consider inspiring the
landlord to resurrect the rooftop community TV antenna system, and
distribute the signal to the entire building. Most CATV coax
distribution system come together in some manner of utility room. It's
easy enough to disconnect your coax cable from the cable company and
reconnect it to a community antenna system.

--
Jeff Liebermann je...@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558

UCLAN

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 2:17:42 PM10/11/08
to
Samuel M. Goldwasser wrote:

> Sure, but this entire DTV thing was supposed to be a step forward, not
> back to the days where people had to have outdoor antennas!

?? This entire "DTV thing" was a way for the government (via the FCC) to
raise money by selling off more of the broadcast spectrum.

It is/was a "step forward" technically only for those that benefited by
having a digital signal replace an analog one that was marred by video
noise and signal quality issues. If you can't receive the signal, you no
longer have those issues. :)

> I guess it is a step forward for the manufacturers of DTVs, antennas,
> and other video equipment, and cable, fiber, and satellite content
> providers!

It is only a step forward for those that can receive/benefit from the SD
or HDTV signal. For those that had/lost a snowy/fuzzy analog signal, hardly
a step forward. Or for those companies (read: Comcast) that are using the
consumers confusion/bad luck to their advantage.

Jeff Liebermann

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 2:40:16 PM10/11/08
to
On Fri, 10 Oct 2008 13:22:31 -0400, Rich Webb
<bbe...@mapson.nozirev.ten> wrote:

Cute. That should work. However, such antennas are not all that
expensive:
<http://www.antennasdirect.com/DB4_HDTV_antenna.html> $50.
The problem is that they're UHF TV (14-69) only. If you're trying to
receive the VHF channels (2-13), then you'll need a 2nd or a different
antenna.

Michael A. Terrell

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 2:46:04 PM10/11/08
to


If the wiring is owned by them, they can. Most of the apartments we
served were wired by our cable company, and the contract with the owner
stated they had to buy it from us, if it was to be used for anything
else. The few that had existing wiring were done with either 300 twin
lead, or single copper braided shield RG-59, neither of which would pass
the FCC leakage requirements. Some mid band channels could interfere
with aircraft communications, and others would wipe out two meter
Amateur radio, or high band VHF communications. Since the cable
company would have to opay the fines, they simply didn't use owner
supplied wiring, if it didn't consist of new, approzed materials.

Most of the buildings had locked wiring cabinets, as well.

JeffM

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 4:28:16 PM10/11/08
to
>Samuel M. Goldwasser wrote:
>>OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable
>>
Add one more to your figures.

>>[...]this entire DTV thing was supposed to be a step forward,


>>not back to the days where people had to have outdoor antennas!
>>

You are too susceptible to hype.
This wasn't about *better* (as we see, for many it will be WORSE);
DTV is all about **more profitable**.

UCLAN wrote:
>This entire "DTV thing" was a way for the government (via the FCC)
>to raise money by selling off more of the broadcast spectrum.
>

Bingo!

>>I guess it is a step forward for the manufacturers of
>>DTVs, antennas, and other video equipment,
>>and cable, fiber, and satellite content providers!
>>

Now you're on the beam.
Those commercial interests lobbied hard for DTV:

There's the subscription-based distribution industry
-- Rural viewers who could previously get by with a snowy picture
may now need satellite dishes to get anything
and folks who weren't too bothered by multipath (with analog)
may now need cable/sat.

...then there's content providers -- Digital == ***DRM-capable***
http://www.google.com/search?q=gladiators+medium+nbc+drm&num=100

Of course, guys in the electronics services industries
can also cash in on DTV boondoggle
by getting savvy in exactly the theme of this thread:
What do I, Joe Consumer, need to watch terrestrial DTV reliably?

My feeling is that (very local) CATV is about to see an upswing.
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/24/1421211&threshold=4&mode=nested#25138447

The analog shutdown in Wilmington, NC will be a useful boilerplate.
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/24/1421211&threshold=4&mode=nested#25137579

The coastal plain of NC with its dearth of tall urban structures
won't translate to all areas, of course.
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/24/1421211&threshold=4&mode=nested#25137331

I hadn't considered foil-backed insulation as Jeff L mentioned.
That sounds like a high probability glitch for a bunch of folks.

