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Open Roads Forum  >  Technology Corner

 > Tuning a digital TV

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davelinde

Lake Nona, Florida

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Posted: 11/22/08 10:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can anyone offer me advice on tuning my digital TV?

I remembered there was a site to get antenna tower bearings... and found it again in the forum antenna web -- this could be a good site to add to the FAQ?

We are in Kissimmee now and the Orlando area has a nice assortment of digital broadcast. However the major networks are not as reliable as some of the local public stations. They are just reliable enough to watch and just flaky enough to be annoying.

My TV has a "signal strength" meter - however it fluctuates a bit with the antenna fixed - so optimizing by rotating the antenna is difficult. For now I've used an analog station and pointed the antenna by optimizing the analog picture. Seems to work - but next year that won't be an option.

I have a batwing type antenna... ("Antenna TEK" not Wineguard if that matters) and I was wondering which way it "points"? eg - I have a bearing from my address to an Orlando antenna (eg, 320 degrees) and I have a compass... which axis of the batwing do I point to optimize the signal? Is it right to assume the gain pattern is symmetric at 180 degrees?

Any other tips/tricks?


Dave Lindemulder
Tammy, Mark & Kirsten
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bishopdave

Today - Florida

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Posted: 11/22/08 12:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When you go to a new market, have the digital TV or converter re-scan the stations.


Dave Bishop
FT since 2006

SCVJeff

Santa Clarita, CA.

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Posted: 11/22/08 12:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can't scan a fringe market if the antenna isn't in the general direction.

Dave- The batwing points perpendicular to the desired direction. The wing is the VHF element so you need to expose it broadside to the signal to gather RF. Also,(something I just found out)the UHF element is located internal to the head and is somewhat directional, but you should have a little pointer on the rotation dial to point the way.


Jeff - WA6EQU
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davelinde

Lake Nona, Florida

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Posted: 11/22/08 12:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bishopdave wrote:

When you go to a new market, have the digital TV or converter re-scan the stations.


for sure... yes I have re-scanned. However I'm finding that these signals are troublesome - they can come and go for almost no reason... and antenna orientation does seem to matter a lot. I don't think that scanning has any impact on signal? It seems the scan just picks out the frequencies that have active signal and populates a tag under the number. Beyond having only active stations and accurate tags... does scanning do more than I thought?

davelinde

Lake Nona, Florida

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Posted: 11/22/08 12:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SCVJeff wrote:

...The batwing points perpendicular to the desired direction. ...you should have a little pointer on the rotation dial to point the way.


I kind of wondered if the antenna was optimized 90 degrees off the bearing. It looks like the little pointer is along the long axis of the wing - so to adjust inside the RV, eg in my situation, I'd take the bearing (320) and add or subtract 90 to align the pointer along a 230 or 50 degree bearing?

SCVJeff

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Posted: 11/22/08 01:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

davelinde wrote:

SCVJeff wrote:

...The batwing points perpendicular to the desired direction. ...you should have a little pointer on the rotation dial to point the way.


I kind of wondered if the antenna was optimized 90 degrees off the bearing. It looks like the little pointer is along the long axis of the wing - so to adjust inside the RV, eg in my situation, I'd take the bearing (320) and add or subtract 90 to align the pointer along a 230 or 50 degree bearing?
YIKES, I just flashed on where the pointer is when the antenna is nested, and you're correct! The bearing I want to verify this afternoon is in what primary direction is the UHF most directional. I have never noticed it but others have.

Belgique

Hickory, NC

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Posted: 11/23/08 06:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hmm, I had the same question re directivity of the batwing. Look in a CG and they are all in diff directions and I could get a stronger signal in an odd direction (and this is in places where there is only city in range). I'll look for that pointer.

My technique has been to adjust the antenna in the direction where the most analog signals are watchable and then let the TV do its search. I've never found a way to direct select a digital channel (e.g., 12.2) without the TV searching first.


Hickory, NC
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klenger

Tucson AZ

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Posted: 11/23/08 06:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Belgique wrote:

I've never found a way to direct select a digital channel (e.g., 12.2) without the TV searching first.


I found this to be true also. I'm speculating it's becuse the freq. that the station is using may nto be tied to their channel number. In other words, what freq. channnel 11 uses in onc city may not be the same as used in another city. I speculate that the scanning method finds usable signals on all the frequencies and then "listens" to them to find our what channel number they are on. Again, this is total speculation on my part.

SCVJeff

Santa Clarita, CA.

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Posted: 11/23/08 01:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The digital receiver must scan the band and gather stream information (PSIP) from each carrier it detects, because the channel "12.1" really means nothing. Remember that in the digital world, 99+% of the digital channels that you scan are NOT where they appear to be. The primary digital channels (12.x) are usually legacy channels from where the station was in the analog days, and now the transmitter could easily be on any channel; VHF or UHF, but squawking an ID for virtual channel 12. Any digital receiver will NOT tune a channel that it has no information on until it gets data about that channel. One of my prototype receivers allowed me to tune the real channel manually and it would display whatever it saw, even with no scan (because I forced it to listen there), but haven tried it on the consumer cheepies.

Off to look at my antenna knob...

kannonvaggon

Shorewood, Illinois

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Posted: 11/23/08 03:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was just testing my DTV to be working this morning for the first time actually. My coach has a Winegard amplified batwing into a patch-panel-amp unit. All we did was move the input on the TV which had ATSC capability, over to the proper input port on the back of the TV. No converter box was used. Then I cranked up the antenna and set it to 90 degrees... across the general direction from where the signal comes from in the city.... and then told the TV to go to DTV mode and to scan for channels. It found 39 DTV channels supposedly.

I was located about 35 miles from the primary transmitter area, and get a relativelly weak analog signal most of the time on the batwing. The DTV channels MOSTLY came in pretty decent but some were choppy with a weak signal. Several were VERY good and clean. Some had a guide section and were apparently sending no programming on the carrier frequency at this time.

I moved the antenna to point directly towards the transmitter area, and lost signal. So, with my antenna in this location... it wants to be 90 degrees from the transmitter as expected. The amplifier indeed amplifies this DTV spectrum a bit and the signal was much stronger with the amp on than with it off. Just thought I'd check...

I tested the patch-panel to function OK and choose the various inputs to connect to the 3 TV sets in the coach with analog or digital TV or Sat TV from my shiny new Dishnet reciever and folding antenna jobber. Everything seemed to work just peachy and I actually got the dish antenna working within just a couple minutes, so we're good to go next month heading for Arizona like a proper snowbird should...

YMMV

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