Why no digital signal?

sniffdogMarch 24, 2008

I am cross posting this from the Home Entertainment forum

I just purchased my first HDTV and hooked it up to my satellite receiver  everything looks great  love the HD.

I then decided to hook up my over air antenna designed for digital TV signals to see if I could get local news channels without having to use the satellite service (would be nice just in case the satv goes out  which it does when it rains hard).

I installed the antenna during the construction of the house  it is in the attic facing in the proper orientation. I used this web site


to make sure I bought the right equipment and pointed it properly. I live in the 20135 zip code and am trying to received signals from Washington DC Â where the transmitters about 43 miles east of my house according to the web site above.

Oddly enough  I get the analog TV signals for channels 2,4,7,9 (as well as many others) out of Washington - and the picture looks quite good for standard def  very clear signals for the major networks. I also receive 4 digital channels (60.1  60.4) out of Martinsburg WV which is about 27 miles west of my house, but on the other side of the mountain I live on (there is quite a bit of blockage in that direction).

Is this simply a distance issue  am I too far away from DC to receive the digital signals?

Why do I receive very clear analog signals from DC but not the digital signals?

Could this be a station transmitter power issue that might be resolved in 2009 when analog TV goes away?


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In the world of antennas it is known that placing your antenna in the attic reduces its effectiveness by about 1/3.

This is more critical on digital as there is no fringe area. You either have enough signal and get a great picture or you don't have enough signal and you get no picture.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 10:14PM
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What antenna are you using? It looks like you are only receiving VHF channels 2-13(even 60.1 is broadcast as freq assignment 12). You probably just need an antenna that has better UHF reception.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 10:33AM
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Here is a link to the antenna type I am using


It is a winegard pr 8800 uhf antenna that is supposed to work for channels 14 through 69 which would cover the digital broadcasts. I see that the gain is pretty good but the beam is narrow. But I have it pointed exactly at 115 degrees.

I see that there are broader beam antennas advertised for HD such as the winegard HD9065P - I am wondering if I need something like that.

Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 2:19PM
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Try this -- Go out and buy a piece of 50 foot RG-6 coax, if needed to hook to your TV. Buy a cheap (one you can take back) -- antenna -- hook it up outside -- stand it up temporary -- I'll bet u will get the sigs -- I tried and tried to get an antenna to work in my attic -- took the same antenna outside -- actually just layed the thing on the ground -- got more flat on the ground, than in the attic. The actual signal loss in an attic is more like 40-60%. The best UHF (there is truly nosuch thing as "HD antenna" -- they are just grades of "uhf" antennas)
The best are from "antennasdirect.com" I have bought four or five for myself and friends and relatives. I personally use the DB8, with an amp and rotor -- I live in a hole -- Good luck-- you should be able to get anything within 40 miles with not too many probs as long as you take it out of the attic!!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 10:36PM
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great suggestion. in fact, I can just unbolt the antenna I have in the attic and connect it just outside the basement in the back of the house where I have access to the cable in the basement. if I get signal, then I know I need to mount outside.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will post back the resuls.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:48AM
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