Jim Yanik

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 6:48:34 PM10/11/08
to
Jeff Liebermann <je...@cruzio.com> wrote in
news:g5m1f4toj793g5raf...@4ax.com:

he could also put an antenna in a window facing the transmitter/antenna
farm,IF he has one facing that way.

Landlords will not go to the trouble or expense of CATV antennas.
They don't get anything for it.

Jeff Liebermann

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 8:44:54 PM10/11/08
to
On Sat, 11 Oct 2008 13:28:16 -0700 (PDT), JeffM <jef...@email.com>
wrote:

>I hadn't considered foil-backed insulation as Jeff L mentioned.
>That sounds like a high probability glitch for a bunch of folks.

There are plenty of other things in the home that block RF besides
chicken wire under the stucco and foil backed insulation. Some
decorative wallpaper has a sheet of thin foil inside. Aluminized
mylar energy efficient windows are an effective RF block. Metal
window and door screens block RF. If you live in a poured concrete
structure, where the inside walls are also concrete, the water in the
concrete will form an RF barrier. Antennas in the attic work
usually well, but if the roofing material is metalized (i.e.
reflective), no RF will pass.

I run into such things all the time with Wi-Fi, where barriers to
2.4GHz is more pronounced than at TV frequencies. A really good way
to test for a problem is to check for indoor cellular coverage. If
cellular works well outside or close to an open window, but the signal
drops severely elsewhere inside, then there's metal in the walls.

Samuel M. Goldwasser

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:09:54 PM10/11/08
to
Jeff Liebermann <je...@cruzio.com> writes:

> On Sat, 11 Oct 2008 13:28:16 -0700 (PDT), JeffM <jef...@email.com>
> wrote:
>
> >I hadn't considered foil-backed insulation as Jeff L mentioned.
> >That sounds like a high probability glitch for a bunch of folks.
>
> There are plenty of other things in the home that block RF besides
> chicken wire under the stucco and foil backed insulation. Some
> decorative wallpaper has a sheet of thin foil inside. Aluminized
> mylar energy efficient windows are an effective RF block. Metal
> window and door screens block RF. If you live in a poured concrete
> structure, where the inside walls are also concrete, the water in the
> concrete will form an RF barrier. Antennas in the attic work
> usually well, but if the roofing material is metalized (i.e.
> reflective), no RF will pass.
>
> I run into such things all the time with Wi-Fi, where barriers to
> 2.4GHz is more pronounced than at TV frequencies. A really good way
> to test for a problem is to check for indoor cellular coverage. If
> cellular works well outside or close to an open window, but the signal
> drops severely elsewhere inside, then there's metal in the walls.

OK, some more info:

House is about 90 years old without many modern upgrades. First floor
stucco, second floor redwood siding. I doubt there is any sigificant
insulation (that's for another group and another thread!) or anything
metallic in the walls.

All TVs get excellent analog reception.

TV/DTV convertor box on second floor on side facing antenna farm gets decent
digital reception with only old UHF loop.

TV/DTV convertor box on first floor has basic Radio Shack antenna and now
seems passable but not gerat.

Antenna is placed on top of china closet in dining room.

New Toshiba LCD DTV on opposite side of house is the main problem.
(But analog reception there is so good that a casual observer might think
it is a DTV signal on most channels.)

I like the idea of an experiment hanging a wire outside the house to
see if that helps, though it's on the wrong side to be really effective.

Attic is full of junk (I bet you're not surprised), so plopping large
antenna there is probably not an option, though there is a crawl space
that is empty.

--
sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ: http://www.repairfaq.org/
Repair | Main Table of Contents: http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/
+Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ: http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/lasersam.htm
| Mirror Sites: http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_mirror.html

Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
ignored unless my full name AND either lasers or electronics is included in the
subject line. Or, you can contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.


>

Jeff Liebermann

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:22:46 PM10/11/08
to
On Sat, 11 Oct 2008 14:46:04 -0400, "Michael A. Terrell"
<mike.t...@earthlink.net> wrote:

>If the wiring is owned by them, they can. Most of the apartments we
>served were wired by our cable company, and the contract with the owner
>stated they had to buy it from us, if it was to be used for anything
>else.

Good point but varies with cable company. The legal details are in
the TOS at:
<http://www.comcast.net/terms/subscriber/>
under:
6. Maintenance And Ownership Of Equipment -> c. Inside Wiring
which proclaims:
"Regardless of who installed it, we consider the Inside Wiring
your property or the property of whomever owns the Premises."
So it is written, so it must be.

The apartment buildings that I'm familiar own their own wiring, which
was installed when they were built or remodeled, usually by an
independent wiring contractor. Locally, the cable companies (Comcast
and Charter) hire such contractors to do their major inside wiring,
who bill the owner directly. The owner also supplies his own
distribution amp and splitter/couplers. Comcast may have inspected
the system before connecting, but I don't think so.

>The few that had existing wiring were done with either 300 twin
>lead, or single copper braided shield RG-59, neither of which would pass
>the FCC leakage requirements.

Yep. RG-59/u sucks. Many apartment systems use "smurf tube" (Carlton
Flex-Plus Blue ENT) which offer the ability to add additiona coax,
fiber, CAT5, alarm, or whatever later:
<http://www.carlon.com/Flexible%20Raceway/FlexPlus_Intro.html>

>Some mid band channels could interfere
>with aircraft communications, and others would wipe out two meter
>Amateur radio, or high band VHF communications.

Yep. We have a local repeater output on 145.25Mhz, which is dead on
the CH18 CATV video carrier. The local system leaks somewhat and I
can barely hear anything. Worse, the various subcarriers are landing
on other repeaters. I've complained, but haven't pushed the issue.
Driving around listening to 145.25 shows that there are at least a
dozen leaks along our 1 mile long branch (most caused by falling
branches and trees).

>Since the cable
>company would have to opay the fines, they simply didn't use owner
>supplied wiring, if it didn't consist of new, approzed materials.

I checked the recent FCC rulings. One fine for CATV leakage found in
2002:
<http://www.fcc.gov/eb/News_Releases/DOC-228170A1.html>
Otherwise, I couldn't find any fines:
<http://www.fcc.gov/eb/News_Releases/Welcome.html>
I know of plenty of complaints laundered through the FCC, but no
fines.

> Most of the buildings had locked wiring cabinets, as well.

Since when is a lock suppose to stop me? Around here, the pedestal
has a cheap lock, that's easily picked, but not much additional
security.

Jeff Liebermann

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:35:06 PM10/11/08
to
On 11 Oct 2008 22:48:34 GMT, Jim Yanik <jya...@abuse.gov> wrote:

>he could also put an antenna in a window facing the transmitter/antenna
>farm,IF he has one facing that way.

True. However, if there's metal window screening, aluminized mylar on
the glass, or metal famed panes, the RF is not going to get through.
That's why I wanted Sam to run the test with the antenna outside the
window. The idea is not to test the effectiveness of an admittedly
lousy antenna. It's to test if there's anything in the walls or
windows that is preventing his existing DTV antenna from working.

>Landlords will not go to the trouble or expense of CATV antennas.
>They don't get anything for it.

It depends on how it's packaged. These days, CATV wiring usually gets
snuck in after a few bad experiences installing satellite dishes.
Also, as part of a shared internet system, where the labor involved
far exceeds the cost of the additional wiring. Some landlords don't
want to spend a penny on anything that can't be immediately passed on
to the tenants. Others want to use the wiring as an inducement to
attract tech savvy tenants. It varies.

bq340

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 9:53:10 PM10/11/08
to
> Jim Yanik wrote:

>CATV antennas.


Maybe MATV antenna? or is this something new?

MikeB

Michael A. Terrell

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 10:14:51 PM10/11/08
to

Jeff Liebermann wrote:
>
> On Sat, 11 Oct 2008 14:46:04 -0400, "Michael A. Terrell"
> <mike.t...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> >If the wiring is owned by them, they can. Most of the apartments we
> >served were wired by our cable company, and the contract with the owner
> >stated they had to buy it from us, if it was to be used for anything
> >else.
>
> Good point but varies with cable company. The legal details are in
> the TOS at:
> <http://www.comcast.net/terms/subscriber/>
> under:
> 6. Maintenance And Ownership Of Equipment -> c. Inside Wiring
> which proclaims:
> "Regardless of who installed it, we consider the Inside Wiring
> your property or the property of whomever owns the Premises."
> So it is written, so it must be.


For that one company. That is Comcast's way of not having to pay for
any repairs.


> The apartment buildings that I'm familiar own their own wiring, which
> was installed when they were built or remodeled, usually by an
> independent wiring contractor. Locally, the cable companies (Comcast
> and Charter) hire such contractors to do their major inside wiring,
> who bill the owner directly. The owner also supplies his own
> distribution amp and splitter/couplers. Comcast may have inspected
> the system before connecting, but I don't think so.
>
> >The few that had existing wiring were done with either 300 twin
> >lead, or single copper braided shield RG-59, neither of which would pass
> >the FCC leakage requirements.
>
> Yep. RG-59/u sucks. Many apartment systems use "smurf tube" (Carlton
> Flex-Plus Blue ENT) which offer the ability to add additiona coax,
> fiber, CAT5, alarm, or whatever later:
> <http://www.carlon.com/Flexible%20Raceway/FlexPlus_Intro.html>


That may be true in new buildings, but some were wired in the '70s,
when single shield RG-6 was the best available.


> >Some mid band channels could interfere
> >with aircraft communications, and others would wipe out two meter
> >Amateur radio, or high band VHF communications.
>
> Yep. We have a local repeater output on 145.25Mhz, which is dead on
> the CH18 CATV video carrier. The local system leaks somewhat and I
> can barely hear anything. Worse, the various subcarriers are landing
> on other repeaters. I've complained, but haven't pushed the issue.
> Driving around listening to 145.25 shows that there are at least a
> dozen leaks along our 1 mile long branch (most caused by falling
> branches and trees).


Tell them were the leaks are, and suggest they fix them before the
FCC gets a written notice about interference to licensed radio users.
We had 'sniffer' receivers in our service trucks, and the techs were
required to report any radiation to their supervisor so he could
investigate the cause with the spectrum analyzer & bucket truck.


> >Since the cable
> >company would have to opay the fines, they simply didn't use owner
> >supplied wiring, if it didn't consist of new, approzed materials.
>
> I checked the recent FCC rulings. One fine for CATV leakage found in
> 2002:
> <http://www.fcc.gov/eb/News_Releases/DOC-228170A1.html>
> Otherwise, I couldn't find any fines:
> <http://www.fcc.gov/eb/News_Releases/Welcome.html>
> I know of plenty of complaints laundered through the FCC, but no
> fines.


That is because they get a simple warning, and if the problem is
corrected, they aren't written up & fined.


> > Most of the buildings had locked wiring cabinets, as well.
>
> Since when is a lock suppose to stop me? Around here, the pedestal
> has a cheap lock, that's easily picked, but not much additional
> security.


The wall cabinets we used were steel, and you would have to drill the
lock, or use a cutting torch to get inside. Any physical damage could
result in termination of servixce to the entire building, or even all
apartment buildings belonging to the same company or individual.

Michael A. Terrell

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 10:16:11 PM10/11/08
to

Jeff Liebermann wrote:
>
> On 11 Oct 2008 22:48:34 GMT, Jim Yanik <jya...@abuse.gov> wrote:
>
> >he could also put an antenna in a window facing the transmitter/antenna
> >farm,IF he has one facing that way.
>
> True. However, if there's metal window screening, aluminized mylar on
> the glass, or metal famed panes, the RF is not going to get through.


Metal screning isn't common in Florida. Most is fiberglass.


> That's why I wanted Sam to run the test with the antenna outside the
> window. The idea is not to test the effectiveness of an admittedly
> lousy antenna. It's to test if there's anything in the walls or
> windows that is preventing his existing DTV antenna from working.
>
> >Landlords will not go to the trouble or expense of CATV antennas.
> >They don't get anything for it.
>
> It depends on how it's packaged. These days, CATV wiring usually gets
> snuck in after a few bad experiences installing satellite dishes.
> Also, as part of a shared internet system, where the labor involved
> far exceeds the cost of the additional wiring. Some landlords don't
> want to spend a penny on anything that can't be immediately passed on
> to the tenants. Others want to use the wiring as an inducement to
> attract tech savvy tenants. It varies.


--

Jeff Liebermann

unread,
Oct 11, 2008, 10:49:02 PM10/11/08
to
On 11 Oct 2008 21:09:54 -0400, s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M.
Goldwasser) wrote:

>First floor stucco, second floor redwood siding.

Bingo. Under the stucco is probably chicken wire or galvanized metal
screen. These will block RF quite nicely.

>TV/DTV convertor box on first floor has basic Radio Shack antenna and now
> seems passable but not gerat.

That's because the chicken wire is in the way. See if you can move
the antenna up over the edge of the stucco. Put a little coax
extension on whatever indoor antenna you're using and try moving the
antenna upstairs, where it doesn't have to go through the chicken
wire.

> Antenna is placed on top of china closet in dining room.

Is that above the chicken wire line?

>New Toshiba LCD DTV on opposite side of house is the main problem.
> (But analog reception there is so good that a casual observer might think
> it is a DTV signal on most channels.)

Is the Toshiblah on the ground floor? If so, it has the same issue as
the other TV. Move the antenna above the chicken wire layer.

>I like the idea of an experiment hanging a wire outside the house to
>see if that helps, though it's on the wrong side to be really effective.

Just run a long length of coax cable temporarily across the house to
see if it helps. We're testing the house, not the antenna.

>Attic is full of junk (I bet you're not surprised), so plopping large
>antenna there is probably not an option, though there is a crawl space
>that is empty.

I spent my first 50 years accumulating the mess. I'm going to spend
the next 50 years getting rid of it.

Richard J Kinch

unread,
Oct 12, 2008, 12:46:38 AM10/12/08
to
Samuel M. Goldwasser writes:

> Sure, but this entire DTV thing was supposed to be a step forward, not
> back to the days where people had to have outdoor antennas!

Right, like cell phones were a step forward. Our grandparents had better
phones.

Samuel M. Goldwasser

unread,
Oct 12, 2008, 8:45:05 AM10/12/08
to
Jeff Liebermann <je...@cruzio.com> writes:

> On 11 Oct 2008 21:09:54 -0400, s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M.
> Goldwasser) wrote:
>
> >First floor stucco, second floor redwood siding.
>
> Bingo. Under the stucco is probably chicken wire or galvanized metal
> screen. These will block RF quite nicely.
>
> >TV/DTV convertor box on first floor has basic Radio Shack antenna and now
> > seems passable but not gerat.
>
> That's because the chicken wire is in the way. See if you can move
> the antenna up over the edge of the stucco. Put a little coax
> extension on whatever indoor antenna you're using and try moving the
> antenna upstairs, where it doesn't have to go through the chicken
> wire.

> > Antenna is placed on top of china closet in dining room.
>
> Is that above the chicken wire line?

Possible. It's getting close to the top of the stucco.



> >New Toshiba LCD DTV on opposite side of house is the main problem.
> > (But analog reception there is so good that a casual observer might think
> > it is a DTV signal on most channels.)
>
> Is the Toshiblah on the ground floor? If so, it has the same issue as
> the other TV. Move the antenna above the chicken wire layer.

Should have mentioned. It is on the second floor, but on the opposite
side of the house from where most of the transimtters are.



> >I like the idea of an experiment hanging a wire outside the house to
> >see if that helps, though it's on the wrong side to be really effective.
>
> Just run a long length of coax cable temporarily across the house to
> see if it helps. We're testing the house, not the antenna.
>
> >Attic is full of junk (I bet you're not surprised), so plopping large
> >antenna there is probably not an option, though there is a crawl space
> >that is empty.
>
> I spent my first 50 years accumulating the mess. I'm going to spend
> the next 50 years getting rid of it.

Me too, unfortunately. :( :)

Thanks.

Jim Yanik

unread,
Oct 12, 2008, 1:07:46 PM10/12/08
to
Richard J Kinch <ki...@truetex.com> wrote in
news:Xns9B357E703A5...@216.196.97.131:

the old dial phones?? those were better?
or are you referring to the crank-style phones???

Sjouke Burry

unread,
Oct 12, 2008, 1:55:42 PM10/12/08
to
Did he not mean phones which work, keep on working,
never have an empty battery, dont need ugly ways to
pay, anybody can use their keys without a magnifying glass,
dont attract thieves, even work when the mains power is off,
etc etc etc...........

Jim Yanik

unread,
Oct 12, 2008, 5:44:24 PM10/12/08
to
Sjouke Burry <burrynu...@ppllaanneett.nnlll> wrote in
news:48f23a1f$0$27232$ba62...@text.nova.planet.nl:

He said "GRANDparents". That's rotary-dial phone era for me.
My parents had the rotary dial phone.

I have one of the phones you describe.
same size as the old rotary-dial phone,but with a tough-tone keypad,POTS
landline.
got enough extension coilcord that I can walk around my entire apartment
with it!

stra...@yahoo.com

unread,
Oct 13, 2008, 12:34:45 AM10/13/08
to
Richard J Kinch wrote:

> Samuel M. Goldwasser writes:
>
> > OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have
cable
>
> You and me, pal.

>
> > This is a residential location with no high structures nearby. I
believe
> > most of the transmitters are only a few miles away.
>
> If you can fit a big outdoor antenna into the attic, just laying it
on the
> attic floor usually works quite well. Nothing small and convenient
will
> work very well, especially indoors. A mast and rotor outdoors are
the
> thing to have.

With DTV, computer DVRs are practical - I have 4. If the rotator moves
while a recorder is going, you lose it.


UCLAN

unread,
Oct 13, 2008, 1:51:29 AM10/13/08
to
Sjouke Burry wrote:

>>>> Sure, but this entire DTV thing was supposed to be a step forward, not
>>>> back to the days where people had to have outdoor antennas!
>>>
>>> Right, like cell phones were a step forward. Our grandparents had
>>> better phones.
>>>
>>
>> the old dial phones?? those were better? or are you referring to the
>> crank-style phones???
>>
> Did he not mean phones which work, keep on working,
> never have an empty battery, dont need ugly ways to
> pay, anybody can use their keys without a magnifying glass,
> dont attract thieves, even work when the mains power is off,
> etc etc etc...........

Uh...those are still available. I have one next to my bed, and one in the
kitchen. They cost me less than $10 each, new.

tmwa...@gmail.com

unread,
Oct 26, 2008, 3:32:00 PM10/26/08
to
On Oct 10, 7:52 am, s...@seas.upenn.edu (Samuel M. Goldwasser) wrote:
> OK, so I'm one of the 6 people in the Universe who don't have cable,
> satellite, or fiber-optic TV.
>
> With analog reception, the picture remains viewable even with a weak
> signal, with increasing snow, but nonetheless, usable. The sound
> would survive even lower signal levels.
>
> A set of rabbit ears and loop antenna sufficed.
>
> Now, as expected, with DTV, it's either there or it isn't, and even with
> the built-in signal strength display on DTVs and converter boxes, it has
> become a royal pain to tune in many channels.
>
> The assumption today is that one will use a wired connection so DTVs
> usually don't even come with any sort of indoor antenna.
>
> Now, this could probably start a lively discussion on the politics and
> economics of the DTV conversion and that's just fine. :)
>
> But, what I would like input on is what sort of indoor antennas might be
> best to use in what is basically an area which should have decent signal
> strength for the channels I care about.
>
> So far I've tried using old loop antennas and basic indoor antennas (loop+
> rabbit ears) from Radio Shack, both unamplified and amplified (though I'm
> not convinced the latter was even working properly).
>
> This is a residential location with no high structures nearby. I believe
> most of the transmitters are only a few miles away.
>
> For a 10 year old TV with a converter box in one location, a simple loop
> antenna seems to be fine. For a similar setup on the floor below,
> reception is terrible on nearly all channels no matter how the
> antenna is oriented.
>
> For a new HDTV at the other end of the house, nothing I've tried seems to work
> very well, with some channels requiring very careful fiddling with the
> antenna orientation to be acceptable most of the time.
> Reception on analog channels is fine and I believe the TV is working correctly.
>
> According tohttp://www.antennaweb.org/, for most of the channels I
> care about, a "small multidirectional antenna" should suffice.
> I haven't yet tried an antenna like and would hoping for recommendataions,
> or whether it would even work.
>
> I realize this is insufficient information for anyone to suggest a
> specific remedy other than "get a wired connection", but figured it
> might be worthwhile to hear about others' experiences so far.
>
> Thanks!
>
> --
> sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ:http://www.repairfaq.org/
> Repair | Main Table of Contents:http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/
> +Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ:http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/lasersam.htm
> | Mirror Sites:http://www.repairfaq.org/REPAIR/F_mirror.html
>
> Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
> ignored unless my full name AND either lasers or electronics is included in the
> subject line. Or, you can contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.

I am so surprised that no one has mentioned the (to a bunch of people,
anyway) best site for antennae information:

http://www.tvfool.com/

Both analog and digital information is available along with a .png
file for either, or after the February 2009 cutover. The Kw ratings
and db figures are there, along with the actual and virtual channel
numbers.

Someone did a very good job

tom walsh

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages